Thursday, March 9, 2017

February 2017 Wrap Up

I read 12 books in February.  Some novels and some graphic novels.

Books Read In February:

Title:  My Depression- A Picture Book
Author:  Elizabeth Swados
Published By:  Hyperion
Publication Date:  April 13, 2005
Pages:  176
Book Acquired Through:  Owned Book
My Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐

A moving memoir in words and pictures of one woman's struggle with the little black cloud of depression pening up the darkest corners of her world, author Elizabeth Swados takes us on an unforgettable journey that is by turns poignant and funny, and will be undoubtedly familiar to those who suffer from depression and those who love them. Through the author's whimsical drawings, readers get a unique view of the experience of depression: from the struggle to keep her condition a secret, to the strange effects of 'new' drugs, to the small things that can trigger relapses. For the thousands of Americans who suffer from depression, My Depression is a gentle reminder that they are not alone and that they can lead a fulfilling and happy life. It is an evocative, readable, and engaging story of an illness that is finally gaining widespread attention.
Tara Thoughts:  I suffer from depression so I could definitely relate to this book but the artwork was so-so and I just thought this book was okay.  I guess I wanted more from the book. I think I'd rather read a memoir on depression without the drawings.

Title:  The Female Of The Species
Author:  Mindy McGinnis
Published By:  Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date:  September 20, 2016
Pages:  352 
Book Acquired Through:  Owned E-Book
My Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.
While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.
But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.
So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.
Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.
Tara Thoughts:  There is a lot of serious subject matter in this book.  Alex is a complicated character with many issues and I kind of got depressed after reading this because of the crap each character endures.  The book was a little too heavy for me at a time when I should have read lighter material.  I think it's definitely worth the read though.

Title:  City Of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2)
Author:  Cassandra Clare
Published By:  Margaret K McElderry Books
Publication Date:  March 25, 2008
Pages:  453
Book Acquired Through:  Owned Book
My Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Partial Synopsis of Book One:
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
Tara Thoughts:  These books have been around for a while and I saw the movie based on the first book a while ago but I never read this series.  I bought the whole series on Book Outlet, read and loved the first book, so I knew I was going to really like the other books.  I thought the second book was even better than the first.  A lot of action and I love the characters that Cassandra Clare created.  I love books that take my mind off everything else and this did the trick!

Title:  Asylum (Asylum #1)
Author:  Madeleine Roux
Published By:  HarperTeen
Publication Date:  August 20, 2013
Pages:  313
Book Acquired Through:  Owned Book
My Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it's a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.
As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it's no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.
Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux's teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.
Tara Thoughts:  I just loved giving 3 stars to books in February.  I found this book interesting and I loved the creepy photos from real asylums that were added throughout the book but I just felt the story was average.  I own a couple more books in the series so I'm hoping I'll enjoy the second one more.

Title:  Ugly Love
Author:  Colleen Hoover
Published By:  Atria Books
Publication Date:  August 5, 2014
Pages:  337
Book Acquired Through:  Owned Book
My Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.
Never ask about the past.Don’t expect a future.
They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.
Hearts get infiltrated.Promises get broken.Rules get shattered.Love gets ugly.
Tara Thoughts:  Colleen Hoover!  What have you done to me?!  I was turned into a crying fool by the end of this book.  Darn books that make me cry.  

Title:  My Best Friend's Exorcism
Author:  Grady Hendrix
Published By:  Quirk Books
Publication Date:  May 17, 2016
Pages:  336
Book Acquired Through:  Owned Book
My Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act…different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behavior start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favorite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
Tara Thoughts: For some reason the word 'rad' comes to mind when I think of this book.  I guess because this book was pretty rad.  It takes place in the 80's and there's an exorcism.  What more could I want from a book?!  That cover though, reminds me of my 6th grade yearbook.  Ugh.

Title:  Alex + Ada (Volume 1)
Authors/Illustrators:  Jonathan Luna, Sarah Vaughn
Published By:  Image Comics
Publication Date:  July 16, 2014
Pages:  128
Book Acquired Through:  Owned Book
My Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

From JONATHAN LUNA (GIRLS, THE SWORD, ULTRA, Spider-Woman: Origin) and SARAH VAUGHN (Sparkshooter) comes ALEX + ADA, a sci-fi drama set in the near future. The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But after Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot.
Collects ALEX + ADA #1-5.
Tara Thoughts:  I love graphic novels and this one was very cool.  This guy gets an android as a present and she changes his life.  The artwork is awesome and the story is pretty interesting. I own all three volumes so I can't wait to start reading volume 2.

Title:  How To Hang A Witch
Author:  Adriana Mather
Published By:  Knopf Books For Young Readers
Publication Date:  July 26, 2016
Pages:  358
Book Acquired Through:  Owned Book
My Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐

It's the Salem Witch Trials meets Mean Girls in a debut novel from one of the descendants of Cotton Mather, where the trials of high school start to feel like a modern day witch hunt for a teen with all the wrong connections to Salem’s past.
Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?
If dealing with that weren't enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it's Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.
Tara Thoughts:  I thought this story was okay, but I didn't really like the writing style. I'm not sure what it was about the writing style, but I just didn't like it.  The book just felt a little too young for me.  The characters were all kind of annoying and I just couldn't get into the story.  I did find it interesting that the author is related to Cotton Mather, and I liked how the book was set in Salem, but I'm not sure if I would read the next book in this series.

Title:  The Women In The Walls
Author:  Amy Lukavics
Published By:  Harlequin Teen
Publication Date:  September 27, 2016
Pages:  278
Book Acquired Through:  Owned Book
My Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐

Lucy Acosta's mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They're inseparable—a family.

When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she's ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother's voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin's sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.
Tara Thoughts:  I love Amy Lukavic's writing style.  I just find her books easy to read and she's great at building suspense in a story.  This story was definitely creepy, but I didn't find it as interesting or scary as Amy's first book, 'Daughters Unto Devils.'  I think I would have given this book a higher rating but the ending just felt rushed and I was hoping for more.

Title:  What The Dead Want
Author:  Norah Olson
Published By:  Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date:  July 26, 2016
Pages:  320
Book Acquired Through:  Owned Book
My Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐ 

16 -year-old Gretchen takes photographs to understand the world around her, a passion her mother Mona fostered and encouraged when she was still around. Since her mom disappeared years ago, Gretchen and her dad have lived on their own in New York City, haunted by Mona’s absence.
When Gretchen’s great aunt Esther calls unexpectedly to tell her that she has inherited the pre-Civil War mansion on her mother’s side of the family in upstate New York, Gretchen understands nothing except that her aunt needs her help. But what she finds there is beyond her imagination. The house is crumbling apart, filled with stacks of papers and journals from decades, even centuries past, and it’s crawling with rodents. It’s also full of secrets and a legacy of racism and violence so reprehensible that the ghosts of the past are exacting revenge on the living.
Somehow the mystery of Mona’s disappearance and the atrocities that happened on the land during the Civil War are inextricably intertwined, and it’s up to Gretchen to figure out how…before even more lives are lost.
Tara Thoughts:  To be honest I don't remember much about this book.  I think it was similar to some of the other books I read in February and it was hard to keep all the stories separate.  I remember this story creeping me out a little but I just wasn't  loving the book for some reason.

Title:  The Slanted Life Of Emily Dickinson:  America's Favorite Recluse Just Got A Life!
Author/Illustrator:  Rosanna Bruno
Published By:  Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication Date:  March 7, 2017
Pages:  96
Book Acquired Through:  Netgalley E-Arc
My Rating:  ⭐⭐

America’s favorite recluse just got a life! With her distinctively funky drawing style and insightful wit, artist Rosanna Bruno presents a cross-generational Dickinson for the 21st century.
Emily Dickinson said: “Tell all the truth, but tell it slant.” Artist Rosanna Bruno does just as the poet asked in a series of several dozen witty, hand-drawn cartoons inspired by what we know--and don’t know--about Dickinson’s life and work. The Slanted Life of Emily Dickinson explores--often hilariously, and always respectfully--the myth surrounding the reclusive poet using her own words to skew, or slant, a story that is already somewhat fuzzy in detail.
Beginning with a line or two from Dickinson’s poems or letters, Rosanna Bruno presents an image of a real or imagined event. For example, she imagines Dickinson’s Facebook page (“Relationship Status: It’s Complicated”), her OkCupid dating profile (“I am small, like the wren; and my hair is bold, like the chestnut burr…”), her senior yearbook page (“Girl Most Likely to Talk to Birds”), and several other hilarious scenes and fictional artifacts. The result is a wickedly funny portrait of one of the most beloved (and mythologized) poets in the American canon.
Tara Thoughts:  I did not find this book funny.  I know it's meant to be funny but it just did not seem funny to me.  The artwork was okay but trying to imagine Emily Dickinson as a '21st century girl' just didn't work.  It seems Emily Dickinson suffered from agoraphobia and I have suffered from anxiety and agoraphobia at times in my life.  It's a serious anxiety disorder and it sucks.  It really, really sucks.  Maybe that's why I couldn't laugh while reading this book?  I don't know.  I just didn't find it funny.

Title:  The Madness Underneath (Shades Of London #2)
Author:  Maureen Johnson
Published By:  G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date:  February 26, 2013
Pages:  290
Book Acquired Through:  Owned Book
My Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis From Book One:
Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him - the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target...unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.
Tara Thoughts:  I just love this book series.  Rory is an interesting character and the supernatural element throughout the book makes this a fast-paced, exciting read.  I can't wait to see how this series ends.  

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