Thursday, August 31, 2017

YA Review: Murder Among the Stars



Murder Among the Stars by Laura L. Sullivan and Adam Shankman, June 13, 2017. 320 pages. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. Source: Publisher for Blog Tour.
After being framed for attempted murder, Lulu Kelly has earned a rest. Unfortunately, there is no rest in Hollywood for a rising starlet. Lulu and her boyfriend Freddie are invited to posh Hearst Castle, where Lulu will be competing against other young actresses for the role of a lifetime. But what’s a house party without a little murder?

After a rival actress is found dead under the dining room table, Lulu makes it her mission to solve the mystery. But illusion is this town’s number one export, and it’s hard to tell the ambitious from the truly evil. As the clues pile up, Lulu and Freddie race to find the killer, even as Lulu becomes the next target.
First Sentence
Hollywood starlet Lulu Kelly gazed through the brilliant California sunshine at the castle that rose like an enchanted dream from the mountainside.



Even though I enjoyed Murder Among the Stars, there were a few things that kept me from fully connecting with the characters and their plight. It was still an amusing read though.

  • Let's talk about the good points first. I found Lulu to be an interesting character, even if she has some, well, slightly annoying qualities, as her sense of justice set her a little apart from the other girls aiming for the "role of a lifetime". Yet, as much as I liked her sense of justice and doing the right thing, she would have made a better private eye than an actress; the book would have been much improved if that were the case, too. I think that change would have given the book a fresher dynamic than what it had.

  • I have mixed feelings about the setting, to be honest. My biggest complaint on the setting would be that it felt like they just did not commit enough to it being in the 'golden age' of Hollywood. I would have loved to see them actually embrace that setting more than they did. With the vagueness of the time period, it just felt like it was missing that punch that would have made it impossible to walk away from whilst reading. As a reader, the story setting is very important to me. 
  •  As for Lulu and Freddie, I liked them somewhat. Having not read the first book, I felt a disconnect with them as a couple; I did not like his subtle, yet not subtle, possessiveness of Lulu when he felt that another guy was interested in her. Sure, he knew he was acting stupid, but that doesn't really excuse his behavior. I could see them more as a private eye best friends kind of duo...more than as a romantic item. Though I did enjoy how he would turn to her for her thoughts and perspective on the case (though we all know she could not restrain herself from getting involved anyway).
  • In regards to the mystery- I had both of them solved during the character introductions. It will take more than a couple red herrings to throw me for a loop. When it came to the culprit, the authors actually excelled there better than they did with the main characters. The culprit and their reasoning for doing what they did were the most evenly rounded aspect of the book. I cannot say more on that, but the end game was definitely interesting, to say the least. 

  • Even though it had both good and not so good elements, it was still a pretty enjoyable read. Not quite what I was expecting though.
Final Verdict: Murder Among the Stars- Has a fairly decent double mystery with ample red herrings to keep you on your toes. A little slower paced, with some rough patches, then I was expecting but a fascinating look into the dark depths of the Hollywood life of a rising star with a knack for attracting trouble. 

Murder Among the Stars earns

A copy of this book was received for review consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I Want to Read It (68): Refugee



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



Refugee by Alan Gratz, July 25, 2017. Published by Scholastic. Source: Wishlist.
JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world . . .

ISABEL is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America . . .

MAHMOUD is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe . . .

All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers -- from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, their stories will tie together in the end.
Why

There are really no good words to sum up why I am interested in reading Refugee. But I am interested in reading about Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud, as well, as their stories as they set out from the danger of their homelands to find freedom and a new start. I have immensely enjoyed all of Alan Gratz's books that I have read, so I, of course, am excited to read yet another one of his books. 

Have you read Alan Gratz's work before? If so, what's your favorite book of his (or which one are you wanting to read)?



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Ban This Book


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, August 28, 2017

All About Middle Grade Review: Ban This Book


Ban This Book by Alan Gratz, August 29, 2017. 256 pages. Published by Starscape. Source: Publisher for review consideration.
An inspiring tale of a fourth-grader who fights back when her favorite book is banned from the school library--by starting her own illegal locker library!

It all started the day Amy Anne Ollinger tried to check out her favorite book in the whole world, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, from the school library. That's when Mrs. Jones, the librarian, told her the bad news: her favorite book was banned! All because a classmate's mom thought the book wasn't appropriate for kids to read.

Amy Anne decides to fight back by starting a secret banned books library out of her locker. Soon, she finds herself on the front line of an unexpected battle over book banning, censorship, and who has the right to decide what she and her fellow students can read.
First Sentence
It all started the day my favorite book went missing from the library.



Okay, so more than the book talking about book censorship, what attracted me to reading Ban This Book was that I was sure that Alan Gratz, one of my favorite middle-grade authors, would be able to write a truly great book upon this topic. I was not disappointed in this thought as he delivered a remarkable great read. Of which I shall endeavor to talk about more in-depth.

  • When I first learned about Ban This Book I was a little concerned that it would turn into a diatribe given the topic. But then again, I was not too worried considering that I've read a decent number of Alan Gratz books. I thought he handled the topic of banned books with a fair hand; it was well balanced with the story of a girl, Amy Anne, who is fighting not only for her favorite book but for all the books, and those who want to read them. 
  •  One of the best aspects of this book was the development of Amy Anne's character. When the book first begins, she is a, well, she's a bit of a softy who doesn't always say what is on her mind. Sure, sometimes it can be better to leave harsh words unsaid, but there's also a time to speak up for yourself, too. It was interesting to see her development because it stemmed from her wanting to protect her beloved book from being removed from the school library system. I don't want to give too much away here, but so much of what happened helped her to not bottle her emotions up so much. 
  • So, banned books...what a contentious topic for a book. I'll be entirely honest here, I really liked how you got to see, in snippets, both sides to the story of why one student's mom started her crusade to have books pulled from the shelves and Amy Anne's fight to bring them back. It gave the story such balance to be able to see both sides of the debate played out. Sure there were some bitter moments, like when all looked lost, but there were glimmers of understanding the other's point-of-view as both sides went toe-to-toe for what they thought was best. Personally, I really like it when an author can pull off writing about a hot issue topic without resorting to low-blows; and one that can make the argument for both sides in a plausible way. 
  • As you have likely noticed, I rather enjoyed the topic and the way the story played out. I think it took me two hours to read it as the writing and plot pulled me in from the beginning. It was just one of those books that are so enjoyable that you do not want to set it down. 

Final Verdict: Ban This Book- A quick paced book that deftly balances character growth and fighting for what you believe in.

Ban This Book earns

A copy of this book was received for review consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Spinning Pages (22): No Such Person/Dangerous


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 




This week on Spinning Pages, we shall be delving into a murder mystery set upon the river in Connecticut as the Allerdons world is turned upside down after their encounter with some shady characters one summer. 

So, what better song to capture the feel of the book and the mistakes that were made than the following selection. 

Dangerous by f(x)
Looking unsteady
Late at 1 AM, you call on your phone
Whatever I say doesn’t affect you
The exciting connection with you was just an illusion
I was the idiot

If you’re not a friend, then what are you?
What is your answer? (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Until when are you going to continue confusing me?
Stop pulling and pushing me!

Woah, woah, woah!
Right now you’re dangerous
Looking unsteady
Woah, oh, oh, oh!
Right now you’re dangerous
You look pathetic
You cannot believe how excited I am to find a song whose lyrics so perfectly fit the storyline of the book and the characters. I can definitely imagine these lyrics running through both Miranda and Lander's heads throughout the ordeal. 
 The reason I chose f(x)'s Dangerous, and the lyrics above, was because I felt that it captured the sense of danger that came into their lives and how it left them unable to tell friend from foe. 

Curious to learn more about Caroline B. Cooney's No Such Person, then check out my review of it! I don't throw around five stars often (especially lately) but this one definitely earned it!!

Want to hear f(x)'s Dangerous, then you are in luck!! 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I Want to Read It (67): If the Witness Lied



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney, May 12, 2009. Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers. Source: Wishlist.
Choices do matter and forgiveness is possible.
Jack Fountain knows that what’s happened to his family sounds like the most horrible soap opera anyone could ever write. But it happened—to Jack; his parents; his sisters, Smithy and Madison. And to his baby brother, Tris. What made it worse was that the media wanted to know every detail.

Now it’s almost Tris’s third birthday, and everything’s starting again. Aunt Cheryl, who’s living with the Fountain children now that their parents are gone, has decided that they will heal only if they work through their pain—on camera. The very identities they’ve created for themselves are called into question. In less than twenty-four hours their fate will change yet again, but this time they vow to not be exploited and to discover the truth. 
Why

If you're wondering why I'm featuring a book published in 2009 on 'I Want to Read It', well, the simple answer is that somehow, unbeknownst to me, I missed out on reading If the Witness Lied when it first came out! I know, I am just so disappointed in myself that I am behind on reading one of my absolute favorite authors!!

I just cannot wait to get my hands on If the Witness Lied!! Not just because Caroline B Cooney is a long-time favorite of mine, but also because sometimes I just really, really want to read a mystery and this one says perfect!!

What's your favorite Caroline B. Cooney book? Me, I'm personally torn between a whole slew of them!! I may just need to write a post all about the CBC books y'all need to read!!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: No Such Person


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, August 21, 2017

YA ARC Review: No Such Person



No Such Person by Caroline B. Cooney, July 14, 2015. 246 pages. Published by Delacorte Press. Source: ARC from Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings.
Miranda and Lander Allerdon are sisters. Miranda is younger, a dreamer, and floating her way through life. Lander is older, focused, and determined to succeed. As the girls and their parents begin another summer at their cottage on the Connecticut River, Miranda and Lander’s sibling rivalry is in high gear. Lander plans to start medical school in the fall, and Miranda feels cast in her shadow.

When the Allerdons become entangled in an unimaginable tragedy, the playing field is suddenly leveled. As facts are revealed, the significance of what has happened weighs heavily on all. How can the family prepare for what the future may hold?
First Sentence
At first the police are casual.



I feel terrible that I did not get around to reading No Such Person till last weekend. I accidentally misplaced it in the process of reorganizing my book collection two years ago. I am just so grateful to have been gifted the arc from Anya as Caroline B. Cooney is one of my all-time favorite authors!!

  • First off, one of the things I found most enjoyable about No Such Person was how the story was told from a dual perspective; that of the two sisters. It gave the story a deeper perspective to see the events unfold through their eyes. It also gave a really good look into the mind of both characters; which was fascinating because you could see how things weighed on their minds and how the circumstances affected them. I was not expecting the story to be told from both viewpoints, but I really enjoyed it. 
  • Usually, I don't like books that are set in the northeast. I just don't, okay. But for maybe the first time ever, it did not bother me. Why, because the Allerdons' bad run of luck began brewing during the very first page. So it was not like there was a lot of time for the story to drag through descriptions of the setting before things actually started. I was so swept up in the story and the setting that I would have read additional two-hundred pages because the mystery was just that well written. 
  • What is it about this mystery that I enjoyed so much? Well, it was fascinating for two very different reasons. The first being that both of the Allerdons' girls were forced to learn some hard truths about themselves through the ordeal. They definitely learned some things that forced them to grow, so that in itself was really fascinating. The second part is the mystery itself. Even though I figured it out early on, it was still really creepy as it changed the character's perspective regarding neighbors she had known for years and years. Caroline B. Cooney did such a great job portraying the fear that no one could be trusted as the plot thickened. It was rather riveting even though I had made my guesses early on in the "game". 
Final Verdict: No Such Person- The character development and intense atmosphere made this one irresistible and impossible to put down. Could not be happier to read a "new" book by a beloved author!!!

No Such Person earns

An advanced copy of this book was received as a gift from Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings. All thoughts are my own. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Spinning Pages (21): The Poet's Dog/Softly and Tenderly


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 




This week on Spinning Pages, we are setting off into a winter storm where two children are taken in by the dog of a poet. As the three grow closer and mend their broken hearts a chance at new happiness is on the horizon. 

when you get down to it, The Poet's Dog needed a song that was


Softly and Tenderly by Rebecca Lynn Howard-
O for the wonderful love he has promised
Promised for you and for me
Though we have sinned, he has mercy and pardon
Pardon for you and for me

Come home, come home
Ye who are weary, come home
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling
Calling, O sinner, come home
(lyrics are taken from Lyrics)

I actually have not listened to Rebecca Lynn Howard's Softly and Tenderly in, well, years and years. But it just popped into my head when I was thinking about Patricia MacLachlan's The Poet's Dog as it felt like the two were meant to be paired together. 
This time, it's more the melody of the song and then the lyrics that made want to put them together. When I read the book, it was one of those story's that is told in such a calm, subtle way that pairing it with a fast tempo song would just not work at all. As to the lyrics selected, well, it made me think of something that Sylvan, the Poet, had said to Teddy. A certain something that would slowly play out during the book.  

Curious to learn more of my thoughts on The Poet's Dog by Patricia MacLachlan, then be sure to check out my review!  

You can listen to Rebecca Lynn Howard's Softly and Tenderly below. I do hope that you'll enjoy the song. It is really funny how a song you haven't heard in ages can just "pop" back into your head at the most random of thoughts!!

             

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I Want to Read It (66): A Most Magical Girl



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



A Most Magical Girl by Karen Foxlee, August 2, 2016. Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers. Source: Want to Read.
Annabel Grey is primed for a proper life as a young lady in Victorian England. But when her mother suddenly disappears, she’s put in the care of two eccentric aunts who thrust her into a decidedly un-ladylike life, full of potions and flying broomsticks and wizards who eat nothing but crackers. Magic, indeed! Who ever heard of such a thing?

Before Annabel can assess the most ladylike way to respond to her current predicament, she is swept up in an urgent quest. Annabel is pitted against another young witch, Kitty, to rescue the sacred Moreover Wand from the dangerous underworld that exists beneath London. The two girls outsmart trolls, find passage through a wall of faerie bones, and narrowly escape a dragon, but it doesn’t take long for Annabel to see that the most dangerous part of her journey is her decision to trust this wild, magical girl.
Why

While I have only read one of Karen Foxlee's books, Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, before, I did enjoy it immensley. So, yes, I am curious to see if A Most Magical Girl would be just as good (or even better). Even though the synopsis does not sound perfectly captivating, I am curious enough to give it a chance...as always, I hope a book will be better than my expectations!!

If you've read A Most Magical Girl, what did you think? Help a reader out!! 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: The Poet's Dog


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, August 14, 2017

All About Middle-Grade Review: The Poet's Dog



The Poet's Dog by Patricia MacLachlan, September 13, 2016. 96 pages. Published by Katherine Tegen Books. Source: Publisher.
Teddy is a gifted dog. Raised in a cabin by a poet named Sylvan, he grew up listening to sonnets read aloud and the comforting clicking of a keyboard. Although Teddy understands words, Sylvan always told him there are only two kinds of people in the world who can hear Teddy speak: poets and children.

Then one day Teddy learns that Sylvan was right. When Teddy finds Nickel and Flora trapped in a snowstorm, he tells them that he will bring them home—and they understand him. The children are afraid of the howling wind, but not of Teddy’s words. They follow him to a cabin in the woods, where the dog used to live with Sylvan . . . only now his owner is gone.

As they hole up in the cabin for shelter, Teddy is flooded with memories of Sylvan. What will Teddy do when his new friends go home? Can they help one another find what they have lost?
First Sentence
I found the boy at dusk.



I was sorely tempted to just never read The Poet's Dog as it looked like it was going to be one of those dog books that break your heart. You know that ones I'm talking about, right? Well, it was not like those ones, okay.

  • If you read between the lines in what I previously said about this book, then you can rest assured that reading it won't break your heart (in one fashion). While it might be deemed a spoiler to even hint at that, I always think one should be warned, whether for good or bad, when it comes to books about animals. You know, since they tend to, well, end sadly. Although there is still a sad element to this book, it is one that you would not really expect. 
  • The best way I can think of the describe Patricia MacLachlan's book would be, that it softly tells the story of how a dog and two children, brought together by chance during a winter storm, bring new hope and healing to each others' lives. To be quite frank, this book is not really a page-turner, it's more of a quiet and subtle story. 
  • While I did find myself enjoying it after I figured out that it was not going to rip my heart to shreds. For one thing, it was rather sweet seeing how all three of them bonding during the storm and how their encounter brought about a fresh start for each of them. It was, well, good but not great. Perhaps it was just not the right book for my reading taste. 
  • Overall, The Poet's Dog was a nice story with a warm message. The writing and storytelling were good, but not excellent. I just was underwhelmed when it came to this book. That being said, I really liked the ending of the book because it was just, well, heartwarming and so deserved. I would have been rather disappointed if it had ended any other way because he deserved all the good things!!
Final Verdict: The Poet's Dog- It was good, but not great. That's about all I can say at this point...

The Poet's Dog earns

A copy of this book was received for review consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Spinning Pages (20): Hunt for the Hydra/Galaxy


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 





On this week's edition of Spinning Pages, we are taking off into the outer reaches of space to pair Jason Fry's Hunt for the Hydra, a fairly enjoyable middle-grade book set in space, with some lyrics from a random song from my playlist. 

Stick around to see why I chose Galaxy by Wa$$up, as well as the selected lyrics, to go with the first volume of The Jupiter Pirates!!

Galaxy by Wa$$up-
Galaxy, out of all the stars
Your love is fantasy,
don’t wake me up if this is a dream

Bring the action
On this dark night,
in this big universe,
it feels like we’re the only two people
something about us
Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun,
same smile, different feeling
Making my heart beat,
it makes my heart beat every night

(English lyrics from Color Coded Lyrics)
 When I think of the characters, all of the Hashoone's to be more precise, in my opinion, these lyrics are perfect. To me, the lyrics, in the first paragraph,  make me think of their love for space and adventure as pirates privateers. While the last paragraph, does a fairly good job describing how Tcho feels about it; one of the things I liked best about Hunt for the Hydra, was the way the author described their relationship with space.

Curious to see my further thoughts, both positive and less so, on Jason Fry's Hunt for the Hydra then hop on over to check out my review.

Want to hear the full version of Wa$$up's Galaxy, then you are in luck because you can listen to the audio below!! Hope you'll enjoy the song as it's one of my favorites from them!!


       

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I Want to Read It (65): Curse of the Iris



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



Curse of the Iris (Jupiter Pirates, 2) by Jason Fry, December 16, 2014. Published by HarperCollins. Source: TBR 
It's been a tough year for Tycho Hashoone and his family. Hostilities between the Jovian Union and Earth have reached a boiling point. The privateering business hasn't exactly been booming. And the ongoing contest for the captain's seat of the Shadow Comet has the three Hashoone siblings perpetually on edge. Then the Hashoones intercept a ship--one with a long-dead crew, its final mission a warning to all who seek their fortunes in space. The Hashoones don't have time for ill omens; they need a payday. Following clues from the mysterious ship, they embark on a hunt for the long-lost treasure of the Iris--a treasure that Tycho's own great-grandfather Johannes had a hand in hiding. But in his quest for the Iris cache, Tycho is going to dig up much more than he bargained for. Because like old pirate treasure, family secrets never stay buried for long.

Why

I was surprised to find a copy of Curse of the Iris hiding in my TBR stack after finishing, so lucky me, and with all the history and secrets mentioned throughout the Hunt for the Hydra, I am in desperate need to see how the answers will impact the characters and their livelihood. 

While I was not completely in bookish "love" with the first volume of Jason Fry's Jupiter Pirates, it was good enough that I am willing to read the second book to get more answers. I'm really looking forward to another round of adventure with the Hashoone clan as piece together the mystery of the Iris and what really happened all those years ago!!

Curious as to what I thought about Hunt for the Hydra, then be sure to check out my review.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Hunt for the Hydra


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, August 7, 2017

All About Middle Grade Review: Hunt for the Hydra


Hunt for the Hydra (Jupiter Pirates, 1) by Jason Fry, November 11, 2014 (originally published December 23, 2013). 272 pages. Published by HarperCollins. Source: Publisher for review.
The relationship between Tycho Hashoone, his twin sister, Yana, and their older brother, Carlo, isn't your average sibling rivalry. They might be crew members together aboard the Shadow Comet, but only one of them can be the next ship captain. So when the Hashoones find themselves in the midst of a dangerous conspiracy—one that will pit them against space pirates, Earth diplomats, and even treachery from within the family—each sibling is desperate to prove his or her worth. The only trouble is, if they don't work together, none of them may make it out alive.

First Sentence
Tycho Hashoone was doing his math homework when the alarms started shrieking. 


I won't tell you how long Hunt for the Hydra was hiding in my TBR stack. Suffice it to say that it was a while; I didn't even know it was in there until last week when I was searching for a book to binge.

  • While the first volume of the Jupiter Pirates wasn't a five-star read, it was still really enjoyable and felt like a great start to a fascinating series. While it was enjoyable, it was also a fun read which definitely worked in its favor. 
  • There were definitely things I really enjoyed about this book, like the setting, the characters, and the overall plot. Even though I overall really enjoyed Hunt for the Hydra, there were some things I disliked about the book; like the overhanded play of sibling rivalry as the Hashoone kids all vying to be the next captain of the Shadow Comet. As much as I enjoy a good sibling rivalry, it felt like it was taken a little too far in this book; there was little to no unity, albeit of the grudging sort, between them. 
  • One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was the whole space pirate, I mean privateer, aspect. It added a really interesting element to the story. Especially when you factor in the some of the things that happened long ago that led to most pirates turning privateer with their marque for the Jovian Union. Exciting times with all the backstory that is building up for the next book. Can you tell, the idea of all that book world history has me excited!!
  • I felt that Jason Fry did a nice job capturing the whole space pirate aspect of the book. He did a great job bringing the setting to life and making it enjoyable to read about. Though his writing could use some work when writing for a middle-grade audience as his characters, particularly Tycho, was written in a way that made him sound a) way younger than his character was and b) like "captain obvious" in certain situations. Still mostly enjoyable, though I do hope for improvement in the next book.
 Final Verdict: Hunt for the Hydra- While far from being a perfect read, it was entertaining enough that I'm willing to give the next installment a chance.

Hunt for the Hydra earns

A copy of this book was received for consideration for review. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Spinning Pages (19): Waistcoats and Weaponry


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, the inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 



Picking a song for Gail Carriger's Waistcoats and Weaponry was entirely too easy. I'm just like, "what book should I feature this week?" and then "BAM"  the perfect song for Sophronia, especially in this book, popped into my head. Of course, it was also one that I have had on repeat most recently.


Wannabe by Hyoyeon (feat. San E.)
Do you get it now?
What you did?
Stop right there
When I’m still talking with class

Hold on, tell me honestly
Don’t stick to me like a sticker
Is lying that easy to you?
There is no answer to you
You’re trouble

Whatever, just stop, there’s no use
Because I’m sick of the sweet talk
I’m sharply piercing you
There is no answer to you
You’re trouble

(English lyrics from Color Coded Lyrics)
So, why did I choose Wannabe to be Sophronia's song, especially in Waistcoats and Weaponry, because of how she dealt with the betrayal of a friend and the ever-shifting alliances between the different factions within the book. I can just picture her singing this song at a certain someone.

Want to hear why I enjoyed Gail Carriger's Waistcoats and Weaponry so much, then check out my review!!


Want to hear the entire song, then check out the music video for Hyoyeon's Wannabe below. 

           

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

I Want to Read It (64): The Chess Queen Enigma



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be-read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the ones, I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



The Chess Queen Enigma (Stoker and Holmes, 3) by Colleen Gleason, October 6, 2015. Published by Chronicle Books. Source: Want to Read.
And then she mouthed a word at me—an unmistakable word that told me everything I needed to know. “Checkmate.”
Evaline Stoker & Mina Holmes have reluctantly agreed to act as social chaperones and undercover bodyguards for Princess Lurelia of Betrovia, who has arrived in London to deliver a letter that details the secret location of an ancient chess queen that’s been missing for centuries. But when the letter—which will heal a centuries-old rift between England and the Betrovians—is stolen out from under Evaline and Mina’s watchful eyes, the two girls are forced into a high-stakes race to ensure they find the chess queen before anyone else does…including their foe, the Ankh. For the chess queen is not only a historic symbol of a woman’s political power, but it has literal power as well—the queen will unlock the chessboard, revealing both treasures and ancient secrets the Ankh would kill to possess. It will take Mina’s smarts and Evaline’s strength to beat the thief and untangle this mystery before it is too late. 

Why

How did I not know this was OUT (two years ago)!!! I have been waiting for ages to see the continued adventures of Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes!! I feel so cheated that two years have passed and I'm only just now realizing that it's out. 

Seriously though, Colleen Gleason's Stoker and Holmes series, the first two at least, was so so enjoyable!! I just really loved the characters and the story; it was just fun to read.  

If you haven't heard of or read, Colleen Gleason's Stoker and Holmes series, you can read my reviews for The Clockwork Scarab and The Spiritglass Charade!!  

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