1465 Padawans
91 Masters

Rashika, The Book Owl

So my name is Rashika and I am weird. I read a lot (duh) and I watch a lot of TV. I also like to review. Check out my blog (where I co-blog with awesome people).

Reasons to read Nightfall

Nightfall - Peter Kujawinski, Jake Halpern

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Here are a bunch of reasons to read this book.

1. Original. This premise of this book is unlike anything I have encountered before. Can you imagine the idea of a world where the sun rises every 28 years? Can you imagine all the details that would need to be put in to the book make that seem plausible? Well Jake and Peter pull it off because they made this world come to life. It was interesting and original and sucked me right in.

2. Survival aspects of the story. Do you love a good survival story? You've come to the right place. This book might not terrify you but it will (hopefully) have you rooting for the characters and hoping that they will beat the odds and make it to safety and back to their families.

3. Romance takes a back seat. I love my romances but there are some situations where I think romances are unnecessary. In this book the romance was barely hinted at. It's not that there aren't feelings. It's just that a lot of the romance stuff was established before the book started so this book is mostly about these characters trying to work out a way to survive instead of you know... make out?

4. The Characters. I was a little put off by the idea of 14 year olds for main characters and the fact that they didn't really seem like they were 14 but overall, I liked them. They may not have been perfect and sometimes make some not so smart decisions but I think the way they worked together was amazing. There were *some* secrets but they are understandable.

5. The Creepy. Isn't that what we are really here for? The Creepy. The Scary. I will say that Nightfall is not the scariest book I've read of late but there were some downright creepy bits. After all, when you find out your deserted island isn't as deserted as you thought it was and is inhabited by an entirely other species that kill your kind, there are bound to be some terrifying moments.

This book isn't perfect but I still think it makes for a fantastic Halloween read. If you want something original and creepy, I'd definitely recommend this. Nightfall will draw you into it's world and will leave you wanting more (in a good way) once you're done!

Note that I received an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review


It was a freebie and it's WORTH IT

The Story of Awkward - Regina Wamba, R.K. Ryals, Melissa Ringsted

This is STILL A FREEBIE on Amazon


You know what I would have thought improbable about two weeks ago? Falling in love with a freebie novel I snagged from Amazon. It happened though. The Story of Awkward made me feel all the feels. It was an emotional rollercoaster and it was 100% worth it.

This is a book many people will be able to relate to. Are you awkward? Do you sometimes have trouble embracing yourself? Is it hard to sometimes remember that you are perfect the way you are? Then you’ve come to the right place.

The Story of Awkward tells the story of a girl named Peregrine. She created the world of Awkward as a way to escape all the badness in her real life. From bullying to her emotionally abusive father to her in-different mother. The thing is, in spite of all these issues, the book doesn’t start off in a bad place. It starts off with Peregrine ready to go to college and excited for a fresh start.

But, a near death accident transports her, and her tormentor (who also happens to be her best friend’s brother) to the world she imagined as a kid. To Awkward. And Awkward is in trouble. It will be up to Peregrine and Foster (her tormentor) to save it.

Awkward was an awkward world. There will be some things about it that don’t make sense but I decided to go with the flow and ignore those tid bits because it is still a wonderfully imagined world and SO CREATIVE!

This book takes us on an adventure to save a prince who has been lured in by perfection but it also takes us on a journey of self-acceptance. The book also features a super cute romance between Foster and Peregrine.

I know what you might be thinking, “BUT HE TORMENTED HER”, and I felt that too but Ryals does such a fantastic job with the romance and makes the two SO EASY TO SHIP. Their romance is wonderfully developed and doesn’t turn into instalove when it easily could have. I loved watching them support one another and help each other feel accepted.

That said, my main issue with the book was that the MC had to lose weight to let go of her body image issues.

This is a fantastic book written in a unique voice and it so loveable. It features a strong yet awkward female lead, a cute romance, an interesting world and also a great message. 

5 2

I really wanted more of Black Widow

Black Widow Forever Red (A Marvel YA Novel) - Margaret Stohl

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

I actually didn’t start watching marvel movies until earlier this year. I know. I am a disgrace. I just didn’t know what I was missing out on, guys.  One thing I have always been aware of is that there is not nearly enough of Black Widow out there. She is an important character in the Marvel universe yet the movies continue to cast her as a secondary character and don’t show her in all of her glory. This is why when I heard about this book, I was super excited. Sadly though, this book made her share all the awesomeness with a bunch of other characters and because I am partial to Black Widow, I really did NOT want to read the other POVs. It’s not that they were badly written or that the other characters were badly developed, I just wanted more Black Widow.

In fact, there needed to be a WHOLE lot more Black Widow in this book, in my opinion. Black Widow is a ‘main character’ but really this story focuses on two kids called Alex and Ava. It’s more about Black Widow’s relationship with them and the adventure-y things that happen.What I really wanted was a book about a young Black Widow rather than about the teenager Black Widow rescued 8 years ago and a guy who is somehow connected to this mess.

This book does feature some diversity (a couple of the secondary characters are persons of color) but not enough to get me excited.  Other things this book features includes good friendships. Both Alex and Ava have fantastic friends they can rely on but once their adventure starts, these friends get forgotten and left behind. SADDNESS, yet again.

So did this book actually do anything for me, you ask? It did.The action/adventure bits are FANTASTICALLY written. This book will get draw you in and take you on a fantastic, action packed adventure. In fact, if this book were a movie, I would have absolutely LOVED it. We even get to see a certain Mr. Stark in the book and I couldn’t help but picture Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man is my fav so I was super excited about this.) I loved the use of fancy gadgets and I loved how badass all the characters were. I loved watching them fail and them rise up again and form a plan to take down a bunch of assholes.

After finishing the book, I was curious and looked up what Black Widow’s story arc to see how much the book stuck to her story and I found out that the book doesn’t necessarily follow everything that happened in the comics but there are several things and names that are similar. If you’re a fan of the comics and are afraid because you’re worried the book might butcher one of your favorite characters, I’d still say to give the book a chance.

One of my biggest problem with this book was the romance. Ava has been dreaming about Alex for a while and when they meet, she recognizes him. He on the other hand has no idea who she is and based on one interaction (where Ava basically asks if he recognizes her, which he doesn’t) he decides that he is going to risk his life to help her out. He leaves his family and friends behind, gets shot at, leaves the country and does a whole lot of other things for a girl he JUST met. He doesn’t have the excuse of having been dreaming about her. What he has is (or what he says he has) is a ‘connection’ with this girl. I don’t think anything in the world could ever make me not see that as insta-love. And yes, they do fall in love as well. Only a couple days later. If that’s not insta-love, someone better sit me down and tell me what is.

There is also the matter of the ending which I didn’t like. It’s not that it ruined the book for me or anything. It’s just that I can think of so many other ways that things could have turned out. The ending just didn’t feel right to me.

With all the things that didn’t work for me, you might be wonder whether or not I actually liked the book and the answer to that is, I DID. There may not be enough of Black Widow but there is still a lot of her and her character was fantastically written. I may not have cared for the teens, but that’s okay too because the book was addictive. I DIDN’T CARE THAT I DIDN’T CARE. I was too engrossed in all the other things that were going on. This is a fast paced, addicting read that is super hard to put down and will have you flipping the pages like crazy. I had my issues but I still think the book was worth my time and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an action oriented book!

Note that I received an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review


Sad I didn't love this

Who Could That Be At This Hour? - Lemony Snicket, Seth

I, like many other people, loved The Series of Unfortunate Events as a child so when I found out that this series would be a prequel of sorts, I was PUMPED. It only took me a couple years to getting around to reading the first book in this prequel series.

Lemony Snicket is probably one of my favorite characters ever so the fact that this series is all about a younger him made me really happy! I couldn’t wait to get inside his mind and see if he was just as awesome when he was younger. The answer to that is yes. However, this book just didn’t live up to the awesomeness of The Series of Unfortunate Events. The mystery element wasn’t as satisfying and I felt like it didn’t challenge me as much as The Series of Unfortunate Events did. There were also times when the book just jumped around in ways that didn’t work for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the book and it had me cracking up at several parts but it really doesn’t even begin to compare with The Series of Unfortunate Events.

One of the reasons this book probably didn’t blow my mind was because in some ways, all I really did was compare this book to The Series of Unfortunate Events and everyone knows that that’s probably not a good idea.

Who Could be At This Hour was a very fun read with an enjoyable mystery but one that didn’t challenge me so I was left feeling a little disappointed but I still plan on picking up the rest of the books in the series. I gots to have more of Lemony Snicket!



Walk on Earth a Stranger - Rae Carson

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Walk on Earth a Stranger may just be the best YA Western I’ve read so far. It’s all I ever asked for bundled into an exciting adventure that had flipping pages as fast as I could. Fair warning though, this book won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

For as long as I can remember, reading books that feature journeys has been *my* thing. I mean lots of things are my thing, but I always find myself craving a good old adventure. Across a country, to the top of the mountains, WHEREVER. I love living vicariously through characters journeying to some place and reading about the hardships they have to overcome. But that is just me as a reader and not everyone wants to read an entire book reading about a character’s journey. Some people will want more.

I don’t have much to go on but I have noticed that all the YA Westerns I’ve read so far, parents seem to die and I am not sure how I feel about this trope. Wouldn’t it be nice if parents actually got to live and if there were other catalysts to inspire these journeys across the wild west? There were a bunch of other tropes but I kind of just moved on from them once we got to the actual journey bits. That’s when the book REALLY just grabbed my attention and I COULDN’T STOP.

Leah is a fantastic main character. I loved reading about her, I loved being inside of her head and I LOVED getting to be a part of her journey. When her parents are suddenly killed and it becomes obvious that her uncle, her new guardian was responsible, Leah decides to run. Leah is smart. A lot of female leads are smart, but I love that Leah is not someone who rushes things. When she decided to run away from her uncle, she actually decided to stay an extra couple days so she could plan and get things ready. She also knows how to take care of herself but realizes that when running away, groups are better than individuals.

This book also features a diverse set of characters which is awesome. We have the “confirmed bachelors”, we have Hamptom who is a slave and Leah’s best friend Jeff who is half Native American and thus has to deal with with a lot of prejudice and resist the urge to punch people (or was that just me?)

What I loved about this book is that it not only featured diverse characters, it also addressed a lot of important issues of the time. The book brought up the injustices being committed against various races by the Caucasians (trying to be PC here and not say white people) and it also showed us instances of where assholes did horrible things because of their assumed superiority.

The writing was also terrific although I did find myself sometimes slipping into the ‘cowboy slang’ from Vengeance Road. If you read my review for Vengeance Road, you’ll know that the cowboy slang had actually bothered me in the beginning, but here I was finishing off certain sentences the way they would have been if this book were written in the same style as Vengeance Road. Having said that, I thought the writing style was perfectly suited to the situation and really did make me feel like I was right in the middle of it all, journeying across the continent with Leah and company.

The book also has a slight fantasy aspect, given Leah’s gold-detecting powers but their origin wasn’t really explored and to be honest, it really didn’t bother me that it wasn’t. I didn’t need the answers to all the questions and I was okay letting her powers be (especially since there were so many other awesome things happening.)

There is also a subtle romance in the book. My shippy senses were already tingling as soon as I was introduced to the two characters so to finally see my ship sail towards the end of the book made me so happy! It’s a friends-to-more kind of romance and it just made sense given how well they (yes, I am purposefully avoiding naming who the love interest is) worked together and how supportive they were of each other.

As I mentioned earlier, this book is all about the journey. In fact, after the first 20 percent or so, the entire book IS the journey Leah makes from her town in Georgia to Sacramento, California. The journey was so well written and SO DETAILED. I was FANGIRLING and was up until 5:00 in the morning reading the book! I literally couldn’t take my eyes off the pages and all I wanted to know was what hardship they would have to face next and how they'd overcome it. I wanted to know how many people would make it to California (because people do die and it was heartbreaking.)

This book is perfect for readers who enjoy stories of survival and adventure. It is detailed, heartbreaking and at the same time manages to fill you with so much joy. I LOVE THIS BOOK and maybe you will too!

Note that I received an advanced copy of this book for review in exchange for an honest review

5 2

Superheroes do not always an awesome book make (IDK IF THIS EVEN MAKES SENSE)

Zeroes - Scott Westerfeld, Deborah Biancotti, Margo Lanagan

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

I wanted to love this book. I really really did, but unfortunately,Zeroes didn’t blow my mind the way I had wanted it to.It’s not that I didn’t enjoy reading the book, it's just that I wanted so much from it. Scott Westerfeld is one of my favorite authors and superpowers are always incredibly fun to read about so I went in expecting to love this book. When it turned out this book wasn’t everything I had wanted it to be, I was sad and disappointed.

The characters are a diverse bunch, which was awesome but I don't think they weren’t developed as well as they could have been. This is the kind of book where the multiple point of views didn’t work for me. The transitions were okay but I couldn’t get behind all the characters. I liked reading about some more than others but I also felt no strong connection to any particular character since the various POVs focused more on progressing the plot than they did on character development. What development there was related back to the superpowers. I just wanted to be able to experience them as individuals and really get to be inside the characters' heads.

When a book features a group of superheroes, one would expect amazing group dynamics. Unfortunately, for most of the book this group did NOT work like a group. That’s partly because they hadn’t been a group for a year but even when they got back together, I didn’t get the sense of comradeship I had been expecting. There was no witty banter; there weren’t any really fun interactions. The group split up into smaller groups of people who worked together and reported back to Nate aka The Glorious Leader.

This book tells the story of six teenagers born in the year 2000 (WTF? When did kids in books get to be so much younger than me?); Nate, Thibault, Riley, Ethan, Kelsie and Chizara. They all possess various superpowers that make their lives both harder and easier. Nate is the leader of this group but being the sketchy character he is, we never know whether he is a ‘good’ guy or just manipulating the group. To be honest, he was my favorite character since he seemed to be the most complex. Then we have Riley who is blind but her superpower allows her to see through other people’s eyes. I feel like there wasn’t much more to her but that could also be because I never really felt anything for her. Ethan’s power comes in the form of the voice which is all knowing. Ethan was an interesting character because his power completely contrasted his personality. I really liked that contrast but I also wanted to get to know more about Ethan. Chizara has powers that allows her to crash technology and she was the one that underwent the most development over the course of the book (I’d say.) She has always had problems with her power but she finally learns to accept them over the course of the book. Thibault was the character I sympathized with the most. His powers make it so that no one really remembers him. He is invisible but not really. People just have a tendency to forget he is there. That’s nice in a lot of situations but when that results in his parents forgetting about him…. it's not so much fun as it is sad. Kelsie is the latest addition to the group and her superpowers allowed her to amplify emotions in crowds (kind of?) I guess she was an okay character too but I also didn’t really care about her?

You might notice that I barely said anything of substance about the characters and that's because I don't really have anything to say. We don't really find out the back stories of most of the main characters, we don't see most of the them engage with people outside of the group, we don't get to see them have any strong feelings towards things that don't involve their powers, we don't really get much of anything. At the moment, it just seems that their powers are what make these characters who they are.

There are two romances featured in the book and I didn’t like either *gasp*. Ethan has a case of insta-crush when he meets Kelsie. AND I DO SAY INSTA-CRUSH. They don’t even have a conversation before he is all like, I LIKE HER. Look, I've had crushes that have developed over the course of a day, so I get it, but I don’t tend to crush on random strangers I’ve never talked to before or seen.

The romance between Thibault and Riley didn’t work for me because it seemed random and we don't get to see the entirety of their relationship because Riley doesn’t always remember her time with Thibault. That is sad but also kind of creepy since she has no real way of knowing what happened. She just has to trust this guy she can barely remember, that nothing weird went down.

Also, Riley and Nate clearly have an interesting history and I was sad that was just brushed under the rug and not explored at all!

The main conflict is centred around rescuing Kelsie's dad who fucked up big time when he decided to get involved with the wrong crowd. It starts with a bank robbery gone horribly wrong and it ends... well that's for you to find out. I enjoyed watching these kids (I am going to call them kids because they were born in 2000) run around and use their powers in interesting ways to save the day.

Overall, this book was enjoyable with an engaging plot but I found it lacking in several other areas. I am intrigued though and still want to know more about these characters (AND NATE) and see where things will go from here, so I shall await the sequel. Until then, all I can say is that I hope other people will have better luck with the book than I did!

Note that I received an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review


Rocked my world

Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

There is hype surrounding this book. The hype is not a lie. Six of Crows is truly an amazing read that won’t fail to grasp your attention and leave you begging for more. I started by reading this book slowly (since it was a buddy read with the awesome Jasprit) but on the third day, I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t concentrate on any book that wasn’t Six of Crows. I had no desire to concentrate on such a book. I just wanted to know what happened next. I wanted my ships to sail. I WANTED EVERYTHING. And surprisingly enough, I got it. This book delivered on all my expectations if not more.

But that isn’t surprising (even though I just said it was). This book features, thieves and is set in a fantastical world. Obviously this book and I were meant to be. In fact, screw social conventions, I SHIP MYSELF WITH THE BOOK.

I am going to start by stating the only thing I didn’t like about this book.  I didn’t like that we didn’t get Waylan’s point of view. That’s it. As a reader who doesn’t always enjoy multiple POVs, I actually wanted ANOTHER POV aside from the five we were already getting. Basically, Bardugo pulled all of those point of views off. It never felt unnatural or messy. The shifts flowed well and each character had a unique voice (even though the book was told in third person.) What I am saying here is that Bardugo is a genius.

I’ve only read Shadow and Bone from the Grisha series but that never affected my reading of Six of Crows. It may be set in the same universe but it’s set in a different location so there were several differences between the books and I enjoyed that. I love being in this universe because it’s so artistically developed but I also liked that this series has almost nothing to do with the Grisha series.

This book follows the story of six criminals. A convict, a sharpshooter,  A runaway, A spy, A heartrender and a thief AKA Matthias, Jesper, Waylan, Inej, Nina and Kaz. Kaz is their leader but he is also the leader of my heart (okay now I am just being cheesy. I CANNOT HELP IT.)

Kaz is the most precious thing ever. He is a great leader and what he seeks most is vengeance for his brother. He may seem cruel on the outside but he has a hidden depth that will enamour you and make you want to kiss it all better (although he wouldn’t let you get that close to him.) I love that he is so badass but he also cares about his crew. He is clever and even when it seems he isn’t making the right call, he probably is. 

Matthias is surprisingly easy to like. He may do some things that make you want to shake him but deep down he is a person who will keep his word and isn’t so far gone that he cannot tell right from wrong. I loved his POVs and I also loved his relationship with Nina.

Nina is a  character who is also very easy to like. We see that at first she has a very carefree attitude but underneath all of that she is a Grisha solider. She can hold her own and also happens to be badass. She met Matthias a year before the events of the book and their acquaintainship ended when Nina got him sent to jail. However the sparks are still very much there and it was so much fun to watch them dance around each other.

Jesper and Waylan also happen to be fantastic characters. As I mentioned earlier, I was a little sad that Waylan didn’t get his POV because I wanted to see how he was handling everything. He has a privileged past but he ran away from home after a falling out with his father. He had a lot of trouble taking in some of the actions of his colleagues (can a bunch of thieves be considered colleagues?) but he has hidden depths and we get to see him shine during some key parts and see him become more than just a privileged child.

I really liked Jesper because he is charming and very easy-going but we learn that there is much more to them. We get to see his self-doubt and the guilt he struggles with. I am really looking forward to being reunited with Jesper in the sequel so I can see his character develop even more!

Inej, the last member of this team, is full of win. She is a badass spy and like many of her fellow teammates, she has a complicated past. One that holds her down in some ways but also makes Inej, Inej. All villains/superheroes need backstories that have made me them the way they are today. Without her past, Inej wouldn’t be the badass spy she is today, one who is very complex and very fun to read about.

The characters in this book are SO SO well developed and I just want to give all of them a massive bear hug since I love them all so much. They are a diverse group (YAAS) and they will win your heart over.

As some of you might now, I may or may not really really like books that involve crime, which was why I was looking forward to how the heist in this book would unfold. It was seemingly impossible heist but we also have a cast of clever criminals who won't stop until they have their moolah.

This is a cleverly written book that will make you flail, gasp, ship (oh the shipping in this book is so so great) but most of all, it will make your heart soar with joy because of all the awesomeness. This is easily one of my favorites of the year (like Shadow and Bone was many years ago) and I NEED it to be 2016 so I can have the sequel in my hands and devour that monster too.

Note that I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review


Not what I hoped it would be

Lock & Mori - Heather W. Petty

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Lock and Mori did not work out for me and this makes me a sad panda. I enjoy Sherlock retellings so I was excited to read this book but when I dove in, I was surprised by how meh I felt about it. If you want awesome Sherlock bits, this book isn’t it.Sherlock (yes that is actually his first name!) is barely present in the book. He is just a side character. In fact, this book should just be called Mori because Lock pretty much does nothing.

Lock has very similar characteristics to the Sherlock that we all love very well but unlike him, all Lock really does is get left behind. In fact, I kind of felt like Lock was a wannabe Sherlock. Even with the similarities, Lock wasn’t nearly as awesome as Sherlock.  He was bland and all he did was spout out awkward emotional stuff when trying to explain to Mori how much he liked her.

Mori was sometimes even harder to like than Lock. All she did in this book was keep secrets from him. I appreciate that she isn’t dumb and is probably even smarter than Lock but I hate it when characters who are supposed to be working together keep secrets from one another. IT MAKES NO SENSE. Also her reactions to some things made no sense to me. Mori also seems to look down on other women and has some very skewed ideas about certain issues.

Then there was also the case of insta-love. I feel like Lock and Mori are a couple that you can root for, and I could totally understand all the hormones and physical attraction but then suddenly the L word was being thrown around and I just couldn’t understand how over the course of a week, they were in love.

The book also takes a shot at dealing with child abuse which is such a hard issue to tackle. I know sometimes I’ll blame characters for not getting out of an abusive situation earlier, but it isn’t as easy as just leaving. I think, for the most part, the author does a good job with the situation but I do wish some things had been handled differently.

The mystery aspect of this book was actually pretty intriguing and I loved connecting the dots even if I saw some of the twists coming from far away.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to win me over. I am still curious about the sequel and where things will go from here but I just don’t know if I am going to want to pick it up. Neither Lock and Mori did anything for me and I ended up feeling more frustrated than anything else while reading the book since I hate secrets. I do know several people who enjoyed the book though so don’t give up if you were looking forward to reading the book! Maybe it’ll work out better for you.

Note that I received an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review



Tonight the Streets Are Ours - Leila Sales

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Confession: I never read This Song Will Save Your Life, so I had no idea what to expect when I read this book. Let me tell you, the hype surrounded Leila Sales is not a lie. She is a fantastic writer and also a fantastic story teller.

For starters, this book features a main character who is a person of color. YAY! I adored the diverse set of characters but my favorte part about the characterization was that none of the characters were casted as the 'bad guy'.With the kind of situation Arden was in, it would be so easy to make someone the villain of her story so that she could be the hero but Sales never did that. People make mistakes, things happen, but that doesn’t always make people despicable. Even Arden, the main character, isn’t perfect. She makes mistakes and sometimes she doesn’t always see what is right there.

Arden feels under appreciated. She feels like she always supports her friends and boyfriend but no one wants to be there for her. She is tired and fed up of feeling this way and when she discovers a blog called Tonight the Streets are Ours, she feels like someone finally understands.

This book could probably be classified as a coming of age story because this book primarily deals with Arden’s growth. Arden’s development over the course of the book was a joy to read. She is a realistic, relatable character that you cannot help but cheer for.

Is this book perfect? No. Sometimes Arden did bother me (even though she was realistically portrayed) and there were some things that never added up, but I still managed to enjoy the book and  loved the way things wrapped up.

Fair warning though, don’t pay attention to the blurb. The blurb is basically a spoiler. Arden doesn’t go to New York until the second half of the book and while her time in New York is a major catalyst for various realizations about herself, a lot of this book focuses on Arden’s initial struggle and those aren’t explored in New York but rather resolved.  I would have liked if more of the book took place in New York, especially since that is what I went in expecting. I felt like there was all this built up to her trip to New York and not much happened there (in terms of actual physical events.)

At the end of the day though, this was a fantastic read and I think there is much to be learned from Arden’s struggle.  Her story was beautifully told and I absolutely adored getting to be a part of it for the 300 pages or so. This is a book I wouldn’t fail to recommend for someone looking for a thought provoking coming of age tale.


Note that I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review


Tied my mind into knots

The Dead House - Dawn Kurtagich

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

The Dead House is one messed up book and I say that in the best way possible.It's the kind of book that will mess up your brain to the point where you won't be able to tell the lies apart from the truth.

This book is mostly told in dairy format and for some people that may be a turn off but I thought it was a very interesting way to look at things. We may not be inside the main character’s mind but in a way we are. We sense her desperation, we feel the doubt gnawing at her and we get to witness her downward spiral.  

Kaitlyn is at best an unreliable main character. To her, all of her experiences hold true, yet when we get to see other pieces of evidence, readers at least have to question whether Kaitlyn is the person they want to trust.

Kaitlyn suffers from DID, Dissociative Identity Disorder. Or does she? Kaitlyn doesn’t think so. The way the author explores this illness within the book is fascinating. Kaitlyn and Carly are two halves of a whole. Carly comes out during the day and gets to live in a way Kaitlyn doesn't. Kaitlyn comes at night, when the world tends to sleep. She has never felt the sun on her skin, has never really had much of a chance to connect with people. According to her, it has always been this way. Kaitlyn is a character you pity. You wish someone would understand her but at the same time, that could just make things worse (and it did make things worse!)

One of my qualms with this book was Kaitlyn’s relationship with her therapist. I am tired of therapists always being seen as the bad guys (although that is starting to change a little). This relationship; however, was crucial to the book and Kaitlyn’s downward spiral. Kaitlyn is paranoid, she is lonely and she has no one to talk to. When the one person she should be able to trust doesn’t even think she is real, how can she not see her therapist as the bad guy?

The contents of this book are rediscovered two decades after the events of this book (with the book being set in 2025?) No the events did not take place in 1995, they took place in 2005. (Don’t judge me, I thought 10 years ago from 2015 was still in the 90s and I am not over the fact that this is no longer true. I AM GETTING OLDER. WTF?) The 20 year old case is reopened when this diary is found in the ruins and we as readers get access to the diary entries, the sessions between Kaitlyn and her therapist and videos that were recorded by Naida, Carly’s best friend.  This isn’t just a psychological thriller, this book gets downright creepy. There is witchcraft involved, visions, possessions, YOU NAME IT.

Moreover, every single character in this book is questionable. From Kaitlyn, to Nadia. The thing is, that in spite of this, Kurtagich makes you want to believe in her characters.

I know I wanted to.

This is the kind of book where readers will have varying reactions to. Maybe you’ll believe Kaitlyn. Maybe you will believe in the ghosts that have been haunting her and the voice she keeps hearing. Maybe you will believe she has been possessed. Or maybe, you’ll believe that she is a seriously ill teenager who desperately needs help and the *right* kind. Not one from a therapist who may or may not be over medicating her.

I know I am being a little vague in this review but this is just that kind of book that is best experienced on your own. You need to come to your own conclusions about what went down those two decades ago.

This is a fantastic, creepy book that isn’t about clean boxes. Nothing about this book is ‘neat.’ If you want a book that will tie everything up with a pretty knot, this is not for you. But, if you enjoy books that will twist your mind into pretty knots, you may need to check this hauntingly written book out.

Note that I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review


Excellent follow up

Every Word - Ellie Marney

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

I read and loved Every Breath last year and I was really looking forward to reading Every Word.  I am happy to report that this book was every bit as awesome as Every Breath if not more so and it reminds me why I love Aussie lit so much!

Going into this book, I was a little worried about how Rachel and James’ relationship would fare given that he just hopped on a plane and left but I needn’t have worried because Ellie knows what she is doing.

First of all, can I just talk about the amazing dynamics of Rachel’s family? I absolutely adore reading about them. They are a complex family and things are not always happy dandy but they make it work. Rachel’s parents are realistic. They adore Rachel but don’t always let her get off the hook for things she does. Also Mike, her brother, is a fantabulous creature. I love how supportive he is of Rachel and I love their bond. HE IS SO ADORABLE.

Rachel is also a great female lead to head the show. I love her determination. When she flies half way across the globe to help James, she knows he won’t be happy but she doesn’t let that stop her because she knows that whether or not things will be okay between them, James does need help getting through this. I also love that her intelligence is not downplayed when she is with someone like James. She can pick up on things he cannot. Rachel is a very realistic character and I love that while she is brave, she is not abnormally so. When it comes down to it, she'd rather live than die. LIKE MOST PEOPLE.

James was a little bit of a douchecanoe in this instalment but he gets his shit together and then he becomes the same old lovable James. The thing is that his actions are understandable, and Rachel knows that he needs time. Visiting the past that has haunted him for years is hard for him. He is, quite understandably, a wreck. So I decided to forgive him. Plus, he totally redeems himself at the end of the book.

Rachel and James have a fantastic relationship. They, like most teenagers, are full of hormones and therefore tend to have a tendency to make out at inappropriate moments (NOT THAT I AM COMPLAINING.) But their entire relationship is not based on the fact that they are attracted to each other. They are a good couple. They work together as a team and always support one another.

This isn’t the end of it though. Ellie also manages to write amazing mysteries. The plot was amazing and I love that it isn’t too farfetched. When Rachel decides to hop onto a plane, it isn’t completely unrealistic. Things like Visas are mentioned (because you cannot always just hop onto a plane and travel last minute.)The mystery is well thought out and I love how things come together. I love that this book isn’t just a bunch of teens deciding to investigate and that there are people in charge. Also that bit towards the end of the book gets gruesome but I enjoyed that! It upped the stakes and really highlighted that this book isn’t some fluffy mystery, things can get bad REALLY quickly!

Before I conclude my review, there is one very important thing I’d like to discuss. I want to discuss breath that smells like the minty toothpaste someone used over 12 hours ago. WHERE CAN I PURCHASE THIS MAGICAL EVERLASTING TOOTHPASTE? I want my breath to smell nice all the time without having to pop mints or gum!

Silliness aside, this was a fantastic read. Ellie Marney has proven herself yet again. She knows how to weave stories that will capture your attention and make you desperate for more.

Note: I recently read some reviews for Every Move that mention a love triangle-y situation. I was pretty annoyed, but I do think that if anyone can make me get behind this, it would be Ellie. Hopefully everything will be a-okay!

Note that I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review


A little less drama would have been nice

Firewalker - Josephine Angelini

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Firewalker was an anticipated novel but I ended up feeling 50/50 about it. On one hand, it is a fantastic follow up to Trial by Fire but it was also filled with romantic drama and I hated that.

With this book, Lily’s Tristan--the one she used to love--is back in the picture. I was actually surprised by how well that was handled. I was happy that even though Tristan clearly had feelings, Lily doesn't feel the same way any more. Rowan also trusts Lily enough not to question things, SO YAY! But the problem was that Rowan and Lily’s relationship kind of took a bad turn in this book. For a good chunk of the book, they are both keeping secrets from each other and we all know how that ends. In case you don't know, IT ENDS BADLY. And just because you’re keeping secrets to protect one another doesn’t mean the result will be any different. SERIOUSLY, this is all Relationship 101 stuff. I think given a lot of the awkwardness surrounding Lily and Rowan’s relationship (what with the fact that Rowan used to be in love with Lillian) I just want them to be a strong couple who stand side by side instead of one who doesn’t know how to communicate. Don’t get me wrong, secrets aside, they still work fantastically together with Rowan respecting Lily’s wishes and vice versa but secrets just suck. Then there was something that happens towards the end that bothered me. There was a lot of dramatic irony and the whole situation just made me antsy. I just wanted to shout at both of them to build a bridge and GET OVER IT.

I also had a hard time taking in Lily’s Tristan, Breakfast and Una easy acceptance of the situation at hand. I wanted them to not let go of things they had known all their life so easily. Situations like these are always so tricky because one might get annoyed if characters take too long adapting or if they don’t even bat an eye at the situation.

Lily's struggle on the other hand was fantastically portrayed. Lily is still very much adjusting to all these changes and learning new things about herself. For example, Lily has all this magic at her disposal but she still doesn’t know how to handle all of this power, so she constantly needs to be grounded and reminded not to take over her mechanics’ minds. Lily has her selfish moments but in spite of all of this, she is still very much Lily but she struggles to remember that throughout the book. Lily becomes haunted by the similarities between herself and Lillian and a lot of this book deals with Lily trying to find something that makes her Lily and not Lillian. By the end of this book, I was SO proud of Lily and the choices she had made (even though there were times when I disagreed.. LIKE WITH ALL THE SECRET KEEPING.)

However, I was a little bothered by how Lily was treated by her friends/mechanics. I get it, mechanics must protect their witches but she is a super powerful witch and I wanted to see that in their treatment of her. I wanted Lily to be seen as badass instead of just having the ability to be badass.  Also there were times when her opinions weren’t even considered. We as readers know that she is on to something but I hated when her own mechanics just dismissed the things she said.

Lillian plays a big role in this series and the more we learn about her, the more I want to know. She is the 'other Lily', the one who had a different upbringing than Lily but is similar to her in many ways. This book really made us question her role as a villain by showing her side of the story and things became all sorts of complicated. It made Lily question herself and the people around her but it also made me question aspects of the story.  I don’t know where things will go but to be honest, I’d rather Lillian not turn out to be this amazingly good person because the things she has done cannot just be excused because she had ‘good’ intentions.

One of my favorite things about this book was seeing Lily’s Juliet. I absolutely adore her and Lily’s relationship and it was so much fun seeing her again (and I hope we get to see her again!!) Juliet is such a fantastic sister and I love that she was on Lily’s side no matter what.

This series is so rich in its world building and I loved seeing even more of that in this book. We aren’t just given enough details to keep the story going. Instead Angelini pushes the limit and we learn more things about the world and question things we hadn’t before. I LOVE that.

I am having so much fun with this series and while I did have some issues with this book (AND WHAT HAPPENED a little before the end) I think it's a good follow-up and I am ready to sell my soul for Traitor’s Pyre. IS IT 2016 yet because I NEEEDS to read Traitor’s Pyre.

Note that I received an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review


could have been a lot better

Sixth Grave on the Edge (Charley Davidson) - Darynda Jones

Sixth Grave on The Edge was an anticipated sequel yet after finishing it, I felt very mediocre about it. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy being reacquainted with these characters, it’s just that something seemed to be missing.

A spark it would seem. At first, I wondered if I was just losing my interest but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like something else.

I think it's that the mystery in this book wasn't compelling. There didn't seem to be much at stake and I feel like this book was setting us up for future instalments.Sixth Grave on The Edgedoesn’t stick out in any major way especially since the stakes were so much higher in Fifth Grave Past the Light and there was SO MUCH MORE tension.

The most memorable thing about this book for me was the new developments in Ubie and Cookie’s relationship (and boy was I waiting for that to happen!) This book also featured new developments in Reyes and Charley’s relationship which made me happy! They are such a fun couple and have such an amazing relationship. I cannot help but smile every time the two are in the same room. They have amazing chemistry and I LOVE their banter.

The plot was what made this book mediocre. I will never get tired of Charley’s wittiness, her relationships with those around her and watching her develop as a character but that isn’t just what makes this series amazing. Jones always gives a great mystery to read so the mediocrity of the plot in this book was a disappointment. There was too much happening and not enough. We got little hints that were part of a bigger picture but no real glimpse of things on a larger scale.

There were some lackluster parts to this book but I am just going to forget about them and move on to the next book because some of the developments in this book have me excited to read the future instalments (and lucky me because I get to read 2 more before I am all caught up!)

7 1

This book was not my everything, everything

Everything, Everything - Nicola Yoon

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Do you ever read a book that leaves you feeling empty? Unfulfilled? This is what reading this book was like for me. Even now, I am hesitant to pick it up and write this review because whenever I look at this book, I am reminded of that horrible feeling.

There are many good things about this book and I can see why so many people have fallen head over heels for it but this book and I weren’t meant to be.

This book is ripe with potential but for me, that potential was never fulfilled. Instead I was left feeling disappointed.

Maddy is a great female lead and she also happens to be biracial (YAY DIVERSITY!). I love that even though she has been sheltered all her life, she is never naïve. She is smart, aware of her situation and isn’t bitter. That is until Olly comes along. And that’s where I thing things took a bad turn. Because when Olly comes along, Maddy realizes she doesn’t just want to live, she wants to be alive. Olly makes her see all the things she wants and can never have so what does she do? She starts keeping secrets. And if there is one thing I hate, its secrets. There are exceptions but I don't think secrets should be kept from people who are on your side especially if they are just a cover for for reckless behavior. In fact, I am not really fond of reckless behavior (although there are certain situations some readers will find reckless that I wouldn’t so it just depends on the reader) and that was probably strike one for this book and I.

Even though Olly set into motion the events for strike 1, I’d still say he is pretty swoonworthy. He was hilarious, kind and SO PRETTY. He also liked math! Like Maddy, he is dealing with his own issues but said issues were never explored. Somewhere along the way, this book became more about how SCID was preventing Maddy from doing things she wanted to (like being in a real relationship with Olly) than it was about two people connecting despite their circumstances. I wanted a romance that wasn’t limited by restrictions but rather enhanced in some way. But that’s exactly what happened.

Something else that didn’t work for me were some of the minor conveniences like Maddy getting a credit card. Given that she is 18, it’s possible she could have done it without leaving the house but to get a credit card, I would assume one needs a bank account and how did she get her own bank account without her mom knowing and without her leaving the house? While we're at it, why is everything in the house so white? I get that it kind of represents the colorlessness of her life but I'd also like me some concrete explanations. Neither of these things are that big of a deal and the reason they stuck out to me more than they will to other readers was because by the point I started noticing and started getting irritated by these things,  I was no longer in love with the book.

You see, this book was so very charming when it first started. Little details like old diary entries, lists, IM messages (that sounded realistic and weren’t written lyk dis) and Life is Short™ spoiler reviews that Yoon added made this book feel magical and brought Maddy’s character to life. I LOVED this book and I loved Maddy’s character (her favorite movie Pride & Prejudice, THE BBC version!!!!!) I loved Olly and Maddy’s relationship. I loved Maddy’s relationships with Carla and her mother as well. That first third of the book was magical but sometimes, magic doesn’t always last.

Something happens towards the end of the book that seriously pissed me off. That was strike three for me. I cannot go into much detail without giving away spoilers but that one thing made me feel like the entire situation at hand was undermined. Turned into something it shouldn’t have been. It seemed like an easy way out of a very complex situation and I hated that. I wanted there to be a complex solution to the problem instead of a mean twist that solved everything.

This book was obviously a miss for me but given how many people have loved it, I am sure many more will. If you happen to be one of those people who don’t, come join me in eating tons of Nutella to drown all that disappointment.

Note that I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review


Funny but not very deep

Bream Gives Me Hiccups - Jesse Eisenberg

Bream Gives me Hiccups is like most story collections in that there will always be some stories that won’t work for you and some that will. But one of my major issues with this book is that I cannot pinpoint what connects these stories together. Sure they have many things in common but I cannot find something that sticks out to me and makes me go “OMG, WOW, I LOVE THIS.” I think that if the web that connected the stories were more obvious to me, I would have enjoyed the collection a whole lot more.

That said I had a lot of fun reading Bream Gives me Hiccups. At times, it was just laugh out loud funny and sometimes really bizarre but still addicting and hard to put down. I enjoyed being in the minds of many of Eisenberg’s characters (even when they made me cringe.) Also the fact that these stories are told in the form of jokes, diary entries, reviews and more really made them interesting to read.

There were some stories that didn’t work for me though just because the characters made me uncomfortable and in two of the stories, I felt as though something I believe in was being mocked. Sometimes Eisenberg seemed to be walking (or rather writing) between this thin line where I wasn’t sure whether he was trying to point out issues or just mock them and I’d just come out feeling very awkward and uncomfortable.

But maybe that’s just me and not the book.

Either way, I’d say that this book is a fun way to pass the time and won’t fail to crack you up, even if you struggle to find something that draws the stories together to make them meaningful.

Note that I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review


Strong female leads + cute cowboys + an adventure in the wild west = win

Vengeance Road - Erin Bowman

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

You know what makes me happy? That YA Westerns are finally becoming a thing. One of my favorite (and most anticipated books of the year) was a YA Western and as soon as I heard thatVengeance Road was a YA Western (AND SAW THAT BEAUTIFUL COVER), I was sold. I ached with the need to read this book. I could already see I would fall head over heels for this tale of revenge and was so excited to dive in. This book was amazing but the reason I cannot say that this book is the best thing ever is because of the few minor issues I had.  BUT LET ME TELL YOU, this book does the genre justice.

I am going to start off with my few criticisms and then move on to why this book was flipping amazing.

My no.1 problem with this book was how Native Americans came up in the book. There was a lot of distrust between Native Americans and the Caucasians at the time and the author does a good job in portraying that distrust. The problem is that I wanted something more, something that would go beyond just acknowledging the hypocrisy and would go into the details of the injustice being committed. Especially since one of the secondary characters in the book happens to be Native American. But some of the things the MC said were from a place of privilege and I wanted to see another side of her that acknowledges these privileges and that there was a LOT of injustice committed by her people.

My other problem was that sometimes the cowboy slang (idk what else to call it) being used grated on me.Now, I won’t say that I am a huge stickler for proper grammar because I make mistakes all the time, but after a while the Is get annoying.  That being said, I think that for the most part, Bowman nailed the language aspect and the fact that it grated on me doesn’t really speak on whether or not I thought Bowman made a good choice. Personally, I think it actually brought the story to life and made me feel like I was right there in the wild west.

Moving on to the good bits, Kate is an AMAZING female lead. She is someone you cannot help but root for and I had so much fun watching her go on this adventure. After her father is brutally murdered, she is out for blood. She wants revenge and her blood is filled with this need for vengeance. So our adventure begins. Along the way, Kate meets two men and one of them will come to mean a lot to her.

My favorite thing about Kate is how strong she is despite her loss. I love that she is able to hold her own and is just as badass as any other cowboy out there. She may not always realize when having other people around is a good thing but given that she was disguised as a boy, one can imagine why she would go out of her way to avoid hanging out with people.  But she also develops over the course of the book and learns what is really important and I loved being there with her and enjoying the journey with her.

Then we get these amazing secondary characters that join Kate on her journey but they don’t seek vengeance, they seek GOLD. Jesse and Will are so much fun to read about. Will may be someone who comes off as immature but he managed to surprise me when it came down to important stuff. He was never naïve and was always aware of the risks, perhaps even more so than Jesse. Jesse could sometimes be too ambitious but he was also sweet, closed off and SO ADORABLE.

One of my favorite things about this book, besides the characters is how fantastically Bowman brings this historical setting to life.With her choice of words, her choice of scenes, everything. There are gold hunts, gun fights, running away in the dark, and just good ole riding off in the dusk. Everything in this book screams western and I LOVED it.

There is this one twist towards the end that I didn’t necessarily enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very interesting twist and I didn’t see it coming but I also saw no need for it. It didn’t really twist my mind the way one would expect something like that would. It just seem like something that was thrown in but never fully explored and thus I felt as though the book would have actually been better off without it.

Never the less, this was a very good read for me and one I won’t fail to recommend because who doesn’t love them some cowboys and a good ole fashioned adventure?

Note that I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review