Where I Belong by Gillian Cross

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Hi everyone! Ash here. I just finished reading Where I Belong, by Gillian Cross, and thought I’d write my post right away, when I still have my frustrations clear in my mine.

This book gets 5 pens for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s confusing. Although the characters’ names and personalities are all described on the inside cover of the book, it doesn’t mention anything about how the narrator changes throughout the story. For the first couple of chapters, I thought that it was all one character, and that the names of the characters at the beginning of the chapter were the chapter titles. I know, I could have been a bit more observant, since I’ve read many books where the narrator switches around, but at least those other books mention something about the changing narration!
Like I said, there were a couple of reasons I bumped this book down three pens from your average good-read book rating, which is eight pens. The second reason was that I guessed who was betraying Khadija from the very beginning. I don’t know, maybe I’m just an amazing book reviewing that I always know who the real bad guys are, but I seem to have this problem with many books. Maybe the author thinks, it needs more and more foreshadowing! This isn’t enough! or maybe the character just wasn’t developed enough. Whatever the case, I knew the bad guy from the beginning, and that just made it a bit boring.

That said, it’s not that bad of a book, and if you have some spare time, feel free to read it! It has a great plot line! The characters are just a little too easy to understand.

Now, here for the review:

Where I Belong is a book that is constantly switching narration between the main characters. Khadija, who lives in London, is thousands away from her brother Mahmoud, who lives in Somalia. Yet Khadija holds–or rather, will soon hold–the key to hid life. Someone (this is what I mentioned before about knowing the main bad guy) has kidnapped her brother and is holding him for ransom. Then there’s Abdi, a 14-year old boy coming to terms with the loss of his father, and Freya, the “totally unfashionable” daughter of Sandy Dexter.

Sandy Dexter is a famous fashion designer, and she wants Khadija to be the mysterious Qarsoon: The Hidden One. This is why her brother Mahmoud is kidnapped for ransom, and it’s the person behind the kidnappers who should really be less obvious.

 

Hope you like! Well, not really. I wouldn’t read this book again.

~ Nik

Beastly by Alex Flinn

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Hello!

I apologize, for I haven’t written a post in a while. It’s always something. Vacations, laziness, late-night parties. Just kidding about that last one. I don’t do that kind of stuff.

So here’s a great, 7-pen book review for you today; Beastly.

The amazing book cover, which actually has a reference to a character's hobby!

The amazing book cover, which actually has a reference to a character’s hobby!

It all starts out in high school. Kyle Kingsbury is the most popular boy in school. He is perfect. Perfect looks, perfect life. All the girls want him. All the boys envy him. He has a newscaster as a father, which guarantees him money ( read: popularity). But the night of the school dance, when Kyle brings the wrong type of corsage, his date, Sloane, the prettiest girl in school, hates him for a stupid mistake. He ends up giving the corsage to a random girl, who takes it. He is turned into a hairy creature by a witch that night. His father tries to use his money to help, taking him to doctors to fix his condition, to no avail. Kyle Kingsbury, the boy everyone envied, turned into a beast, banished/ignored by his father to live in a huge mansion, with only the maid and his tutor to keep him company. The only way to change his curse is to love someone before

This is a great book that I really enjoyed reading. I always found myself reading it whenever I could! It was similar to Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorite fairy tales. Yet, it was nicely updated to fit the 21st century. One of the only things I would change about it is the ending. To me, it felt rushed, like the author had to fit in the ending under a certain page limit. Also, the author didn’t really lapse time well; the way they broke it up into sections was confusing. Read it, and see what I mean. I thought it would’ve been easier for me to comprehend the time lapse if there were small events in between the big ones, so it would flow nicer and not be so… “(A month before deadline) —> (deadline)”, if you know what I mean. Wow. That sounded more confusing than it is. Oh well.

Overall, a great book!

Rating: 7/10 Pens

Age Recommendation: 13+, for kissing and the occasional curse word

Thanks! I hope you like it!

-G

What I’m reading- Heist Society, by Ally Carter- review to come soon!

15 Things To Do When You Have Writer’s Block

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Hi everyone! Ash here. I know lots of you readers are writers, whether it be for a magazine (me!), a blog (also me!), or a unfinished novel (me! me! me!). I also have this great tidbit of information: absolutely everyone can get writer’s block. So, I decided to make a list to help all of you writers for when YOU get writers’ block!

15 Things To Do When You Have Writer’s Block

  1. Take a nap. When you wake up, reread your latest work and ask yourself what foreshadowing you may have unknowingly written in.
  2. Have a snack. Studies have shown that you concentrate better when you aren’t hungry.
  3. Read whatever it is that you’re writing OUT LOUD. Yes, I know it sounds humiliating. Yes, I know lots of you readers, including me, would never, ever want their work read out loud, let alone by yourself, the writer! But it has to be done. When you read your writing out loud, it helps you find and correct mistakes in your writing.
  4. Have a friend read your novel to you OUT LOUD. There it is again. Those dreaded words. Out. Loud. Again, it has to be done eventually.
  5. Have a bookish friend critique your work! This means that, of course, they must first read it. You can ask them to read it OUT LOUD if you want, but it isn’t needed. In fact, if I were to critique someone’s work, I’d rather read it silently.
  6. Go outside. Seriously. Just get a breath of fresh air.
  7. Reread a favorite book and pay careful attention to the author’s style. If you’re writing a novel or short story, look at the characters. How do they interact?
  8. If you’re writing a fiction novel, look at the rest of your work and ask yourself if everything is just going perfectly for the characters. If they’re street orphans, do they find food just like that? If they’re captured, do they get out just like that? If they’re sick, do they find medicine just like that? If so, revise your work and make sure your characters go through some hardships. Readers like being able to relate to characters.
  9. Assess and reassess your choice of descriptive words. Maybe instead of writing, “The man was loud,” you could write, “The man’s words seemed to bounce and echo off of every available space, gaining in volume and causing a ruckus.”
  10. Ask a writer friend of yours to tell you what they would write next if this was their story.
  11. Sleep on it. Not just a nap–wait an entire day before you even look at it.
  12. Go to a quiet place where you can concentrate more. Maybe you just have writers block because you feel crowded and overwhelmed by the noise!
  13. Brainstorm names for whatever it is you’re writing–novel, article, short story, etc.
  14. Go out with your camera (or your phone, which most likely has a camera) and take pictures of anything you think relates to your story. You may take a picture of a tree and think to yourself, Hey! Maybe, in my novel, my main character could find a magical genie lamp under this tree! (Then again, the whole genie thing is getting a little old.)
  15. Wait. I know you may think this is the worst advice ever, but when the above things don’t work, waiting is the only thing you can do. Ginger does this. I do this. Yes, even we have to wait for great ideas to pop into our heads sometimes.

Hope you like! (I mean, I hope you really like, because I had writers’ block while writing this, and I just had to wait. Which is possibly the most boring thing ever. Just in case you’re wondering.)

~ Ash

Wake by Amanda Hocking

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Hi everyone! Ash here… finally. Yeah, we’ve kinda been lazy lately. We were going to start doing a couple posts a week and switching off, but then Ginger and I kept going on vacations (i.e. when it was her week, she happened to go on a vacation, and when it was my week, I happened to go on a vacation) and we just became lazy butts, reading but never reviewing. The life of a lazy blogger.

Anyways, I recently read a book I found exciting, interesting, and over way too soon.

Without further ado, here’s the review for this 9-pen book…

Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi, and Thea are the people you envy and hate. Everyone knows there’s something off with them. Everyone’s watching them, but they’re watching Gemma. They want her in their group. Gemma seems to have it all, because she’s pretty, without a care in the world. Not as pretty as Penn, Lexi, and Thea, of course, but there’s something wrong with those three.

One night, while Gemma is out on a late night swim under the stars, she finds Penn, Lexi, and Thea partying on the cove. They somehow convice her to join them, and Gemma wakes up the next morning on the beach, disoriented, but not enough to ignore the fact that something’s different.

Now Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever, but she knows there’s something wrong. Her new powers and abilities, which you’d never guess, come with a big, bad price tag. As she uncovers the truth, she has to choose between her family and friends or a dark new world filled with frightening secrets.

Like I said before, this is a 9-pen book that merits your attention! It’s a great book, so go out and read it!

Hope you like!

~ Ash

Kindle App

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Hi all!  I can’t wait to share this spectacular app with you, as it is great for reading whenever, wherever, you want!  Okay, I know Ash said that this wasn’t gonna be reviewed, but she’s been bugging me for a review, so I thought of this!  (And maybe, just maybe, I wanted to do this review just to prove Ash wrong… hehe)

This app is awesome for reading.  You can read wherever you want.  I actually used this app to finish a book while in a tree just a few days ago.  Also, you can use this app whenever you want, because it never crashes and saves where you’re reading (like a virtual bookmark!)  Also, this app is free, so you can save your money for something else.  Well, it’s free, assuming you have a Kindle and have books on it, as it can be “connected” to your Kindle.  I don’t have a Kindle, ‘cuz I have a Nook, but I use the Kindle app on both my phone and iPad.  Now, since I don’t have a Kindle, I just made an Amazon account and downloaded free books, along with some from my local public library system.  In this way, it can be used similarly to Overdrive, so if you’re comfortable with that app, give this one a try!  (Actually, they’re different, but I like to have both- if a book is available for Overdrive and not for Kindle, or vice versa, I can still read it!)

Anyways, I think all you avid readers should get this app, because it is a great tool for reading all of the awesome books in this world!

Thanks!

-Ginger 🙂

Age recommendation: anyone!  There’s books for all ages available!

What I’m reading: Nothing, currently!  Crazy, right? :O

Nook App

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Hi everyone! Ash here. This app is pretty handy if you’re on a road trip and you’re not the one driving. (We strongly discourage reading while you drive. Reading while you drive can have serious consequences.) Then again, you could just bring your Nook, but what if you don’t want to? Or, what if you did bring your Nook, but it’s out of battery? (Truly a horror!) This free app is pretty great. Any book you have bought on your Barnes and Noble account that you want to read can be downloaded to this app, and you can read it, just like that. (Let it be noted that an internet connection is needed for both downloading the app and downloading the book.)

Read what you want, when you want!
Sounds good, huh?
I sure like it!

Personally, I really enjoyed this app because there are some places I’d rather not take my e-reader. I’m a really forgetful person, and I sometimes have to call my cell phone with the home phone to figure out where my cell phone is (in the house).

This is a great app for many reasons. First of all, when you read a book on your phone using the app, the page numbers stay the same as on the Nook. Sure, page 15 might consist of two “pages” on the nook and five “pages” on the phone, but you never have to do complicated math to figure out how many pages you read if  p = n(3.549) or something crazy like that. (Of course, that’s just a random equation I made up. If you’re really a math geek, go ahead and figure out the equation, then comment below and we’ll test it out. If it works, you get the best thing ever: a free Nook app. 😉 )

Another reason I liked this app was that it was easy to use. Some apps have complicated sign-ins, random buttons, crazy messages that pop up… This app has none of that. It was simple and easy to sign in, which you only have to do once. There are no random buttons, which is a relief. No crazy messages pop up anywhere.

Anyways, this is a great app, but it may not be for all you die-hard Kindle lovers. Those of you who are may be hoping I’m going to write a review about the Kindle app–unfortunately for you, I’m not. But if you love the Amazon Kindle (or any other e-reader) so much, feel free to mail in a review.

Hope you like!

~ Ash

Crewel by Gennifer Albin

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I don’t know what to say about this book!
That’s a good thing, I guess, because I know that I might be in love with this book.
Crewel centers around a questionable world in which spinsters weave a huge cloth, containing the threads of life, or as I liked to call them, the “threads of humanity”.  The spinsters work their butts off, gifted with an extraordinary talent for weaving.  All 16 years of her life, Adelice Lewis has been taught to stay away from weaving, but when the time comes for her testing day, nothing can hold her back.  Adelice spins for the first time, is taken the next night, and her family is captured.  Her life hangs in shreds around her.  The poor girl has to deal with changes as they are thrown to her, leading up to a forbidden romance and the ultimate twist.

The most amazing rainbowey book cover in the universe

I would give this book 8/10 pens, the “good book” rating.  The plot line intrigued me, (I mean, seriously, a girl who weaves other people’s lives?) yet the writing was bland at parts.  I owuld recommend you read this book, as it is a great book and definitely worth reading again.

Rating: 8/10 pens

Age recommendation: 12+, for mature themes, such as death

-Ginger

What I’m reading: Bad Unicorn by Platte F. Clark