Tag Archives: 4.5 stars

Book Title:
The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures
Book Author:
Aaron Mahnke
Page Count:
320
Publishing Date:
October 10th, 2017
Publisher:
Del Rey
Date Read:
November 27th, 2017
Source:
Purchased

Synopsis

A fascinating, beautifully illustrated guide to the monsters that are part of our collective psyche, from the host of the hit podcast Lore, soon to be an online streaming series.

They live in shadows--deep in the forest, late in the night, in the dark recesses of our minds. They're spoken of in stories and superstitions, relics of an unenlightened age, old wives' tales, passed down through generations. Yet no matter how wary and jaded we have become, as individuals or as a society, a part of us remains vulnerable to them: werewolves and wendigos, poltergeists and vampires, angry elves and vengeful spirits.

In this beautifully illustrated volume, the host of the hit podcast Lore serves as a guide on a fascinating journey through the history of these terrifying creatures, exploring not only the legends but what they tell us about ourselves. Aaron Mahnke invites us to the desolate Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where the notorious winged, red-eyed Jersey Devil dwells. He delves into harrowing accounts of cannibalism--some officially documented, others the stuff of speculation . . . perhaps. He visits the dimly lit rooms where seances take place, the European villages where gremlins make mischief, even Key West, Florida, home of a haunted doll named Robert.

In a world of "emotional vampires" and "zombie malls," the monsters of folklore have become both a part of our language and a part of our collective psyche. Whether these beasts and bogeymen are real or just a reflection of our primal fears, we know, on some level, that not every mystery has been explained and that the unknown still holds the power to strike fear deep in our hearts and souls. As Aaron Mahnke reminds us, sometimes the truth is even scarier than the lore.

My Review

It seems as though podcasts are popping up all over as of late – and since I haven’t typically been one to jump on the podcast bandwagon, it’s nice to see that many of the creators of those podcasts are … Continue reading

4.5 stars
6 Comments
Book Title:
Spellbook of the Lost and Found
Book Author:
Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Page Count:
368
Publishing Date:
October 20th, 2017
Publisher:
Kathy Dawson Books
Date Read:
August 22nd, 2017
Source:
I received a copy from the publisher - Thank you!

Synopsis

If you’re not careful, you can spend your whole life looking for what you’ve lost.

One stormy summer in a small Irish town, things begin to disappear. It starts with trivial stuff—hair clips, house keys, socks—but soon it escalates to bigger things: a memory, a heart, a classmate.

Olive can tell that her best friend, Rose, is different all of a sudden. Rose isn’t talking, and Olive starts to worry she’s losing her. Then diary pages written by someone named Laurel begin to appear all over town. And Olive meets three mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel, and her twin brother, Rowan, secretly squatting in an abandoned housing development. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too—and like Rose, they’re holding tightly to painful secrets.

When a tattered handwritten spellbook falls into the lives of these six teenagers, it changes everything. The spellbook is full of charms to conjure back that which has been lost, and it lists a part for each of them to play in the calling. It might be their best chance to set everything back to rights, but only if they’re willing to pay the price.

My Review

“If you don’t get lost, you’ll never be found.” Spellbook of the Lost and Found is one of those books that I honestly didn’t expect to find myself enjoying nearly as much as I did.  I tend to stay away … Continue reading

4.5 stars
2 Comments
Book Tour
Book Title:
Gray Wolf Island
Book Author:
Tracey Neithercott
Page Count:
336
Publishing Date:
October 10th, 2017
Publisher:
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Date Read:
October 19th, 2017
Source:
eARC from publisher via NetGalley - Thank you!

Synopsis

Right before Sadie died, she begged her sister, Ruby, to do the one thing she could never do herself: Find the treasure on Gray Wolf Island.

With just a mysterious treasure map as a guide, Ruby reluctantly allows some friends to join her on the hunt, each of whom is touched by magic: a boy allegedly born to a virgin, a girl who never sleeps, a boy who can foresee his own death, and a boy with deep ties to the island. Each of them is also keeping a secret—something they’ll have to reveal in order to reach the treasure.

As the secrets come to light, Ruby will have to decide: Can she make peace with her friends’ troubled pasts and continue to trust them? Can she forgive herself for doing the unspeakable? Deep in the wilderness of Gray Wolf Island, Ruby’s choices will determine if they make it out with the treasure—or merely with their lives.

From debut author Tracey Neithercott comes a darkly compelling tale of profound friendship, adventure, and finding the strength to tell the truth.

My Review

I went in to Gray Wolf Island not knowing too much of what it was about – I mean, I read the synopsis and all, but this was months and months ago, so when I started reading it, I didn’t … Continue reading

2 Comments
Book Tour
Book Title:
The Cresswell Plot
Book Author:
Eliza Wass
Page Count:
288
Publishing Date:
Paperback Publication - October 10th, 2017
Publisher:
Disney-Hyperion
Date Read:
October 2nd, 2017
Source:
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review - Thank you!

Synopsis

The woods were insane in the dark, terrifying and magical at the same time. But best of all were the stars, which trumpeted their light into the misty dark.

Castella Cresswell and her five siblings-Hannan, Caspar, Mortimer, Delvive, and Jerusalem- know what it's like to be different. For years, their world has been confined to their ramshackle family home deep in the woods of upstate New York. They abide by the strict rule of God, whose messages come directly from their father.

Slowly, Castley and her siblings start to test the boundaries of the laws that bind them. But, at school, they're still the freaks they've always been to the outside world. Marked by their plain clothing. Unexplained bruising. Utter isolation from their classmates. That is, until Castley is forced to partner with the totally irritating, totally normal George Gray, who offers her a glimpse of a life filled with freedom and choice

Castley's world rapidly expands beyond the woods she knows so well and the beliefs she once thought were the only truths. There is a future waiting for her if she can escape her father's grasp, but Castley refuses to leave her siblings behind. Just as she begins to form a plan, her father makes a chilling announcement: the Cresswells will soon return to their home in heaven. With time running out on all of their lives, Castley must expose the depth of her father's lies. The forest has buried the truth in darkness for far too long. Castley might be their last hope for salvation.

My Review

I had heard about The Cresswell Plot back when it was first published last year, and I didn’t really have the chance to read it, and I guess part of me forgot about it being on my to read list.  … Continue reading

6 Comments
Book Title:
I Hate Everyone But You
Book Author:
Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin
Page Count:
352
Publishing Date:
September 5th, 2017
Publisher:
Wednesday Books
Date Read:
September 7th, 2017
Source:
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review - Thank you!

Synopsis

Dear Best Friend,

I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.

Sincerely,

Ava Helmer

(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)

We're still in the same room, you weirdo.

Stop crying.

G

So begins a series of texts and emails sent between two best friends, Ava and Gen, as they head off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. From first loves to weird roommates, heartbreak, self-discovery, coming out and mental health, the two best friends will document every moment to each other. But as each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship be able to survive the distance?

My Review

I feel like I’ve been reading a lot of either deep, somber contemporary novels and a lot of fantasy lately, so when I picked up I Hate Everyone But You, I got exactly what I was hoping for – a … Continue reading

4.5 stars
1 Comment
Book Title:
Genuine Fraud
Book Author:
E. Lockhart
Page Count:
272
Publishing Date:
September 5th, 2017
Publisher:
Delacorte Press
Date Read:
September 12th, 2017
Source:
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review - Thank you!

Synopsis

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.

Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.

An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.

A bad romance, or maybe three.

Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.

A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.

A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

My Review

This review is going to be shorter than a lot of others that I write, but it’s not because I didn’t like the book – in fact, because I loved it so much, I’m not going to spoil anything, so … Continue reading

4.5 stars
7 Comments
Book Tour
Book Title:
Knife's Edge
Book Author:
Hope Larson
Book Illustrator:
Rebecca Mock
Book Series:
Four Points, #2
Page Count:
224
Publishing Date:
June 27th, 2017
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Date Read:
June 26th, 2017
Source:
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review - Thank you!

Synopsis

Twelve-year-old twin adventurers Cleopatra and Alexandra Dodge are reunited with their father and realize that two family heirlooms reveal the location of a treasure that is their birthright. When they set sail with Captain Tarboro on the Almira, they know they’re heading into danger—the ocean is filled with new and old enemies, including their nemesis, the infamous pirate Felix Worley. But like a coral reef that lurks below the surface of the waves, trouble is brewing between the siblings. Alex is determined to become a sailor and is happy with his role aboard the Almira, but Cleo—the only girl on the ship—is tired of washing dishes in the galley. In an effort to find her own purpose, she begins studying sword fighting with Tarboro, but neither Alex nor her father approves. Can the twins remain close as they pursue different goals and dreams, or will their growing differences tear the family apart before the treasure can be found?

In this follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Compass South, Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock once again create an outstanding seafaring adventure.

My Review

I read Compass South right before I read this one, and I’m glad that I did.  While I’ve seen it said that this book can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading the first book of the two … Continue reading

Leave a comment
Book Title:
This is Really Happening
Book Author:
Erin Chack
Page Count:
240
Publishing Date:
April 25th, 2017
Publisher:
Razorbill
Date Read:
April 13th, 2017
Source:
ARC from publisher - Thank you!

Synopsis

BuzzFeed senior writer Erin Chack provides a collection of personal essays for the Snapchat generation.

Erin recounts everything from meeting her soulmate at age 14 to her first chemotherapy session at age 19 to what really goes on behind the scenes at a major Internet media company.

She authentically captures the agony and the ecstasy of the millennial experience, whether it's her first kiss ("Sean's tongue! In my mouth! Slippery and wet like a slug in the rain.") or her struggles with anxiety ("When people throw caution to the wind, I am stuck imagining the poor soul who has to break his back sweeping caution into a dustpan").

Yet Erin also offers a fresh perspective on universal themes of resilience and love as she writes about surviving cancer, including learning of her mother's own cancer diagnosis within the same year, and her attempts to hide the diagnosis from friends to avoid "un-normaling" everything.

My Review

This is Really Happening is a heartbreaking, witty, and fun collection of essays from Buzzfeed writer Erin Chack – stories that will both make you sad and brighten your day, both make you cry and make you laugh.  There are … Continue reading

4.5 stars
6 Comments
Book Title:
Spill Zone
Book Author:
Scott Westerfeld
Book Illustrator:
Alex Puvilland
Book Series:
The Spill Zone, #1
Page Count:
224
Publishing Date:
May 2nd, 2017
Publisher:
First Second
Date Read:
May 1st, 2017
Source:
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review - Thank you!

Synopsis

Nobody's ever really explained the Spill. Was it an angelic visitation? A nanotech accident? A porthole opening from another world? Whatever it was, no one's allowed in the Spill Zone these days except government scientists and hazmat teams. But a few intrepid explorers know how to sneak through the patrols and steer clear of the dangers inside the Zone. Addison Merrick is one such explorer, dedicated to finding out what happened that night, and to unraveling the events that took her parents and left her little sister mute and disconnected from the world.

My Review

For whatever reason, I don’t read too many graphic novels.  I’ve read the entire Scott Pilgrim series and loved it so much, but I hesitate to pick any others up, because I’m not sure if they’re really my thing or … Continue reading

4.5 stars
3 Comments
Book Tour
Book Title:
How to Make a Wish
Book Author:
Ashley Herring Blake
Page Count:
336
Publishing Date:
May 2nd, 2017
Publisher:
HMH Books for Young Readers
Date Read:
April 26th, 2017
Source:
ARC from publisher - Thank you!

Synopsis

Grace, tough and wise, has nearly given up on wishes, thanks to a childhood spent with her unpredictable, larger-than-life mother. But this summer, Grace meets Eva, a girl who believes in dreams, despite her own difficult circumstances.

One fateful evening, Eva climbs through a window in Grace’s room, setting off a chain of stolen nights on the beach. When Eva tells Grace that she likes girls, Grace’s world opens up and she begins to believe in happiness again. How to Make a Wish is an emotionally charged portrait of a mother and daughter’s relationship and a heartfelt story about two girls who find each other at the exact right time.

My Review

Last year, I had completely fallen in love with Ashley Herring Blake’s debut novel, Suffer Love, and this year, I’ve fallen in love again with her second novel, How to Make a Wish.  This is probably one of the most … Continue reading

4.5 stars
9 Comments