ARC REVIEW: A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold + Review

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A Boy Called Bat

Elana K. Arnold

Published March 14th 2017 by Walden Pond Press

Middle gradeFiction | REalistic Fiction

Purchase links: Amazon | BN | TBD

3 ★★★

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

From acclaimed author Elana K. Arnold and with illustrations by Charles Santoso, A Boy Called Bat is the first book in a funny, heartfelt, and irresistible young middle grade series starring an unforgettable young boy on the autism spectrum.

For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter.

But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.

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REVIEW:

When I read the blurb of ABCB, I instantly remembered my younger brother and I want to admit that that’s one of the reasons why I want to read and review Elana’s book. Not only that, I’m an animal lover myself and even though Bat is way younger than me, it was not hard to feel for him while reading. But don’t let Bat’s age hinder you from reading ABCB. This book is genuine and very easy to read. That’s what I like the most. Arnolds writing was not hard to get in to and Bat’s story will make you care.

I also recommend A Boy Called Bat for young readers who are looking for their first read. I would want my kids  to read this someday so that they’ll have their introduction to authentic and diverse characters plus well written plot. This book is not only full of adorableness but full of heart as well. I’m looking forward to more Elana Arnold book no matter what age group she’s writing it for!

AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300 Twitter | Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram

ELANA K. ARNOLD completed her M.A. in Creative Writing/Fiction at the University of California, Davis. She grew up in Southern California, where she was lucky enough to have her own horse–a gorgeous mare named Rainbow–and a family who let her read as many books as she wanted. She lives in Huntington Beach, California, with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. She is represented by Rubin Pfeffer of Rubin Pfeffer Content

 

     

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ARC REVIEW: Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

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Thicker than Water

Brigid Kemmerer

December 29th 2015

Young Adult > Mystery

432 pages (Kindle edition)

eARC via Netgalley

 

3★★★

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

On his own

Thomas Bellweather hasnt been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdads cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.

Not that theres any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And shed like a couple answers.

Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden

 

REVIEW:

I’m here because I’ve been attracted to you since the moment I saw you outside the church.

Yes that totally justifies hanging out with a guy who’s suspected of murder. Come on, he’s cute! Murder? How could he possibly?!

I’m here because you let your guard down around me sometimes, and I don’t think you do that with anyone else.

Seeing as you’re the only one who talks to him, what with him being a murder suspect and all. I can’t imagine anyone else who would willingly offer friendship to him. Well … except for you so yes, maybe that’s why. And also, you’re hot!!11

I’m here because you make me feel like I have something to offer the world, instead of being someone who needs to be sheltered away.

Ugh. 

Basically, what I hated about this book was how Charlotte kept romanticizing Thomas and how the first part of the book mainly focuses on her infatuation towards him that it somehow escaped her mind that the guy who’s making her all tingly inside is also suspected of murdering his mother. No biggie. These two could not be in a room together without either one of them thinking how hot the other is and wanting to tear each other’s clothes off. Like what is even with two of them?

It’s not clear who killed Thomas’ mother. That’s where the mystery begins. What we do know is that he just found her there lifelessly lying in bed. No forced entry. Not even a sign of struggle. Even though Thomas is the main character, I, as a reader, still did not eliminate the chance that he could be the murderer. So yes, I don’t care if Thomas gets Charlotte hot every time they’re near each other, I still think they were being stupid.

But still I trudged on forward even though it took me almost a month to get to the finish line. And wow I was impressed. Not because the mystery was so mind-blowing in the how did it even level. It was a little predictable actually. I was impressed by how this book hooked me and kept me on the edge of my seat for the second half part of the book. To think that just a few chapters ago, I was almost ready to dismiss this book as another careless mystery that couldn’t keep up to the genre (*cough* Never Never *cough*).

I’m no Sherlock and I admit, as soon as bits and pieces of clues were revealed, it was pretty easy to put them all together. But it still kept me wanting more.

All in all, Thicker Than Water is close to being a solid mystery. Like I said, mind-blogging is not what the book is, but what it offered was enough to keep me engaged all the way through the end. I still can’t let go of the characters stupidity though.

MARLAhbt

ARC REVIEW&BOOK PLAYLIST: The Hometown Hazard by Dawn Lanuza + Giveaway!!

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The Hometown Hazard

Dawn Lanuza

Published January 29th 2016 by Indie Sisiw Books

YA/NA > Romance | Contemporary

 

Purchase links: Amazon | Buqo 

 

4 ★★★★

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

Jules Coronado has been away from her hometown for almost a decade but when an intruder breaks in to her childhood home, she finds herself coming back. Changes evidently took place in her small town, including her childhood best friend’s younger brother, Kip – now tall, slightly scruffed, all grown up and caught climbing into their garden wall.

Kip Villamor has a mission and despite Jules’ doubts, they team up: going on fieldtrips, tackling unsuspecting men, and trespassing offices to dig up dirt. But Jules has secrets of her own, one that might be exposed – unless she keeps her walls up. But climbing walls are Kip’s forte, remember?

Will her secrets keep her on his side, or will it force her to disappear again?

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REVIEW:

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Yep. That’s just me the whole time. Dawn Lanuza brings out the romantic side of me from my icy and snarky exterior. Well played Dawn! Well played!

 

 

 

 

“You ever felt like there are two versions of you, and they dont exist in the same place.”

 

I have bee a fan of Dawn Lanuza ever since I read her first book, The Boyfriend Backtrack, which by the way is a great life choice because not only did I enjoy that smart and sweet story but I also got the chance to meet our main character in The Hometown Hazard which is Jules. I have to say though, because we’re totally being honest here, that the blurb of this books caused some double taking from me. The girl-being-younger-than-the-love-interest (no matter how much the age gap) is something I avoid aggressively. So. If you’re like me, I’ll tell you right away that THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BOTHER YOU.

The book started off with Jules waking up because of a phone call from her parents saying that somebody broken inside of their house and apparently, the intruder was very interested at Jules’ room. Could Jules know who the culprit is? Jules being the caring daughter decided to go home to her hometown which she left long time ago because of an incident. From here we meet her loving parents and of course the swoony daredevil, Kip. All grown up and enjoying his new hobby: sneaking into offices and running from people. Just like from Dawn Lanuza’s first novel, she made another set of characters that are authentic and fun. They are a bunch to let go. Jules is the definition of a likeable character. I like the fact that she’s matured and her background story agrees with her. I mean, you don’t expect me to like a character who says she graduated from law school but don’t act like it. Stuff like that are very important. You can see though from the first part of the story that Jules’ character is pretty flawed. She have fears and issues that she needs to overcome. Plus the fact that she’s running away from something that happened years ago and it’s affecting her future. And this is where Kip comes in. Kip is.. wow how do I describe Kip? Well he’s my favorite guy by Dawn Lanuza. He’s the right amount of dangerous and swoony. He’s all mysterious but I liked the fact that with every page, the author keeps peeling off a layer from Kips mysterious personality.

The romance is set in a pace that is believable and its just my favorite thing! No instalove. No love triangle. No unnecessary dramas. I think what makes The Hometown Hazard stands out from other love stories out there is that ITS NOT JUST A LOVESTORY. There’s also a mystery that is going on plus a huge revelation about our main characters pasts. It’s truly such an incredible story!

Written in a very easy and witty atmosphere, The Hometown Hazard is written not to only entertain but to tug at your heartstrings. Dawn Lanuza just keeps getting better and better! Hilarious, romantic and real.. Readers need to make room for The Hometown Hazard in their shelf. 

 

BOOK PLAYLIST:

I actually have playlist for the story while I was writing it on Spotify. But these are the top tracks:

The Naked and the Famous – No Way (Quiet)

This is actually the first song that came to mind when I was writing the book. It’s a beautiful track and I think it matches a certain part of the book. If you read the book, I think you’d know where it fits.

Chicago – If You Leave Me Now

This song just reminds me of lazy Sunday mornings and I feel like that’s how Jules pictured her childhood home and her hometown.

Raleigh Ritchie – The Chased

Just because there’s a lot of running and chasing.

Tom Waits – I Hope I Don’t Fall in Love with You

In the book, I made Kip and Jules dance to a James Taylor song but when I was writing it, I was imagining it with Tom Waits’ “I Hope I Don’t Fall in Love with You.”

Tegan and Sara – Drove Me Wild

This is my Kip song. I think about him when I listen to this song.

The Head and the Heart – Let’s Be Still

This is the song that’s playing in my head when I imagine the beach scene.

Colony House – Learning How to Love

I think this song’s lyrics is spot on with Jules.

Imogen Heap – Entanglement

Last scene. I’ll leave it with that. 

– DAWN

 

 

AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads 

Dawn Lanuza started writing stories when she was just a kid (they weren’t good or even finished). She works for the music industry by day and writes meet cutes and snappy comebacks by night. ‘The Boyfriend Backtrack’ is her first book. She currently lives with her family and an adopted dog.

     

 

 

 

 

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ARC Review: Under The Dusty Moon by Suzanne Sutherland


Under The Dusty Moon

Suzane Sutherland

Published January 23rd 2016 by Dundurn

YA >  Contemporary

272 pages

eARC for Review

 

 2 ★★

 

Purchase links: Amazon | Nook

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

She’s with the band, whether she likes it or not.

Victoria Mahler is the sixteen-year-old only daughter of rocker Micky Wayne, whose band, Dusty Moon, took the world by storm when Micky was just a teenager. The band broke up under mysterious circumstances, but, after years spent off the road being a mom, Micky’s solo career is finally starting to take off.

When an offer to tour Japan falls into her mom’s lap, Vic is left to spend the summer under the care of her distant grandmother, and without her built-in best friend. Fortunately, a boy with a secret geek side and a group of feminist game-makers save the season, and Vic starts to see herself as her own person, out from under her mother’s shadow.

But when Micky finally comes home — with a poorly chosen boyfriend in tow — all bets are off. Will Vic be able to maintain her newfound sense of self amidst the building thunder of Micky’s second chance at stardom? And through it all, will Micky still really be her best friend?

 

REVIEW

Under The Dusty Moon was disappointing on epic proportions.  You see, when I first went into this book, what I expected was girl power, plenty of gaming goodness, a protagonist I would love and a parent-daughter relationship that would be eye-opening in its goodness.  What I got—at least after the 35% mark—was basically a disaster in print form.The book follows one summer in the life of Victoria Mahler, a sixteen year old BRAT.  She was the epitome of a kind of girl you would not want to grow up with because damn.  She’s selfish and basically a fool, but the one thing that stood out most about this girl was how jealous she was.  See, Victoria’s mother Micky Wayne was the yesteryear star of Dusty Moon, which was a huge deal.  And the book—and Victoria’s POV—was more than 90% whining about how Micky was so famous, and how she should move on and be a  real mom, and whatnot.  Victoria just wouldn’t move beyond the fact that her mom had a life before her, separate from her, and it was annoying af.  She kept being a brat to her mother, and the entire “best-friends” thing that she had with her fell flat on its face for the very same reason.Micky, Victoria’s mother, was another major reason the entire book failed.  Being a part of a band (that split up years ago, btw) apparently gave the woman free reign to leave Victoria on her own for the summer and go traipsing around the other side of the world. I understand about working mothers who have to travel a lot (I have one), but the entire thing felt like something that normal moms just wouldn’t do.  Her entire character arc felt very confusing, and I couldn’t tell up from down where this woman was concerned.

Under The Dusty Moon started off really well.  For almost the first half, I found myself enjoying the book, its characters, the entire she-bang.  With the benefit of hindsight, I realise that I almost looked over the annoying parts of the book simply because I was way too excited to enjoy the book completely.  But in all honesty, I did not see this book going the way it did.  I thought there would be one pivotal point where the story would pick up pace, and Victoria would become more aware of things besides herself, more mature, but unfortunately, that point never came.  Throw in a best friend who bought the whole gaming thing in for a grand total of 3.67 pages, and a love interest who was as boring as he was flimsy, I really don’t see the point of recommending this book to anyone.

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ARC REVIEW: Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk + Giveaway!!

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Arrows

Melissa Gorzelanczyk

Published January 26th 2016 by Delacorte Press

YA > Fantasy | Mythology

Purchase links: Amazon | BN 

4 ★★★★

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 A modern cupid story set in present-day Wisconsin combining the fantastical elements of Greek mythology with the contemporary drama of MTV’s Teen Mom.

People don’t understand love. If they did, they’d get why dance prodigy Karma Clark just can’t say goodbye to her boyfriend, Danny. No matter what he says or does or how he hurts her, she can’t stay angry with him . . . and can’t stop loving him. But there’s a reason why Karma is helpless to break things off: she’s been shot with a love arrow. Aaryn, son of Cupid, was supposed to shoot both Karma andDanny but found out too late that the other arrow in his pack was useless. And with that, Karma’s life changed forever. One pregnancy confirmed. One ballet scholarship lost. And dream after dream tossed to the wind.

A clueless Karma doesn’t know that her toxic relationship is Aaryn’s fault . . . but he’s going to get a chance to make things right. He’s here to convince Danny to man up and be there for Karma. But what if this god from Mount Olympus finds himself falling in love with a beautiful dancer from Wisconsin who can never love him in return?

This fast-paced debut novel explores the internal & external conflicts of a girl who finds herself inexplicably drawn to a boy who seemingly doesn’t reciprocate her  feelings, touching on the issues of love, sex and responsibility, with a heroine struggling to control her destiny–perfect for fans of Katie McGarry’s novels and MTV’s 16 and Pregnant.

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REVIEW:

OMG YOU GUYSSSSS!!!

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Oh my heartttt. Arrows is such a perfect book for this season. Don’t get me wrong, I would recommend Arrows anytime of the year but reading it at this month, when it’s all about love and… Love.. it’s just perfect. I wouldn’t exactly call ARROWS a retelling of the famous tale of Cupid and Psyche but I can say that the book was based on that particular mythology story. Only here, our main character is Cupids son himself, Aaryn.

The story opens up with Aaryn and his trainer, Phoebe, doing some love arrow shooting to the clueless couples in a highschool dance. It would’ve been perfect, Aaryn will pass his test and be an official cupid and then the couple will fall madly in love but… Aaryn messed up and now he has to clean up that mess.

What I liked the most about Arrows is it’s refreshing plotline. I can confidently say that I have never encountered a storyline like this before. I was anticipating every page while slowly absorbing every word. The pacing helped a lot too because I didn’t find any dull moment throughout the book. The book caught my attention the moment I started reading because it’s very easy to follow and Melissa’s writing is simple and beautiful at the same time. Of course I finished it in one day!

I don’t know about you but I adore the book even more when I can read the thoughts of the two main characters, in other words, if it has two POV’s. The characters are rich and vibrant. I wasn’t only fond of the leads but also with the secondary characters. Melissa effectively destroyed the conceited good looking greek god tradition with Aaryn. He’s such a swoony love interest. I honestly can’t think of anything bad to say about him. I’m not saying he’s perfect though, far from it. Even with his god-ness, the story revealed how flawed he is. Karma definitely belongs to my favorite heroines list. I adore this girl to bits! She made me feel a lot of things compared to Aaryn. Everytime I read her thoughts, I’m torn between hugging and crying with her and smacking and shaking some sense to her. In short, Melissa writes such authentic characters that will totally affect the readers hearts. They’re a hard bunch to let go, here’s me hoping for a second book!! I feel like the last chapters were a little rushed as well and that’s another reason why I am demanding for a follow up and that’s why I didn’t give a complete 5. Arrows ending is far from being a cliffhanger so no on should worry about that. Whatever the author decides abour Aaryn and Karmas journey, I’ll be fine with it.

And lastly, what is this book without its romance? This book is written to melt your heart and for you to explode of FEELS. What a magnificent debut by Melissa Gorzelanczyk! This novel clearly knows how it feels to fall in love, what it means to get your heart broken and how important it is to move on. With a Gorgeous writing, a dash of mythology and a heartwarming romance.. you don’t need to be shot by an arrow to love this novel.

AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300 Twitter | Website | Goodreads 

Melissa Gorzelanczyk is a former magazine editor and columnist who believes love is everything. A dreamer for life, Melissa has been writing books since she was nine years old when she penned her first story about a beloved black horse. She is a member of the Class of 2k16, the SCBWI and The Sweet Sixteens. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with her husband and family.

She is represented by Carrie Howland of Donadio & Olson.
See more at: www.melissagorzelanczyk.com

 

     

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