Category: Reviews

Holes…by Louis Sachar

Holes…by Louis Sachar

Stanley Yelnats is accused of a crime he did not commit. He is sentenced to a boys camp in the middle of a bone dry desert. The camp is ironically named Camp Green Lake. Day in and day out the boys at the camp must dig holes in the scorching heat for the warden. This story has multiple perspectives. Stanley’s present day and the past of  Stanley’s great-great grandfather as well as the past of Camp Green Lake. ‘Holes’ is much more gritty than the average middle school novel. Its is definitely not all fairies and unicorns. There are some somewhat harsh scenes in the story but they are important part of the book . ‘Holes’ is a story about overcoming adversity and a deep message about good triumphing over evil. As for the cast of characters in the novel they are definitely unique. With names like Armpit, Zero, and X-ray how could they not be. This story is told with a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor. The whole thing with Stanley talking about his  no-good-dirty-rotten- pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather is just hilarious. It’s also really funny about that whole thing with Stanley’s name being spelled the same both backward and forward. I am not sure […]

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Tantalizing Maria…by Helen Hardt

Tantalizing Maria…by Helen Hardt

Maria married her lover’s brother after her lover is sent away to prison. Years later Maria’s husband has died and her lover, Jefferson Bay, is released from prison after he is found innocent.   ‘Tantalizing Maria’ is #7 in the ‘Temptation Saga’. The series is based around different members of an extended family. I have not read any of the other books in the series but this novel can be read as a stand alone. I had never heard of this series (romance isn’t really my thing) but I received this book in a subscription box and it had good ratings so I thought I would give it a shot.   Honestly, I don’t really have a lot to say about this book, so I’m going to make this a mini review.  The POV alternates between Maria and Jefferson’s past relationship  and present day. The characters are ok, nothing exciting. The romance is moderately steamy. The story is pretty good but very predictable.   This type of story is not really my thing. However, I would recommend this for those that are really into romance series, especially if you enjoy series where each book is a different POV of a […]

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Dying Wish….by Margaret McHeyzer

Posted December 12, 2018 by Karen in Books, Reviews , , , / 0 Comments
Dying Wish….by Margaret McHeyzer

Alice is a ballet prodigy. Her best friend Becky has been like sister to Alice since Becky’s mother died. When Alice begins a relationship with Elijah she thinks her life is perfect then she receives devastating news. This novel will make you so emotional. I haven’t ugly cried over a novel since my first read of a Kristian Hannah.  I had no idea that this novel was going to be so gut wrenching. The author really brought to life the feelings of those who are close to someone who that is going through what Alice is going through. Alice as a character really touched me. I really felt that she  is someone who I would know. Becky and Elijah were still really likable for me but I Alice was a real person to me. That being said. I really love the first 2/3 more than the ending. (I thought this would be a 5 star read for me through the first part of the book). The last 1/3 is still really great but just didn’t bring out the emotion that the first part of the novel did. The ending is important to the story and a main part of the […]

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Underwater….by Helen Vivienne Fletcher

Underwater….by Helen Vivienne Fletcher

Bailey has recently lost her parents to a violent crime. She and her younger sister Tilly  are desperately trying to get on with their lives. Their grandmother takes them to a family resort to try to relax and forget about their problems. There Bailey meets a new group friends that will bring out the best and the worst in her.   ‘Underwater’ is the second book I have read in recent months that takes place in New Zealand. I really love this as I don’t know much about New Zealand and it’s a really great setting. I also like that the location for ‘Underwater’ is a family resort. The resort kind of gave me a combination of a ‘Dirty Dancing’ and sleep away camp vibe.    All the characters including Adam, Amber, Jenny, Claire, and Freya are interesting and seemed like people I would know. Even though Claire is the bad girl in the story there is something approachable and vulnerable that made me like even her. My favorite characters are Jenny and Amber. They really spice up the novel and add some diversity to it.   My favorite part of the story is the slow burn romance between Bailey and […]

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On Delicate Wings…by L.J.Higgins

Posted December 10, 2018 by Karen in Books, Reviews , / 0 Comments
On Delicate Wings…by L.J.Higgins

‘On Delicate Wings’ is the story of Mia, who struggles with her reputation as a nerd at school. When beautiful and charismatic Chelsea arrives, Mia has a chance to befriend Chelsea and become one of the cool kids.   I really had no idea what ‘On Delicate Wings’ was about going into it. The story really is about Mia’s quest to become popular. In Mia’s quest to become friends with Chelsea, she gives up her relationships with others. The main relationship she gives up is with her best friend Margaret and her close relationship with her mother. All this change leads Mia’s life in a negative direction.   ‘On Delicate Wings’ is a heartbreaking story. It is the story of so many typical teenagers. In their quest to fit in many make the wrong decisions. In this way I found Mia to be very relatable. I think many of us can understand her struggle.   Many times I found myself not really liking Mia at all. At other times I  really could sympathize with her. Chelsea is easy to really despise and is the villain in this story.  However, I think the author really did a great job of showing […]

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Parasite Life…by Victoria Dalpe

Parasite Life…by Victoria Dalpe

    Jane is stuck in a creepy old house with her invalid mother. She has no idea why her mother is wasting away. Jane is about to find out the truth about her mother and in the process herself.   When I began reading ‘Parasite Life’, I genuinely had no idea that it is a vampire novel. I had never read a vampire novel before so ‘Parasite Life’ is something new for me.    The vampire elements of the story are second to the intriguing storyline of Jane uncovering her mother’s mysterious past. I think that Jane finding out about her mothers past through a hidden diary is an interesting way to fill in gaps in the story. Despite Jane’s troubling behavior, I found myself really loving Jane (one of the things I loved about Jane is how good she took good care of her cat) and really hating her mother and the awful way she treated Jane.   I thought the LGBT twist on the vampire story is well done and I loved Sabrina and her relationship with Jane. I’m not going to lie, some of the blood-letting scenes did gross me out a little.   One of the […]

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Snobbity Snowman…by Maria Bardyukova, illustrations by Quiet Riley Jr.

Snobbity Snowman…by Maria Bardyukova, illustrations by Quiet Riley Jr.

    ‘Snobbity Snowman’ is a picture book about an unconventional and uppity snowman. In the end Snobbity learns an important moral lesson about what it means to sacrifice for others.  My son and I decided to read this together. We loved the cute and quirky  illustrations and we loved Snobbity as a character. The vocabulary is a little advanced so I would take this into account when reading to really young children. Altogether, ‘Snobbity Snowman’ is cute, fun, and educational and we loved it. A perfect read for the holiday season.

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When Fall Breaks…by Julie Solano & Tracy Justice

When Fall Breaks…by Julie Solano & Tracy Justice

    Kaitlyn is living the perfect country life with her family in Northern California. She is a great student, swimmer, and musician. She has a twin brother Caden, a best friend Brody, and a handsome boyfriend Pistol Black. ‘When Fall Breaks’ is the first installment of the Seasons of Jefferson series. It is both a slow burn teen romance and a contemporary story of domestic abuse and teenage love gone wrong.   What I Loved: The slow burn romance between Brody and Kaitlyn is both realistic and very sweet. I love the idea of Kaitlyn and Brody being best friends before they started dating. I liked how the storyline tackled some hard-hitting topics such as domestic abuse and underage drinking and showed the consequences. Also, the country setting to this story is something different from the usual YA suburbia.    What Left Me Wanting More: First off, I understand that the underage drinking and risk taking in this book is to make a point of the consequences of bad behavior. However, I would have liked to see more of a parental presence in the story. Aside from Kaitlyn and Caden’s father being the football coach, their parents were almost never mentioned. […]

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Ray vs. The Meaning of Life…by Michael F. Stewart

Ray vs. The Meaning of Life…by Michael F. Stewart

Ray must figure out the meaning of life in order to be the beneficiary of his late grandmother’s will. At stake is the trailer park where he and his whole family live and work. In the process of finding the meaning of life, Ray begins to experience life and change the way he lives it. The concept of this book is wonderful. A teenager must experience the world around him in order to earn a great reward. This concept intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to figure out what would happen with Ray and his family. The story started out both sad and odd. Ray’s grandmother is killed in a freak run-in with a grizzly bear. Then in a turn of events ,that reminds me of a Simpson’s episode, a surgical team arrives in a  helicopter and freezes grandma’s brain. They then place her brain in a gigantic statue of grandma. Her brain then watches over the trailer park. At the beginning of the story Ray came off as a typical self-centered teenager. He plays video games and eats mac & cheese all day. As Ray becomes more sympathetic to those around him and realizes he had not been living […]

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Welcome Home…Eric Smith (Editor) et al.

Posted December 1, 2018 by Karen in Books, Reviews , , / 0 Comments
Welcome Home…Eric Smith (Editor) et al.

  I have mixed feelings about anthologies. Anthologies are a great way to be introduced to  new authors. However, in every anthology there are always few stories that just aren’t really my jam. I do love adoption stories so I thought I would give this one a shot. I loved almost all the stories in ‘Welcome Home’.  A lot of the stories ended on a cliff hanger. I’m not sure if this is an intentional theme or if the authors meant to leave us waiting for follow-up stories. Either way this left me wanting more from most of the authors. This is a great anthology for anyone who has been touched by adoption.     1.Carlos and the Fifteen-Year-Old Heart-Definitely unique but a little too silly for me (2 1/2 Stars) 2.Strong Enough-Super Hero story (3 Stars) 3.The Sign-Cute LGBT (4 Stars) 4.Up by a Million-One of my favorites about a mother in prison (5 Stars) 5.Mama’s Eyes-Seemed like a TV movie script and a little over the top (2  Stars) 6.A Kingdom Bright and Burning-Really nice story fantasy/reality story (4 1/2 Stars) 7.The Inexplicable Weight of Mountains-Simple story about finding birth parents (3 Stars) 8.Webbed-Magical and Sweet (4 1/2 […]

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