Review | Jackaby

Jackaby by William Ritterfive stars
As one friend recently mentioned — William Ritter writes like that guy who always has a good story up his sleeve. Jackaby is one of those great stories. It is an adventure to be had and a mystery worth investigating. Whimsical and alluring, Ritter takes you on a journey through the unexplained with investigator, R.F. Jackaby, and his newly arrived assistant detective, Abigail Rook.  When a gruesome string of murders happen in New Fiddleham, Jackaby is second on the case, right behind the New Fiddleham police department, who refuse to believe in the strange and paranormal happenings surrounding the town. With help from good-looking detective, Charlie Cane, can Jackaby and Abigail stop the paranormal creature wreaking havoc on New Fiddleham?

The Good

If you’ve seen Jackaby floating around the inter-sphere you have most likely seen it compared to Doctor Who or SherlockJackaby
Holmes. Those comparisons are not far off. The characters that Ritter creates are phenomenal. No stone is left un-turned with his character development. Jackaby is an adventure of his own. He is a delightfully intriguing character whose style choices are questionable and he never shies away from the unusual. The paranormal is his forte and he takes pride in his keen observations. Abigail isn’t your typical YA heroine. She’s bold and adventurous, yet she is shy and subtle. She strives for a life of equality, but doesn’t throw away her girlish charms. Some days she prefers pants and other days she prefers skirts — she’s three-dimensional that way. (Bravo, Ritter!)

The subtle jokes that are mentioned throughout, make this book. Ogden the frog and Douglas the duck are highlight characters that add a comedic air. Jackaby is downright hilarious and I adore Abby’s slight wit.

The Not-So-Good

Honestly, it’s hard for me to write the not-so-good, because I love this book! I would say it is a bit juvenile at times, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone under the age of 12. The murder scenes can be a bit gruesome, which would make 11 year old me have nightmares.

Overview

This book is a 5 and with good reason. It’s quirky, yet serious when it needs to be. It’s a book that will keep you reading, and by the end you will be anxiously awaiting book number two of the series, Beastly Bones. If you are a fan of Doctor Who, mysteries, humor, or gassy frogs, Jackaby is a book for you.

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository 

Jackaby by William Ritter
Algonquin Young Readers
304 Pages
September 16, 2014
$16.95

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Review| The Last Time We Say Goodbye

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand via Goodreads

 

five stars

Grief can be one of the toughest emotions to capture, because each person tends to grieve a little unlike the other. With that being said– Bravo, Cynthia Hand for portraying the ugliness of grief so beautifully and so honestly.

I’ve read a lot of books recently that ended with death. You have picture-perfect moments through 3/4ths of the book and then the inevitable hits and your heart feels like it was put through some weird & tortuous organ shredder. I appreciate that Hand began with death and ended her story towards healing.

I will echo my sentiment written in my review of All the Bright Places. When an author and a reader share in the same experience and the work between the author and the reader reflect that experience, there is a magic that occurs. I lost a friend to suicide about 10 years ago to the month. Suicide is tricky. As Hand points out, there is a different tone to death when the death is occurred by the victims own hands.

“They took Ty’s name off the roster.  The even expunged his school records for the year, as if they could erase his existence altogether.

I’d bet good money they didn’t do that kind of thing with Hailey McKennett, who lost her battle with cystic fibrosis two years ago, or Sammie Sullivan, who died of complications from pneumonia, or Jacob Wright, who was killed in a car crash driving home drunk from a party at Branched Oak Lake last summer.  Jacob got a tree planted for him at the front of the school, a plaque under it that I pass every day walking in that reads WE’LL MISS YOU, J.  Sammie got a moment of silence during first period that year and an entire page of the yearbook devoted to her memory.  They read Hailey’s name at graduation.

But Ty got his locker packed up and delivered promptly back to my mother, before we’d even had a chance to bury him.

Because it was suicide.

Because they don’t want to seem like they’re condoning it.

There are also a lot of “what ifs”. What if I would have said this…done this…noticed this. After dealing with my own grief I still sometimes wonder if things could have ended differently than they did. But has Hand mentions so beautifully, the only person that could have helped him was him. At some point you have to come to peace with not only your loss but with yourself.

I can’t end this review without mentioning Lex. I LOVE her. She is logical, not emotional, slightly socially awkward, and she is who she is. She doesn’t strive to be something she’s not. She isn’t able to curse with conviction—which I can relate—and she views the world in a completely unique way. Honestly, I was thrilled that Hand made a Bones reference because it made it so easy to connect and understand her character.  (Also Bones is my all-time favorite TV show, so, just reading that I knew this book would be a good one.)

The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a beautifully written portrayal of loss, understanding, guilt, grief, and most importantly healing. If you liked All the Bright Places or The Fault in Our Stars, add this to your list.

Click here for full synopsis.


All opinions are my own and are not affiliated or endorsed with any company or organization. 

 

Review | No Place to Fall

**
2/5

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Synopsis: Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.

When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.

Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities


Hello southern sweet tea, country songs, and Appalachian Trail. Oh how I am so thrilled to finally have reached for a novel that is familiar with your southern charms and small town gossip trap. 

The entire time I was reading No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown, I couldn’t help but envision the ABC show, Nashville. All around it just screamed Nashville, but with a heavier small town vibe and North Carolina feel.

Drugs, sex, rock and roll mixed with love, family dysfunction, and deceit. That is pretty much the book rolled into one poorly structured sentence. It wasn’t sappy, but it wasn’t bright. I never shed a tear, yet I was moved. You pick up this bright colored novel and think, “this looks like a heart warming and witty story”  but you are utterly wrong. Instead you receive a realistic portrayal of a family who is far from perfect who falls and may or may not work on picking themselves back up.

If I am 100% truthful this was a hit & a miss novel for me. It met me right in the middle. It wasn’t boring enough for me to put down, but it wasn’t interesting enough for me to keep wanting to come back to it…yet I did.  Some of the characters felt like they had no purpose and there seemed to be many loose ends.

I did enjoy the honesty of Brown’s writing. The story felt very real, almost too real.  You could easily relate to the characters and empathize with their short-comings, hardships, and successes. However the story heavily lacked dynamic. The summary of the book suggested that when Amber and Will became involved Amber would go from good girl to bad. The book started out with her making out with a bunch of random strangers and eating pot brownies? I don’t know about your definition but this is not the actions of a typical “good girl”.  If anything I think Will made her better. I kept waiting for this pivotal moment to happen in the book where Amber would do something really bad – like  a “no going back ever can’t believe I even thought of this” bad. But when I reached that pivotal moment I was really let down. The moment was weak and although it set up the ending, it wasn’t shocking enough to make up for the slow pace of the story.

So all in all, it’s a good one if you like some southern charm, enjoy country folk tunes, or watch Nashville. It’s a not so good one if you don’t.

Image: via


All opinions are my own and are not endorsed or affiliated with any company or organization.

Review | I’ll Give You the Sun

20820994*****
Rating: 5/5

Guys. This has been by far my favorite read this year. It is of extreme importance that you dash to your local library/bookstore or grab your nook/tablet/iPad and buy this wonderful, wonderful, (did i mention wonderful?), book RIGHT this minute.

Dear Jandy Nelson, where have you been all of my life? There is so much good in this book I could go on and on and on, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. With that being said here is an overview of Nelson’s masterpiece of a novel:

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

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Nelson will leave you with feels that capture every emoji on your iphone. It will make you laugh, cry, and scream. At times you’ll be confused, happy, often angry, but in love. It will wrap your heart up and open your eyes to a world of acceptance. Your vision will become renewed by Noah’s unique perspective and life around you will seem a bit more vibrant.

This is a book that makes you appreciate the brokenness, or at least embrace the heart ache. Friends, this one is a giver, a taker, and one that you will not put down nor forget. This is the next big one, I can feel it deep in my bones.

Seriously, what are you waiting for? Go read it.


QUOTES:

“How can you judge a fella until you picnic with him?” (211)

“A broken heart is an open heart” (348)

“Or maybe a person is just made up of a lot of people’, I say, ‘Maybe we’re accumulating these new selves all the time hauling them in as we make choices, good and bad, as we screw up, lose our minds, find our minds, fall apart, fall in love, as we grieve, grow, retreat from the world, dive in to the world, as we make things, as we break things.” (354)

“Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.” (365)

“Meeting your soul-mate is like walking into a house you’ve been in before-you will recognize the furniture, the pictures on the wall, the books on the shelves, the contents of drawers, you could find your way around tin the dark if you had to.” 

“If a boy gives a girl an orange her love from him will multiply.” (178)

“People die, I think, but your relationship with them doesn’t. It continues and is ever-changing.”

“When people fall in love, they burst into flames.”

image: via


All opinions are my own and are not endorsed or affiliated with any company or organization.

Review | Opposition (Lux Series #5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Source: Goodreads

Synopsis:

“Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.  She can’t believe Daemon stood by his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth.  But the lines between good and bad have blurred.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.  But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend and foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.”

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Rating: 8/10
GREAT READ

Firstly, a round of applause for Armentrout and her stunning conclusion. All ends were neatly packaged, topped with a shiny yellow ribbon, and handed to us, adoring fans, with a deep bow and a kiss. Closing the last page I breathed a heavy sigh of relief knowing that I finished the series with no questions left unanswered.  So a big thank you and congrats to her!

Secondly, “YES!” When I say that every book is better than the one before I mean it in an all-encompassing way. From the characters, to the plot, to the writing—“whew”, SO good.  

Opposition, will make you breathless (for more reasons than one), ecstatic, heart-broken, and exhilarated. There is so much jammed between the pages you will have a hard time keeping up. Alliances are formed that you would never fathom, friendships will waver, and lives will end.

Previous supporting characters will shine. You will come to find that Archer has one SERIOUS sense of humor and he will consistently have you laughing to the end.  Luc’s mystery is unveiled and you will be left with this overwhelming desire to coddle him. And Katy and Daemon—well, between every few pages you will be enraptured by their love and strength for one another.

I can’t say it enough, Opposition is a great conclusion to the Lux Series. Fans you will not be disappointed.

 

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All opinions are my own and are not endorsed or affiliated with any company or organization.