Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

The Forgetting (The Forgetting, #1)The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This concept is brilliant. I adored this book. I liked the story so much, that I'm actually going to tell you about the concept, which I rarely do.

Nadia lives inside the walls of Canaan, where every 12 years, The Forgetting comes, and complete chaos ensues. Think fear, violence, and complete panic. Think babies abandoned to cry in the street, while their mothers stand off to the side. Think absolute confusion. Sheer terror. Traumatic accidents and strong emotions that lead to violence. Bewilderment, mistrust, and isolation.

Before The Forgetting, it's a day of no remorse, which brings out the best and worst in people, but by the end of the day, nobody remembers anything. Every part of their identities is gone in an instant: their names, their families, their friends, what they love, what they think, what they do, their biggest accomplishments, their greatest mistakes. Everything.

Some people feel it's a blessing, a chance to start again. Others feel it's an opportunity to commit any sort of crime or revenge, for which there will never be a punishment. Some feel a deep loss, but it is hard to mourn the loss of something that you can't even remember.

In the span of a Canaan day, all is lost, and when The Forgetting passes, the only resources people have to help explain what has happened, who they are, and how to survive, are their personal books of truth, which they must carry with themselves at all times.

Obviously, there are a few catches (potential spoilers ahead, so if you prefer to read a book knowing as little as possible, you might want to stop reading here):

1. If you don't have your book, you become one of the lost, fated to a miserable life (or perhaps death). You will never know who you are, or who you have been, and nobody else will either. The lost are blamed for their fate and separated from society, as everyone is taught to write truths at all times and to never part with their book.

2. People try to cheat the system before The Forgetting comes by changing truths or writing lies in their books (and/or in other people's books). For 12 years, you may have been happily (or so you thought) married to John, but after The Forgetting, if your books says your husband Adam died years before, you become an immediate widow.

2.5. Sometimes, people even try to steal or destroy someone else's book, so that person becomes part of the lost.

3. Supposedly everyone forgets, but in true dystopian fashion (SPOILER ALERT)-- du du duhnnnn--- Not everyone forgets, though nobody has ever admitted to remembering.

This book is fascinating and intense from start to finish.

Pages: 403

View all my reviews

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up (A Chocoholic Mystery, #3) by JoAnna Carl

  The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up (A Chocoholic Mystery, #3) by JoAnna Carl

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Lee McKinney helps her aunt run TenHuis Chocolade in a tourist town. For this year's 4th of July they  debut chocolate frogs in a variety of sizes. The only person to buy a large frog is also the town's most annoying citizen and it's the first time he has ever bought anything from them instead of asking for samples. When he disappears Lee's boyfriend is the prime suspect, even though he has no real motive. But there are others who do... relatives who need the money, investors in a secret land deal, and perhaps some folks who have just gotten tired of him looking through their windows.

Pages: 227

Peaches and Scream (A Georgia Peach Mystery #1) by Susan Furlong

 Peaches and Scream (A Georgia Peach Mystery #1) by Susan Furlong

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Nola Harper returns to her childhood home in Cays Mill, Georgia to help run her parents peach farm while they enjoy a free vacation. But she soon learns that things at the farm and in the town aren't going well. Several poor harvests has the farm's accounts strapped for cash. Then her brother-in-law is accused of murder and he may very well be guilty.

Pages: 289 

Baroque and Desperate (Den of Antiquity #5) by Tamar Myers

 Baroque and Desperate (Den of Antiquity #5) by Tamar Myers

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Abigail Timberlake, antique dealer and owner of Charlotte, North Carolina's Den of Antiquity, is called upon to use her expertise to assist wealthy member of the Latham family, Tradd Maxwell Burton. His Grandmother is setting up a family treasure hunt and this year it's inside your antique filled-manor. Each guest only gets one guess at what the valuable item is and they are allowed to bring another person to help them. Accompanied by her friend C.J., they arrive at the estate to an icy reception from the rest of the family. Then the maid is stabbed with an antique kris and everyone is accusing C.J. Can Abbey find the real killer before C.J. is charged with murder?

Pages: 250 

Tiles and Tribulations (Den of Antiquity #10) by Tamar Myers

 Tiles and Tribulations (Den of Antiquity #10) by Tamar Myers

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Abigail Timberlake Washburn is forced to attend a seance at her friend, C.J's new home. She is certain that her house is haunted and that the spirit is even doing repairs around the house for her. C.J. hires a psychic and with a group of retiree friends of Abby's Mom tries to find out why the spirit is still there. Abby figures out early on that the psychic isn't all she appears to be, but when Madame Woo-Woo is found dead, Abby becomes a suspect.

Pages: 340

The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains: Oddball Criminals from Comic Book History by Jon Morris

 The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains: Oddball Criminals from Comic Book History by Jon Morris 
My Rating 4 out of 5 stars

I read a special, limited edition of this title, available through LootCrate, a monthly subscription service. It is an abbreviated edition with 124 pages. This collection describes villains from a variety of comic book eras who were weird, comical, incompetent and some are even dangerous. This collection affectionately showcases oddball criminals.

Pages: 124

The Gluten-Free Slow Cooker: Set It and Go with Quick and Easy Wheat-Free Meals Your Whole Family Will Love by Hope Comerford

The Gluten-Free Slow Cooker: Set It and Go with Quick and Easy Wheat-Free Meals Your Whole Family Will Love by Hope Comerford

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

This cookbook can help you enjoy your gluten-free meals, whether your family has to follow a gluten free diet for celiac's or other health issues or you are trying to eat healthier in general. Trying to find delicious, easy recipes that the whole family will enjoy is difficult. This recipe book provides you with meals that can be ready in your slow cooker when you get home from work. There are recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert.

176 pages

I am a Cat by Natsume Sōseki

I am a Cat by Natsume Sōseki

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

A classic of Japanese literature, I Am a Cat is one of the author's best-known novels. This novel was written over the course of 1904 to 1906. The main character is a cat who is never given a name but lives with a middle-class family. Cat tells the reader his observations of human behavior and Japanese society during the Meiji era in all of his cat snarkiness.

Page Numbers: 470

Monday, February 13, 2017

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

It Ends with UsIt Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*expletives redacted*

I had no idea what this story was about. I just started it, because I read everything Colleen Hoover writes. No. I don't just read her stories. I drink them down and dwell inside them. She creates characters and worlds that cling to you, that make you face all your hopes and fears, that put you through the full range of emotions.

Anyway, long story short, I was completely unprepared for how a book with such a pretty cover could contain such ugliness, pain, and suffering. I mean, the destroyed flower probably should have been a warning sign . . . Regardless, it's still a gorgeous story, in the kind of way the embers of a fire are beautiful, after the flames have just destroyed something.

Be sure to read the author's note at the end of the story.

Pages: 376

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Sun Is Also a StarThe Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It took me longer to settle into this one than it did Everything Everything, maybe partly because the fast changes of POV at the start, but it did suck me in, once I wrapped my brain around who the characters are and why I should care about them.

Basically, Natasha (17) meets Daniel on the same day her family is to be deported to Jamaica for being illegal immigrants (came to America at age 8), and they have an immediate, shocking connection. Despite being so different, and almost opposites in many ways, they are drawn to each other in a way that surprises them both. As a result, they become part of each others' lives through a very difficult day.

The story shares some interesting thoughts and messages, especially in light of recent politics, and the writing is beautiful, as you would expect of Nicola Yoon. The characters are individual and diverse, and even though the story takes place in the span of a day, you get to watch them evolve.

Overall, it's a mash-up of many different commentaries and small story lines on love, race, culture, and the fine line between fighting for your dreams and being responsible to and for those who love you. It gave me different ways to think about life, which is harder for a book to accomplish than you would think, considering I'm an avid reader.

I like it a lot. I just don't love it enough that I need to clutch it to my chest and begin immediately rereading it, which is why it only got 4 stars, instead of 5, despite being an excellent story.

Pages: 384

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

FurthermoreFurthermore by Tahereh Mafi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a unique, imaginative, well-written, adorable middle grade fantasy novel. I'm obsessed with Mafi's writing, so there was no doubt that I would read this book. It also has a gorgeous cover, sounds great as an audiobook, and reads like a colorful dream. I almost feel like music should pour from the book when I crack it open, which is just a testament to how delightful it is.

Pages: 416

Friday, February 10, 2017

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) TeenBeing Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to the audiobook of this memoir, which was very good, because it is so conversational in voice and tone.

This is an engaging story, and I found Jazz's journey (so far) to be fascinating. I especially appreciate how overwhelmingly positive, encouraging, and confident she is. It's also honest and upfront about topics such as depression.

That being said, I don't think her journey would be considered typical for most transgender teens, so while it's so wonderful to see how much love and support she has had since she was very young, I appreciate how it is noted that other trans kids and teens have not all had the same level of acceptance and support. This is not to say her life has been without hardship, because she has had her own set of struggles.

The book mentions important areas of concern for the trans community, such as the high suicide rates and the increased risk of being the victim of violent crimes. It balances a very hopeful message with reminders that the lives, stories, and struggles of other transgender people can be very different. Regardless, almost all people want to be themselves and to be accepted for who they are, and for someone so young to have such insight is impressive.

I'm still, quite honestly, not a huge fan of memoirs, but this one is short, held my attention well, and provides a lot of good information that will hopefully make the world a more understanding place.

Pages: 272

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Drag Teen by Jeffery Self

Drag TeenDrag Teen by Jeffery Self
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is like cotton candy, which tends to be a lot of fun, but it can be a bit too fluffy and sweet for me at times. I would probably give it only 3 starts, but it has drag queens, some excellent humor, and a few touching moments, which all add up to a 4th star.

I enjoyed this roadtrip-to-enter-a-contest-to-win-a-scholarship story (a popular trend in YA these days), but it's probably not a story that will stick with me for long, despite the interesting journey.

I did appreciate the diversity in characters, and there were a few unexpected viewpoints that caught my attention and made me stop to think. All in all, it's a good book.

Pages: 256

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl (Stargirl, #1)Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's not bad. The characters are pretty naive, in a beautiful way, but my jaded side sometimes had trouble swallowing that. I confess I wanted it to run just a bit deeper than it does. You are also going to need to be able to suspend belief to really love this book, as actions and events don't always occur in ways that are logical and realistic. You have to let go of any inner-critic and just try to enjoy an unexpected ride.

The message is solid and valuable, assuming you are into the kind of fiction that teaches a life lesson. There were a lot of things I love about this story, but some of the stuff is so over-the-top that it's hard to forget that you're reading about fake people. I prefer to be completely folded into the characters' lives and world, and to feel like they're completely real, which wasn't possible for me with this book.

I was always aware that I was reading a quirky book about unlikely characters, surrounding a hypothetical situation. Nothing ever felt fully real to me in this world, which is why despite the interesting ideas and gorgeous sentences, I don't love this in the way I wish I did. It was good for me but not great.

Also, there is something about the voice that feels very middle grade, despite this being a YA novel.

Pages: 186

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

P.S. I Like YouP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is adorable. Absolutely everything written by Kasie West seems to be adorable, and heartfelt, with enough depth to run you through the gamut of emotions, leaving you perfectly satisfied at the end of the story.

The characters are well-developed, and the concept is sweet. This is the ideal book for a quick read or for dealing with emotional exhaustion (due to either other books or to life), because it returns more to you than it takes from you.

Pages: 330