Format: Paperback

Guest Review: The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

Posted December 13, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 14 Comments

Hey Lovelies! Hope you December is going great! Our has been super busy, so reading is a bit slower. Today I have Sophia Rose on the blog with a review, hope you enjoy her opinion on The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living and leave her some love.

Guest Review: The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise MillerThe City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
Series: Standalone
Published by Penguin Books on November 7th 2017
Genres: Womens Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

"Mix in one part Diane Mott -Davidson's delightful culinary adventures with several tablespoons of Jan Karon's country living and quirky characters, bake at 350 degrees for one rich and warm romance." --Library Journal
A full-hearted novel about a big-city baker who discovers the true meaning of home--and that sometimes the best things are found when you didn't even know you were looking
When Olivia Rawlings--pastry chef extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club--sets not just her flambeed dessert but the entire building alight, she escapes to the most comforting place she can think of--the idyllic town of Guthrie, Vermont, home of Bag Balm, the country's longest-running contra dance, and her best friend Hannah. But the getaway turns into something more lasting when Margaret Hurley, the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, offers Livvy a job. Broke and knowing that her days at the club are numbered, Livvy accepts.
Livvy moves with her larger-than-life, uberenthusiastic dog, Salty, into a sugarhouse on the inn's property and begins creating her mouthwatering desserts for the residents of Guthrie. She soon uncovers the real reason she has been hired--to help Margaret reclaim the inn's blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest.
With the joys of a fragrant kitchen, the sound of banjos and fiddles being tuned in a barn, and the crisp scent of the orchard just outside the front door, Livvy soon finds herself immersed in small town life. And when she meets Martin McCracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from Seattle to tend his ailing father, Livvy comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought.
But then another new arrival takes the community by surprise, and Livvy must decide whether to do what she does best and flee--or stay and finally discover what it means to belong. Olivia Rawlings may finally find out that the life you want may not be the one you expected--it could be even better.
From the Hardcover edition.

A gentle nostalgic, heartwarming piece showcasing a woman’s slow transformation from bright lights and big city to country charm. It’s a New England fairytale that brings into play all that a person can imagine of the best and quirky parts of country living.

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living is a combination of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. It focuses on Livvy’s personal growth, her friendships, her adjustments to a new lifestyle, and a bit of a slow burn romance.

I enjoyed the ambience and tone, the pacing and all the little details of this ideal nostalgic country life that teetered on the line of real and fantasy (not in a paranormal sense), but more wishful thinking. It was a Normal Rockwell setting and people come to life, if you will. I think if one goes in expecting this then it will work better. Livvy is snooty about it at first and is always making comparisons until she sees that there is value in both lifestyles after she settles in.

I only had one real niggle with the story. In the beginning, Livvy was ‘the Other Woman’ in an affair with a married man. There were a few other little things, but that one just stuck. I think it set the tone for me and I never completely connected with her even if I could keep reading and appreciate the rest of the book.

This is definitely a foodie’s book, too. I spent most of the book with my mouthwatering as Livvy worked her baking magic in the Inn’s kitchen or talked food with Chef, Margaret, or shopped in the market. Thankfully, her apple pie recipe is included in the back of the book.

I think the highlight for me was Livvy’s friendship with irascible Margaret. At first, they seem at odds, but then slowly Livvy learns more about her and sees the true Margaret and Margaret opens up a little.

It was not a quick reading experience, but one to pick up and curl up under a throw with me tea and appreciate. I found it a lovely reading experience all in all. I would recommend it to light women’s fiction lovers who appreciate a more soft-glow country life, a gentle romance, with a foodie as the main character.

I understand Louise Miller’s second novel, The Late Bloomers’ Club, is forthcoming from Pamela Dorman Books/Viking. My thanks to Penguin-Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. Stokes

Posted November 28, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review:  Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. StokesAddison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. Stokes
Series: Addison Cooke #2
Published by Philomel Books on November 14th 2017
Genres: Middle Grade
Pages: 464
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Goonies meets Indiana Jones in Addison's second laugh-out-loud adventure! A journey through Asia in pursuit of the legendary tomb of Genghis Khan.
Fresh off of a victorious treasure hunt and rescue mission in South America, Addison Cooke just can't seem to steer clear of rogue bandits, pesky booby traps, and secret treasure troves. But it sure beats sitting around in school all day.
Addison's aunt and uncle, on the other hand, are none too happy about their habit of attracting kidnappers. When they become pawns in a dangerous gang's plan to steal the most prized possession of the notorious Mongolian leader Genghis Khan, Addison and his friends find themselves once again caught in the middle of a multi-million-dollar international heist. Armed with nothing but their wits and thirst for adventure, they travel across Asia in an attempt to rescue Addison's family and stop the treasure from falling into the wrong hands.
Brimming with round-the-clock action and tons of laughter, Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan is perfect for fans of Indiana Jones, ancient history, and James Patterson's Treasure Hunters series.
Praise for Addison Cooke
"Combines the derring-do of Indiana Jones with a genuine archaeological mystery. Stokes brings a cinematic scope to the story. This lively debut promises more seat-of-the-pants thrillsfor readers who love adventure."--Booklist
"Cinematic pacing and action drive the story, but it's Addison and his friends who will keep readers engaged. Humor is never in short supply . . . and Addison's endless optimism and irrepressible confidence in his own abilities are endearing."--School Library Journal
"Addison is often one step ahead of the adults, but his lead is constantly threatened, building steady tension throughout the novel, screenwriter Stokes's debut."--Publishers Weekly

Schools out, summer is in, and Addison and his group of friends are off to Asia!

Trouble seems to follow Addison no matter where he goes, fresh of a treasure hunt and rescue mission in South America – Addison finds himself in a whole new set of trouble out in China.

When Addison and Molly’s Aunt and Uncle get kidnapped in China by the mysterious Madame Feng, they must use their knowledge as survival skills in order to beat Madame Feng to what she really wants – the Golden Whip from the lost grave of Ghenghis Khan.

This was a really fun read. At over 400 pages, the pace was steady and exciting. Addison is a very interesting 13 year old boy, who is witty, but a bit quirky at times. He hates germs, he loves to read and seems to always have the knack of knowing how to get his friends out of trouble.

The story and the progression was kind of interesting for me, because I was always interested in Mongolia and Ghenghis Khan. I actually did not know that his tomb/grave was purposely done so not even the Mongols could find it. I had to google that bit myself and the author did mostly stick to the fact at the beginning of the book about the possible locations and how he was buried.

I thought that was fun because not only does it provide middle grade kids with a fascinating plot, fun characters, great adventure and a strong set of friendships, it also educates quiet a bit.

I did have to take my time time with the rating because I wasn’t sure about a few things. I did have to keep in mind that this was a middle grade adventure novel and a lot of it does seem a bit out there, but that’s okay, because to me, it allows the children to get caught up in the excitement and imagination. That part I am fully aware of and perfectly fine with, despite some scenes. I especially loved how the author took the fact that they are kids into consideration and during a lot of scenes he limited their capabilities of what they can or cannot do. I love how they think it would play out in their head and how it actually happens is completely different because at the end of the day, Addison and his friends are still children. That kind of line of thinking was awesome and I think something that can be related to.

I wasn’t sure how the kids would relate to Addison thought because for a 13 year old, he is witty, he can talk circles around you and get himself out of sticky situations. He is also the type of kid that will read The Art of War. But, despite being a sort of prodigy (?) Addison still uses tactics that are childlike and it just makes you giggle.

This was a great book. It was fast paced. There is action, adventure, a mystery and it is really, really well written you guys. I absolutely loved the writing, Stokes just does a wonderful job that it even makes it really enjoyable for an adult because I forgot at several places that this was a middle grade book.

My favorite character I would have to say is Dax’s (the adult in this book) copilot Mr.Jacobsen a goofy Great Dane.

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Guest Review: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery + Giveaway

Posted November 21, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 45 Comments

Good Morning Everyone! Hope you guys are having a great week so far. Sophia Rose is back on the blog today. She has a review of a classic and if you follow the instruction and rafflecopter below she also has a great giveaway for you! Enjoy!

Guest Review: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery + GiveawayAnne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Benjamin Lefebvre, J. Courtney Sullivan
Series: Anne of Green Gables #1
Published by Penguin Classics on March 1st 2018
Genres: Fiction, Childrens
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The beloved coming-of-age tale of a spunky heroine named Anne "with an E," now for the first time in Penguin Classics and packaged in a Deluxe edition. L. M. Montgomery's novel Anne of Green Gables recounts the adventures of Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old orphan mistakenly sent to a pair of siblings who intended to adopt a boy to help work on their farm in Prince Edward Island. Yet Anne's quirky personality and good-natured spirit causes the siblings to grow to love her anyway, and soon the entire town falls for the precocious little girl with bright red hair. Cherished by both children and adults, Anne of Green Gables is a celebration of fierce individualism, and the families we create, rather than the ones we are born into. This Deluxe edition is enhanced with a foreword by bestselling author J. Courtney Sullivan, and an introduction and suggestions for further reading by Benjamin Lefebvre, as well as reviews and a selection of early writing by L. M. Montgomery about the process of writing Anne.

Decades later and I still count Anne of Green Gables as one of my favorite all-time books. As a young girl, it was likely one of the three most influential books I read. Over and over. I delighted in the later TV film adaption, but still gravitated to the sparkling, light-filled prose of the print copy on my shelf. I have carried around that copy over thousands of miles and years.

I was all agasp when I was offered the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition knowing that 2018 marks the 110 year anniversary of the book’s release and 75 years since the gifted author’s death. The book’s whimsical cover and end papers made me sigh with happiness to see and touch them. I’m a sucker for the rougher cut style cream colored pages. And it was fascinating reading the author biography, forward, introduction, and later the discussion of how Montgomery came to write in the author’s own words.

But the piece de resistance was the ageless story about a little red-headed orphan girl brought by mistake into the colorless, lonely lives of older siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, of P.E.I.’s Green Gables farm.

Matthew, much to his own surprise, was enjoying himself. Like most quiet folks he liked talkative people when they were willing to do the talking themselves and did not expect him to keep up his end of it.”

You’re not eating anything,” said Marilla sharply, eying her as if it were a serious shortcoming. Anne sighed. I can’t. I’m in the depths of despair. Can you eat when you are in the depths of despair?”

I’ve never been in the depths of despair, so I can’t say,” responded Marilla.

Weren’t you? Well, did you ever try to IMAGINE you were in the depths of despair?”

No, I didn’t.”

Then I don’t think you can understand what it’s like. It’s very uncomfortable a feeling indeed.”

Anne with an ‘e’ makes her odd and endearing way into the hearts of many including readers because of her sincere, honest, but many times disastrous ways. Bosom friend Diana. Long bitter school rival Gilbert (at least on Anne’s part, wink). Mentor in teacher, Miss Stacy. Nosey, managing neighbor, Rachel Lynde. And oh so many more connections in the little village of Avonlea and beyond.

“Gilbert told Charlie Sloan that you were the smartest girl in school, right in front of Josie.”

“He did?”

“He told Charlie being smart was better than being good looking.”

“I should have known he meant to insult me.”

Miss Barry was a kindred spirit after all,” Anne confided to Marilla, “You wouldn’t think so to look at her, but she is. . . Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

There are no flashes of swashbuckling danger or passion in this story, but there are universal themes of childhood, family, friendship, dreams, mistakes, and growing up from a child and adult perspective with which young and old, male or female can connect. The book still brings me to laugh, cry, and sigh throughout. I’ve been quoting Anne-isms now for years like ‘tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it’ or ‘I’m having a Jonah day’ or ‘bosom friends’ or ‘we’re kindred spirits’ or ‘I’m in the depths of dispair’. So many.

My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.”

I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does.”

Picking up this new edition with its classic tale was sheer joy. I meandered down to the Lake of Shining Waters and gasped at the beauty of the White Way of Delight, and sighed over the loveliness of October, and girlhood fancies and dreams. I was impacted by the uplift I got from reading of a more innocent time and place, but with real people going about their normal lives.

Whether you are a newbie or a long-time Anne lover, I can definitely recommend picking it up and losing yourself in the pages.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY

I have a treat today for US residents. Penguin Classics is offering up one print copy of the book to one of our US readers. Fill in the Rafflecopter for your opportunity to win.

  • U.S. residents 13 years of age or older (if you are underage have an adult enter on your behalf)
  • Must reply within 48 hours to collect your prize

Have you read or watched a film adaption of Anne of Green Gables? Do you have a favorite Anne-ism or favorite scene?

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About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer

Posted November 8, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 14 Comments

Just a quick note today to let you know that Sophia Rose will be on the blog today with her lovely new review <33

Review:  Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa MeyerFairest by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Published by Scholastic on January 27th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Pages: 224
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Mirror, mirror on the wall,Who is the fairest of them all?
Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.
Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Sometimes the villains are more fascinating than the heroes. Queen Levana has been the boogie-woman in the dark with nearly ultimate power since the beginning of The Lunar Chronicles series and she has not been afraid to wield the power to get what she wants. I was all on board for this book that takes a dip into her dark and shadowy past to see what came before and get a glimpse inside the mind of such a calculating woman.

Fairest falls between Cress and Winter in the series. I think it was a good place for the series to stop and pull over for this chronological prequel that makes sense to read it after learning the circumstances in the current situation and getting who all the players are before going back to see how it was all set in motion and then going on to get the last chapter in the story. I do not recommend reading it at the opening of the series because there is a feeling that though further back in time, that the reader has a good grasp on the world building. Plus, it’s a series spoiler in ways if read first.

So, Fairest, Queen Levana’s story and a loose retelling of the Wicked Queen and stepmother of the Snow White tale. It begins when Levana is fifteen, her parents have just died, and her sister is taking the throne. It stays with Levana as the narrator through the whole story.

I felt a certain sympathy for her. She never really stood a chance between a lack of nurture and her own nature. The story focuses on her quest to have something she can’t understand or truly grasp- love, being loved, having a feeling of belonging and family, but she snatches for it anyway. She both breaks the beauty of what she had and discovers that it was an illusion all along because she wants two very different things constantly and those things are at cross purposes and can’t exist at the same time the way she wants them.

It’s a sad story, but the author did a fine job painting Levana as she is under her glamour. I had the joy of seeing how things in the series were set in motion and the significance of the players and their roles. This is a great lead in to the final book, Winter, especially now that I know better the heroine Winter’s backstory from this book.

This won’t be for everyone and it is cleverly written so a reader can choose to read it or skip it. Worth reading it though.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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MARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan

Posted November 7, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

MARY: The Summoning by Hillary MonahanMARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
Series: ,
Published by Disney-Hyperion on September 2nd 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Horror
Pages: 245
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.
Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them--Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna--must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.
A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY." A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.
Once is not enough, though--at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary's wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.
A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary--and Jess--before it's too late?

This book follows a girl named Shauna and her best friends, Jess, Kitty and Anna. Jess develops this obsession in summoning Bloody Mary and says she actually knows the correct way, all the girls have to do is follow the rules and not let go of each others hands.

Well, Jess becomes overly aggressive about her obsession over Bloody Mary and ends up holding back a few things she refused to tell the girls. One of the summonings gets out of hand and they bring Bloody Mary into their world through the mirror. Mary tags Shauna and when the spell goes wrong, Mary does not return to her world and ends up haunting Shauna through the mirrors and anything “shiny”

Now Shauna is mad at Jess for being so careless and lying, but also enlists her in the help of finding a way of getting Mary off her.

This was a quick read and it was okay. It was most definitely creepy and as I was reading this during Halloween, it definitely bought out all the freaky parts.

Some parts and descriptions, particularly of Mary, made my stomach turn.

Like the other girls, I found myself frustrated and angry with Jess because of what she had done. I found her to be a horrible friend.

Overall, like I said, it was okay. I enjoyed it well enough, I got the creepy and the freaky out of it, but also some frustration as well. Not sure if it will hurry me to pick up book two anytime soon though.

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2 Young Adult Book Reviews

Posted October 30, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

2 Young Adult Book ReviewsAnna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Series: Anna #1
Published by Tor Teen on October 17th 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Horror
Pages: 316
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
Yet she spares Cas's life.

Cas Lowood has an unusual vocation, he kills the dead. Something he inherited from his father and his father’s father before him, a sort of family business that he feels only they can do.

Cas kills ghosts using an athame knife that he believes only he can really kill with. A knife, he inherited upon his father’s death/murder in order to train and continue the family line of work. Protecting people from ghosts who get stuck in a killer loop and hurt innocent people.

One day he gets a tip from a person online and Cas sets out to a town where the ghost of Anna Korlov viciously murdered many people that have dared to set foot into her house.

In order to find out more about this dangerous ghost Cas accidentally befriends a boy named Thomas and a girl named Carmel who, after an unfortunate line of events end up helping Cas discovered the truth behind Anna and why she is the way she is – something that Cas has never seen before.

This started out strong. I was really enjoying this. Anna Dressed in Blood was EXACTLY what I wanted when it came to chilling, creepy ghost stories right before Halloween.

Unfortunately, what started out strong, creepy, and exciting fell a bit flat in the end for me.

First, the book feels like the author combined the two books into one. There was suddenly a different storyline thrown into the mix upon the group solving the Anna situation. I felt like that could have been a whole different book, but I guess the author needed this in order to set up book two.

The book reads as a mature young adult, I wouldn’t recommend this for younger audience due to some of the violent and even some graphic scenes in this book that even made me squirm. This book has a few gory scenes in it.

I really wanted to love this more and I was almost ready to give this 4 stars, but than this unnecessary thing happens in the end with the cat and it totally killed the mood I was rolling with. I was like, what, why… Let’s just say I was not expecting unnecessary violence towards animals in YA, so not only did that throw me off it kind of killed it for me.

I know a lot people love this book, it is definitely creepy, atmospheric, even scary at times. It reads a lot like a movie and you could almost picture the book as a movie, but again, it had certain parts that just did not work for me.

2 Young Adult Book ReviewsMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1
Published by Quirk on June 7th 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.
A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

After his grandfather’s death, sixteen-year-old Jacob manages to convince his father to take him to a remote island off the coast of Whales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of an abandoned orphanage and suddenly maybe his grandfather’s stories weren’t just made up. Maybe he told the truth.

As Jacob explores the ruins he comes across an abandoned chest, where he discovers more pictures of the children that his grandfather told stories about and when a group of that children cross his path – Jacob is stunned that they are still alive.

This was… Interesting. It’s hard to give a blurb for the book without making a mess of it. I don’t like the blurb from goodreads, not sure that works for it either.

I got the wrong impression of the book coming into it, not only from the blurb on Goodreads, but also probably from the people who pushed this as a spooky read. Yes, it’s a bit atmospheric, but it’s strongly character driven, and I did not find most of this book spooky.

Jacob was a hard character to like. I found him boring and extremely one dimensional, lacking depth and emotion.

The romance in this book was really weird and if you think about it, really awkward.

Yes the book became a bit more spine tingling in the back, but it was short lived.

In the end, I think the book lived up to the wrong kind of standard. I might have enjoyed it more, but I found the book hard to enjoy from the MC perspective. I enjoyed some of the ending, but by that point I just felt like I wanted to get through it. Besides all of this, I think this is a case of more me than the book and I still recommend it for the people who enjoy Young Adult and Paranormal, because it is definitely original.

 

 

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Review: Sanctum by Madeleine Roux

Posted October 27, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 8 Comments

Review: Sanctum by Madeleine RouxSanctum by Madeleine Roux
Series: Asylum #2
Published by HarperCollins on August 26th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 343
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

In this haunting, fast-paced sequel to the New York Times bestselling photo-illustrated novel Asylum, three teens must unlock some long-buried secrets from the past before the past comes back to get them first. Featuring found photographs, many from real vintage carnivals, Sanctum is a mind-bending reading experience that blurs the lines between past and present, genius and insanity, perfect for fans of the smash hit Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
Dan, Abby, and Jordan remain traumatized by the summer they shared in the Brookline asylum. Much as they'd love to move on, someone is determined to keep the terror alive, sending the teens photos of an old-timey carnival, with no note and no name. Forsaking their plan never to go back, the teens return to New Hampshire College under the guise of a weekend for prospective students, and there they realize that the carnival from the photos is not only real, it's here on campus, apparently for the first time in many years.
Sneaking away from sample classes and college parties, Dan and his friends lead a tour of their own—one through the abandoned houses and hidden places of the surrounding town. Camford is hiding a terrible past, and the influence of the asylum runs deeper than Dan ever imagined.

Sanctum opens up shortly following the events of book one. Dan is having nightmare’s and he isn’t sure how to stop them. Getting away from the Asylum, he assumed that his problems would be fixed – but they are not. It doesn’t help that his friends Abby and Jordan seem to be ignoring him, and someone is sending them weird vintage carnival pictures. When a letter shows up from his ex-roommate’s mother, asking Dan to visit her son, all clues start to point for the trio to go back to New Hampshire College.

Guys, I am just adoring this series.  I think a large part of it is due to the fact that the book is mixed media, I love asylums and old creepy vintage carnivals and atmospheric books and this had all of it mixed into one. Once I picked this one up I had a hard time putting it down, I completely devoured it, and loved falling back into this series.

A large part of me wishes there were more books out there like this. I truly believe it adds to the reading experiences and the photos were creeptastic and perfect for this time of year.

Also, this entire book takes place close to Halloween time. So when Dan, Jordan and Abby go back to the college, there is a bunch of secrets that they are still trying to uncover. Including the fact that there seems to be a secret society that is linked to Daniel Crawford and the society seems to be after the trio.

This book isn’t without issues and I acknowledge that. I still feel like there is a bunch of holes that the author needs to fill and I hope everything wraps up in the final book. I don’t think everyone would love this book as much as I do. Because at times Dan and his friends have quiet a bit of drama going on, but they are pretty normal teenagers, so I can see how that would definitely play the part in the book, even if it is probably one of the few realistic parts of this book.

But, I still love it. It’s on an atmospheric side. It’s great for Halloween or fall. It’s creepy, and I am totally hooked. Plus there is a creepy carnival – I’m sold. Also, ghosts, yes?

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Review: The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

Posted October 24, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 16 Comments

Review:  The Awakening by Kelley ArmstrongThe Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
Series: Darkest Powers #2
Published by HarperCollins on March 23rd 2010
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 360
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

You don't have to be alive to be awakened.
Chloe Saunders is a living science experiment—not only can she see ghosts, but she was genetically altered by a sinister organization called the Edison Group. She's a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control, which means she can raise the dead without even trying. Now Chloe's running for her life with three of her supernatural friends—a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch—and they have to find someone who can help them before the Edison Group catches them.
Or die trying.

The Awakening is the second book in the Darkest Power series and it follows directly in the aftermath of book one.

This review will contain spoilers from book one, so turn back now if you are not interested.

Chloe and Rachelle are captured after fleeing the Lyle House by the Edison Group – a group that seems to be responsible for what they are. After learning some unsettling facts about herself, Chloe and Tori break out and regroup with Derek and Simon to escape the Edison Group and find Andrew – their father’s friend.

Meanwhile, the Edison Group is hot on their heels and are refusing to give up.

This was another interesting reading. I am just completely addicted to Armstrong’s writing. I think she weaves and tells a story well and there is just something about the way she crafts her story and characters that makes it impossible for me to put down. I flew through the book and now sitting here awaiting book three to arrive in my mailbox.

The characters are slowly starting to grow and develop more. I like the long way Tori came from book one, but I also like the fact that she isn’t perfect and is still very Tori.

I adore the relationship between Derek and Chloe and how of all the characters they seem to click and understand each other the most. That being said, it does disappoint me a little that there is this weird triangle going on between Chloe, Derek, and Simon – one that I do not seem to understand. Chloe and Simon don’t have a connection at all and are barely together in the book. The relationship between Chloe and Derek is well fleshed out, so I am worried going into the last book to see where exactly this is going.

The ending of the book was intense and kept me on the edge of the seat but it did end a little abruptly and left me wanting to know what happens next.

Overall, this was another great read. Everyone’s powers are still developing so it’s kind of interesting to see how these kids are not perfect and don’t have much control  and are still working on figuring themselves out as they try to survive.

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Review: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl (The Haunting of Sunshine Girl #1) by Paige McKenzie, Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Posted October 20, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 5 Comments

Review:  The Haunting of Sunshine Girl (The Haunting of Sunshine Girl #1) by Paige McKenzie, Alyssa B. SheinmelThe Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie, Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Series: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl #1
Published by Hachette Books on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Ghosts
Pages: 298
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Sunshine Griffith and her mother, Kat, move from sunny Austin, Texas, to the rain-drenched town of Ridgemont, Washington. From the moment they arrive, Sunshine feels her world darken with an eeriness she cannot place. Something about their new house is just…creepy.
In the days that follow, Sunshine is followed around the house by an icy breeze, phantom wind slams her bedroom door shut, and eventually, the laughter Sunshine hears on her first night evolves into sobs. As the spirits haunting her house become more frightening—and it becomes clear that Kat is in danger—Sunshine must accept what she is, pass the test before her, and save her mother from a fate worse than death.

We follow a sixteenth year old girl named Sunshine Griffith as she and her mom make a move from Austin, Texas to Ridgemont Washington. From the moment the two arrive in their new home, Sunshine cannot shake off the creepy feeling that seems to follow her through the house.

It doesn’t take long for Sunshine to realize what is happening. The house feels cold, there are footsteps of a little girl in the middle of the night, sobbing, bedroom door slamming shut, and her stuff gets thrown all over the floor.

It’s not until one night where the experience what happened to the little girl that turns Sunshine’s whole world upside down. Both her and her mother Kat witness something evil that has happened in the house, but her mother does not remember what happened the next day. Now her mother is acting strange and not at all like the loving woman that Sunshine is familiar with.

This book was interesting. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I started reading it, but I found myself enjoying it.

Sunshine starts a new school and is drawn to a boy named Nolan, who becomes her really good friend. Nolan is incredibly smart and really adored his grandfather who had recently passed away. The loss had hit him hard, but Nolan holds on and believes in his grandfather’s ghost stories so he and Sunshine become really close when Nolan ends up the only person who does not look at her as if she had gone insane.

There is also a strange art teacher that is really into weird and creepy.

Together Nolan and Sunshine must find out what Sunshine really is and save her mother before time runs out.

Outside of the special snowflake alert, I found myself kind of liking Sunshine. She loves film photography – a girl after my own heart. She is very loyal to the people she really cares about and very modest. She just wants to feel like a sixteen year old girl, but she experiences things that no one else can.

The book was pretty character driven and some parts were really spooky. I was kind of hoping the rainy eeriness setting of Ridgemont, Washington would add to the atmosphere, but that part I found a bit lacking.

Overall, I enjoyed it and cannot wait to see what happens next.

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3 Quick Book Reviews

Posted October 12, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 8 Comments

3 Quick Book ReviewsThe Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle
Series: standalone
Published by Mira on December 27th 2016
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

Even the perfect marriage has its dark side… 
Iris and Will's marriage is as close to perfect as it can be: a large house in a nice Atlanta neighborhood, rewarding careers and the excitement of trying for their first baby. But on the morning Will leaves for a business trip to Orlando, Iris's happy world comes to an abrupt halt. Another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board, and according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers on this plane. 
Grief-stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. But as time passes and there is still no sign of Will, she reluctantly accepts that he is gone. Still, Iris needs answers. Why did Will lie about where he was going? What is in Seattle? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to find out what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she receives will shock her to her very core.

This book follows a woman named Iris who thought she had this perfect marriage with her husband Will and they were about to try for a baby, but Will ends up going on a business trip and instead of going to Orlando, Iris finds out he heads to Seattle when the plane crashed.

This book, I found that I really enjoyed and what started my love for domestic thrillers.

I love books that involve husband and wives and secrets. I wanted to know what really happened to Will as much as Iris as she navigates through trying to piece together what is happening and why her husband lied and was not on the plane he was suppose to on be but instead on a plane that crashed.

I devoured this book. I personally enjoyed following Iris and uncovering the truth. The ending caught me off guard, but overall this was everything I wanted. I found the writing to be good, the story and the characters interesting and overall a really good read.

3 Quick Book ReviewsEverything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale
Series: Everything We Keep #1
Published by Lake Union Publishing on August 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 2.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A luminous debut with unexpected twists, Everything We Keep explores the devastation of loss, the euphoria of finding love again, and the pulse-racing repercussions of discovering the truth about the ones we hold dear and the lengths they will go to protect us.
Sous chef Aimee Tierney has the perfect recipe for the perfect life: marry her childhood sweetheart, raise a family, and buy out her parents’ restaurant. But when her fiancé, James Donato, vanishes in a boating accident, her well-baked future is swept out to sea. Instead of walking down the aisle on their wedding day, Aimee is at James’s funeral—a funeral that leaves her more unsettled than at peace.
As Aimee struggles to reconstruct her life, she delves deeper into James’s disappearance. What she uncovers is an ocean of secrets that make her question everything about the life they built together. And just below the surface is a truth that may set Aimee free…or shatter her forever.

The book opens up with Aimee burying the body of her fiance on her wedding day – courtesy of her shitty would have been mother in law – when, after the ceremony a woman approaches her and says her husband might still be alive.

Interesting? Right? So I thought myself, until I kept reading and realized the book was more focused on romance, loss and moving on after the loss.

I couldn’t stand Aimee. I felt like she couldn’t make up her mind about what she believed, one day she is like, oh… Maybe my husband is alive.., the next she swoons over the new artist and James Donate is forgotten.

There is a weird one year time jump when she starts to question herself again. Really.. a year?

Then the second part of the book got interesting and also disappointing.

I don’t really know if this should really be called a thriller. But, if you don’t like another male love interest involved I’d stay away because this book will not end how you want it to end.

I found it frustrating, yes there were parts I enjoyed but ultimately the ending pissed me off because the epilogue is like..yeah felt that coming.

3 Quick Book ReviewsThe Ghosts of Kali Oka Road by M.L. Bullock
Series: Gulf Coast Paranormal #1
Published by Self-published on March 15th 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Ghosts
Pages: 211
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

On the Gulf Coast, Things Don’t Just Go Bump in the Night They Terrorize You and Sometimes You Disappear!

The paranormal investigators at Gulf Coast Paranormal thought they knew what they were doing. Midas, Sierra, Sara, Josh and Peter had over twenty combined years of experience investigating supernatural activity on the Gulf Coast. But when they meet Cassidy, a young artist with a strange gift, they realize there’s more to learn. And time is running out for Cassidy.

When Gulf Coast Paranormal begins investigating the ghosts of Kali Oka Road, they find an entity far scarier than a few ghosts. Add in the deserted Oak Grove Plantation, and you have a recipe for a night of terror.

Ready to go ghost hunting? You’ll enjoy this supernatural suspense novel, the first in the Gulf Coast Paranormal series.
Gulf Coast Paranormal Series The Ghosts of Kali Oka Road The Ghosts of the Crescent Theater A Haunting on Bloodgood Row The Legend of the Ghost Queen A Haunting at Dixie House The Ghost Lights of Forrest Field The Ghost of Gabrielle Bonet The Ghosts of Harrington Farms The Creature on Crenshaw Road ˃˃˃ Another Haunting Series by M. L. Bullock--Seven Sisters

This book could have been so good you guys. It was definitely creepy, but it fell so short.

The book follows a ghost investigation team and a girl named Cassidy, who joins the team based on her abilities of being able to see stuff through her paintings.

The team is trying to clear a name of a boy who is believed to have murdered his high school sweetheart, but he claims that a creature did it.

It was just so spooky, but my issue was the author took a real legend/ghost story that exists and built their book around it instead of making it part of the book.

Like there was a ton of stuff that felt lose, no ends and the wrap up just felt silly.

I did not understand how an evil spirit wasn’t put to rest, but the other ghosts hunting the place were and I never really got a clear image of what happened to the female ghost.

I felt like the author could have done so much with adapting this, but they just didn’t and it did not feel incomplete and it left me feeling weird.

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