Rajiv's Reviews

Cursed! My Devastatingly Brilliant Campaign to Save the Chigg by Idabel Allen

Cursed

Cursed! My Devastatingly Brilliant Campaign to Save the Chigg by Idabel Allen
Expected Release: April 2nd 2018
Format: Ebook
Publisher: JKS Communications
Source: NetGalley


 

Cursed! Synopsis:

Eighth grade was to be Ginny Edgar’s best year ever!
The creative genius and future award-winning zombie screenwriter/director/producer assured her parents she was older now, and more mature. There would be no more outbursts in class or trips to the principal’s office. No more food fights.
Of course, Ginny has no intention of following through with these promises. And when Ginny’s friends abandon her after an ill-fated adventure, her eighth-grade year goes straight down the pooper. That’s when Ginny sets about befriending eighth grade’s freakazoid #1 – Carrie “Chigger” Larson – whether the clown-haired sourpuss likes it or not!
An outcast with a dark family history, the Chigg reluctantly turns to Ginny and an insulting Indian soothsayer to unlock the mysteries of the Larson Curse believed to be responsible for the death of Chigger’s father. The devastating truth they uncover not only threatens their friendship but their very lives!
Does Ginny have what it takes to help Chigger put an end to the Larson Curse and discover the true meaning of friendship, all while writing the most zomborrific movie screenplay of all time?
You know she does.

Review:

A BIG Thank You to NetGalley and JKS Communications for providing me an advanced electronic copy of “Cursed! My Devastatingly Brilliant Campaign to Save the Chigg” by Idabel Allen.

To be honest, I initially picked this up because I liked the cover of the quirky red headed girl. If I like the cover, I usually dive right into it and start reading, rather than reading the plot. Having said that I really didn’t expect this book to be very good based on its name. The title sounded long and silly I had no idea what a “Chigg” was. Let me tell you, once I started reading it, I just LOVED it and couldn’t put it down! I finished the entire book in one sitting and wished it had continued.

This book has just about everything in it to make a book a complete entertainer. The plot, the characters and the dialogues are so zany and over the top for the most part. Such characters include a zombie obsessed girl, Western villain, voodoo woman, and a girl thinking she is cursed. The plot involves a woman drowning her baby, friends entering a deserted farmhouse to rid a curse and school revenges. One would think that none of these components would have anything in common to make a good middle grade story. Yet somehow the author blends all these elements perfectly into the main story and makes its work beautifully!

The main highlight of the book is the main character Ginny (aka Lady Godzilla). The way Idabel Allen (the author) has written her is just wonderful. Each dialogue and characteristic of this obnoxious yet funny girl brings even an otherwise dull scene to life. There are moments where Ginny would be arguing or frustrated, but the remarks she delivers would be hilarious. The somewhat strange supporting characters like Mr. Lan, Starla and yes, even the Chigger are all just as entertaining. The book also blends its tone and setting well during certain parts of the story. For example, the way the author writes the scenes with Ginny are mostly light hearted. However, you can easily see the serious tone the book morphs into when we start reading Della’s diary entries. I thoroughly enjoyed Idabel’s writing style and would love to read some of her other novels.
Below are some highlights that made me laugh out loud!

I said, “You totally saved my life”. “It was nothing,” she mumbled with a shake of her downcast face, and added, “I gotta go.” Then she turned to leave, just like that. Didn’t even offer to take me home and nurse my foot. Now how rude is that?

“So what? What’s she gonna do? Gum me to death? She only had about four teeth in case you hadn’t noticed. She’s old and decrepit.”

And when I saw her crying I was pretty certain, well, almost certain, that she was upset. So I did what I always do when cheering someone up. I produced a grade-A, Lady Godzilla, fire-breathing, hair-singeing, from-the-gut, belch of endless proportions.

Honestly, this book was an unexpected surprise that I really didn’t think I would enjoy so much. Any book that can make me laugh out loud in itself deserves a five star rating. I highly recommend this book and give it 5/5 stars.

A Dream for Three (Emma and Violette, #1) by Jérôme Hamon

Emma and Violette

A Dream for Three (Emma and Violette, #1) by Jérôme Hamon
Release: January 17th 2018
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Europe Comics
Source: NetGalley


 

Emma and Violette Synopsis:

Emma and Violette are sisters who share the same dream of attending Paris’s most prestigious dance school. Violette passes the first audition with flying colors, but Emma doesn’t, and their world comes crashing down. But there may be more than one way to dance through life… This is the revelation at the heart of the first volume of this lively and graceful narrative.

Review:

A BIG Thank You to NetGalley and Europe Comics for providing me an advanced electronic copy of “A Dream for Three (Emma and Violette, #1)” by Jérôme Hamon.

This was a charming graphic novel to read. The graphic novels I have read usually range from fantasy, science fiction, adventures and action. It is such a refreshing change to read a regular family drama told in this format. Reading this made me feel like I was watching a good old prime-time drama from the 90s. In fact, I felt like I was reliving watching old episodes of shows like “7th Heaven” or “Dawson’s Creek”.

What I found most appealing about “Emma and Violette” was how the characters are portrayed. There are no good or bad characters in this book. Each person has their good and bad attributes that make the story more realistic and relatable. My favorite character was of course, Emma. Even though she goes through a lot of disappointments with her mother, Violette, Jake and ballet, she still emerges a trooper. While most of us would root for Emma, I can’t help but feel sorry for her mother as well. I’m sure there are parents out there who put their hopes and dreams onto their children to be fulfilled. When the child fails to meet their expectations, the parents react negatively to their failures. The story has depicted the turmoil between the mother and daughter relationship very well. I also like the father figure in the family, as he is portrayed as someone cool yet sensible. I liked Violette as well, but we don’t get to see her interact much in this issue.

The main credit goes to Jérôme Hamon for creating a gripping story and executing it in this graphical format. The pacing, storyline and characterisations are all beautifully implemented, making it a very memorable read. Lena Sayaphoum has also done a good job on the artwork. While I see most of the reviewers complimenting the illustrations, I felt they could have been better. I like how the details of the background contrast with the cartoon like forms of the characters. However, the colours seemed a little dull, and didn’t suit my personal choice for reading. Also, the text bubbles are somewhat squeezed in some panels and I couldn’t make out which character was talking.

I am very much looking forward to the next instalment in this series. What’s fun about this kind of genre is that there’s always room for new stories with the same characters. I hope the series does well and we continue seeing the trials and tribulations of Emma and Violette growing up. I am particularly interested in seeing some sibling rivalry between the two. Overall, I enjoyed reading “Emma and Violette 1: A Dream for Three” and give it 4 / 5 rating.

The Boy from Tomorrow by Camille DeAngelis

The Boy From Tomorrow

The Boy from Tomorrow by Camille DeAngelis
Expected Release: May 8th 2018
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Source: NetGalley


 

The Boy From Tomorrow Synopsis:

Josie and Alec both live at 444 Sparrow Street. They sleep in the same room, but they’ve never laid eyes on each other. They are twelve years old but a hundred years apart. The children meet through a handpainted spirit board—Josie in 1915, Alec in 2015—and form a friendship across the century that separates them. But a chain of events leave Josie and her little sister Cass trapped in the house and afraid for their safety, and Alec must find out what’s going to happen to them. Can he help them change their future when it’s already past? The Boy from Tomorrow is a tribute to classic English fantasy novels like Tom’s Midnight Garden and A Traveller in Time. Through their impossible friendship, Alec and Josie learn that life can offer only what they ask of it.

Review:

A BIG Thank You to NetGalley and Amberjack Publishing for providing me an advanced electronic copy of “The Boy from Tomorrow” by Camille DeAngelis.

I loved reading this book and wished it had continued! The story is so unique and fresh and unlike anything I have read till now. The idea of two people connecting with one another from different eras is told in such a wonderful way! Right from the get go, we see how Josie and Alec start building a friendship through the talking board. Both of them are going through family problems and lack the love the wish from their parents. The story progresses on how they help each other even though they live in different time spans. Another aspect I enjoyed was all the book references of classic literature that the author seeps in the story line. She gives us an interesting snippet of a few, which are now added to my reading list.

There were a few parts of the story that I didn’t quite understand. For example, I didn’t get how Alec and Josie were able to communicate via the phonograph suddenly. Was it supposed to be a magical phonograph? Also, it’s a big coincidence that Alec was able to receive letters from Josie at the right time and place. There might be some other loopholes pertaining to the time element, but I didn’t give much through into it. It is, at the end of the day, a children’s fiction novel that should be read for entertainment value.

The characters are beautifully written with their own distinctive personalities. I was completely absorbed in the friendship between Josie and Alec, and the way they help each other. It was fun to read how one reacted to a phrase, music, books, or lingos they shared with each other. Emily, Cass and Danny also brought a spark of entertainment to the story. Mrs. Clifford is one of those characters you just love to hate. I pictured she would look and act just like Lady Tremaine (the evil stepmother from Cinderella), only more witch-like. There were some characters like Merritt and Mrs. Gubbins that I found fascinating and wished we had more details of.

Camille DeAngelis writes in a charming manner, and her strength is in how she writes her characters. I am interested in picking up her novel “Bones & All” as I have heard good reviews of that as well. Agnieszka Grochalska, the illustrator has also provided delightful illustrations for each chapter that adds a pleasant touch to the story.

In conclusion, “The Boy from Tomorrow” is a nice time travel book that I would definitely recommend to read. I give 4.5 out of 5 rating for this book.

Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly

Shadow Weaver

Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly
Release: January 2nd 2018
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Source: Amazon


 

Shadow Weaver Synopsis:

The shadows that surround us aren’t always as they seem…

Emmeline has grown up with a gift. Since the time she was a baby she has been able to control shadows. And her only friend and companion is her own shadow, Dar. Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble’s mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a coma and all that the witness saw was a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it. Scared to face punishment, Emmeline and Dar run away. With the noble’s guards on her trail, Emmeline’s only hope of clearing her name is to escape capture and perform the ritual that will set Dar free. But Emmeline’s not sure she can trust Dar anymore, and it’s hard to keep secrets from someone who can never leave your side. The first in a dark middle-grade fantasy duology, MarcyKate Connolly weaves a tale filled with shadows, danger, and magic that has the feel of a new classic.

Review:

I had high hopes about “Shadow Weaver”. From its cover and synopsis, it reminded me of other middle grade atmospheric thrillers like ‘Coraline’ and ‘Doll Bones’. However, once I finished reading it, I felt disappointed and wished it had been more exciting.

My main complaint about “Shadow Weaver” is how the story is slow and repetitive for the most part. This is one of those stories that has an engaging start, a boring middle, eventually leading to a gripping climax. The beginning sets a very nice haunting pace for what we can expect to follow as the plot thickens. It has all the ingredients for a good spooky novel, like magical people, devious shadows and a powerful villain. Some parts were just downright eerie, like when Emmeline meets Simone (who reminded me of the twins from ‘The Shining’). However, once the pace cooled down, and Emmeline meets Lucas and his family, the story starts to drag. We read how kind she feels his family is, versus how resentful Dar is in every other page. There were also parts that could have been cut out, like all the scenes with the Rodan family. They did not add anything to the plot, in my opinion, and could have just as well been avoided.

Coming to the positives, I enjoyed MarcyKate Connolly’s style of writing. It is simplistic and written in a very fairy tale like manner that any age group can enjoy. While I thought the book dragged in between, I commend the author on how she wrote the progression of Emmeline. Emmeline (I love that name!) is a character you can relate to and root for. We see her go from a weak, isolated girl relying on her shadow, to a confident girl who takes charge. The supporting characters, like Lucas and Miranda are also likeable. Kudos to Nicole Hower, the illustrator behind the beautiful artwork cover.

Even though this is the first in the series, it concludes in a satisfying manner with something to look forward to. I hope the next book in the series has a lot more action and adventure packed into it. I also hope to see more characters with special powers, and not just restricted to Emmeline and Lucas. Overall, this was a nice read, but I wish it has been better.

Secrets of Topsea: A Friendly Town That’s Almost Always by the Ocean! by Kir Fox, M. Shelley Coats

Secrets of Topsea

Secrets of Topsea: A Friendly Town That’s Almost Always by the Ocean! by Kir Fox, M. Shelley Coats
Expected Release: April 17th 2018
Format: PDF
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: NetGalley


 

Synopsis:

Welcome to Topsea, the strangest place you’ll ever visit. In this town, the coves are bottomless and the pier has no end in sight. There’s a high tide and a low tide… and a vanishing tide. Dogs are a myth, but mermaids are totally real. And seaweed is the main ingredient in every meal-watch out, it might just start chewing you back!

New kid Davy definitely thinks Topsea is strange. His mom keeps saying they’ll get used to life in their new town-it’s just the way things are on the coast! But after his first day at Topsea School, Davy finds himself wondering: Why is his locker all the way at the bottom of the school swimming pool? Why can’t anyone remember his name? (It’s Davy!) And why does everyone act like all of this is normal?!

Through newspaper articles, stories, surveys, notifications, and more, follow Davy and the rest of Ms. Grimalkin’s fifth grade class through the weird world of Topsea. (Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact with the rubber ducks.)

Review:

A BIG Thank You to Netgalley and Disney-Hyperion for providing me an advanced reader copy of “A Friendly Town That’s Almost Always by the Ocean!” by Kir Fox, M. Shelley Coats in exchange for my honest review.

Am I the only one who had mixed feelings about this book? I am seeing quite a lot of five star reviews out there for “Secrets of Topsea”, and the only term that comes to my mind for summing up this book is “meh”.

Don’t get me wrong. I love reading strange, bizarre books, particularly directed towards middle grade/YA that keeps you wondering on what’s going to happen next. This shows how creative the author is, and how far they will go out of the book to keep your attention to the story. This book had so many strange story arcs that included mermaids, trolls and other quirky things to make it a memorable read. However, somewhere along the line, I started losing interest towards what was happening.

The main problem I had with this book was there was no plot or consistency. It is just random events that happen to Davy and his friends. I feel like the overall plot of the story was for Davy to adjust and come to terms with being accepted at Topsea, so it would have made sense for the author to just focus on his bizarre interactions with each of his friends. Instead, we get a separate stories of Talise looking at tide pools, and Quincy’s questions being stolen, that doesn’t have anything to do with Davy at all! Having said that, I did enjoy some of these small story arcs that didn’t have anything to do with the main character, like when Finn meets Billy under the boardwalk, or when Finn gets stuck in the chewing gum wall and Runa saves him. But again, looking back, these just seemed like fillers for the author to add on to the book to cover for the weak plot.

The illustrations by Rachel Sanson are cute and whimsical and compliment to the storylines. I also liked how each chapter begins or ends with snippets from the school newspaper or the survey Davy fills out.

I am sensing that this is not a standalone, but the first book in the series, from how the author has ended it. Maybe in the follow up we would get more answers as to what happened to the ice cream man and the Water Park. Hopefully, they author will make the story more consistent and interesting in book 2.

Overall, this was an average read that I would easily forget.

 

Little Tails on The Farm by Frédéric Brrémaud, Federico Bertolucci

201801Jan09-LTOTFFB.jpgLittle Tails on The Farm by Frédéric Brrémaud, Federico Bertolucci
Release: January 16th 2018
Format: PDF
Publisher: Lion Forge Comics
Source: NetGalley

Synopsis:

Little Tails is a series of young readers graphic novels created by Eisner Award–nominated illustrator Federico Bertolucci and writer Frédéric Brrémaud, creators of the world-famous, multi-award winning Love series of silent, wildlife graphic novels.
In each volume of Little Tails, Chipper and Squizzo set out on a fun, educational journey to a different location, encountering the real-world animals found there in beautiful illustration and fun cartoon strip antics. In this new volume, they visit a nearby farm and meet a wide variety of new and interesting domestic and wild animals!

Chipper and Squizzo set out on a hunt for some fresh milk for their breakfast, taking the adventurous duo across the fields of a nearby farm, where they meet horses, pigs, goats, bulls, and more!

 

A BIG Thank You to Netgalley and Diamond Book Distributors for providing me a copy of “Little Tails on the farm” by illustrator Federico Bertolucci and writer Frédéric Brrémaudin in exchange for my honest review.

Even though I am not a fan of children’s books, once in a while I pick one up purely for the illustrations. I am a part time illustrator and reading such books inspires me to draw as well. “Little Tails on the Farm” did not disappoint in this matter. The drawings by Federico Bertolucci are simply amazing! The illustrator provides a beautiful contrast between the main story, shown in comic strip format, and the detailed illustrations of the farm animals complimenting the story. The color palettes used are so bright and vibrant that it would surely capture the attention of young ones reading it. Some of my favorite images in this book are of the peacock and the ladybugs. I could keep looking at these pictures over and over again!

Frédéric Brémaud, the author of this book should also be complimented for writing such a fun and educational book. The main characters, Squizzo and Chipper, are a cute pair, and it was fun to see them interact and react to the various animals, as they go for a stroll in the farm in search of milk. What I liked about this story was that the duo decided not to focus on the typical farm animals like cows, pigs, horses and chickens, but also focused on other exotic and wild animals like the peacock and the ram. Another reason that I liked this book was how the author also included a variety of fun facts about each animal at the end of the book, giving something for grownups as well. In addition to all this, I feel that these kind of books would give young readers a good start in reading graphic novels, as the images are drawn in a very contrasting manner that’s pleasing to the eye with big fonts.

It would be very hard for anyone to dislike this book! I would have surely cherished this series had I read them during my childhood. Being a grown adult, I am wanting to pick out all the previous books in the series even now and read though them all! Overall, I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would, and am giving it 5 stars.
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Anxiety is Really Strange by Steve Haines

201801Jan08-AIRSSHAnxiety is Really Strange by Steve Haines
Release: Janary 18th 2018
Format: PDF
Publisher: Singing Dragon
Source: NetGalley

Synopsis:

What is the difference between fear and excitement and how can you tell them apart? How do the mind and body make emotions? When can anxiety be good? This science-based graphic book addresses these questions and more, revealing just how strange anxiety is, but also how to unravel its mysteries and relieve its effects.
Understanding how anxiety is created by our nervous system trying to protect us, and how our fight-or-flight mechanisms can get stuck, can significantly lessen the fear experienced during anxiety attacks. In this guide, anxiety is explained in an easy-to-understand, engaging graphic format with tips and strategies to relieve its symptoms, and change the mind’s habits for a more positive outlook.

 

A BIG Thank You to NetGalley and Singing Dragon for providing me a copy of “Anxiety is Really Strange” by Steve Haines in exchange for my honest review.

This was a fun and informative book. It gives a high level overview as to what anxiety is, the symptoms causing it, researches done in the area, followed by the methods to overcome and control it. All of these areas are described in a graphic novel manner with cute illustrations.

I consider myself as someone who gets highly anxious at times and tends to react rather than act during tough situations. Not my best trait, I admit, but this book really made me feel positive after finishing it. I found the whole section of nature vs nurture particularly fascinating. It is the age old question which we ask of ‘is someone born a hero or is it an attribute they acquire?’ The author has provided facts and listed experiments done by various researchers to support both sides, but I personally feel that our environment and other external factors adapt us to who we are.

Anyway, I digress. The main reason I liked this book was because it is told in a simple and concise manner with the information organized perfectly. I am not a researcher or a scientist who is going to take a 500+ page information book on anxiety and read about its cause and effect. Providing a “dummy” version of the same in a graphic novel format is a very creative way of sharing the same views to everyone.

Another reason I enjoyed the book was because it covers various forms of anxiety, such as the one that a person would face after encountering physical abuse, or someone who is stressed at home or in the workplace. The author also provides various pointers to overcome each of them specifically. Some of the notes are very simple yet effective, and one of my favorite ones is the below phrase:

201801Jan08-AIRSSH-B

 

I also loved the selection of color palette used for the visuals. They are not glaring to the eye, but at the same time make the messages stand out, and give the simple illustrations a vibrant spark.

The only reason I gave it 4 stars and not 5 is because at times it got too descriptive for me to understand, especially the part about existentialists (my new word for the day) and how they studied behavior during the Second World War. However, for the most part, it is useful for a layman like myself to learn about the symptoms of anxiety and how to overcome it.

I hope the author decides to release these kind of books for other symptoms such as depression, anger etc.

45outof5

The Lost Path by Amélie Fléchais

201801Jan07-LPATThe Lost Path by Amélie Fléchais
Expected Release: April 10th 2018
Format: PDF
Publisher: Lion Forge
Source: NetGalley

Synopsis:

Three young boys set off from Camp Happiness, map in hand, determined to be the first to find the treasure before anyone else. But the shortcut they take leads to something far more spectacular and sinister! All manner of magical beasties live in these woods, and the kids find themselves caught between warring Forest Spirits. Will the three boys find their way out of trouble? Get your map and ready, set, go! Amélie Fléchais’s incredible artwork combines the best of French illustration with manga influences. A spooky new fairytale, for fans of Over the Garden Wall.

 

A BIG Thank You to NetGalley and Lion Forge for providing me a copy of “The Lost Path” by Amélie Fléchais in exchange for my honest review.

This book started out great! We got a backstory of a cursed forest, and saw three adventurers accidentally set into the forest while playing treasure hunt. I was hooked to the plot after reading the first few pages, and felt it had so much potential. Each of the 3 main characters have their own charm and personality, and I kept wondering how they are going to get involved in whatever was happening in the forest. Although the story got strange and vague at times, I felt the weirdness added to the charm of the plot. However, after finishing the book, I was disappointed. I had high expectations for this to be something great, but there are a lot of things unexplained, and just left me hanging in the end. The three characters also turned out to be just onlookers and weren’t much involved in what was happening in the forest.

The illustrations on the other hand were a wonderful treat. I really liked the idea of the images being colored when the atmosphere shifts in the story. While the colored illustrations are breathtaking, the black and white ones are rough around the edges. I especially found the black and white ones to be confusing towards the climax of the book, as a lot of things happened suddenly, and some of the characters started looking alike, so it is hard to follow what is happening. However, the details drawn in each frame is definitely something to stop and admire. It is obvious that Amélie has spent a lot of time trying to put her style in each page, and I am definitely curious to pick up one of her other works to see how good it is.

I am giving “the Lost Path” a 3.5 star rating, 2 for the surreal images, and 1 for the story. I would have given this book a higher rating if I knew it was a first in the series, hoping to come back to find out the continuation to the characters in the forest. However, from what I can see online, I don’t think it is the case, as the book was released in French in 2013 itself and doesn’t have any sequels to it. I do hope the author changes her mind in the future and decides to have a sequel published with these characters.

35outof5

One Love by Deanna Cabinian

201801Jan06-OLDCOne Love by Deanna Cabinian
Expected Release: December 01st 2017
Format: Kindle
Publisher: Timpi Publishing
Source: NetGalley

Synopsis:

Long-distance relationships are tough. Thompson should know.
He’s going to college in Hawaii, but Greta’s in Italy.
When he meets Charlotte things get complicated.
Is it Greta he wants to be with?
Or Charlotte?
Will he discover that, despite what he believes, a person can have more than One Love?

One Love, the companion novel to One Night (2016), is a contemporary novel about college, first love, and friendship. Though it is technically a sequel to One Night it can be read as a standalone novel.

A BIG Thank You to NetGalley and Timpi Publishing for providing me a copy of “One Love” by Deanna Cabinian in exchange for my honest review.

Am I the only one who didn’t enjoy reading this book? I am seeing a lot of five star comments out there for “One Love” and I honestly didn’t find it that memorable.

The main problem I had with this book was that I couldn’t get invested in the love story of the main characters. I felt that Thompson doesn’t spend much in-person time with Charlotte or Greta throughout the story, but instead spends more time just reminiscing about Greta and what she is doing, which gets monotonous to read after a while. Almost every chapter involves Thompson thinking about how much he loves Greta and suspecting if she is cheating on him. As a result, I didn’t really care what happened in the end as I just wanted to finish the story for the sake of it.

The pacing is also very slow. Hardly anything interesting happens in the first half. To me, the story picked up only towards the end where Thompson and Ronnie started their journey to Italy. There is also a lot of unwanted information put in the story that has nothing to do with the plot. For instance, why do we need to know about Thompson writing a column about the new printers, or why the Asians need their own dorm in campus? It doesn’t have anything to do with the main story! I guess the author was trying to show how he matures as a person in college with his experiences while trying to maintain his long distance relationship in parallel, but the direction felt really out of place.

Coming to the characters themselves, Thompson and his friends are very lackluster. Ronnie in particular is very irritating. The only characters I actually liked was Charlotte and Kenny, and they were not even in the story that much.

The only part I actually enjoyed was the description that the author provides of Italy. She gives a nice scenic description of all the highlights of the country, and the fun way of experiencing it by foot. I feel like if I ever visit Rome, I would want to tour it exactly the way the characters do in the story. The writing skills of the author in general is commendable. She writes each incident (like what the characters eat and where they go) with interesting details that makes you want to experience it in person.

This is the second book in the “Thompson Lake” series, and I haven’t had the chance to read the first one yet. Perhaps if I had read the predecessor “One Night” first then I would have appreciated this more. However, since this story gives a lot of spoilers to what happens in the first book, I doubt I will be picking “One Night” anytime soon. Overall, “One Love” is a sweet concept, but it failed to impress me.

stars_2

The Mortification of Fovea Munson by Mary Winn Heider

201801Jan05-MOFMMHThe Mortification of Fovea Munson by Mary Winn Heider
Expected Release: June 05th 2018
Format: Kindle
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: NetGalley

Synopsis:

Fovea Munson is nobody’s Igor. True, her parents own a cadaver lab where they perform surgeries on dead bodies. And yes, that makes her gross by association, at least according to everyone in seventh grade. And sure, Fovea’s stuck working at the lab now that her summer camp plans have fallen through. But she is by no means Dr. Frankenstein’s snuffling assistant!
That is, until three disembodied heads, left to thaw in the wet lab, start talking. To her. Out loud.

What seems like a nightmare, or bizarre hallucination, is not. Fovea is somebody’s Igor, all right. Three somebodies, actually. And they need a favor. With a madcap sense of humor and a lot of heart (not to mention other body parts), this is a story about finding oneself, finding one’s friends, and embracing the moment.

A BIG Thank You to NetGalley for providing me an advanced copy of “The Mortification of Fovea Munson” by Mary Winn Heider in exchange for my honest review.

This book was HI-LA-RI-OUS!! I LOVED reading it! There are very few books out there which make me laugh out loud throughout, and this was one of them.

I honestly cannot find anything to complain about this book. The story is unique and unlike anything I have read before. Even though the plot contains some pretty morbid matter like cadavers, appendages and cremators, it is written in such a light hearted manner that would intrigue the young ones to read without spooking them. The story has so many twists and turns happening that I was just glued to the pages to find out what happens next. At times the plot got so farfetched (like when Fovea realizes she has to find a baritone to entertain her new found friends) that I wondered where the author was going with this, but I think that is the reason why this book was SO good where I really didn’t know how the story would turn out. In addition to that, it also touches on the values of friendship and how to deal with breakups and see the more important things in life.

Coming to the characters, Fovea is one of those characters that you can easily relate to, and her snarky sense of humor that makes the entire book so entertaining. In fact, up until the first twenty pages, I thought Fovea was a boy because of her unique name, and until Em mentions refers to her as a girl, I had no idea the main character is a girl (I just jumped into the book because I loved the cover). The supporting characters like Howe, Whitney, Andy, McMullen and Grandma Van were also a treat to read. My favorite of course was Lake. He was the funniest among them all, and even though he was in the story for a while, he turned out to be a memorable character for me just because of his personality.

I have become a fan of Mary Winn Heider after reading this book and cannot wait till her next one comes out. The illustrations are also cute and add a whimsical tone to the book. I feel if you are a middle grade fan and are reading only 3 books this year, this should definitely be one of them “The Mortification of Fovea Munson”.

stars55

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