Denton Little’s Deathdate – Lance Rubin

untitled (13)Denton Little’s Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day on which they will die. For Denton, that’s in just two days—the day of his senior prom.

Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle—as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend’s hostile sister. (Though he’s not totally sure—see, first hangover.) His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton’s long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters. . . . Suddenly Denton’s life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers.

Denton Little has a date with death. In fact, thanks to AstroThanatoGenetics, Denton knows the exact date of his death. He doesn’t know how or what time it will happen, but sometime tomorrow Denton will die. And if that wasn’t bad enough he has to attend his own funeral where he will be expected to listen to many people, most of who he doesn’t know or doesn’t care about, blather on about how much they will miss him, how much he means to them, not to mention the stories and anecdotes. On the plus side when its his turn to eulogize himself he can say everything he’s always wanted to say to people with no regrets or repercussions.

But don’t expect this to be a morbid book about a teenager coming to terms with death. If you read the synopsis then you will know to expect all kinds of interesting things to happen… in just a very short time. For a book that takes place in less than 48 hours it’s a non stop ride of drama, emotion and humor. And when some extra strange things start to happen Denton is rushing to solve a mystery and spent his last hours with family. Maybe there is more to this deathdate thing than he has been told, and who can he trust? Could there be a chance to live past his date?

A unique perspective on life and death, just look past the morbidity and find the humor. Its a great book, I promise!

Coraline – Neil Gaiman

untitled (14)When Coraline explores her new home, she steps through a door and into another house just like her own . . . except that it’s different. It’s a marvelous adventure until Coraline discovers that there’s also another mother and another father in the house. They want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to keep her forever!

Coraline must use all of her wits and every ounce of courage in order to save herself and return home.

Ok, I admit, I am very late to the Neil Gaiman party. But, better late than never right? I haven’t seen the movie either… you can flog me later. This would be a great story to read to the young kids who just don’t want to behave. A young girl who feels neglected, bored and, unwilling to cooperate with her parents finds a way through a door she wasn’t supposed to use. What she finds is the other mother and father who want to spoil Caroline in exchange for her staying with them forever. Its sounds tempting, but only for a short time. Long story short, she realizes that life isn’t always greener on the other side… or something like that.

Dark, dusty, creepy, and throw in a few rats. All in all a book I wish I had read much earlier, but now the urge to devour (not literally of course!) all of the rest of his books. Cheers Neil! Can’t wait to read more!

Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Life

untitled (12)Everyone’s favorite cat shares a collection of his favorite inspirational and feel-good quotes in Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Life. Pete’s glass-half-full outlook on life shines through as he adds his fun take on well-known classics attributed to luminaries from Albert Einstein to Confucius to Abraham Lincoln to Shakespeare and more!

Almost everyone who knows me knows my love for Pete the Cat! So it would be a no brainer that I would have to do a post about him. And this was the perfect book to showcase my favorite groovy cat. Whenever he is not out rocking in his school shoes or showing off his groovy buttons he is making me laugh with many of his adventures. And now he has presented us with best life advice. But, take it from me, he has advice that is great for adults and kids. So go check it out! And like Pete, stay Groovy!PETE

The Awesome – Eva Darrows

awesomeSeventeen-year-old Maggie Cunningham is tough, smart, and sassy. She’s also not like other girls her age, but then, who would be when the family business is monster hunting? Combat boots, ratty hooded sweatshirts, and hair worn short so nothing with claws can get a grip, Maggie’s concerns in life slant more toward survival than fashion or boys. Which presents a problem when Maggie’s mother informs Maggie that she can’t get her journeyman’s license for hunting until she loses her virginity.

Something about virgin blood turning vampires into pointy rage monsters. Blood and gore and insides being on the outside and all that.

Maggie’s battled ghosts and goblins and her fair share of house brownies, but finding herself a boy – fitting in with her peers – proves a much more daunting task than any monster hunt. Did you know normal girls don’t stuff their bras with holy water balloons? Nor do they carry wooden stakes in their waistbands. And they care about things like “matching” and “footwear.” Of course, they also can’t clean a gun blindfolded, shoot a crossbow, or exorcise ghosts from a house. Which means they’re lame and Maggie’s not. Because Maggie’s awesome. The Awesome, in fact. Just ask her. She’d be more than happy to tell you.

After she finds herself a date.

Maggie Cunningham is a monster hunter. Yep, you read that right. All those movies and books about vampires, witches, werewolves and ghosts? They exist, but not in the Hollywood glamorize way. You won’t see the vampires sparkle, but if you find yourself near a vampire club and happen to be still holding on to your virginity be prepared to be a vampire delicacy. And I bet you aren’t prepared for this little detail… there is even a Department of Paranormal Relations, a database that keeps tracks of the baddies and employs hunters for numerous monster reasons. And the rest of the normal society just seems to coexist, for the most part…

But, back to Maggie. 17, socially awkward, average looking, virgin with virtually no filter when it comes to speaking her mind. And for the most part she is perfectly ok with that, except for the virgin part. Not that she’s jumping at the chance to lose it, but it certainly limits her ability to become a badass hunter just like her mom, Janice. So, for the time being Maggie has to settle for being left at home for some jobs and find a way to get past that tiny detail stopping her from getting her hunting license. And for a homeschooled teenager with 1 friend it’s going to be harder than getting a driver’s license.

Let me say this… the book is not all about Maggie dropping her V card. But after a botched attempt at becoming deflowered the circumstances lead to a dead vampire and a bounty on Janice’s head. Now it will take a ghouled teenager, a very old vampire and a zombie getting into bed together (no pun intended) to save Maggie and her mom.

I couldn’t put this book down. You never knew what Maggie was going to do or say next. I looked forward to every sarcastic remark that came out of her mouth and her socially awkward moments just made it that much better. This has to be one of the very best paranormal books I have ever read. But don’t read it unless you have a sense of humor, a love for sarcasm, and a bit of a dirty mind. This is a must read!

***I received a digital ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review***

 

Storybook Roundup!

day in canadaExplore a day filled with a great variety of activities you can do across Canada. Start the day on the East Coast and end it on the West Coast. With bright pictures this book will introduce young children to some of the beautiful Canadian scenery and attractions.

As a Canadian I loved the adorable visuals of locations I was all too familiar with and I think preschoolers will love them as well. And you don’t have to be Canadian to enjoy this adventure.

 

 

 

snow white 77 dwarvesThis might be my favorite spin on the classic Snow White story! Was very easy to read to a young child and the opportunities for child involvement were great. Poor Snow White… that would have been a lot of names to remember if she had stayed. Thankfully she was going to get a nice long nap!

 

 

 

missing jackLosing a pet is never easy, no matter what age, and sometimes adults don’t always know how to best explain the loss to a child. Missing Jack shows the transition from loving pet to the gradual aging and eventual death of the family pet. But what adds to this book is that it lets our young children know that even after a loss it’s ok to make a new friend when the time is right. And the story format makes it easy for both children and adults to celebrate the life of a pet.

 

 

 

bristly hairA unique story to introduce young children to self-esteem. A variety of characters to help children understand that while we are all different each of us struggle with something we would like to change about ourselves. Catchy rhymes and fun drawings to help kids understand that they are perfect just the way they are.

 

 

 

 

***I received digital copies of all of these books courtesy of Netgalley in exchange for an honest review***

 

 

 

 

Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins – Liz Kessler

has anyone seen jessica jenkinsJessica Jenkins has always been a perfectly ordinary girl—until one day part of her arm vanishes in the middle of geography class! Jessica’s friends Izzy and Tom are determined to help her develop her newfound invisibility, though Jessica is more concerned with discovering where the ability came from. When it becomes apparent that there may be other kids developing strange powers of their own, Jessica marshals them into a slapdash band of “slightly superheroes.” But when an unscrupulous adult discovers the origin of their powers and kidnaps one of the team, the rest must put their heads—and all of their skills—together to avert disaster.

It all started on a Friday afternoon in geography class and Jessica didn’t even know it happened, because she was dozing off, but Izzy did. Her best friend Izzy explained to her that her elbow had disappeared and part of her arm did as well. In other words, Jessica has started turning invisible. Sounds pretty cool, but when you don’t know how or why it can be a little scary. So, the girls meet later that night to try to test out whatever this is. Turns out with some practice and clearing her mind, Jessica could turn herself completely invisible. And somehow a very social necklace Jessica received from a friend of her mother had given it to her as a birthday gift was the secret to her superpower.

From there on out it’s a mystery to figure out how this necklace could have this power and were there anymore magic crystals out there. Turns out there were more crystals and a few more kids were found to be developing these “superpowers.” In fact there was a bigger mystery surrounding all of this and this group of “slightly superheroes” decide to take things into their own hands and figure out what’s going on and why someone is trying to steal information and research that explains how these kids developed their abilities. But it won’t be easy.

There are so many things to love about this book, especially since Liz is the same amazing author that wrote the Emily Windsnap series. The main character is 13 but this reads perfect for a younger audience. I was concerned at first that it may contain content issues but that concern was quickly erased. A perfectly blended story of friendship and mystery with a diverse group of characters. No capes or fancy costumes for this group of “slightly superheroes” but a large amount of curiosity, intelligence and bravery. Readers of previous Liz Kessler books will not be disappointed.

I am hoping this turns into a new series, there is so much more that could be done with these characters and with the ending it would be perfect to continue following stories of these kids. 4 out of 5 stars (only because I didn’t want the book to end with just this one adventure) and great for readers 8 and up.

 

 

Sisters Of Blood and Spirit – Kady Cross

untitled (10)

Wren Noble is dead—she was born that way. Vibrant, unlike other dead things, she craves those rare moments when her twin sister allows her to step inside her body and experience the world of the living.

Lark Noble is alive but often feels she belongs in the muted Shadow Lands—the realm of the dead. Known as the crazy girl who talks to her dead sister, she doesn’t exactly fit in with the living, though a recent suicide attempt and time in a psych ward have proved to her she’s not ready to join her sister in the afterlife.

Now the guy who saved Lark’s life needs her to repay the favor. He and his friends have been marked for death by the malevolent spirit of a vicious and long-dead serial killer, and the twins—who should know better than to mess with the dead—may be their only hope of staying alive.

Wren has literally grown up with Lark, she was still-born. She never “crossed over” the way a lot of ghost stories portray. Lark had a really tough childhood, her own mother was jealous that Wren communicated with Lark and not her. The book starts the first day of school for Lark after a stay in a psych ward for her suicide attempt. She was always the crazy girl and now she is living with her Nan after her mother decided it was too hard to be around Lark. And the only person who knows the details about her suicide is Mace, who actually saved her life, and surprisingly enough he has never told anyone. (really liked that about him and how it bothered his girlfriend Sarah who is automatically jealous of Lark because of their shared past.) Mace, Sarah and a few of their friends ended up at an abandoned asylum and have been targeted by an evil spirit. The teens have been “marked” by the evil spirit in the form of physical wounds that can only be seen by Wren and Lark. And now Lark, and Wren, have been tasked with tracking down this spirit and dealing with it in order to save their new friends lives.

The alternate perspectives gave a thorough storytelling experience. The ability for Wren to take over Lark was not unpredictable but the way that the girls could use this made for a unique dynamic. The addition of Kevin, the medium that can actually hear Wren, and an interesting romantic aspect added an unique element.

This book me intrigued by only its cover, it’s absolutely gorgeous! And after reading the synopsis I knew I had to read this. I loved that no matter how different the girls are there is one huge thing they share… their love for each other. If I had to list all the things I loved about the I would probably have a 3 page bullet point presentation complete with pictures and graphs.

There are only two things that made me feel like something was missing. I would have liked to know more of the history of the girls growing up and the ending was so abrupt that I felt like there was more to be told.

Release Date 3/31/15

The Honest Truth – Dan Gemeinhart

untitled (9)In all the ways that matter, Mark is a normal kid. He’s got a dog named Beau and a best friend, Jessie. He likes to take photos and write haiku poems in his notebook. He dreams of climbing a mountain one day. But in one important way, Mark is not like other kids at all. Mark is sick. The kind of sick that means hospitals. And treatments. The kind of sick some people never get better from.

So Mark runs away. He leaves home with his camera, his notebook, his dog, and a plan to reach the top of Mount Rainier — even if it’s the last thing he ever does.

Mark has cancer. His dying wish is to climb Mount Rainer. Armed with a small stash of cash, a backpack of meager belongings and a duffel bag in which he hide his dog Beau he hops a train to Seattle. He is long gone by the time his parents realize he has gone missing. And given his condition it doesn’t take long before the police are on a full-scale search for Mark and the dog. His best friend Jessie, knows where he is headed and why but she is determined to keep his secret even knowing how much pain his parents are suffering.

The book is written in chapters and half chapters, alternating between the POV of Mark and Jessie, giving it a multifaceted storyline that adds much more to the entire story. And if you are a dog lover Beau will leave footprints on your heart. You don’t have to be a kid to fall in love with this book. It’s a heartwarming story about adventure, friendship, and a journey to discovery. You can’t help but be drawn to Mark and even cheer him on. Dan Gemeinhart has taken a sick young boy and showed us anyone can have the spirit of a hero. Its not a story about death, instead its a story about life and that’s The Honest Truth.

Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Ugly Young Thing – Jennifer Jaynes

13437065Sixteen-year-old Allie has already experienced a lifetime of horror, having lost her mother and serial killer brother to mental illness.

Returning to her childhood home in Louisiana, Allie ends up in foster care and is placed with Miss Bitty, an eccentric but kindly older woman who shows her a new direction and brighter future.

But Allie’s new life takes a devastating turn when young women in the area start turning up dead, and she begins to see shadowy figures outside her bedroom. As Miss Bitty grows inexplicably distant, a nagging voice makes Allie wonder if death has found her yet again…or if it never really left her at all.

I was fortunate enough to receive this book as an ARC from Thomas & Mercer and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. In fact, I didn’t even realize it was Book #2 until after I had already started reading it, but I was still able to pick up most of the back story. I don’t usually find myself reading a lot of thriller/mystery but this book caught my attention and hooked me immediately.

Allie comes from a very unfortunate background. Her mother was a prostitute, murderer and mentally ill. Her brother was mentally ill and a murderer as well so it’s not a shock that Allie would be worried that she was going to end up just like the two of them. Upon Allie’s return to Louisiana she is quickly taken under the wing of Miss Bitty who wants to take care of Allie in every way possible. However with her past Allie has trouble trusting anyone and is always suspicious when someone wants to do something nice for her. But that won’t stop Miss Bitty. She even involves some of her old and new friends to help the young girl.

Meanwhile there is a killer on the loose that is stalking women for the purpose of killing them. And its clear early on that he is definitely mentally ill and very methodical. In fact, he has even been watching Allie very closely.

This was a great book! Full of mystery and intrigue. The characters were well developed and Allie was exactly what you would expect from a girl with such a traumatic background. Her dialogue, inner thoughts, and outward actions were so real. Jennifer was able to be blunt about some very real issues in today’s society, and some accounts were more descriptive than I was expecting. I actually found myself taking notes trying to connect and compare characters and even jotting down theories and coincidental facts all in hopes of figuring out what was really going on. And I applaud Jennifer for making me second guess every single theory by writing such a great thriller that had me guessing right up until the end. Definitely worth 5 out of 5 stars!

 

 

Lost and Found – By Me

keep calmMy reading journey took a little detour last summer and I was Lost. I was still reading but I just got bogged down by real life that I wasn’t able to sit back, read my books and share my love with my readers. Now I have Found myself again and have made the commitment to myself to get back to doing what I love so much… Reading and sharing my love for books! This year has so many great books headed our way and I can’t wait to read them and share the adventure with you all! Thanks for hanging in there with me!