Book Review

Book Review: Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fiction
Length: 277 pages
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Square Fish
Expected Release Date: September 9th, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It’s quiet and peaceful. You can’t get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere’s museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe’s psychiatric practice.

Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?

This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.

AN INTERESTING CONCEPT.

This was a SUPER quick read. And a very interesting take on heaven.

The whole idea of someone aging backwards until their a baby again in the land of Elsewhere was a bit odd and troublesome to me, but I thought it was unique to think about. While this didn’t change any personal concepts on what I believe the afterlife is like I still found it thoughtful.

It’s a very moving and bittersweet story for Liz, who’s life is cut way too short by an accident. She had to cope with grief and depression to find the hope that she could in her new world. Liz definitely pulled at my heart strings. I love the characters that were in her world and how they each brought something to the story. Betty, Owen, Thandi, and more surrounded Liz when she needed it to help her move on.

It’s even more well-imagined when I got to the dog portion. OHEMGEE talking dogs? SERIOUSLY ALL I WANT. I love the perspective and life and love that came from having a dog in the afterlife. They were cute and spunky and I wanted to hug them all.They also brought a different layer to the story because they were constantly just as thoughtful as the humans.

I like that there was a tiny touch of romance and overwhelming friendships. I think Liz needed something like that to understand her story of life and death. While wildly different they can also be wildly similar.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fiction
  • Language: little
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: discussion of death and how people died (some included were: cancer, overdose, hit and run, gunshot wound, plane crash, flu and more)

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Book Review

Book Review: Rebel (Legend #4) by Marie Lu

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Sci-Fi / Dystopia
Length: 384 pages
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Expected Release Date: October 1st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Respect the Legend. Idolize the Prodigy. Celebrate the Champion. But never underestimate the Rebel.

With unmatched suspense and her signature cinematic storytelling, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Marie Lu plunges readers back into the unforgettable world of Legend for a truly grand finale.

Eden Wing has been living in his brother’s shadow for years. Even though he’s a top student at his academy in Ross City, Antarctica, and a brilliant inventor, most people know him only as Daniel Wing’s little brother.

A decade ago, Daniel was known as Day, the boy from the streets who led a revolution that saved the Republic of America. But Day is no longer the same young man who was once a national hero. These days he’d rather hide out from the world and leave his past behind. All that matters to him now is keeping Eden safe―even if that also means giving up June, the great love of Daniel’s life.

As the two brothers struggle to accept who they’ve each become since their time in the Republic, a new danger creeps into the distance that’s grown between them. Eden soon finds himself drawn so far into Ross City’s dark side, even his legendary brother can’t save him. At least not on his own . . . 

SATISFIED.

First of all y’all. I thought my babes June and Day ran off into the sunset, figured things out, and were this fantastical happy ever after.

This was not the case and that was probably my biggest gripe. THOUGH, I will say, there was a *perfect* ending to them so I’m fine. It’s fine. I can overlook this issue because at least this book closed that fact.

What I was loving was the relationship between the brothers, Eden and Daniel. I love the focus on them and figuring out how to really be in each other’s lives again after the horrors of the war in the Republic. There was a lot of struggle, miscommunication and tender moment between the two. Their bond deepened over the story and I just adore a great brother dynamic. It’s super charming.

I’m so excited we got more of June and Day too. I NEEDED CLOSURE (see first two paragraphs). I got that and more. They were like cute kids falling in love all over again and I’m totally smitten with Daniels’ confessions of love. HERE FOR IT.

I wasn’t sure this book was wholly necessary (still on the fence), but I don’t think it was completely unnecessary either. Sometimes you get continuation of series books that really don’t fall in line. I’m grateful that this one was a good story and really gave the whole series a finale it deserved.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sci-fi / dystopia
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a few kisses, a no detail fade-to-black scene
  • Violence: murder, kidnapping, physical, stabbings, knife fights, gun wounds, descriptions of war

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Book Review

Book Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 325 pages
Author: Beth O’Leary
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: April 10th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy and Leon have never met.

After a bad breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a place to live. Fast. And cheap. But the apartments in her budget have her wondering if astonishingly colored mold on the walls counts as art.

Desperation makes her open minded, so she answers an ad for a flatshare. Leon, a night shift worker, will take the apartment during the day, and Tiffy can have it nights and weekends. He’ll only ever be there when she’s at the office. In fact, they’ll never even have to meet.

Tiffy and Leon start writing each other notes – first about what day is garbage day, and politely establishing what leftovers are up for grabs, and the evergreen question of whether the toilet seat should stay up or down. Even though they are opposites, they soon become friends. And then maybe more.

But falling in love with your roommate is probably a terrible idea…especially if you’ve never met.

What if your roommate is your soul mate? A joyful, quirky romantic comedy, Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare is a feel-good novel about finding love in the most unexpected of ways. 

CUTE AT TIMES.

I didn’t know how I was going to feel about this book when I first started reading it. I wasn’t immediately drawn in and had a hard time connecting with everything. I think the second half of the book was MUCH better and I was so excited when Tiffy and Leon finally met in person.

This was a charming read. I loved watching Tiffy and Leon’s friendship start over post-it notes. That’s precious. The notes were cute and endearing and I really do think letter writing is its own form of intimacy (especially because nobody does it today). You could easily see the opposite spectrum of personalities they had. Tiffy effervescent and loud. Leon reserved and thoughtful. It was an opposites attract that worked so well.

The main conflict centered around Tiffy’s ex boyfriend, Justin. He angered me to a whole other level and I don’t feel like giving him the time of day in this review. What I did like was the approach that Tiffy’s friends had to help her. It can be hard in many ways to work through an awful situation like that (emotionally abusive) and I love that Tiffy had such a strong support group.

I thought the premise was unique too. I think I would be way too nervous to share a flat with someone I had never met, but I’m really happy it worked out for them. I got some good bubbly feelings from this, but it just didn’t have everything I needed to be a GREAT rom-com.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, some almost love scenes (with mild description) and one fade-to-black love scene
  • Violence: physical
  • Trigger warnings: abusive relationship (emotional/controlling), PTSD from the relationship

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Book Review

Book Review: Give the Dark My Love (Give the Dark My Love #1) by Beth Revis

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island’s wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn’t quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her.

All, except for Greggori “Grey” Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that’s for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it’s making its way toward the cities. With her family’s life–and the lives of all of Lunar Island’s citizens–on the line, Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague.

Grey and Nedra continue to grow closer, but as the sickness spreads and the body count rises, Nedra becomes desperate to find a cure. Soon, she finds herself diving into alchemy’s most dangerous corners–and when she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness. 

DARK AND CREEPY.

This isn’t a thriller, but the subject matter is definitely in that category. A wasting death that seems to be attacking everyone, making limbs turn black and amputations be the only possible solution. WHAT. Lock me in a tower and throw away the key. I don’t want anything to do with that.

I listened to this on audio so I like to mention the narration. The female voice was fine, she did it in an accent (because the character is said to have one). It was easily understood and I thought brought Nedra more to life. The male voice I did not love the way it was done. He was hard to understand and I struggled to get through Grey’s chapters because of it.

The magic system is a bit twisted y’all. I actually didn’t like it. NOT because it wasn’t thought out and put together well, but because it involved harming animals. Mice were only every actively used in this book. The concept was drawing out someone else’s pain and giving it to the mouse/rat. It made me sad for the tiny creatures.

Nedra was an MC that had to grow on me. At first I was realllll annoyed and tired of her being utterly convinced it was ONLY her who could save EVERYONE. She pushed people away so much and I kept thinking, girl chill. I did love her character change by the end because who doesn’t love when an MC turns into more-or-less a villain? It was wicked good and I can’t wait for the next book to see what she does next.

There were some plot twists at the end that I was like WAIT WHAT? [even said that out loud]. I had imagined a different character being the instigator of the plague, and was totally surprised by who it was. Love it. I love when a book can trick me and keep me on my toes.

I feel like I need to mention the romance part. There’s a little in here. Grey and Nedra form a relationship over time and it’s cute. They get to know one another and hang out, have a few sweet kisses. I did like it, but it seems like it’ll play a bigger role in book two.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a few kisses, a make out
  • Violence: wasting illness, amputations, animals being used for magic system, guns; pretty violent and gory

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Book Review

Book Review: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 305 pages
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Expected Release Date: November 19th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.

When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.

When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.

NEEDED TO BE LONGER. NEEDED MORE CARDAN.

How do you start a review for a book you’ve been waiting for all year? Especially when you feel a bit let down by it? I’m not sure myself so be forewarned, this review might be interesting.

What I missed most was my sweet baby Cardan being snarky as all get out. I LOVE that I got to see a side of him that has been forthcoming throughout the previous books. He’s been changed by love and it’s an amazing character arc. Cardan lost some of his personality though and I missed his sass. You can be sassy and still in love! WHERE WAS HIS PAGE TIME TOO? Ugh. Halfway through and I had only seen him twice. I needed way more of him.

I also have thoughts about his story line that I wish I could convey, but I am not ruining it for anybody. So if you’ve read it and want to discuss please find me on Instagram! I will discuss his transformation all day.

Speaking of way more, this book was 300 pages barely. It was the shortest book in the series and it was a finale. Odd doesn’t even begin to describe my thoughts when I brought this out of the package. Everything wrapped up so fast. The action did keep moving and there was a good flow. There were no deep connections to anything happening. I wanted to dive to another level and expand upon the world and scenes.

I did love seeing how love changed Jude too. Her thoughts and actions remained more like herself at least, but she also was way into Cardan. And I was way into them. Jude made me frustrated when she kept making obvious mistakes that I knew were only leading to the next plot move.

Overall series thoughts pretty much maintain themselves for me. I’ve never been a fanatic for these books, but they’ve been a good read. A solid YA fantasy that has enemies to lovers (the ultimate trope) and fae (the ultimate character).

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a few kisses, a love scene with minimal detail
  • Violence: sword fights, poison, arrows, animal attacks, physical

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Maiden Ship (The Maiden Ship #1) by Micheline Ryckman

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 348 pages
Author: Micheline Ryckman
Publisher: Self-published/Whimsical Publishing
Release Date: February 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Dain Alloway was only nine years old when he began a new life with his father, sailing aboard The Maiden. Eight years later, the aristocratic city-boy turned merchant-sailor feels like he lives with one foot on land, and one foot in the sea. Life floats smoothly by until the night he wakes to find a mysterious woman in his cabin.

The events that unfold after her appearance transform Dain’s world. Now, hunted by empty-faced demons, he finds himself thrown into a dangerous web of intrigue and magic. As the crisis grows, the young sailor discovers powerful gifts buried deep within, talents that might shift the tide of a centuries-old war. Whether or not he’s ready, Dain will have to risk it all for the salvation and freedom of those he loves.

Thank you to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!

I WANT TO BE ON THE MAIDEN SHIP.

I really enjoyed this fantasy tale. It has whimsy, mystery, romance, and so much more. For a first book in a series it definitely kept me intrigued and interested in where this story goes next.

These characters were all amazing and so well thought out. I felt that by the end I had a good grasp of everyone and love them all. I liked the unique personalities and quirks that each one came with. One of my favorites was definitely Dain, the main POV. He was adorable, yet strong and had to go through some growing pains that really added to his arc. I think the next book will only add to his demeanor as he truly steps into the Captain position.

I’m also entirely obsessed with Mo. And Toff. And Sable. And Lydia. And Tars. And Casper. And Ileana. SEE. I JUST CAN’T CHOOSE. But really, Ileana’s background and story line have me totally enthralled. I love that her story is truly just beginning and that with the the help of The Maiden Ship, I’ll hopefully get to see a happily ever after.

The romance between Dain and Sable was sweet. I looooved the banter between them and how Dain blushed a thousand times over every time he saw Sable. They radiated passion and a true connection. They better be endgame because I am here for it.

There’s a great world set-up that combines memories of the past with the present to leave an unknown future that I NEED answers for. I felt the premise was unique and I looooove books that involve the sea. I find it only enhances everything as the ship travels from one location to the next. The expansion of this world and its politics and magic system (through the series) are only going to make it even better.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: flirting, kisses
  • Violence: creature attacks, magic, physical, swords

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Book Review

Book Review: Green Rider (Green Rider #1) by Kristen Britain

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 471 pages
Author: Kristen Britain
Publisher: DAW Books
Release Date: November 1st, 1998
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

On her long journey home from school after a fight which will surely lead to her expulsion, Karigan G’ladheon ponders her future as she trudges through the immense forest called Green Cloak. But her thoughts are interrupted by the clattering of hooves as a galloping horse bursts from the woods, the rider slumped over his mount’s neck, impaled by two black-shafted arrows. As the young man lies dying on the road, he tells Karigan that he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary messengers of the king, and that he bears a “life and death” message for King Zachary. He begs Karigan to carry his message, warning her not to read it, and when she reluctantly agrees, he makes her swear on his sword to complete his mission “for love of country.” As he bestows upon her the golden winged-horse brooch which is the symbol of his office, he whispers on his dying breath, “Beware the shadow man…”

Karigan’s promise changes her life forever. Pursued by unknown assassins, following a path only her horse seems to know, and accompanied by the silent specter of the original messenger, she herself becomes a legendary Green Rider. Caught up in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand, Karigan is hounded by dark beings bent on seeing that the message, and its reluctant carrier, never reach their destination.

FOUND A NEW FANTASY SERIES TO READ.

Thanks to a library book sale I picked up the first three books in this series on a total whim of, I’ve heard of this before. And that’s it. All I knew was that it was a fantasy book with pretty good reviews.

I surprised myself by really enjoying it by the end. The first half was a bit slow. I know this is a long series so I understand needing to build-up and create a world. It just took longer than expected. Karigan was spending most of her time on the run and I was missing the bigger plot.

Once Karigan made it to her destination things escalated quickly. I love the devious nature of it all and that I didn’t even catch who the bad guy actually was! The magic system and politics of this world created some intense dynamics. The clashing of the brothers for wanting to be King, a fae trying to create a ghost army and Karigan just wanting to go home.

I love Karigan. I think she has some growing up to do (which is fine) but she was a spunky character I adored. I found her brave and bold and loyal to her family and who she was. I imagine a lot of great character growth for her in the coming books.

The only thing I felt it was missing was a bit of romance. There’s a tiny bit of maybe if I squint my eyes at the page something happening between her and a character, BUT I DON’T KNOW. I’m always looking for even a little romance so this should be no surprise that I wanted a bit more.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: sword fights, poison, animal/creature attacks, murder
  • Trigger warnings: attempted sexual assault, page 265: mention of an off screen rape (that a side character committed)

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