Jaime Reviews ~ Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn

By Pintip Dunn
Published on November 3, 2015
Published by Entangled Teen
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided...by your future self.

It's Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she's eagerly awaiting her vision―a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they're meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist.

Or in Callie's case, a criminal.

In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo―a hellish prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes.

But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all—Callie, herself.



And the verdict is....


  This one is going to be a short and sweet one. I was excited going into this one, but in the end it just didn't work for me. The premise is one that always interests me, and this was no exception. And while it was a good book, it wasn't great. In the end, I think it may come down to a "it's not you, it's me" situation.

 Callie is officially seventeen, and it is her day to go receive her memory of the future. This memory determines the course the rest of her life will take, and Callie is expecting to be a master chef. Unfortunately, her memory shows her something she never could have imagined. Now she is left questioning whether she is truly capable of murdering the one person she loves above any other, and what her future motivations could possibly be. Callie ends up imprisoned with the other future criminals, until a boy from her past, Logan, rescues her and takes her out of the city, into the woods, where a group of refugees live freely, and happily. As Callie gets comfortable with her new reality, and starts getting to know Logan again, she feels like she may have found her home. Until one day, she receives a memory that shatters any hope of a peaceful future and leads her right back onto the path she was hoping to avoid at all costs.

 The plot of the story is a good one, the base of the story is good. I feel like there was just a bit of a disconnect for me. Callie is a good character, and Logan as well, but I never felt any type of connection with them. For me, that is usually the first signs of a book failure. I also felt there was a serious lack of world-building, and I was left with more questions than answers. The setup of the world is future memory, and everyone receives one on their seventeenth birthday. There was alittle more explanation, but for the most part you just except what you are told. I don't have to have pages of world-building and in-depth info dumps, but when you bring a new world to the table, I want to understand the ins and outs of it as much as possible.

 The romance between Callie and Logan felt a little forced, and the obstacles that kept getting thrown in their path seemed forced too. It felt like the author was trying a little too hard to make a "doomed from the start" relationship. Star-crossed lovers.

 I will say that the last 4 chapters or so finally caught and held my attention, and I enjoyed the race to save her younger sister. There is a scene at the end that was definitely interesting, and the way the book ended made me curious about where the second will go. So, despite my lack of exuberance about Forget Tomorrow, I think that Pintip Dunn has set up the sequel to this story in a great way. I will check it out, to see where he is going, and I truly hope it is a knock out! 




Jaime Spotlights ~ While You Were Gone by Amy K. Nichols + A Giveaway!

By Amy K. Nichols
Published on August 4, 2015
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley
An artist without a cause meets a rebel without a clue.

Eevee is a promising young artist and the governor’s daughter in a city where censorship is everywhere and security is everything. When a fire devastates her exhibition—years in the making—her dreams of attending an elite art institute are dashed. She’s struggling to find inspiration when she meets Danny, a boy from a different world. Literally.

Raised in a foster home, Danny has led a life full of hurt and hardship until a glitch in the universe changes everything. Suddenly Danny is living in a home he’s never seen, with parents who miraculously survived the car crash that should have killed them. It’s like he’s a new Danny. But this alternate self has secrets—ties to an underground anarchist group that have already landed him in hot water. When he starts to develop feelings for Eevee, he’s even more disturbed to learn that he might have started the fire that ruined her work.

As Danny sifts through clues from his past and Eevee attempts to piece together her future, they uncover a secret that’s bigger than both of them. . . . And together, they must correct the breach between the worlds before it’s too late.




About Book One:




In a parallel universe, the classic bad boy falls for the class science geek.

One minute Danny was running from the cops, and the next, he jolted awake in an unfamiliar body - his own, but different. Somehow, he's crossed into a parallel universe. Now his friends are his enemies, his parents are long dead, and studious Eevee is not the mysterious femme fatale he once kissed back home. Then again, this Eevee - a girl who'd rather land an internship at NASA than a date to the prom--may be his only hope of getting home.

Eevee tells herself she's only helping him in the name of quantum physics, but there's something undeniably fascinating about this boy from another dimension... a boy who makes her question who she is, and who she might be in another place and time.




"The perfect blend of sci-fi and swoons, Now That You're Here is like no other book I've read. Riveting, romantic and utterly original, it kept me up late!"  --Amie Kaufman, author of These Broken Stars

"Dynamic, dizzying, and downright daring, Now That You're Here kept me guessing until the end, and ready for the next." --Shannon Messenger, author of Let the Sky Fall



About the Author


Amy K. Nichols has been crafting stories for as long as she can remember. She is the author of YA science fiction novel Now That You're Here, to be published by Knopf December 9, 2014. The follow-up, While You Were Gone, will be published in 2015. She is mentored by award-winning crime novelist James Sallis and lives on the edge of the Sonoran desert with her husband and children. Amy is a member of SCBWI and SFWA, as well as the Class of 2K14 debut authors. Visit her online at http://www.amyknichols.com.





Giveaway

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Tour Schedule


Week One:
7/27/2015- Bookhounds yaInterview
7/28/2015- The Best Books EverReview
7/29/2015- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
7/30/2015- The Cover ContessaReview
7/31/2015- Me, My Shelf and IInterview

Week Two:
8/3/2015- A Dream Within A DreamReview
8/4/2015- FiktshunGuest Post
8/5/2015- Fiction FareReview
8/6/2015- Fire and IceInterview
8/7/2015- The Young FolksReview



















Smithsonian Sticker Creations: Dinosaurs & Under the Sea

By Ruth Tepper Brown
Published on 14 July 2015
Published by Silver Dolphin Books
Source: Publisher
From the mighty T. rex to the towering Apatosaurus, Smithsonian Sticker Creations: Dinosaurs offers kids a glimpse into the dinosaur age through a fun and innovative format. The 64-page activity book comes with 5 oversized dimensional stickers and more than 200 reusable stickers, providing children with a unique and interactive learning experience. After reading about their favorite dinosaurs, children can place the colorful stickers in the removable frame to create their own prehistoric scene. With interesting information, detailed illustrations, and a hands-on format, Smithsonian Sticker Creations: Dinosaurs takes children on a spectacular tour through the fascinating world of dinosaurs.




Guys. Guys. Guys. There is a dinosaur stickerbook currently in my possession. My inner 8 year old is having a freak out that this is possible. Then again, my inner 8 year old probably thinks I'm a pretty good human so there's that. I need to remember that more often. I digress. Dinosaur sticker book. That is why we came here today. And there are a bunch of stickers. Whoo-boy.

What I like about this stickerbook as compared to other stickerbooks (Full Disclosure: friends keep finding dinosaur stickerbooks and buying them for me, I have a wide variety of experience with this particular genre,) is that the stickers are part of interactive learning. You put the pieces of the spinosaurus on the spinosaurus while you're learning about what those pieces were for. Or you put dinosaurs in their proper regions of the world.It's awesome and full of easily digestible trivia. Like, for example that the Stegosaurus was only a little faster than a human walking.

For the curious, yes some of the dinosaurs are pictured with feathers and yes they talk about that and ongoing discoveries. They don't come right out and say all dinosaurs absolutely had feathers since, well, they can't really do that for every single dinosaur there was. But for the ones we have evidence of feathers for they do, and to be honest this is the first time I've seen dinosaurs illustrated with feathers that they didn't look...weird? Like there was a lot messed up about the prehistoric world, and I can accept a lot of it but so many of the Dinos with feathers illustrations I've seen just haven't looked plausible. Yes, I know that's my personal ongoing struggle with the reality of dinosaurs, and yes I am the first to admit that I am absolutely not okay with anyone putting feathers on my Stegosaurs and will remain willfully ignorant and stubborn on that point but there comes a kind of point where you have to consider what might've been an actual hunting benefit as far as placement and pigmentation and– and I have gone completely off the point. Yes. Feathers exist in this book.

The one thing I'm not so sure about is the "framed playscene." It doesn't seem very sturdy and I can't imagine very many children in the 5+ range being alright with having a piece of plastic impeding their play and the whole thing is just...it's gonna get torn apart. I know you can slide it out and such but I can't see that framed anything lasting for very long. The 3D stickers are awesome. Really, really awesome. So cool.

And if you or the child in your life are not that into dinosaurs or just want to have more stickers (and hey, I get that. To each their own.) There is also dun dun duuuuuuun:


By Emily Oachs
Published on 14 July 2015
Published by Silver Dolphin Books
Source: Publisher
With Smithsonian Sticker Creations: Under the Sea, young explorers will embark on an underwater adventure to learn about life beneath the waves. Smithsonian Sticker Creations: Under the Sea’s hands-on format allows children ages 5 and up to explore the amazing diversity of the sea while interacting with more than 200 reusable stickers and 5 oversized deluxe dimensional stickers. After learning about their favorite sea creatures, children can create their own underwater scene by placing the stickers in the removable framed ocean scene. The beautifully illustrated sticker activity book gives young ocean explorers a creative opportunity to learn about all types of incredible sea creatures!




All that cool stuff I said about the dinosaur one basically applies to the under the sea one. Just replace dinosaurs with sea creatures or relevant language of your choice. The feather facts obviously don't apply but the 3D sticker stuff does. These are both high quality cool things and I absolutely think they'd be lovely learning tools no matter the age of the person doing the learning.



Smithsonian Everything You Need to Know

By Ruth Strother
Published on 02 June 2015
Published by Silver Dolphin Books
Source: Publisher
Curious minds find hundreds of fascinating facts in Smithsonian Everything You Need to Know: Grades K-1. The flip-top box is packed with 275 fact cards covering categories such as Earth and space, plants and animals, geography, history, and health. Whether it’s the number of teeth in a great white shark’s mouth or how a rainbow forms, kids ages 5–7 will learn a variety of information in a tactile and engaging manner. Each flip of a card not only showcases beautiful color photographs and illustrations paired with a fact, but also presents a new learning moment. With this packed-full box of facts, kids are given an extra opportunity to learn all they need to know for early science, social studies, and history exploration in a fun format that’s sure to engage eager young minds.
By Ruth Strother
Published on 02 June 2015
Published by Silver Dolphin Books
Source: Publisher
How many rings are there around Saturn? What causes an earthquake? How many bones are in a giraffe’s neck? With Smithsonian Everything You Need to Know: Grades 2-3, kids ages 7-9 will learn exciting and interesting facts about Earth and space, plants and animals, geography, history, and health. Each of the 275 fact cards includes colorful photos and illustrations coupled with a fascinating fact. From the solar system to George Washington to volcanoes, each fact card presents educational material in an innovative and engaging format. Inquisitive kids will have hours of fun discovering everything their young minds need to know in this interest-packed fact card set.




Don't let the pictures fool you. These decks are huge and hefty. One side of the cards have gorgeous full color images and the other useful trivia. This is less a game and more a series of flash cards. There's a lot of a neat trivia in these, but they are very much for their age groups. In many ways, I think the K-1st Grade one might be a little young for first graders, but such is life, but Grades 2-3 definitely seems appropriate. The only issue I can see with these is that sometimes it's a little difficult to get the cards back in the box. They're a pretty cool investment and I think would be good quiz aids if you happen to be working on those sorts of things. Do it up, folks. Just be careful putting cards back.



Jaime Reviews ~ A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

By Mindy McGinnis
Published on October 6, 2015
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.



The verdict is.....

 A Madness So Discreet is a dark and disturbing, absolutely wonderfully unique, one of a kind story and I LOVED every single second of it! Mindy McGinnis is a seriously talented author, with a brilliant imagination and a beautiful writing style. This was the first of her books that I have read, but I can assure you that it won't be the last.

 Grace Mae is a young woman, living in a society where the word of a man can get a girl thrown into an asylum, evidence or no. After getting pregnant by an awful man, against her will, she is taken to an asylum. She has decided that she will no longer use her voice, she will keep it all inside of herself, and stay alive long enough to have her baby. After, she is more than willing to die, rather than live with the perfectly recalled visions she sees whenever she closes her eyes. Then, she is invited to a dinner with the head of the asylum, and several other "passable" patients, There, her voice is finally let loose, along with her burning rage. She ends up in the basement, in the dark, drowning, until a voice intervenes. His name is Falsteed, and he becomes her friend and confidant and ultimately, her rescuer. Here, she also meets a doctor who comes to town to perform lobotomies on the worst of the patients, and a plan is devised to get Grace out of the asylum. She becomes Dr, Thornhollow's assistant, living in an asylum far away from home. Presumed dead, and safe, she blossoms in this asylum where the patients are well loved and fed. She makes friends, and learns things about herself, and the rage burning within her, along the way. 

 There is so much more that I want to say. This book is just so good, I could go on and on. But I don't want to ruin it for you. The plot is interesting, and I was fully engaged in the story beginning to end. It wasn't a fast-paced story, but the nuances and the intrigue and the setting and characters were all more than enough to keep my attention from ever wavering. When I finished the final page, it was with a smile on my face. 

 Grace Mae is a character all her own. There is no other MC that I can think of that comes close to her. She is strong-willed, and stubborn. She has a fierce, raging anger burning inside of her, and every right to it. She is smart, clever and strong. She made some dumb decisions along the way, she made excellent observations, and she made one horrible choice. Even then, I had gotten to know her and love her enough to understand her why. Her friends in the story make such an incredible impact on her, and they were such a bright spot in the story. As for Falsteed, there is no one like him. I LOVED his scenes. And finally, Dr. Thornhollow was so perfectly imperfect and I loved him in a big way. 

 In the reviews that I have read, I have seen people say that there wasn't a romance. And that is true, in the traditional sense. And it is okay; it doesn't take anything away from the story at all. However, to me, I feel like, while it wasn't a traditional romance, there was a romance there. There wasn't any kissing or declarations of love. But there were small things, little moments here and there, words said and actions made on both Grace and Thornhollows parts, that I feel like, if their story were to continue, it would be there. Maybe I am crazy and it is wishful thinking though! 

 Romance or not, lightning pace or not, A Madness So Discreet was an undeniably amazing story. I loved the dark mood, throughout 97% of the story. I loved the other 3% of lightheartedness too. I would recommend this book to you if you like a darker story, with some true grit. If you aren't a fan of the darker, almost gothic stories, I don't know that this would work for you. But my advice, wanted or not, would be to give it a shot anyway. It might surprise you! 

 Thank you so much to Around the World ARC Tours, for sending A Madness So Discreet to my corner of the world! 

Jaime Reviews ~ The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent

By Rachel Vincent
Published on June 9, 2015
Published by Delacorte Press
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she's too busy trying to actually survive. Her town's population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she'll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie's sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can't survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.



And the verdict is....


  The Stars Never Rise was not what I expected, but it was definitely fun. Fast-paced, and entertaining, with good world-building, and characters I could easily love... and hate. 

 Nina has been taking care of her and her sister, Mellie, for years, doing everything she can to keep the Church away from her home, and her useless mother. After years of fighting and succeeding, it all comes crashing down in one day. Nina learns that her sister is 15 and pregnant, their mother is really a demon, and she is an exorcist. A TRUE exorcist. Saved by a boy she doesn't know, Nina is on the run from the Church, and desperate to save her sister before it is too late. 

 Nina was a good character, fierce and loyal, ready and willing to do whatever it took to make sure her sister is safe. She meets a ragtag group of outlaw true exorcists along the way, and starts falling in love with  boy named Logan. Logan is unlike anyone she has ever met, in more ways than one, and their relationship definitely has its hurtles. The rest of the group are a good bunch of secondary characters, ones to love and ones to choke, and it was interesting getting to know them. Mellie, Nina's sister, is a typical bratty little sister at first, but when she finds out she is pregnant, the change in her is instant, and I appreciated it. The relationships in the story are built well, and I will enjoy seeing how the group evolves in the next book. 

 On the negative side of things (BOO), it felt like more than half of the book flew by before we really hit the meat of the story. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it. I just felt like I had put a lot of pages behind me before we really got into the plot. I enjoyed the background, and getting introduced to the world, and its players, but I feel like something was missing. Still, overall, I really enjoyed The Stars Never Rise, and I will absolutely be reading the next in the series. With the ending, I feel like book 2 is headed into thrill ride territories. And I am really looking forward to seeing how Nina and Logan handle their *incredibly* strange relationship, as well as what transpires with Mellie, and her little one.
 All in all, a solid story that would definitely be a hit with the younger generation of YA readers! I will easily make that recommendation! Thank you to Around the World ARC Tours for another wonderful story to read and review! 



Six Women of Salem

By Marilynne K. Roach
Published on September 3rd 2013
Published by Da Capo Press
Source: Purchased
Six Women of Salem is the first work to use the lives of a select number of representative women as a microcosm to illuminate the larger crisis of the Salem witch trials. By the end of the trials, beyond the twenty who were executed and the five who perished in prison, 207 individuals had been accused, 74 had been "afflicted", 32 had officially accused their fellow neighbors, and 255 ordinary people had been inexorably drawn into that ruinous and murderous vortex, and this doesn’t include the religious, judicial, and governmental leaders. All this adds up to what the Rev. Cotton Mather called "a desolation of names."

The individuals involved are too often reduced to stock characters and stereotypes when accuracy is sacrificed to indignation. And although the flood of names and detail in the history of an extraordinary event like the Salem witch trials can swamp the individual lives involved, individuals still deserve to be remembered and, in remembering specific lives, modern readers can benefit from such historical intimacy. By examining the lives of six specific women, Marilynne Roach shows readers what it was like to be present throughout this horrific time and how it was impossible to live through it unchanged.

Yes, yes, this isn't the type of book normally reviewed here, but I invested a lot of time in reading this and figured I could blog about it, for the maybe five other history nerds out there.   I picked up this book a while ago for two reasons: first, I'd been enjoying the TV show Salem, which is awful, totally guilty-pleasure TV, but uses some of the real people of the Salem witch trials as bases for characters.  And second, I've been working on a project of my own that required some basic knowledge about this time period, so, here we go!

If you're not a history buff or overly interested in this time period, this book may be a bit too dense.  The beginning is slow going as we learn the backstories of the six women that author Marilynne Roach focuses on. It's important information, because a lot of what happened during the witch trials was spurred on by old rivalries and grudges between families in Salem, but it's still a little difficult to get through.  There are a lot of people and connections to remember, and sometimes I wished I had some sort of flow chart or relationship tree to keep it all straight.   I did enjoy the fact that the focus was spread out among different sorts of people -- some of the women were accused and convicted as witches, some were the accusers, and all of them are treated fairly and with respect by Roach.

Roach weaves factual text in with her own fictionalized ideas about what the women may have been thinking and experiencing at the time. The fictionalized text provides nice bookends for each section of the book, but for me the real draw was the details of what happened during this period in history.  Seeing how the whole village got caught up in the paranoia over witches was fascinating, and a little bit scary, to read.  Roach uses actual historical texts, including court transcripts, letters, etc., to build her story, quoting frequently from the source documents in building her narrative, which I found fascinating -- court transcripts are especially fascinating if you're a legal nerd like me.

If you're looking for an answer as to why this happened, you won't find it here. Roach doesn't speculate on what caused the mass hysteria and accusations, just presents the facts as we know them today.

If you take an interest in this time period or are interested in a deeper dive into the people who lived through this time, I would recommend checking this out, but be prepared to spend a while with this meaty historical book.




Kylie reviews Geek Girl

By Holly Smale
Published on February 28th 2013
Published by HarperCollins Children's Books
Harriet Manners knows a lot of things.

She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn't quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she's spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.

As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did.

And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?

If you’re looking for a quick and humorous read, Geek Girl is the book for you.  It was extremely relatable for all the “geeks” out there, but also for anyone who has ever been bullied or gotten caught up in a web of lies.  I loved all the trivia facts interspersed throughout the pages.

Although it took a couple chapters to get into, Geek Girl definitely picked up.  Because it was more of a middle grade (seeming) book I thought it might be a little childish at first, but it actually kept my attention pretty well.  It was cute and quirky and a happy read.

Overall, Geek Girl was a good book about finding that it’s okay to be yourself—beneficial even.  I would recommend it to anyone who has ever felt left out or doubted themselves.


~Kylie
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