The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle…by Stuart Turton

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle…by Stuart Turton

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a twisted mix of Freaky Friday, Groundhog Day, and Clue (yes, it’s that good). The narrator of this novel must solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. Evelyn is murdered during a party hosted by her family. The twist? The narrator relives the day of Evelyn’s murder eight times. Each time he is in a different body in a different guest at the Hardcastle party.    This story is an amazing labyrinth of scenes and characters. Scenes and timelines were created 8 different times, with 8 different points of view. It is just amazing that the author is able to have a character in the right place and at the right time to correspond with previous ‘lives.’  Although the storyline is confusing at the beginning, tiny details are revealed with each new POV. These details slowly bring a picture of what is going on into focus for the reader.   As for the characters, they were all especially unlikable and flawed but strong in their own way. These flaws and strengths each help the narrator get closer to an answer in the mystery of Evelyn’s death. The only character that felt awkward to me is the […]

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Thief of Happy Endings…by Kristen Chandler

Thief of Happy Endings…by Kristen Chandler

  ‘Thief of Happy Endings’ is a young adult contemporary  with a huge twist. The story centers around, Cassidy. Cassidy is sent to a youth mustang training camp in Wyoming . Cassidy is there because she is having a difficult time with her parents’ recent separation. The catch is that she hasn’t ridden a horse since she was bucked off as a child. Things get more complicated when she meets junior wrangler, Justin. I loved ‘Thief of Happy Endings’. Not only is it a huge departure from most young adult romances, but it also takes on the plight of the mustang in the west. The story also demonstrates how the Bureau of Land Management really has a hard time figuring out what to do with the mustangs. Loss of freedom is a main theme in ToHE. While the loss freedom of the mustangs is the main loss , this loss is also felt with the teenagers. The teenagers have lost many of their own freedoms and independence being sent to this camp. Cassidy and Jason were some of my favorite characters of all time. Jason really personified a young troubled cowboy. Cassidy is your typical good girl with troubles at home. […]

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Confessions of a High School Disaster…by Emma Chastain

Confessions of a High School Disaster…by Emma Chastain

Confessions of a High School Disaster is the first installment of the Chloe Snow series. I read the second installment first and enjoyed it so much that I decided to go back and read ‘Confessions of a High School Disaster’. In this book Chloe is just about to start high school. Her immaturity definitely shows through in this book. This makes sense as she is just at the beginning of both high school and her parents divorce. The combination of these two things definitely would push Chloe to concentrate on more important things than basic teenage stuff ( i.e. being a kissing virgin). I think divorce is an important topic for YA to tackle as its something many teens must work through and I think COAHSD did it well. One of the most eye-opening aspects for me was Chloe was how her opinion of her mother’s actions changed throughout the story. In the beginning Chloe made excuses for her mother’s actions. Later on she realized that her father is the one who stayed and her mother was the irresponsible one. I also really enjoyed Chloe’s relationship with her dog. I love YA stories that include pets. I also loved that this […]

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Anne of Green Gables By L.M. Montgomery & Tom Sawyer By Mark Twain

Anne of Green Gables By L.M. Montgomery & Tom Sawyer By Mark Twain

  This year I gave myself the goal of reading more classics. I’ve heard many wonderful things about Anne of Green Gables and everyone knows how amazing Tom Sawyer is. I thought I’d compare the similarities of each novel. I also want to discuss what makes each novel a classic and what I enjoyed about each story.   Anne and Tom as characters have a few similarities. Both are orphans who make the most out of their lives. Neither child has an easy time of it but both use their vivid imaginations to expand the world around them. Tom and Anne are adventures and fun-loving. Where Anne sees the life as amazing, Tom sees the world  an adventure. This makes both characters are endearing timeless.   Even though both novels are classics they are very accessible and easy to read.  They  give us a snapshot of what life was  like in a particular region at a particular time. History books tell us about important world events but they don’t give us an accurate picture of what domestic life was like. If it weren’t for contemporarily written novels such as Anne of Green Gables and Tom Sawyer, we really wouldn’t know […]

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Two Steps Forward…By Graeme Simsion & Anne Buist

Two Steps Forward…By Graeme Simsion & Anne Buist

    The Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) is a network of pilgrimage paths throughout Europe that leads to shrine of St.James in the Santiago de Compostela . ‘Two Steps Forward’ follows Marin, a Brit, and Zoe, an American as they walk the Camino.   I  read about the Camino in a previous novels but I misunderstood what it is. I thought it is like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail. In fact it’s more of a pilgrimage and less of a hike. The pilgrims stay at hotels and hostels and predominantly eat at restaurants instead of camping as hikers would along the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail.   ‘Two Steps Forward’ is packed full of information about the Camino. I loved the experiences that the Camino can offer. For example a chance to challenge oneself. A chance to meet people. It is also a religious experience and a chance to really see Europe up close.   While Zoe and Martin as characters really grew as the story went along, both characters were secondary to the Camino. The Camino is a character in itself and is really the centerpiece of the story.   […]

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The Ghost Chronicles…By Marlo Berliner

The Ghost Chronicles…By Marlo Berliner

Michael Andrews has died in a fiery car accident. He is sentenced to continually walk the earth. Things start to look up when he meets another spirit, Sarah, who turns out to be his soul mate. What I loved: I really loved the history in the book. It is evident that the author did tons of research for this novel. The history of the Angel of the Sea is totally fascinating. I love when a novel takes place in a real location, especially one as fascinating as the Angel of the Sea. It’s absolutely amazing that the building has been moved twice and had to be split in half because the movers couldn’t push it back together with only mules and horses. By far my favorite part of ‘The Ghost Chronicles’ is the part about the Eastern State Penitentiary. I had never heard of it before and the details blew me away. That it sits enclosed by walls in the middle of such a large city is crazy. When looking at a photo from the prison website you can see Philly’s skyscrapers in the background.  Some of the awful things that happened there and its current state of decay just adds […]

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Stumped…By Kate Larkindale

Stumped…By Kate Larkindale

Ozzy has everything a teenager could want, good grades, a hot girlfriend, and  successful high school swimming career. When a car crash leaves him without legs  he stands to lose everything. The story begins with Ozzy planning his first intimate outing with his girlfriend, Lainey. The outing goes array and as Ozzy is driving home he gets into a devastating car accident. ‘Stumped’ has a unique take on someone dealing with a disability.  Some of the issues Ozzy goes through is truly eye-opening. One of the biggest obstacles he has  to overcome is the way others treat him. Some people in his life are really terrible to him, like his girlfriend and friends. The story left me wondering if it is because they are teenagers and they don’t know what to say and how to act or if is it just that the characters are terrible people. Ozzie then learns to find comfort from a support group for teenage amputees. Since Ozzy is a teenage boy his sex drive takes on a life of its own. One of the main focuses in the story is Ozzy’s interaction with sex workers. ‘Stumped’ takes place in New Zealand and prostitution is legal […]

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Where is the Mississippi River ?…By Dina Anastasio #BlogTour

Where is the Mississippi River ?…By Dina Anastasio #BlogTour

The Mississippi is the longest river in North America. It rises at Lake Itasca in Minnesota and flows almost due south emptying into the Gulf of Mexico, southeast of New Orléans. This is a distance of over 2,300 miles. The Mississippi River’s major tributaries are the Missouri and Ohio rivers. Many authors including Mark Twain, William Faulkner, and Kate Chopin were inspired by the mighty Mississippi.   The name Mississippi comes from the Anishinaabe word ‘Misi-ziibi’ which means ‘great river’. The River flows at between 1.2 to 3 miles per hour. The Civil War Battle of Vicksburg was fought over control of the Mississippi River and was a major turning point in the war. At its widest point the river is over 7 miles wide. At its deepest spot the river is over 200 feet deep. It takes 90 days for a drop of water to travel the entire length of the river.                                                        I am excited to be part of the ‘Where is…’ blog tour. I love books that not only teach a lesson […]

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Left: A Love Story…by Mary Hogan

Left: A Love Story…by Mary Hogan

  Fay Agarra has the perfect life. She lives in a New York City with her husband, respected New York judge, Paul Agarra. Fay’s perfect life slowly begins crumbling when her ‘go to guy’ suffers an explainable episode on their dream vacation.   Where other books such as, ‘ Still Alice’ gives us a look inside the mind of those suffering from dementia,’ Left’ gives us a view of what it is to be the care giver of a dementia sufferer. Alzheimer disease is one of the most heartbreaking disease to witness. Loved ones have to witness not only the physical demise but also the mental deterioration of a once sharp and vital person.   ‘Left’ is told from Fay’s point of view.  In heartbreaking detail we realize how she uses fantasy to cope with her life situation. While, at times, Fay does come across as self-absorbed and even selfish, I remind myself that this is Fay’s story. ‘Left’ represents her inner thoughts and feelings and is an accurate example of how many caregivers feel. An accurate portrayal of the caregivers feelings, emotions, and coping mechanisms is a vital part of this book.A book that idealizes the caregivers and love ones […]

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Sneaking Out…By Chuck Vance

Sneaking Out…By Chuck Vance

‘Sneaking Out’ is the first installment in the ‘Chase’ series. The setting is an élite New England boarding school. Oliver and Luke are roommates at said school. They sneak out one night to meet up with girls. During this meet-up they witness a murder. They can’t confess up to what they know without being expelled for sneaking out (hence the title). The setting of a  boarding school in New England really intrigued me. It is interesting to take a peek inside their rules and routines. I hadn’t realized that boarding schools were so strict. The students have to have quiet time and are expected to do things like dress up for formal dinners. The whole atmosphere of the school seemed really rigid and creepy. The murder mystery storyline is interesting. Although I guessed the identity of the murderer early on, I still second guessed myself all the way through. I really didn’t connect with Luke’s back story. It just seemed farfetched and distracted from the storyline. I realize his back story experiences helped him solve the mystery but I could have done without this part of the story all together. I also found it hard to believe that teenagers would […]

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