Wednesday, July 17, 2013

3 stars: Also Known As by Robin Benway

"Being a 16-year-old safecracker and active-duty daughter of international spies has its moments, good and bad. Pros: Seeing the world one crime-solving adventure at a time. Having parents with super cool jobs. Cons: Never staying in one place long enough to have friends or a boyfriend. But for Maggie Silver, the biggest perk of all has been avoiding high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations.

Then Maggie and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, and all of that changes. She'll need to attend a private school, avoid the temptation to hack the school's security system, and befriend one aggravatingly cute Jesse Oliver to gain the essential information she needs to crack the case . . . all while trying not to blow her cover."


Published February 26th 2013 by Bloomsbury Juvenile US.

I don't really have much to say about this one. It was a cute, fluffy story. I began it a week or two ago and it took me a very long time to get through the end of the book. Seriously, I only had about 15 pages left, if that, and I would start reading and fall asleep. Each time, I got about one paragraph further. Then I had to stop and think and try to remember what happened earlier in the book. It's not a story that will really stay with you; it's just a light story that you can read if you need a break from more serious literature. While it took me a while to get through the end, I would still classify this as a very easy read.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

My email address has been wrong for some time!

Hi guys! Apparently my email address (becca@bookandcatlibrarian.com) stopped working shortly after I set it up. Please use bookandcatlibrarian@gmail.com. The last time my old email worked was on June 6th. I only found this out when I tried to test my email and I never received the emails I sent myself.

Also, I wanted to add why I haven't been updating as much anymore. It's summer and I'm traveling the world! No, unfortunately that's not it. The home buying process has been taking up a lot of time and has been distracting me.

Unrated: Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

"Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.

Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.

But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness."


Published February 12th 2013 by Atria Books. I listened to the audio format of this book.  

This book has a really good rating on Goodreads and I've been wanting to read it for a really long time, but couldn't because my library didn't have it. Imagine my excitement when Audible had it available!

I just... I don't know where to start. This book was simply infuriating. 
  • Objectification is the name of the game. Every description of every adult female included what the woman's body looked like. Repeat mentions too. And whenever a man is in a scene, he can't stop looking at said woman's body. 
  • This is a NA book, so it seems like authors feel that these books must always have naughty material. It just seemed so forced and unnecessary; especially for a book that didn't even really have sex scenes.

  •  *SPOILERS* How do I even begin with this one. So at first I was pissed because Trent seemed like the perfect guy minus the fact that he seemed like a creepy stalker (but hey, maybe he just magically kept appearing wherever Kacey happened to be). I was pissed because Kacey had no redeeming qualities. She's just so unlikable and yet Trent will do anything for her. In fact, he wanted to hold off having sex with her, because she's so damaged from post traumatic stress disorder, that he felt he would be taking advantage of her fragility. He tells her that he wants her to get therapy and that he'll wait for her no matter how long it takes. OK, this dude doesn't know her and she's not likable, so why did this stranger suddenly fall for her and so hard? I was just so pissed while listening to this story. But then it all made sense like 3/4 of the way into the book, and I actually thought it was pretty awesome that the book went in a different direction than I thought it was going (woman is damaged and can't talk about what happened to her, she meets guy, he helps her overcome her issues, and then everything is perfect). It happened almost like that except that it wasn't him who helped her. Well, he indirectly did. Anyway, it turned out that he was a HARDCORE STALKER and was even hacking her email (even before she first met him). I thought the stalker angle was actually pretty awesome since it made sense and the characters in the book knew that it was very wrong and that he was mentally screwed up. So that made me forgive almost everything and it really boosted my rating for this book. Then he shows up again in her life (nooooo) and they live happily ever after. I still don't know what to rate this, so I won't bother. Even if the stalker angle turned out to be pointless in the end since it didn't change anything, I still loved that. Grr had she not ended up with her stalker, I could have given this a 4 star rating!
I don't even think I need to say anything else.

Wait I will say more, because the author did have nice character development. Each character had a very specific voice and his or her own special traits. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

4.5 stars: All Our Pretty Songs (All Our Pretty Songs series, #1) by Sarah McCarry

"The first book in an exciting YA trilogy, this is the story of two best friends on the verge of a terrifying divide when they begin to encounter a cast of strange and mythical characters.

Set against the lush, magical backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, two inseparable best friends who have grown up like sisters—the charismatic, mercurial, and beautiful Aurora and the devoted, soulful, watchful narrator—find their bond challenged for the first time ever when a mysterious and gifted musician named Jack comes between them. Suddenly, each girl must decide what matters most: friendship, or love. What both girls don’t know is that the stakes are even higher than either of them could have imagined. They’re not the only ones who have noticed Jack’s gift; his music has awakened an ancient evil—and a world both above and below which may not be mythical at all. The real and the mystical; the romantic and the heartbreaking all begin to swirl together, carrying the two on journey that is both enthralling and terrifying.

And it’s up to the narrator to protect the people she loves—if she can."


Expected publication: July 30th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin. I won an ARC from the publisher on Goodreads. 

A big chunk of my rating for this book is because it's so unique and beautifully written. It's a modern day fairy tale, but the protagonist (we don't know her name) is one of the only real-life characters. She can move between two worlds, but the action mainly happens to those around her. The way she thinks and her actions are that of someone in our world. It's a little hard to explain, but to sum it up: imagine yourself suddenly slipping into a fairy tale and seeing all sorts of strange characters and wondrous things. A little like Alice in Wonderland. I really would not be surprised if the second half of the book turned out to be a bad acid trip. You have to know what you are getting into, because the book starts off in our world and everything seems normal, but then things slowly creep into paranormal territory during a party. The transition might not work for some, because it's hard to tell how literal it is, and the narrator's reaction to it isn't quite what you would expect from a real-life character; it both seems like she's not too surprised/confused and that she knows exactly what is going on.

This lyrical story doesn't give a year when it takes place, but my best guess would be around 1994. While this is a YA book, there were references that I'm not sure someone in the young adult age group would get. Also, it felt like Aurora's (that's the narrator's best friend) dad was based off of Kurt Cobain and her mom is the strung out Courtney Love. That makes it a bit more relatable and sets the atmosphere.

My take on the story is that death is personified and there's a message about how Hollywood and stardom steal the souls of those they capture. They kill that inner light that people once had inside, and they make people the property of others. It kind of reminded me of Mulholland Drive. Since this is only book 1, it's hard to know exactly what is going on, but that's my impression from this first installment. 

I will definitely read the next book in the series.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

3 stars: The Shadow Girl by Jennifer Archer

"Sometimes I forget for an hour or two that she's with me. Sometimes I convince myself that she was only a dream. Or that I'm crazy.

For as long as Lily Winston can remember, she has never been alone. Iris, a shadowy figure who mimics Lily's movements and whispers in her ear, is with her always—but invisible to the rest of the world. Iris is Lily's secret.

But when Lily's father is killed in a tragic accident, his cryptic final words suggest that he and Lily's mother have been keeping secrets of their own. Suddenly, Iris begins pushing Lily more than ever, possessing her thoughts and urging her to put together the pieces of a strange puzzle her father left behind. As she searches for answers, Lily finds herself drawn to Ty Collier, a mysterious new boy in town. Together, Lily and Ty must untangle a web of deception to discover the truth about her family, Iris . . . and Lily's own identity."


Published April 9th 2013 by HarperTeen.

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to read this book; I had been wanting to read it months before it was released. Maybe that was part of the reason why it didn't meet my expectations.

I think that I had just been expecting more from the book. Things were pretty predictable to me for a while. Plus, it seemed like a romantic relationship for Lily didn't really have a place in this story and that it was forced. In fact, her two love interests (one doesn't even really count, so I won't call this a love triangle) didn't interest me, and that's a bad sign. Iris (the "shadow girl") also didn't interest me. She was one dimensional and had no substance... but perhaps that's why she's just a "shadow." It took me a while to read, because the pacing was off; the only time I couldn't put it down was during the last 60 pages or so.

I'm sorry Jennifer Archer, because I really did want to love it, and I know I even tweeted you about my excitement. This doesn't mean I won't read any of her other books though, because she does write well, so even though this story might not have been for me, another plot might work better when written by her.