Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Bone Thief by Alyson Noel


Title: The Bone Thief
Author: Alyson Noel
Pages: 320
Rating: 3/5
Date published: October 17, 2017

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Compared to other more ordinary towns, Quiver Hollows is a very strange, very curious place. It is also home to longtime friends Grimsly, Ollie, Ming, and Penelope. In a town where everyone is spectacularly abnormal, Grimsly feels bad about being terribly, unforgivably normal, as the town's pet funeral director. So when a series of strange and disturbing mundane occurrences begins plaguing Quiver Hollows, well, Grimsly fears his growing celebrity just might be to blame since everyone knows that the things you focus on the most have an uncanny way of shaping your world. 
The group of friends also learn that the bones in the pet cemetery are thought to be the source of the strange magic that binds the town of Quiver Hollows. With the bones now gone, the town's magic is quickly dissipating. Will it ultimately become as common and ordinary as everywhere else?



Review:

This middle grade novel is jam-packed with fantasy, vivid mental images, and magic.

Grimsly is the main character, he's Quiver Hollows' residential pet funeral director. He's astoundingly normal in a town where nothing is normal about it. Soon, his normalcy is upset when Quiver Hollows starts becoming normal. At first, he believes it is all his fault, but he soon finds out it goes beyond a simple explanation.

Accompanied by his friends, and a few foes, Grimsly sets out to make Quiver Hollows Quiver Hollows again. He leaves town and goes to the outside world, stumbling upon a school where the students are taught magic doesn't exist by a hateful dictator who has a past in dealing with magic.
Chaos ensues, and the rest you'll just have to read about. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

When the Moon Comes by Paul Harbridge

Title: When the Moon Comes
Author: Paul Harbridge
Pages: 40
Edition: E-ARC via Netgalley
Ages: 4-8

Synopsis from Goodreads:
In this atmospheric story, a group of kids play hockey on a frozen lake by moonlight. At once nostalgic and timely, this is a gorgeous book that will speak to readers young and old.
The beaver flood has finally frozen--perfect ice, without a bump or a ripple. For the kids in town, it's Christmas in November. They wait, impatiently, for the right moment. 
Finally, it arrives: the full moon. 
They huff and puff through logging trails, farms, back roads and tamarack swamps, the powdery snow soaking pant legs and boots, till they see it--their perfect ice, waiting. 


Review:
I love books that deal with Winter because when snow is being described, I feel as if I can smell it and feel the bitter bite of wind on my cheeks. I'm super happy it's Summer now, but I do miss Winter when I read books like this.
The children are excited for a night time game of hockey on a pond. They wait and wait until the perfect time and then they go have their fun. The artwork in this book is top notch and it gives off a very melancholy feel to it. The blues and greens in the book go together so well.

Is a Worry Worrying You? by Ferida Wolff, Harriet May Savitz, Marie Letourneau


Title: Is  a Worry Worrying You?
Author: Ferida Wolff, Harriet May Savitz, Marie Letourneau
Pages: 32
Edition: E- ARC via Netgalley
Ages: 3-8

Synopsis from Goodreads:
This book addresses children's worries with humor and imagination, as hilarious scenarios teach kids the use of perspective and the art of creative problem—solving.


Review:
My first thought about this book when I delved into it was that it was very Tim Burton-esque with the illustrations, which I loved immediately because Tim Burton is absolutely amazing in every way.
I like this book because I was a very worried child. I worried about everything constantly. Over time that developed into a very serious case of anxiety and as an adult I still struggle with it. I'm hoping this book will strike a chord with all of the children who read this who may be struggling with anxiety all over the world. It shows, through plenty of funny examples, how you may can potentially turn any worries you have into something else by using problem solving skills.
I honestly wish I had had this book when I was younger because I definitely feel like it would have helped me a ton with my over worrying and anxiety issues.

How to Make Friends with a Ghost by Rebecca Green

Title: How to Make Friends With a Ghost
Author: Rebecca Green
Pages: 40
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Edition: E-ARC via Netgalley
Ages: 4-8

Synopsis from Goodreads:
What do you do when you meet a ghost? One: Provide the ghost with some of its favorite snacks, like mud tarts and earwax truffles. Two: Tell your ghost bedtime stories (ghosts love to be read to). Three: Make sure no one mistakes your ghost for whipped cream or a marshmallow when you aren't looking! If you follow these few simple steps and the rest of the essential tips in How to Make Friends with a Ghost, you'll see how a ghost friend will lovingly grow up and grow old with you. 
A whimsical story about ghost care, Rebecca Green's debut picture book is a perfect combination of offbeat humor, quirky and sweet illustrations, and the timeless theme of friendship.


Review:
This book is organized into very simple sentences that makes it easy to read for children. Occasionally there are rhyme schemes that are quite enjoyable as well. I'm not quite sure a 4 year old would be able to understand all of the words in this book, but it will definitely be one that they like hearing read out loud anyway. A lot of people shy away from reading ghost stories to their children, but this one is so adorably cute I doubt any nightmares would come from reading this to them.

The illustrations in this book are quirky and super cute. Some of them are black and white with bright splashes of color in areas that our eyes are drawn to.

I like this take on a children's book because you don't often see ghosts as a subject matter because we all know children have highly active imaginations and quite often they end up in bed with you after hearing a spooky story or catching a scene out of a horror film they peeked at when they weren't supposed to. Green does a swell job at making ghosts seem less terrifying through care instructions and adorable images.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Accelerators Volume 1: Time Games

TitleAccelerators Volume 1: Time Games
By: R.F.I. Porto
Format: Paperback

In Accelerators Volume 1: Time Games, a group of unwilling time travelers are trapped in a future that has been destroyed by time travel.

The Time Games is a grizzly fight to the death of all kinds of people from Gladiators to knights to even a ballerina. The unwilling participants are stolen from their time periods and are forced to fight until they die or until they're the last ones standing.

After escaping from the Games, the only way they can go is further into the future, as instructed by an eccentric old man. Although the group isn't at all convinced, they can only have hope when it comes down to it and follow whatever path that they are being led down.

I don't read comics very often. In fact, the only comics I remember enjoying thoroughly was the Archic comics. This comic is amazing, though. Time travel is something I'm very interested in and I will always pick up a book concerning time travel. When I saw that this book was up for grabs for free I decided to go out on a whim and pick it up. I'm super glad I did because now I can't wait for the second one, which I will be starting as soon as I finish this review.

This was the first idea published by Blue Juice comics and you can tell how much heart and soul and sweat they poured into this comic to make it a whopping 5/5 for their readers.

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

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Pretty Fierce by Kieran Scott


Title: Pretty Fierce
AuthorKieran Scott
Pages: 294

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Kaia has been on the run her whole life. The daughter of professional assassins, she knows true danger—and she’ll do anything to survive. After her parents vanished during a job gone bad, Kaia’s spent the last year in hiding, trying to blend in as an ordinary teenager, and there’s no one who makes her feel more normal or more special than her boyfriend, Oliver.
But when she’s jumped by a hit man, and Oliver catches her fighting back, Kaia’s secret is exposed. In a split-second decision, she flees the small town, taking Oliver with her. With professional killers stalking their every move, can Oliver and Kaia protect each other long enough to uncover the mysteries of her past?



Review:
This book focuses on badass Kaia and her smoking hot boyfriend Oliver, who accompanies her on her dangerous adventure to find out if her parents are still alive.

Kaia is a very determined girl, hellbent on finding her parents no matter the risk. Her boyfriend is sweet, at times broody, and a bigger help to her than Kaia realized he was going to be. They complement one another, and despite their severe differences, they manage to still be there for one another through thick and thin. They really are #couplegoals. (That's how the teenyboppers say it nowadays, right)?

The action in this book is exhilarating and will get your heart racing. It's even a little gruesome with multiple deaths involved, which makes it better for me because I don't like to read books that are too fluffy. The amount of romance was good enough for me because it was overbearing and in your face. It was more low-key and innocent which is how I like my romance to be in the books I read.

I think I'm into reading action books as opposed to watching movies, but I think this book should be made into a movie. I'd watch it!


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

Friday, April 7, 2017

Feature and Follow (3) || How Do You Keep Up With Blogs?

This is a meme hosted weekly by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee's View

Prompt: How do you prefer to keep up with your favorite blogs?

I use blogger as my blogging platform, obviously. I don't even know why I stated that in the first place. Probably because I just woke up, so I'm just gonna keep it in here.
I usually subscribe to any book blog I see that has a good and clean layout. Also as long as it's not 99% romance/erotica book they'll earn a follow from me as well. Which means I follow A LOT of blogs. But I wake up every morning and read all of the e-mails/newsletters sent to me before I start my day. It's kind of a therapy.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies by J.K. Rowling


Title: Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies
Author: J.K. Rowling
Pages: 71
Format: E-book

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Pottermore Presents is a collection of J.K. Rowling’s writing from the Pottermore archives: short reads originally featured on pottermore.com with some exclusive new additions. These eBooks, with writing curated by Pottermore, will take you beyond the Harry Potter stories as J.K. Rowling reveals her inspiration, intricate details of characters’ lives and surprises from the wizarding world.
These stories of heroism, hardship and dangerous hobbies profile two of the Harry Potter stories’ most courageous and iconic characters: Minerva McGonagall and Remus Lupin. J.K. Rowling also gives us a peek behind the closed curtains of Sybill Trelawney’s life, and you’ll encounter the reckless, magical-beast-loving Silvanus Kettleburn along the way.


Review:
I honestly didn't even know these books were out, but when I stumbled on them I knew I had to push them up towards the top of my TBR. They're short stories, so they don't take long to read at all!
I don't do re-reads, but I do read anything that Rowling puts out related to Harry Potter because her books are the whole reason I got into reading in the first place!

The book starts out with Professor McGonagall, the queen of the wizarding world (in my eyes)!! It takes us on a short journey touching all the major aspects of her life and shows us why she is who she is as a person. Following is Remus Lupin's small biography and tells of how he struggled with being a werewolf. One of my favorite parts in Rowling's retelling of Lupin's story was how his parents met. It was adorable and sweet and...sigh. So much feeling!!!


In chapter 3 we move onto Sybill Trelawney, the Hogwarts Divination teacher. I really liked her character in the movies and the books because she was super quirky and odd and was grandiose in her "abilities", those are the types of people I'm drawn to in real life. Even if others do find people like that infuriating.

Chapter 4 brings Silvanus Kettleburn. I don't recall hearing about him in any of the books, (granted I haven't re-read them and only read them as they came out), so I've probably forgotten a lot of the characters introduced if they weren't super important to the plot. Silvanus was the Care of Magical Creatures teachers until Hagrid took over in Harry's third year at Hogwarts.
A fact that brought me great joy in reading his part of the book was that even though he wasn't able to help directly in the Battle of Hogwarts due to him only having one arm and half of a leg, he helped in his own way by releasing  his Flobberworms to deal with some of the Deatheaters that passed by.

I enjoyed being let into the lives of some of my favorite characters I met in the books, as well as learning about some new ones and their lives as well as the sacrifices they've had to make throughout their lives. I feel as if everyone in Harry Potter is a distant, yet well-loved family to me.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith


Title: The Way I Used To Be
Author: Amber Smith
Pages: 368
Trigger Warning: Rape

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.
 


Review:

I have very mixed feelings about this book. At times I liked it, and some of the time I really disliked it. The last 100 pages is when I actually started liking it, the rest was just a long, drawn-out buildup, but it's still a recommended read because she does take steps to attempt to overcome this horrific event that has plagued her for so long, and I feel like more people should read books that deal with subject manner of this type to raise awareness and let people get some insight into what it could be like in someone's head when they've been violated in that manner.


1. The main character (occasionally). Eden grated on my nerves for the most part, but I do believe she is a strong-willed main character and has had to overcome a lot of things which in turn makes her a little bit more bearable for me.
I do have a few questions, though. WHY did she always find herself in situations where she has the potential to be violated again? I feel as though survivors of rape tend to try to take precautions against would-be attackers more so after they've been violated as opposed to before. I honestly just want to know the reason she kept doing this because it made me worry for her.
I'm not victim blaming, and we as women SHOULDN'T have to take precautions because people should just be decent human beings and not touch people without their consent, but this is a sad world we live in, and precautions are how we stay safe, ladies.

2. How freely the book flowed. This book is broken down into four parts: her freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years. Sometimes we skip over huge chunks of her life, but none of it was important and there was no need to fillers. I like how over time, it's showing just how much an impact rape had on Eden. Rape isn't something that happens once and then it's over, sometimes it happens multiple times in ways that aren't always so blatant, or sometimes it really is just once, but one time when someone invades your personal space is all it takes to completely change a person.

3. It shows how people are wired to assume things are something when in fact that something is completely different. Like how her brother could sense the changes in her, but couldn't think of anything that could have possibly brought on the changes. Or the fact that her mother didn't ask her if it was actually period blood on the covers at the beginning of the book. Sometimes we take people for granted and don't say things at the right time when we should because we're preoccupied with other things to get to really focus on what's important before it's too late.



1. As I mentioned above, how Eden found herself in situations that could repeat what brought all of this on in the first place. She continuously found herself alone with boys who she knows she can't take on (she even mentions that she's helpless against what a man wants to do to her if he wanted). Naturally I'm like, why did you go where you knew you wouldn't feel safe? But we all have our reasons for doing things, and I will not be the person to judge another for how they deal with their trauma. Everyone heals differently.

2. It felt very wordy to me. Like I understand the book was spanning over the four years of her high school life, but I felt like a lot of the stuff in between was put in specifically for filler. I found my mind wandering sometimes.

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

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski


Title: The Wood
Author+Chelsea Bobulski
Pages: 309

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, it falls to her to patrol the time portals and protect the travelers who slip through them. Winter can't help but think there's more to her dad's disappearance than she's being told.
She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. He believes if they can work together to find his missing parents, they could discover the truth about Winter’s dad. 
The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister—torturing travelers lost it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost. 

Review:
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book from the publisher.
Winter's father doesn't come back from his morning patrol one day and is presumed to have been swallowed up by the woods he has been tasked to protect. Now that he has gone, Winter has had to step up and be the caretaker of the dangerous wood.

One day, a traveler named Henry whilst trying to get into a different time period than his own is stopped and redirected by Winter, but not before his promise that he would keep coming back until his task is finished. Finally, she asks what he is attempting to do, and sees that he could be a little bit more handy than as hassle as she initially thought. It doesn't help he's a gentleman and a hunk either. Hello, book boyfriend. ;)

They end up solving mysteries and questions that bring up harsh revelations from the people Winter thought she was the closest to.

This book has it all. Death, betrayal, a little bit of a fluffy love angle, an understanding best friend, an extremely worried but supportive mother, and most of all, a bomb-ass plot that is to die for. WHO doesn't like the sound of a magical forest that has the ability to conjure up monsters out of our most horrendous nightmares...right?


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


Friday, March 31, 2017

March Monthly Recap


What's been going on in my life in the month of March?

Not much...except for the fact that I got engaged! I had known it was coming for awhile now, but it was still the best thing that's happened to me for awhile now. He was super sweet when he asked and was a little (okay a lot) shy. He honestly is such a great man and I couldn't imagine myself with anyone else. We won't be planning our wedding anytime soon, but once things get relatively settled down in our lives, we'll start planning it.

I also just attended the funeral of my best friend's grandpa today. It was all unexpected and threw us for a loop. I've spent the last three days keeping her busy while arrangements were being made. I've known her since around the third grade so I also feel like I lost a family member through her losing her grandpa. I came home and immediately set to writing this to keep my mind off how sad of a day it was for all of us.

I also cut my hair! I got quite a bit of length off the sides because I wanted a v cut hairstyle, and I got bangs! I definitely needed a hair cut and I feel like pounds got taken off my head. 





1. The Boy's Life - I have no idea what it is with me and young DiCaprio or Depp movies but I feel like I love them a little bit more than any of the recent movies they've played in. They're both super handsome now, but their acting was so much more raw back then.

2. August Underground (don't click if easily disturbed) - I convinced my best friend these were actual tapes made my serial killers and all throughout the movie I didn't tell her the truth. I finally confessed after we watched it but it made the movie worse for her thinking the murders were real.
I'm a jerk. Haha.

3. Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes - Hey, I needed a feel-good cartoon because I was down at the time and I love Sherlock and Tom and Jerry so this one was a no-brainer.


I really need to start reading more because two books within a month is horrible compared to what I know I can read!

1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - Highly recommend this book! I didn't want to put it down at any time because I needed to get to the end to find out what happens. It doesn't leave any part of me hanging except for my jaw due to the twist at the end!

2. Goodbye Days - Super fast read! Not recommended if you want a fluffy or light-hearted contemporary. Still a recommended book if you don't mind a few (or a flood of) tears.

I'm currently reading The Wood by +Chelsea Bobulski. I love it so far! I haven't shed any tears yet but a few threatened to come out in the beginning of the book. It's a really enchanting read.
Thanks for tuning into my life! See you next month. :)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner


Title: Goodbye Days
Author+Jeff Zentner
Pages:

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Can a text message destroy your life?
Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.
Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help? 


Review:

"Where are you guys? Text me back."

This book starts out with one of my worst fears. Sending a text to someone while they're driving, them reading it, which then leads to them getting into a car crash. For our main character, Carver, this fear of mine was all too real. He is the only member of the Sauce Crew remaining, his friends are gone.

What I liked:
- I really appreciated the theme of anxiety in this book. I feel as if my own issues with anxiety were being put on display. Zentner definitely has a way of describing the feelings I, and many others feel, in the middle of an anxiety or panic attack. Although it's hard to describe it when it's happening, you read someone else's recant of it and you're like, "Oh. Someone else deals with what I deal with as well. I'm not as alone as I initially thought I was."
-Carver is absolutely hilarious. I've read other reviews that are annoyed by his and his group's "teenage antics" but I can understand why they were portrayed the way they were. A lot of teenage boys that I knew were immature as well. It's like a rite of passage into adulthood to be an annoying teenage boy. Carver is also a very strong character, as well as extremely intelligent and sarcastic. The sarcasm throughout this book is strong and it made me laugh most of the time even though this book deals with an extremely difficult subject like death.
-The writing is absolutely beautiful. Not only are there hilarious passages, but things get pretty serious when Carver is recalling memories of his time with the Sauce Crew.


What I disliked:
- I found it rather...unbelievable. I'm aware books are stories, but I want the stories I read to be something that I can decently relate to or believe. It was just hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that people in the book were actually placing blame on Carver.
He didn't hold a gun to his friend's head and say "Answer my text while you're driving." He said "Where are you guys? Text me back." It didn't require an immediate response while operating a motorized vehicle, and it definitely wasn't something that I could easily place blame on someone else for. On the other hand, I do know how grief can cloud judgment in times of high emotions so I can't blame Zentner for taking that particular angle.

Quotable Quotes:
“Our memories of our loved ones are the pearl we form around the grain of grief that causes us pain.” 

“For the most part, you don't hold the people you love in your heart because they rescued you from drowning or pulled you from a burning house. Mostly you hold them in your heart because they save you, in a million quiet and perfect ways, from being alone.”

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid


Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Pages: 400
Publication Date: June 13, 2017

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.


Review:
This book isn't going to be published for another three months, but I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC for review purposes. Written in a style that immediately drew me in, it quickly became one of the most interesting books I've read in awhile.

5/5. This book has a very unique story ling unlike any other book I've read before.
Monique has been contacted to write the biography of a Hollywood icon named Evelyn Hugo. Through their time spent together, Evelyn gives Monique a tell-all of her life and doesn't spare any of the juicy and scandalous details.
I had no problem falling in love with all of the characters. Monique and Evelyn had a bond (albeit rocky) like I haven't seen between characters in awhile. Even the supporting characters were amazing, and I felt the love and bond between every character in the book.
None of it felt rushed, and when I got to the end it was honestly a jaw-dropping ending I couldn't have even imagined.
My heart broke and mended itself multiple times throughout the three days it took me to read it.

This book definitely put Reid on my auto-buy list.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Always Watching by Chevy Stevens


Title: Always Watching
Author+Chevy Stevens
Pages: 338
Type: Hardcover

Synopsis from Goodreads:
She helps people put their demons to rest.

But she has a few of her own…

In the lockdown ward of a psychiatric hospital, Dr. Nadine Lavoie is in her element. She has the tools to help people, and she has the desire—healing broken families is what she lives for. But Nadine doesn’t want to look too closely at her own past because there are whole chunks of her life that are black holes. It takes all her willpower to tamp down her recurrent claustrophobia, and her daughter, Lisa, is a runaway who has been on the streets for seven years.
When a distraught woman, Heather Simeon, is brought into the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit after a suicide attempt, Nadine gently coaxes her story out of her—and learns of some troubling parallels with her own life. Digging deeper, Nadine is forced to confront her traumatic childhood, and the damage that began when she and her brother were brought by their mother to a remote commune on Vancouver Island. What happened to Nadine? Why was their family destroyed? And why does the name Aaron Quinn, the group’s leader, bring complex feelings of terror to Nadine even today?
And then, the unthinkable happens, and Nadine realizes that danger is closer to home than she ever imagined. She has no choice but to face what terrifies her the most…and fight back.
Sometimes you can leave the past, but you can never escape. 



Plot: I've seen a ton of people say that this has been their least favorite Stevens book she's written so far. I've only read Never Let You Go, and this one in my opinion is better than that. I do have to admit that I read it slower than I normally read books, simply because it took quite a bit for me to get into it, but when the suspense finally started happening I had no issues rushing through it.

Characters:
Nadine. I've seen reviews by people saying that they couldn't put themselves into Nadine's character and feel what she was feeling. I had no problems with this! I also suffer from claustrophobia, and there's a scene (I can't divulge what exactly happens) that I read and I felt immediate anxiety stemming from it! I really did like Nadine, but at times she annoyed me with some of the things she let slide from her brother. She admitted her shortcomings and was willing to realize the mistakes she's made in her life after reflecting on them.
Robbie, her brother, was just hateful in general! I wanted to strangle him on more than one occasion. Although he does have a good reason for his attitude, I still hate how he took his anger out on Nadine.
Aaron Quinn (the cult leader) was the ultimate bad guy. I can't spoil everything, but his techniques to keep the cult behaved blew me away. I can't imagine anyone in real life being as manipulative as this character was, but I know people like Aaron Quinn are out there.
The rest of the supporting characters were at times very frustrating to say the least, but I like that they could evoke feelings out of me. That's what I look for most in a character.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

How to Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran


Title: How to Build A Girl
Author: Caitlin Moran
Pages: 368
TW: Sex, self-harm

Synopsis from Goodreads:
What do you do in your teenage years when you realize what your parents taught you wasn’t enough? You must go out and find books and poetry and pop songs and bad heroes—and build yourself.
It’s 1990. Johanna Morrigan, fourteen, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there’s no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde—fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer. She will save her poverty-stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer—like Jo in Little Women, or the Bröntes—but without the dying young bit.
By sixteen, she’s smoking cigarettes, getting drunk and working for a music paper. She’s writing pornographic letters to rock-stars, having all the kinds of sex with all kinds of men, and eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less.
But what happens when Johanna realizes she’s built Dolly with a fatal flaw? Is a box full of records, a wall full of posters, and a head full of paperbacks, enough to build a girl after all?


Review:
I was recommended this book by my 8th grade teacher. I recall getting really into reading in her class so I'm always excited seeing when she reviews a book or recommends a book to me! They're always so good, and this book was not an exception to that.

The beginning of this book starts out hilarious. I love when a book can pull you in definitively within the first few sentences. We are introduced to a girl named Johanna Morrigan who is, and out of all the words I can think of, crass from the bottom of her heart, and I love her for it.

I did feel as if there were a lot going on in the story, but I also feel like it was intentional of Moran. I recall being a teenager and feelings as if I were in a whirlwind of adventures and drama 24/7, and barely having enough time to breathe through it all. So although Johanna's thoughts seemed to border on the manic side, I can see why Moran would write her character like she has.

I feel like this book should be on every girl or woman's TBR list simply because of how brilliant it was.

Friday, February 24, 2017

At Close Range (Tracers #11) by Laura Griffin


Title: At Close Range (Tracers #11)
Author: Laura Griffin
Pages: 368

Synopsis from Goodreads:
When a lakeside tryst ends in a double murder, police detective Daniele Harper arrives on the scene determined to get answers. Clues are everywhere, but nothing adds up. Dani turns to the Delphi Center crime lab for help, but soon regrets it when her secret attraction to their chief firearms examiner threatens to distract her from the most important case of her career.
As a ballistics expert and former Navy SEAL, Scott Black knows firearms, and he knows he can help Dani unravel her case. Scott has managed to hide his interest in his best friend’s younger sister for years, but when her investigation brings them together, the sparks between them quickly get out of control. Scott resolves to keep his hands off Dani and his eyes on the goal—identifying a killer. But when that killer zeroes in on Dani, all bets are off. There isn’t a line Scott won’t cross to convince Dani to trust him so that he can help her take down a ruthless murderer who has her in his sights.


Review:
I'll be the first to admit that I've had issues branching out into the "romantic-suspense" genre, mainly because I dislike books that have ridiculous insta-love plots. This book was not one of them. I was sucked into the relationship between Daniele and Scott mainly because of its slow build. Griffin did not rush anything in this book, and that's what made me like it so much. Not only was the relationship aspect of this book great, the suspense and unraveling of the murders presented to us in the beginning was flawless and had me grappling to get to the end to figure out exactly what happened.
Although this is the eleventh book in the series, I didn't have any problems reading this book out of order from the others ones. I might just have to go back and read this series from the first book anyway.

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

Friday, January 20, 2017

Gracie Meets a Ghost by Keiko Sena

Title: Gracie Meets a Ghost
Author: Keiko Sena
Pages: 32

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Gracie hasn’t been able to see very well recently, so she decides to get some glasses. But, after playing on the mountain one day, she realizes that night that her glasses are missing. She heads straight out to look for them on the mountain–where a bored ghost is hiding in the darkness, waiting for someone to scare. Although Ghost tries to scare her, Gracie doesn't react by being frightened, not even little–because she can't see Ghost well enough to be scared without her glasses! Ghost really wants to see Gracie scared, so he helps in her search all night long and finally finds her glasses. But what happens when Gracie puts them on...


Review
:
I've never seen a ghost story for children before, but this one is just so adorable!
Gracie is a bunny who can't see all that great, so she's gotten glasses. She gets teased by her classmates, but she's also secretly a little proud of them as well. Who doesn't love seeing better anyway?
Soon though, she encounters something that every person with bad eyesight has to go through at some point. She loses her glasses! When she goes back up to the mountain where she lost them while playing with friends, she encounters a very bored ghost. The ghost tries to scare her but it ends up backfiring because Gracie can't see! The ghost looks everywhere for Gracie's glasses in order to help her, just so she'll be able to be scared by it when she finally puts them on. The ghost finally finds them, but then something else happens to foil his plan!

I really like this story because it normalizes getting glasses for children who have bad eyesight. I remember when I was younger I was so embarrassed to get glasses, but over time I got used to them. I wish I had gotten this book back then. I probably would have felt a little better having them. The artwork in this book is great! The pages are shiny and have a very nice feel to them. The perfect amount of suspense for a child, with funny parts to it as well.

DISCLAIMER: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not sway my opinion of the book in any way.

#BabyLove: My Toddler Life by Corine Dehghanpisheh

Title: #BabyLove: My Toddler Life
Author: Corine Dehghanpisheh
Pages: 36

Synopsis from Goodreads:
In #BabyLove: My Toddler Life, a new children’s picture book by Corine Dehghanpisheh, a curious toddler loves to play… especially with his mommy’s smartphone!

When Mommy finds him using her phone without permission, it’s the perfect teaching moment.  Mommy reminds her little one that what matters most in life is time together filled with love and attention.
Her simple reminder:  Put down our phones.



Review:
This book would be very fun to read to a child because of the rhyming in it. The message behind it is very real in today's world. Although it is good to capture moments, it's even better to live in them. All too often we hide behind phone screens and miss out on important moments and then wonder where the time has gone. The book can be read fast, and it has colors that would stand out to a child. It's full of praise so your child will feel wonderful when you're reading it to them.
I found it pretty cool that the perspective of the book is told through the phone screen, proving that we really do spend too much time on our phones. As soon as I got this book my best friend's child popped up into my head. I feel as if she's broken at least two of my friend's phones from her curiosity. I'll be sending this book on its way to those two so she can read it to her.

DISCLAIMER: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn't sway my opinion over the book in any way.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

Title: Never Let You Go
Author+Chevy Stevens 
Pages: 404
Rating:
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
TW: Mental/emotional abuse

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship.Her ex-husband was sent to jail and she started over with a new life. Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When her ex-husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she’s cut all ties. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But can he really change? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought? 

Review:
This is the first book I've ever picked up by Stevens and I was not disappointed at all. The story is told through each character's perception of what happened all those years ago. 11 years have passed, and Lindsey Nash suspects that her ex-husband has come back to punish her after doing all that time in prison. He claims that he has changed (like every abuser does), but has he really? She thinks not. After all, people don't really change at their core, right?

A part in the book that really stuck out to me was when Lindsey's daughter was younger, after her husband comes home drunk one night and knocks her over onto the coffee table, her daughter begins to make excuses for him, that young. It really goes to show how abuse can become so normal after awhile it begins to not only affect you, but everything else in your life.

One of the other parts I really dislike about this book is the fact that Sophie, Lindsey's daughter goes behind her mother's back to write letters and even go as far as meeting up with her father, and lies to her mother about it. She is aware of how scared her mother is of her father, but she completely disregards it as if Lindsey should just "get over" the fact that he abused her. I do have to put myself in Sophie's shoes, though. She grew up without a father because of his alcoholism and the twisted events leading up to his arrest. Of course she's going to wonder why alcohol was more important than staying and being a good father and husband to his family. Even though she doesn't understand the emotional toll that abuse can take on someone, she has a right to wonder about her father regardless of the things that he has done in the past.

Another issue that I have with this genre is the abuse of animals. I've read two other books with the same subject matter and they all three have something to do with animals being mistreated, which hurts my soul a little more than hearing about the abuse of another human being. I have no idea what it is with these authors and animal abuse, but it's killing me!

ALSO, the twist in the book took me by surprise. Every time I thought I knew what the hell was going on, I was so terribly wrong. It was a literal jaw-dropping twist that I had no idea was coming. Kudos to Stevens for being able to actually leave me slack-jawed!

Stevens can create an immensely immersive story that leaves you turning page after page. I absolutely refused to turn it down. I needed to get to the very bottom of what was happening and nothing was going to stop me from finishing this book. Although the book does deal with a hard topic like abuse, and it made me cringe at times, and other times made me blindingly angry, I got through it.

DISCLAIMER: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not sway my opinions in any way whatsoever.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne

Title: The Ice Twins
Author: S.K. Tremayne
Pages: 306
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:
One of Sarah's daughters died. But can she be sure which one? A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcroft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives.But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity--that she, in fact, is Lydia--their world comes crashing down once again.As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, they are forced to confront what really happened on that fateful day.


Review:
I picked up this book due to the hard subject matter. Not only was it hard to read about, but it was very intriguing. I learned a lot about identical twins that I hadn't known before I opened this book previously. This book is a sneaky thriller. At first you think it's just about a grieving mother, a husband who can't come to terms with his daughter's death, and an extremely confused little girl who has lost her identical twin sister. No. This book is so much more than just that. It'll pull you in with all of the little subtle secrets it slowly gives you, keeping you turning page after page.
Another thing I really loved about this book was the incorporation of the Gaelic language as well as the vivid imagery that came with the description of the uninhabited island that the family ended up moving to. It all just sounded so beautiful yet so, so lonely. 5/5 stars!

DISCLAIMER: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not sway my opinions in any way.