Bras & Broomsticks

Bras & Broomsticks by Sarah Mylnowski

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Life isn’t fair. Especially, Rachel Weinstein’s life. Not only is she not part of the popular crowd, but for fourteen years old she’s rather “undeveloped.” And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Rachel has just found out that, not only is her mother a witch (literally!) but her younger sister Miri is also one. Yup, that’s right…the witch craft gene passed Rachel, the older of the two girls, right up.

And the more familiar both Rachel and Miri become with Miri’s new found witch-y abilities, Rachel realizes that this is all going to be wasted on Miri, who wants to wait until she’s fully trained before pulling any rabbits out of hats.

But after some persuasion, Rachel finally convinces Miri to test the waters and cast a spell. Even though Miri refuses to cast a popularity or a love spell, explaining they are far too complicated for her to even consider trying, Rachel figures out another way Miri’s magic can help her become more popular, and help her land the guy of her dreams – a dancing spell. If Miri will just cast a spell to make Rachel a better dancer, than all of, well most of, Rachel’s problems will be gone.

Or will they?

Bras & Broomsticks, written by popular YA author Sarah Mlynowski, is the first book in the author’s Magic in Manhattan series.

Mlynowski’s writing is simple yet engaging, often writing as young teen girls would think and speak. Because of her catchy, and often witty writing style, the writing is the real superstar. Mlynowski doesn’t rely on fancy words and run on sentences. Instead she relies on comedic situations, quick and snappy dialog, and real life drama that any and every teen girl can relate to.

In terms of characters, Mlynowski’s characters are well crafted and well developed. But even though there were well crafted characters, not all of them were likable. As a reader, I found that I loved Miri, the younger sister. She’s smart, self reliant, and has a big heart. I rooted for her the whole way through.

However, main character Rachel, I found to be too self-centered and over dramatic to really like or even care about. It’s not that she’s not a likable character, it’s fact that she’s so flawed, it’s hard to see beyond them. But Rachel is young, and obviously has a lot of growing up to do. I suspect that she will grow as the series does.

What I enjoyed most about Mlynowski’s Bras & Broomsticks was these two aspects: the witch/witchcraft aspect and the Manhattan setting.  I loved that the witch/witchcraft aspect wasn’t hokey. From reading, it came off as believable and realistic. As for the setting, I loved it from the start. Manhattan is such a lively, colorful city, perfect for witch-y mayhem.

For what Bras & Broomsticks was, for me, it was simply an okay read. I like the plot, even liked how it was executed. However, I really didn’t like Rachel, and not liking the main character presents a real issue for me as a reader. Even though I’m curious to find out more about what happens next, I’m not one hundred percent certain I will continue on with the series.

Winter Break Book Blogger Challenge: Day Sixteen

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Hello Readers!

Today is January 5th, and today is the last day of Andi and Amanda‘s Winter Break Book Blogger Challenge: Sixteen Days of Blogging. Before jumping right into the challenge I want to say THANK YOU to both Andi and Amanda for hosting such a fun challenge! Admittedly, I didn’t think I’d blog every single day, but I did and I’m happy I did.

Day Sixteen: Books You Are Looking Forward to Reading in 2014

There are a lot of book I want to read in 2014. But that list is way too long. Mainly because it’s a combination of 2014 releases and backlisted releases. I’m only going post my top five books that I really want to read during this year.

5. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

4. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

3. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

2. Because it Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin

1. Unhinged by A.G. Howard

Winter Break Book Blogger Challenge: Day Fourteen

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Hello Readers!

Today is Day Fourteen of Andi and Amanda’s Winter Break Book Blogger Challenge: Sixteen Days of Blogging. Today’s challenge is quite interesting, and quite simple for me.

Day Fourteen: A Bookish Item That I Would Want

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The bookish item I would want is this literary poster depicting my favorite book To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee created and designed by Emily Schutt.  Emily Schutt has an Etsy shop (EmilyRaeIllustrations). I found this recently when searching for something … anything … To Kill A Mockingbird related. I think this illustration really captures the spirit and the meaning of the book. 

The Moon and More

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

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Emaline has her summer all planned out. Being the last summer before going off to college, she plans on making the most of it. And making the most of it means spending as much time as possible away from the family real estate business and spending it with best friend Daisy and perfect boyfriend Luke.
And at the start of the summer season, her plan of making the most of it is working out perfectly. Daisy has found their dresses for the end of summer beach bash. And Luke’s kisses still send a jolt of electricity through Emaline’s body.  Everything is going according to plan.
That is until several unexpecteds pop up. Emaline’s biological father shows up with her younger step-brother in tow. She hasn’t talked to him in months, since he snubbed her graduation invite. As if this wasn’t bad enough there’s a new guy in town, Theo, who seems to have taken an immediate liking to Emaline.
Even if she can’t handle her father at the moment, she can handle Theo. She’ll just ignore him. And ignore she does until she finds out that Luke cheated on her with some out of town bimbo.
With her summer suddenly turned upside down, Emaline finds herself making the wrong decisions. She’s now dating Theo, despite the fact that her friends and her family don’t really like or trust him. She’s slacking off both at home and at work. And worst of all, she’s moments away from blowing up at her biological father.
The summer that was supposed to be easy and breezy is turning out to be the most difficult one to date. Will Emaline survive?

Author Dessen has written dozens of books. So it’s no real suprise when I say that I really enjoyed her writing and her overall writing style. The plot was inviting. The desciptions were evocative. And the romance was present, but not overwhelmingly son.

Dessen’s words paint a crystal clear image of Colby, of the well-crafted characters, and the entire storyline. Besides this, I swear author Dessen must have transportive powers. Even though I read this during the month of December, a bitterly cold month, while reading I felt as if I were in Colby, with the warm rays hitting my face and the scratchy sand nestling between my toes.

The characters that filled the pages of The Moon and More were all enjoyable, even if they weren’t all likable. Main character Emaline is a girl who knows what she wants, and one who isn’t afraid to go after it. Even if going after it means making a few mistakes. Smart, funny, and self-assured Emaline what every main character should be – realistically flawed, full of emotions, and most all open and honest. Through good and bad choices, readers will root for her the whole way through.

Dessen gives a well rounded view of Emaline’s friends, family, community,and even love interests. But of all of those characters two stood out to me most: Daisy and Morris. They are both great character who work well in the story, as a couple and as individual characters. Daisy is fresh faced and fashion forward. While Morris, who appears to be going nowhere fast, is wise beyond his years. Personally, I wish these two had a book all of their own!

Unfortunately though I didn’t like all of the characters that graced the pages of this book. From the start I wasn’t keen on Emaline’s long term boyfriend Luke. For no particular reason he seemed to rub me the wrong way. It was as if I knew from the start that he would hurt Emaline.

And Theo, the out of towner turned love interest. I liked him alright when he was first introduced, but as the book progressed, and I got to know him as a character, I realized that he too wasn’t very likable. I found him, often times, to be pompous and self-asbsorbed.

While we’re on the subject of characters, Emaline’s coastal town of Colby felt as if it were a character in it’s own right. That’s how present the setting was in this book. Colby and all it’s eclectic residents has personality. Readers will feel instantly welcomed into this close knit community.

As just over four hundred pages Dessen’s The Moon and More was long. And not just in page length. Pacing seemed to be a bit of issue – sometimes reading far too slow for personal tastes. Because of this The Moon and More seemed slower and longer than what it actually was.

Winter Break Book Blogger Challenge: Day Thirteen

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Hello Readers!

Day thirteen of the sixteen days of blogging challenge is here. And for this challenge I’m to post a picture of my life outside of books and blogging. I’m a girl of many facets, who has many interests and loves. But anyone who knows me and knows me well, knows that I’m a HUGE music junkie! Growing up my music tastes varied, but now as an adult my tastes have settled. But there’s been one band and musician that I’ve been listening to since I was little.  And that band is:

NO DOUBT!

gwen

GWEN STEFANI

adrian

ADRIAN YOUNG

tom

TOM DUMONT

tony

TONY KANAL

As much as I’ve grown, and as much as my musical tastes have changed, No Doubt and their music has always remained a constant in my life. Beyond the band, I’m an insanely HUGE Gwen Stefani fan – I own a good majority of her L.A.M.B. and Harajuku Lovers handbags, I own every single album/CD both No Doubt and Gwen Stefani has ever created. If there’s a magazine with the band and/or Gwen I own it.  Complete and utter fangirl, check! And I’m proud of that.

So if there’s anything that represents my life outside of books and blogging, it’s music. And what better to represent my love of music but by pictures of my most favorite band!

Top Ten of 2013

Hello Readers!

Out with the old and in with the new! It’s 2o14 and I’m taking a look back over the books I’ve read in 2013, and picking out what I loved. What I liked. And what I didn’t like.  Honestly, I’ve read a lot but I didn’t necessarily like all that I’ve read.  But we’re not talking about those books. Today, I’ll be talking about the top ten books that I didn’t only like, but loved!

Top Ten YA Books:

10. Revenge of the Girl With The Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg

9. Hysteria by Megan Miranda

8. The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding

7. Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell

6. The Dead and The Buried by Kim Harrington

5. The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman

4. Out of Easy by Ruta Sepetys

3. The Archived by Victoria Schwab

2. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Honorable Mentions:

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab

Croak by Gina Dermico

Top Ten Children’s Books:

10. The Dark by Lemony Snicket

9. Goldilocks and The Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

8. Being Wendy by Fran Drescher

7. A Home For Bird by Philip C. Stead

6. Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier

5. Octopus Alone by Divya Srinivasan

4. Flora & The Flamingo by Molly Idle

3. If You Want to See A Whale by Julie Fogliano

2. Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman

1. This Moose Belongs To Me by Oliver Jeffers

Honorable Mentions:

Tea Rex by Molly Idle

Chloe and The Lion by Mac Barnett

This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

Winter Break Book Blogger Challenge: Day Twelve

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Hello Readers!

Today is day twelve of Andi and Amanda’s Winter Break Book Blogger Challenge: Sixteen Days of blogging. I’m sad to say that the challenge is winding down. But I’m happy to say that I’ve been diligent – normally I start things like this but never finish them. Not only am I happy, I’m proud that I stuck through it.

Day Twelve: What are your New Year’s Reading Resolutions

It’s January 1st which means as of today I’m setting a new reading goal for myself. But here’s the thing, my reading goal, I try to keep it low in the hopes of, not only making it, but surpassing it (as I did this year!). So I’m setting my reading goal at a nice round number of 125 books. This was the same goal I set last year, and the same goal that I met and I surpassed.  I’m confident that I’ll make it, even though I admittedly am not the fastest reader.

As a reader and a librarian I, very obviously, have a fair amount of books. A lot of those books I’ve already read. A lot of those I haven’t. One of my goals in 2014 is to read the books I’ve been meaning to, the books that I’ve had just lying around for quite sometime.

In terms of books, I’ve already mentioned that I have a fair amount. Some of those books are ARCs (advance readers copies) I’d give you a number count, but I haven’t counted out of fear. I don’t want to get rid of all my books – that’s just crazy talk now! But I would like to get rid of some. So in 2014 I’m going to do my best not to hold onto books, to find better homes and/or donate them.

A few years back I resolved to stop reading a book if I wasn’t enjoying it. I’ve stuck with that resolution, and I’m going to continue it in 2014. There are plenty of great books out there, so why should I spend time reading ones that aren’t?!

Besides reading I have several blogging resolutions.

In 2014 I really, really want to become a better, a stronger reviewer And I think the only way to do that is to commit myself to review every single book I read, even the ones that I find too difficult to review.

Besides that I want to blog more regularly, maybe not every single day of the week but a few more days that I already do.

And on a more personal level, I’m an aspiring writer. I’ve been working on a project for quite sometime. I will not resolve to write every single day because I know that’s not realistic for me. But I hope to write more, to dedicate a few hours every week. But doing this I hope to complete the project which I’m currently working on.

So, that’s it. Those are my resolutions. Happy New Years! And I hope 2014 is a great one!