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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

December Wrap up!

                 
via GIPHY

Happy New Year's Eve everyone!  I can't believe December is over!  After an incredibly busy month, I finally had time to do some marathon reading, and it felt SOOO GOOD! I almost followed my game plan for the month, reading nine ARCs.  But, of course, some books crossed my path that I just had to read right then and there!  I couldn't help it!  Have a fun, and safe, New year's Eve!

Favorite book of the month:




My Name is Lucy Barton:

This is such a wonderful book.  Although it is only about 200 pages, the author, Elizabeth Strout, weaves an intricate story of an ugly childhood and it's aftermath.  I was blown away by the word choices, the way she told the story.  So much was said by inference, thus the sparse words.  It was such a special experience to read this book.  It comes out in January and I can't recommend it enough.


 Least favorite book of the month:



I'll See You In Paris:   

Given the title, one would think the book was set in Paris, right?  Wrong!  There is nothing about Paris until the very end of the book.  Perhaps because of my misguided expectations, I didn't enjoy this at all.   This book will be released in late January, so my review won't be posted on the blog until then.  I have very mixed feelings about saying anything bad about someone's book.  The author probably spent a very long time working on this.  But I found this book to be very boring and condescending.

   

Also Read This Month:























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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Arc Review: The Bette Davis Club by Jane Lotter







Please note:  I was given an e-copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This is no way influences my opinions for this review.

 

Synopsis (From GoodReads): 

The morning of her niece’s wedding, Margo Just drinks a double martini and contemplates the many mistakes she’s made in her fifty-odd years of life. Spending three decades in love with a wonderful but unattainable man is pretty high up on her list of missteps, as is a long line of unsuccessful love affairs accompanied by a seemingly endless supply of delicious cocktails.

When the young bride flees—taking with her a family heirloom and leaving behind six hundred bewildered guests—her mother offers Margo fifty grand to retrieve her spoiled brat of a daughter and the invaluable property she stole. So, together with the bride’s jilted and justifiably crabby fiancĂ©, Margo sets out in a borrowed 1955 red MG on a cross-country chase. Along the way, none of what she discovers will be quite what she expected. But it might be exactly what she’s been seeking all along.
 

Review:

Reading books can be a hit or miss proposition.  Lately, I have read several books that I wasn't overly fond of.  Add this to the stress of this time of year, and I was getting burnt out.  I needed a fun book to remind me that reading is supposed to be entertaining.  I found that book when I got approved to read The Bette Davis Club from NetGalley.  It is fun, fast-paced, and fabulous!

The fun begins as Margo attends the wedding of her nineteen year-old niece, Georgia, to a much  older, nerdy fellow named Tully.  Margo's movie producer, half-sister, Charlotte, is in a panic because the bride has gone missing (and taken several valuable items with her).   Charlotte hires Margo to bring Georgia (and the stolen items) back to Malibu.  Margo won't fly in a plane and she doesn't drive, so Tully accompanies her, first to Palm Springs, and then across the country in pursuit of the runaway bride.  The chase is on!

The story moves quickly from one locale to another.  It's a long road trip, but it never gets boring.  The people Margo and Tully meet along the way include lesbian dance competitors, entitled party girls, and mobsters, all after their own version of a dream. When you think you've figured out what was really taken from Charlotte, there's a new twist to the story, a new angle, that keeps you wanting to read further.  I loved it!

The fabulous part is in all the wonderful details, from the classic cherry red MG car they drive in, to the couture fashion Margo "borrows" from her sister.  This is a universe that is all about style.  It is also about trying to tell the difference between style and substance (a tricky thing to do in Hollywood).  Which is more important?  Do you want to linger in the dream, or work with the reality?

The terribly tragedy of this book is that the superb author, Jane Lotter, passed away in 2013.  What a glorious storyteller!  Oh, the further books she could written, the tales she could have told!  I hope her family revels in the fact that this one and only book Jane Lotter created is a marvelous tale.  And it is not just a fluffy piece of literature.  This book has a great balance between screwball comedy and sober introspection.  When life's expectations clash with reality, do you face it or do you cling to the illusion?  This is a book that I hope many people will read.  Perhaps a deal with Hollywood can be reached?  This would make a marvelous movie! 

Rating:  




Release Date:  December 8th, 2015

Source:  ARC from NetGalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  A fun story with entertaining characters.

Would I read another book from this author?  Yes, but sadly the writer has passed away.




 
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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

ARC Book Review: My Name is Lucy Barton



Please note:  I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This in no way influences my opinions of my review.


Synopsis (from GoodReads):

     Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable. 

Review:

     My Name is Lucy Barton is the kind of book that reveals itself slowly, subtly, and sublimely to the reader.  Told in the first person, Lucy is recovering in the hospital from complications of a surgery.  She is there for many weeks when she gets a five day visit from her estranged mother.  The two haven't spoken in decades but, now that Lucy is so ill, the mother comes to sit with her daughter and keep vigil over her.  I love how the story unfolds so gracefully.  Through conversations with her mother, we begin to catch glimpses of Lucy's difficult childhood.  So much is conveyed without any direct explanation.  Is the Mom there to ask for forgiveness (and if so, for what)?  We also see small inklings of Lucy's marriage beginning to fray.  Just small tidbits of information tell the reader so much.

     The beauty of this book is that it is so authentic to the situation of surviving an abusive, terrifying childhood.  Although it may be great drama to have tearful confrontations with your parents, in real life people don't behave that way.  No one wants to talk about what happened, EVER.  And yet, as we grow older, there can be a better understanding (if not forgiveness) of what went down, and why people behaved the way they did.  I was also moved by the small ways in which her upbringing affects her everyday life as an adult.  Situations that seem normal for most people are triggers for Lucy, bringing up emotions and physical symptoms that have her needing to escape.  

     The author use of language is crafted to show small details about the characters.  As the mother tells a story, particular speech patterns are seen.  Those same patterns are later used by Lucy.  You can tell she is her mother's daughter.  Perhaps that is why she can still love her mother after all that happened.  It may also be inferring that Lucy might make some of the same mistakes as her mother in similar circumstances.  

     I thought this book was a beautifully written tale of the adult aftermath of a screwed up childhood.  It wasn't a sensational attempt at grabbing your sympathy.  But it was powerful and deep in a realistic way that gave it an authority over the subject matter.  I highly recommend this book.


 Rating:  




Release Date:  January 12, 2016

Source:  ARC from NetGalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  Full of understated power, this is an emotionally satisfying book.

Would I read another book from this author? Yes!




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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Book Review: Life After The Undead by Pembroke Sinclair





Please note:  I was given an e-copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This in no way influences my opinions of my review.

Synopsis (From GoodReads):

Seventeen-year-old Krista must quickly figure out how she’s going to survive in the zombie-destroyed world. The one advantage humans have is that the zombies hate humid environments, so they’re migrating west to escape its deteriorating effects. The survivors plan to construct a wall at North Platte to keep the undead out, and Krista has come to Nebraska to start a new life.

Zombies aren’t the only creatures she has to be cautious of—the other survivors have a dark side. Krista must fight not only to live but also to defend everything she holds dear—her country, her freedom, and ultimately, those she loves.


Review:

The book, Life After The Undead is all about conflict: Zombies vs. people, people vs. people, The main character, Krista vs. her cousin, the controlling Liet.  There was a constant tension throughout the book as you didn't know when the zombies (or Liet) would strike.  I was conflicted as well.  I really did like this book.  But I also had some strong feelings about Krista that I would like to share.

As much as I was rooting for Krista to survive, I also found her rather self-centered.  Of course, the story is told from Krista's viewpoint, but I wish she had shown some concern for others and what they were feeling.  Everything that happens is only about how it affects her.  If someone dies, she isn't sad about what a horrible death that must have been for the person.  No, she is more concerned with how this affects her.  She actually gets mad at some of the victims for getting killed! She was also angry that a friend may have been bitten.  She never once expresses how distressing it must be for that person to have to wonder if they were going to become a zombie. Some anger was understandable.  Perhaps it's her immaturity that makes her this way, but shouldn't she have been concerned about these people, even just a little?  Or was this part of the PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) that she probably had?  I don't know.  

What I do know is that this is a very enjoyable book.  I must admit, I have never read a zombie book before, but I was impressed with the eerie mood that author Pembroke Sinclair created throughout the book.  Even in the scenes where the characters were "safe", I always wondered whether the zombies would break through and attack!  

Along side the post-apocalyptic scenario was a very powerful story of living with an abusive adult.   This story line could have been told in a different setting altogether, and it is what grounded the tale in reality for me.  Every character has lost loved ones; every character is dealing with the trauma of seeing people die in horrible ways.  It was intriguing to see how each person dealt with this.  One of the main characters uses what happens to justify their controlling and abusive behavior.   There were several groups of people who took advantage of the situation to obtain power.  What is it they say: absolute power corrupts, absolutely?  Well, this story show that adage in action.

As enjoyable as this was, I was disappointed that more was not resolved by the ending, which is why I am deducting half a star from my rating.  Clearly, the author hopes to make this into a series.  There are many possibilities for further adventures for Krista, with new survivors she could meet along the way.  I think the author has created a scenario that could sustain several books.  I just wish that the main conflict between Krista and one of the other characters would have had a more definitive conclusion.

Rating: 




Release Date:  October 27th, 2015

Source:  I was given a copy to review from the publisher

Format:  E-book

Recommendation:  For lovers of the Zombie genre, this will be a fun ride.

Would I read more from this author?  Yes.







 
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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Stacking The Shelves #11






Stacking The Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  If you go to that site, you can see the blog hop  where lots of people posts their weekly stacking the shelves.


You know when you go through a buffet and you think, "Oh yeah, I can eat all of this!".  You get a big plate heaping with all kinds of goodies.  Then reality sets in and you only nibble on a tiny portion of it?  Well, it has been that sort of week between me and books.  I have several amazing books to read, but with Christmas this week, something always took me away from reading.  I did manage to read two books, my favorite of which was Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan.

I also went on an ARC spree as Edelweiss had downloads of several new books! And NetGalley was kind enough to grant me access to a new book, too.   I REALLY hope to read more this coming week.  I hope you all continue to have a wonderful holiday season.

Read This Week:



Acquired from Edelweiss:









Acquired from NetGalley:

 

 

Posts:

Sunday, December 20th:  Book Review: Brain on Fire

Monday, December 21st:  As We Stress, So Do Others (Personal rant)

 Tuesday, December 22nd:  ARC Review:  Stars Over Sunset Boulevard


What books did you get this week?  Which one was your favorite?  Let me know in the comments.



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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

ARC Review: Stars over Sunset Boulevard






Please note:  I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  This in no way influences the opinions of this review.

Synopsis (From GoodReads):

Los Angeles, Present Day. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind  ends up in Christine McAllister’s vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie…

Los Angeles, 1938.  Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Hollywood after her  dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, and lands a job on the film-set of Gone With the Wind. There, she meets enigmatic Audrey Duvall, a once-rising film star who is now a fellow secretary. Audrey’s zest for life and their adventures together among Hollywood’s glitterati enthrall Violet…until each woman’s deepest desires collide.  What Audrey and Violet are willing to risk, for themselves and for each other, to ensure their own happy endings will shape their friendship, and their lives, far into the future. 


Review:


When I was approved from NetGalley to read this book, Stars over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner, all I knew of it was that it was an historical fiction set in Hollywood.  I had been busy with other books when I got it, and didn't look at it for a few weeks.  If I had know it was centered around the  filming of the film Gone With The Wind in 1938, I would have read it much sooner.  Gone With The Wind is one of my all-time favorite movies, so reading a story like this was such a treat.  

The story alternates between The present day and the years from 1938 to around 1968, and explores the friendship between two women.  New to California, Violet comes from the South to work as a secretary for the studio making Gone With The Wind.  She meets Audrey, a woman who once was tapped to be a star but fate (and talking pictures) stepped in and put her dreams on hold.  Now she is biding her time in the secretarial pool, waiting for that magic moment when she will be discovered.  Since Violet has no interest whatsoever in becoming an actress, Audrey feels comfortable with her and the two become roommates.

Although this is a work of fiction, the author did a wonderful job of putting in details that made it seem like a behind the scenes tell-all.   I loved all reading about the nitty-gritty work that was put in to the making of a classic, from the costume details to the arguments over how red the Tarleton twins' hair should be.  

The relationships in this book are complicated and evolve over many years.  As Violet falls for Audrey's friend Bert, Audrey becomes increasingly desperate to become a Star.  Both women do things that they regret in pursuit of their dreams, and their friendship suffers.  There are jealousies and slights that cut deep.  Even eighty years ago, there were conflicting demands for women of having a career verses raising a family.   I think the book did a good job of illustrating the consequences of their actions without judgement.  

I enjoyed this book so much for its attention to historical detail and the minutiae of a long-standing friendship.  If you love that era of Hollywood's Golden Age, you will be starstruck over this book.

Rating:   
 


Release Date:  January 5th, 2016

Source:  ARC from NetGalley

Format:   E-Book

Recommendation:  A must-read for lovers of the Golden Age of Hollywood!

Will I read more from this author?  Yes!
  







 
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Monday, December 21, 2015

As We Stress, So Do Others...

                    
via GIPHY

 Tis' the season for Stressing Out! So many people I know are really stressed this time of year.  For a mom like me, the triggers are trying to get Christmas stuff together (teacher gifts, gifts for friends, gifts for family, etc.), worrying about money, and wondering how we are going to get everything done on time.  For students, the worries are about getting projects and homework done, and thinking about Finals.  The pressure to get perfect grades, particularly in high school is intense.

I have read two separate blog posts of late where students are so stressed out and they are silently screaming to their parents to back off.  I have high school students and I know first hand that the pressure is real.  I have tried to let my kids know that passing grades are what matters.  But some of the biggest pressure comes from teachers and other students, especially at competitive schools.  It is heartbreaking to see all these very bright students freaking out.  But what can be done?

While we can't control how teachers and other students behave, we can think about our own actions.  How about as adults that we, ourselves, calm down.  I need to do this as much as anyone.  I have one kid who is doing well in school and another kid who is close to failing.  I am been so worried and I know I am projecting this on to this kid.  My fear is that this kid won't be able to go to a U.C. (University of California).  But, maybe that is not the worst thing in the world to occur?  I myself went to a community college for two years before transferring to a great university.  It took me five years to get my degree, but I did it.  I think as parents (and teachers) we need to stop buying in to the notion that all kids need to go to university right after high school.  Some students may need time to experience life before they are ready to commit to college.  Some others will find another path entirely.  But THIS IS THEIR JOURNEY, NOT OURS.  

Let's show some respect for all that these young people are doing.  High school is very demanding.  If we adults had to work 8 hours a day, and then come home and do 4 more hours of work (plus volunteer and participate in a sport), we would be tearing our hair out, too.  We would either ask for more money or look for another job, right?  But kids are stuck in this job until they graduate.

I hope in the new year that we can make a point to care, to guide, and then to BACK OFF of our students.   And I need to do this as much as anyone.


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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Review: Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan






Synopsis (From GoodReads):

One day, Susannah Cahalan woke up in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. Her medical records—from a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory—showed psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier she had been a healthy, ambitious twenty-four year old, six months into her first serious relationship and a sparkling career as a cub reporter.

Susannah’s astonishing memoir chronicles the swift path of her illness and the lucky, last-minute intervention led by one of the few doctors capable of saving her life. As weeks ticked by and Susannah moved inexplicably from violence to catatonia, $1 million worth of blood tests and brain scans revealed nothing. The exhausted doctors were ready to commit her to the psychiatric ward, in effect condemning her to a lifetime of institutions, or death, until Dr. Souhel Najjar—nicknamed Dr. House—joined her team. He asked Susannah to draw one simple sketch, which became key to diagnosing her with a newly discovered autoimmune disease in which her body was attacking her brain, an illness now thought to be the cause of “demonic possessions” throughout history. 


Review:

I listened to this as an audiobook and was fascinated by this medical mystery from the start.  A seemingly healthy young woman goes from having it all to being on the verge of being committed to a mental institution.  She is misdiagnosed with everything from alcohol withdrawal to schizophrenia.  With doctors ready to give up, her parents push to find a physical illness that would explain her symptoms.  

This book is written as a memoir be Susannah Cahalan, who had been a reporter for the New York Post prior to her illness.  Since she has no memory of what happened to her during her "month of madness", she uses her reporting skills to sketch out what happened.  Her book reads like a good detective story, fitting all the puzzle pieces together to come up with what really happened.  

I liked that the author uses objectivity and doesn't blame the medical community for their initial mistaken diagnoses.   Her disease was so rare that even one of the most respected neurologists in New York City hadn't heard of it!   She could have used this book to bitterly complain about how long it took doctors to find the cause of her illness.  Instead she acknowledges the difficulty of their task and shows how the medical system creates the need for doctors to quickly assess a patient with as little information as possible.  With a complicated illness such as hers, it is nearly impossible for people to find doctors willing (or able) to take the time to root out the underlying cause and find treatments that will give hope to these situations.

If I have one criticism of this book, it is with the audiobook narration by Heather Henderson.  Susannah Cahalan is a young woman.  As a memoir, it would have worked better for the narrator to have a younger voice.  The person reading the book sounds like a woman in her mid forties.  It would have sounded more authentic if the speaker sounded younger to reflect the youth of the author.  Overall this was a very interesting book and I highly recommend it.

Rating: 



Source:  Public Library

Format:  Audiobook

Recommendation:  If you like medical mysteries and gripping family drama, this book is for you.  I loved it.

Would I read more from this author?  Yes.



  









 


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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Stacking The Shelves #10






Stacking The Shelves is a weekly feature started by Tynga's Reviews.  This is a great site to check out!  On it they list a blog hop of all the bloggers doing this feature!


It has been such a busy week!  This was the last week of school before Winter break and it was intense.  I did manage to read a lot, although my book count is down.  That is because I got the bright idea to read three books at once.  That wasn't confusing at all, right?  So I finished two books for the week.  I think my count will be really high for next week with all my multi-tasking, but we'll see.  I am currently reading Brain on Fire (audiobook) and it is riveting!

Here is what I read and received:

Read This Week:






Acquired from NetGalley:







Currently Reading:




Posts for the week:



Monday, December 13th:  What is a 'Social Media Star'?

Friday, December 18t:  Feature & Follow Friday









 





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Friday, December 18, 2015

Feature & Follow Friday






Feature & Follow Friday is hosted by two wonderful bloggers:  Alison @ Alison Can Read and Rachel @ Parajunkee.   You should definitely check them out.  They both have beautiful blog designs and innovative features on their blogs.


TGIF!!!  School break will begin at lunch time and I am so grateful for the time off!  All the presents are bought and all I need to do now is wrap everything (while listening to audiobooks).  I will finally have a little time to check out some new (to me) blogs and do more reading.

The featured blogger this week is...The Truth About Books!  Remember the rules of this blog hop:  You must be following the hosts and the featured blogger.  Visit as many blogs as you can and follow as many as you wish.  If you follow someone new, leave them a comment and let them know you are a new follower.  I always follow back.  

The Question of the week is:  If you could write a book, what would it be about?  Suggested by Go Book Yourself.

Well, I do hope to write a book someday.  I think It would will be a fantasy book set in a world with strange creatures and mysterious happenings.  Yes, I know that is quite vague, but that is why I haven't written it yet!  Sigh...

 Now on to Blog hopping!




 
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Monday, December 14, 2015

What is a 'Social Media Star'?


via GIPHY

     I was listening to the Marcus & Sandy morning show here on Star 101.3 FM in the SF Bay area  a few days ago.   They had a segment called "Second Date Update" where people call in to find out why a date went wrong and to see if there is any possibility of getting a second date with the person. You can listen to the short podcast here.


     The woman on the show, Teresa, didn't understand why the guy didn't call for a second date.  But when the show got a hold of the guy, he complained that Teresa was posting on Snapchat throughout the date.  What struck me about the whole conversation was when Teresa said, "I'm a social media Star!"  

     She said she felt compelled to let her followers know what she was doing at all times.  "This is my Job!" she said, indignantly.

     This got me thinking:  What constitutes being a 'Social Media Star'?  Is it having a huge number of followers?  Is it somehow monetizing your 'Brand'?  How many followers does it take to be classified as a SMT?  As I do not really have all that many followers, I know I am hardly a Social Media Star.  


     This got me to thinking about how many of us are dependent on social media to confirm our self-worth.  Confession time: I am as guilty as anyone of this.  I do constantly check to see how many followers I have on Twitter and how many people read my latest post on my blog.  I do get a thrill when lots of people comment on my writing and engage with me.  Why is that?

     I think in our busy world, it is easier to make online friends than actual, in person friendships.  Especially with Twitter and blogs (if you are careful not to get political) it's easy to be pleasant and have positive interactions online.  Does that mean I need to get out more and be with "real" people?   Yes it does.  But it also has enhanced my life substantially and helped me see that I can be an interesting person that others may want to hang out with.  So in that light, I have had an increase in self-esteem due to social media.  But I also need to not take social media too seriously.  Do I want to be a 'Social Media Star"?  No way.  But I am grateful for social media for helping me be less shy and for making me feel like people will listen when I have something to say.  For shy people such as myself, this is a huge help for me.

     What do you think of SMT's?  Do you aspire to be one?  Do you have a favorite SMT?  Let me know in the comments section.
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Saturday, December 12, 2015

ARC Review: Acne, Asthma, and Other Signs You Might be Half-Dragon







Please note that I received an e-copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This does not influence my opinion for my review in any way.



Synopsis (From GoodReads):

Allyson fights acne, not trolls. As an inhaler-carrying member of the asthma society, she just wants to meet the father who turned her mother into a paranoid, move-across-the-nation freak. Now she’s trying to fit in at yet another school, but for the first time in her life, she has a best friend, Beth. When Allyson accidentally spits fire at kidnappers in the mall, she realizes why her father isn’t in the picture: she’s half dragon. Her acne? Emerging scales. Her asthma? The side effects of her dragon’s fire breath. Instead of freaking out, unflappable Beth reveals her own troll heritage and explains how things work with the supernatural creatures hiding within the modern world of smartphones and skyscrapers.

When trolls kidnap a unicorn, Beth gets blamed. Allyson is determined to prove Beth’s innocence and keep her friend off the unicorn chopping block. When they start looking for the kidnappers, they get a call from the last person they expect: Allyson’s father. He tries to warn them off, but he’s been put under a spell by the kidnappers to keep the victims from escaping. Nothing short of death can stop him. Now Allyson must choose between killing the father she’s always dreamed of, or letting her best friend die for a crime she didn’t commit.


Review:

When I saw Acne, Asthma, and Other Signs You Might be Half-Dragon by Rena Rocford on NetGalley, I immediately fell in love with the cover and title.  Dragons? Acne?  This looked like a fun book.  On a hunch, I put in my request and it was luckily granted.  My instinct paid off as it was a very fun read.

I enjoyed the friendship between Allyson and Beth.  Both are outcasts and when Allyson moves to Albuquerque, they quickly become friends.  Beth turns out to be half Troll, so when Allyson turns fifteen and starts to show strange abilities (like breathing fire), Beth is there to reassure her that she is not going crazy.  I also liked that Beth was not just a side-kick to Allyson, but had her own story and romantic interest.  They have a great rapport and tease each other when boys flirt with them.  Loved it!

Allyson goes to great lengths to hide her acne (and later, her scales).  I could see how these are an analogy for the not being comfortable with your true self. As Allyson starts to understand that she is half dragon, she starts to let go of worrying about what people think of her, and embraces her heritage.   The character is also half Japanese.  This aspect of her life wasn't explored much in the book, but I hope it will be part of any sequel.

If there is one criticism I would have, it would be that the book needed a bit more exposition in the beginning.  There were times where I was lost because I didn't have enough information to know what was happening.   I suppose that we, the readers, were to be as confused as Allyson about what was happening.  But I wish I could have understood a few basic things like how can there be magical creatures such as trolls, unicorns, and dragons, and yet they look like everyone else?  Shouldn't Allyson be more freaked out, especially since no one will explain anything?  If I could have understood some of the rules of this universe, I would have been able to buy in to the story faster.

Overall, I found this a delightful fantasy.  The action made it a page-turner as I needed to find out how it would all turn out.  It makes me want to read more about this universe and find out what further abilities each character has.

Rating: 



Release Date:  November 23rd, 2015

Source: ARC from NetGalley

Format:  E-book

Recommendation: A fun read for fans of  YA fantasy!

Would I read more from this author?  Yes!




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Stacking the shelves #9

Stacking the Shelves was started by Tynga's Reviews.  Go check them out to get information about Stacking the Shelves and see the blog hop they put together.  It's a great site.


     Wow, it's been a really productive week!  I am really motivated to get my feedback rating up higher on NetGalley, so I have been tearing through ARCs.  I managed to read three ARCs this week.  The only problem is that although I read them, I am not allowed to release my reviews until right before the books come out!  Most of these books come out in January.  So I didn't do much blogging this week.  Oh, well, at least I will have lots of reviews in the can for later in December and January.
 


Here is a run down of what I read and acquired this week:

Read This Week:





Audiobook From the Library:



Purchased E-Book:





Won from Contests:



 From NetGalley:




Posts for the week:


Sunday, December 6th:  Book Review:  Melophobia by James Morris

Thursday, December 10th:  Three 4 Thursday: Three YA five star novels

Friday, December 11th:   Feature & Follow Friday





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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Feature & Follow Friday





Feature & Follow Friday is hosted by two amazing bloggers:  Rachel of Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read.  Please follow them as they are both original and inspiring to me.


     Happy Friday everyone!  While I'm thankful it's the weekend, I am also a bit panicked over how close Christmas is!  I bought most of my presents, but I need to get wrapping!  But I will be sure to take a few quick breaks and check out new blogs from Feature & Follow Friday!  I always seem to find some wonderful blogs to follow each and every week.  What gem will you discover this week?

     This week's featured blogger is Billbrarian.  Bill's blog is on the newer side but is already full of great bookish information.

The Question of the Week:  What's your favorite non-bookish website hangout?  Suggested by Cornerfolds.

 As I got into book blogging I began to get more involved in Twitter (my Twitter name is MsArdychan).  That's where I hang out when not writing in my blog.  I know that it is for bookish purposes, but this is where I spend the most time nowadays.  

 

 

 

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GoodReads

2017 Reading Challenge

MsArdychan has read 2 books toward her goal of 180 books.
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MsArdychan's bookshelf: read

The Hummingbird's Daughter
Joseph Anton: A Memoir
The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris
The Help
The Fry Chronicles
A Clash of Kings
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
A Game of Thrones
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Mockingjay
The Giver
Savvy
The Red Pyramid
Anne of Green Gables
The Complete Novels
Slam!
Slam
Hatchet
Scorpions


MsArdychan's favorite books »

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80% 80% 50 Book Reviews 2016 NetGalley Challenge
clean sweep 2017

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