Reviews

Posted in Humor

Again, but Better

Goodreads Synopsis:

Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that? Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change—there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure! Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart. Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.

Christine Riccio wrote a fabulous debut novel, and I would kind of like to know how she captured my personality so well because the character of Shane was more than relatable.

I remember what it was like to enter college with no friends and feeling stuck in that rut of study, work, and endlessly binge watching Netflix. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

When I finally made friends in the journalism program my junior year, there was the need for acceptance and fear of rejection very similar to what drove Shane to study abroad. The desperation for new friends and feeling like it was okay to be myself again felt liberating.

When I finally decided to study abroad, I had trials and tribulations on my trip just like her. I reached the point of total homesickness, and I remember those moments when self-doubt would creep in. I pushed through on my journey, and I came out a stronger person because of it. We don’t all get the luxury of a rewrite like Shane, but we do get the choice of how to remember or handle our experiences.

With a love for a good sitcom and Harry Potter, Shane is my soul sister. Her journals (horcruxes, as she calls them) housed her greatest story ideas and her innermost thoughts.

Christine Riccio spoke to me with her vivid imagery of awkwardness (seriously, there were some all too relatable cringe-worthy moments). Yes, the overall story was a little corny, but that’s what made it relatable. Everyone wishes they could rewrite chapters in their past like Jenna Rink in “13 Going on 30,” but the corny parts were few and far between because the were overshadowed by humor and excellent character development.

I demand a sequel.

Advertisements
Posted in Fantasy

Crown of Coral and Pearl

Goodreads Synopsis:

For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…

Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.

Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.

In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie.

Nor and Zadie are identical twins with only one “flaw” separating them, a scar. Nor saved Zadie from drowning as a child, and almost died from poison of the blood coral that left her cheek permanently scarred.

In Varenia, beauty matters more than any other thing. Girls compete to be chosen to be sent as the next princess of a rival kingdom, which only few in the village realize is total BS.

Varenia is starving, and without enough pearls to harvest, they become poorer by the day, and the support of the kingdom is desparately needed to sustain their existence, but when Zadie is chosen as the next princess, then injured, Nor must go in her place, which is both deadly and a dream come true to see the world outside of Varenia.

This tale of a love between two sisters and a hatred between two brothers unravels a captivating story to save Varenia and preserve the love between sisters and princes,

Posted in Humor, Romance

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (but it’s actually me)

Goodreads Synopsis:

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)

2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).

3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

This. Book. Is. So. Cute!!!!

Nina Hill is introverted, perpetually awkward, a super nerd, and essentially me (except for being a whiz at trivia, I suck at trivia)

Nina works at Knight’s, the local bookstore withing walking distance from her home. She doesn’t own a car, religiously plans each day, and lives a very structured and stable life. Anything spontaneous ruins her entire day. I wonder if she may be on the spectrum a tad, but if she is, that makes this book even BETTER.

Nina helps bring awareness to the daily struggles brought on by anxiety as well as how families tend to be absolutely bonkers.

Per NetGalley, I do not want to spoil any of this story, BUT, when it releases, just read it. SO CUTE.

Posted in Dystopian, Fantasy, Horror

Wayward Children (1-4)

Goodreads Synopses:

Every Heart a Doorway:

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost

Down Among the Sticks and Bones:

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

Beneath the Sugar Sky:

When Rini lands with a literal splash in the pond behind Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, the last thing she expects to find is that her mother, Sumi, died years before Rini was even conceived. But Rini can’t let Reality get in the way of her quest – not when she has an entire world to save! (Much more common than one would suppose.)

If she can’t find a way to restore her mother, Rini will have more than a world to save: she will never have been born in the first place. And in a world without magic, she doesn’t have long before Reality notices her existence and washes her away. Good thing the student body is well-acquainted with quests…

A tale of friendship, baking, and derring-do.

Warning: May contain nuts

In an Absent Dream:

This fourth entry and prequel tells the story of Lundy, a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should.

When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she’s found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well

My (very positive) Thoughts:

Alright ya’ll. Here we go. Seanan McGuire. Where do I begin? These books are incredibly short, yet so thorough in their completion that it is very hard for me to find a true complaint about them.

Each tale connects to the first book by giving the back stories of the favorites mentioned from the first, and it explains how they all came to Eleanor’s home for Wayward Children.

Children that are unloved, unwanted, or simply don’t fit, have the capability to find doors to the land where they truly belong. Some lands are nonsense, others are logic, some evil, some kind. Not every land is sunshine and rainbows, some are underworlds with dancing skeletons, but every child finds their true home in a twisted reality.

Jack and Jill by far have my favorite back story. They live in a twisted land of werewolves and vampire, where Dracula, Vanhelsing, and Dr. Frankenstein come to life, yet they thrive.

I am not inclined to spoil these books. They are SUCH SHORT READS. SO JUST READ THEM AND BE ENTHRALLED ALREADY.

Posted in Dystopian, sci-fi

The Girl in Red

Post apocalyptic Little Red Riding Hood? I’m so down.

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the national bestselling author of Alice comes a postapocalyptic take on the perennial classic “Little Red Riding Hood”…about a woman who isn’t as defenseless as she seems.

It’s not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn’t look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.

There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there’s something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined.

Red doesn’t like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn’t about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods….

I loved the idea behind this book, Aliens vs Predators recreated into Little Red Riding Hood AND mixed with the Hot Zone, what more could a person want?

Red is an exemplary female role that refuses to let anybody boss her around, including her parents and snotty brother.

After the news showed that people were coming down with a mysterious sickness, Red began packing her survival pack to be prepared to leave once the apocalypse hit. Her family scoffed at her, but she ended up being the lucky one.

Her mother contracted the Cough, but was murdered along with her father by a band of racists for them being an interracial couple. They sacrificed themselves so Red and Adam (snotty brother) could escape into the woods.

Oh, and did I fail to mention that in addition to being an absolute boss, Red is also an amputee and wears a below the knee prosthetic? Even more boos-like, right?

Anyways, Adam ultimately dies from his hive mind mentality and Red is left alone in the woods with only her small axe, her back, and her own determination left to get to her grandmother’s cabin 300 miles away.

Along her journey she discovers that the Cough isn’t the only thing killing people, that the CDC had engineered a parasite that lives in a humans stomach until it is ready to burst out and kill everyone,(here’s where Alien vs Predator comes in). She also takes in 2 children (8 & 10) and kicks some fake militia butt and she eventually finds Grandma’s house.

Now, for the criticism. Henry ended the story very abruptly as if she all of a sudden tired of writing and was like “OH, here’s a nice spot to wrap it all up 25 hiking days away from grandmas in which I will supply no detail or story as to what happened! Let’s do this!” So while the book was amazing, the ending fell short. I felt as if the story could have continued on for several more chapters, maybe by getting Sirois (which sounds like Cirrhosis) to spill the beans on what the stupid “classified” information about the Cough and the alien parasite bursting out of people’s chests were? Like COME ON, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO LEAVE THAT UNEXPLAINED!? *crying face*

I give it a 3.5 flower review.

Posted in Dystopian, sci-fi

The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind

Ok. SO. I need to start this off with the fact that this book had SO much potential and it went straight to the crapper in the last 3 chapters. INFURIATING. I read that entire book about a bad ass feminine heroine, for it to end like THAT?!

I HOPE YOU HAVE A PROFESSIONAL RACING LICENSE BECAUSE YOU’RE ABOUT TO ENCOUNTER SO MANY PLOT TWISTS.

Per NetGalley, I cannot quote the book before final publication, but let me just say this. Don’t read this book if you are a feminist. I am so bothered by one paragraph that it diminishes every other amazing thing about this book, and I’m not even super feminist.

NetGalley Synopsis:

Full of imagination, wit, and random sht flying through the air, this insane adventure from an irreverent new voice will blow your tiny mind. For Teagan Frost, sht just got real.
Teagan Frost is having a hard time keeping it together. Sure, she’s got telekinetic powers — a skill that the government is all too happy to make use of, sending her on secret break-in missions that no ordinary human could carry out. But all she really wants to do is kick back, have a beer, and pretend she’s normal for once.
But then a body turns up at the site of her last job — murdered in a way that only someone like Teagan could have pulled off. She’s got 24 hours to clear her name – and it’s not just her life at stake. If she can’t unravel the conspiracy in time, her hometown of Los Angeles will be in the crosshairs of an underground battle that’s on the brink of exploding

Super intriguing, right? Yeah, I thought so too, who wouldn’t want super powers? Also, in the book it’s only every referred to as psychokinetic, so I’m not sure if this is a mistake in the synopsis or what.

Jackson Ford,

Never again make a book end with a woman this powerful deciding she should wait around for a man to love her. Talk about a REALLY crappy ending to an otherwise phenomenal book. This is also written at a wrong time for women who are actively having their rights taken away. I doubt the publication time was intentional by any means, but as a woman, I suggest that entire paragraph be taken out before publication. Because it is crap. Teagan has survived so much that she can be perfectly content without a man in her life that cannot accept her for who she is.

I am not a big enough person to move past this issue, so I give the book a 2.5 flower rating of 5.

Posted in Historical Fiction

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (Thank you Morgan)

Goodreads Synopsis: A folksy, funny and endearing story of life in a small town in Alabama in the Depression and in the 1980s. However, the novel’s laughter and tears are interrupted by a strange murder and a still stranger trial.

I have to say, though I dearly love the fantasy genre, I was beginning to get a bit burned out on dragons and unicorns. I found the “back to reality” book I needed in Fannie Flag’s Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

A few months ago, my friend Morgan suggested that we do a book swap of one of our favorite books. Her being her brilliant self sent me Flagg’s book. I have to admit, I was leery at first because it WASN’T a fantasy novel, BUT, of course, it turned out to be the book I needed.

Flagg sets the scene in Rose Terrace Nursing home with Ninny Threadgoode, temporary resident of the home, and Evelyn, weekly visitor of her mother-in-law, who subsequently got ditched so that Evelyn could spend more time with Ninny.

Through Ninny’s stories and weekly sweet treats, Evelyn learned about the small town of Whistle Stop, Alabama, and is taken away on a journey through time, that leads her to also go on a personal journey for herself.

Fried Green Tomatoes was a delight to read, and is now on my Favorite books list of all time. (An ever growing list, of course, so don’t try and ask me what number it is on the list).

I give it Five Green Tomatoes. (Thanks Mo!)

ALSO.

Image belongs to artist.
Posted in Fantasy

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Goodreads Synopsis:

“In the early 1900s, a young woman searches for her place in the world and the mystery behind a magical door in this captivating debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world, and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own. “

Alix E. Harrow has written the story that my soul has been waiting for. Per rules of being allowed access to an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC), I am not allowed to share any quotes, but people, consider buying this book once it has been released in September. Pre-order it now (I have attached a link to the bottom of this post). It is an epic tale of discovery, betrayal, homecoming, belief, and magic that will have you pausing every few pages to fully absorb the tale that you have become so immersed in.

I will not be posting a spoiler-y synopsis of my views, or give any great detail about the events that occur in this book, so you, reader, will have to take my word for it and trust me when I say that this tale is 1,000,000,000& worth it.

I tend to be the reader that plows through a book with attempts to finish it in one sitting, never savoring the words, but The Ten Thousand Doors of January forced me to slow down and feel every word written.

I have read some amazing books, fantastic books, heart wrenching books, in my time, but never one that has captivated me so fully as Harrow’s.

5 Flowers.