Monday, August 14, 2017

Cinderella Smith: The Super Secret Mystery by Stephanie Barden


Synopsis:
Stephanie Barden has created a great role model for tweens. Cinderella Smith is confident, smart, and very real. Fans of Junie B. Jones and Clementine will love watching Cinderella conquer the problems of third-grade life, and parents will appreciate the vocabulary-enhancing words Stephanie Barden sprinkles through the story.
 
In The Super-Secret Mystery, third in the Cinderella Smith chapter-book series, Cinderella is excited to write a report on an endangered species. She can’t wait to investigate this important environmental issue. But every book she needs to do her research has disappeared from the library! That won’t stop Cinderella. She won’t be stopped by the mean-girl bullies and will follow every clue until she solves the mystery of the missing books.
 
Illustrations by Caldecott Honor winner Diane Goode add to the appeal of Cinderella’s story.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I read the first two books in the Cinderella Smith series a couple of years ago, and I absolutely loved them. Recently, I found out that there was a third book in the series, Super Secret Mystery, and was excited to get my hands on it. I'm so glad I was able to read it. I loved it just as much as the first two books in the series, if not more so.

I was so excited to return to Cinderella Smith's chaotic, yet hilarious world. The third book, Super Secret Mystery, had a lot more humor than I remembered the other two books in the series. It had me laughing out loud when I was reading it at one in the morning. There was a lot of snarkiness in it. A few times I almost woke my husband up from laughing so hard. It reminded me of when I was a child, and used to get a lot of entertainment out of the Junie B. Jones series. 

I also thought that the illustrations in Super Secret Mystery were absolutely adorable. All of them were cute, and really added something to the story line. They made the reader feel like they are in the story with Cinderella, experiencing doing the report, and all of the shenanigans that go along with it, right beside her.

I love the Cinderella Smith series so much, and Super Secret Mystery was no exception. I hope that the Stephanie Barden, the author of the series, continues to write books about Cinderella Smith. I'm not sure that she will though because the last time a book was released in this series was 2013. I recommend this series to younger kids everywhere, and adults that want a laugh while reading to their children.


I give Cinderella Smith: The Super Secret Mystery: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.stephaniebarden.com/index.html
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4564365.Stephanie_Barden

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Party Games by R.L. Stine


Synopsis:
Her friends warn her not to go to Brendan Fear's birthday party at his family's estate on mysterious Fear Island. But Rachel Martin has a crush on Brendan and is excited to be invited. Brendan has a lot of party games planned. But one game no one planned intrudes on his party—the game of murder. As the guests start dying one by one, Rachel realizes to her horror that she and the other teenagers are trapped on the tiny island with someone who may want to kill them all. How to escape this deadly game? Rachel doesn't know whom she can trust. She should have realized that nothing is as it seems… on Fear Island.

R.L. Stine makes his triumphant return to Shadyside, a town of nightmares, shadows, and genuine terror, and to the bestselling series that began his career writing horror for the juvenile market, in the new Fear Street book Party Games.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
R.L. Stine was one of my favorite authors when I was a kid. I used to love his Fear Street series, especially the books about the cheerleaders. I was excited to learn that he was re-booting the Fear Street series for a new generation. Party Games, the first book in the re-booted Fear Street series, was excellent. It brought back all of those nostalgic feelings that I remember while reading the original series as a child. 

Even as an adult, I found Party Games to be suspenseful. It kept me on the edge of my seat wondering how Rachel and her friends were going to get out of the various terrifying situations they found themselves in. Some of the situations, such as what happened on the dock, were predictable. I knew that what happened couldn't be true. However, other situations, I had no idea what was going on, or how the characters were going to solve the problem. It brought me back to when I used to read R.L. Stine's books when I was younger, and they always scared the hell out of me. As an adult, the book wasn't terrifying, but it was suspenseful in it's own way. It was more of a mystery than a horror.

I loved the way R.L. Stine ended Party Games. It was an open ending in such a way that there could possibly be a sequel in the future. I really hope that he chooses to write one. I would definitely read it. I can't wait to read more books in the Fear Street Relaunch. I hope that they are just as good as this one. I recommend Party Games to kids and adults alike. I also recommend it to anyone that loves to get creeped out.


I give Party Games: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://rlstine.com/index.php
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rlstine/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RL_Stine
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13730.R_L_Stine

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hooked by Liz Fichera


Synopsis:
When Native American Fredricka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done. 

But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.

But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile...

GET HOOKED ON A GIRL NAMED FRED.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
I have made it a mission of mine this year to get my NetGalley tbr down to zero. I was flipping through my shelves on NetGalley, and found Hooked. I thought the premise sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a try. Despite it having a few flaws, I found myself enjoying the book. 

First of all, I loved the diverse representation in this book. It was on point. I love the fact that Hooked had a female Native American main character. That's so rare it's almost unheard of in young adult literature. Also, I loved the fact that the book made me so emotionally invested in the characters. I was a sobbing mess during certain parts of the book because I could empathize with the characters, and feel what they were feeling. 

There were a few things that I didn't like about Hooked as well. I wasn't a big fan of the way the point of view kept switching. It was confusing, and took a while to get used to. By the time I would figure it out, the author would move onto to the other character's point of view, and I'd have to get used to it all over again. I also thought it was confusing that the female main character was nicknamed Fred, and she played golf. I had to keep reminding myself that she was female, and it made reading the book a lot more complicated than it should have been. I'm all for weird nicknames, but this one just didn't work. 

Despite all of that, I did have a lot of fun reading Hooked. I thought it was a great young adult contemporary with a creative cast that usually isn't seen in young adult literature. I recommend this book to anyone who loves an enjoyable contemporary with a diverse cast of characters.

I give Hooked: 3.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://lizficherablog.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/liz.fichera.1?ref=search
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LizFichera
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/LizFichera1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4050842.Liz_Fichera

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Stung duology by Bethany Wiggins


Synopsis for Stung:
There is no cure for being stung.

Fiona doesn’t remember going to sleep. But when she awakens, her world no longer exists. Her house is abandoned and broken. Her neighborhood is barren and dead. And there is a tattoo on her right hand. A tattoo Fiona doesn’t remember getting…but somehow she must conceal at any cost. Because humanity has been divided.

Those bearing the tattoo have turned into mindless, violent beasts that roam the streets and sewers, preying upon the unbranded, while a select few live protected inside a fortresslike wall, their lives devoted to rebuilding society and killing all who bear the mark.

And Fiona has awoken branded, on the wrong side of the wall, and…normal.

From the author of Shifting comes this remarkable reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, where the sting of a bee, rather than the prick of a needle, can destroy the world.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).


Synopsis for Cured:
Now that Fiona Tarsis and her twin brother, Jonah, are no longer beasts, they set out to find their mother, with the help of Bowen and a former neighbor, Jacqui. Heading for a safe settlement rumored to be in Wyoming, they plan to spread the cure along the way--until they are attacked by raiders. Luckily, they find a new ally in Kevin, who saves them and leads them to safety in his underground shelter. But the more they get to know Kevin, the more they suspect he has ties to the raiders. He also seems to know too many details about Jacqui and her family—details that could endanger them all. For the raiders will do anything they can to destroy the cure that would bring an end to their way of life. Bethany Wiggins’s reimagining of our world after an environmental catastrophe won’t fail to stun readers.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I've had the Stung duology on my tbr for a very long time. It's one of those series where the synopsis has always intrigued me, but it kept getting pushed to the bottom of my stack of books because I kept adding more and more books to my tbr. Recently, a readathon happened and I decided it would be the perfect time to read the duology. I loved it. I wish I would have read it sooner.

The Stung duology was everything that a dystopian series should be. It was thrilling from beginning to end. It didn't shy away from taboo topics that actually would happen in a post apocalyptic society, such as rape. The premise of the bees going extinct is something that I could easily see happening in our society with the way things are going in our world. The book made me aware of everything we would lose if that happened. Most of the things I had never even thought about, or connected with bees at all. 

Typically I don't like it when books in the same series are from different character perspectives, but the Stung duology pulls it off well. I loved both Fiona's perspective, and Jack's perspective equally. They both brought different elements into the story line. In fact, I might have actually liked Cured a little better than Stung because the reader was introduced to Kevin, who quickly became my favorite character. I loved how mysterious he was, and his snarky sense of humor.

The only thing that disappointed me about the duology was that I felt that the ending was rushed. I would have loved to see the journey to where the main characters ended up in the end. Otherwise, I thought the Stung duology was absolutely perfect. I can't wait to read Bethany Wiggins' other books. I hope she continues writing sci-fi books. I recommend this duology for dystopian lovers everywhere, and preppers.


I give Stung duology: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://bethanywiggins.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bethany.wiggins.5
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WiggB
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4582548.Bethany_Wiggins

I received these books from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Oracle series by Mell Eight


Synopsis for The Oracle's Flame:
The Kingdom of Altnoia is on the cusp of civil war. The king and heir have been murdered, the throne taken by their uncle, and the kingdom's only hope lies with Prince Edan who has been missing for the past year. The Oracle appoints her new Dragon of Fire one task: Find Prince Edan and keep him alive.

It should have been a simple task, but Dragon did not anticipate that Prince Edan would hide away on a pirate ship, forcing Dragon not only to endure pirates, but sea-sickness and his fear of water. And nothing, not even the Oracle, could have prepared him for the twins and the complicated feelings they spark.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).


Synopsis for The Oracle's Hatchling:
Ling is hated because his birth killed his mother. He hopes that testing will ease his troubles—either his rank will be so low that everyone forgets about him, or it will be so high they'll be forced to respect him. What he doesn't expect is to walk out of the testing chamber with an egg emblazoned on his back. Laughed out of the Monastery, Ling hides himself in Altnoia, where he becomes embroiled in a plot to overthrow King Edan and the Oracle who supports him.

The ringleader behind the plot is Prince Damarion, son of the evil despot who forced King Edan to flee in the first place—but his motives are not anything that Ling could have anticipated. Neither could he anticipate a friendship, or what that friendship could become, and the choices it would force him to make.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).


Synopsis for The Oracle's Golem:
Golem has never known anything but pain. He exists solely to serve the Oracle's whims and needs. Determined to escape a life of abuse and servitude, he runs away and finds refuge in a cave.

Then one day a child falls asleep in his lap …

Marl isn't anyone special. He's low in the Earth Caste, set to watch over the Caste's problem child, Lichen. In search of the errant Lichen one day, he unexpectedly comes across Golem hiding deep in the mountains. Even more surprising is the reason that Golem is hiding, a reason that forces Marl to make a choice: Oracle or Golem.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).


Synopsis for The Oracle's Sprite:
At just eighteen years of age, Keir became the leader of the army fighting against the usurper king while Princes Edan and Egan led the navy. At his side, willing to help from time to time, was Sprite.

A friendly ghost, Sprite likes to keep Keir company and occasionally play tricks on Keir's sister. When the Oracle demands Keir's presence, he expects Sprite to travel with him.

He doesn't expect the gale that knocks him overboard and into an adventure that might just kill him.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I love reading LGBTQ+ fiction. I also love reading fantasy books. When the two genres are combined, it's a must read for me. I saw the Oracle series, and fell in love with the covers. After seeing them, I knew I had to read the series. Unfortunately, after reading all four books in the series, it was just okay. There were parts that I liked, but the parts that I disliked outweighed that.

I have different feelings about each of the books. In the first book in the series, The Oracle's Flame, the twincest made me very uncomfortable. I did love the way that both of the guys fell in love with who they did, but the twincest just creeped me out. However, I did think that the next book in the series, The Oracle's Hatchling was enjoyable. I had problems with a few things in the book, but I thought it brought something new and different to the story of the dragon's world that Mell Eight had created. The third book in the series, The Oracle's Golem was really good as well. I liked how the two main characters took the time to build their relationship, instead of just instantly falling in love. I did expect a different ending to The Oracle's Golem, and was really disappointed when it didn't happen. The last book in the series, The Oracle's Sprite, was just weird. I wasn't sure what to think of it at first. when the big plot twist was revealed, I understood it better, but I still thought it was odd. It was definitely my least favorite book in the series.

Even though I have a lot of mixed feelings on The Oracle series, I did find it enjoyable. The ending of The Oracle's Sprite said that there would be a fifth book, but as far as I know, it was never released. If a fifth book does get released, I will probably read it because I've invested a lot in reading the series up until this point.


I give The Oracle series: 3/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://melleightfiction.weebly.com/
Blog: http://melleightsblog.weebly.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MellEightFiction?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MellEight
Tumblr: http://mell-eight.tumblr.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5757481.Mell_Eight

I received these books from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Dalai Lama's Cat trilogy by David Michie


Synopsis for The Dali Lama's Cat:
Starving and pitiful, a mud-smeared kitten is rescued from the slums of New Delhi and transported to a life she could have never imagined. In a beautiful sanctuary overlooking the snow-capped Himalayas, she begins her new life as the Dalai Lama’s cat.

Warmhearted, irreverent, and wise, this cat of many names opens a window to the inner sanctum of life in Dharamsala. A tiny spy observing the constant flow of private meetings between His Holiness and everyone from Hollywood celebrities to philanthropists to self-help authors, the Dalai Lama’s cat provides us with insights on how to find happiness and meaning in a busy, materialistic world. Her story will put a smile on the face of anyone who has been blessed by the kneading paws and bountiful purring of a cat.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 


Synopsis for The Dalai Lama's Cat and the Art of Purring:
Before leaving for a teaching tour to America, the Dalai Lama poses a challenge to his beloved feline, HHC (His Holiness’s Cat): to discover the true cause of happiness. Little does she know what adventures this task will bring!     A hair-raising chase through the streets of McLeod Ganj leads to an unexpected revelation about the perils of self-obsession. An encounter with the mystical Yogi Tarchen inspires a breakthrough discovery about her past—one with dramatic implications for us all. And overheard conversations between ivy-league psychologists, high-ranking lamas, and famous writers who congregate at the Himalaya Book Café help her explore the convergence between science and Buddhism on the vital subject of happiness.     Sparkling with wisdom, warmth, and a touch of mischief, The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Art of Purring is a charming reminder of why HHC is becoming one of the most-loved cats around the world.So what is the true cause of purring? The Dalai Lama whispers this secret on his return—only for the ears of HHC and those with whom she has a karmic connection . . . that, dear reader, means you!
(Synopsis from Goodreads).


Synopsis for The Dalai Lama's Cat and the Power of Meow:
In the latest installment of the Dalai Lama’s Cat series, His Holiness’s Cat (“HHC”) is on a mission: to think less, to experience more, to live in the moment. She soon learns the proper phrase for this, being mindful, or, a concept better known to her as the power of meow. What ensues is a journey to discover her own true nature, to gain a deeper understanding of her mind, and to experience life’s greatest joy, the here and now.
 
Throughout, there are encounters with familiar inhabitants of Dharamsala, as well as a whole new cast of characters: a senior exec from one of Silicon Valley’s most famous social media companies (hint: the name rhymes with “litter”), the Pope’s beloved dog (who shares a shockingly similar title: HHD, His Holiness’s Dog), and a public health inspector who threatens to have our poor narrator banned from the Himalaya Book Café.
 
In this follow-up to the Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Art of Purring, readers escape to the enchanting and exotic world of the Dalai Lama’s monastery in the Himalayas, and take a peek inside the mind of a delightfully imperfect creature on the path to enlightenment. By accompanying HHC on her journey, you will learn new ways to relate to your own mind: slowing down, finding peace, and abiding in the boundless radiance and benevolence that is your own true nature.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
I love reading books about cats. If I could read nothing but books about cats, I probably would, and be happy while doing it. I love learning everything I can about them. I also love learning about religions that I haven't studied yet. When I heard about The Dalai Lama's Cat trilogy, it sounded like the perfect book trilogy for me. I'm so glad that I picked it up. I loved the trilogy so much that I ended up reading all three books in a twenty-four hour time span.

When I started the first book in the trilogy, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I thought I would get a few cute stories about HHC (His Holiness' Cat) that would make me chuckle. However, this trilogy was so much more than that. Yes, there were great about HHC that made me laugh so hard, especially the one about drinking the reporter's water. There were also times where the book made me sad, like when a certain main character dies out of nowhere, and I find myself sobbing. The book made me feel so many different emotions that a book hadn't made me feel in such a long time.

The Dalai Lama's Cat trilogy also taught me several different things. I didn't know much about Buddhism before reading this book. Now, it's definitely a religion I want to research more. I love the idea of finding inner peace by thinking of others, instead of thinking of yourself all the time. I've tried to practice that ever since I finished the book, and it actually does work. It makes me feel a lot calmer. The trilogy also made me want to do some research on The Dalai Lama. I was curious if he actually had a cat, so I googled it, and went from there. I found out that he has wrote a few books, and placed a hold on them from the library right away.

I loved everything about The Dalai Lama's Cat trilogy. Going into the book, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I got. I loved the stories about HHC, and loved learning more about Buddhism. This trilogy has inspired me to live in a way that is kinder to others, and brings inner peace. I can't wait to read more books about Buddhism, and The Dalai Lama. I recommend this trilogy to anyone looking for a captivating tale with great lessons attached on how to live in a peaceful environment.


I give The Dalai Lama's Cat trilogy: 4.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://davidmichie.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/davidmichieauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DavidMichieOm
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/dnmichie
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/395361.David_Michie

I received this trilogy from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley


Synopsis:
Fifteen-year-old Aki Simon has a theory. And it's mostly about sex. 

No, it isn't that kind of theory. Aki already knows she's bisexual—even if, until now, it's mostly been in the hypothetical sense. Aki has dated only guys so far, and her best friend, Lori, is the only person who knows she likes girls, too. 

Actually, Aki's theory is that she's got only one shot at living an interesting life—and that means she's got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It's time for her to actually do something. Or at least try. 

So when Aki and Lori set off on a church youth-group trip to a small Mexican town for the summer and Aki meets Christa—slightly older, far more experienced—it seems her theory is prime for the testing. 

But it's not going to be easy. For one thing, how exactly do two girls have sex, anyway? And more important, how can you tell if you're in love? It's going to be a summer of testing theories—and the result may just be love.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
I had wanted to read Our Own Private Universe ever since the book was first posted on Goodreads. The F/F LGBTQ+ story line interested me because at the time, most of the LGBTQ+ young adult books I had read were M/M. Then the cover was revealed. It was one of the most beautiful covers I had ever seen. After that, I knew I had to get my hands on this book somehow. After reading it, I found it to be enjoyable, yet disappointing at the same time.

Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy parts of Our Own Private Universe. I loved that the setting was in Mexico on a mission trip. It brought something new to the LGBTQ+ young adult subgenre. It was also interesting to see the internal battle between, faith, following your heart, and sticking to what you believe in. As an atheist, I've never had that problem, so it was fascinating to see that perspective.

There were also a few things I didn't like about Our Own Private Universe. The relationship between the two girls fell flat for me. It felt kind of like the author was forcing them together, even though they didn't have much chemistry. I also didn't care for how the relationship was resolved in the end. I'm trying to be vague because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it, but something happened that drove me crazy.

Our Own Private Universe was a fairly enjoyable book to read. I was bummed that it didn't hold up to my expectations though. I will probably Robin Talley's other books, but they aren't high on my priority list at the moment. I recommend this book to anyone looking for an LGBTQ+ coming of age story. Just don't get your expectations based on the beautiful cover.


I give Our Own Private Universe: 3.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.robintalley.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robintalleywrites
Twitter: https://twitter.com/robin_talley
Tumblr: http://robintalley.tumblr.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/robin_talley/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6469490.Robin_Talley

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Rancher to Love by Trish Milburn


Synopsis:
Leah Murphy just wants to feel safe again after a violent break-in. Moving to Blue Falls, Texas, is the first step. Renting the bunkhouse from rancher Tyler Lowe is the second. But Leah is uneasy around the handsome cowboy, despite his kindness. 

Tyler knows all too well how difficult it is to rebuild trust. He's trying to help his young niece heal from her own dark memories. When he sees how Maddie responds to Leah, he can't help feeling grateful—and attracted to the beautiful woman. He knows he has to move slowly to win Leah's heart, but he also knows she's worth the wait.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Trish Milburn is one of my all time favorite authors. There's just something about her writing that I love. I can usually sit down, and read one of her books in a couple of hours because I get so sucked into the world of Blue Falls, Texas. A Rancher to Love is no exception to that rule. I loved everything about the book. 

I loved returning to the community of Blue Falls, and seeing some of my favorite characters. I also enjoyed meeting the new characters. Tyler and Leah have become two of my favorite of Trish Milburn's characters. The book had a lot of cheesy moments, and sappiness, which usually annoys me. However, the author makes it work. Instead of being annoyed, I thought it felt authentic. It felt like it was there for a reason, instead of just being silly. 

A Rancher to Love became my second favorite Blue Falls book (my favorite is Her Cowboy Groom). I can't wait for Trish Milburn to write more books in this series, now that I'm all caught up. I will happily devour them, and probably still want more when I'm done. I just can't get enough of the world Trish Milburn has created in Blue Falls, Texas.


I give A Rancher to Love: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.trishmilburn.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trishmilburnauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TrishMilburn
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/trishmilburn2/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/108409297131247035285
Tumblr: http://trishmilburn.tumblr.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_ZWx-6uHzvRGtSCu8If-dA?feature=
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1335180.Trish_Milburn

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli


Synopsis:
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
I love LGBTQ+ books, especially coming out stories. It's one of my favorite things to read about. I had heard a lot of good things about Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, so I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did. I loved the book. My only regret is that I didn't read it sooner. 

I had owned Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda for about a year, and hadn't picked it up. It just never caught my interest. Now I regret that. I wish I had read it sooner. It was the perfect coming out story. It captured all of the emotions that go along with that; fear, nervousness, anxiousness, and finally this huge feeling of relief. The book made me laugh, cry, and everything in between. Becky Albertalli wrote the character of Simon in a way that made him very relatable. I felt myself being able to identify with him, and his struggle, throughout the book. 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is definitely in my top five books I've read in 2017 so far. Heck, it might even be one of my favorite books of all time. Becky Albertalli just has this way of writing that pulls you into the book from the very beginning. I can't wait to read her other book, The Upside of Unrequited. I recommend this book to young adult, and adult readers alike who want a feel good, coming of age story.


I give Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://www.beckyalbertalli.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/beckyalbertalli
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7579036.Becky_Albertalli

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

House of Secrets: Clash of the Worlds by Chris Columbus, Ned Vizzini, and Chris Rylander


Synopsis:
The third and final book in the epic HOUSE OF SECRETS series. Get ready for another roller coaster ride of an adventure!

Just when the Walker kids thought life would finally go back to normal, they realize their adventures are far from over. They’ll encounter dinosaurs, aliens, killer robots, and the Wind Witch herself—with new friends and old—and be faced with some of the deadliest choices they’ll ever have to make. The scariest thing of all could be deciding who to trust, since everyone is hiding something...

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
This year, I have a goal of trying to complete most of the series I've started, and never finished throughout the years. Due to that, I decided to finally finish the House of Secrets trilogy. I picked up the final book, Clash of the Worlds, and thought it was a great ending to the trilogy. 

At first, Clash of the Worlds got off to a slow start. The first fifty pages or so were incredibly boring. I found myself wanting to put the book down, and struggling to get through it. I'm glad I didn't put it down though because after that, the book's plot picked up, and became the fast paced whirlwind that I've come to know and love from Christopher Columbus, and Ned Vizzini. There were several times, especially towards the end, where I found myself biting my nails, wondering how the kids were going to get through the mess they found themselves in. There were also times where I felt like the authors were tearing apart my heartstrings, putting them back together again, only to rip them out again later in the book. 

I loved all of the characters in Clash of the Worlds. I was happy that some of my favorite characters returned, even if it was only briefly. I wasn't expecting a couple of them to show up at all in the book, so it was a pleasant surprise when they did. I was also impressed with the character growth in this book. Looking from the first book to this last one, the characters have matured so much that the reader would think they are entirely different characters. My favorite character will always be Fat Jagger. I loved that we got to see so much of him in this book, and that he played a pivitol role. 

Even though I didn't like the first book in this trilogy, House of Secrets has become one of my favorite series. I thought that the ending of the trilogy was really good. I hope that Chris Columbus eventually turns this trilogy into a movie, or tv show because he is a wonderful director, and I would love to see his vision for his own book. I recommend Clash of the Worlds to kids and adults that are looking for a fast paced thrill ride.


I give House of Secrets: Clash of the Worlds: 4/5.

Want to know where to buy this book?
Amazon
Book Depository
Better World Books

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


Synopsis:
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
Typically, I don't read a lot of books as soon as they are released that have hype surrounding them. However, everywhere I've looked on social media lately, I've been seeing The Hate U Give. It's impossible not to see a post about it while scrolling through my various social media feeds. I couldn't escape it, so I decided to just give into the pressure and read it. It was one of the best bookish decisions I've made recently. It was worth all of the hype surrounding it, and then some. 

The Hate U Give is such an important book. I think it should be on reading lists at schools throughout the country. It puts the into Starr's shoes, and gives a perspective that some people don't get in regards to the Black Lives Matter movement. It forces the reader to see the world in a completely new way. 

After reading The Hate U Give, I was completely outraged at the way minority groups are treated. I couldn't believe how much I didn't previously know about police brutality. I wanted to take a stand, and say enough is enough. I wanted to call my senators, and tell them to take a stand against police brutality. I wanted to protest the unfair treatment of people of color by police officers. Before reading The Hate U Give I knew police brutality happened, but I didn't think it affected me. Now I know better. It affects every member of the community, regardless of race. 

The Hate U Give was a powerful, moving book. Not only did it mess with my emotions, but it taught me so much that I never knew before. I wish that I could convince everyone to read it, and get a copy of the book in everyone's hands. It's worth all of the hype it's been getting, and more. Maybe if more people were willing to read this, and see from a perspective that they don't usually get, the world would be a better place.


I give The Hate U Give: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://angiethomas.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ACThomasAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/acthomasbooks
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/acwrites/
Tumblr: http://writerzambitionz.tumblr.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15049422.Angie_Thomas

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston


Synopsis:
Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
The Valiant has been getting a lot of buzz lately. When I saw one of my favorite Booktubers, Peruse Project, review it and saw how much she loved it, I knew I had to read the book. She and I typically have similar tastes in books, and this was no exception. I loved the book. 

At first when I started The Valiant, I wasn't sure what to think of it. The first few pages weren't catching my interest at all. However, after the suction scene, I was all in. I love books set in ancient Rome. The way Lesley Livingstone wrote the book makes the reader feel like they were in ancient Rome beside Fallon, the main character, training to be a female gladiator. I loved how descriptive and detailed the world building was. The author did a great job bringing the world to life.

The main character, Fallon, was so badass. She was a kickass warrior, but that's not the only reason for her badassness. When she first came to the gladiator training school, she faced a lot of adversity. She was bullied constantly, but she never let that get her down. In fact, in a way, she used it to push herself to become stronger.

The Valiant was the first Lesley Livingston book I've read, but it won't be the last. I plan on reading her Wondrous Strange trilogy next, a trilogy about faeries. I loved The Valiant. I think with the way it ended, it could be read as a standalone. However, I'm going to read the rest of the trilogy because I'm so excited to get more of these characters.


I give The Valiant: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.lesleylivingston.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LesleyLivingstonAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LesLivingston
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1312879.Lesley_Livingston

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Iron Tiara by Beth Flynn Release Day Blitz




BLURB


Anthony Bear and Christy Chapman are from two completely different worlds.Anthony's the leader of a motorcycle gang that terrorizes Florida’s West Coast. As a child, he ran away from his family and the Cherokee Indian Reservation to enter a life of crime. As an adult, he leads a multifaceted life managing his two businesses—his legitimate landscaping venture, and his loan shark and underworld dealings. Driven by anger and betrayal, Anthony begins the hunt for Christy’s father, Van Chapman, after he runs out on a loan.

Christy’s privileged life is not as it seems. She has kept painful family secrets and hidden some of her own. She’s determined to find out the truth and expose Van, but her search delivers her right into Anthony Bear’s hands, adding kidnapping to his list of crimes.

Their worlds are as contrasting as the color of their skin. The only thing they seem to have in common is their mutual disdain for Van Chapman…and each other.

They couldn’t be more wrong.

The Iron Tiara is a spin-off novel from The Minutes Trilogy. It can be read as a standalone, and does not contain a cliffhanger.

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ABOUT BETH FLYNN


Beth Flynn is a fiction writer who lives and works in Sapphire, North Carolina, deep within the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Beth and her husband, Jim, have spent the last 19 years in Sapphire, where they own a construction company. They have been married 33 years and have two daughters and a temperamental pit bull named Lady , Beth enjoys writing, reading, gardening, church and motorcycles, especially taking rides on the back of her husband’s Harley. She is a seven-year breast cancer survivor.


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