Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things

{Mini} Book Reviews: What I Thought was True, The School for Good and Evil

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Pages: 422

My Life Next Door, Fitzpatrick’s debut novel, was amazing. It’s easily one of my top 5 contemporaries of all time. I was hoping that What I Thought Was True would make it up there too, but unfortunately, it didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I liked What I Thought Was True, I just didn’t love it. 

I felt like there was too many characters introduced. A lot of them never amounted to anything, or at least, I felt like without their addition, the story could have continued on regardless. I couldn’t even draw much sympathy for our MC Gwen. She was quick to judge others, which is an injustice she and the other permanent islanders battle against the “rich” vacationers every summer.

Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Pages: 488

The School for Good and Evil is one of the most creatives books I’ve read in a long time, perhaps even ever. It’s also one of the funnier books I’ve read because I found myself LOL-ing A LOT. Unfortunately this book is about a 100 pages too long. Especially towards the end, I found myself skimming the pages. A lot happens, back-to-back-to-back and without any time to ruminate I found myself forgetting things that *just happened*. You know it’s bad when you keep hoping a book will finally end. Regardless, I’m very interested in what happens next so I’m sure I will read the sequels.

Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things

{Bookish Gush} Cynthia Hand & “The Afterlife of Holly Chase”

Welcome to the first and maybe not last? Bookish Gush! I basically decided to create this post because one of my favorite authors, Cynthia Hand, has a new book coming out November 7, 2017. ZOMG. Soooo long from now! 

I fell head over heels in love with Cynthia’s Angelic trilogy Unearthly about 5 years ago. I’ve also met Cynthia in person at a book signing. She’s so sweet and super funny!

So besides wanting to help spread the word about Cynthia’s new book The Afterlife of Holly Chase, I also wanted to gush about the new cover that was just revealed. I love it! It’s dark and mystical and totally fits the description of the book.

On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.

She didn’t.

And then she died.

Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge–as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.

Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable.

But this year, everything is about to change. . . .

Have you read any books by Cynthia? What books are you currently gushing over??
Radiant book cover

Radiant (Unearthly #2.5) by Cynthia Hand

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 94
Release Date: December 4, 2012

Novellas, a rather new concept, seem to be all the rage these days. I’ve read a couple for Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers series, but they all were released after the predecessor *book* was out. Radiant is the first novella I’ve read that truly attaches one book to another. At the recent Pitch Dark Days signing I went to, Cynthia Hand talked about how Radiant was originally part of Boundless and how the publicists encouraged her to take it out. She said they felt like the story in Boundless doesn’t really begin until after the events in Radiant occur. I agree. Well… I haven’t read Boundless yet, but I agree that it would have dragged the plot.

So I think, making a novella with the original first chunk of Boundless – was genius, especially because of what we find out.

Angela has always been an iffy character for me. I don’t know if it’s how Hand writes her, or the fact that she’s very bottled up and sometimes mysterious, but I just can’t wrap my mind around her character. I can’t figure out which line she’s on. She strikes me as one of those characters who walks down the line of good and evil, precariously close to either side. In Radiant, although we get some Clara-POV, the story mainly focuses on Angela.

Finally we get to meet Angela’s mystery guy. I’m not going to go into details because since Radiant is so small, there’s only so much new info we learn. I will say that I am even more intrigued by mystery guy and his role in the final book. I definitely feel like he’s going to take at least a semi-important role in Boundless, which is why if we didn’t get this section in the beginning of Boundless, it was absolutely essential to have in some form or another, before the final book comes out.

Overall I was pleased with Radiant. I thought that it gave us some new tidbits to stew over and a nice connection between Hallowed and Boundless. I’ll definitely be reading more novellas in the future, especially because a lot of ”Imprint” novellas seem essential to their corresponding series. 

 Great read! Shelf-worthy.
Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things

Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Pages: 272
Release Date: May 1, 2008

Although not an amazing book, Oh. My. Gods. was nonetheless, a fun read. 

Phoebe’s life is pretty good. She’s got two great friends and a solid chance at getting a full-ride to USC for her superb cross country running abilities. Everything seems to be going right until her mother comes back with two big surprises. 1: She’s engaged and 2: She and Phoebe are moving to Greece in a matter of weeks. Phoebe’s life is quickly turned on it’s axis.

Early on, we and Phoebe, find out that not only is her new stepfather a descendant from one of the main Greek gods, but that the school (where he works) that Phoebe will be attending, is a secret academy for Greek god descendant children. And oh yeah, Phoebe is the only non-supernaturally-gifted student there. Phoebe feels like an outsider the moment she arrives at the academy.

Oh. My. Gods. was cute in the sense that it didn’t take itself too seriously. It was a lighthearted read, never really exploring too deeply, the darker and crueler nature surrounding the Greek Parthenon. 

This was a fast-paced novel, but not in a good way. A lot of events were rushed or not fleshed out enough. A character could be nasty one minute and in another 5 pages, a completely different person. There’s also some insta-love which I find, totally cheapens a potential and budding relationship. I liked Childs’ spin on Greek mythology and wished that the book had been meatier, more character and world building could have really made this book stellar. 

An “okay” read. Borrow don’t purchase.

Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things

Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy #1) by Jennifer Estep

Publisher: Kensington Teen

Pages: 350
Release Date: August 1, 2011

I’ve been reading a lot of books lately featuring characters finding themselves forcibly shipped to supernatural or mythical boarding schools. These types of books seem to be in an upward trend lately, some good and some not-so good, so needless say, I was both anxious and weary of what Mythos Academy was like.

I found that Touch of Frost wasn’t too unique when it came to characterization. Our main character, Gwen Frost is Mythos Academy’s underdog. Basically in the beginning of the book, she’s on the outside looking in. Surrounded by tons of warriors-to-be, Gwen feels like an outcast. Although she has an, in my opinion, wicked cool power called psychometry (ability to see flashes and witness the history that comes along with touching certain objects and people), it doesn’t really help her when giant panther-like prowlers decide she’s a tasty meal. Thankfully though Mythos’ sexy and dangerous, Logan Quinn, resident bad-boy and bad-ass Spartan keeps an eye out for Gwen. Gwen, who I should mention, is also sometimes referred to as “Gypsy Girl”. Throw in a bunch of rich-snobbish Valkeryies, Mythos’ popular, girl clique, and you’ve got the plot for a half-a-dozen other books. This review might sound kind of negative, but don’t me wrong, I did like this book. A lot. There’s just a few bones I had to pick, including the not-so original character lineup.

Like I was saying, this book might have some downward moments, but there’s also a lot of good quirks too. Gwen Frost, although not super-strong or super-fast like many of her classmates, is pretty kick-ass in her own way. She’s feisty in the sense that even when Logan Quinn starts to sweet talk her, she makes it known, multiple times, that she’s not going to be another one of his many female playmates. Rumors around Mythos’ claim that he’s the play-boy type, and although as a reader we haven’t learnt if this rumor is completely true, I was still proud of Gwen for standing strong. She’s not easily bullied and I really respect that.
This is me sort of rambling but… I wanted to give a small shout out to Gwen’s grandma. I don’t know if it was solely the writing or the fact that I miss my own grandma a bit (being away school sucks at times); but I basically loved grandma Frost. She’s very wise, in many ways. Not just because she’s been around and seen many things, but also because of her gift to glimpse the future. She’s basically the only real, steady rock in Gwen’s shaky life. Also, she make’s very yummy cookies and other baked goods. Best. Gramma. Ever. Right!? Okay back to actual reviewing…

Touch of Frost was a fun ride. The writing style was very easy follow and flowed very well. There was a nice balance of description and dialogue so it was easy to pay attention and not lose focus. Although, not incredibly-original, the various characters, Logan, Morgan, Daphne, Gwen, and so forth, were very likable and believable. Morgan, Mythos’ second-most popular girl, and “known” wi-atch, was completely believable in the sense that you couldn’t stand her.
Another aspect of Touch of Frost that I really enjoyed was its compilation of various myths and religions throughout the world. Most books tend to focus on just one set of gods and goddesses, Greek, for instance. However in Touch of Frost a plethora of different gods and goddesses and their warriors were introduced such as Roman, Egyptian, Japanese, Irish, Norse, and so forth. I think including all the different mythological gods, heroes, and creatures, was a great idea. It really opened the story up to more possibilities. I could easily see spin-offs and other stories branching of from these original novels. With a school full of heroes-to-be there’s endless, unique possibilities for new adventures and stories.

I should also mention that although Touch of Frost is classified as a YA book there’s quite a bit of mature and almost vulgar dialect (a little bit), so I’d say this book is for older teens and up. 

Great read! Shelf-worthy.