Review: The Swap by Megan Shull

19321449 Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: August 26, 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books
Length: 400 pages
Source: Katherine Tegen Books (ARC)

YOU BE ME…AND I’LL BE YOU.”

ELLIE spent the summer before seventh grade getting dropped by her best friend since forever. JACK spent it training in “The Cage” with his tough-as-nails brothers and hard-to-please dad. By the time middle school starts, they’re both ready for a change. And just as Jack’s thinking girls have it so easy, Ellie’s wishing she could be anyone but herself.

Then, BAM! They swap lives—and bodies!

Now Jack’s fending off mean girls at sleepover parties while Ellie’s reigning as the Prince of Thatcher Middle School. As their crazy weekend races on—and their feelings for each other grow—Ellie and Jack begin to realize that maybe the best way to learn how to be yourself is to spend a little time being someone else.

review

This book was such a fantastic read. I never thought I would love it because I thought the characters were going to be annoying & too immature for me since they are 12 and 13 year olds. This is told in 1st person dual point of view of Ellie (Elle) and Jack. Ellie is in 7th grade and is trying to fit in while Jack is in 8th grade and is trying to cope with his mother’s death. These two characters swap bodies during the first day of school and it was just fun to read how they tackle each other’s lives. Since the book has two narrators, I’m happy to say that I was not confused on who was narrating at all because Ellie and Jack are very different from one another. Ellie is this 7th grader who just wants to fit in by trying to befriend her ex-best friend Sassy, the most popular girl in school while Jack sees all of Sassy’s flaws and knows how true friends should be.

One of the things I love about this book is how Ellie and Jack changed as a person ever since they swapped bodies. Ellie was whiny at the beginning, but by being in Jack’s body and life, she learns a lot of lessons from Jack’s brothers and she changed big time as the story progresses. What I loved about Jack is that he is so caring! I wish there was more like him in real life. He is very understanding, polite, positive, and funny.

Besides the two main characters, I also loved the supporting characters! The author did a fantastic job of giving them distinct personalities. I especially loved Jack’s brothers (Gunner, ) because they are so headstrong and supportive! I also like how they are all respectful especially to their father even though he is very pushy and doesn’t settle for “good”. Their father wants them to strive in hockey and life in general but he pushes them so hard that sometimes the boys doesn’t think he loves them. The only thing I did not like about the brothers is that I feel like the only words they know are “bud, bro, nails, tough”. Sometimes I’d be like “can you please expand your vocabulary” lol.

Overall I just love how even though the two main characters have different lives, they were able to learn from each other’s lives and apply it to the real world. There are a lot of lessons to take from the story even if it is a light and easy read. The characters were very real and relatable. Although some things were a bit cliche in the book, it did not really bother me. I was engaged the whole time and I recommend it to everyone!

4 of 5

2nd Blogoversary – Part 2 with Rosamund Hodge

Hey everyone! If you missed part 1 of my blog’s 2nd anniversary, check it out here where I interview Emil Ostrovski author of The Paradox of Vertical Flight! Today I have the wonderful Rosamund Hodge who wrote one of my favorite Beauty & the Beast retelling, Cruel Beauty. Before we get on to the interview, here is a little bit about her…

15839984

I love mythology, Hello Kitty, and T. S. Eliot. My debut novel is CRUEL BEAUTY, a YA fantasy where Greek mythology meets Beauty and the Beast.

 

 

 

 

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Q: One of the things I loved about Cruel Beauty is the way you mixed Greek mythology with Beauty and the Beast. Was it difficult to intertwine them?

No, actually, because the parallels between Greek mythology and Beauty and the Beast were what inspired me in the first place. When I was a kid, one of my favorite myths was the story of of Cupid and Psyche. Briefly—an oracle tells the king he has to sacrifice his daughter to a “monster.” But the daughter, Psyche, isn’t devoured by a beast as she expects; instead, the wind carries her to a strange palace with invisible servants who tell her that she is a bride. And every night her husband comes to visit her—but he forbids her to see his face. When her jealous sisters persuade her light a candle anyway, she discovers that he’s Cupid, the god of love. But because she broke his command, he becomes a prisoner of his mother Venus, and Psyche must complete a series of impossible tasks—ultimately going to the Underworld—in order to free him.

As much as I loved the story of Cupid and Psyche, I never planned to write a retelling of it. In a way, it felt too perfect: what could I add? Then a few years ago, I read the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon, which is basically a half-and-half mix of Beauty and the Beast with Cupid and Psyche. (The girl marries a polar bear, who turns out to be an enchanted prince trying to escape the princess of trolls.) Suddenly I realized that all three stories were the same story, working itself out in different ways. And that was the birth of Cruel Beauty.

Q: Your favorite quote from Cruel Beauty?

“He made his choice, and lief or loath he shall have it until the end of time.”
(I have, no joke, been waiting to use the phrase “lief or loath”—an archaic way of saying “willing or unwilling”—since I was fourteen years old and read it for the first time.)

Q: Who is your favorite Greek mythology character?

It’s hard to pick a favorite, especially since a lot of characters in Greek mythology are not exactly likable. But I’ve always liked Cassandra, the prophetess who’s been cursed so that her predictions will never be believed. Because she always knows what will happen and can’t change it, her position in the story is like the audience’s, and that’s a fascinating dynamic to me.

Q: Random fact about Cruel Beauty?

My inspirations included fairy tales, mythology, T. S. Eliot, and C. S. Lewis . . . but also Gene Luen Yang’s brilliant little comic book Prime Baby. I can’t tell you why, because it’s a spoiler for both books; just read it. You won’t regret it.

Q: I read on your website that your new book, Crimson Bound, will be out next year! Could you describe it in 3 words?

Swords. Guilt. Nightfall.

Thank you so much for your time, Rosamund! Make sure you follow her on the interwebs!
Goodreads | Twitter | Website

2nd Blogoversary – Part 1 with Emil Ostrovski

Hey guys! So my blog just turned 2 years old today. That’s really crazy. I just want to thank everyone – authors, bloggers, my followers, viewers, publishers, and my parents (for buying me books haha). I also want to thank those who comment on my blog posts. I know it’s time consuming to read AND write a comment so I really appreciate it. This past year has been a crazy journey…I’ve had a lot of reading and blogging slumps and I even considered to just stop blogging because sometimes I would get really lazy to type up a post. I decided not to because I know I’ll regret it. I think it’s better for me to go on a hiatus instead of quitting. Anyways, I decided to contact the authors whose books have impacted me and I’m so glad that they agreed to do an interview even though they are busy…so thank you so so much!

Today I have Emil Ostrovski, author of one of my favorite books, The Paradox of Vertical Flight! He is such a great writer which is why I wanted to interview him, and I’m so glad he said yes! Before we get into the interview, here is a little bit about him…

Emil Ostrovski

14290962I’m twenty-three.

Rather than give you a witty, self-deprecating account of the trials and tribulations of my twenty-three year old, suburban, upper-middle class, went-to-a-girl’s-liberal-arts-college life, I’ll admit that I haven’t really done anything much worth reading about.

So in lieu of providing you with my biography, I will recommend that you read Desmond Tutu’s. Here.

Why Desmond Tutu?

Well, I’ve always liked his name.

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Q: Welcome to Little Book Star, Emil! I noticed on your website that you also write short stories. Do you prefer writing short stories as to a novel?

I like writing short stories better. They’re less of a commitment (I have literary add and major commitment issues), and if you want, you can write short stories about recurrent characters or places and get an effect very much similar to that of writing a novel or novella. A novel, by contrast, is necessarily a massive project, and as such, it weighs heavily on you psychologically. Unfortunately though, it’s virtually impossible to make a living off writing short stories, so I concentrate my efforts on novel writing out of financial necessity and a rare streak of pragmatism.

Q: How would you convince a person who hates reading into becoming an avid reader?

Look, obviously, as a writer, reading and writing are very important to me. People, for whatever reason, are pretty universally drawn to stories. If someone hates reading, I’d be tempted to say they just aren’t reading the right things, and I would encourage them find a book or story or publication that appeals to their interests. I would also say that books expand our imagination, our sense of what’s possible, they enlarge our understanding of other people and of the world we inhabit together. That said, everyone’s different. Not everybody has to be an avid reader. You’re alive once. If it genuinely makes you happier to climb mountains or skateboard or do jumping jacks on the roof of your house at 3 a.m. while singing Ella Fitzgerald’s Somethings Gotta Give in a tone-deaf bass, then go for it.

Q: Would you rather read or write for the rest of your life?

Good question! Read, probably. Because if I’m not reading, I don’t think I’ll be able to write anything that’s worth anyone else’s time anyway. Besides, reading is a lot more fun than writing.

Q: What’s your favorite word? Mine’s lackadaisical (such a fancy word for being lazy haha).

Haha, lackadaisical is a good one! Mine is apotheosis. :)

Q: Random fact about The Paradox of Vertical Flight?

The original title was “To Grandma’s House With Socrates.” The Spanish title translates to “Socrates’s First Trip/Voyage,” and the German title is, “Where there’s some time…”

Thanks so much for interviewing me, Leigh!

All the best to you!

Thank you so much for your time, Emil! Make sure you follow Emil on the interwebs!
Goodreads | Twitter | Website

Review: (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

18599667 Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: June 10, 2014 by HarperTeen
Length: 336 pages
Source: HarperTeen (ARC)

Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

Except…
There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.”

review

If you didn’t know, I go into reading books BLIND. Meaning, I do NOT read the summaries before reading books. After reading the book, that’s when I read the summary…and let me tell you, I did not get the information that’s on the summary in the book. After reading Don’t You Forget About Me, I still did not understand what the “fourth year” was until I read the summary, and that’s really bad! The book should be the one that has the explanation of the world building, not the summary. For me, this book was just a hot mess. The world building was really bad because it was very confusing and lacked details. I think I could have enjoyed this book if the author put in more explanation of why Gardnerville, where the story takes place, is like that. Also, the main character, Skylar, is unreliable because of the pills she takes which just makes everything more confusing.

What I do like though is the sort of mind blowing ending. It kind of cleared things up a bit about the world and Piper but it was still lacking. I also like how the chapter titles are songs. I think it would be really cool to be listening to the song while reading that chapter (if you don’t get distracted easily).

Overall I just strongly disliked this book. I was itching for the book to end so I can pick up and read a new book (I hate not finishing a book I’ve started which is why I pushed through Don’t You Forget About Me). I did not care for the characters at all in this book because they just seemed flat to me. I also did not like how the story jumped from present day and then past. It wasn’t necessary in my opinion. The romance was also bad. This book is just very different. I think readers will either love it or hate it. I don’t recommend this book at all but if you do decide to pick this up just remember it’s not a fluffy read and get ready for a lot of confusion because of the weird puzzles the MC is trying to solve.

ARC August 2014

ARC August 2015

First off, wow, I’ve been gone for a month. I really missed all of you & I’m so sorry for the lack of posts. I’ve just been really busy especially since I’m part of my friend’s court for her 18th birthday (debut). We’ve been hanging out a lot and practicing our dances. Anyways…so I joined ARC August last year and it was lots of fun! I’m so excited that Octavia decided to host another ARC August. I’m so up for the challenge! Here is what I’ll try to read during the challenge:

1. Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts
2. Amity by Micol Ostow
3. Feral by Holly Schindler
4. The Jewel by Amy Ewing
5. Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson
6. A New Darkness by Joseph Delaney
7. Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes
8. The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan
9. Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten
10. Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

Any of you joining ARC August!? If not, you should! Let me know in the comments what you’ll be reading!

Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling

3 Genre: MG Fantasy
Published: November 1, 2003 by Scholastic Press (first published 1997)
Series: #1 (Harry Potter)
Length: 310 pages
Source: bought (at Target)

Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He’s never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry’s room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in ten years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him… if Harry can survive the encounter.“

review

I got two words for this book: THE FEELS. Harry Potter is one of those books that will take you on a journey without you having to leave your seat. Not once did I get bored while reading this book. I loved all the characters (even the antagonists) especially Harry Potter. In the movie I kind of disliked him, but in the book he is much smarter and keen which made me glad. I love how Rowling was able to put so much depth in all of her characters! They each had their own personalities and flaws which made them more relatable. What I also loved about this book is the world of Hogwarts. I now understand why everyone wishes this place was real. I just love the whole idea of having a school of witchcraft and wizardry! J.K. Rowling did a fantastic job of making the place alive and entertaining.

Besides the characters and the world building, I love all the plot twists! Although I have seen the movie, I don’t remember much (thankfully) so my jaw literally drops every time there is a plot twist. Overall this book was just perfect and I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series. I recommend this to everyone whether you are a child, a teenager, or an adult. If you are looking for mysteries, adventures, friendships, or a vacation from Earth, read Harry Potter now, you muggles!

5 of 5

Review: Grendel by John Gardner

676737 Genre: Classics
Published: June 2, 2010 by Random House Vintage Books
Length: 180 pages
Source: bought (at Barnes & Noble)

The first and most terrifying monster in English literature, from the great early epic Beowulf, tells his side of the story in a book William Gass called “one of the finest of our contemporary fictions.” 

 

 

 

 

review

Grendel was a very interesting read because if you’ve read Beowulf, Grendel is the antagonist in that story, but in Grendel, he is the protagonist. I like reading books where the antagonist from the original story tells his/her own story of why he/she acts that way (like the movie Maleficent). The first half of the book was very sad because Grendel tells us why he acts so angry towards humans and he has a very reasonable answer. I also like how Grendel is given emotions in this book unlike in Beowulf, he is only depicted as a monster. Grendel is actually quite smart. He likes to observe his surroundings and has a very caring personality. The dragon is also involved in this story and he is very wise. He gives Grendel advices about the things that he had acquired through his experiences. The only thing I did not like about this book is the 2nd half. It pretty much went downhill from there because I honestly did not understand anything I’ve read. I feel like the author was packing the chapters with empty words when he can just directly say what was happening. Overall it is a good book to read after you have read Beowulf.

3 of 5

Review: The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex #1) by Lindsay Cummings

13576132 Genre: YA Dystopian
Published: June 10, 2014 by Greenwillow Books
Series: #1 (The Murder Complex)
Length: 400 pages
Source: Greenwillow (ARC)

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

review

The Murder Complex is a fast-paced, dystopian book about Meadow Woodson who is trained to kill and fight by her father. I have mixed feelings for this book because of the world building. I understand that there are Leeches, Gravers, and Pirates that roam around the society to punish those who chooses to disobey the commandments, but what I cannot picture is the world. It was hard to imagine it because I think the author was focusing more on the action scenes than the world. The other thing I did not like about The Murder Complex is how the two main characters, Meadow and Zephyr, sound so much alike! This book has alternating view points so it was hard to distinguish which character was narrating even if the first page of the chapter says Zephyr/Meadow was narrating. Also, I noticed that the author tends to be redundant at times.

What I loved about this book though, are the action scenes. There were a lot of blood scenes which will make it hard for you to put down the book. Some scenes also reminded me of The Hunger Games and Divergent. I also like how there were a lot of plot twists right off the beginning. This is the type of book where you won’t pay attention to what chapter you are at because you just want to keep on reading! I was actually surprised to see the acknowledgements page because I wasn’t aware that I was already reading the last chapter. I also liked the romance during the 2nd half of the book because at first it was kind of insta-lovey. Overall I recommend it to those who loves reading dystopian books or books with a lot of twists and action!

3.5 of 5

Classics, Why So Pretty? {Discuss #17}

discuss

Besides young adult, I also enjoy reading classics (no joke) and this is all because of all the English classes I have taken in high school. So last week (June 5th) I was browsing at Barnes & Noble’s Classics Collectible Edition and I was just mesmerized by all the beautiful, leather bound covers. I decided to buy like 6 of them haha. I kind of got carried away. After ordering them, I went on YouTube because I wanted to see how they really looked like. I knew that they all did not have the same height, but I didn’t care! THEY WERE ALL PRETTY. Then, I saw this one youtuber who had the Penguin’s edition of the classics and UGH, they had pretty covers as well! They have a lot of  collectible edition but these two are my favorite: Penguin’s Hardcover Classics & Penguin Drop Caps. My crazy side says COLLECT THEM ALL and the logic side of myself says TOO EXPENSIVE (unless I win the lottery which is close to impossible lol). Also, I want to collect them (at least one edition) because the beautiful covers just motivates me more to read classics (especially the long ones)! I can honestly stare at them all day #noregrets.

So here is my question for you… have you ever had that debate with yourself whether you should collect the awe-looking, hardbound classics (or any type of book/series)?

Penguin Drop Caps Deluxe Hardcover

Review: The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik

18602796 Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: April 22, 2014 by HarperTeen
Length: 320 pages
Source: HarperTeen (ARC)

Anna Eliot is tired of worrying about what other people think. After all, that was how she lost the only guy she ever really liked, Finn Westbrook.

Now, three years after she broke his heart, the one who got away is back in her life.

All Anna wants is a chance to relive their last kiss again (and again and again). But Finn obviously hasn’t forgotten how she treated him, and he’s made it clear he has no interest in having anything to do with her.

Anna keeps trying to persuade herself that she doesn’t care about Finn either, but even though they’ve both changed since they first met, deep down she knows he’s the guy for her. Now if only she can get him to believe that, too….”

review

The Last Best Kiss is a really great read if you are looking for a light and fluffy contemporary story. It is realistic for the most part since the story is about a girl trying to fit in, but at the same time there are unrealistic aspects. This book is about our protagonist, Anna, who tries to fit in by turning down Finn, a very lovable and nerd-looking freshman boy whom she likes. I love how the author developed her characters because at first Anna is this freshman who would do anything to fit in, and Finn, who looks like an innocent boy who has a crush on Anna, but as the story progresses, these two mature little by little and it was just fun to read how they both have changed.

This book has those cliques but it did not really bother me since the story was focused more on character growth and romance. Sometimes Anna was a bit annoying because she was so focused on being high up on the social ladder, but I like how she became aware of how stupid she was as she progresses on in high school. I also love how Anna’s family is involved in some way. We get a peek at Anna’s sisters’ lives and her dad’s. I think her dad is a pain to be with (he’s that dad who has a favorite out of all his children) yet hilarious.

Overall this book was an easy and fun read! I recommend it if you are looking for a light summer read.

3.5 of 5


Well hello there! Thank you so much for stopping by. Little Book Star is a young adult book blog ran by Leigh, an 18 year old avid reader. This blog consists of book reviews, giveaways, author interviews, and more! Feel free to explore!
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