26 April 2016

{Book Review} Down From The Mountain by Elizabeth Fixmer

By: Me My Shelf And I | 26 April 2016 at 9:52 AM | | | | | | | 2 Comments so far

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Down From The Mountain
Author: Elizabeth Fixmer
Release Date: March 1st, 2015
Publisher: Albert Whitmen Teen
Pages: 276
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Eva just wants to be a good disciple of the Righteous Path. She grew up knowing that she and her mother are among the chosen few to be saved from Armageddon. Lately, though, being saved feels awfully treacherous. Ever since they moved to the compound in Colorado, their food supplies have dwindled even while their leader, Ezekial, has stockpiled weapons. The only money comes from the jewelry Eva makes and sells down in Boulder--a purpose she'll serve until she becomes one of Ezekial's wives.
But a college student named Trevor and the other "heathens" she meets on her trips beyond the compound are different from what she's been led to believe. Now Eva doesn’t know which is more dangerous-trusting Trevor of being forced to marry Ezekiel.

There has been an influx of religious cult novels in the young adult genre over the past year. You’d think with the topic, there wouldn’t be much of a difference between them, but I have enjoyed each one more than the last. Down From The Mountain  is no exception, in fact I expect this one will always stand on it’s own in my mind.

I have a fixation for things that are real. Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoy living in a fantasy world as well, but for me there is something much more interesting and often time far more terrifying, when I know what’s on the pages is also out in the world.

We meet The Righteous Path right as all hell (no pun intended…okay, maybe a little) is about to break lose for them. The appearance of a potential intruder on their meager camp sends leader Ezekiel into a manic frenzy, sacrificing the health of those he is supposedly to protect, to use money for guns. Ezekiel uses the excuse that God wants them to fast, to make up for them severe lack of food, yet over abundance of guns that have arrived.

Fifteen year-old Eva may have grown up sheltered, but she’s whip smart. She devours every school book she can, and desperately misses The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe  which Ezekiel, along with all other works of fiction, has banned from the compound. Anything that takes the focus and adoration off the so-called prophet seems to disappear rather quickly from The Righteous Path.

What I found most fascinating about this particular religious cult novel, is that it parallels The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe  and it’s often referenced. One might find something like this a little bothersome, but each time it happened, no matter how well I know the C.S. Lewis story, I am shocked to see it laid out as Elizabeth Fixmer weaves them together in her own remarkable way.

Eva pushes forward, always looking, always watching. She is, in my opinion, the perfect heroine for this story and I adored watching her grow and become the solid force to be reckoned with, as she fights to protect her pregnant mother and the other’s on the compound. With Aslan as her counter point, how could she not.

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18 April 2016

{Book Review} Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood

By: Me My Shelf And I | 18 April 2016 at 10:09 AM | | | | | | | | Be the first to comment!

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Wild Swans
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Rating: 4 Birds…I mean Swans…

The summer before Ivy’s senior year is going to be golden; all bonfires, barbeques, and spending time with her best friends. For once, she will just get to be. No summer classes, none of Granddad’s intense expectations to live up to the family name. For generations, the Milbourn women have lead extraordinary lives—and died young and tragically. Granddad calls it a legacy, but Ivy considers it a curse. Why else would her mother have run off and abandoned her as a child?

But when her mother unexpectedly returns home with two young daughters in tow, all of the stories Ivy wove to protect her heart start to unravel. The very people she once trusted now speak in lies. And all of Ivy’s ambition and determination cannot defend her against the secrets of the Milbourn past….

It sucks having to be what everyone else wants you to be. Even if you go along with it, and believe somewhere inside that it’s just part of who your family is, who you are, your destiny. It’s hard. Ivy knows this better than anyone. A failure at life in her own eyes from birth when her mother left her to be raised by her grandfather, she pushes herself to excel at everything she does but always feels she comes up short – not PERFECT at any one think like the rest of the woman in her family tree.

Life gets all the more complicated when her mother returns, 2 sisters Ivy never knew she had in tow. Tension and stress ensure and the complicated web of family tales and lies comes crashing down around everyone as they learn to live, work and be together in the same house.

I really enjoyed WILD SWANS. When I stared it I worried that it would be a typical contemporary novel with family problems, but Spotswood brings a kind of magic to it with her writing and the characters that live on the pages. The story line is so much more than just a family having trouble – we have the added twists from her grandfathers student being around and being slightly obsessed with the Milbourn woman of days past. Working with Ivy, sparks may fly, but are they real or just there because of his love for the history that surrounds here. And don’t forget the maids son, who Ivy has grown up with, her best friend in all the world who might want more than she does.

It’s a twisty, complex tale of family and life and decisions. Run away? Stay? Fight? Be yourself? Which decisions will Ivy and her family make?

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15 April 2016

{Book Review} The Last Boy And Girl In The World by Siobhan Vivian

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THE LAST BOY AND GIRL IN THE WORLD
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Release Date: April 26th, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Pages: 320
Rating: 3.5 Birds

What if your town was sliding underwater and everyone was ordered to pack up and leave? How would you and your friends spend your last days together?

While the adults plan for the future, box up their possessions, and find new places to live, Keeley Hewitt and her friends decide to go out with a bang. There are parties in abandoned houses. Canoe races down Main Street. The goal is to make the most of every minute they still have together.

And for Keeley, that means taking one last shot at the boy she’s loved forever.
There’s a weird sort of bravery that comes from knowing there’s nothing left to lose. You might do things you normally wouldn’t. Or say things you shouldn’t. The reward almost always outweighs the risk.

Almost.

It’s the end of Aberdeen, but the beginning of Keeley’s first love story. It just might not turn out the way she thought. Because it’s not always clear what’s worth fighting for and what you should let become a memory.

Great concept that was all in all entertaining. I want to say the whole book was amazing, but sadly the middle dragged along. Still since the book starts with a scene from the end, you want to keep going to see how it all happened, if not with who.

THE LAST BOY IN GIRL IN THE WORLD will show you that nothing is permanent no matter how solid you think it is, and water can wash away more than just your belongings.

Keeley is a good lead character, I found her likable and relatable if not a bit naïve, which plays well in to who she is. Keeley’s first love, Jesse on the other hand always struck me as reckless, secretive and I just didn’t like him. This is how you’re supposed to feel I think, the author wants your inner protector to kick in and understand the signs of a rather crappy relationship. Keeley doesn't see this of course, and it makes it all the more better – it true to that first real love. It’s blind and full force, flying down a hill with out any brakes.

Watching Keeley grow and change throughout the book was one of my favorite parts, the process of her organizing what’s important to her emotionally and each decision becoming a stepping block for her to become an an adult, was brilliant.

If you’re looking for a contemporary novel who’s plot is new and fresh then THE LAST BOY AND GIRL IN THE WORLD is for you. Grab a towel and your life jacket – Aberdeen isn’t going to make it through this dry – and you may not either.

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14 April 2016

{Book Review} A Walk In The Sun by Michelle Zink

By: Me My Shelf And I | 14 April 2016 at 1:01 AM | | | | | | | Be the first to comment!

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A Walk In The Sun
Author: Michelle Zink
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: 3 Birds

In this Bridges of Madison County for teens, Michelle Zink weaves a magnetic tale about summer love that stays with you long after the seasons change.

Rose Darrow never wanted to spend her life working on her family’s farm. But when her family is rocked by an unexpected tragedy she has no choice but to put her plans for the future—and dreams of escaping her small town—on hold.

Bodhi Lowell left home as a kid and hasn’t looked back. Years of working farm jobs has given him the one thing he wants most: freedom to travel without answering to anyone. He’s already looking past his job at Darrow Farm and plans on leaving in September—until he meets Rose.

Neither Rose nor Bodhi can deny the sparks flying between them, but with the end of summer looming, they must decide if it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all....

A WALK IN THE SUN is perfect for any reader looking for a good old fashioned love story. 

Beautifully set on a farm in upstate New York, Rose Darrow is fighting about every single possible issue a girl who is just graduating could possibly face, and then some. The loss of a parent, the deep depression of another, a whole farm to run and the understanding that she’s not going anywhere any time soon.

Enter Bodhi Lowell, who (I kid you not ) walked from Montana to New York to take the job as the farm hand on the Darrow farm. As you would expect anyone who could and did walk that far, he is in great shape and though it has no barring on his physical state – he’s hot and just a few years older than Rose.

A WALK IN THE SUN is you typical love story, and while it’s written beautifully with great character development – it is what it is and nothing more.  I want to sing from the mountain tops about how much I loved this one, and don’t get me wrong I really did enjoy it, but it was predictable and cliché meeting every marker you expect to find in a Young Adult romance title, right down to the last page.

Like I said – it’s PERFECT for anyone who loves a good old fashioned troubled love story!

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11 April 2016

{Book Review} The Epidemic by Suzanne Young

By: Me My Shelf And I | 11 April 2016 at 12:48 PM | | | | | | | | 2 Comments so far

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THE EPIDEMIC
The Program #0.6
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 19, 2016
Pages: 416
Rating: 2.5 Birds

Can one girl help others find closure by slipping into the identities of their loved ones? Find out in this riveting sequel toThe Remedy and companion to the New York Times bestselling The Treatment and The Program.
In a world before The Program…

Quinlan McKee has spent her life acting as other people. She was a closer—a person hired to play the role of the recently deceased in order to give their families closure. Through this process, Quinn learned to read people and situations, even losing a bit of herself to do so. But she couldn’t have guessed how her last case would bring down her entire world.

The only person Quinn trusts is Deacon, her best friend and the love of her life. Except Deacon’s been keeping secrets of his one, so Quinn must set out alone to find Arthur Pritchard, the doctor who’s been trying to control her life. The journey brings Quinn to Arthur’s daughter, Virginia, who tells Quinn the truth about Pritchard’s motives. The former closer will start to see that she is the first step in fighting an epidemic.

But Quinlan doesn’t want to be a cure. And with all the lies surrounding her, she realizes she has no one left to rely on but herself—even if she doesn’t know who that is anymore.

It literally kills me to have marked this book as a 2.5. Kills me. I have loved every single title in The Program series, devouring every word I can get on the life during and before it. But THE EPIDEMIC was mind-numbingly slow, over-written, and in all honesty didn’t even feel like Suzanne Young wrote it when compared to her other work.

We could have cut this book down by half, and had a perfect book, but instead we have a detail by detail break down of every movement anyone makes (2 paragraphs of people getting into a car….), what they are wearing, eating, buying, saying. And it’s not even something that happens here and there, it’s constant. Worse than that, it will often be repeated several pages later. Quinlan spends a good portion of the start of the book alone, which means there’s very little action and an inordinate amount of inner dialogue that caused me to set the book down for a breather more than once. 

Quinlan always struck me as a take-charge kind of girl. The bad ass, you know? It was painful and sad to see her spend so much time waffling back and forth about trusting the same people over and over. One page, trust. Turn the page, no trust.  No exaggeration, sometimes it even happened within a paragraph or two.  I’m not undermining the situation she’s in at all – but how can I believe in anything when the main character doesn't seem to either. This wasn’t the Quinlan I’d come to know and love, even though she was becoming a new person, the core of her, the part that made her strong was missing from this book.

Lastly, we are left with more questions than answers and not in that juicy cliff hanger kind of way. It felt more like the book began to end and several plot points hadn’t yet been tied up so they were just swept under the rug or given an over simplified answer that wasn’t really an answer at all.

Sadly, this wasn’t for me. While I will read anything else in this series, because like I said I’m addicted, if I find that this is what I can expect to be the new norm, I’ll be giving up on it. If you’re a fan of this series, I do suggest reading it – just to get the details and answers to things that are there, but don’t go in expecting a 5.

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08 April 2016

{Movie Giveaway} Joy starring Jennifer Lawrence

I want to bring some JOY to your life!

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Balancing motherhood and mogul-ship is no easy feat! JOY is the dynamic story of a family across four generations, and the woman who would go from dysfunction to dynasty because of it.

Joy arrives on Digital HD April 8th and Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD on May 3rd - just in time for Mother's Day!

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I know that you want a copy of this movie, and I have one for you! Every home needs this inspiring story on their shelf, not to mention who can pass up something with the power-house that is JLaw in it? All you need to do to enter is fill out the Raffelcopter below.

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Giveaway

1 Winner will get a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack of JOY from Fox Home Entertainment
Must be 13+ To Enter | Ships in US Only
Sweeps/Giveaway accounts are ineligible, please see terms and conditions for more info.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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