Title: Ten Fingers Touching                   Author:  Ellen A. Roth            Pages: 104
    Publisher: Getting to the Point, Inc.
        Published: December 10, 2014                  Ranking: 3/5    

Roth spins a passionate fable of suspense and romance illustrated with lush paintings rendered in the highest fantasy tradition by renowned artist John Blumen. Together they weave a spellbinding story of two young lovers caught between the forces of good and evil, with the future of the kingdom and an innocent child’s life at stake. Can the young master of the forest and his beloved maiden save the kingdom and find their “happily ever after?” Fans of Once Upon a Time and The Princess Bride will be swept up in this story featuring the freshest new figures in romantic fantasy literature. 

'Adult Fairytale' seems to be an oxymoron. Fairytales, for most of us, were the things that defined our childhood and the stories have stayed as such; indicative of another time. So Roth's book was an interesting case of transcending the lines, of allowing a little of that nostalgia and magic to creep back into our lives. It's wonderful again to have those signs of innocence and simplicity. The bad guys are notoriously bad, the good ones amazingly perfect, and pure, true love is back. This lack of confusion and gray areas in a story might seem like a silly thing to applaud considering it's often the books with the complicated plots and twisted characters that catch our eyes, but Roth pulls it off well, creating a story in the same tradition of those we used to love. The illustrations in the story provide a nice flourish too. They're beautifully created and wouldn't look out of place in a Brother's Grimm or other anthology of fairytales.

There are a few places where the book seems to go badly; though. Most of this, I think, is the confusion between the very childlike world of a fairytale and the adult world to which it is marketed. The writing for the sex scenes is incredibly awkward and reads like something out of a bad romance novel. The plot can be confusing at points as well and there were passages meant to be explanations that I had to reread multiple times just to make sure I knew what was going on. Both of these broke some of the spell the book usually held.

The book is a fun read and while it won;t stay with me as some of the other stories I've gotten to read for this site have; it was a wonderful escape back into the fairytales I loved so much. It you need a break from reality, or even a break from the adult world for a while, this is the perfect book for you!

--Sarah

This book is a ARC given to me as part of a publicity run. While I love getting free books and am eternally grateful to the author and the publisher, all above opinions are mine and mine alone. 



                Title: Operation Oleander                  Author:  Valerie Patterson
  Pages: 192
 Publisher: Clarion Books
               Published: March 5, 2013                  Ranking: 3/5    

Ninth-grader Jess Westmark had the best of intentions when she started Operation Oleander to raise money for a girls’ orphanage in Kabul. She named her charity for the oleander that grows both in her Florida hometown and in Afghanistan, where her father is deployed. But on one of her father's trips to deliver supplies to the orphans, a car bomb explodes nearby and her father is gravely injured. Worse, her best friend’s mother and some of the children are killed, and people are blaming Operation Oleander for turning the orphanage into a military target for the Taliban. Is this all Jess’s fault?

Do you ever get the feeling that your book is missing pages?

For example, I was listening to an audio book once and completely forgot there was one last CD and thus believed the book ending without solving any of the mysteries or tying up the plot. Or the time I started reading a series from the second book and not the first and couldn't figure out why so much didn't make sense.  There's that feeling of dissatisfaction; of things left unsaid; a book not completely finished.

It's exactly how this book felt.

It begins in the middle of the action. This can be a really effective technique to spark interest but it wasn't done as such here. Instead, we start out confused. Not too sure of what the characters are doing or why they feel the way they do. I almost expected flashbacks to start clearing things up but they never came. It's hard to connect with the characters because so much of their development is non-existent. The sorrow, pain, and anguish experienced by the characters and their community in the book seems unreal because there's simply no build up of emotional rapport.

THis actually really disappointed me. The book takes place in a military community very similar to the ones in which I've grown up. It approaches the topics of war, deployment, protestors at military funerals, the divide between the enlisted and officers, and more. But it doesn't do any of these well. In a story that sets itself apart because so few people discuss military bases, it fails to set itself apart from the mediocracy of books that had so much more potential.

Had this book been longer; had it taken time to explore these issues, it would have been fantastic. The plot could have worked so well; the characters could have been so believable. But it wasn't.

If you need me; I'll be on a quest to find the missing 200 pages of this book.

--Sarah
Code of Honor by Alan Gratz
Release Date: August 25, 2015

WKamran Smith has it all. He's the star of the football team, dates the most popular girl in school, and can't wait to enlist in the Army like his big brother, Darius. Although Kamran's family hails from Iran, Kamran has always felt 100% American. Accepted. 
And then everything implodes.
Darius is accused of being a terrorist. Kamran refuses to believe it, but the evidence is there -- Darius has been filmed making threats against his country, hinting at an upcoming deadly attack. Kamran's friends turn on him -- suddenly, in their eyes, he's a terrorist, too.
Kamran knows it's up to him to clear his brother's name. In a race against time, Kamran must piece together a series of clues and codes that will lead him to Darius -- and the truth.
But is it a truth Kamran is ready to face? And is he putting his own life at risk?

Shackled by Tom Leveen 
Release Date: August 18, 2015

Sixteen-year-old Pelly has a master plan. After years of therapy, medication, and even a stint in a mental hospital, she’s finally ready to re-enter the world of the living. Pelly has been suffering from severe panic attacks ever since her best friend, Tara, disappeared from a mall six years ago.
And her plan seems to be working, until an unkempt girl accompanied by an older man walks into the coffee shop where she works. Pelly thinks she’s seen a ghost, until the girl mouths “help me” on the way out, and Pelly knows she’s just seen Tara.
Too shocked to do anything, Pelly helplessly watches Tara slip away again as she steels herself against a renewed spiral of crippling anxiety. But rather than being overcome by anxiety, Pelly feels more energized than she has in years. Determined to track down enough evidence to force the police to reopen Tara’s file, Pelly’s master plan takes a turn for the dangerous.
Pelly decides she cannot be shackled by her past—and the anxiety, fear, and grief that comes with it—any longer if she wants to save Tara. But in seeking answers through whatever means necessary, she’ll come face-to-face with true evil. And not all the shackles are in her head…

The Memory Key by Emily Adrian
Release Date: March 3, 2015

Lora Mint is determined not to forget.
Though her mother's been dead for five years, Lora struggles to remember every detail about her—most important, the specific events that occurred the night she sped off in her car, never to return.
But in a world ravaged by Vergets disease, a viral form of Alzheimer's, that isn't easy. Usually Lora is aided by her memory key, a standard-issue chip embedded in her brain that preserves memories just the way a human brain would. Then a minor accident damages Lora's key, and her memories go haywire. Suddenly Lora remembers a moment from the night of her mother's disappearance that indicates her death was no accident. Can she trust these formerly forgotten memories? Or is her ability to remember every painful part of her past driving her slowly mad—burying the truth forever?
Lora's story of longing for her lost mother—and for the truth behind her broken memories—takes readers on a twisty ride. The authentic, emotional narrative sparks fascinating questions about memory and privacy in a world that increasingly relies on electronic recall.

Title: The Girl Who Could Fly
Author: Victoria Forester
Pages: 328
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Published: June 24, 2008
Rating: 3/5

"Piper decided to jump off the roof. It wasn't a rash decision on her part. This was her plan: Climb to the top of the roof, pick up speed by running from one end all the way to the other. Jump off. Finally, and most importantly, don't fall. She didn't make plans in the event she did fall, because if you jump off the roof of your house and land on your head, you really don't need any plans from that point on. Even Piper knew that. So that's what she did. She jumped clean off her roof. But before we get to what happens next, you'll probably need to know a thing or two about a thing or two…"

When homeschooled farm girl Piper McCloud reveals her ability to fly, she is quickly taken to a secret government facility to be trained with other exceptional children, but she soon realizes that something is very wrong and begins working with brilliant and wealthy Conrad to escape.

    I don't like the summary of this book. It's not wrong or anything, but this book is fair enough without the summary giving away one of the major points! Ah well, perhaps you'll still find enjoyment in the wonderful take about The Girl Who Could Fly.
    First and foremost; this book is downright cute. It stars a nice little country girl with parents who love her who lives in a very small town with more animals and people. She has an overactive imagination and an affinity for any sort of animal and can't barely say a mean word to anybody. And most of the book is a completely different tone, especially when the book reach the school institute and it gains a feel not unlike The Incredibles, but she stays just as bubbly as ever. This works incredibly well, since throughout the book Piper has to keep her viewpoint up when things get bleak, so her being cute means that she's found a way to keep going strong. This super-institute that she's at, called I.N.S.A.N.E (are we evil-sounding yet?), is incredibly cool, and is basically a hi-tech school, laboratory, and boot camp in one. The leader is a woman named Letitia Hellion (is she evil-sounding yet?) who is an amazing character, and we see soon enough that she is equal parts perfect and crazy- when we have a look inside her head, it's jarring how much that analysis holds to her thoughts as well. But otherwise, this book is a bit... generic. You have your super-kids, the conspiracy, and the mildly ambiguous-but-still-idealistic ending, standard fare. Though that doesn't mean I'll forgive the summary for spoilers- we're not supposed to know Conrad is a good guy, darnit!
       It's a heartwarming little book with a few strong characters to its name, but with everything else not quite up to par, but I'm sure you'll find something about it enjoy! See you all on Friday!


     Hello readers! today is another book trailer, but this one feels a bit… weird compared to the others. It has an audible voice-over like last week's trailer, but apart from the fuzzy quality of the recording itself, that's fine- in fact, with the tone of the book shown, that actor does a pretty good job with getting this summary across in half a minute:

     Vivia Grant couldn’t be happier. She has her dream job and is about to marry her dream man. Does it really matter that she’s led him to believe she’s a virgin? After all, being in love makes every experience feel like the first time anyway! But an unexpected encounter with an ex-lover is about to expose her embarrassing lie…
      When Vivia’s fiancé discovers the truth, he ends their engagement—via text—and uses his connections to get her fired.  Unemployed and heartbroken, Vivia begins planning her new future—as a homeless spinster. But her best friend has a better idea. They’ll skip the Ben & Jerry’s binge and go on Vivia’s honeymoon instead. Two weeks cycling through Provence and Tuscany, with Luc de Caumont, a sexy French bike guide. Too bad Vivia’s not a big fan of biking. And she’s abysmal at languages. Will she fib her way through the adventure, or finally learn to love herself—and Luc—flaws and all?


     And that's all fine and well, but the presentation itself is what bothers me, in the best way possible. It's almost too professional! It seems like a perfume or an airline commercial rather than a book trailer, but it kind of works anyway! You have a woman who's trying to seem perfect, and who fails at it in the worst way, so she is pushed to have a fun time herself- something you would hear for a cruise liner special- so the whole style fits completely! It seems like it'll be a fun little book from this fun little trailer, so we'll see where it takes us on May 12th! See you all on Monday!


Like It Never Happened  by Emily Adrian
Release Date: June 2, 2015

When Rebecca Rivers lands the lead in her school’s production of The Crucible, she gets to change roles in real life, too. She casts off her old reputation, grows close with her four rowdy cast-mates, and kisses the extremely handsome Charlie Lamb onstage. Even Mr. McFadden, the play’s critical director, can find no fault with Rebecca.
Though “The Essential Five” vow never to date each other, Rebecca can’t help her feelings for Charlie, leaving her both conflicted and lovestruck. But the on and off-stage drama of the cast is eclipsed by a life-altering accusation that threatens to destroy everything…even if some of it is just make believe.



Skyscraping  by Cordelia Jensen
Release Date: June 2, 2015

Mira is just beginning her senior year of high school when she discovers her father with his male lover. Her world–and everything she thought she knew about her family–is shattered instantly. Unable to comprehend the lies, betrayal, and secrets that–unbeknownst to Mira–have come to define and keep intact her family’s existence, Mira distances herself from her sister and closest friends as a means of coping. But her father’s sexual orientation isn’t all he's kept hidden. A shocking health scare brings to light his battle with HIV. As Mira struggles to make sense of the many fractures in her family's fabric and redefine her wavering sense of self, she must find a way to reconnect with her dad–while there is still time.




The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly  by Stephanie Oaks 
Release Date: June 9, 2015

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.
And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.
Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it's clear that Minnow knows something—but she's not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.
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