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. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

DNF Review: Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell


Synopsis:
Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.

But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller that explores the thin line between good and evil, and the messiness of that inevitable moment when life contradicts everything you believe.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Recently I've been trying to read more of my books that I've had for a long time. I've been walking every day, so I've been borrowing them as audiobooks from my library. I've just been going through my list in the order that it's in on Goodreads. I recently tried to read Dear Killer. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish it. I didn't enjoy it at all. 

My biggest problem with the book was that it made no sense. When I started listening to the book, I was actually enjoying it. I thought it was interesting hearing the main character's thought process, and why she did what she did. However, as the book went on, I started to hate it. The main character started making stupid decisions that went against everything she had been taught as a trained serial killer from the time she was a child for no apparent reason. It drove me crazy, and finally, it got to a point where I just couldn't take it anymore. I didn't even finish the book, but I can almost guarantee that I can tell you how it ends because it was becoming so predictable once she started making mistakes. 

Dear Killer was just one of those books that wasn't for me. It was almost painfully frustrating to watch the main character make so many mistakes that went against who she was. It's like the author decided part way through the book to write about someone completely different. The book was also incredibly predictable in the way it was going to end. I don't think I'll be reading anything else by this author again.


I give Dear Killer: 1/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Blog: http://katherineewell.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateEwell
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590818.Katherine_Ewell

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, May 17, 2018

The Elusion Duology by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam


Synopsis for Elusion:
Soon, Elusion® will change the world and life as we know it.

A new technology called Elusion is sweeping the country. An app, visor and wristband will virtually transport you to an exotic destination where adventure can be pursued without the complications—or consequences—of real life.

Regan is an Elusion insider. Or at least she used to be. Her father invented the program, and her best friend, Patrick, heir to the tech giant Orexis, is about to release it nationwide. But ever since her father’s unexpected death, Regan can’t bear to Escape, especially since waking up from the dream means crashing back to her grim reality.

Still, when there are rumors of trouble in Elusion—accusations that it’s addictive and dangerous— Regan is determined to defend it. But the critics of Elusion come from surprising sources, including Josh, the handsome skeptic with his own personal stakes. As Regan investigates the claims, she discovers a disturbing web of secrets. She will soon have to choose between love and loyalty…a decision that will affect the lives of millions.

Suspense, thrills, and romance fuel this near-future story about the seductive nature of a perfect virtual world, and how far one girl will go to uncover the truth behind the illusions.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 


Synopsis for Etherworld:
In this sequel to Elusion, three teens fight a virtual reality program that threatens to destroy their minds. Dangerous secrets and lies add up to a thrilling futuristic fantasy with an Inception-inspired twist.


Elusion was hailed as an exciting leap in technology—until users began to disappear amid rumors of addiction. Regan’s search for the truth led her and her new love interest, Josh, to Etherworld. Etherworld is a dimension hidden deep beyond Elusion's firewall, where players can hide, and ultimately fight back. Regan's father and others are here working to destroy Etherworld, but the longer they stay the less likely they'll be able to return to the real world alive.

Escape means attacking Elusion from within the program. It's dangerous and it’s a puzzle. And even if they manage it, how will they be able to stop Orexis from distributing Elusion to the masses when the people who run it are corrupt?

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Recently, I have decided that I want to try to listen to more audiobooks. Some authors are starting to release their books on Audible before ebook or print. Therefore, I would like to try to get used to audiobooks. I checked it what my library offered via Overdrive, their online audiobook and ebook service. I saw that they had the Elusion duology, which I've been wanting to read for a while, and decided to give it a try. I thought it was an enjoyable series to read. 

The first book took a little while to get into. Elusion wasn't fully explained, which made everything a little confusing at first. However, once I got the gist of things, I found myself really loving the story. The way the plot of Elusion flowed, it was almost like listening to one of those old-time radio shows. It kept me on the edge of my seat. When I thought the series couldn't get any more exciting, Etherworld began and everything I thought I knew was flipped upside down. I loved all the twists and turns throughout the series. It was action-packed right up until the last few minutes of the book. I had no idea what was going to happen in the end, and I loved every second of it.

Maybe it's because I was listening to the duology on audiobook, but my biggest problem with the series was that I felt incredibly disconnected from the characters. I'm not used to listening to audiobooks though, so it could have been because of that instead of the writing. Either way, it kept taking me out of the storyline. The best way I can describe it is that it was like watching a play, where are the actors overact their characters. It felt very fake and forced. Once I would start really liking one of the characters, that feeling would come back again. It made it hard to fully immerse myself into the story, and get emotionally involved in the characters. By the end, there were a couple of characters that I really liked. However, for the most part, I didn't really care who lived or died.

Despite not liking the characters, I did find this book enjoyable to read. The plot was fast-paced, and kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. I greatly enjoyed the futuristic setting in our world. I hope that the author continues to write dystopian books. I will gladly read anything else she releases in the future. Unfortunately, I can't find anything on Goodreads about her writing another series. If she does, now that she has more experience with writing, I'm sure I will love her next book even more.


I give the Elusion Duology: 3.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.claudiagabel.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Claudia-Gabel-133423863340307/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/claudiagabel
Tumblr: http://claudiagabel.tumblr.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/claudiagabellindvall/

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

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell


Synopsis:
Stories don’t know everything.

When Sand wakes up alone in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. The stories all said the place was ruined by an earthquake, and Sand did not expect to find everything inside torn in half or slashed to bits. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. Why wasn’t this in the stories?

To survive, Sand does what he knows best—he fires up the castle’s forge to mend what he needs. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending? Or have the saints who once guarded this place returned?

When Sand finds the castle’s lost heir, Perrotte, they begin to untwine the dark secrets that caused the destruction. Putting together the pieces—of stone and iron, and of a broken life—is harder than Sand ever imagined, but it’s the only way to regain their freedom.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).
My Thoughts:
I read Merrie Haskell's The Handbook for Dragon Slayers several years ago when it first came out and loved it. In fact, it became one of my favorite books that I read that year. It made me even more excited to read her newer book, The Castle Behind Thorns. I got a copy before it was released, but just now found the time to read it. I wish I hadn't waited so long. Once again, the author did not disappoint me. I greatly enjoyed the book.

I will admit, I found the beginning of the book very slow-paced. I think it's because the reader learns alongside with the main character what is happening. It can make things confusing at first. It was also hard to figure out how much time was passing in the castle during the book. However, once I got a couple chapters into the book I found myself loving it. I couldn't put it down. I love the way Marie Haskell weaves a storyline. It was like pure magic. It brought back a sense of nostalgia from reading some of my favorite medieval fantasy books when I was a kid. She brought back a sense of wonder that I haven't had while reading a middle grade book in quite a few years.

I also loved the characters in The Castle Behind Thorns. I love how smart and creative Sand was. He didn't just lay in the fireplace and give up, which I'm pretty sure is what I would have done in his situation. It shows younger readers that if you just use your imagination, you can persevere through anything. At first, I wasn't sure about Perrotte. However, by the end of the book, I loved her as well. Even after everything she went through, she was able to adapt to change and learn new things. I love when middle grade books have strong characters, and both of these characters are some of the strongest I've read in middle grade fiction.

Even though the book had a rocky start, I ended up loving it. From the incredible magic system to the strong characters, the book pulled me in and didn't let me go. I think I might have even liked it more than The Handbook for Dragon Slayers. I can't wait to see what Merrie Haskell comes out with next. Whatever she writes, it will definitely be at the top of my reading list. I recommend this book to children, teens, and adults alike. I think anyone that loves a great medieval fantasy book will love this.

I give The Castle Behind Thorns: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?

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, March 28, 2018

The Happy Endings Book Club by Jane Tara


Synopsis:
This Christmas, the women of The Happy Endings Book Club are about to uncover a world of love and magic as they discover how to have their own happy ending or beginning, as they’re often the same thing.

Once a month, seven very different women come together to discuss books. They all love a happy ending, but have lost sight of how to get their own. Paige misses glimpsing the magic in the world. Sadie doesn’t see the beauty inside people. Amanda wonders what she ever saw in her ex husband. Tilda literally can’t see herself. Michi can’t bear looking at her family, while Clementine is blind to what’s right in front of her. And Eva looks for romance in all the wrong places.

But things are about to change …

Meet the women of The Happy Endings Book Club as they celebrate Christmas, and themselves, in London, Paris, Vienna, New York, Sydney and in love.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
Recently, I've been trying to read more contemporary books. It's not usually a genre that I read a lot of. For whatever reason, I am much more likely to pick up a fantasy book. However, I have decided that I'd like to broaden the genres that I read. Therefore, I picked up The Happy Endings Book Club by Jane Tara. I thought it was an okay book. Honestly, I found it a little disappointing.

My biggest problem with the book is that I found the title to be very misleading. Although the book does mention the book club, it wasn't really about the book club. In fact, the book doesn't really talk about books very much at all. Instead, the book was about the ladies of the book club. Due to their ages and the things they were going through, I couldn't relate to them at all. It made me feel very distanced from the story itself. The book should have taken me about 24 hours to read because it was a small book. Instead,  it took about three days because I just didn't care about any of the characters. Then when I did start to care about the characters, their storylines were never finished. It would switch to a different character story which made me angry. It made the book feel like it was a jumbled mess.

There was something that I did like about The Happy Endings Book Club though. One of the character's storylines had magical realism in it. I really liked that. It shocked me and surprised me, but in a good way. It was the last thing that I expected to read in a book like this. Out of all of the women, it was the only story that felt complete. I almost wish that the author would have just focused exclusively on Paige's storyline. I think I would have liked the book so much better. She could have still use the other characters but made their storylines minor, like side characters. I also liked how the author ended the book. I had never seen an author write their book into a book before. I thought that was so cool.

All in all, I found The Happy Endings Book Club to be very disappointing. I had high expectations for it but my expectations fell flat. I just wanted so much more, and never got it. The magical realism in the book is probably the only reason that I even finished it. I do own Jane Tara's other book, Forecast. I do plan on reading it eventually, but after how disappointed I was in this book it will be a while before I get to it. If you do decide to still read this book, I recommend going into it with low expectations.


I give The Happy Endings Book Club: 3/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.janetara.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Roadmancebooks?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/janetara
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/roadmance/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1080134.Jane_Tara

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