Saturday, October 15, 2016

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


Title: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pages: 404

Summary from Goodreads:

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien. 

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.


Thoughts:
My first thought when I started this book was that Celaena did not seem to act as if she were enslaved in a salt mine in Endovier for a year, but from knowing her personality from reading The Assassin's Blade it made perfect send to me that she wouldn't be beat down after only a year of being within the mines. She is too strong-willed and hard-headed to be beaten down that quickly, and even thought I didn't like her personality to begin with, it definitely grew on me the more I read the prequels. Although I do not believe that she is the best role model for YA readers, I do believe that she has parts of her personality that are to be admired, and we find more of these qualities out within this book.

Another thing I really loved about reading the first book of Maas' is the vivid imagery she had constantly going on in my head. There's a part in the book where Chaol Westfall takes Celaena into the library per her request and the way it is described literally made my heart so happy. This is another moment where I began to like Celaena more because her and I share a similar love and awe for books.

"The Captain of the Guard opened the doors reluctantly, the strong muscles of his back shifting as he pushed hard against the worn oak. Compared to the sunlit hallway, the interior that stretched beyond them seemed formidably dark, but as she stepped inside, candelabras came into view, along with black-and-white marble floors, large mahogany tables with red velvet chairs, a slumbering fire, mezzanines, bridges, ladders, railings, and then books-books and books and books.
She'd entered a city made entirely of leather and paper. Celaena put a hand against her heart. Escape routes be damned. "I've never seen-how many volumes are there?" 

I am honestly so happy I finally decided to pick this book up and give it a go. I kept reading and all of the characters grew on me, especially Celaena. After learning a little bit more about her, she doesn't seem as annoying to me as she did at first. I could definitely see her and I being friends if she were real, she is just so kick-ass at everything she does while still managing to be very relatable.

This book is the perfect amount of gory mixed in with intrigue. Something very wicked is going down in the glass castle and Celaena is tasked with finding out why it's happening and how to stop it. all while different forces are working together to keep her from becoming the King's Champion and having a chance at being free.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Horror Recommendations for Halloween!


Hi, everyone! I really love the horror genre, so naturally I wanted to write a post on it for the first day of my favorite month. Can you believe that it's October?! I love October so much. The horror movies, caramel popcorn balls, costumes, crunchy leaves. I love it all. Hope this month is a good one for everyone. :) Let's get to the recommendations! (Some of these aren't actually horror, but deal with horrifying scenarios instead)!


1. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Synopsis:
Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.
Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer.. she might become his next prey.


2. Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
 Synopsis:
Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared. 

Once upon a time, my name was not Alice. 
Once upon a time, I didn't know how lucky I was. 
When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends -- her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over. 
Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her. 
This is Alice's story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.



3. The Christopher Killer (Forensic Mysteries #1) by Alane Ferguson
Synopsis:
Fascinated by forensics, seventeen-year-old Cameryn Mahoney persuades her father, the county coroner in sleepy Silverton, CO, to take her on as his assistant. But she never expects her first case to involve the death of a friend! Rachel Geller, a beautiful young waitress, is found strangled in a field with a Christopher medal around her neck—clearly marking her as the fourth victim of a serial killer. Cameryn is determined to help find Rachel’s killer, and attending the autopsy gives her the first clue. But as she follows her instincts and gets closer to the killer, Cameryn suddenly finds herself on the verge of becoming his fifth victim!



                          4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Synopsis:
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

5. I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells
Synopsis:
John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it.
He's spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential.
He's obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn't want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he's written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.
Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don't demand or expect the empathy he's unable to offer. Perhaps that's what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there's something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat---and to appreciate what that difference means.
Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can't control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

6. Haunted by Chuck Palahnniuk
Synopsis:
Haunted is a novel made up of stories: twenty-three of the most horrifying, hilarious, mind-blowing, stomach-churning tales you'll ever encounter.


They are told by the people who have all answered an ad headlined 'Artists Retreat: Abandon your life for three months'. They are led to believe that here they will leave behind all the distractions of 'real life' that are keeping them from creating the masterpiece that is in them. But 'here' turns out to be a cavernous and ornate old theater where they are utterly isolated from the outside world - and where heat and power and, most importantly, food are in increasingly short supply. And the more desperate the circumstances become, the more desperate the stories they tell - and the more devious their machinations to make themselves the hero of the inevitable play/movie/non-fiction blockbuster that will certainly be made from their plight.
7. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Synopsis:
The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.
But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…
This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth. 





8. Twins by Bari Wood & Jack Geasland
Synopsis:
Twins is a spellbinding novel of the bizarre lives and shocking deaths of twin doctors—bound together by more than brotherly love, damned together to a private hell of unspeakable obsessions. 











9. Cruel Sacrifice by Aphrodite Jones
Synopsis:On a freezing January in 1992, five teenage girls crowded into a car. By the end of the night, only four of them were alive. The fifth had been tortured and mutilated nearly beyond recognition. Her name was Shanda Sharer; her age - twelve. When the people of Madison, Indiana heard that a brutal murder had been committed in their midst, they were stunned. Then the story became even more bizarre. The four accused murderers were all girls under the age of eighteen: Melinda Loveless, Laurie Tackett, Hope Rippey, and Toni Lawrence. Here, for the first time, veteran true crime journalist Aphrodite Jones reveals the shocking truth behind the most savage crime in Indiana history - a tragic story of twisted love and insane jealousy, lesbianism, brutal child abuse, and sadistic ritual killing in small-town America...and of the young innocent who paid the ultimate price. 

10. A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
Synopsis:
The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.
To her parents' despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie's descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts' plight. With John, Marjorie's father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.
Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie's younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface--and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.





Monday, September 26, 2016

Top Ten Tuesdays (1) || Books On My Fall TBR List



So I know I am extremely late to the party, but I decided to pick up A Court of Thorns and Roses and Throne of Glass by Sarah. J. Maas at Books-A-Million. I am honestly so excited to dig into these.













I didn't take any photo of the books I decided to get today on my outing with my family but they were so cheap. Literally two dollars and some odd change for three books!


                              

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Book Blast: The Carver by Jacob Devlin with Giveaway

thecarverblast

 

Hello readers!

Are you looking for your next read?

Well, let us help make things easier for you!

Welcome to the Book Blast for

The Carver by Jacob Devlin

presented by Blaze Publishing!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

Looking for more books to read?
Read on and find a book that's waiting for you to devour!

 

the-carver-cover

 

THE GIRL IN THE RED HOOD has been looking for her mother for six months, searching from the depths of New York’s subways to the heights of its skyscrapers...

THE PRINCE looks like he’s from another time entirely, or maybe he’s just too good at his job at Ye Old Renaissance Faire . . .

THE ACTRESS is lighting up Hollywood Boulevard with her spellbinding and strikingly convincing portrayal of a famous fairy. Her name may be big, but her secrets barely fit in one world . . .

Fifteen-year-old Crescenzo never would have believed his father’s carvings were anything more than “stupid toys.” All he knows is a boring life in an ordinary Virginia suburb, from which his mother and his best friend have been missing for years. When his father disappears next, all Crescenzo has left is his goofy neighbor, Pietro, who believes he’s really Peter Pan and that Crescenzo is the son of Pinocchio. What’s more: Pietro insists that they can find their loved ones by looking to the strange collection of wooden figurines Crescenzo’s father left behind.

With Pietro’s help, Crescenzo sets off on an adventure to unite the real life counterparts to his figurines. It’s enough of a shock that they’re actually real, but the night he meets the Girl in the Red Hood, dark truths burst from the past. Suddenly, Crescenzo is tangled in a nightmare where magic mirrors and evil queens rule, and where everyone he loves is running out of time.

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The Carver by Jacob Devlin
Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Publisher: Blaze Publishing

BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

 

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:



"an inspired vision that felt fresh and unique; and something that would be entertaining for all ages" - Silvia's Reading

"The descriptions were vivid and I could easily see it in my head!" - Kindle and Me

 

"It brings you great laughs, tears and a special twist on all the fairytales we know from our childhood." - Goodreads Reviewer

 

About-the-Author2

jacobdevlin

 

When Jacob Devlin was four years old, he would lounge around in Batman pajamas and make semi-autobiographical picture books about an adventurous python named Jake the Snake. Eventually, he traded his favorite blue crayon for a black pen, and he never put it down. When not reading or writing, Jacob loves practicing his Italian, watching stand-up comedy, going deaf at rock concerts, and geeking out at comic book conventions. He does most of these things in southern Arizona.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

 

YOU SHOULD ALSO CHECK OUT...

 

Asleep EBook (1)

 

Seventeen-year-old Rose suffers from terrifying, painful nightmares that leave her bruised, exhausted, and questioning her sanity. Desperate to hold on, she makes a choice: Trust her doctor who claims he can cure her, or listen to another patient who swears the asylum will kill them.

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Asleep by Krystal Wade
Publication Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Blaze Publishing

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Because I Love You

 

When Sixteen-year-old Andie Hamilton discovers she’s pregnant, she also learns the truth of her adoption. Overwhelmed, Andie must choose what’s best for the baby, but after hearing the heartbeat for the first time, she doesn’t know how she’ll ever be able let go.

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Because I Love You by Tori Rigby
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Blaze Publishing

BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

 

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Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

 

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Home Sweet Motel (Welcome to Wonderland #1) by Chris Grabenstein

Title: Home Sweet Motel (Welcome to Wonderland #1)
Author+Chris Grabenstein
Pages: 304
Release date: October 4, 2016
Ages: 8 and up

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Eleven-year-old P.T. Wilkie may be the greatest storyteller alive. But he knows one thing for a fact: the Wonderland Motel is the best place a kid could ever live! All-you-can-eat poolside ice cream! A snack machine in the living room! A frog slide! A giant rampaging alligator! (Okay, that last one may or may not be made up.) There’s only one thing the Wonderland doesn’t have, though—customers. And if the Wonderland doesn’t get them soon, P.T. and his friend Gloria may have to say goodbye to their beloved motel forever.  They need to think BIG. They need to think BOLD. They need an OUTRAGEOUS plan. Luckily for them, Gloria is a business GENIUS, and OUTRAGEOUS is practically P.T.’s middle name. With Gloria’s smarts and P.T.’s world-famous stories and schemes, there’s got to be a way to save the Wonderland!  BONUS: Includes fun extras like P. T. Wilkie’s outrageous (and sometimes useful) things you learn living in a motel. Installment 1: How to say “Help! The toilet is clogged!” in over twenty languages!

My Thoughts:

As soon as I opened this book, I knew it was going to be super entertaining to read. Brooke Allen is a wonderful illustrator! All of the drawings absolutely cracked me up. Imagine a boy riding an alligator back to where it came from after he's lasso'd it with some bed sheets from a hotel. Pretty funny in your head, right? It's even better to see. I'd show some of the artwork but since it said that the art may not be final, I'm going to exclude it for now.

P.T. Wilkie is hilarious. Above all else, he's imaginative. Spinning stories much to his classmates' delight, even some of the teachers, (except for grumpy old Mr. Frumpkes) and getting himself out of trouble on multiple occasions.  The book does have some sad parts that deal with P.T. Wilkie's father, but it's made up for in non-stop funny shennanigans that him and his friend new friend Gloria get into.

We follow P.T., Gloria, and occasionally P.T.'s grandpa on hilarious antics in order to save their beloved motel from the hands of some horrid businessmen. Before they know it, they're caught up in a years old mystery surrounding a bank heist two robbers had pulled off. Now, the robbers are out of jail and snooping around the motel looking for their loot. P.T. and Gloria must find the jewels before they do and before Spring Break is over to keep the Wonderland Motel up and running and out of the grasp of people who don't deserve the motel.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions herein are of my own and are not swayed by any outside factors.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Book Review || The Mystery at the Lilac Inn (Nancy Drew #4) by Carolyn Keene


Title: The Mystery at the Lilac Inn (Nancy Drew #4)
Author: Carolyn Keene
Pages: 180

Synopsis from Goodreads
:
Nancy and Helen visit a charming old inn, recently purchased by friends. Soon after her arrival at Lilac Inn, Nancy discovers someone is impersonating her! The young detective’s enemy alters her appearance to resemble Nancy and uses stolen identification! When Emily Willoughby's diamonds are stolen, Nancy is determined to find Emily's inheritance. A mysterious ghostly figure roaming Lilac Inn's grounds, a strange message with the phrase “blue pipes,” and other unexplained incidents lead credence to the belief that the inn is actually jinxed!

My Thoughts:
Nancy Drew went through a lot in this book, and it's super fast paced compared to the previous ones. First, she gets ran off the road by a stolen car, she gets shot at while skin-diving with a spear-gun, a cabin she was residing in for the time being was blown up by a time-bomb, rocks are being thrown at her through her car window, and to top it all off, someone is going around impersonating her! I could not be Nancy Drew for the life of me. It seems to be one thing after another and she doesn't get a break!

A thing I loved the most out of this book was the vivid imagery of the lilac that surround the inn where Nancy is staying at. I could almost smell them. I also love the fact that this book includes some lesser-known facts on the lilac flower. These books are very educational on a vast amount of subjects.

Book Review || An Italian Adventure (The Italian Saga #1)


Title: An Italian Adventure (The Italian Saga #1)
Author: Gaia B Amman
Pages: 381

Synopsis from Goodreads:
A humorous coming of age tale of friendship, sisterhood, and family drama set against the gorgeous backdrop of northern Italy.Recommended for fans of Jandy Nelson, John Green, Neil Gaiman and Sherman Alexie 
Italy, the late 80s. Leda is a bookish tomboy whose life is turned upside down by shady Nico, who just moved north from Sicily. Their unlikely friendship will evolve through a whirlwind of adventures leaving both kids transformed. Ultimately, Leda will discover that adults aren't always right, marking the end of childhood and the beginning of everything else.
Recommended for ages 13 and above. Some swearwords, mostly in Italian.
The book is the first in a series following the same characters throughout their life.


My Thoughts:
I could not put this book down for the life of me. I felt my eyes growing heavy so instead of laying down I sat upright on the couch and opened my eyes really wide so I could get to a good stopping point. (There are no good stopping points because all I wanted to do was keep on reading until I got to the end).  There are quite a few good quotes throughout this book as well.



I honestly didn't expect to like this book as much as I did, because when I first started I couldn't believe how naive Lee was, but I also had to keep in mind she was barely nine years old and we were all annoying at one time or another, if not still annoying. ;) She deals with quite a bit of inner issues with herself, mainly wishing she had been a boy named Alessandro and constantly feeling like she has to prove to her gang of nothing but boys that she isn't just a "little girl" but in fact strong, fierce, and a leader. 
Too often this leads them into a lot of shenanigans like mountain biking on normal bikes, a near-death experience involving a tumble from a very tall tree, among other hilarious yet poignant experiences that only made me look back on my childhood with fondness. This book actually made me recant my childhood adventures with my "gang" of friends and all of the trouble we used to get into and all of the fun times, arguments and tears, and other emotions we all had to endure when we were coming-of-age. Even though the synopsis says it's good for children ages 13 and above, I believe every adult should read this as well so we can reflect and remember what it was like to be a kid so we don't lose sight of it.
Being set in the late 80s in Italy, there is quite a bit of talk about what girls are supposed to do and what they're not supposed to do, which is the bane of Lee's existence. All of the characters have their own very distinct characteristics, but I love Lee's character most of all. She's described as a "bookish tomboy." She a daredevil of the highest sorts, never backing down from a challenge (with the exception of her older sister who she seeks contact approval from), as well as being incredibly wise for her young age. Even though she doesn't understand a lot of things older people do, she feels things much deeper than any ten year old normally would.
I can honestly say the only bad opinion I have about this book is the fact that I absolutely despised Lee's dad. He has his good days, like when Lee and him are alone, but any other time he just gets on my nerves. I hope I find out why he is the way he is when I read the other books, because I really need more insight so I don't feel like I'm judging a character unfairly. 


I gave this book 5 hearts! I will forever recommend this until the end of my days. Had me belly-laughing, rooting for the characters, and deep in thought for how much sense this book made. Amman perfectly captured the troubles of growing up.

Excerpt:


A strange smell exuded from the secret basement, of something old, worn out, and forgotten. Strangely, as I stared at it, I got the feeling that rather than light seeping inside through the crack, a beam of darkness, dust, and silence spilled out on the cement. I pushed my head through the slit in between the gate’s doors, peering inside and holding my breath.
Nothing: dark, dark, dark and quiet.
Nico whispered, “Is there someone inside?”
I shrugged. “It’s dark, I don’t think so.”
The light from the opening above and below my head had carved away a slice from the dark, revealing a grey concrete floor on which my shadow lay. Right on the edge of the gray light there seemed to be something, maybe old desks, stacked chairs?
I gathered all my courage, wanting to look brave in the eyes of my friends, and for some reason wanting to impress Nico. I was no chicken! I stepped into the secret basement.
The other three asked from outside, “What do you see?”
“It’s pitch black, Guys. It’s impossible to see the back wall.”
I swallowed entranced by a very bad feeling, remembering the Nothing that had swallowed Fantasia in The Neverending Story, one of my favorite books ever. Maybe this was where the Nothing fled after Atreyu and Bastian kicked its butt.
Nico chuckled. “Do you think that there is a back wall?”
I answered, “I’m gonna find out,” and took one step forward. They laughed nervously at my bravado. So, I took another step into the unknown.
Flavio whispered alarmed, “Lee, come on! You made your point, come back!”
I took another step, feeling the eyes of my buddies resting on my back. Their distress turned into excitement. “What do you see? How is it? What’s there?”
Truth be told, I couldn’t see a thing. I just focused on crawling forward with my arms stretched in front of my body to feel for the wall or possible obstacles, none of which seemed to come. The cold engulfing me made me even more aware of the sweat beading on my face. My heart was pounding.
I started to be able to tell the outline of huge piles of unidentified, luckily inanimate, objects stacked so high they might have reached the ceiling, if I could have seen one.
My senses were on edge, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something lurking in the darkness, ready to pounce as much as I was.
When I lurched into something cold I immediately withdrew my arms letting out a scream.
Flavio yelled, “EVERYTHING OKAY?”
I pondered, nothing was moving. I reached out with my hands and found the end wall. I yell-whispered, “Yeah! I made it! I found the end!”
My heart exulted as my friends celebrated. “Yippee! You rock, Lee!”
Everything happened within a couple of seconds. A sudden thump came from my left and I screamed again, as my friends went suddenly quiet and still. My adrenaline, which was already quite high, skyrocketed bathing me in a warm wave.
I turned to run toward the door for my dear life. I moved my feet as fast as I could in a frenzy of certainty that whatever was audibly moving not too far from me was going to grab one of my ankles at any moment to drag me into the Nothing forever.



Sunday, September 11, 2016

Book Review || Burning September by Melissa Simonson

Title: Burning September
Author: Melissa Simonson
Pages: 284
Literary Fiction/New AdultAmazon || Goodreads ||

Synopsis from Goodreads
:
Kat’s life is going exactly the way her sister has planned it, until a detective shows up at their front door early one morning and arrests Caroline for murder. 
Suddenly and utterly alone, Kat doesn’t know how to navigate a world without Caroline, the woman who raised her. During the aftermath of the crime, Kat tries to figure out who she is without her sister, but unlocking those doors only leads to more troubling questions. 
Kat realizes the one person she thought would never lie to her had, and quite frequently. Sorting through the skeletons and lies might be more than she can handle, but it's a necessary evil if she ever wants to see her sister acquitted.



My Thoughts:
First off, I want to mention how insanely NICE Melissa is. When she e-mailed me to see if I'd take her book up for review, she was so understanding to the fact that I might not have time so I didn't feel at all pressured to review her book, which is amazing when being approached. I am actually extremely underwhelmed with book requests right now, so I decided to take her up on her offer, and gladly! It sounds amazing, does it not?

The second thing I want to mention is the fact that all of the characters are so drastically different! You can tell they all have their own personalities and they all mix together so well. Kat's sister Caroline (who is also basically considered her mother due to unfortunate circumstances) is so fiery! That's the word that comes to my head when I first started reading this book. Kat is modest about herself on a level that borders on extreme. The men who have recently entered her life are all drastically different as well. My favorite is Professor Lawlis, though. He's grumpy, one legged, and a hell of a music teacher. Rough around the edges, but a good person anyway.

The synopsis of this book makes it seem like it would be a super sad book because she's pining after her sister and missing her and all of that, but in reality I find it actually uplifting because Kat is actually learning who she is and the power she has within herself and I loveeeeeeeeee it. Not to mention the fact that this book included a creepy cat-napper, a big-footed "stripper",  and some swoon-worthy romance.

Honestly I could see this being a movie, so WHY AREN'T MORE PEOPLE READING THIS BOOK AND MAKING IT HAPPEN? I will rave about this book until the end of my days, I swear. Melissa's writing style and character development skills are on the top-most tier and I haven't read a book this refreshing in a long, long while.

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions herein are of my own.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Book Review || The Bungalow Mystery (Nancy Drew #3) by Carolyn Keene

Title: The Bungalow Mystery (Nancy Drew #3)
Author: Carolyn Keene
Pages: 204

Synopsis from Goodreads:
While trying to help a friend out of a difficulty, Nancy has a perilous experience in and around a deserted bungalow, from which only her bravery and quick thinking save her.

My Thoughts:
This book starts out with Nancy exclaiming loudly about some black storm clouds rolling in fast on her and her friend Helen Corning while they're out on a motorboat. She begins to get worried because they're a ways away from where they're staying. Smack dab in the middle of Twin Lakes with no life jackets, they're forced to keep moving or be stranded in the middle of the perilous lakes.

Before long, the wind starts rocking the boat and lightening starts. Of course, rain begins to fall shortly after. At the mercy of the rain, Nancy can't see more than 5 feet in front of her. In no time, a log pops up on their course and they end up crashing head first into it. This leaves a hole in the boat, and water immediately starts pouring in. No matter what they did to prevent water from coming into the boat, their efforts were futile.

Suddenly, a wave throws them overboard! Nancy, being a great swimmer, immediately swam to the surface and began frantically searching for Helen. She finally sees her floating on the surface of the water on her back. Nancy, despite her doubts of being able to tow both of them to shore, sets out to accomplish her goal. We all know how Nancy never backs down from a challenge when she puts her mind to it, don't we?

Finally, just as Nancy thought she was going to have to give up. She hears her ray of hope: someone yelling, "Hold on! I'm coming!" Their savior goes by the name of Laura Pendleton. They reach the shore finally, but have to seek shelter from the storm in a bungalow that's hidden within the treeline. 

Upstairs at the bungalow, they stumble upon a furnished room. Complete with little cots to sleep on, an electric stove, a table and some chairs to accompany it, along with blankets so they could wrap themselves up in them to ward off the chill! To their surprise, they even found a closet chalk-full of food. Over some hot cocoa, Nancy and Helen find out that Laura's mother passed away a short time ago. Nancy fully understands due to the fact that she herself lost her mother at a young age. Lauren goes on to state that her father has also passed away, from a boating accident. We begin to see why Laura had put her life on the line to save Nancy and Helen in the storm.

After tidying up after themselves and leaving a thank you note for the owners of the bungalow, they parted. Back at the Pinecrest Motel, Nancy and Helen go to speak to Mr. Franklin who manages it, telling him all about their mishap. A woman walks in and states that her car has a flat and she needs someone to change a tire. Even though she seemed very rude to Nancy, she tells her that there are phones at a service station that was nearby.

The next morning, Laura shows up looking troubled. It turns out, the woman they had a run-in with last night was Laura's soon to be snotty guardian! After a game of tennis, Nancy, Helen, and Laura piled into Nancy's car and head to the Montewago Hotel where Laura was staying. They make plans to meet back up at a time later in the day so that Nancy and Helen could meet Laura's guardians.

On their way back, Nancy and Helen decide to take a detour back to the bungalow for the fun of it. They come across a black car speeding towards them and come to the conclusion that the man must have been Mr. Marshall, the people who use the bungalow on the weekends. Going back to the hotel, they meet up with Helen's aunt Jane. After sitting down for some lunch, Nancy receives a phone call with some bad news that her housekeeper, Hannah, has sprained her ankle. Nancy decides to return home to take care of her since her father is off on a business trip, but not until she meets the Aborns. Nancy soon became distrustful of Mrs. Aborn. Laura exchanges her address at Melrose Lake to Nancy and Helen and they said their goodbyes. Both friends express sentiments about the Aborns' personalities and come to the conclusion that neither one of them trust them.

Finally on her way back to her house, Nancy observes that the sky was getting cloudy. She had to take a detour that took her miles out of her way. Unfortunately, she gets stuck in a horrific downpour and she began to not be able to see in front of her. Just for Nancy's luck, a lightening strike hit a tree making it fall next to Nancy's car, narrowly missing her. Before too long, another car shows up and the boy and the girl within it help her move it out of the path. After exchanging thank you's, she was back on her way to her house.

A little bit further on in the story, Nancy gets a strange phone call from someone who sounds distressed over the phone. Not until later does she realize that the person on the other end of the phone was Laura Pendleton, and she seemed to be in danger! After Nancy gets home from sleuthing out some other mystery, she finds Laura at her house distressed. She goes on to explain to Nancy that her guardians are horrible people and are angry that she won't hand over her mother's jewels to them.

Nancy decides to go to Laura's house and snoop around. This leads her to a rather dangerous situation like it always seems to, and she has to use her quick wits to wrap up this mystery and get herself and a few others out of danger.

I love the fact that this book had more suspense in it than the previous two did, as well as more danger. The only issue with this is that I knew what was going to happen at the end of the story before I reached it.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Book Review || The Assassin and the Underworld by Sarah J. Maas


Title: The Assassin and the Underworld
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pages: 102

Synopsis from Goodreads:
When the King of the Assassins gives Celaena Sardothien a special assignment that will help fight slavery in the kingdom, she jumps at the chance to strike a blow against an evil practice. The misson is a dark and deadly affair which takes Celaena from the rooftops of the city to the bottom of the sewer--and she doesn't like what she finds there.

My Thoughts:
I really love reading these novellas before diving into the actual series. It's so action-packed! Although Celaena didn't get any better as a character this time around, I still enjoyed the plot. Talk about betrayal, eh? I've never seen a character go through so much in such a small amount of time. It's insane! I've never felt so broken-hearted for a character I've hated so much before, but Sarah J. Maas managed to do it.
This novella made me adore Sam ten times more. He's such a sweetie and a total swoon-worthy character. It normally takes me a lot to be won over by a character but Sam somehow seemed to do it with a great amount of ease. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Book Review || The Assassin and the Desert by Sarah J. Maas


Title: The Assassin and the Desert
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pages: 103
Find on Goodreads.
Buy the novella here.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
The Silent Assassins of the Red Desert aren’t much for conversation, and Celaena Sardothien wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s not there to chatter, she’s there to hone her craft as the world’s most feared killer for hire. When the quiet is shattered by forces who want to destroy the Silent Assassins, Celaena must find a way to stop them, or she’ll be lucky to leave the desert alive.

My Thoughts:
I love this novella far better than the first one I read, and I haven't read the second yet, so I can't compare this one to that one. Even though I figured the desert setting would be SUPER boring, it wasn't at all. It did fatigue me, and make this hot day even worse, but I love books that can pull you in with their settings.


This book definitely has it all. Betrayal, death, sadness. Happiness is missing from this, although Celaena does get a mini triumph in the form of a gift at the end of the novella, it was a small one, but at least it was something. 

I can withstand Celaena's personality a bit better in this one, because in the first novella I read she was way too cocky for my liking, but I think what she has been through over the course of a few months has tamed it at least a little bit.

Can't wait to start the next one!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Eden's Escape by M. Tara Crowl Blog Tour + Giveaway!


I am absolutely ecstatic to bring you Eden's Escape by M. Tara Crowl today!

About the Books:


Eden’s Wish
(Eden of the Lamp #1)
By M. Tara Crowl
From Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Ages 9-12

All twelve years of Eden's life have been spent in an antique oil lamp. She lives like a princess inside her tiny, luxurious home; but to Eden, the lamp is nothing but a prison. She hates being a genie. All she wants, more than anything, is freedom.

When Eden finds a gateway to Earth within the lamp, she takes her chance and enters the world she loves. And this time, she won't be sent back after three wishes.

Posing as the new kid at a California middle school, Eden revels in all of Earth's pleasures--but quickly learns that this world isn't as perfect as she always thought it was. Eden soon finds herself in the middle of a centuries-old conflict between powerful immortals. A ruthless organization run by a former genie will stop at nothing to acquire the lamp and its power--even hurt Tyler and Sasha, the new mortal friends who have given Eden a home. To save her friends and protect the lamp's magic, Eden must decide once and for all where she belongs.



Eden’s Escape
(Eden of the Lamp #2)
By M. Tara Crowl
From Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Ages 9-12

Eden's new life on earth begins in New York City under the guidance of her new guardian: Pepper, a petite, bubbly genie alum who's also a Broadway actress. Before she has a chance to settle in, though, Eden is whisked away for a granting--only to find herself trapped in a laboratory. David Brightly, owner of the world's leading tech company, cares more about tapping into the lamp's power than making a wish and starts performing tests on Eden. With Brightly's plasma shield around the lamp, Eden has no way home. Left without a choice, she escapes the lab and goes on the run. After her daring exit, Eden finds herself on the streets of Paris--home to Electra's headquarters. Left in a strange city with a price on her head (courtesy of scheming Brightly), Eden has to keep her wits about her. She dons a chic disguise and flits around Paris incognito, investigating Brightly Tech. Assisted by Pepper and her old adversary Bola, as well as some new friends, Eden embarks on a quest to retrieve the lamp and protect the secrets of the genie legacy.


Excerpt from Eden's Escape:

Happiness pulsed through Eden’s veins. She felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
The song ended in an uproar of applause, whistles, cheers, and shouts of “Bravo!” Laughing, Pepper curtsied and hurried off stage.
“Pepper!” Eden said as Pepper reached the table. “ You were amazing!”
“Do you really think so?” Out of the spotlight, she was still the same old Pepper. And just like in the apartment, she actually cared what Eden thought.
“Are you kidding? That was the best thing I’ve ever heard!”
Pepper hugged her tight. “It was all for you, kid.”
She settled back into her chair, and three men appeared, each from a different part of the room. Each looked desperate to meet her.
As the first man introduced himself, Eden felt a strange shudder through her body. There was a sense of acceleration in her chest---a distinct feeling that she knew well.
It was a good thing all eyes were on Pepper, because that meant no one was watching when Eden disappeared.

About Tara:


M. Tara Crowl grew up in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She studied Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, then received an MA in Creative Writing at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. She lives in New York City.







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Book Review || The Assassin and the Pirate Lord


Title: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pages: 70
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:
On a remote island in a tropical sea, Celaena Sardothien, feared assassin, has come for retribution. She’s been sent by the Assassin’s Guild to collect on a debt they are owed by the Lord of the Pirates. But when Celaena learns that the agreed payment is not in money, but in slaves, her mission suddenly changes—and she will risk everything to right the wrong she’s been sent to bring about. 

My thoughts:
Overall, I decently liked this novella, so I'll be reading the others once I find them. I love the fact that the main character is a woman and she's super strong and no one dares lay a finger on her, and if they do, they don't live to regret it.
The thing that bugged me the most about Celaena is the fact that she is extremely jaded. Cocky to the point of annoyance, but I'm hoping that'll change at the books go on. Even as the best of the assassin's, she still has a fight on her hands with the Lord of the Pirates when he catches her. I also had an issue with the fact that she tried super hard to act as if Sam weren't of any special importance to her, but as the story went on we saw that she was hiding major feelings for him. That was predictable, but what's a story without some hateful romance, am I right?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Book Review || The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew #2) by Carolyn Keene


Title: The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew #2)
Author: Carolyn Keene
Pages: 182
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Nancy resolves to help Helen Corning's relatives solve the mystery of the ghost haunting their old mansion. A mysterious man appears at the Drew home to warn Nancy that her father, Carson Drew is in danger. This warning prompts a search for the missing Willie Wharton, a land owner, who can prove he signed away his land to the railroad and save the railroad from a lawsuit. Meanwhile, the disappearance of Mr. Drew, thefts and mysterious goings on at Twin Elms, and the discovery of a hidden staircase lead Nancy to solve these baffling mysteries.
The story is based on the original title of the same name first published in 1930. The plot is vastly different in this extensively revised and shortened version.


My Thoughts:
My first run-in with Nancy Drew was when I was a small child and my sister used to play the computer games. I wasn't allowed to play because they were for "older people" but now I'm delving into the books, finally.


The book starts out with a phone call from Helen Corning, a friend of Nancy's. Her phone call is about a possible ghost at Twin Elms where her Aunt Rosemary lives. After Nancy agrees to go visit Twin Elms to find out what exactly is going on, the doorbell rings. In walks a man named Nathan Gomber who warns Nancy her dad is in danger due to people being angry over the fact that they sold their property and they think they didn't get paid well enough for it. Within the short time he is there, he grows increasingly agitated and starts coming off as incredibly rude, then Hannah Gruen, the housekeeper, promptly points towards the door and tells Mr. Gomber to have a good day.

After he leaves, Nancy is confronted with a dilemma. Should she stay home and close to her father like Mr. Gomber said to, or should she go through with the mystery at Twin Elms? Her answer comes to her shortly after Helen and her aunt show up. Music playing, but seeming to have no source, thumps and creaks during all hours of the night, as well as creepy shadows on the walls were too much of a mystery for Nancy to pass up. After speaking with her father about the case, and being assured by him that he is in fact not in danger, she was to be on her way to Twin Elms in no time. But first, they have a mishap at the construction site that puts her fears about her dad into overdrive!

During lunch, Nancy is startled by some music coming from the floor above them. The music was coming from Miss Flora's radio. It was obvious someone had snuck into the room and turned it on. This prompts some sleuthing for the "ghost" thief, which ends up turning up no clues. A bit later, a knock sounds on the door. Lo and behold, it's Nathan Gomber! He's the one who's been wanting to buy the family mansion, but for such a low price that they don't want to sell it at all. After his offer is refused, he finally leaves. 

The "ghost" makes a few more appearances, vexing Nancy despite her attempts at catching it. Nancy finally comes to the conclusion that there may be one or more hidden entrances into the home. They all begin searching for it, but find nothing.

Further on in the story, we find out that Nancy's father has been kidnapped on his way to meet her! She relays all that she has found out to the police, then returns back to the estate to do further sleuthing. She stumbles upon a mound she thinks is mysterious, and notices newspapers flying around. She gets excited because this means that there has to have been someone here. She then decided to go inside the cave, but it turns out to be less than impressive. After leaving, she runs into someone she knows to be one of her father's kidnappers! He got away before she had the chance to meet up with him, sadly.

Nancy finally finds a secret entrance through further sleuthing. What I love about these books is the fact that throughout the story-telling, there are facts about history inside the story as well. In this case, it was the fact that there were often secret passageways so masters would be able to listen in on their servants to see if they were spies or giving away information.


I can't say much else without giving the rest of the story away, but this was definitely a great second book to the series. I absolutely adore how short and simple the Nancy Drew stories are, and this one was most definitely not a letdown at all!