Saturday, January 9, 2016

Weekly Mini Book Reviews {001}

Iʻm starting a new feature this week here on the blog. Weekly mini book reviews! Iʻm going to use this as a way to keep track of where I am as far as my reading challenges go and a way to keep track of what I read during the week. Also, itʻll help me keep on track with my goal of actually doing book reviews. So Iʻm gonna stop talking now and letʻs get on with what I read this week.

Title: Emmy & Oliver
Author: Robin Benway
Publication: June 23, 2015 by HarperTeen
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Review: This was the first book that I read in 2016 and I loved it. Iʻve been reading a lot of books lately with similar themes as this one: kid gets kidnapped, kid returns x amount of years later, kid needs to learn how to fit in with old family & friends; so I was a little wary about reading this one at first. Iʻm glad I picked it up, though, because it was different from the others. So, Oliver is the kid that was kidnapped by his non-custodial father and after 10 years, he returns home to his mother--who now has a new husband and twin daughters. On top of that, Oliver has to adjust to going to public school and making new friends. Thankfully Emmy, Oliverʻs next door neighbor and former best friend, is there to help him adjust--even though sheʻs got her own issues trying to forge her independence in the world when her parents are way overprotective, an after effect of what happened with Oliver. I liked this story because although it was a bit of a romance, it was so much more to that. This book also touches on the themes of friendship, family, and growing up. The only thing that I didnʻt really like was that it was a bit predictable. Even the climax of the book was a little underwhelming and I was tempted to skim over it because I could already see what was coming. This is a great book to read if you enjoy Contemporary YA fiction that is more than just INSTAlove. Check out my full review here.

Title: The Shock of the Fall
Author: Nathan Filer
Publication: Harper Collins, 2013
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Review: Matthew and Simon were brothers. One night, while on vacation, the two boys go out but only Matthew returns home. What happened that night affects Matthew for the rest of his life. But this book isnʻt a book about brothers, itʻs not even really a book about family. Itʻs a book about mental illness and Matthewʻs struggle with it. When I seen this book in Target, I wanted to read it so bad and I thought that it would be a perfect read for the January girlxoxo monthly motif reading challenge. However, Iʻm glad that I decided to borrow this book instead of buying because, unfortunately this read just didnʻt grab me as much as I would have liked. Actually, I donʻt have any strong feelings for this book at all...I didnʻt love it, but I didnʻt hate it either. It was just...meh. I did like the format in which the book was written--it was like the book was jumping from place to place, which can be annoying but it was meant to reflect the mind of a person succumbing to mental illness. I did not like the pacing of the book, though, it was a bit slow at times and it was easy to get lost at times. It was also a bit predictable at times. This book won the 2013 Costa Best First award and I can see why, it was a fairly interesting read just not my taste. See my full review here.

Title: Pretending to be Erica
Author: Michelle Painchaud
Publication: Viking Books for Young Readers, 2015
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Review: This is another one of those kid gets kidnapped then returns but the Erica Silverman who returned home after being kidnapped years earlier isnʻt actually Erica Silverman. Her name is Violet and she has been raised to be Erica Silverman by her master con artist father. Planted in the Silverman home to steal the rumored Silverman painting, if Violet can pull of this con, she and her father will be swimming in dough. I thought that this story was so interesting, I didnʻt want to put it down. However, it was a bit slow at certain points and I found myself being tempted to just skim through those parts. I also found the climax of the book to be good, but a little predictable. If you havenʻt noticed a pattern yet, I am not a fun of predictability...I like to be surprised all the way through. See my full review here.

Title: Trouble is A Friend of Mine
Author: Stephanie Tromly
Publication: Kathy Dawson Books, 2015
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Review: Yet another book that I chose to read that went well with girlxoxo.comʻs Monthly Motif Reading Challenge. This contemporary YA debut follows Zoe, the new girl in town, as she meets Philip Digby (the way too blunt, annoying, and seemingly crazy boy who shows up on her doorstep one day thinking that he knows every thing about her) and the subsequent shenanigans that the two get in to. They are trying to solve the mystery of a girl who went missing over the summer because it might have a connection to a similar case that occurred in the town years earlier. Described as "Sherlock meets Veronica Mars meets Ferris Buellerʻs Day Off," this is a seriously funny read that will keep readers on their toes up until the very end of the book. I thought that this was a very solid read and a solid debut. The witty dialogue, plot twists, and interesting characters kept me hooked from the very beginning up until the last page. I would totally recommend this read if youʻre looking for a light-hearted mystery that will keep you guessing and laughing. See my full review here.

These are the books Iʻve finished since the beginning of the year up until yesterday, so I would say that January is off to a pretty great start! Iʻve got a few books in the queue already for this next week but I definitely donʻt think that Iʻll come close to this! What books did you finish this week? What books are you reading in the week to come? 


  1. Keeping an eye out for Trouble is a friend of mine. Great reviews.