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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Stefanie's Thoughts:Three Mini Reviews

Hi everyone,

Sorry about the lack of posts last week. The plague (or at least what I’m calling it) is going around my work and I think I caught a mild case of it, I wasn’t feeling like myself last week. I’m back to feeling normal and I decided instead of doing one longer review, I thought I’d do shorter reviews for a couple of the books I had read throughout the last couple weeks to make up for it.

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann
Showing Off (Upside Down Magic) series by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world. When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister's life.

This was a 2.5 star read for me. It was suggested to me by one of my trusty book friends. We read it as a buddy-read and came to the same conclusion: awesome idea, but the plot itself was lacking. The cover was what drew me in and I loved the concept of twins. I have a sister, but she’s younger; the whole idea of twin telepathy really interests me.

The first couple of chapters were so awesome, I felt for sure this was going to be an awesome mystery. Then I got deeper into the book and realized just how much I hated Maddy as a main character; she was so mean to her sister and I just couldn’t forgive her. It got to the point that at any mention of Maddy I found I couldn’t continue reading. I was also hoping for some big in your face plot-twist or something and I was left with nothing. To be honest, I can’t really tell you anything that happened in the book.

Addie has always known what she was running toward. In cross-country, in life, in love. Until she and her boyfriend—her sensitive, good-guy boyfriend—are careless one night and she ends up pregnant. Addie makes the difficult choice to have an abortion. And after that—even though she knows it was the right decision for her—nothing is the same anymore. She doesn’t want anyone besides her parents and her boyfriend to know what happened; she doesn’t want to run cross-country; she can’t bring herself to be excited about anything. Until she reconnects with Juliana, a former teammate who’s going through her own dark places.

This was a 3 star read for me. I told myself this year I needed to read more out of my comfort zone- poetry is so far out it’s almost in another galaxy. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this one, but I must say I enjoyed the journal entries that were included. I think some of the plot points got lost and rushed over and I feel like this might be due to novel being in verse and each chapter was less than a page. I felt no connection to Addie and I felt like the character growth wasn’t ever achieved. Sure Addie goes through a huge life experience, but I don’t know if I felt she learned from it.

I really think this book would have benefited from full prose and not verse. It was like reading one page of Addie saying something and then the next page she completely changed her mind and that was normal. I felt too that Addie herself as a character was rushed, she wasn’t very fleshed out. Addie barely had time to deal with her pregnancy, when suddenly it was over and she acted like nothing had ever happened. I’m a little disappointed with this novel; I was expecting really strong characters and didn’t get that. I did enjoy reading the book itself; it was nice to read a book written in a different style. I’m tempted to read the author’s first novel, hopefully I can track it down at my local library.


Some people in school are afraid of the kids in the Upside-Down Magic class. Others just call them flops. But Nory and her friends in Upside-Down Magic won't let that stop them. Not with a school-wide talent show coming up! Except... Nory's afraid her fluxing magic will go wonky and upset her father. Pepper is worried that her abilities as a Fierce will make all the animals in the show run wild. Bax has some extreme new magic skills, but they can also be extremely embarrassing. And Elliott suspects there's a Sparkie spy who's looking to uncover UDM's talent-show secrets, and to use those secrets against them.

I saw this series at my library and thought why not try it out; I try to read as many middle-grade novels I can to stay up to date when it comes to ordering books for the library I work at. I must say, this series is rather adorable and I love the tagline for the copy I read: nobody puts this Dritten in a corner. Nice mix for adults to have a laugh, while it's appropriate for the target audience (kind of like Disney movies).

This was a fun light read, full of wonky magic and spells. I'm so happy the cover caught my attention and I started reading them; I would have loved this series when I was in middle school! It reminded me of Castle Hangnail, which I have reviewed and I have read Mlynowski's other middle-grade series Whatever After. This was a solid 3.5 rating for me.

Currently Reading:  

Take the Key and Lock her Up by Ally Carter
This has been one interesting series. I loved book one, but book two felt like nothing happened. I read it on it's release day, but I can't tell you anything that happened. It's been nice getting back into Carter's writing, she always makes espionage fun! I'll be reviewing it soon!


 Re-Read Update:

Ghostgirl wasn't as good as I remembered, but it was still as macabre as I wanted. I gave it a three star rating this time around, when it was originally a four. I still love the plot: Charlotte Usher dies after choking on a gummy bear; if you haven't read it I highly recommend it if you love some dark comedy.

My next re-read is going to be My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison. This is one of my all-time favorite books. I'd give it fifteen stars out of five if I could and I'm so excited to be reading this!

That's all for me today. Thanks for your patience about me missing last week. I'll be sure to be on the ball for my next full review and month-end post (it's crazy it's the 25th already!).

Until my next review,



  1. Our household have gone through the plague so weeks ago so I know what that's like. I'm glad you're over yours! I've not read any of these books (nor have I heard of them, for that matter). It sure sounds like none of them blew you away, though. Boo.

  2. I get a little disappointed after a week's worth of books and not one of them really impressed me


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