Review/ Leona’s Unlucky Mission

Review/ Leona’s Unlucky MissionStar Darlings Leona's Unlucky Mission Series: Star Darlings #3
by Shana Muldoon ZappaAhmet Zappa
Format: Paperback
Published by Disney Press on January 5th 2016
Pages: 176
Source: Book Bought
Genres: Action & Adventure, Chapter Books, Fairy Tales & Folklore, General, Readers, Young Adult

Leona is very focused on her studies and is especially busy as the lead vocalist in the Star Darlings band.Star-Zaps start buzzing, and the girls know it's probably time for one of them to head to Wishworld.It's Leona's turn, and she's bursting with excitement. She can't wait to get there and become a successful Wish-Granter. But she'll have to challenge herself to put her own desires aside and truly understand what her Wisher needs-before her Countdown Clock runs out of time.

This is the third book in the Star Darlings series.

What I am really liking about the books so far is that each girl is completely different from each other but they all seem to compliment each other in some way.

I just have to take a minute to talk about the books themselves. For some reason middle grade books have the best covers and you can see alot of work went into each and every book from each girl having their books printed in their color. I love the covers because it shows the girls what they look like when they are Star Darlings and what they look like when they go to Wishland.They don’t even look the same.

The mystery bouquets of flowers are still causing problems amongst the girls and the girls are all wondering what happened to Scarlet and why did she get kicked out of the Star Darlings. Then to add more confusion to the mix a new girl, Ophelia has replaced her.

I was once again a little confused with a particular point in the book where all of a sudden Cassie and Leona seem to be the best of friends considering they never really spoke or hung out before. It just seemed a little odd to me. Could it have something to do with the flowers?

For me Leona wasn’t my favorite Star Darling of the series as I found her to be a bit annoying with her self centeredness and her lack of compassion and caring for another sister.

This is Leona’s turn to go to Wishland. Leona’s wishling is a shy girl named Lily. Leona thinks she hit the jackpot when she finds out that Lily likes to sing so she convinces her to try out for the talent show. When she agrees Lily’s dreams are crushed when a bunch of mean girls make fun of Lily. She manages to convince her to go through with it just the same.

Leona thinks things are on track with her mission but quickly realizes that its not all going as planned. When she successfully collects the energy on the girls are on their way back Leona’s wish pendant is destroyed. This is the first time its ever happened. What could it be that caused it?

Check back tomorrow for my fourth book review in the series.



Review/ Libby and the Class Election

Review/ Libby and the Class ElectionStar Darlings Libby and the Class Election Series: Star Darlings #2
by Shana Muldoon ZappaAhmet Zappa
Format: Paperback
Published by Disney Press on September 15th 2015
Pages: 176
Source: Book Bought
Genres: Action & Adventure, Chapter Books, Fairy Tales & Folklore, General, Readers, Young Adult

Charming Libby is a people pleaser who is slow at making decisions. She has to learn how to say no, stand up for herself, and feel more confident about her choices.All of the Star Darling roommates have received beautiful bouquets of sparkly flowers welcoming them to Star Academy. The band tryouts begin and many different girls show up to audition. Meanwhile, the Star Darlings are dealing with their personal conflicts and issues.Libby's mission: Libby finds a flower in the Wish Caves, but her only clue as to whom it belongs is a ballot with two names on it. When Libby goes down to Wishworld, she identifies the wisher and exhausts herself, thinking she has to help grant all the wishes. Libby's friends come down to help her get back on track.

One of the best things about discovering this series is that I am able to read a bunch of them back to back without having to wait too long for the next set of books to come out in the series.

This is the second book in the Star Darlings series and it focuses on Libby. I don’t want to talk to much about the book because its the next book in the series. You can read them in probably in any order but for myself I like to read them in order just in case a character is mentioned in the next book you will have an idea who it is and not feel like your missing out on something.

Libby and the Class Election focuses on Avia and Libby helping her with her wish of being a class president. But is that really Avia’s wish? What happens when this possibly isn’t Avia’s wish? Will Libby be able to fix it before its too late?

One of the thinks I really liked was the little mystery aspect of the book. All the girls in the Star Darlings receive a mystery bouquet of flowers. This is mentioned quite a bit in the book and it actually caused me to want to read the book faster to find out who it is and thats the cliff  hanger when the book ends.

The only thing that I was a little confused over was that Libby never got her moment to shine at the end of the book. This is where Lady Stella hands the girls who come back from their missions successfully with their Wish Orbs. Instead the book ends with a bit of drama that I think could have waited until Libby had her special moment. This drama will continue so you will have to read it to find out.

I am excited to share with you my review for book three tomorrow. I am really liking the series so far and I can’t wait to see where it goes.


Review/ Sage and the Journey to Wishworld

Review/ Sage and the Journey to WishworldStar Darlings Sage and the Journey to Wishworld Series: Star Darlings #1
by Shana Muldoon ZappaAhmet Zappa
Format: Paperback
Published by Disney Press on September 15th 2015
Pages: 176
Source: Book Bought
Genres: Action & Adventure, Chapter Books, Fairy Tales & Folklore, General, Readers, Young Adult

Welcome to Starling Academy. Twelve very special students have been selected from this year's class to reclaim the wish energy that powers their beloved planet, Starland. The Star Darlings, as they are known, take classes where they learn how to grant the wishes made on birthday candles, shooting stars, dandelions, wishbones, and coins tossed into fountains, just to name a few. Their top-secret mission will take them to Wishworld (known in some places as Earth). There they will have to find the Wisher and figure out how to grant the wish before time runs out and they are stuck on Wishworld forever. Sage is the first Star Darling soaring off to Wishworld. Travel with her as she discovers how challenging life on a new planet can be and how she learns the importance of friendship, teamwork, and never assuming anything.

The Star Darlings is a new series from Disney Press that is perfect for middle grade girls. The series is broken down into 12 books featuring each of the elite Star Darlings girls.

I love how each book is broken down so that girls can understand each girl much better. The begin begins with a brief description of the girl, what their wish pendant is, and what their power crystal is. The next feature I really like about the book was that you can see who all 12 girls are and it lists various things about each girl such as name, birthday, favorite color, interests, wish, etc and funny enough I noticed that each girl sort of represents a zodiac sign because each girl was born in that month.

Plus at the end of each book their is a Glossary which is perfect understanding terms and words much better.

The girls are all referred to as Starlings and they live on Starland. I should say that Starland is years and years ahead of Wishland. Starland is powered solely on wish energy and in order to get that energy they harvest it by granting wishes to the people of Wishland. Just like here on Earth Starlings don’t live forever so in order to keep the Starling population plentiful young girls must attend Starling Academy which is an elite academy and I don’t thing everyone gets in.

So Sage and the Journey to Wishworld is the first book in the series. I would highly recommend reading them in order just so you can follow the story line much easier. In the first book, Starling Academy is trying out a pilot project that is top secret and only 12 girls are selected to be in it. They want to see if granting the wishes of adolescent girls will harvest more wish energy.

Sage is the first Starlings to go to Wishworld. She must use the knowledge she has learned so far from the Academy. She realizes that its not so easy to find her wisher and when she does she is on a time limit. She must find out what the wish truly is and I thought it was perfect for the first book. Towards the end their is a little hiccup but she quickly realizes what it is and she runs to save herself before its too late.

I won’t say to much more about the book except that it was a fun read and I think girls would love this series.

To go along with the books,  Disney has created apparel and a doll line that goes with the Starlings band. There is even a music video for their first song which I am including here:

There is also a YouTube Channel (click here to go there) and a fun website filled with all kinds of things such as activities, an app to download and so much more, to go there click on this.

Check back all this week for more book reviews on this series.

Review/ Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

Review/ Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel SavitAnna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
Format: ARC
Published by Random House Children's Books on January 26th 2016
Pages: 240
Source: Book From BEA 2015
Genres: Europe, Family, Historical, Holocaust, Orphans & Foster Homes, People & Places, Young Adult

A stunning, literary, and wholly original debut novel set in Poland during the Second World War perfect for readers of The Book Thief.   Kraków, 1939. A million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. This is no place to grow up. Anna Łania is just seven years old when the Germans take her father, a linguistics professor, during their purge of intellectuals in Poland. She’s alone. And then Anna meets the Swallow Man. He is a mystery, strange and tall, a skilled deceiver with more than a little magic up his sleeve. And when the soldiers in the streets look at him, they see what he wants them to see. The Swallow Man is not Anna’s father—she knows that very well—but she also knows that, like her father, he’s in danger of being taken, and like her father, he has a gift for languages: Polish, Russian, German, Yiddish, even Bird. When he summons a bright, beautiful swallow down to his hand to stop her from crying, Anna is entranced. She follows him into the wilderness. Over the course of their travels together, Anna and the Swallow Man will dodge bombs, tame soldiers, and even, despite their better judgment, make a friend. But in a world gone mad, everything can prove dangerous. Even the Swallow Man.    Destined to become a classic, Gavriel Savit’s stunning debut reveals life’s hardest lessons while celebrating its miraculous possibilities.

I received this book for free from publisher/pr firm in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I picked up Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit during BEA 2015. I was drown into the cover when I first spotted it. Its very simple but I think eye catching at the same time.

As I sit here trying to write my review I am still thinking about the book. So I will have to be careful with my review because I don’t want to give the story away and I tend to have a habit of doing that. Don’t you just love it when I book holds onto you?

I went into the book not knowing what was going to happen and reading it I realized it was being told during the war and I wasn’t sure I was prepared for that because I find those kinds of books very difficult to read. I do have to say its not that bad and its really not the focus of the book but you do know a war is happening. I think that is why I enjoyed the story more.

There is quite a few characters in the book but the main are Anna, the Swallow man and then a guy named Reb. I have to say that the Swallow Man and Reb were complete night and day but it worked and it balanced the two of them out and I think despite their differences they were looking for the same thing, acceptance. They both loved Anna and would do anything to protect her.

The book begins in 1939 in occupied Poland. Anna is seven years old. Anna’s father is a linguistics professor and he has to attend a lecture that has been mandated by German authorities and we all know what that means and where this is going. He leaves Anna with a friend of his but when he fails to return home he forces Anna to leave. Anna has no where to go because the door is locked in her apartment and no one will take her in.

On the streets of Krawkow she sees a tall elegantly dressed man who manages to charm Anna when he has a swallow land on his finger. He takes her under his wing so to speak and before long they become traveling partners. The books spans over a few years because we see Anna is growing up.

The Swallow Man taught Anna how to survive and they did and it wasn’t all sugar coated and happy you could see the struggle they endured with sleeping outside in harsh weather conditions, hiding from the enemy, the day to day struggle of blending in when they went into a city and the fight for food and how they would only eat once or twice a day. I think these are all live lessons that saved Anna in the end.

Reading the book you realized how different the world has become. Anna and the Swallow Man were able to cross man borders and patrols with no problems and the only one who had documents was Swallow Man. There was only one point in the book they encountered a problem and that was crossing into Russia but even through the gunfire no one was seriously hurt and they all remained together.

As I was reading I felt like I was traveling with them and I could picture the group traveling together.

For me the ending end like their could possibly be another book but I’m not sure but I would like there to be because I am curious to what Anna is doing and where she ended up along with the Swallow man.


Review/ First Love by James Patterson & Emily Raymond

Review/ First Love by James Patterson & Emily RaymondFirst Love by James PattersonEmily Raymond
Format: Paperback
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on December 15th 2015
Pages: 336
Source: Book Bought
Genres: Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Friendship, Love & Romance, Runaways, Social Issues, Young Adult

The New York Times bestseller First Love is now available in paperback, and illustrated with never-before-seen snapshots evoking the romantic trip of a lifetime.

Axi Moore is a "good girl". When Axi invites her best friend, Robinson--with whom she's secretly in love--to come with her on a cross-country road trip, she's finally breaking all the rules. But they soon find that, however far they run, they can't escape the heartbreaking troubles that brought them together in the first place.
In this madcap adventure full of love and loss, Axi realizes that her romance with Robinson might not have the happy ending she was hoping for....

As I was beginning to write this review I quickly realized that this book was released before with  different covers. So just in case you think this is new you might want to check to see if you already read it.

I am a huge fan of James Patterson’s books and I admit its been awhile since I read them and I am a bit behind so I need to get caught up. First Love is not like his typical crime thrillers which was a nice little break. First Love is a sweet story that makes you think of your first love.

Axi is your typical sixteen year old girl. She is a good student and her life is focused. She is that girl who can do no wrong she has never gotten into trouble and she avoids trouble at all cost. She is probably everyone’s dream child who can do no wrong and she does no wrong.

Out of the blue Axi decides she has had enough and wants something different and she wants to experience life so she makes a plan to run away. She is fed up with her life in the small town. She hasn’t had it easy. Her younger sister died of cancer and her mother left the family and never returned and her father is an alcoholic who is basically drinking his problems away and Axi realizes this is probably why her mother left. She enlists her best friend Robinson to go with her.

Robinson is the complete opposite of Axi in which he breaks every rule if possible and will charm his way to get what he wants and its worked for him.

With cash in her pocket and a schedule of places to go and see,  Axi and Robinson head out. Axi thinks they will hope the bus to travel but Robinson has other plans if they are going to do this cross country trip they steal motor cycles, cars, trucks etc and almost never getting caught. Whenever they get in a bind Robinson manages to use his charm to get out of trouble. This is the trip of a life time for both and they are going to places they always wanted to.

Axi and Robinson are making memories that will last a life time. Axi is determined to find a way to tell Robinson how she really feels about him but at times she wonders if he feels the same way. Is it worth risking their friendship for?

I won’t give to much away but I will say that while they are on the road and enjoying their adventure they hit a bump in the road that should stop them but it doesn’t its like they almost know what the outcome will be if the stop it and I think they both want to continue this trip because its more then just and adventure its a matter of life and death and making memories that will always be cherished.

I loved how the book included photographs of their trip and I think that is why I enjoyed it even more. It was a nice touch to the book.

I should warn you that you will need some tissue towards the end of the book and I didn’t realize that right away because up until that point the book was light and fun and I laughed at parts and shock my head in others but I really enjoyed reading this book it was a nice light and fun read. It was the perfect read.

Review/ And Again by Jessica Chiarella

Review/ And Again by Jessica ChiarellaAnd Again by Jessica Chiarella
Format: ARC
Published by Simon and Schuster on January 12th 2016
Pages: 320
Source: ARC From Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Genres: Dystopian, Family Life, Fantasy, Fiction, General, Literary

In the spirit of Station Eleven and The Age of Miracles, this exciting literary debut novel imagines the consequences when four ordinary individuals are granted a chance to continue their lives in genetically perfect versions of their former bodies.

Would you live your life differently if you were given a second chance? Hannah, David, Connie, and Linda—four terminally ill patients—have been selected for the SUBlife pilot program, which will grant them brand-new, genetically perfect bodies that are exact copies of their former selves—without a single imperfection. Blemishes, scars, freckles, and wrinkles have all disappeared, their fingerprints are different, their vision is impeccable, and most importantly, their illnesses have been cured.

But the fresh start they’ve been given is anything but perfect. Without their old bodies, their new physical identities have been lost. Hannah, an artistic prodigy, has to relearn how to hold a brush; David, a Congressman, grapples with his old habits; Connie, an actress whose stunning looks are restored after a protracted illness, tries to navigate an industry obsessed with physical beauty; and Linda, who spent eight years paralyzed after a car accident, now struggles to reconnect with a family that seems to have built a new life without her. As each tries to re-enter their previous lives and relationships they are faced with the question: how much of your identity rests not just in your mind, but in your heart, your body?

I received this book for free from publisher/pr firm in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Would you live your life differently if you were given a second chance?

That is what sold me on the book when I got pitched it to read.

I had no idea what was going to happen and after a bit of a slow start I have to say that I ended up really enjoying the story.

What a great way to ring in 2016 then with a debut novel.

As my readers you know I don’t dip myself into a lot of sci fi and that is mainly because its not usually my cup of tea but I have to admit that after reading this I am a little curious about the whole genre. Although, And Again isn’t really in the sci fi section is more of a fiction book that has the sci fi element to it with the cloning of real life people. The story line is modern day and it wasn’t really a far fetched story line like most sci fi is.

I really enjoyed the four main characters: Linda, Hannah, Connie and David. All four people come from four different walks of life all with a tragic life threatening aliments that get them into this program. The book begins as the four patients are waking up from the transformations. As the story progesses we discover secrets, lies and betrayals. They are all going through changes and learning to adjust to their new lives. Will all four be able to adjust to their new bodies or will the revert to their past ways and hinder their progress?

The chapters are all told in alternating points of view from the four characters and its not confusing at all to follow it along and Jessica keeps each chapter quick and simple and she makes it work.

Another thing I loved about the book was that it was all wrapped up at the end and nothing was left hanging.

So my question for you is, Would you live your life differently if you were given a second chance?