Thursday, September 27, 2018

Nick and Tesla's Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith


Synopsis:
Einstein is running amok! Darwin is losing his head! The science museum in Half Moon Bay is in big trouble because its robotic replicas of history’s greatest scientists keep going kablooey! As 11-year-old amateur inventors Nick and Tesla Holt try to uncover the cause, they’ll need to keep adding all-new gadgets to their latest creation, a customized super-cyborg glove. Follow the action, and then follow the illustrated instructions to build your own gadget glove with four incredible functions: LED signal light, emergency alarm, sound recorder, and UV secret-message revealer!
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I have been recently trying to finish some series that I have started. I have a bad habit of starting series, and then never following through with the sequels. Recently, I've been reading the Nick and Tesla series. Even though it's middle grade fiction, I've been greatly enjoying it. I just finished the fourth book in the series, Nick and Tesla's Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove, and loved it.

Nick and Tesla's Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove had everything I wanted in the last couple of books in the series. There was a lot of mystery. There was also some cheesiness, but it wasn't over the top like the last two books had been. The reader got to see more of Uncle Newt and Dr. Sakurai together, which I really loved. I hope that's a trend that continues in the rest of the books in the series. I just love them together. I also enjoyed that Uncle Newt took more responsibility with the kids. Instead of just ignoring them, or misunderstanding their problems like he usually does, he aactually helped them solve the problem. I thin he's turning into a great guardian.

One of the things that I really loved about Nick and Tesla's Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove is that the authors did the experiments/projects a little different this time around. Instead of having multiple small projects, they had one big one with the glove and just kept making improvements to it throughout the story. I thought that was unique and different, and really enjoyed it. By the end, the glove turned out to be really awesome. I thought about making one myself for my niece, and still might do it.

I think Nick and Tesla's Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove was my favorite book in the series so far. If not, it's tied with the first book for my favorite. I loved that this book brought back all of the joy I felt when reading the first book in the series. It was wonderful to see all of the character growth and development. Every character in this series has really matured in some way. I can't wait to read the next book in the series and find out what happens after what was revealed at the ending of this one.  


I give Nick and Tesla's Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove: 4/5.

Want to know more about the authors?
Bob Pflugfelder
Website: https://sciencebob.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sciencebob
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sciencebob?lang=en
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sciencebob/
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/source/sciencebob.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sciencebob
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ScienceBob

Steve Hockensmith
Website: http://www.stevehockensmith.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steve.hockensmith.7
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MrHockensmith
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/146628.Steve_Hockensmith

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

In Bed with the Beast by Tara Sivec


Synopsis:
tale as old as time: she needs a place to stay, he's a grump with a secret and an extra room...can love find a way?

Meet the Naughty Princess Club, a series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that brings readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that three women fall into once they decide to strut their stuff and bring on their own happily ever after.

Living in her overprotective dad’s basement, shy Belle lives her life through books. Being a part of the Naughty Princess Club is the first adventure she’s ever had, plus she desperately needs the money to save one of her favorite places - the local library.

But when her new friends and new business gets her kicked out of her dad’s house, Belle is rescued by the surly Vincent “Beast” Adams who invites her to be his house guest until she gets back on her feet. Despite his attitude problem and long list of rules, Belle finds herself warming to the muscled man with a penchant for growling and starts seeing a gentle side to him that wasn’t there before.

Yet there’s a room that Beast keeps locked and Belle keeps getting hints that Beast is hiding something…can a nerdy librarian tame the beast or will their romance be over before it has a chance to blossom?

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Over the years, Tara Sivec has become one of my favorite authors. I just love her books. They're so witty and hilarious. Lately I realized that I've fallen behind on reading her new releases from this year, and wanted to catch up. I loved the first book in her Naughty Princess Club series, so I wanted to pick up the second one, In Bed with the Beast. I just finished it last night, and while I didn't love it as much as the first book, I did really enjoy it.

I was very excited to read a book from Belle's perspective. I figured she would be the woman that I would relate the most to out of the three friends in the series, and I was right. She only feels comfortable at first around her books, and two close friends. Even then, I think she feels more comfortable around the books than the friends. She's nerdy, shy, and incredibly socially awakward. All of the those are traits that I've had all of my life. It made her incredibly easy to relate to, and made me want to root for her to get her happily ever after even more than I already was.

I will admit even though I loved Belle, I didn't connect with In Bed with the Beast as much as I did with the first book in the series. I think it was because the middle of the book got kind of boring for me. I found myself losing interest at times waiting for something to happen between Belle and Beast, or waiting for her to gain her self confidence. It was a struggle to push through because I kept putting it down, and picking up something more interesting. However, when I was able to push through that part, the rest of the book definitely made it worth it. There was a certain scene involving Belle's dad towards the end of the book. I don't think I've ever laughed that hard in my life.

Even though In Bed with the Beast wasn't my favorite book in the series, I did still find it enjoyable. I loved Belle. She might be one of my favorite characters that Tara Sivec has written, and I've read most of her books so that's a long list to choose from. I'm very excited to read the next book in the series, which is from Ariel's perspective. I can't wait for more of her foul-mouthed, dark sense of humor. I think her point of view will be the funniest yet.  


I give In Bed with the Beast: 3.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://tarasivec.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TaraSivec.authorpage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tarasivec
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authortarasivec/
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/tarasivec/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6422281.Tara_Sivec

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

Monday, September 24, 2018

Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith


Synopsis:
In this third installment of the series, 11-year-old whiz-kids Nick and Tesla discover that someone in the quiet town of Half Moon Bay has placed their beloved Uncle Newt under electronic surveillance—but who is spying on him, and why? To expose the secret agent, Nick and Tesla build all kinds of outrageous contraptions. Throughout the book, the narrative is interrupted by blueprints and instructions so that budding young inventors can follow along. Science and electronics have never been so much fun!
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Recently, I've been trying to read all of the print books that I own. I live in a small two bedroom apartment, and they're slowly starting to take over my apartment. I own the whole Nick and Tesla series in print, so I've been trying to make my way through that so I can give the books to kids that I know will enjoy them, and do the experiments/projects in them. I recently finished the third book in the series, Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle. I thought it was just an okay read.

In this third installment of the series, the tone really changed. It felt completely different than the previous two books. With all of the new characters that were added and the mystery surrounding them, it almost felt like it was A Series of Unfortunate Events knockoff. The tone was a lot darker than the two previous books. The new characters even had similar personalities to Count Olaf's troop, especially the cleaners. I was also sad that Dr. Sakurai didn't make much of an appearance. I was really looking forward to seeing her relationship with Uncle Newt progress.

Despite being frustrated with those things, I did find some parts of Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle enjoyable. As always, I thought the projects that they made were really creative, and unique. I love the element it added to the book. The projects aren't the typical science fair projects. It takes some creativity to be able to think of them in the first place. I love it when the authors do that. Also, I didn't correctly guess who the spy was, which makes things interesting. Up until it was revealed, I was almost positive I knew who the spy was. It shocked me when I was wrong.

Even though I had mixed feelings about Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle, I am excited to continue the series. I think it will be interesting to read the next book and see if the spy somehow gets revenge on Nick, Tesla, and Uncle Newt for everything that happened in this book. I also think it will be interesting to see how the plot changes with a somewhat important character removed. I plan on starting the next book very soon. 


I give Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle: 3/5.

Want to know more about the authors?
Bob Pflugfelder
Website: https://sciencebob.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sciencebob
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sciencebob?lang=en
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sciencebob/
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/source/sciencebob.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sciencebob
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ScienceBob

Steve Hockensmith
Website: http://www.stevehockensmith.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steve.hockensmith.7
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MrHockensmith
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/146628.Steve_Hockensmith

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

Saturday, September 22, 2018

In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis


Synopsis:
A dangerous disease strikes the community where teenage Lucy lives. When her adoptive mother, Lynn, takes Lucy away from their home and friends in order to protect her, Lucy struggles to figure out what home means. During their journey west to find a new life, the two face nature's challenges, including hunger, mountains, and deserts.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Last year I read Not a Drop to Drink. I really enjoyed it. I've been meaning to pick up the sequel, In a Handful of Dust but just haven't had time. Recently, I finally got a chance to pick it up. Even though it wasn't what I expected, it was an okay book.

Unfortunately, In a Handful of Dust wasn't what I expected. I expected it to be a direct sequel to the first book, but it was more of a companion novel. Part of that is my fault because I might have known that had I read the synopsis. However, I like going into my books without knowing anything about them. This time, that dampened my enjoyment of the book though. I really wanted to know what happened directly after the ending of the first book in detail. Instead, it's briefly mentioned then glossed over.

The one thing I really did like about the book was seeing Lucy grown up. It was interesting to see how her relationship with Lynn had grown over the years. I also enjoyed seeing Lynn take that responsibility, and becoming a mom like figure to Lucy at such a young age. When the reader catches up with them during In A Handful of Dust, they've really grown into their own. They know who they are, and what they want out of life. It was interesting to see that compared to where Not a Drop to Drink left off.

Despite being disappointed by my expectations, I did enjoy reading In a Handful of Dust. I really like Mindy McGinnis's writing style, especially the way she writes strong female characters. I am excited to read more of her books, and see if I like them as much as I liked this duology. 


I give In a Handful of Dust: 3.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website:  http://mindymcginnis.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MindyMcGinnisAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MindyMcGinnis
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bigblackcat97/
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/MindyMcGinnisMe/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5351825.Mindy_McGinnis

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, September 21, 2018

Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover


Synopsis:
In Hopeless, Sky left no secret unearthed, no feeling unshared, and no memory forgotten, but Holder’s past remained a mystery.

Still haunted by the little girl he let walk away, Holder has spent his entire life searching for her in an attempt to finally rid himself of the crushing guilt he has felt for years. But he could not have anticipated that the moment they reconnect, even greater remorse would overwhelm him…

Sometimes in life, if we wish to move forward, we must first dig deep into our past and make amends. In Losing Hope, bestselling author Colleen Hoover reveals what was going on inside Holder’s head during all those hopeless moments—and whether he can gain the peace he desperately needs.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Typically, I don't like books that re-tell a story that's already been told from another character's point of view. Ninety percent of the time it adds nothing to the story, and is boring to read about. That's why I was hesitant to read Losing Hope. I figured it was just going to be Hopeless from Holder's point of view. I want to read all of Colleen Hoover's books, so I recently decided to try it. I'm so glad I did. I was definitely wrong. It was so much more than just a retelling.

Losing Hope brought a fresh perspective to the events that happened in Hopeless. When reading from Holder's point of view, it was almost like reading another story entirely. There was a big bombshell that was dropped in Losing Hope that the reader didn't learn about in Hopeless at all. It was heartwrenching, and really added something to the story. It brought back all of the heartbreaking feelings that I remember feeling from Hopeless, if not more. Watching Holder come to the realizations that he did was devastating.

Colleen Hoover once again wrote a beautiful yet heartbreaking love story. I loved seeing the interactions between Skye and Holder from Holder's point of view. It made me fall in love with the characters all over again. I'm glad I decided to finally read Losing Hope. I have a feeling it's one of those stories that will stay with me for a long time. 


I give Losing Hope: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website:  https://www.colleenhoover.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorColleenHoover/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/colleenhoover
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/colleenhoover/
Snapchat: https://www.snapchat.com/add/colleenhoover
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5430144.Colleen_Hoover

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, September 20, 2018

Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith


Synopsis:
Nick and Tesla return in an all-new, robot-filled adventure!

When a rash of robberies hits the town of Half Moon Bay, 11-year-old sleuths Nick and Tesla are determined to catch the criminals—but to do so, they'll have to build a host of new gadgets and gizmos!

In this robot-themed follow-up to Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab, the brother-and-sister duo build four different droids out of ordinary household objects—and illustrated instructions are included throughout the story, so you can build them, too! Make bristlebots that buzz, hoverbots that float above the ground, battlebots that duke it out, and more!

Can Nick and Tesla catch the criminal mastermind—and foil his army of rampaging robots—before it's too late?

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Lately I've been going through this reading phase where all I want to read is middle grade. Recently, I read Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab. I loved it so much that I started the second book, Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage immediately. While I didn't love it as much as the first book, I still thought it was an enjoyable sequel.

I'm not entirely sure why I didn't enjoy Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage as much as the first book in the series. There was just something magical missing from it. I think part of it is because I was hoping the sequel would focus more on the big reveal that happened at the end of the first book, and that didn't happen. I found that kind of disappointing. It was slightly mentioned at times, but wasn't a huge plot point.

Despite that, I really did enjoy the book. In fact, I read all of it in about two hours because I couldn't put it down. I especially enjoyed the new character, Dr. Sakurai. I enjoyed seeing how having her around changed Uncle Newt. Speaking of Uncle Newt, he went through so much character growth in this book. Even though he's still his zany, wacky self, he really went through a growth period, and matured a lot. I loved seeing that. For once, I didn't guess the culprit at the end, which I also enjoyed. It was a fantastic reveal that I never saw coming.

Even though I prefer the first book in the series, I really did enjoy Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage. I thought it was a good sequel. I plan on starting the next book in the series as soon as I finish typing this review. I can't wait to see what happens after the bombshell that was dropped at the end of the book with the answering machine message.


I give Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage: 3.5/5.

Want to know more about the authors?
Bob Pflugfelder
Website:  https://sciencebob.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sciencebob
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sciencebob?lang=en
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sciencebob/
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/source/sciencebob.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sciencebob
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/ScienceBob

Steve Hockensmith
Website: http://www.stevehockensmith.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steve.hockensmith.7
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MrHockensmith
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/146628.Steve_Hockensmith

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

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Time Traveller by Joanne Harris


Synopsis:
Struggling to get back to UNIT HQ, his body being destroyed by radiation, the Third Doctor arrives in the most perfect English village, where everyone is happy. But is he really on Earth, or somewhere far more strange? As his body weakens, the Doctor and the Queen of the village begin to unravel the truth.

Time Trips – groundbreaking Doctor Who adventures by some of the most respected writers in the Universe. Short stories that are bigger on the inside…

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
For those that have been following my reviews for quite some time, you know that I'm a huge Whovian. I love anything and everything to do with Doctor Who. That includes all of the books that have been written. I especially love the short stories. Recently, I found one that I haven't read, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Time Traveller. I thoroughly enjoyed the short story.

Joanne Harris must be a big Whovian too because I found myself immersed in the story from beginning to end. She got all of the small details that connect the Doctor Who universe right, such as the subtle nods to Sarah Jane, and other things that happened (trying to be vague because I don't want to spoil it for anyone). While reading the book, I was almost picturing like an episode in my head, which I loved. I know the book was about the Third Doctor, but even though I've watched some of his episodes, I'm not as familiar with him as I am with some of the more recent doctors. I kept picturing Eleven in my head for some reason instead of Three, which isn't a bad thing.

I loved The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Time Traveller. It brought together everything I loved about Doctor Who. In fact, by this point, I've read most of the Time Trips short stories. I think this might just be one of my favorites. I really hope that Joanne Harris writes more Doctor Who fiction in the future. I will gladly read anything else Doctor Who related that she publishes. 


I give The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Time Traveller: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website:  http://www.joanne-harris.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/joannechocolat
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joannechocolat/?hl=en
Tumblr: http://joannechocolat.tumblr.com/
Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9432.Joanne_Harris

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Stimpikins by Pamela Reynolds


Synopsis:
One cool autumn day a young girl watched a drama unfold before her eyes. Because of her intervention a lifelong friendship and love developed. This love went beyond life and death. Lives were changed and barriers crossed. A respect for and communal with all living creatures were lessons learned outside of school.

Stimpy was a cat who will never be forgotten by his owner Emily. After reading about his life and escapades, readers will not easily forget this heroic, lovable, mischievous, independent, friendly and loyal cat. Based on real accounts of his life it will open the readers’ eyes to the real truth about cats. You will never look at an animal in the same way again.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
For those of you that have been following my reviews for a while, you know I love cats, and books about cats. Cats are one of my favorite things to read about, whether it's fiction or non-fiction. I feel that by reading about cats, I learn more about them which helps me to be a better cat mom. Several years ago, I picked up a book about cats called Stimpikins. I recently found it when going through my bookshelves, and decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, I was thoroughly disappointed.

For whatever reason, I wasn't expecting Stimpikins to be a children's book. I think that's where most of my disappointment comes from. The story was written in a way that made the writing seem very juvenile. There were short, choppy sentences that made the book boring to read. It cut off the flow of the book, which made it an unimmersive experience. The other thing that bothered me were the pictures. They just didn't work. I wish the author or an illustrator would have drawn them by hand. Instead they used a 3D computer modeling program, which made the illustrations look off, and downright creepy at times.

However, there is one thing I did enjoy about Stimpikins. I thought the story line itself was really cute, even with the choppy writing. You could really tell that the author had a love of animals, especially cats. The way she loved Stimpikins, despite all of the adversity the two of them faced together really moved me. I also liked the random stories about Stimpikns, especially the one of him and the fish tank. That cracked me up.

Even though I enjoyed the story line of Stimpikins, there were many things in the book that I didn't care for. All in all, even the story line could not make the experience a great one. The writing style made the book boring at times, and the pictures were often off because of the method the author used for the illustrations. However, I do think younger children, perhaps elementary school kids might enjoy this book more than I did. 


I give Stimpikins: 2.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
 Website: http://www.pamreynolds.me/index.htm
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6468869.Pamela_Reynolds

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

Monday, September 17, 2018

Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith


Synopsis:
Nick and Tesla are bright 11-year-old siblings with a knack for science, electronics, and getting into trouble. When their parents mysteriously vanish, they’re sent to live with their Uncle Newt, a brilliant inventor who engineers top-secret gadgets for a classified government agency. It’s not long before Nick and Tesla are embarking on adventures of their own—engineering all kinds of outrageous MacGyverish contraptions to save their skin: 9-volt burglar alarms, electromagnets, mobile tracking devices, and more. Readers are invited to join in the fun as each story contains instructions and blueprints for five different projects.

In Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab, we meet the characters and learn how to make everything from rocket launchers to soda-powered vehicles. Learning about science has never been so dangerous—or so much fun!

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Lately, I've been making it a major priority in my reading goals to read more of my physical books. I have thousands of them, and they usually just sit around collecting dust because I mainly read from my Kindle. I found the Nick and Tesla series on my bookshelf, and decided to pick up the first book because I've been in the mood to read middle grade fiction recently. I thought it was a great start to what seems to be a promising series.

Nick and Tesla had everything that I love in a middle grade series. It was filled with all of the tropes that make a series great, such as the eccentric not all there caretaker. Uncle Newt had me cracking up laughing several times. Although if he was the kid's caretaker in the real world, I'm pretty sure he'd lose the kids in a week or two from being so irresponsible. I also liked that it had kids that didn't fit the expectations that society places on people. It felt good to see Nick, Tesla, and their friends use their brains to solve problems, rather than physical skills. It made the book more interesting because you could solve the problems with Nick and Tesla while they tried to work through them.

Speaking of working on things right beside Nick and Tesla, one of the things that I loved about the book was the experiments and projects that were included. Unfortunately, I was not able to do them as I live in an apartment building that doesn't have a yard that I can use for that type of thing or anywhere to set them up. However, I did find it interesting to read all of the steps, and see everything come together in my mind for how it work out. I have a fiend that has children, and I plan on passing along the full series to her once I finish it so she can do the projects with them.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Nick and Tesla's High Voltage Danger Lab. I plan on binge reading the rest of the series in the next week or two, and then passing it along to my friend so her kids can enjoy it too. I can't wait to start the next book in the series tonight, and to see what kind of crazy hi-jinx Nick and Tesla can get themselves into next. I'm also excited to see what happens with the mystery character that was revealed at the end of this book. I recommend this book to older elementary kids that are interested in STEM. 


I give Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: 4/5.

Want to know more about the authors?
Bob Pflugfelder
Website:  https://sciencebob.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sciencebob
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sciencebob?lang=en
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sciencebob/
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/source/sciencebob.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sciencebob
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ScienceBob

Steve Hockensmith
Website: http://www.stevehockensmith.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steve.hockensmith.7
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MrHockensmith
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/146628.Steve_Hockensmith

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

Friday, September 14, 2018

Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow


Synopsis:
Find the confidence to rock out to your own beat.

Melly only joined the school band because her best friend, Olivia, begged her to. But to her surprise, quiet Melly loves playing the drums. It’s the only time she doesn’t feel like a mouse.

Now, she and Olivia are about to spend the next two weeks at Camp Rockaway, jamming under the stars in the Michigan woods.

But this summer brings big changes for Melly: her parents split up, her best friend ditches her, and Melly finds herself falling for a girl at camp named Adeline. To top it off, Melly's not sure she has what it takes to be a real rock 'n' roll drummer. Will she be able to make music from all the noise in her heart?

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I feel that we really need more LGBTQ+ middle grade books. There are a lot of LGBTQ+ fiction and non-fiction in young adult literature, but not a lot for the younger audiences. Whenever I see middle grade LGBTQ+ books, they move to the top of my to read pile. When I heard that Lisa Jenn Bigelow was writing a middle grade LGBTQ+ fiction book, Drum Roll Please, I knew I had to read it. I loved her young adult debut, Starting From Here, when I read it a couple years ago. Drum Roll Please definitely didn't disappoint. I loved it just as much as Starting From Here, if not more.

Drum Roll, Please brought back a lot of feelings of nostalgia. It reminded me of what it felt like to be younger, and falling in love with someone of the same sex for the first time. It also made me nostalgic for those feelings of having your first real crush, and brought back a lot of pleasant memories from when I was that age. I think Lisa Jenn Bigelow captures those feelings perfectly. You know an author has done a great job writing a book when it takes you back in your mind to a certain place and time, and makes you very happy.

I also really loved most of the characters from Drum Roll, Please. I especially loved Adeline. She was so confident in who she was. I love seeing younger characters that are comfortable in their own skin, instead of criticizing themselves all the time. I think it makes for great role models that kids cam look up to. I said I enjoyed most of the characters because I really didn't like Melly's best friend, Olivia. I thought was very selfish, self centered, and a downright crappy friend to Melly throughout a lot of the book, especially after they get to camp. While I was reading, I kept hoping that Melly would ditch her to find a more supportive group of friends that would treat her better.

I loved Drum Roll, Please. After thinking about it once I was finished with the book, I think it might just be one of my favorite middle grade books of all time. It's definitely my favorite middle grade contemporary book that I have read. I'm hoping Lisa Jenn Bigelow writes a sequel about the next summer at camp. I would really love to see Melly after she has some time to deal with the issues with her parents, and her sexuality. I think it would be awesome to watch her grow even more as a character. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a cute contemporary book to read. I especially recommend it to preteens that are just starting to discover that they might be LGBTQ+. I think it is a great resource that they will identify with. 


I give Drum Roll, Please: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website:  https://lisajennbigelow.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisajennbigelow/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisajennbigelow
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lisajennbigelow/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4575294.Lisa_Jenn_Bigelow

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

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Queer, There, and Everywhere by Sarah Prager


Synopsis:
World history has been made by countless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals—and you’ve never heard of many of them.

Queer author and activist Sarah Prager delves deep into the lives of 23 people who fought, created, and loved on their own terms. From high-profile figures like Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to the trailblazing gender-ambiguous Queen of Sweden and a bisexual blues singer who didn’t make it into your history books, these astonishing true stories uncover a rich queer heritage that encompasses every culture, in every era.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
Recently, I've been on a kick where all I want to read is non-fiction. I've always loved to learn about different things, and that spark has been reawakened. I especially love learning about LGBTQ+ history and culture. I feel the more I know about it, the better equipped I am to help promote LGBTQ+ equality. I recently decided to pick up Queer, There, and Everywhere. I'm glad I did. It taught me so much that I didn't know about LGBTQ+ history. 

I do have to admit, the beginning of the book was incredibly slow. The introduction and the first story seemed like it took forever to get through because the writing style is something I wasn't used to. It was written with a lot of slang and things similar to that so it would appeal to teenagers. That makes sense because the book was intended for a young adult audience, but it made it frustrating to read because it felt like everything was dumbed down.

Other than that, I greatly enjoyed Queer, There, and Everywhere. I found it fascinating to learn about these historical figures in history that were LGBTQ+.  Not only did I learn a lot about my favorite historical figures, but I learned about LGBTQ+ activists throughout history that I had never heard of before. I can't wait to do more research on the ones that I had never heard of before. I think my favorite story in the book was about Abraham Lincoln. I never knew anything about him being queer before. I definitely plan on researching further into that because I find it fascinating. 

Other than the beginning, I absolutely loved this book. I wish that queer history was discussed more in schools, especially in history classes. Maybe if that happened, some of this wouldn't be such a shock, and the LGBTQ+ community would finally get the recognition it deserves. Maybe people would finally realize it's completely normal if they knew it happened throughout history. I recommend this book to anyone, especially YA audiences, looking for a good non-fiction book to read.


I give Queer, There, and Everywhere: 4/5. 

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://sarahprager.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahmprager/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sarah_Prager
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChq_fgj5kaQU2GlOtSAiIeQ
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7539145.Sarah_Prager

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, September 12, 2018

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia


Synopsis:
In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
Typically, I don't do well with overhyped books. I let the hype get to me, which raises my expectations. Then the book ends up with expectations that it can't ever meet. Therefore, I wanted to wait until the hype died down before reading Eliza and Her Monsters. Recently I thought enough time had passed, so I picked up the book. Let me tell you it was worth all of the hype that was surrounding it, and then some. It became one of my favorite books that I've read this year.

I loved almost everything about Eliza and Her Monsters. If I would have read a physical copy, I'm sure I would have annotated about 90% of the book because I identified with it so much. I saw so much of myself in Eliza. She was a quiet, shy, introverted person who just wanted to immerse herself in fandoms, and wanted to be happy doing what she loved. I think the fact that I was able to identify with her so much is the main reason why I loved the book. I flew through it and ended up reading the whole book in a day. I just couldn't put it down. The character interactions were also on point. There were times in the book where I wished every single one of these characters were real because I think it would be awesome to have them as friends in real life. They are definitely people who I could see myself hanging out with.

If I had to have one complaint about the book, it's that the climax was very predictable. As soon as things started happening between Eliza and the love interest, I knew the plot was going to unfold the way it did. I wasn't exactly sure the details of how it would happen so I did find that part interesting, but I knew that it would. It took away some of the shock value when it finally did happen ( I'm trying to be vague because I don't want to spoil it for anyone). I also found it very predictable the way the characters got over the issues and resolved everything. If it wasn't for that, it definitely would have been a five-star book.

It's not often that I finish a book and want to reread it immediately, but that definitely happened with Eliza and Her Monsters. I wasn't ready for the book to end. Even though it ended in a way that I like, I really just wanted more of these characters and this setting. I'm hoping that the author comes out with a book centered around the characters in the webcomics, kind of like Rainbow Rowell did with Carry On. I loved this book, and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in different fandoms, or anyone who is looking for a place where they belong and don't feel like they fit in.


I give Eliza and Her Monsters: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.francescazappia.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChessieZappia
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chessiezappia/
Tumblr: http://exeuntstormtroopers.tumblr.com/
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/francescazappia/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7009633.Francesca_Zappia

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, September 11, 2018

Misconception by Morgan Black


Synopsis:
The Finnegan brothers are bound to hurt any girl that gets between them. But that doesn't stop Lena. She loves pain with her pleasure. When things get too hot for her to handle, she does the only thing she can do to protect herself... she runs away. 

Three years later, Lena is back in town for her father's wedding. She prays she can avoid her past, hoping nobody remembers her parents’ messy divorce or how she disappeared. However, as soon as she arrives, she finds she can't run from her past anymore. 

There's no escaping the Finnegan brothers. Not this time.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:

Recently I've been going through my backlog of books that I've had for a while and reading them, starting with smallest page count first. I finally got to Misconception by Morgan Black and was so excited. I love the book's gorgeous cover. Unfortunately, that's about the only thing I enjoyed about this book.

I'm not exactly sure where this book started to go wrong for me. It might have been from the beginning. The writing style just seemed very juvenile. The characters weren't written very well. They just seemed like cookie-cutter characters without much individual personality.  The main character was ridiculously immature for her age, especially with everything going on around her. She drove me crazy with her whining. The plot was boring. The only reason why I even continued the book is that there was this underlying secret that was hinted at, and I wanted to know if it was what I predicted. It wasn't, which made things kind of disappointing.

This book definitely was not for me. I thought the writing style was very immature, and I didn't care for the characters at all. The book did have an interesting cliffhanger ending. However, I don't think that even that cliffhanger can get me to read more of this series.


I give Misconception: 2/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Blog: https://authormorganblack.wordpress.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/morgan.black.7334

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

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Sixth Wife by Laura Lond


Synopsis:
Adelia has no one to blame for her heartache. She’d been cautioned, many times and by many people. Everyone except her mother had told her it was folly to marry an elf, citing a host of reasons. Adelia knew their warnings were not unfounded. She knew he was very different from her and her kind, he was much older, and he’d had five other wives before her. She didn’t care. She had chosen her path.
(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
Years ago, I read the book A Merman's Kiss by Laura Lond and really enjoyed it. Ever since then, I've wanted to read her other books but found myself getting distracted by other books that were on my list. Recently, I decided to pick up her book The Sixth Wife. I'm glad I did. I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

There were so many things I loved about The Sixth Wife. One of the things that made it stand apart from other books was that covered the human's perspective living with elves. In all of the fairy tales, you don't really ever see that, especially later on in the human's life when they have to deal with aging. It was a fresh perspective that really brought something new to the table and made me fall in love with the writing and the characters.

I also enjoyed seeing Ametar's backstory, and learning why he was affected the way he was. When I was reading the book at first, I just thought he was being a complete jerk with one of his rules, even though he did override it. Then once I learned his backstory everything started to make sense. I felt a lot of sympathy for him, and genuinely really started to like him. I also really loved the way the book ended. I don't think the author could have come up with a better ending. It made me so happy that after everything that had happened, the book ended the way it did (trying to be vague because I don't want to spoil it for anyone).

I think Laura Lond is becoming one of my favorite short story fantasy writers, if not one of my favorite short story writers in general. I love the way that she can take a 20-page story and make you fall in love with the characters, the setting, and the plot in such a short time. I definitely plan on picking up more of her books. This time I'm not going to wait 4 or 5 years before I do. I have one clicked some of her books once I was done with The Sixth Wife. I plan on reading them over the summer. I can't wait to dive into more of her work.
 


I give The Sixth Wife: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://laura-lond.tripod.com/index.html
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/913887.Laura_Lond

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, July 19, 2018

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy


Synopsis:
When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs. So she convinces her best friend, Harvey, to help her with a crazy bucket list that's as much about revenge as it is about hope.

But just when Alice's scores are settled, she goes into remission, and now she must face the consequences of all she's said and done.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
Recently, I've heard great things about Julie Murphy's books. They've been talked about all over the internet. When it first came out, I got a copy of her debut novel, Side Effects May Vary. I've been trying to read through my backlog of books, and decided I would start her books that I own with her debut novel. Unfortunately, I didn't really like it at all.

My biggest problem with Side Effects May Vary was the main character, Alice. She was a complete bitch. I understand and sympathize with everything she was going through with her diagnosis. However, nothing justifies treating your friends and the people around you the way she did. She used some of her closest friends for her schemes, and then tossed them away like they were nothing. I felt so bad for Harvey. I just wanted to reach through the book and give him a hug because of the way she was treating him. I think Alice might be the most unlikable character I have ever read. She just completely ruined the book for me.

The only reason why I'm giving this book two stars is because I really did like Harvey. Even with all the shit he put up with, he was a really good friend. If I was him, I don't think I could have been that good of a person in his situation. While I don't agree with all of the choices he made ( I would have ditched Alice like a bad habit), I do find him to be endearing. If the book was only from his point of view, I might have liked it a little bit more.

Unfortunately I really did not like Side Effects May Vary. The main character, Alice, completely ruined everything for me. In fact, it almost makes me want to not read another Julie Murphy book. However, I understand that debut novels can be a little rough around the edges, especially when you compare them to the author's later works. I think I will try reading Dumplin'. However, if I find the main character in that book extremely unlikable, I think I'm done with Julie Murphy's books.


I give Side Effect May Vary: 2/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://juliemurphywrites.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/andimjulie
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andimjulie/
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/andimjulie/
Tumblr: http://andimjulie.tumblr.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/andimjulie
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6433278.Julie_Murphy

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

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Geronimo Stilton: Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye by Elisabetta Dami


Synopsis:
Who Is Geronimo Stilton?
That's me! I run a newspaper, but my true passion is writing tales of adventure. Here on Mouse Island, my books are all best-sellers! What's that? You've never read one? Well, my books are full of fun. They are whisker-licking good stories, and that's a promise!

Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye
It all started when my sister, Thea, discovered a mysterious map. It showed a secret treasure on a faraway island. And before I could let out a squeak of protest, Thea dragged me into her treasure hunt! In no time at all, we'd set sail for the island. It was an adventure I'd never forget....
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Earlier this year, I read a Geronimo Stilton book. Unfortunately, I didn't like it. It was disappointing because that used to be one of my favorite book series when I was a kid. I decided not to give up on the series though. I wanted to try one more Geronimo Stilton book, Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye. I'm glad I did. It had everything I loved about the series when I was younger.

Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye took me back to my childhood. It brought back a lot of feelings of nostalgia. It had everything I remembered that made a Geronimo Stilton book great. It had a lot of the witty sarcasm and puns that I remembered. A lot of the cheese puns made me laugh. It was also action-packed. While it didn't keep me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next, I'm sure it would have if I was younger. The only complaints I have is that I forgot how annoying Trap can be. He's definitely my least favorite character. I also found the book to be predictable, but that could be because I'm not the intended audience.

I'm so glad that I decided to give this series another chance. It makes me happy that I can read it with my nephews and nieces, and inspire a love of reading in them similar to what I had as a kid. I'm not sure that I will go out of my way to pick up these books because as I previously said, they are definitely out of my age range. However, if I do come across one, I will pick it up and read it with my nephews and nieces. Hopefully they will pass it on to their friends, and Inspire a new generation to love Geronimo Stilton.

I give Geronimo Stilton: Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye: 4/5.

Want to know more about the series?

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Gender Game by Bella Forrest


Synopsis:
A toxic river divides nineteen-year-old Violet Bates's world by gender.

Women rule the East. Men rule the West.

Welcome to the lands of Matrus and Patrus.

Ever since the disappearance of her beloved younger brother, Violet's life has been consumed by an anger she struggles to control. Already a prisoner to her own nation, now she has been sentenced to death for her crimes.

But one decision could save her life.

To enter the kingdom of Patrus, where men rule and women submit.

Everything about the patriarchy is dangerous for a rebellious girl like Violet. She cannot break the rules if she wishes to stay alive.

But abiding by rules has never been Violet's strong suit.

When she's thrust into more danger than she could have ever predicted, Violet is forced to sacrifice many things in the forbidden kingdom ... including forbidden love.

In a world divided by gender, only the strongest survive...
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Back when Kindle Unlimited first became available, I read the first 10 books in Bella Forrest's Shade of Vampire series. I loved them but sadly never got an opportunity to continue on with the series. I've had one of her other books, The Gender Game, on my TBR for a couple of years now. I recently read it, and did not enjoy it.

When I first started reading The Gender Game, I was really into it. I was loving Violet, the amazing female main character. She was incredibly kick-ass, and didn't let anyone bring her down. I thought she was a strong, empowering female character. I also liked the action in the beginning. It kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering what was going to happen next and how Violet was going to get herself out of the situation she was in.

However, right around the time that she sneaks out of the bathroom window, things drastically changed for the worst. The plot became very slow and boring. At about halfway through the book, I was only reading 10 or 15 pages at a time. I kept putting it down because it wasn't holding my interest at all. Violet started doing dumb things that went completely against what her character was about, and that made me mad. Towards the end, the plot did pick up and get exciting again. At that point though, I didn't even care what happened to the characters.

All in all, The Gender Game just wasn't for me. The beginning of the book gave me high expectations, but then it fell flat rather quickly. Even the crazy cliffhanger ending of this book couldn't make me care enough about the characters or the plot to continue on with the series. I will probably try more of Bella Forrest's books in the future because I do like some parts of her writing style. I just won't be finishing this series.

I give The Gender Game: 2/5.

Want to know more about the author?

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