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They Thought for Themselves: Daring to Confront the Forbidden

They Thought For Themselves - Sid Roth I got this in the mail today!

For my mom. Not the book blogger me. My mother, who is not online. So, creepy dude who sent my mother a free book, first of all, lose our address because, again, that's creepy, because I have a PO Box and that's what I use when I WANT to get mail.

So how the HELL did you get my house address? And lose it. Now.

Second, we don't believe in religion so, hey, nice job wasting, what, eight bucks? on postage because I'm gonna rid of this as soon as I'm done laughing at the fact that you sent it to, well, us.

Have a LOVELY day.
The Ash-Born Boy (The Near Witch, #0.5) - Victoria Schwab I - I - *sobs* Too many feelings.
The Family Greene - Ann Rinaldi I'm going to start to by saying I did not like this book. If that's not your thing, that's fair enough. This also might get a bit spoiler-y. If that bothers you, that's also fair. If you want to, you can totally skip this review. I honestly don't mind at all. Go ahead if either of those bother you.


*whispers* Are they gone?

Okay, to start with, you guys read the blurb/summary, right? Who would you think would be the main character of the book? Cornelia, right?


The book opened with a 3-page third person prologue about Caty at 10 years old. Okay. I wasn't too put out by that. It was a prologue, right? So I kept reading because, hey, prologue, no big deal.

Chapter One was first person told from... Caty's POV. At 10 years old. The first chapter was literally the same day as the prologue. Why did there need to be a POV shift? Why? I just really did not understand that at all.

In the first 50 pages, 8 years passed. Over those 8 years, Caty got sent away to live with her aunt and uncle, was courted at age 10 by a 22 year old man (I realize these were real people and it really happened, but, still, ew), got married at 18, got pregnant, and followed her husband to live with him at his military camp.

Then we got to Part 2 at page 83. Part 2 (and the rest of the book) is told in first person by Caty's daughter, Cornelia. The back blurb becomes relevant at page 125.

Confused yet?

Yeah, me too. Let's move on, shall we?

Plot: I don't even know. After a bit, I got so confused. Honestly, stuff just happened and I was so confused. So, so confused. My head hurts just thinking about it.

Characters: I was not fond of many of these characters. So this is going to be a bit long.

Caty annoyed me, both as a child and as an adult. When she was ten, she did not sound like a 10 year old. Honestly, she sounded like a 16 year old and I kept checking to see if she had suddenly aged, but, no. She was 10 for 40 pages, then 18 by page 50, and her voice NEVER changed. She hit about 19 or 20 before the POV change and nothing changed in her voice after all.

Here's an example:
We walked up the cliff. I hugged the cat and the spyglass and Sarah held fast to a birdcage she had found. But there was no bird in it.

It's like we're all walking around with empty birdcages, I thought, looking for the bird we want to put in them. Some get the bird. Some never do.
What 10 year old talks like that??? And what does that even mean?

Frankly, Caty annoyed me. She was overdramatic in a way that would have been appropriate for a 10 year old if she had sounded like a 10 year old. But she sounded like a 16 year old and it drove me nuts. And she was overdramatic about the weirdest, dumbest things. The discovery of her married aunt being in love and possibly having an affair with Benjamin Franklin was apparently Kosher with Caty, but try to get her to learn to spell and it was the end of the world.

*sigh* She just annoyed me so much. Even when it switched to Cornelia's POV, she annoyed me.

Also, as for Nathanael... what 22 year old "courts" a 10 year old? I get that it was 1764, but still. It's icky, right? Right?

Moving on now. In the beginning of Cornelia's POV, Caty is 7 months pregnant with her 6th child. They have an 11 year old, a 9 year old, an 8 year old (Cornelia), a 7 year old, and a 2 year old. Caty chases Cornelia, falls and goes into early labor. The baby is born too early and dies. Which is horrible, obviously, but Cornelia's older sister Martha makes Cornelia believe that it's her fault because Cornelia had skipped school and that was why Cady was chasing Cornelia. And apparently that makes it the 8 year old's fault.

And why was Cornelia running, do we think? Well, maybe it had something to do with this:

"And afterward, Mama, who was so quick to slap, or pick up a switch and spank, did nothing."

This is taken from later in the book, but, still.

I could go on, but I'm going to let it go now or we're be here all day.

PG-13 stuff: Not a lot of graphic stuff or language, but there were so many affairs that I lost track of who was boiinking who. But nothing more than kissing ever happened on page.

Cover comments: It's a very pretty cover. It's what attracted me too the book in the first place. (I'm a bit shallow like that.) I wonder how historically accurate it is, though, for the time period. (American Revolution.)

Conclusion: I feel horrible for saying this, but this book did nothing for me. I didn't like most of the characters besides Cornelia and a couple of her siblings, the voice didn't overwhelm me, I have no idea what was going on with the plot, and even though it was historical fiction, it felt unrealistic. All in all, I would not recommend this one unless you're a die-hard historical fiction fan. 1 and 1/2 stars. For the sake of goodreads, I'll round it up to 2.

Cross-posted at my blog: http://lainahastoomuchsparetime.blogspot.ca/2012/03/ya-review-family-greene.html
Crave - Melissa Darnell I'm not going to rate this one because I didn't finish it, but it seriously didn't do it for me. The voice was clunky, the characters were meh and it just didn't draw me in and make me want to KEEP reading. And at 416 pages, I wasn't enthused about forcing myself to read it. Liked the cover and the premise, but the execution didn't do anything for me. Kinda relieved this was a library book.
Hedgehog, Pig, and the Sweet Little Friend - Lena Anderson Freaking creepy.
Explorer X - Alpha - L.M. Preston For most kids, a trip to space camp is the trip of a lifetime for Aadi it was life altering. After receiving a camp immunization needed for travel to Mars, Aadi finds that the immunization is the catalyst of an insidious experiment. He realizes what is happening too late for a change of fate. The full experiment is set in motion when he and his co-pilot, Eirena, crash in a distant galaxy called Shrenas, where they change and realize the full extent of their power. This turn of events forces him to grow up quickly, accept his change, and to decide to save a world, or to do what he was trained to do dominate it. His power is coveted by the warring leaders of Shrenas, and he is forced to choose sides a decision that may prove just how much humanity he has left.

Review: Well, this isn't really a review, because I didn't finish this one. I just couldn't get into it and I was forcing myself to read to the fifty page point. The voice didn't work for me, the dialogue was unrealistic, I didn't connect with Aadi, and I just couldn't make myself read it.

Hardcore science fiction fans might like this one more, but I can't in good conscience recommend it, as much I hate saying it.

No roses for this one because I didn't finish it.

(Cross-posted at my blog)

When Will It Snow?

When Will It Snow? - Bruce Hiscock The kids I read to at my weekly Storytime (3-5 year olds) really liked this one. They loved all the animals and one little guy in particular loved that there was a tractor in the book.
The Day My Butt Went Psycho - Andy Griffiths, Miles Thompson I am not discussing this. I am not admitting I read this. (Running joke.)

How to Be Friends With a Boy/How to Be Friends With a Girl

How to Be Friends with a Boy-How to Be Friends with a Girl - Judi Miller I read about ten pages before I gave up... too cliche and slightly insulting towards both girls and guys. Only reason I even tried reading it I had it next to me and thought it might be funny, plus I'd already read it but didn't remember it.
Paisley Hanover Acts Out - Cameron Tuttle Paisley Hanover Acts Out by Cameron Tuttle

Summary (from goodreads): Always one of the popular kids, sophomore Paisley Hanover gets a rude awakening when she’s booted out of yearbook and into the badlands of drama class. Out of her element but only momentarily out of ideas, Paisley takes action—and an unexpected liking to her drama buddies. The result? An undercover crusade that could bring down the popularity pecking order, and Paisley along with it. This is the story of how Paisley Hanover gets wise, gets bold, and gets into a hilarious mess of trouble.

Review: I definitely should have read this one sooner. Why on earth did I put reading this off? It was so good! I've had it for months and I totally put off reading and reviewing it (sorry Book Divas!) and now I don't know why! I just really really hopethere'll be more! Hold on while I go scope out the website. YAY there's another one!! I need that book sooner rather than later. Okay, I'm focusing. Even though the website is super cute.

Characters: Cameron Tuttle has a definite talent for making super realistic characters, and Paisley is awesome. When the book starts out she's a little shallow, a little too concerned with popularity and all that stuff, but she grows into a really interesting, super cool person. She sort of reminds me a little bit of an American Georgia Nicholson. (That, and, according to the notes in my review notebook, Yan.) I started out the book not always liking her, but by the middle of the book, I woohoo'd out loud when she ran for class president. (And I'm glad I was alone in the house for that.) One thing I thought was cool was that Paisley has a problem with typos and at one point spells sidebar "sidebra", so throughout the book are little notes, called sidebras, on the sides of the pages. Totally charmed me, as I love sidebars but usually they're just in brackets (see above for examples) so that was rather unique.

As for the other characters, they were great, too. I am absolutely in love with one of the guys she likes, Clint, not so much with the other, Eric. Eric's nice and everything, I just like Clint better because he's a total bad boy. He has a tattoo, a motorcycle, and he reads... but I digress.

Plot: A clerical error causes Paisley to have to compete with another girl for the last spot in Yearbook and spastic jazz hands later, she has to do Drama instead. A good part of the plot is Paisley's self-growth, but it does have some good twists and turns to keep you on edge, and a good dose of romance. (And yes, I said spastic jazz hands. Which becomes infamous. I give you this quote for proof:

The Hornettes were doing spastic jazz hands as the kicked around in a circle and crumpled into a bud of butts. Everybody cheered.
I wanted to feel pissed, but I was kind of amazed. My weirdest, most embarrassing moment of high school life had been incorporated into Pleasant Hill High pop culture. I didn't know what to think of that.

PG-13 stuff: A little bit of underage drinking, but Paisley doesn't do any herself (which is another thing that I like about this, because I hate that in books, it's one of my pet peeves) and it was done honestly and realistically. A couple of mild curses, but I'm like the only person on earth who would call them curses and I don't swear.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: This isn't really a bit deal, and a lot of books do this, but there were a couple of times when they'd show her texts and it'd throw me off. Maybe this is just me (probably is at this point), but I don't have a cell phone and the abbreviations boggle my mind for a couple of seconds before I get them. Otherwise nothing stands out.

Paisley's Not Book: The book (my copy, at least, but I'd hope it'd be all of them) comes in this really cute slipcover that velcros shut and has a companion book called Paisley's Not Book (she crossed the E out) and is her notebook, which is mentioned often throughout the book. Libraries might take it out, though, so if you buy books, I'd consider buying this one just for that. It has Paisley's drawings, notes, doodles, notes from the other people in her life, each in their own handwriting, and totally charmed me, sort of reminding me of Jim Benton's Dear Dumb Diary books, only for an older audience. I love notebooks for one. (I had a dream about them last night. Yep, I had a dream about notebooks. Why I'll never know.) For another, it was just plain funny. Likeshigoogley ! She came up with that word out of no where, and I propose that we make it the new... um, how about awesome? That work for all you? Shigoogley!

Cover comments: I don't like it that much. I think half the reason I put off reading it was because the cover makes it look too fluffy. (Bad Laina!) But the back illustrations are really cute.

Conclusion: I made about a million notes while I was reading this, which I only do with books I love or hate and I definitely didn't hate this one. I can't recommend you read this enough and I can't wait to get my hands on the second one! Four out of five.

Reviewed for Book Divas and my blog here.