Monday, May 30, 2016

Mini Review: Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library - Written by Julie Gassman, Illustrated by Andy Elkerton

Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library - Written by Julie Gassman, Illustrated by Andy Elkerton

Have you ever thought about bringing your dragon to the library? Don't do it! You might have the best intentions, but that dragon will cause nothing but trouble. Using rhyming text and a diverse cast of characters, this charming picture book will provide some important and some not so important library etiquette in a very entertaining way."

Rating: 2 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was a great idea, but it fell a bit flat for me.

There was a lot of diversity in this book. There were children of different ethnicities, disabled children, etc. However, the scope of diversity didn't save it from a rather weak execution of plot.

The art was cute, perfectly adequate, but there wasn't anything that popped about the book. It had the basics of what a library might include these days: the genres, the computers for research and games, etc. There was a generic rhyme scheme that would be good for little kids learning about rhyming words, but that's about it.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Street Team Review: Hippopotamister by John Patrick Green

This week brings a special edition of Nori's Sunday Street Team. Hippopotamister is the first children's book I'll be reviewing for the SST and I'm very excited for this to be the first entry. It's fun, it's pretty, and hey, it includes animals of many varieties.

The zoo isn't what it used to be. It's run-down and falling apart. Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he'll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He's a good employee, whether he's a construction worker, a hair stylist, or a sous chef. But what he really needs is a job where he can be himself.

The Author

John Patrick Green grew up on Long Island and has worked in New York City since graduating from the School of Visual Arts with a degree in graphic design. He was the comics consultant for Disney Adventures magazine, where he wrote and often drew the popular Last Laugh feature. John is the co-creator and illustrator of the graphic novel series Jax Epoch and the Quicken Forbidden and Teen Boat!, both with writer Dave Roman. He has also worked as a writer, illustrator, or designer on comics and graphic novels for Nickelodeon Magazine, DreamWorks, Scholastic Graphix, and DC Comics. John lives in Brooklyn with zero cats and way too many LEGOs.

Rating: 4 Stars

This was a fun read. The ridiculousness of the plot actually became part of the experience. I know you would never see these animals doing the things they do in the book in real life, but it was fantastical and fun. It reminded me of a short before a Disney/Pixar movie.

Hippo was a great character, a gentle giant if you will. He goes along with the schemes of his friend, Red Panda, and starts out very shaky. As they go through more and more jobs, I actually saw Hippo getting better. He really picked up on a variety of skills at each job, like management and cooking, all while Red Panda was messing things up as the physical comedy of the piece.

I think the most impressive job was when Hippo became a chef.

There are a lot of people I know that couldn't cook half so well as this creature that has no thumbs!

The art was beautiful. I thought that it might have been hand painted, but at the end I discovered a note that said it was hand drawn, but colored and finalized on a computer. I like that the author was able to retain that hand painted quality while still using modern technology without making it look overdone.

Hippo and Red Panda's journey is a lot of fun and shows that you don't have to settle for what life has given you, though maybe there is something to it at the end of the day.

As a special treat and part of the tour, I'm able to share with you an illustration that will only be shown on my blog (until publication that is!). Allow me to present Mr. Hip Hop Hippo!

Tour Stops
There are so many of us involved in this tour and I hope you'll take a moment to read my fellow SST members thoughts on this book.

May 9th
Cathy (

May 10th
Elle Parker (

May 11th
Briana (Pages Unbound -

May 12th
Melanie Hays (

May 13th
Emily (

May 14th
Lynette Floyd (Charmingly Simple)

May 15th
Jessica (

May 16th
Tanya (

May 17th
Margie (

May 18th
Amber Mann (

May 19th
Belle (

May 20th
Mia Swartz (

May 21st
Trisha Loehr (

May 22nd
Mehsi (

May 23rd
Maura (

May 24th
Ashlynn King (Library)

May 25th
Kattie Sivley (

May 26th
Martika (

May 27th
Marcilia Loubach (

May 28th
Stephanie Torina (

May 30th
Elizabeth (

May 31st

Katie (

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Review: Paper Girls Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

Paper Girls Volume 1 - Written by Brian K. Vaughan, Illustrated by Cliff Chiang & Matthew Wilson

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

Collects Paper Girls #1-5.

Rating: 4 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The characters are a little hard to keep track of at first, but you get the hang of it fairly quickly. The weird part about them (Erin, Mac, KJ, and Tiffany) is that they don't act like any twelve year old kids I've ever met. Maybe I'm mis-remembering, but their personalities are different than i would've imagined, given that their world is disappearing around them. So, while it is weird that they're acting really mature in the situation, it's actually also admirable. Adults would be freaking out when dragons/pterodactyls/monsters pop out of the sky, but these kids are handling it more or less just fine.

The art was very complementary to the story, which I find can be a problem in some of the American comics I read. It can be too rough oftentimes, but the illustrators found a good balance here and that made reading Paper Girls all the better. The girls looked a bit older than I would've thought suitable because in the story they're meant to be twelve or so and they look more like sixteen. It isn't a problem, really, just something I noticed.

The story seems a little disjointed at first. It feels like it flops a bit between being an alien story and a time travel story. By the end it was more cohesive and I think that the series will continue to grow into itself, which is great because the story is really intriguing. I'm curious to see where this all goes, especially considering that cliffhanger!

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Review: Love, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Anstey

Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.

Rating: 3 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I've been reading more historical novels of late, trying to complete the classics: Austen, the Brontes, etc. Every once in awhile, though, I need a break from the somewhat heavier historical novels (Gabaldon and her Outlander books comes to mind) and I've found that Love, Lies, and Spies is a good book when one wants to continue with a historical book that isn't emotionally heavy.

LL&S was a bit difficult to get into at first. It rather felt like I'd started reading the book a couple chapters in instead of at the beginning. I persevered, though, and soon found it to be more enjoyable which is lucky. I was worried for a moment there that it would stay like that the entire book!

The romantic aspect of the book was interesting. There were several times it reminded me of ballroom scenes in Austen novels when one character would be talking or thinking about their love interest before realizing that maybe, just maybe that person reciprocates the feelings. It was a bit thick in parts, like a heavy perfume, where the love feelings falling into place happened rather quickly and just a bit too neatly, even for a "spy novel".

All in all, I think that this was a light read; a good one, but not a great one. I'm curious to see what further works by this author might be like.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Double Feature Reviews: Ooko by Esme Shapiro & Fuchsia Fierce by Christianne Jones, Illustrated by Kelly Canby

Ooko has everything a fox could want: a stick, a leaf and a rock. Well, almost everything . . . Ooko wants someone to play with too! The foxes in town always seem to be playing with their two-legged friends, the Debbies. Maybe if he tries to look like the other foxes, one of the Debbies will play with him too. But when Ooko finally finds his very own Debbie, things don't turn out quite as he had expected! 
     A quirky, funny, charmingly illustrated story about finding friendship and being true to yourself.

Rating: 4 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I loved the art in this book. It was just quirky enough to keep my interested and just colored enough to be cool.

This book works both in black and white (how I initially read it on my Kindle) and in color (on my phone).

The story was good. It wasn't too heavy handed, the message was good, and very relateable. Ooko is a fox that is lonely, wants to make friends, and tries to fit in with the other "foxes" (dogs) and the "Debbies" (humans). The parallels between what we face in society today and Ooko's difficulties are easy enough for a young child to understand and interesting enough for the adult reading the story to their young.

Fuchsia Fierce is a bold name for a bold girl, but she wasn't always so brave. Thanks to her parents, her camp counselor, and her friends, Fuchsia finally learns how to live up to her name.This vibrant picture book will teach every reader the importance of self confidence: a priceless lesson.

Rating: 3 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The art really stood out with the colors. Kelly Canby did a good job of illustrating the different activities that Fuchsia was initially missing out on and what she learned to enjoy after her revelation.

The story was a simple one about finding your self confidence. I'm a little suspicious of how easy it was for Fuchsia to resolve her core problem so quickly, but it's also difficult to tell how much time passes at this camp, so what seems like a couple of days could actually be a few weeks which would be a bit more believable.

I think a lot of little girls will like this book and might aspire to be like Fuchsia: fierce and brave.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Books I Picked Up On A Whim

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme that is brought to us by The Broke & the Bookish. Check out the topic list here.

I don't pick books up on whims as much as I used to. What with getting used to using Goodreads, knowing bloggers, reading Twitters for recommendations, and the like, it cuts down on the whim buying.

These are some "older" titles on my shelf that I remember being ones that I bought without knowing to much about and some arcs that I requested not knowing a whole lot about aside from a cursory glance at their summaries.

In no particular order:

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Review: Evicted: Poverty and Power in the American City by Matthew Desmond

New York Times Bestseller

From Harvard sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond, a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America

In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.

The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, “Love don’t pay the bills.” She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas.

Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced  into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship.

Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.

Rating: 4 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest  review.

I'm not usually one for non-fiction books as I find them to be exceedingly dull. However, the writing in Evicted reminded me that there can be exceptions to this common occurrence in my reading.

The subject matter is a very real problem in this country and I didn't realize just how deep the problem was until I faced eviction myself recently. The terror, the panic that you feel with that looming over your head is not to be underestimated. It can be an all consuming cloud of feeling that fills your head and your heart.

Matthew Desmond did a fantastic job in bring the stories of both the tenants facing eviction and the landlords enforcing it. I would've expected one or the other, but reading about both sides of the story really brought out the human nature aspect of the tale.

This book will give you many things, hopefully. Knowledge, compassion, understanding. It will teach you about the strength and the weakness of people who have everything and yet nothing to lose.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Review: Flawed by Cecilia Ahern

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

Celestine North lives a perfect life. She's a model daughter and sister, she's well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she's dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule. And now faces life-changing repercussions.

She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.

In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society where obedience is paramount and rebellion is punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her-everything.

Rating: 3.75

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book started out as an annoyance. Celestine, in the beginning, was not very likable. She was the perfect girl that you hate because she is too perfect, not one crack showing, which I understand (her society being what it is) but that doesn't stop her from being annoying.

However, there was a turning point in the novel that I think made Celestine at least a little more human, if not a much better character than she was before the event.

First, here are some problems I had before said turning point. These are the things that almost made me turn around and abandon the book.


1. I didn't quite believe the world set up. Using contextual clues, it seems like this world's system of identifying and punishing the Flawed citizens is only two generations old. It doesn't seem to be that far in the future. We're expected to believe that such a strict system of morality overtook this country, if not this world, in, what, 40-50 years? That seems on the extreme side and I seriously question whether it's even feasible. The Flawed system is too extreme for me to find it believable that it came into "perfect" existence that quickly.

2. Celestine was a hard character to like. Her "voice" for the first few chapters was both frustrating and interesting. She's supposed to be this character of clear cut morals, black and white decisions with no room for questions. The stilted nature of her inner thoughts and her speaking to others, her constant quoting of the dictionary and grammar corrections of others, all of these felt weird, but I could go with it because I felt like she was being portrayed as a character with some sort of extreme social awkwardness.

The event that apparently starts her questioning everything she knows and values seems rather insignificant when you consider she's been her society's version of perfection up until now. When a neighbor is taken away for being Flawed, that's apparently enough to catapult her into this state of, maybe everything I've been taught is wrong and I should figure out who to question and get to change the way things work. While yes this system is wrong, her reaction was rather extreme when you take her character into question and whether this really seems like something she would do.

3. There's a part 80% of the way through when a character named Alpha, one of Celestine's former teachers, convinces her that she'll be able to help Celestine, help her be the voice of the Flawed population. As she's explaining this charity she founded to help Flawed At Birth children, she says that the Guild, the moral body of the government, supports her because her charity will help take some of the costs off of raising the children of two Flawed parents.

However, based on everything we've been led to believe about the Guild and their laws regarding helping the Flawed (it's basically a crime, this is a contradictory statement. What she describes is supposed to be highly illegal and punishable by imprisonment. It felt like a big plot hole or at least a serious mistake on the part of the author.

4. I'm not sure if this is so much a problem as something that I think I would've like to hear more about/something that didn't get developed very well.

At the beginning of the book, Celestine is in love with Art. They've been together three months, but she's young so I can almost overlook the love of my life ideal she has going on. My problem is that his character seems to almost disappear after Celestine is accused of being Flawed. Art is mentioned just enough to remind us that he's there, but he doesn't do or mean much to the story so his "appearances" feel forced.

The other possible "love interest" in the book, Carrick, is mentioned even less that Art. Carrick is in a holding cell beside Celestine and though they never exchange a word, over the course of the rest of the book, Celestine seems to develop feelings for him and even says that she feels this strong bond with him. While they've gone through some of the same things (being found guilty of a Flaw, being branded, etc.), it felt really superficial that she would have such strong feelings for someone she has essentially never met. She spends a great part of the story looking for him after she's released from her holding, but her reasoning isn't sound.


Even with these flaws (no pun intended), I did start to appreciate and even like Celestine more after she has been branded. She shows a courage during that event that didn't seem entirely in keeping with what we knew about her previously, but I think it really jolted her into realizing that, no, things aren't going to get better just because you want them to be, because you believe in these people you idolize.

It's a bit slow at first, but she starts to become interesting. It's like she grows a spine and finds her personality. There are still some instances where she grated on me a bit. In the last 25% or so of the book she reminded me of Katniss and her journey to becoming the Mockingjay. There are a lot people that want Celestine to, essentially, be the Mockingjay for the Flawed people. She, of course, wants nothing to do with that, but she does want answers and she does want the man responsible for her extreme pain/torture to be punished.

I didn't realize that this was going to be a series when I first picked it up. I'm not unhappy that it will be. I'm not exactly happy with where the book ended because it felt a little cut off, but this might turn out to be a successful maneuver on the author's part as I definitely want to read more about Celestine and what she does next. I only hope that she doesn't turn into a Katniss doppelganger.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Top 10 Tuesday: Ten Websites I Love That Aren't About Books

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme that is brought to us by The Broke & the Bookish. Check out the topic list here.

I do a lot of web surfing. When I started out making this list, I thought it would be easy. However, an hour or so later, I realize that a lot of the sites I visit have something to do with books. Most are blogs, there's Goodreads, etc. So this week isn't a true Top 10, but here are some of the sites that I most frequently visit that don't have anything directly to do with books.

This is the main site I visit, as it generally makes me feel better because I don't have to deal with people as horrible as the ones that show up in these stories. On Not Always Right, you read stories about customers behaving badly. I also really like their sister site, Not Always Working, which is similar but is about workers, co-workers, etc., instead.

I peruse Facebook in my downtime because most of my friends are on there. There are a lot of groups on there that have funny memes, cute cats, etc. There are also a couple of collectors groups I watch in case I see something I like. I used to play games, but no more.

There's Book Tubers, there's Team Epic Reads, there's DIY YouTubers. There's a whole host of things to watch on YouTube and you could spend the whole day going through my subscription list. My favorite videos are from Good Mythical Morning, The DeFranco Family, and Philip DeFranco.

I love keeping up to date with all my friends on Twitter and various other people besides. There are so many news releases on Twitter now that I'd miss a whole lot if I didn't check in daily.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Edge of Wild Street Team: Guest Post by Danika Stone

Transplanted from New York City to the tiny mountain town of Waterton, Alberta with the task of saving a floundering new hotel, Rich Evans is desperate to return to the city as soon as he can. The locals seem unusually hostile towards his efforts, or maybe even menacing, and was that a cougar on his door-step last night? As Rich begins to wonder whether his predecessor disappeared of his own accord, he finds himself strongly drawn to Louise Newman, the garage mechanic who is fixing his suddenly unreliable BMW, and the only person in Waterton who doesn’t seem desperate to run him out of town. As Rich works on the hotel, the town is torn apart by a series of gruesome, unsolved murders. With Louise as his only ally in a town that seems set against him, Rich can’t help but wonder: will he be the next victim?

I was first introduced to Danika Stone through Nori's Street Team and Danika's book All the Feels. I look forward to reviewing that book in the next couple of months, but today I'm here to introduce you all to Edge of Wild. It's eerie, spooky, and all the good things you might look for in a good fiction novel.

My full length review will be posted on 5/8, but until then, Danika has kindly written a guest post for me. It's topic: horror movies! This is one of my favorite genres, though I don't get to watch these movies as much as I like because I'm the only one in the family that likes them.

I asked Danika to pick her Top 5 Favorite Scary Movies and I think she's done a spectacular job. There are some classics and a new one that sounds positively, well, horrifying.

Danika Stone’s Top 5 Scary Movies

I’ll admit it, I’m a scary movie buff.

The adrenaline is a natural kick. The more tension in a scene, the better, and I love to hate the skin-crawling feeling of watching a terrifying movie, my heart pounding at every twist and turn. It’s why I love writing thrillers! So when @hermitlibrarian asked me to choose my top five scary movies, I had to really think.
I have so MANY.

To make the choice a little easier, I forced myself to pick a favorite from each of the last five decades (The 70s was a tough call between Alien and Jaws, but I think I made the right choice.) Here are my favorites from oldest to newest!
  1. Alien (1979)
This movie is timeless. From the can’t-escape-claustrophobia of climbing through the ducts to Sigourney Weaver’s BAMF portrayal of Ellen Ripley, there isn’t anything I don’t like about this movie.
  1. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
I remember watching this movie on the VCR at a friend’s house, while we huddled under a crocheted afghan in the basement. The scene on the moors is nightmarishly perfect, and the movie has some of the best dream sequences of any horror film I’ve seen.
  1. Se7en (1995)
This movie is all about the violence you don’t see played out onscreen. The vague hints and brief appearances of disturbing images throw your imagination into overdrive.
Side note: I can’t believe this movie is more than twenty years old!?!
  1. Twenty-eight Days Later (2002)
I love zombie flicks… OMG I LOVE THEM. And this movie is why?
In 2002, Twenty-eight Days Later relaunched the zombie franchise by switching the plodding, brain-eaters for fast-moving infecteds. And with that, a whole new generation of zombie fans was born!
  1. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2015)
I have been DYING to share the secrets of this movie with everyone I meet, but I’m not going to give spoilers, because it’s too new. If you have a chance to see this movie in a theatre, GO! The movie echoes so many of the elements I love from each of the movies of the previous decades. I guarantee this scare-fest will stand the test of time!

About the Author

Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both adults (The Intaglio Series, Edge of Wild and Ctrl Z) and teens (Icarus, and All the Feels). When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.

Be sure to return on June 6th when Danika returns for another guest post, this time featuring All the Feels.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

YaReads Blog Tours: Review & Giveway - The Lonely Ones by Kelsey Sutton

the lonely ones kelsey sutton

Thank you to YaReads Blog Tours for allowing me to hose a stop on this tour! The Lonely Ones by Kelsey Sutton is an oddly unique book that I don't think you'll want to miss.

Before I get too into my thoughts on it, please take a look at some of details of this fabulous middle grade fantasy novel.

The Lonely Ones

The Lonely Ones by Kelsey Sutton

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Published by Philomel Published on April 26th, 2016

 With parents too busy to pay her attention, an older brother and sister who would rather spend their time with friends, and peers who oscillate between picking on her and simply ignoring her, it’s no wonder that Fain spends most of her time in a world of her own making. During the day, Fain takes solace in crafting her own fantastical adventures in writing, but in the darkness of night, these adventures come to life as Fain lives and breathes alongside a legion of imaginary creatures. Whether floating through space or under the sea, climbing mountains or traipsing through forests, Fain becomes queen beyond – and in spite of – the walls of her bedroom. In time, Fain begins to see possibilities and friendships emerge in her day-to-day reality. . . yet when she is let down by the one relationship she thought she could trust, Fain must decide: remain queen of the imaginary creatures, or risk the pain that comes with opening herself up to the fragile connections that exist only in the real world? Told in breathless and visual verse, THE LONELY ONES takes readers through the intricate inner workings of a girl who struggles to navigate isolation and finds friendship where she least expects it. 


About The Author

Kelsey Sutton is the author of teen novels SOME QUIET PLACE and GARDENIA. She is also the author of two novels for middle grade readers, THE LONELY ONES and BENJAMIN. She lives in Minnesota, where she received a dual bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Bemidji State University. She is currently working on a master’s degree from Hamline University. Her work has received an Independent Publisher Book Award, an IndieFab Award, and was selected as a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013. When not writing, Kelsey can be found watching too much Netflix, ordering a mocha at the nearest coffee shop, or browsing a bookstore. You can follow her website and like her on FacebookGoodreads, and follow her on Twitter @KelseyJSutton.

Rating: 4 Stars

I'm not usually a big fan of verse books because I feel that most of them can't pull me in adequately enough to enjoy the story, so what's the point really?

I'm glad that I decided to give The Lonely Ones a chance in spite of my misgivings. It is not only lyrical, but it is relateable. I understood how Fain felt through out the story. The words pulled me in, but it was what I saw of myself in the main character that made me want to stay and see where this was all going.

The thing that impressed me the most about the way the book was written, besides the verse being very good and very interesting, was that it did not lag much. I would have expected a book like this to at least have some parts where the flow just didn't work, but there were next to none. I found myself gobbling this book down like there was no tomorrow. Maybe it was because I was loving the story so much or because  the book is so short, but it was gone in a day, a fact which made me quite sad.

Luckily for you, as someone who hasn't read it yet, I can share below an exerpt from the novel so that you can get just a taste of the excellence that awaits you.

Read below for an excerpt from The Lonely Ones


Claws scrape

against my window sill.

Then, a voice,

raspy, childlike, familiar.

It calls my name

and becomes a symphony.

“Fain, are you coming?”

“Come with us, Fain!”

“Wake up!”

“Open your eyes, Fain!”

I try to be firm,

I try to say no.

There’s a voice in my head

that whispers I’m getting too old

for these games and adventures.

The ground is so thick with mud

that someone could notice

my tracks.

But my little friends persist

again and again.

Their pleas batter

against my resolve,

until debris crashes down

and I am too weak to resist.

The unbearable truth is

no one will notice my tracks

because no one notices anything.

I take one of their scaly hands,

a feather tickles against my cheek.

Then I climb outside

and disappear into the night.

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Nori's Sunday Street Team - Review & Giveaway: Genius: The Game by Leopoldo Gout

Trust no one. Every camera is an eye. Every microphone an ear. Find me and we can stop him together.

The Game: Get ready for Zero Hour as 200 geniuses from around the world go head to head in a competition hand-devised by India's youngest CEO and visionary.

The Players:
Rex- One of the best programmers/hackers in the world, this 16-year-old Mexican-American is determined to find his missing brother.
Tunde- This 14-year-old self-taught engineering genius has drawn the attention of a ruthless military warlord by single-handedly bringing electricity and internet to his small Nigerian village.
Painted Wolf-One of China's most respected activist bloggers, this mysterious 16-year-old is being pulled into the spotlight by her father's new deal with a corrupt Chinese official.

The Stakes: Are higher than you can imagine. Like life and death. Welcome to the revolution. And get ready to run.

Rating: 4 Stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

If you like For the Win by Cory Doctorow, then I think you will very much enjoy Genius: The Game. Genius kids tackling huge problems with little more than their wit and their determination? These kids aren't just smart, they are SUPER smart. They are could take over the world if they wanted to smart, but they aren't jerks about it, which could turn the story in a different direction in a split second.

There were a couple of little things that weren't wrong, exactly, but that didn't work for me. I'll mention them in a minute. There were also a couple of things that, while they seem small in comparison to the rest of the book, bugged me so much. It's like a little itch that becomes the biggest, most annoying itch of your life and you can't scratch it. Those will be below as well.

What I Liked

  • The diversity: the three main characters are all from different countries and none of them are white. You've got Painted Wolf (Chinese), Rex (Mexican, currently living in US), and Tunde (Nigerian).
  • The images in the book that depicted the diagrams, schematics, secuirty images, etc.They were cool on the Kindle, but I bet they'd be even cooler on the page. 
  • Tunde leaving his village for the first time. I think it's interesting to see him begin his journey to the Game. While he is brilliant when dealing with schematics and making machines of all kinds, he still finds the wonder of constant running water at the airport a marvel. Watching him transition from a tiny village to enormous advanced cities was strange, but interesting. He was seeing for the first time things that a lot of others take for granted.
  • The progression of the story was fast paced. It didn't linger too long on unnecessary events, which I appreciated, especially with the high stakes these kids are facing.

Things That Were Slightly Problematic, But Not Big Deals

  • Tunde's first chapter is a bit strange. His speech pattern is oddly formal, but I think you can find  a rhythm after awhile.What I don't know or understand is the italicized sentences. Not being familiar with Nigeria, I can't tell if this is the language spoken there or gibberish.
  • There's a lot of tech speak in the book that I don't understand as I'm not into coding or scientific pursuits. This made it kind of difficult to tell whether the characters knew what they were talking about or were just babbling.
  • The contestants, or rather, the variety of their specialties in regards to the game. For all that the creator of the Game talked about bringing together great minds from different disciplines, which there were, the Game itself was geared so that only a select few could actually complete the tasks at hand.

Problems That Were SO Annoying

  • I'm not sure how Rex got on to the plane to go to the Game. His parents are illegal immigrants and from what I can tell, he is as well. How was he able to board a plane without having any identification to show? A passport, a license, something. Up until that point, there was no mention of his being able to fake such credentials.
  • Re: Teo - what kind of parents give a three year old a thumb drive as a Christmas present? It's a choking hazard to begin with and is just a really odd choice besides.
  • This weird jealousy Rex seems to develop after Kiran shows Painted Wolf around the facilities. It seemed really unnecessary and came from out of nowhere. There was no indication prior to it being mentioned that he had any feelings of that sort for her.

This was a lot of fun to read. It had its confusing moments, but using context clues I was able to move past these. I definitely want to see what else this author can do. I've read similar authors that stuck to this sort of genre and while their books are good, they're all contained within their comfort zone. If Gout can push his limits, I think we can see more fantastic works in the future.

About the Author:

Leopoldo Gout is the producer behind many films including Days of Grace, which A.O. Scott of the New York Times called "a potent and vigorous film." He is also a writer, artist, and filmmaker. Leopoldo is currently involved in various film and television projects including major adaptations of the Alex Cross series, with the author James Patterson and the upcoming film adaption of Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life.

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