Welcome to yAdult Review, a space where two girls review novels from across the genres, from YA and MG, to fantasy and sci-fi, to historical fiction and mystery, with a sprinkling of non-fiction too. We hope you enjoy your stay here as much as we enjoy ours.

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks (Illustrations)

16002011Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks (Illustrations)
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: First Second
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

You wouldn’t expect Nate and Charlie to be friends. Charlie’s the laid-back captain of the basketball team, and Nate is the neurotic, scheming president of the robotics club. But they are friends, however unlikely—until Nate declares war on the cheerleaders. At stake is funding that will either cover a robotics competition or new cheerleading uniforms—but not both.

It’s only going to get worse: after both parties are stripped of their funding on grounds of abominable misbehavior, Nate enrolls the club’s robot in a battlebot competition in a desperate bid for prize money. Bad sportsmanship? Sure. Chainsaws? Why not. Running away from home on Thanksgiving to illicitly enter a televised robot death match? Of course!

In Faith Erin Hicks’ and Prudence Shen’s world of high school class warfare and robot death matches, Nothing can possibly go wrong. – Goodreads

Review:

I will admit to going into this book knowing nothing and I left it so happy and thrilled! I adored Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong! It has everything I look for in a book. Friendships! Snark! Feelings! The lead characters of Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong are Nate and Charlie, two opposites who no one would expect to be friends, but who are and it works. Nate wants to become Class President to get funding for Robotics Club over the Cheerleaders. The Cheerleaders of course begin to rage, because OH OH OH NO. They need new uniforms. That is far more important than a silly-stupid robot event. This forces the Cheerleaders to back another opponent who they believe will beat Nate, even though this opponent has no interest in running.

Who is the opponent you ask? Charlie, the captain of the basketball team and BFF to Nate. Nate who finds it disgraceful that Charlie would run against him. What is important here is that Charlie doesn’t want to run, he has no interest in being Class President, he has his own shit he’s dealing with with a father who’s never home and a mother who ditched them both for California and a new boyfriend. Charlie has a lot of built up resentment and the last thing he wants to do is lead the class.

This doesn’t stop Nate and the cheerleaders from an all out war fighting for that post. Told through use of clever dialogue, Shen is able to tell a genius High School story that had my heart going out to most of the characters, including Charlie, who just wants his parents to listen to him. Along with clever dialogue, Hicks was able to bring the story to life and add so much more to it than I was expecting when I opened up this book.

“Picture it, Sicily…” (II)

Actually this is not a Golden Girls recap, although props to you if you caught that.10514865_10103840503931231_995984519_n This is going to be a recap of some of my favorite picture books I’ve read recently!

For this post it will be dedicated to one author that I’ve fallen in love with. That is Mr. Oliver Jeffers who I was lucky enough to meet at ALA this past June in Vegas. To be fair, I have enjoyed his style a long time before that. Publishing since 2004, Jeffers puts out a book a year including his most recent book 20821124that is all about the alphabet. For me Jeffers’ books are not only about the story, which is always important, but the illustrations. The illustrations are what suck me into his books and wanting more. Constantly wanting more. My Christmas wishlist is all of his books, all I’ve done at the library lately is check out his books.

Which is a little awkward if I’m being honest, because the shelves are short and the youth librarians keep looking at me like “why are you, an adult here?” Which, as a librarian I have issues with, but I don’t care because they are adorable and should be read.

He also does work outside of just picture books that make me wonder who I can get to purchase me the beautiful map that I now have this deep desire to have. It’s playful and whimsical but it’s also a map, and if you know me, you know my love of maps and my need to have my walls covered in maps.Screen_Shot_2013-08-13_at_10.10.08_PM_1024x1024

I know, I sound like a Jeffers’ fangirl, but the thing is not only is he clearly good at what he does, he’s also super nice and willing to take selfies with random librarians at a conference. And I was not the only one, there was a huge line for his signing at ALA, not counting the three people I forced into line with me, who also fell in love with his huge hit The Day The Crayons Quit. I swear it isn’t just me! He’s also popular with the NPR crowd, GalleyCat, and the like.

 

Books of his I enjoy (besides ALL OF THEM):

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All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

18289482All Four Stars by Tara Dairman
Release Date: July 10, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

“A scrumptious gem of a story!”—Jennifer A. Nielsen, New York Timesbestselling author of The False Prince

Meet Gladys Gatsby: New York’s toughest restaurant critic. (Just don’t tell anyone that she’s in sixth grade.)

Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated but soon finds just the right opportunity to pay her parents back when she’s mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for one of the largest newspapers in the world.

But in order to meet her deadline and keep her dream job, Gladys must cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy and sneak into New York City—all while keeping her identity a secret! Easy as pie, right? – Goodreads

Review:

This book has been on my radar for months, probably even a year and while I’ve been wanting to read it, I just haven’t had time. Then one day I saw it at the library and knew it was time. Now, if anything, I’m mad at myself that I waited so long to read it. I had friends like, Jen and Kim, who loved it and I should have known I would, too. And fine, they were right. I did love it. I was hooked from the very beginning. This book was the cutest and I cannot recommend it more to people.

All Four Stars is the story of Gladys, a girl who does not fit in, in her family. Her family will eat whatever, and Gladys is constantly critiquing meals and wants to only eat the best. In fact, we first meet Gladys as she is making crème brûlée and kind of sort of starts her kitchen on fire with a blow torch. Gladys, very logically blames her parents for this, if they would have brought her a proper kitchen blow torch she wouldn’t have had to use a giant one which set everything a blaze.

Gladys’ parents just want her to be interested in normal 11 year old things. Playing outside, having friends, watching TV (something besides the cooking channel!) All of these things don’t interest Gladys, she likes cooking, eating amazing food, and fresh ingredients. Slowly however, throughout All Four Stars, Gladys learns it is possible to not only have friends, but be true to yourself. Her teacher has decided that everyone in the class will be writing a paper on what they want to be when they grow up. Gladys turns in her first paper about how she wants to be a veterinarian and her teacher sees through it right away, there is no passion and she calls Gladys on it and makes her re-write the paper. What Gladys’ doesn’t expect is to win the contest in her class and have the essay be sent into the newspaper in New York City.

Once her essay is in New York City, it makes it’s way to the food editors desk and the next thing Gladys knows she has been asked to be a temporary food critic and of course she loses her mind, mostly because she can’t do this alone. Through various people in her life, including her next door neighbor and a friend at her school, she has a chance at making it. All Four Stars is a solid, cute novel that left me not only hungry, but also wanting more.

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

18634726The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: ALAMW2014
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star (3.5)
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter’s come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I’ve watched the danger swell.

The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I’m the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I’m tied—it seems—to this house, this street, this town.

I’m tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don’t know why. I think it’s because death is coming for one of them, or both.

All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig.I am looking for the things that are buried.

From bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes a friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind. – Goodreads

Review:

This book pulled me in from the moment it started to describe Door County and it was that accurate. I was born and semi-raised in Wisconsin. I have visited Door County numerous times in my life and Anderson very much got that feeling in The Vanishing Season. I went into this believing that The Vanishing Season was a ghost story, and while there is a ghost story, there is so much more to this story than just the ghost.

This is a haunting, slow moving story about that thing that fears people the most: growing up. Maggie moves to Door County from Chicago and slowly begins to fit in to the town. Through a job and becoming friends with Pauline, Maggie begins to feel like she fits it. Pauline also introduces Maggie to Liam, who is Pauline’s boyfriend and while the three become good friends, things change when Door County becomes a haunting location for disappearing girls. Because of the disappearing girls, everyone is on alert, including Maggie, who’s parents send her south to Milwaukee and her aunt’s house for safety. That is where the lines begin to blur, and Maggie becomes close to Liam. What I found most interesting about The Vanishing Season is Anderson was able to make me feel sympathetic for characters that would usually drive me bonkers.

My heart hurt during this whole book because it is not an easy read and the ending isn’t either. Looking back at The Vanishing Novel there really was no other choice to end the novel, it really was the only choice, but it doesn’t hurt any less.

The Vanishing Season is hard to describe because this is easily a book in which nothing happens and that is not a bad thing. This book pulled me in with flawed, realistic characters that act like teenagers, that break your heart. While The Vanishing Season is my first book by Anderson, it will not be my last.

Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

73086Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Release Date: Feburary 1, 1996
Publisher: Avon
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Wedding Day

Pretty, flighty Daisy Devreaux can either go to jail or marry the mystery man her father has chosen for her. Arranged marriages don’t happen in the modern world, so how did the irrepressible Daisy find herself in this fix?

Alex Markov, as humorless as he is deadly handsome, has no intention of playing the loving bridegroom to a spoiled little feather-head with champagne tastes. He drags Daisy from her uptown life to a broken down traveling circus and sets out to tame her to his ways.

But this man without a soul has met his match in a woman who’s nothing but heart. Before long, passion will send them flying sky high without a safety net… risking it all in search of a love that will last forever.– Goodreads

Review:

The last thing that Daisy wants to be part of is this fake marriage, she wants to be married for love and ultimately part of a family. Her parents were never really her family and now she’s married to Alex, a humorless man who has married Daisy as part of a rouse. Alex is in this as a favor to Daisy’s father and Daisy is doing it because it was this marriage or jail. Through miss-communication Daisy and Alex are constantly fighting and it’s adorable because they clearly start to develop feelings for each other.

The best part of Kiss An Angel is the fact it takes place outside of Daisy’s comfort zone, the majority of the book takes place at a circus. The both have presumptions about each other and refuse to believe anything but those said presumptions. It also doesn’t help that Alex’s childhood has made it hard for him to believe in love. Daisy is really nothing but love and sunshine. Well, in comparison to anyone Alex is sunshine and love. He is the product of his childhood and because of that Daisy often feels like she is talking to a brick wall.

What is amazing to me is how Phillips constantly writes fully fleshed characters, most of the characters of the zoo hated Daisy because she married Alex and Alex used to be the lonewolf of the circus. How did she tame Alex? Why does no one know nothing about her? Why does she refuse to work? Why did she steal that money from the circus? Of course what they don’t know is how so much of the situation is set up. No matter what question is asked, Daisy was set up. Not only was she set up, but Alex also defends her to the circus which continues to ostracizes her in the group. What she doesn’t expect is to fall in love with a baby elephant in the circus. This comes from the fact, in part she is not an animal person, but quickly Daisy feels a bond to this elephant because she understands what it’s like to be kept in a spot they never asked to be in. I know, it sounds corny and like a stretch, but it works. It works so well. And the background characters? Broke my heart. They were constantly well thought out and I had feelings for them. I rarely have feelings for the background characters, because that’s where they are: in the background. But these characters were so well thought-out and added so much to the story that I wouldn’t mind separate stories about them!

This story was however about Alex and Daisy. They also slowly fall in love with each other, the problem is Alex doesn’t believe in love, at all. His childhood was the worst, and he refuses to accept her love. So instead they banter, and it’s cute, adorable banter and if Phillips does one thing well, it’s banter. I believed in their romance so much that when their hearts broke, my heart broke. They just want the other to admit to loving the other, but when one doesn’t believe in love it’s very hard to believe anyone saying “I love you.”

So much happens in this story that it is more than just a “simple romance” novel, which is a pet peeve of mine. It has so many layers and emotions that I spent most of this novel with my heart in my throat because I was so full of feels. I cannot recommend this book more to any romance lover.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns Stories (Fire and Thorns 0.5-0.7) by Rae Carson

19346537The Girl of Fire and Thorns Stories (Fire and Thorns 0.5-0.7) by Rae Carson
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

A paperback edition of three novellas set within the world of the New York Times bestselling Girl of Fire and Thorns series, previously available only digitally: The Shadow Cats, The Shattered Mountain, and The King’s Guard.

The Shadow Cats is told from the perspective of Elisa’s older sister. Discover how their sibling rivalry looks from Alodia’s viewpoint, and find out why Alodia agrees to marry her sister off to King Alejandro of Joya de Vega.

The Shattered Mountain revolves around Elisa’s best friend and handmaiden, Mara. Before she meets Elisa at the rebel camp in The Girl of Fire and Thorns, she suffers her own tragedy. Her village is destroyed and she must lead the few young survivors to safety.

The King’s Guard centers on Hector, Commander of the Royal Guard and Elisa’s true love. Set years before The Girl of Fire and Thorns, it shows us fifteen-year-old Hector as a new recruit. He must prove himself—and he discovers a secret he must keep forever.– Goodreads

Review:

Last year I read and loved Rae Carson’s series The Girl of Fire and Thornswhich to be honest I’m still a little shocked about. Mostly because to this day I am not a fantasy person. But..I liked it. And recently when Carson’s short stories came out in one volume I knew I wanted to read them. Of course a TBR happens and well, books get pushed down. Then, thanks to my library overdrive app, The Girl of Fire and Thorns Stories appeared as an audiobook and it was fate. FATE I SAY.

This was a solid set of three stories, all short and take place before the first book in the series. While they are not needed to understand the series (for those who hate novellas) but they do add to the story, and they made me miss the characters. Mostly Hector, because I do love and adore Hector. Hearts in my eyes for that Hector. But the first two weren’t about Hector and I still enjoyed them. You learn more about Elisa’s older sister, and you understand her from a completely different point of view. Same goes for the second story, The Shattered Mountain, you learn more about Mara, Elisa’s best friend, and she goes through so much that the reader doesn’t really understand and then in The Shattered Mountain your heart breaks for her so much.

And then there is The King’s Guard which it’s obvious to whom it’s about. HINT: Hector! Oh Hector, our sweet boy who learns more in his 15 years than anyone should. Again, while it isn’t required to read these to understand The Girl of Fire and Thorns series, I do recommend it. It gave me feels I was in denial about for years.

Also? HECTORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

 

The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig

15701533The Ashford Affair  by Lauren Willig
Release Date: April 9, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

As a lawyer in a large Manhattan firm, just shy of making partner, Clementine Evans has finally achieved almost everything she’s been working towards—but now she’s not sure it’s enough. Her long hours have led to a broken engagement and, suddenly single at thirty-four, she feels her messy life crumbling around her. But when the family gathers for her grandmother Addie’s ninety-ninth birthday, a relative lets slip hints about a long-buried family secret, leading Clemmie on a journey into the past that could change everything. . . .

Growing up at Ashford Park in the early twentieth century, Addie has never quite belonged. When her parents passed away, she was taken into the grand English house by her aristocratic aunt and uncle, and raised side-by-side with her beautiful and outgoing cousin, Bea. Though they are as different as night and day, Addie and Bea are closer than sisters, through relationships and challenges, and a war that changes the face of Europe irrevocably. But what happens when something finally comes along that can’t be shared? When the love of sisterhood is tested by a bond that’s even stronger?

From the inner circles of British society to the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the red-dirt hills of Kenya, the never-told secrets of a woman and a family unfurl.– Goodreads

Review:

While I have read and even listened to many Willig books, this was a change from her previous novels, which are all part of a series, The Ashford Affair is a stand alone. That being said it still highlights Willig’s strong writing, while showing two different time periods. Told in two time periods: early 20th century and then later 20th century we are taken into Clemmie’s life and family. While the name Clemmie makes me cringe, she is a solid character who has devoted her life to being a lawyer, and quickly realizes she doesn’t have much to show for it besides a job that she basically hates. Her engagement has ended (see job) and her grandmother just celebrated her 99th birthday. Her grandmother’s birthday celebration slowly changes everything for Clemmie.

Her grandmother, Addie, is the other half of the story. Addie grew up in Ashford Park, after a devistating accident that took her parents away from her. Addie’s aunt has made it clear that Addie is not meant for Ashford Park as her father married a lower class. Addie’s cousin Bea however has never treated her this way. Addie and Bea are true family, and not just because their family, but because they are the family they made for each other. Lately I’ve been very big about the family you not only have, but also the family that you chose. Although they were forced together, Addie and Bea are the family that they ended up choosing for each other. While the world around them is changing, they constantly try to be there for each other. This bond however is tested when Bea tests the bonds of their friendship by an act that most friendships can not sustain through. Addie and Bea always needed each other, but were also very jealous of each other. One more than the other, which comes out during the pivotal moment.

Back in present day, 1999, Clemmie knows nothing about Addie and Addie’s lie. This hits Addie like a lead balloon when Addie looks like she is on her death bed at her party and Clemmie worries she has no more time left. Through use of excellent parallels, Willig not only compares and contrasts the two characters but life in general with love and loss.  Clemmie also has Jon, a cousin through marriage, to assist her through this, she isn’t doing this alone.

This was a quick paced story that wove together and made me hang on to every word quite well. Willig showed she will not only be known for her series, but also her stand alones. I cannot wait to see what will come from her next.


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