Category Archives: six shoes

Book Review : Dead Time

Title : Dead Time

Author : Anne CassidyDead Time (The Murder Notebooks, #1)

Publisher : Walker & Company

Publish Date : May 22nd, 2012

Pages : 344

Stand Alone or Series : #1 in the Murder Notebooks Series

How Obtained : from the library

Three Words : mystery, YA, thriller

Summary : Five years ago, Rose’s mother and stepfather went out to dinner and never returned. Since that time, Rose has been either at boarding school or living with her strict, somewhat uptight grandmother in London. While trying to deal with the fact that her mom is GONE, she has also been unable to forget about the stepbrother that she lived with briefly – Joshua. On the night they decide to meet up again, Rose witnesses one of her classmates being murdered. She is completely shaken by the experience and meeting with Joshua only brings to the forefront, her desire to solve the mystery of her mother’s disappearance. Then she witnesses ANOTHER classmate getting murdered and she is determined to solve this mystery as well. When she and Joshua start investigating they realize that all of these things may be connected to their parents.  Is there a conspiracy? Who is committing these heinous murders?

My Take : I enjoyed this book – sort of. It was fast-paced and exciting. I was interested in the mystery and I couldn’t figure out who had done it till the end. I liked Rose. Many people criticized her for being a recluse and somewhat prickly in manner but I thought it fit in well with the character. She lost her mother and the man she looked to as a father figure, then she is torn away from the step-brother that she got attached to. That sort of thing has a tendency to make you not want to trust people.  However, I had a couple of issues with the book. There were a couple of times that my head said something to the effect of “Huh??” Occasionally she made choices that made me want to scream at the book ” CALL THE POLICE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!” The whole witnessing two murders thing without being able to tell who did it was somewhat crazy but ok – I’m able to suspend disbelief somewhat. My big issue with the book was the other “main” character – Joshua. I didn’t really like him all that much and not only that but I didn’t believe his character either. He was extremely nice and caring but then doesn’t want to include her in some things but then when she is upset gets even more upset with her and then back to being nice again. Who is like that? I’m all for conflicted characters but you have to give him some more personality then just swinging wildly from nice to upset. Then, despite having lived together (albeit briefly) as brother and sister, towards the end of the book they try to throw in this whole romance thing with Joshua. For me, it just didn’t work. It felt very forced and added on ( I have this image of an old, fat publisher with a cigar behind a desk yelling at the author “we gotta have a romance- the kids these days like romance” which I’m sure is how it really goes based on TV and movies).  I’m interested enough to want to read the upcoming books and find out what the heck happened to her parents – I’m just maybe not desperately waiting.

My Rating : Six Shoes

Anyone else read this book?? Any thoughts?

I sincerely appreciate every single comment AND will answer every single one of them.



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Filed under book review, Cassidy;Anne, Dead Time, six shoes, YA

Book Review : Rapunzel Untangled

Well it has happened everybody…I have finally joined other book bloggers out there and received my first ARC (for those of you who don’t know that is an Advanced Reader Copy….) to review. I officially feel like a REAL book blogger now 🙂

Title : Rapunzel Untangled

Author : Cindy C. BennettRapunzel Untangled

Publication Date : 2/12/2013

Pages : 304

Stand Alone or Series : Stand Alone

How Received : ARC courtesy of NetGalley on behalf of Cedar Fort, Inc.

Three Words : fairy tale, YA, romance

Red Flags : none really (appropriate for middle to older adolescents)

Summary :

Rapunzel is seventeen years old but she is far from average. For one, she has never been outside her apartment due to her disease which could kill her if she comes in contact with germs. Second, she has golden hair fifteen feet long. She lives in a mansion and sees her mother twice a day. When her mother gets a computer for her to complete her homework, she never dreams that it would change her life completely. Rapunzel has just discovered this wondrous thing called Facebook…..where she “friends” Fane. Soon they start chatting and Rapunzel can’t stop thinking about him. Then she starts wondering what it would be like to meet him. That’s when things get complicated.

My Take :

As you can probably tell from the summary, this is a modern retelling of Rapunzel. When I first read the description of the book, I was intrigued by her using Facebook as a means of the “princess” escaping her tower. I thought it was a really clever way to retell this fairy tale. The plot moves along at a quick pace and there is a LOT of romance. Talking between Fane and Rapunzel, cute little conversations, many of which have to do with Rapunzel knowing nothing about the outside world and Fane finding this adorable. The ending was also interesting and satisfying and I liked the turn she took with why Mother Gothel took Rapunzel and kept her in a tower. My biggest problem with this book though was Rapunzel herself. For a modern retelling, I was hoping for a more modern take on the feminine character. Rapunzel is mostly just kind of fragile and full of naivete, totally unable to help herself in most situations. She basically constantly relies on Fane to come and rescue her. Everybody needs help once in a while but come on sister friend! Use your brain and help yourself out once in a while. Also, I had kind of a big issue with the whole meet a guy on Facebook, invite him over and fall in love thing…as far as I know friending some random person on Facebook is NOT the best way of finding true love – (trust me – watch Catfish if you don’t believe me!). Also possibly not the best message for young girls out there – “don’t trust your parents, trust that boy you met online.” I enjoyed the book overall but I had some big issues with the underlying message. I give it six shoes – I liked it but I think it could’ve been better.


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Filed under Bennett; Cindy C., book review, fairy tale, Rapunzel Untangled, six shoes, YA

Book Review : In the Garden of Iden

Title : In the Garden of Iden

Author : Kage Baker In the Garden of Iden (The Company, #1)

Stand Alone or Series : #1 in the Company Series

Three Words : science fiction, historical, romance

Red Flags : sex, violence, bad language (NSFC)

Summary :

This entire book is narrated by Mendoza who explains “The Company” and how she came to be part of it. The Company, or Dr. Zeus, Inc., is a 24th century organization that has discovered the secrets to both time travel and immortality. They use this knowledge not to serve humanity but to become wealthy. They go back in time and make children immortal through a treatment that turns them into cyborgs. These children then gather objects from the past, hide them and live through the centuries until the 24th century at which time the Company “finds” these items and sells them for vast sums of money. Mendoza was rescued from the Spanish inquisition as a small child and turned into a cyborg. Her specialty is botany. When she emerges from her training fifteen years later, she is stationed in the garden of Sir Walter Iden to collect rare plant species. She travels with two other Company cyborgs, Joseph and Nefer. When she arrives in England at Iden’s estate, she meets his secretary – Nicholas Harpole. She is immediately attracted to him, he is intelligent and seems to be ahead of his time in his views. She sets out to seduce him believing it would be advantageous to the Company…she didn’t plan to have actual feelings for him. We follow her as she deals with the implications of being an immortal cyborg, being Spanish in an anti-Catholic England and being in love with an all too mortal questioning human.

My Take :

I’m not really sure what to write about this book. In some ways I really liked it, but in other ways it was a little boring. The underlying premise is so interesting and promising but honestly sometimes I was struggling to get through the book. When reading the description I really expected this to be a little more romantic than it was, but don’t let it fool you – this is hard core science fiction. Which is great, just not what I was expecting. I fully believe that how we receive books, movies, TV, really any entertainment has a lot to do with where we are in our lives and our expectations as much as the actual content. So…I did enjoy this and I would recommend it just maybe not wholeheartedly. I give it six shoes – ankle boots that I can’t seem to figure out what to wear with.

Anybody else read one of the Company books? What did you think?



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The Invention of Hugo Cabret or Crazy Goings On At the Train Station…

It seemed like in the month of December you couldn’t turn on a TV without seeing a commercial for Scorsese’s Hugo – this may have something to do with my obvious addiction to the tube or that I watch a lot of TV geared towards children and/or mothers 😉 Whatever the deal is, my interest was peaked and I thought I would give the book version a try. I am definitely one of those people that given the choice will always opt to read the book first and then see the movie because let’s face it, the book is almost always better! (If you can name a movie that is better than the book I’d love to see it in the comments…)

Hugo Cabret is a young orphan who lives in the walls of a Paris train station. Set in the 1930s, Hugo goes about his day winding the clocks in the station while surreptitiously stealing mechanical parts (and occassionally a bit of food). He is stealing parts to fix a strange automaton that his father was working on and that he believes will convey a message to him from his dead father. One day he gets caught stealing a mechanical toy by the shop owner and this begins a series of events and coincidences that connect him in profound ways to the mysterious shop owner and his ward, a young girl.

This book was really charming and wonderful in a lot of ways. The subtitle of the book is “a novel in words and pictures.” and this is meant very literally. All of the illustrations are these really beautiful pencil drawings and instead of just showing what the text indicates, it actually is in place of the words. He also uses stills from French movies that figures into the book very prominently. The book even opens and closes with illustrations as if it were a movie. The mystery of the automaton and how it was connected to the shop owner is interesting. I felt in some places however that Selznick was concentrating more on the history of cinema and other facts rather than the mystery itself. All in all, it was enjoyable and I would recommend it to both parents and children. The book is meant for Gr. 3-9 and I think that is appropriate. I give it six shoes – cute shoes but not much else.

Three Appeals : Amazing drawings, historical setting and circumstances, interesting mystery

Red Flags : None – this is a kid’s book.

Awards : Won the Caldecott Medal… be impressed 🙂

If you like the The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, then try :

1) The Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby

Giuseppe is an orphaned street musician from Italy, who was sold by his uncle to work as a slave for an evil padrone in the U.S. But  when a mysterious green violin enters his life he begins to imagine a life of freedom. Hannah is a soft-hearted, strong-willed girl from the tenements, who supports her family as a hotel maid when tragedy strikes and her father can no longer work. She learns about a hidden treasure, which she knows will save her family — if she can find it. And Frederick, the talented and intense clockmaker’s apprentice, seeks to learn the truth about his mother while trying to forget the nightmares of the orphanage where she left him. He is determined to build an automaton and enter the clockmakers’ guild — if only he can create a working head.
Together, the three discover they have phenomenal power when they team up as friends, and that they can overcome even the darkest of fears.

2) Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigatorby Jennifer Allison

Ever since her father died, quirky Gilda Joyce has been working  hard to sharpen her psychic skills. She’s determined to communicate  with spirits from the Other Side and become a crack investigator  of spooky, twisted mysteries. After wrangling an invitation  to visit relatives in San Francisco, Gilda discovers that her dreary,  tight-lipped uncle and his strange, delicate daughter need her  help to uncover the terrible family secret that has a tortured ghost  stalking their home.

3) Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

When a book of unexplainable occurances brings Petra Andalee & Calder Pillay together, strange things start to happen: seemingly unrelated events connect, an eccentric old woman seeks their company, & an invaluable Vermeer painting disappears. Before they know it, the two find themselves at the center of an international art scandal. As Petra & Calder are drawn clue by clue into a mysterious labyrinth they must draw on their powers of intuition, their skills at problem solving, and their knowledge of Vermeer. Can they decipher a crime that has left even the FBI baffled? (And yes I sort of like this one because one of the protagonists is named Petra….)

All descriptions taken from Fantastic Fiction.

So take a break from the depravity of adult literature and check out The Invention of Hugo Cabret. How did YOU like it?



Filed under book review, Mystery, six shoes

Book Review – Hourglass

In an effort to improve my blog and my book reviews in general, I decided to research other book review blogs and see how they did it. I discovered “Books I Done Read” which captured me with the title alone. This witty blogess has such great reviews but I also like that she rates things on a 10 point scale (or in her case caterpillars). In looking at my own reviews, I decided that maybe the ten point scale would work better in my situation as well. I like a lot of books but I need some more gradation to really hone down HOW much I liked it. So from now on the scale on BRFMF will be a ten shoe scale (to honor my other great love – fashion) with one shoe equaling a particularly atrocious Croc and a ten equaling a beautiful Louboutin. Hope that you like the new scale!

I am reviewing a new YA paranormal romance called Hourglass by Myra McEntire. Emerson Cole has a problem – “she sees dead people (insert scary child voice)” – specifically people from the past keep cropping up in her day to day life. When she touches them, they disappear. It all started shortly before her parents died in a horrific accident right around her thirteenth birthday. Since then, her older brother Michael has been trying to help her with psychiatrists, hospital stays, paranormal experts etc… Unfortunately because she doesn’t always realize that they are ghosts, Emerson has been labeled the crazy girl. She went on meds and the ghosts went away, but she didn’t like how they made her feel and now – “they’re baaaack.” Enter Michael, the newest expert her brother has found to cure her, from the mysterious Hourglass institute. He is super hot, charming, and she feels an electric spark as well as connection with him. Imagine Emerson’s surprise when Michael tells her that he knows she isn’t crazy, because he sees them too! Michael reveals to her that they are special and the Hourglass Institute needs her help to save a man’s life. Can Emerson trust Michael? What is the Hourglass Institute? What makes her special?

This book had a lot going for it. I liked the story line – it had an interesting angle and I enjoyed the twists and turns that the author presented. Emerson is an interesting female protagonist with a strong personality and likeable traits. The romance between Michael and Emerson was sweet with some nice complication thrown in to make it a little more exciting. The story is exciting and fast-paced. However, I felt the author sometimes missed the mark. The dialogue could be a bit unbelievable and although she fleshed out Emerson pretty well some of the other characters felt a little wooden and formulaic. All in all, I would say the originality of the story really set this book apart and made it worthwhile to read. Although I found some of the writing lacking, I read the book in two days. I found myself wanting to know what happened. I enjoyed both the fantasy and sci-fi elements present in the narrative. I give this book six shoes – a sweet pair of Target shoes that look cute but aren’t going to make you sigh with happiness.

Three Appeals : original storyline, fantastical elements, strong female protagonist

If you liked Hourglass try :

1) Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

Rigg and his father are trappers by trade, but Rigg has been instructed throughout his 13 years in languages, sciences, history, and politics. The teen is therefore somewhat mentally prepared for the quest that his father thrusts upon him with his dying breath—to go to the capital city and find his sister. Both Rigg and his friend, Umbo, have a special ability that aids them—Rigg can see the paths of all living things, regardless of intervening obstructions or even time, and Umbo can seemingly change the movement of time itself. Needless to say, the two meet various friends and foes and can’t always tell which is which as they journey onward. Juxtaposed with this main story is an entirely different narrative, told in a page or two at the beginning of each chapter. This is the tale of Ram Odin, human pilot of a colony ship from Earth, traveling to a new world with the use of space-folding technology. (taken from School Library Journal, v 56, iss 12, p104)

2) Interworld by Neil Gaiman

At nearly fifteen years of age, Joey Harker learns that he is a Walker, able to travel between dimensions, and soon joins a team of different versions of himself, each from another dimension, to fight the evil forces striving to conquer all the worlds. (taken from Novelist)

3) Die For Me by Amy Plum (Revenants #1)

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity. When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves   her  life–and memories–behind to live with her grandparents in Paris.  For  Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world  of  books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.  Mysterious,  charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens  to melt the ice  around Kate’s guarded heart with just his smile. As she   begins to fall  in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he’s a  revenant–an undead  being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself  over and over again to  save the lives of others. Vincent and those like   him are bound in a  centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants   who exist only to  murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she  follows her heart, she  may never be safe again. (taken from Fantastic Fiction)

Have you read Hourglass? What did you think?


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