Saturday, 31 December 2016

Vassa in the Night

Vassa in the Night

Vassa in the Night is by Sarah Porter

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling away again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…

The Breakdown:
1. Porter book is a take on Russian folklore Vasilisa the Beautiful, and you know how I love re-imagined fairy tales. I felt that Porter did a good job staying true the original story while making it her own.

2. I have a bit of trouble liking Vassa.  She would honestly be very boring if it was not for her live wooden doll Erg.  It was really hard to get a good grasp on her personality. She kind of stumbles through the things that Babs task her with doing with no clue about what is going on around her.

3. For me, it was the rest of the characters in the book that make the story. Erg, who always seems to know what is exactly going on.  She is a sassy, kleptomaniac doll who I really enjoyed. Babs who you just know is more than a shop owner from the beginning. Her assistants, Sinister and Dexter, who happened to be disembodied hands.  To Night, trapped in a humanoid body.

4.  I did enjoy the world building in this. The BY dancing on the traditional Baba Yaga's chicken legged house. The hidden rooms in the store and the magic in the store, all made the story good, despite Vassa being rather boring.

To Read or Not to Read:

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily

The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is the sequel to Dash & Lily's Book of Dares.

Dash and Lily have had a tough year since they first fell in love among the shelves of their favorite bookstore. Lily’s beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition.

With only twelve days left until Christmas—Lily’s favorite time of the year—Dash, Lily’s brother Langston, and their closest friends must take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the unique holiday magic of a glittering, snow-covered New York City in December.

The Breakdown:
1. Cohn and Levithan bring back the adorable Dash and Lily for another Christmas adventure. This book has all the charm and Christmas spirit of the first book. Although surprisingly, Dash is the one to bring Lily into the Christmas spirit, it is just full of fun and crazy mishaps.

2. I loved seeing how Dash and Lily's relationship has changed in the year since they met. While they have had some rough patches and are in one when the book starts, they prove that all relationships have ups and downs and that working through them makes it stronger.

3. I was excited to see some of my favorite supporting characters back, like Boomer, Mrs. Basil E, and Langston.  I enjoyed watching them help Dash and Lily in their holiday adventures and quest. Personal favorite was the ice skating scene, and its consequences.

4. It was interesting meeting Dash's parents in this book. Got to say, that his dad is a real tool.  I really hated that guy.  I did however like his mom, and surprisingly, his step-mom.

5. This book, like the first, is definitely a must for getting into the Christmas spirit.

To Read or Not to Read:
Read to make your Yule-time merry and bright.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Walk on Earth a Stranger

Walk on Earth a Stranger  (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #1)

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson is the first book in her The Gold Seer Trilogy.

Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.

Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.

She also has a secret.

Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.

When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.

The Breakdown:
1. I loved this book. Carson blended history of the gold rush of 1849 with a little bit of fantasy so beautifully. She captures the feel of the excitement of the gold discovery and the hope that people will find fortune in it, along with the struggle of the journey to reach California.

2. Lee's character was great. She is strong and independent in a time that was not considered a virtue in women.  She makes the tough decision to leave her life behind after the murder of her parents to make her way to California.  Plus her ability to sense gold was interesting.

3.  Lee's caravan of people heading for California was an interesting group. I liked getting to know all the characters and seeing how the dynamics of the group changed with different situations. Although, some of the hardships they faced totally make me think of the Oregon Trail games I played on the computer back in elementary and middle school.

4. Be warned there are some heartbreaking moments along Lee's journey.  To be fair, there are also some some extremely heartwarming moments. I am excited to see how this trilogy progresses.

To Read or Not To Read:

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1)

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares is by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is the first of the Dash & Lily series.

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

 Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

The Breakdown:
1. Cohn and Levithan's book is a fun filled book of Christmas spirit and discovering the person who understands you. I loved the whole mood of the book. Christmas time in New York seems like such a magical time.  This book was an excellent book to start the Holiday season.

2. I adored the characters of this book. Lily with her enduring innocence that should be in a teenage girl.  Her Christmas spirit and joy for life was infectious. She was the perfect compliment to Dash's jaded view of the world. I like that Dash, despite coming off jaded, still has a big heart.  He is loyal to his friends, like Boomer, and he definitely has a great sense of adventure given that he takes up Lily's notebook and starts the dares to begin with.

3. Their adventure was fun and quick to read.  Lots of interesting places and people introduced through out the book, including Macy's at Christmas, Dash's friends, and Lily's quirky family.  Plus, quite the scene when Dash and Lily meet in Washington Square Park involving a giant dog and baby catching.  Worth the read for that alone.

To Read or Not to Read:
Read because everyone needs a good book full of Christmas Spirit.

Sunday, 4 December 2016



Heartless is the new book by Marissa Meyer.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

The Breakdown:
1.  If you read this blog, you know I love Marissa Meyer, and re-imagined fairy tales.  This book lived up to my high expectations of Meyer and I enjoyed the back story of the Queen of Hearts. I enjoyed that the villain does not start as the villain, but rather events lead to them becoming that way.

2.  Cath was such a wonderful character. She has dreams of being the best baker in Hearts, but her parents have other plans. She is a sweet and funny girl.  Plus, as someone who loves to bake, I love her passion for baking.  I like that Jest makes her really want to live her dreams and not just be who her parents want her to be.

3.  Jest is an interesting and complex character. He is the new court jester, and there is more to him that what he seems.  I love getting to know more aspects and secrets from him as the book progresses.

4.  I loved how well Meyer made Hearts her own, while still holding true to the ideas and characters from Carroll's original work. I enjoyed picking out characters that are seen in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Slight Spoiler Alert:

This being the back story for the Queen of Hearts, the characters do not get their happy ending.  But the ending really explains so well why the Queen is the way she is when Alice meets her.

To Read or Not to Read:
Must Read