Book Review: Young Adult (YA) Fiction

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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4.5 stars to The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I found this book on the shelf in my building’s resident library and brought it home. I’d wanted to sample a Green novel but wasn’t sure which one. ‘Let It Snow’ was also there, so I took it, too! I added both to my Monthly Book Bucket List on my blog, and this was the book followers selected in my September Reads poll. Thank you so much. I adored the novel and was very excited to see so many other fans.

Cancer and death are rough topics. Kids or teens with the disease are even harder. Throw in an author whom Hazel is dying to meet (pun intended) and her first love, could this have any more tug on our heart strings? Maybe a little, hence the 4.5 stars, but I’d still recommend this book as one to get to when you can. I read a few of the negative reviews where they talk about the characters feeling like cardboard or the plot being too much too handle. For me, I thought it was all quite powerful and had lots of depth. There were a few surface qualities, but they’re easily overlooked when 90% of the book is definitely solid.

I knew there would be death. I wasn’t sure who, and I was somewhat surprised by when and how. I also was shocked at the incident with the author in Amsterdam. I never saw it coming — neither the initial meeting or the one weeks later. Wow! He’s got quite a personality… I’m not sure I’d have the strength to deal with writing about this topic in a book. It’s painful and horrifying. I wouldn’t want to interview patients with cancer as I’d feel too much of the emotion and the fear. I don’t think I’d do it justice in my words, but many times, Green conveys exactly what I would think if it had been me. Kudos to him for doing it justice on many levels.

The metaphors are strong. The language is simple. The messages are clear and direct. In the end, I found the whole thing charismatic (in terms of liking the characters) and emotional, though it didn’t actually make me cry like a few other books have in the past. I’m a little off in my reviews this week, probably because I’ve been reading a book a day and can’t seem to come up with the right words afterward. That said… I’m glad I read this one and definitely look forward to another Green novel. Suggestions on what’s next? Oh, I guess I need to see the movie, too… right?

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves by Robbie Cheadle

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I’m in absolute awe thinking about the creativity within the Cheadle family. Their culinary and literary talents are fantastic. In one of their newer books, Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves story and cookbookRobbie Cheadle and her children take us on an extraordinary journey to the sugar crystal caves which are in danger of melting. Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet save the day showing us how much they love the world they live in. I need to try one of these recipes in the fall… all the creations look delectable. The stories are adorable. It’s the perfect way to bond with children on a lovely weekend where you stay in to have fun! Come check out all the fun with this book on the Children’s Book Readathon on my blog this week. Thanks!

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For more great creations from Robbie, check out past posts:

Book Review: Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries by Robbie Cheadle

Children’s Readathon – Robbie Cheadle’s Biscuit Art Sailing Boats

Children’s Readathon – Robbie Cheadle’s Fondant Art

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Charlotte’s Web by EB White

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Charlotte’s Web was selected as one of the young adult book’s to read on the Children’s Book Readathon I’m hosting on my blog this month. This classic by E.B. White has been seen countless times on television, but how many of us have actually read the book? This is my second read and review, but I’m glad to dive back in as you discover so much more the second time around. It also reminded me White wrote Stuart Little, too! I’d either never known or forgotten.

Death is not easy. Dealing with it as a child is painful. On a farm, there is death all the time. It’s a natural process, but Fern is not ready to let her father slaughter a runt of a pig. Although she successfully convinces him to let her raise the pig, once Wilbur–her name for her new pet–is old enough to become food for others, she tries even harder to convince her father not to slaughter him. Wilbur gets a new home at Fern’s uncle’s place where they promise to keep him for a few months until they need to do something like potentially eat him! That’s when Charlotte the spider comes along and weaves her magic to save Wilbur’s life. From talking animals to life lessons, this classic is a treasure. I cry every time I see it on the television, and now I can say I’ve cried when I read it. Poor Charlotte… she’s truly the epitome of a selfless creature.

White built perfection in this story. It’s harsh but not cruel. It’s sweet but not sappy. It’s realistic yet fantastical. I adore it. Everyone should experience this first hand. I’m so glad it won the poll for our readathon

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

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As part of a Children’s Book Readathon on my blog, we voted and are reading some classic young adult novels this week. Come join us! Today’s review is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardobe/The Chronicles of Narnia 6 Vols, the 2nd book in the Chronicles of Narnia series, by C.S. Lewis. I read this book as a child several times, then again as an adult before the movies came out. This was probably my fifth time, but it’s one of my top ten all-time favorites.
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Set in England during the war, 4 children are sent off to a peculiar, older man’s country home for safety from German bombs. Shortly after they arrive, the youngest finds herself embroiled in a small game of hide-and-seek leading her to take refuge in a wardrobe. Eventually her siblings follow suit and they enter a magical world where mythical creatures and animals are all stuck in winter. They try to find a way out, learn they’re meant to co-rule the land, and find themselves captured and in a different kind of war. I’m being vague as everyone knows the story or if they don’t, I shall not ruin it for you!

C.S. Lewis as a brilliant imagination. I fall for these characters every time. I could read it repeatedly without ever bring bored. I’ve read the whole series once before, but I’m considering doing it again. I always forget that this is actually the second book in the series, too. Aslan is one of my favorite all-time heroes. The witch is also one of my favorite enemies. Between the bonds of siblings, trusting strangers, the similarities between the war inside the wardrobe and the one in reality, this book tells so much more than the journey on the surface.

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

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As part of a children’s book readathon I am hosting on my blogNumber the Stars by Lois Lowry was voted as a winner in the poll. We assigned this stellar Newbery Medal winner to this week and have been sharing all our reviews. Normally I’m not a fan of reading literature that delves into this subject matter, but given it was written for young adults / children, I thought it would be less painful. While it was definitely less harsh than a few other books I’ve read on the topic, it was still quite emotional. To think what cruel people condoned because of differences in humankind is atrocious, but this book was wonderful.

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Lowry provides the right balance of positive and negative emotion ensuring readers aren’t swept up entirely in pain. The beautiful tale of unconditional love and support versus horrible actions and words from soldiers standing guard in a foreign country really conveys the message to kids around ten years old. There were atrocities in the past and we can’t hide them, but we can showcase them as tastefully as possible. Kudos to Lowry. I can’t wait to take on more of her books later this year / next year!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Bacon Pie by Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadillo

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In the history of titles, has there ever been something more appealing than Bacon Pie? I can only imagine the hilarity and the food consumption that must have occurred when Candace Robinson and Gerardo Delgadillo focused on proposing potential titles. For me, bacon and pie are delicious thoughts… but putting them together? Wow, I’m not sure how that would taste, but it certainly captured my attention. Both the title and the book… now let’s get into the real review.

Let’s start with the basics of how I chose this young adult contemporary fiction novel published just a few short months ago. I’d seen it advertised on many social media platforms and I followed one of the authors blogs, but I didn’t jump on the initial bandwagon only because my backlog of TBRs, ARCs and other book OCDs had to be sorted and cleaned. I finished that grandiose task right before vacation and took this delight with me to Italy. I devoured it in less than 4 hours between a train ride from Amalfi to Tuscany and an afternoon sitting near the Arno river banks in Siena. What a perfect way to enjoy ‘la dolce vita’ while reading a touching, comical, and thoroughly engaging book.

The story is told through the multiple perspectives of a mid-to-late teenage groups of friends in a typical high school setting; however, it’s not your standard ‘jocks versus nerds’ or ‘life is hard as a teenager’ coming-of-age story. It’s much stronger… there’s a ton of family dynamics, old rivalries, crushes, and emotion built into a backdrop full of diversity and wit. Between Spanish translations and conversations with armadillos, I can’t decide which character I love the most… or which love story is the most endearing and reflective. All of the characters are charming, even when they’re misbehaving or doing something foolish. Their relationships with their parents echo beautiful sentiments, but also show a tougher side of why we all ‘loathe our parents’ from time to time in that age range. Kudos to the authors for bringing out both sides of the puzzle it is to be a hormonal teenager with a chip on our shoulder but also a need to be loved.

And let’s talk about that concept: authors… plural. Yes, it’s a co-written book. I know from first-hand experience how difficult it can be to write one on your own, and while the thought of someone taking on half the work seems easier, I know it’s probably harder than to do it on your own. Merging styles, voices, and patterns. Keeping facts straight. Disagreeing on direction or tone. But never did I see anything in the novel where I thought… ‘hmm, this feels different.’ What a great way to produce a truly a solid book that will entertain all types of readers and bring tons of smiles to their faces.

What I love most about this book is how it’s a finely balanced tale showcasing a few weeks to months in a mixed group of teens without trying to teach huge moral lessons or be more than it needs to be. It’s a beautiful story, leaves you with a lasting impression, shows you the different sides of life with alternative families, and gives you plenty to think about in a subtle manner. I’m really glad I took this book on and can’t wait to read anything else they collaborate on together, or they publish on their own. What’s even more fantastic is that the authors have placed the Kindle version of this book on sale for a limited time… download today via this link on Amazon for only .99 cents! You won’t be disappointed and will probably want to pick it up again soon for another read.

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For those who like to get to know their authors better, be sure to check out their profiles on Goodreads via the links above. You can also find them on Instagram and Twitter via @literarydust and @Gero_Delgadillo. They both have great blogs which you can find thru their profiles on these sites. I’ve given them each a dedicated page on my blog, too, so stay tunes for more as I read future books they’ve written independently or together. I highly recommend taking a chance on this one!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Happily by Chauncey Rogers

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Why This Book

I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of of Happily by Chauncey Rogers this week and am grateful for that opportunity. I’ve been a fan of the author’s work ever since I read one of his earlier novels, Cleaving Souls, last year after I connected with him via his blog. I liked his style and was eager to see the translation from a more psychological and suspenseful story to a re-telling of a classic Cinderella story.

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Approach & Style

It took me about 5 hours over 3 days to read an electronic version via Kindle Reader on my iPad. The book is ~300 pages and divided into ~20 chapters each with a clever title to clue you in on the events. The story is told in first-person POV and from the perspective of Laure, the protagonist. It is a re-telling (re-appropriation, alternative version) of the classic Cinderella tale, but it has several new takes and theories on what was really happening behind the scenes with that darn shoe! It crosses many genres and would be a good read for young adults or adults, especially with the beautiful imagery, language, and multiple double-meanings in many of the lines and action.

Plot, Characters & Setting

Laure is trying to survive in a distant land with no family to support her. She’s caught trying to steal some supplies but races away in the nick of time. Just as she’s about to be captured again, she stumbles into the perfect escape route with the help of local merchant, Luc. At first, he wants to turn her in, but when an opportunity presents itself for them to both get what they deserve/want, everything changes. Meanwhile, King Justin is looking for a bride for his son, but there is a twist regarding the shoe left behind at a ball. Some fathers (or royalty for that matter!) just don’t know when to quit being so pushy. The two stories collide and threaten to change the future for everyone involved, but Laure fights to get what she wants. It’s a fairy tale… wanna guess what happens?

Key Thoughts

Although it’s a fairy tale, the language is more modern and realistic. Rogers has done a fantastic job removing the fluffy aspects of the original story by adding a touch of rawness and humor. It’s very easy to read his work without getting caught up in too much description or too many unnecessary details. There’s always a good balance of imagination, facts and ample window room for the reader to fill in the blanks when you read a Rogers novel.

The re-telling of the story is quite brilliant. You of course have your shoes, the ball, a prince and a girl trying to get away from a poor life… but she is not Cinderella… and you know that from the very first page when she begins talking. Sassy, direct, and tough are the three words that most come to mind. When you dive into the other characters, you’ll find no true step-sisters, but a pair of reasons/people that hold her back. Not all the characters are picture-perfect pretty models who we often see in these types of stories. Rogers took the facts, threw them high up in the air, caught a few as they landed, twisted and tortured the rest, thus turning everything we knew upside down!

What I enjoyed most about this story is the clever use of modern afflictions or situations in a timeline that could be almost any period in history. It’s less about the setting and characters, and instead more about the challenges we face in being who we are. One or two facts about our appearance or lot in life do not define who we can be or what can happen to us. That’s where I found myself intrigued and surprised throughout the course of this wonderful read.

It’s a story you will enjoy reading if you find humor and smiles in seeing how people can very differently interpret the comings and goings of Cinderella and her prince. Some parts will speak more loudly than others, but in the end, you’ll have a very fun connection to familiar people in an alternative setting. You’ll know it’s the same story, but it will also be something fresh and new. Kudos for such an insightful glance into what makes characters tick.

Summary

I recommend this book, as well as several others written by Chauncey Rogers. His imagination will surprise you and his writing will impress you. Another winner! Be sure to pick this one up on April 3rd when it is officially published.

More Details on the Book

Laure is a teenage street urchin just trying to get away. Where the rest of the world sees an enchanting love story, Laure sees royal incompetence and an opportunity to exploit it. She’ll have wealth and a way out of a life she detests, if she can only manage to hoodwink the royal family and survive to tell the tale.

No fairy godmother. No magic pumpkin. Just one grumpy girl and a glass slipper. If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn’t, make it.

Links to Buy or Read More:

 

About Me

For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin.