Bad Luck (Bad #2)

Bad Luck

Summary:

Some people have all the luck. 
Unfortunately, Clay isn't one of them: He's the only camper at Earth Ranch without a magical talent. As if feeling totally useless isn't enough, Clay has to figure out what to do about Brett, a castaway boy who has just washed ashore and is determined to keep his presence a secret. Even as Clay helps his new friend hide in the remote volcanic island's wilderness, another fiery mystery begins to emerge, with all signs pointing to the impossible idea that dragons once roamed the island...and may still. Can Clay and his friends turn their luck around in time to uncover Price Island's secrets--and save it from a scorching end?
Danger, adventure, mischief, mystery, old foes, new friends, and a delightfully elusive narrator make bestselling author Pseudonymous Bosch's latest novel completely irresistible. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Please note: I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher and I voluntarily chose to write a review

Review:

This was a solid read that kept me entertained despite being outside the target audience.  There was a little more fart humor than I would have normally chosen, but once again – no the target audience.  The book does a good job weaving together the two storylines and merging them together towards the end.  I liked that there weren’t any stereotypical adults (or kids) in the book, which kept it interesting.

I think this series would appeal to most middle grade kids although it’s slightly in favor of the boys.  It ends with a cliffhanger so if you’ll have to commit to the last book if you want to find out what happens!

Rating: 3 stars!

Who should read it? Middle grade readers who would like a non-traditional hero and magic.

Want to read the whole series?

  • Bad Magic (Bad #1)
  • Bad News (Bad #3)

Dragon Springs Road

Dragon Springs Road

Summary:

From the author of "Three Souls" comes a vividly imagined and haunting new novel set in early 20th century Shanghai—a story of friendship, heartbreak, and history that follows a young Eurasian orphan’s search for her long-lost mother.

That night I dreamed that I had wandered out to Dragon Springs Road all on my own, when a dreadful knowledge seized me that my mother had gone away never to return . . . 
In 1908, Jialing is only seven years old when she is abandoned in the courtyard of a once-lavish estate outside Shanghai. Jialing is zazhong—Eurasian—and faces a lifetime of contempt from both Chinese and Europeans. Until now she’s led a secluded life behind courtyard walls, but without her mother’s protection, she can survive only if the estate’s new owners, the Yang family, agree to take her in.

Jialing finds allies in Anjuin, the eldest Yang daughter, and Fox, an animal spirit who has lived in the courtyard for centuries. But Jialing’s life as the Yangs’ bondservant changes unexpectedly when she befriends a young English girl who then mysteriously vanishes.

Murder, political intrigue, jealousy, forbidden love … Jialing confronts them all as she grows into womanhood during the tumultuous early years of the Chinese republic, always hopeful of finding her long-lost mother. Through every turn she is guided, both by Fox and by her own strength of spirit, away from the shadows of her past toward a very different fate, if she has the courage to accept it. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Please note: I received a free copy of this book courtesy of TLC Book Tours and Harper Collins and I voluntarily chose to write a review

Review:

I found the premise of this book a little vague and then it developed into something that kept me intrigued to see how things were going to be resolved.  It’s definitely a book that is character driven rather than plot, but it was a book that I found to be a mental breath of fresh air.  I love how Chang interweaves Fox into the story in a way that consistently has you wondering what the purpose will be.  Jialing is precocious in a quiet way and you can’t help, but want to know how thing will turn out.  My one complaint is that that the book felt a little drawn out at times, bringing it down a star for me.

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone interested in history, fantasy or looking for a lighter read.

Warning: Contains violence.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Anyone interested in a historical book with a mixture of the whimsical added in.

Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson #4)

Bone Crossed

 Summary:

By day, Mercy is a car mechanic in the sprawling Tri-Cities of Eastern Washington. By night, she explores her perternatural side. As a shapeshifter with some unique talents, Mercy has often found herself having to maintain a tenuous harmony between the human and the not so human. This time she may get more than she bargained for.

Marsilia, the local Vampire Queen, has learned that Mercy crossed her by slaying a member of her clan - and she's out for blood. But since Mercy is protected from direct reprisal by the werewolf pack (and her close relationship with its sexy Alpha), it won't be Mercy's blood Marsilia is after.  It'll be her friends'.  (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This book definitely felt more like a bridge, which isn’t bad per say, but there were also some revelations at the end of the last / beginning of this one that has me questioning the romantic angles.  There is clearly a lot of fall out that Mercy has to manage post “Iron Kissed” and I am glad that she didn’t magically deal with it.  That aspect is very refreshing in that Mercy has panic attacks and is working through it all.

I am starting to question that Mercy doesn’t have any female friendships that work out (Jesse excluded, but she’s not the same age).  Mercy is heading out of town to address some odd events around her college frenemy, yet there’s a lot of events that happen all at once. All that being said, this was a fun book that I enjoyed and it certainly was entertaining.

Warning: Contains repeated violence.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Paranormal and fantasy devotees – if you’re more of a casual fan, I’d skip this one and go on to the next in the series.

Want to read the whole series?

Rejected Princesses

Rejected Princesses

Summary:

Blending the iconoclastic feminism of “The Notorious RBG” and the confident irreverence of “Go the F**ck to Sleep”, a brazen and empowering illustrated collection that celebrates inspirational badass women throughout history, based on the popular Tumblr blog.

Well-behaved women seldom make history. Good thing these women are far from well behaved…

Illustrated in a contemporary animation style, “Rejected Princesses” turns the ubiquitous "pretty pink princess" stereotype portrayed in movies, and on endless toys, books, and tutus on its head, paying homage instead to an awesome collection of strong, fierce, and yes, sometimes weird, women: warrior queens, soldiers, villains, spies, revolutionaries, and more who refused to behave and meekly accept their place.

An entertaining mix of biography, imagery, and humor written in a fresh, young, and riotous voice, this thoroughly researched exploration salutes these awesome women drawn from both historical and fantastical realms, including real life, literature, mythology, and folklore. Each profile features an eye-catching image of both heroic and villainous women in command from across history and around the world, from a princess-cum-pirate in fifth century Denmark, to a rebel preacher in 1630s Boston, to a bloodthirsty Hungarian countess, and a former prostitute who commanded a fleet of more than 70,000 men on China’s seas. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This book is fantastic in every way, shape and form.  Porath manages to imbue history with humor and relevant examples of heroines throughout history that rarely get discussed.  I was introduced to the book through the “Stuff You Missed in History Class” podcast and I am so glad I picked up the book.  Porath goes out of his way to try to portray diverse historical figures from all around the world with thoughtful research.  The stories are bite size (perfect before bed!) and it’s an easy book to pick up and put down.

If I had kids, I would love to read this to them before bed (although maybe skipping over some of the grisly parts).  Porath does a very good job indicating the rating of the stories and letting readers known if there may be sensitive content.  I’d highly recommend this book for anyone interested in history!

Warning: Contains violence and sexual content, but there are ratings on each page.

Rating: 5 stars!

Who should read it? Anyone looking for some badass non-traditional heroines with some lesser-known history mixed in.