Tuesday, December 31, 2013

THE ART OF FALLING by Jenny Kaczorowski

This book has a setup that I absolutely adore with a slight twist.  I usually go for books where there are two best friends (guys), and one of them falls in love with the other's sister AND/OR the sister falls in love with the brother's best friend.  Don't know why, that's just one of my favorite romance plots :).
In The Art of Falling, we get two best girl friends, and Bria is secretly crushing on Abby's big brother, Ben.  That alone would create tension, but when you add their high school "roles" into the equation, it looks like it a love match may never happen.
Bria: the purple-haired artsy girl who always wears a hoodie (to cover a scar that reminds her of a tragic past), never eats meat (supposedly), and is rumored to have drank her ex-boyfriend's blood (so not true).  Ben: the quarterback with the perfect smile who loves football (not really), isn't too smart (actually, he is), and would never dream of kissing one of his sister's best friends (ha!).
It's a light, fun read and best of all there's a kiss right off the bat in chapter one.
"But there it was: the moment she'd kept nestled in her daydreams for so many years, safe from reality, from possibility.  Ben was looking at her.  Seeing her.
Kissing her.
Good. Lord."--at 4%, The Art of Falling
The romance between Bria and Ben was heartwarming, and the journey as Bria struggles to break out of the role she's created is very satisfying.  This is one of the first books from a new imprint called Bloomsbury Spark, and I enjoyed it.
I'd recommend it to readers who love a good, light contemporary romance with plenty of swoonworthy moments, a boy whose kisses taste like Skittles, and a girl who finds herself and her HEA in the end :).
Happy reading,
Ninja Girl
P.S. With this review, I've completed my Debut Author Challenge!!!  Whoop!  12 reviews of 12 YA/MG debuts in 2013 *happy dance*.  Hope you all enjoy the last day of the year!


This meme features weekly "Top Ten" lists and is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  I read 101 books this year.  That's a lot of books!!  So many wonderful reads, it was nearly impossible to narrow the list to 10--though I had no doubt what my number one would be :-).

1.  Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Hands down my favorite read of the year, one of my top five books EVER!!  I fell in love with Eleanor; I fell in love with Park.  I fell in love with their story a million times over.
This book was everything.  Everything.
2.  Lover At Last by J. R. Ward
The Warden came through again with a vengance!  Also my longest read of the year, 696 pages of BDB goodness :-).  Qhuinn + Blay = <3
3.  The Brigerton Series by Julia Quinn
I loved this entire series (favorites were books 3, 4 and 7).
4.  Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Another example of how A-Freaking-Mazing Rainbow is.  Loved Cath and Levi!!
5.  What I Did For A Duke by Julie Anne Long
Such an unexpectedly fantastic plot and characters.  And the romance!!  Loved it!
6.  Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs
Mercy Thompson, one of my favorite series by an author I can't get enough of.  Briggs always delivers :)
7.  The Jessica Darling Series (books 1 & 2)  by Megan McCafferty
Jessica Darling was unforgettable and absolutely hilarious in this YA contemporary.
8.  Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
The sequel to Throne of Glass, and again, Maas delivers in a huge way!
9.  Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Two words: Finny Boone <3
These books are part of the same series, so technically, I didn't cheat lol!  Ian Mackenzie was unlike any other character I've read.  He was so unique and appealing.  And then Cameron's book combined two of my favorite characters, and I loved the plot.  A really great series!
Have you read any of these?  If not, I'd totally recommend them ;).  I'm looking forward to seeing your favorites!
Ninja Girl

Monday, December 30, 2013

HOOKED by Liz Fichera

Okay, I read this one a while back and didn't review b/c I had some issues with the love interest (and his best friend).  But I'm determined to complete the Debut Author Challenge, so here we go...
I liked Hooked--for the most part.  Love the cover and title, especially how the pink plays off the gray, very eye-catching.  Also since Fred, our heroine, plays golf like a pro, I appreciated that aspect of the story.  I enjoy books where the focus is on a particular sport and the MC's love of the game.  It's written in dual perspective, so we get to really see both Fred's and Ryan's thoughts.
Fred is Native American, relatively poor, and got her amazing golf swing from practicing every spare minute on the course for which her father is the groundskeeper.  Her best friend, Sam, is in love with her.  I liked Fred a lot--though if I was in her shoes, I would've gone for reliable, loyal Sam instead of the hot rich guy any day.
Ryan is white, extremely rich, and has a membership at that same golf club.  He and his friends enjoy forcing Native Americans off the road, calling them "Pocahontas," and putting bricks into their golf bags.  He's still with his shallow girlfriend and his awful, racist BFF Seth b/c…well it's always been that way.  And Ryan doesn't have the balls to stand up for what's right.
*Phew*  Obviously, I wasn't Ryan's biggest fan.  But can you blame me?  For the better part of the story, he let his friends bully and push Fred around--even though he KNEW it was wrong.  Yes, Seth was the psycho and Ryan was just his "friend," but he had so many opportunities to stand up to Seth and…didn't.
Towards the end, Psycho Seth even tries to run Fred down in the dead of night with his truck.  0__o  C-R-A-Z-Y, like truly insane not to mention a total hate crime.  And they--both Fred and Ryan--basically take pity on him, "do the right thing," and help him afterward?!?!?!?!?!?
Call me vindictive, but I'd leave the guy to rot.  Such is the ninja way ;).  Anyway, the romance was well-written, but I couldn't get past my dislike of Ryan.  Again, we get to see his POV, so we know that he knows what he's doing is wrong.
I really liked Fred's character, a lot actually.  I thought she could've done much better than Ryan.
This story was very much Pretty in Pink--and to be honest I've always been more a Some Kind of Wonderful girl!!  Blane got on my last nerve with his wishy-washy ways; Andie couldn't get over herself and see how much Ducky loved her.  Give me Watts and Keith any day!
So yeah, I liked the story, despised the best friend, and thought Fred would've been better off with Sam--but whatever.  My favorite character was Ryan's sister, Riley.  She was good and kind and not judgmental unlike her brother.  She was everything Ryan should've been.  Fichera's next book, Played, is Riley and Sam's story.  All I can say is: I'm looking forward to it!

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl

Friday, December 27, 2013


Hi everyone!  Feature and Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, two awesome ladies with crazy good blogs. Feature for this week is Magic of Words.

Q:  Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! What books did Santa stuff your stocking with this holiday season? Do a holiday book haul for us! If you don’t celebrate just show off your books that you got this week. Pictures!!!

So, so thankful for all of these amazing books!!  I don't even know where to start *___*

Did you guys get any books?  Which one will you read first??  I hope you had a wonderful holiday, and I can't wait to come check out your posts!

Happy Friday,

Ninja Girl

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Just a quick post to say: Merry Christmas, everyone!!!  I love this time of year, the feeling, the kindness, the goodwill, the Christmas trees, the lights, the carols.  Here's wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday :).


Ninja Girl

Saturday, December 21, 2013



Hi all!  I've reached my goal of reading 95 books this year.  (Actually, I've read 97.  YAY!).  It's been a truly great year in books.  Thanks to anyone who rec'd and reviewed.  I'd be lost without you :-).

Also, I recorded a few of my students doing the "Cups" tap dance.  It's far from flawless, but we had a lot of fun and met our Christmas goal :).  So darn proud of them!!

Have you met all your goals this year--reading or otherwise?  I hope so, and I also hope you're having a great weekend!

Ninja Girl

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Hi there! Tune in Tuesday is a GReads meme currently hosted over at Kate's Tales of Books and Bands.  I finally figured out how to get my videos to appear in posts.  I don't know why they stopped, but one day POOF!  Gone.  I'd add them and they just didn't show up, like you literally could not see them.  There was just a blank space :(.  But now I can add vids through HTML--which looks like a whole bunch of gobble-dee-gook to me, but hey!  Whatever works.  Yeah so, HAIM, great band, great sound.  How they s-s-say things makes me wan-na-na-na bust a move lol.  Enjoy!



Hope you're having a great week!

Ninja Girl

Monday, December 16, 2013



Title says it all.  The School for Good and Evil, the place where fairytales come to life, where villains learn to be wicked and princesses learn to be even more…princess-y? :-)
I'm not usually drawn to Middle Grade, but there was something about this one (might've had something to do with the fantastic cover).  The school captured my interest, but the two main characters, Sophie and Agatha, were what sealed the deal.  Sophie has prepared all her life to be a princess, wearing gowns and glass slippers.  Agatha lives in a graveyard and wears all black.  As one of her good deeds, Sophie befriends Agatha, visiting her house for daily walks.
You just have to look at them and you know which girl will be placed in which school.
But somehow Sophie ends up in the school for Evil, where her princess-y good looks and pink dresses make her an outcast.  And Agatha ends up in Good, where in her black clothes and clumps…well…she's still an outcast.  The two friends must rely on each other if they ever hope to get back home.
The friendship drove the story for me.
Of course, in a fairytale, you can have friendships.  But it's usually good with good, evil with evil.  I mean, seriously, you don't see Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy hanging out, do you??  (Although, I always thought if Draco could be a little less of a prat this could be an awesome friendship)  Yet here are Agatha and Sophie--one supposedly good the other supposedly evil--and they're friends.  Agatha admits this more often, but throughout the beginning and middle of the book, we see the two girls stick together and help each other.
Still, I liked Agatha a lot more.  Part of it was b/c she had her priorities straight.  Agatha wanted out of the school before one or both of them ended up dead, whereas Sophie just cared about finding her prince.  Ugh.  Agatha was always trying to protect Sophie.  She didn't fall in love with Tedros (King Arthur's son, the big Prince on campus) simply b/c of his good looks.  She didn't want a prince to save the day.  Agatha wanted to save herself and her friend.
But I wanted both girls to succeed--until about the last 100 pages.  This is where the book took a strange turn.
I thought the story would have the girls fight together and basically beat the system of having to be 100% Good or 100% Evil.  But one of the girls ended up doing some really awful things, going waaay down the evil path.  I won't tell you which one, but I will say I didn't really love this.  I wish, like I said, that the story would've had the girls triumph together--which they kind of do in the end.  But the way it happens…I just don't know.
Anyway, nothing compares to Hogwarts, but this school was pretty cool.  I enjoyed the focus on friendship, the fun fairytale-themed classes.  The idea itself was killer.  A nice read and an enjoyable book overall!
Happy reading,
Ninja Girl

Monday, December 9, 2013


Hi everyone!  Ninja Aunt P works with a guy who apparently loves A Charlie Brown Christmas as much as we do :).  Thank you, sir, for being so awesome!!  Isn't that a great little tree?  And he even included Linus's signature blue blanket!  Anyway, this made me smile, and I wanted to pass on the holiday cheer.  Hope you're all having a fantastic week so far.

Ninja Girl

Sunday, December 1, 2013

THE ARCHIVED by Victoria Schwab

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.
I don't know where Victoria Schwab got the idea for The Archived, but it's a brilliant concept.  The tagline is visual and creepy enough to standout (…the dead rest on shelves like books) and makes you crave more.  I was curious about the Librarians that oversee this place called the Archive that houses Histories aka recordings of the dead.
And we learn about the world through the perfect MC.
At 16-years-old, Mackenzie Bishop has already been a Keeper for four years, inheriting the position from her Da when he passed away.  Her job is to return Histories who've woken up and escaped into the Narrows back to the Archive before they slip into violent insanity.  And all Histories who escape slip eventually.  It's an unwritten rule.  But when she and her family move to the Coronado, an old motel with dark secrets, Mackenzie discovers that not all rules are set in stone.
In my head, the Archive was this cross between a library and a morgue.  The "drawers" that were supposed to house the Histories made me think of a creepy human-sized, morgue-ish card catalog.  And the QUIET PLEASE sign at the front desk?  Which is there to keep Histories from "waking up"?  Because you wouldn't want to wake the dead?
Awesome :-).
The Narrows was like the worst back alley ever with locked doors upon doors and recordings of dead people (Histories), looking for a way into the living world--and going berserk when they can't find it.
Scary, creepy, made me glad our MC was there to protect us.
Mackenzie's been through a lot, losing her younger brother in a hit-and-run, keeping the Archive secret from everyone, including her grieving parents.  Those scenes where she went to visit her brother's History were endearing.  The journal entries from Mackenzie to her Da give us a glimpse into her thoughts, her fears.  MacKenzie was a strong character, dedicated to her job as a Keeper (and her Da's memory).
And through it all, she still takes care of business.
I think this is what I liked best about her.  There were no excuses.  Not only was she dealing with internal conflicts, but externally, she's this total kick-butt Keeper, who has to tangle with dangerous Histories.  I loved the romance with Wesley as well.  He and his "guyliner" were a great addition to the book, and I looked forward to every scene with him in it :).
The mystery was an added bonus and driving force in the book.  The Archived got progressively better as the story went along, and by the end, I was rushing through the pages to find out how everything would be resolved.  Great writing, even better world-building, really enjoyed this one!
Happy reading,
Ninja Girl