Monthly Archives: August 2016

#ARCAugust Week One Wrap Up!

ARC-August-2015

I love #ARCAugust. #ARCAugust is hosted by the amazing Octavia & Shelly @ Read. Sleep. Repeat and I swear they don’t know how much I love this little event that they run. I mentioned in a previous post that my TBR pile for this event was a tad over-ambitious, but honestly, after this first week I have made some awesome progress.

  • The Dog Who Dared to Dream by Hwang Sun-mi (September 6)
  • This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills (October 4)
  • The Infinity Year of Avalon James by Dana Middleton (October 11)
  • Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure by Ann M. Martin (September 6)
  • Girls Like Me by Lola St.Vil (October 4)
  • When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (October 4)
  • Speed of Life by J.M Kelly (October 11)
  • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (September 6)
  • Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel (September 20)
  • The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
    by Adam Gidwitz (September 27)
  • Blood For Blood by Ryan Graudin (November 1)
  • Afterward by Jennifer Mathiu (September 20)
  • Write This Down by Claudia Mills (September 27, ebook)
  • The Swan Riders by Erin Bow (September 20)
  • Mark of the Plague by Kevin Sands (September 6)

Total Read: 4/16

Favourite Read This Week: Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu. This book, just, ugh, feelings.

You’ll notice two more items were added to this list. That is because @SimonTeenCA sent me a few September ARCs, and now I definitely need to make sure they get reviewed. Here’s a pick fo what they sent me!

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I am hoping to have as productive #ARCAugust, and we’ll see how I roll next week. Right now I am in the middle of Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova, which I am enjoying very much. It’s definitely got a very different paranormal vibe to it which is keeping me hooked. As for the books I’ve recently finished, expect to see reviews of them on the blog very soon!

If you are particpating in #ARCAugust, how did your first week go? I’d love to know in the comments!

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ARC Review – The Monster on the Road Is Me by J.P. Romney

25688977Title: The Monster on the Road Is Me

Author: J.P. Romney

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: It starts with the crows. When you see them, you know he s found you.

Koda Okita is a high school student in modern-day Japan who isn’t very popular. He suffers from narcolepsy and has to wear a watermelon-sized helmet to protect his head in case he falls. But Koda couldn’t care less about his low social standing. He is content with taking long bike rides and hanging out in the convenience store parking lot with his school-dropout friend, Haru.

But when a rash of puzzling deaths sweeps his school, Koda discovers that his narcoleptic naps allow him to steal the thoughts of nearby supernatural beings. He learns that his small town is under threat from a ruthless mountain demon that is hell-bent on vengeance. With the help of a mysterious – and not to mention very cute classmate – Koda must find a way to take down this demon. But his unstable and overwhelming new abilities seem to have a mind of their own.

Huge thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this for review!

Molly’s Review:

Guys this book was FANTASTIC. It’s on my list of “authentic books set in Japan”. (For those of you just tuning in, I lived in Japan for seven years.) The author DID live in Japan, so I went into this with high hopes. At first I thought it was going to fall prey to the “I know a lot about Japan let me show off my superior knowledge and Japanese skills” but that soon fell to the wayside. There IS a lot of Japanese in this that doesn’t have direct translation nor does this book have a glossary, and technically all of the characters are speaking Japanese so the random Japanese words really didn’t need to be there IMO, but generally you could get a sense of what the word meant from the way it was used and usually a few paragraph’s later the Japanese word was subbed out for it’s English translation. That was really my only issue with this book and the Japan aspect of it.

The rest is awesome. It’s set in a small village in the Japanese countryside. Our main character is a dorky teen boy who is narcoleptic and falls asleep when he gets stressed out. He has to wear a dorky looking helmet (not all of the time, but often enough) and he’s just kinda socially awkward. His parents are really old and they live on a shitake mushroom farm. Koda, while not being super popular, is hilarious. I loved his voice SO MUCH. This book cracked me up with Koda’s sarcasm and wit.

In this book Koda’s classmates start to kill themselves and they leave behind very weird things in the wake of their suicides. Koda discovers that when he touches something related to the student that died he can actually see what they went through in their last moments… and soon after discovering this a foxy older girl shows up and starts to boss Koda around. He dorkily falls for her and the banter between the two of them is so cute and humorous. The girl, Moya, explains to Koda that there’s something sinister happening in the village and that there are forces out there willing to kill him.

This book takes Japanese culture, folklore, and modernity for a spin and meshes them together in such a fun way. I really enjoyed Romney’s writing and was very happy to see such a well done Japan book in YA. I REALLY hope this book gets a lot more attention.

ARC Review – Smash & Grab by Amy Christine Parker

27272262Title: Smash & Grab

Author: Amy Christine Parker

Rating:  ★★★★

Synopsis: LEXI is a rich girl who loves a good rush. Whether it’s motorcycle racing or BASE jumping off a building in downtown Los Angeles, the only times she feels alive are when she and her friends are executing one of their dares. After her father’s arrest, Lexi doesn’t think twice about going undercover at his bank to steal the evidence that might clear his name. She enlists her hacker brother and her daredevil friends to plan a clever heist.
 
CHRISTIAN is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. The local gang has blackmailed him and his friends into robbing banks, and he is desperate for a way out. When the boss promises that one really big job will be the last he ever has to do, Christian jumps at the chance for freedom. In fact, he’s just met a girl at the bank who might even prove useful. . . .
 
Two heists. One score. The only thing standing in their way is each other.

Huge thank you to the publisher for letting me read an advanced copy of this book!

Molly’s Review: 

I REALLY enjoyed this book! After falling into a little bit of a reading slump I needed something fun that would really drag me into the story and not let go. I didn’t want anything TOO heavy and this was just the perfect balance. I LOVE heist movies and books, so I went into this with high hopes and was not disappointed.

Lexi and her crew are thrill seekers. They’re young rich LA kids who have issues with their families and they all deal with these issues by doing crazy and wild stunts. The book starts out with them jumping off a building. I really loved how Lexi and her gang had actual problems and not just rich kid problems. Lexi’s dad is in jail and her mother is falling apart. Lexi’s friends (while not the MOST fleshed out group of side characters) are all personable and facing their own issues. We see glimpses of things that all people face: abusive parents, un-accepting parents, etc. This made the book feel real.

I also liked that Lexi was and wasn’t a stereotype. She’s a typical rich, blond, beautiful LA chick but she is also pretty bad ass. She holds her own and stays true to herself. She uses her looks and charm when she needs to, but she isn’t vapid and vain, nor a mean girl. I really liked that she didn’t quit fit any mold when she really could have.

Christian is the other voice in this book. It is a dual POV book, but the author does an AMAZING job with the two voices. I was never once confused as to who was speaking and that really helped me enjoy this book even more (because I do NOT like dual POV books with alternating chapters). Christian is from the hood and he and his own crew of friends are bank robbers. They were strong-armed into doing the robberies by the local gang which has ties to a much larger Mexican gang. Each friend is working the jobs to help their families/ save people they love. It’s all very tragic and makes them not really BAD guys. Christian was an interesting character; he’s smart, of mixed race so he doesn’t always feel like he fits in with the rest of his crew, and he cares deeply about doing the right thing even when he’s forced to do the wrong thing.

Christian and Lexi cross paths multiple times and sparks fly. They end up joining forces to rob the bank that Lexi’s dad used to work for… to help prove his innocence and to set Christian free. There’s a lot of double crossing, some kissing and swooning and some high action moments with crazy stunts. I very much enjoyed this book and would LOVE to see it as a movie.