Thieving Weasels

Posted August 22, 2016 by Ashley in Book Review, Brief Book Review, Young Adult / 0 Comments

Brief Book Review
Thieving WeaselsThieving Weasels by Billy Taylor
Format: ARC
Genres: Young Adult
on August 23rd 2016
Pages: 320
Published by Dial Books Source: Publisher
Goodreads

Skip O’Rourke is dragged into one last con . . . but he doesn’t know the con’s on him in this funny, page-turning debut YA for fans of Winger and Ocean’s Eleven.
Cameron Smith attends an elite boarding school and has just been accepted to Princeton University alongside his beautiful girlfriend, Claire. Life for Cameron would be perfect, except that Cameron Smith is actually Skip O’Rourke, and Skip O’Rourke ran away from his grifter family four years ago…along with $100,000 of their “earnings” (because starting a new life is not cheap). But when his uncle Wonderful tracks him down, Skip’s given an ultimatum: come back to the family for one last con, or say good-bye to life as Cameron.
“One last con” is easier said than done when Skip’s family is just as merciless (and just as manipulative) as they’ve always been, and everyone around him is lying. Skip may have given up on crime, but there’s one lesson he hasn’t forgotten: always know your mark. And if you don’t know who your mark is . . . it’s probably you.

When you are 17 years old, you pretty much think your family is the worse. Of course you would be wrong because Skip O’Rourke wins the award for the worse family ever. When Skip was growing up, his mother wasn’t teaching him how to read or write, she taught him how to con people. Skip grew up moving from school to school never making any real friends or learning anything other than crime. When Skip was 4 years old he discovered just how messed up his life really was and he wanted out. Nine years later at, 13, Skip finally runs away from his terrible family and starts school at prestigious Wheaton Academy.

Cookie Thief

Skip has worked hard at Wheaton, earning a 3.92 GPA, he is nationally ranked in Lacrosse and just got accepted to Princeton. Have I mentioned Claire in all this? She’s Skip’s very rich, very smart girlfriend who knows nothing about his past, she also knows him as Cam Smith. Skip returns to his dorm room just after seeing Claire leave for the summer only to find an intruder has destroyed the place. And so it begins. Skip is dragged back home and into the worse scam of his life.

Thieving Weasels was an enjoyable read. Skip’s smart mouth made me laugh more than once, I’ve never been so accepting of my family either! I’m not sure what it was but I felt like the ending was rushed. There was so much lead up to the final con and not a lot of follow-up after it, the story seemed to just drop off. None the less it was a good, quick read that kept me entertained.

three-half-stars

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A Study in Charlotte

Posted July 21, 2016 by Ashley in Book Review, Young Adult / 0 Comments

A Study in CharlotteA Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes, #1) by Brittany Cavallaro
Format: Hardcover
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery
on March 1st 2016
Pages: 321
Published by Katherine Tegen Books Goodreads

The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.
From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.
A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy.

A Study in Charlotte is a book I couldn’t help but fall in love with. I received this book as a gift and was pleasantly surprised how much I loved it. The cover  is so attractive! Shades of blue and coral command your attention, I love the title down the center of the book in a white, almost chalk board font.

Sherlock

A descendant of the famous John Watson, Jamie knows all the stories about Charlotte Holmes; descendant to the famed Sherlock Holmes. Jamie grew up in England and only recently found himself at a Connecticut boarding school, where Charlotte is also in attendance. Jamie tries to befriend Charlotte but just like her great grand father, she isn’t exactly a social butterfly. Soon the duo find themselves smack dab in the center of a murder investigation as the only suspects. The ironic twist is that someone is using the classic Sherlock Holmes stories to frame Jamie and Charlotte. Forced together Watson and Holmes join forces and begin an investigation of their own.

Watson

Jamie Watson shares so many qualities from his great grand father. He is smart sensitive and caring but his temper is short. He always seems to be two steps behind Charlotte, who is 5 steps in front of everyone. Jamie finds himself second guessing Charlotte the deeper into the investigation they get. Charlotte, also very similar to her ancestor, is an habitual drug user, extremely smart, socially awkward and self-destructive, all traits that surely run in the Holmes bloodline. Throw in modern technology, a reluctant detective, an overbearing brother and a psychotic murderer and you have a modern Sherlock Holmes mystery!

 

Sherlock Pusheen

The bottom line? Read this book if you like Sherlock Holmes stories. It really is one of the better retellings I’ve ever read. I know the second book The Last August is set to release February 2017 but I’m not sure how many will be in the series, I’ve heard just three but I’m hoping for more!

Have you read A Study in Charlotte? If so, lets chat!

Thanks for reading!-2

 

 

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Brief Book Review: Dorothy Must Die

Posted July 13, 2016 by Ashley in Book Review, Brief Book Review, Young Adult / 1 Comment

Brief Book Review
Brief Book Review: Dorothy Must DieDorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1) by Danielle Paige
Format: Hardcover
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
on April 1st 2014
Pages: 452
Published by HarperCollins Goodreads

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado - taking you with it - you have no choice but to go along, you know?
Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still a yellow brick road - but even that's crumbling.
What happened? Dorothy.
They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.
My name is Amy Gumm - and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I've been trained to fight.
And I have a mission.

Dorothy Must Die is a quick, fun read with a cool twist on the Wizard of Oz. I was drawn to this book mostly because of the cover, I mean who would want to hurt Dorothy?

Amy Gumm lives with her less than stellar mother in a trailer park (of course) in Kansas. One night a tornado rips through the trailer park and sends Amy to place she’s only ever seen in the movies, The Land of Oz. Now if you’ve read The Wizard of Oz or seen the movie you know how it’s supposed to be; flying monkeys, the yellow brick road, good and bad witches. Amy’s Oz is much different from the one we know and love. In the Oz Amy is stuck in good is bad and bad is good. Amy quickly learns the people of Oz need her help to end Dorothy’s reign. Amy meets several friends along the way and they help train her how to fight Dorothy, because if Dorothy isn’t stopped, Oz might not be left standing.

I enjoyed this book for the most part. I was hooked at the beginning, the middle was a bit slow but by the end I was hooked all over again. Since the release of Dorothy Must Die there have been 3 other books in the series. The Wicked Will Rise (#2), Yellow Brick War (#3) and The End of Oz (#4) comes out in 2017. Several novellas have also been released; 0.1 though 0.3 tells Dorothy Gail’s story on how she returned to Oz and turned evil. The second novella, 0.4 through 0.6, tells the stories of the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion after Dorothy’s return to Kansas.

 

Too many books too little time! All of these are on my TBR and I hope to get to them all soon!

 

 

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Disney Princess Book Tag

Posted July 8, 2016 by Ashley in Book Tag / 0 Comments

Princess Tag

I was tagged for the Disney Princess Book Tag by Lindsey at Bring My Books, she found it on Ageless Pages Reviews,  Dani from Ageless Pages Reviews made the graphics so thank you!

And huge thanks to Soudha @ Of Stacks and Cups for creating this book tag!

My 3 random Disney facts :

My favorite Disney princess is Belle. When I was a kid my mom bought me the illustrated version of The Beauty and the Beast. I still own that book and it is same book I used to read Beauty and the Beast to my daughter for the first time. It’s spine is heavily damaged it is well worn but I’m hoping it will make it another generation.

I was 23 when I went to Disney for the first time, my daughter was 3. I had a really hard time keeping myself together when we met the princesses. In most pictures from that trip, I am smiling bigger than my daughter!

When I was 4 my mom had to cut a fork out of my hair…I was also obsessed with the Little Mermaid.

Snow White

Anna Karenina

I’m going to have to go with Anna Karenina on this one. I remember reading this book while waiting for a doctor’s appointment and the doctors utter surprise when I informed him it was not for a class but rather just because I liked it. He kept saying “for fun? You’re reading that for fun?”

Cindrella

Sleepy Kitten

This one is hard for me. There are so many books that have kept me up WAY past my bedtime. But most recently it’s been Winter by Marissa Meyer. Not only is it over 800 pages but it is the ending of an amazing series. I had to find out how everything wrapped up and loss of sleep was the last thing I was worried about!

Aurora

Classic Romance

Since I don’t read a lot of classics, I decided to go with Anna and Vronsky again from Anna Karenina. The passionate (and tragic) affair between Anna and Vronsky is the opposite of Kitty and Levin whose love is sweet and gentle.

Ariel

Sacrifice

This may sound weird but I chose The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. The main character Shazi gives up everything she has and volunteers to become the next bride to Khalid even though she knows all his other brides have died. Not only do I love this book but Shazi is a bad ass!

Belle

Smart

Lisbeth Salander from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. For me, Lisbeth is one of those characters I loved from the beginning. She is who she is and she couldn’t care less what anyone thinks. By the looks of her you’d never know, but Lisbeth is damn smart and she will always be two steps ahead of you and the police.

Jasmine

Dumplin

The very first book that came to mind for this one is Dumplin by Julie Murphy. Willowdean is not a small girl but she’s okay with that. I love her philosophy of a bikini body…get a bikini and put it on your body…it shouldn’t be more complicated than that. When Willowdean decides to compete in the towns famed beauty pageant everyone (including her mother) tries to talk her out of it but does Willowdean back down? No, she get’s more unlikely candidates to join her!

Pocahontas

Roller Coaster

I’m going to have to go with Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas on this one. This was one of those situations where I was talking to the book as I was reading, “no, oh no…please tell me that didn’t happen” and “oh, shit!” etc. My final Goodreads update was: “Holy. F’ing Shit! Thank the Gods I don’t have to wait a year for the next book.”Mulan

Badass MC

Um, do I really have to just pick one? I can’t. I just can’t. There are far too many. Let’s see, Yael from Wolf by Wolf, Alina Starkov from Shadow and Bone, Eleanor Fitt from Something Strange and Deadly, Sophia Bellamy from Rook. I really could keep going but those are just a few that popped into my head first.

Tiana

strong women

I’m not entirely sure why this one was so hard for me, surely I’ve read a ton of books with characters that fits into this category. I ended up choosing Sophia Bellamy from Rook by Sharon Cameron. Though she came from a wealthy family, almost everything she had is gone. I love how Sophia puts everyone else above herself and she ends up saving herself, her family and countless others.

Rapunzal

I'll Give you the Sun

I chose I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. Jude and Noah are twins. Jude is the crazy outgoing one, she wears bright red lipstick and cliff dives. Noah is the quite artist. I’m telling you, THIS BOOK! I laughed when I saw my Goodreads updates because I was so surprised by this book.

Merida

Mother Daughter

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. This book is a true testament to what a mother would do for her daughter and vise versa. I wasn’t expecting much out of this book but I loved it so much I sent it to my mom and made her read it. She loved it just as much as I did and we often make references to it.

Anna and Elsa

brother and sisters

The Land of Stories series is one of my all time favorite series. The two main characters are Alex and Connor, twins. They are the single most important things in each others lives and I am completely envious of their relationship and their adventures.

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Top Ten Tuesday Books I Enjoyed But Have Less Than 2000 Ratings on Goodreads

Posted July 5, 2016 by Ashley in Top Ten Tuesdays / 0 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. This week’s topic was a little hard for me. I have a lot of ARCs that I’ve read that don’t come out until Fall so they were all I could think about! But I found some and here they are in no particular order:

 

A Spark Unseen

A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron

Ratings: 1277

As the second book in the series, A Spark Unseen doesn’t see as much love as it’s predecessor A Dark Unwinding. I’ve heard this could be because of the way the series is marketed, as steam punk, which it’s not. None the less the series is definitely worth checking out!

Valiant

Valiant by Sarah McGuire

Ratings: 448

This is a local (to me) author which is how I discovered this book. I’m not sure if there are more books in McGuire’s future but there should be!

Valkyrie

Valkyrie by Kate O’Hearn

Ratings: 507

Kate O’Hearn is best known for her Pegasus series but I don’t think it will be long before Freya and her fellow Valkyrie find their ways into homes of young readers everywhere!

Horten#2

Hortens Incredible Illusions Magic Mystery and a Very Strange Adventure by Lissa Evans

Ratings: 549

This series is so so cute. I really don’t know why more kids are not into Horten and his inventions.

Wollstonecraft

The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford

Ratings: 819

I absolutely adore this series, check out my review here.

How to Catch a Bogle

How to Catch a Bogle by Catherine Jinks

Ratings: 1018

I read this book back in 2013 and I remember liking it. Again, not sure why it’s not more popular but I’d recommend it to middle grade readers looking for an adventure.

YourPerfectLife

Your Perfect Life Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Ratings: 1038

This is a classic body switch story but I was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t really what I was expecting. The authors 2nd book The Status of All Things came out a year later and it’s getting great reviews.

Welcome to the Dark House

Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Ratings: 1529

What is your worst nightmare? Ugh this story was so creepy! I was actually surprise this one doesn’t have more reviews, it’s pretty good and the sequel came out last year!

ACuriousTale

A Curious Tale of the In-between by Lauren DeStefano

Ratings: 983

A ghost story for middle grade readers! I really enjoyed this book and I love the cover so much!

Ruthless

Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams

Ratings: 992

Speaking of worse fears…ugh this book had me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole book.

Looking back on these books, it makes me wonder if I should be reading more books that are less main stream.

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The Case of the Missing Moonstone

Posted July 4, 2016 by Ashley in Middle Grade / 0 Comments

Middle
The Case of the Missing MoonstoneThe Case of the Missing Moonstone (The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency #1) by Jordan Stratford, Kelly Murphy
Format: Hardcover
Genres: Middle Grade
on January 6th 2015
Pages: 240
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers Goodreads

History, mystery, and science collide in a new series for middle-grade readers, perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society and Lemony Snicket!   Jordan Stratford imagines an alternate 1826, where Ada Lovelace (the world’s first computer programmer) and Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) meet as girls and form a secret detective agency!  Lady Ada Byron, age eleven, is a genius. Isolated, awkward and a bit rude—but a genius. Mary Godwin, age fourteen, is a romantic. Adventurous, astute, and kind, Mary is to become Ada’s first true friend. And together, the girls conspire to form the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency—a secret constabulary for the apprehension of clever criminals. Their first case involves a stolen heirloom, a false confession, and an array of fishy suspects. But it’s no match for the deductive powers and bold hearts of Ada and Mary.   Mystery fans will love this tween girl riff on Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. History buffs will be delighted to see all the real figures who play a role in this story and appreciate the extensive backmatter that helps separate truth from fiction. Parents and educators hoping to promote the STEM fields for girls will be thrilled to have a series where two girls use math, science, and creative analytical thinking to solve crimes. But most espicially--emerging readers will love this series filled with humor, action, intrigue and wonderful artwork from Kelly Murphy.
From the Hardcover edition.

I loved this book so much! A cool spin on Sherlock Holmes that will take young readers on an awesome adventure with an inconspicuous history lesson thrown in. Lady Ada Byron is 11 and she is very smart, maybe too smart. She relies on mathematics and science to get her through life but she has never had a true friend. She spends most of her days at home with her tutor (Percy Shelly). Mary Godwin is 14, very sharp and adventurous. The girls first meet when Mary is sent to Ada’s home for tutoring but Ada doesn’t know she is coming and she isn’t thrilled. It takes Ada a while to warm up to Mary but when she realizes Mary is just looking for a friend Ada comes around. The two decided to start their own detective agency to catch the real thieves (and put them in the newspaper) and the adventure really begins! Together they talk themselves INTO prison, interrogate possible thieves and chase down crooks a hot air balloon.

In the back of the book Stratford does and excellent job describing each character, their role in history and how some of the characters may not have really crossed paths in real life. I found myself engrossed with this information and I began Googling characters and learning more about each of them.

I can’t wait for my daughter to read this book. She is, and I say this with love, a science nerd and anything that combines her love of books and science is a definite must have. I think this book should be recommended to any young girl out there that has a love of books, science or mathematics. The pure ease at which Ada and Mary are with themselves and their love for these subjects is simply amazing.

four-half-stars

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