Monday, July 31, 2017

ARC Review: Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle

Title: Spellbook for the Lost and Found
Written by: Moira Fowley-Doyle
Published: August 8, 2017 by Kathy Dawson Books (Penguin Group)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: The highly anticipated new book from the acclaimed author of The Accident Season is a gorgeous, twisty story about things gone missing, things returned from the past, and a group of teenagers, connected in ways they could never have imagined. 

One stormy Irish summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hairclips and jewelry, but soon it's clear that Rose has lost something much bigger, something she won't talk about, and Olive thinks her best friend is slipping away. 

Then seductive diary pages written by a girl 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 estate. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too—and like Rose, they're holding tight to painful secrets. 

When they discover the spellbook, it changes everything. Damp, tattered and ancient, it's full of hand-inked charms to conjure back things that have been lost. And it just might be their chance to find what they each need to set everything back to rights. 

Unless it's leading them toward things that were never meant to be found...

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher at ALA in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

Spellbook of the Lost and Found is a book full of magic, mystery, and atmosphere. It's a book that will pull you in to a unique and engaging read. I didn't quite love it as much as I thought I would.

One thing I did love about this book was the prose and atmosphere the author was able to create. This is a book with beautiful writing. It absolutely creates a mood. A mood that you draws you in and builds a setting full of atmosphere and mystery. It's one of those books that forces you to slow down and take in all the words and their meanings. In addition the descriptive writing helped develop a setting pulled you in. I like books that help you forget about the world around you and this book did just that.

This was also a book full of magic and mystery. Much of the plot revolved around those two things. It wasn't a traditional mystery in that there was something specific to solve, it was note that the overall scope of the book was full of mystery. Same with the magic. It wasn't a complex magical system with specific rules that the characters interacted with (something that I usually prefer). In this book it was more about how there is magic and mystery all around us, we may not know it if we are not looking. It's a theme that I really enjoyed and helped to build an interesting atmosphere in this book.

That being said, I didn't totally love the plot development and pacing of this book. I got what it was attempting to and I did like the deeper themes but on the whole it felt a little confusing. I wasn't exactly sure where this book was going throughout it. I didn't know what it's end game was and because of that, I didn't really know when we were at the climax. It had a steady build throughout the entire thing but honestly that felt kind of problematic. It was just too steady. Even when it was all over I wasn't quite sure what it was all for. It just didn't make for a very satisfying feeling when I was done.

I also didn't love the characters. This is a book that has a lot of characters. And honestly, a lot of very similar characters. It didn't help that they were all named after trees. I had the hardest time remembering who each one of them was and how they were all connected. Because they were all connected. I actually did really enjoy those reveals. Some of them I saw coming and others I didn't. But I love when things seemingly unrelated come together in a big way and they did here in this book. The only problem was that there was just so little distinction between characters. There are three main perspectives here: Olive, Hazel, and Laurel. All of their voices felt the same to me. I would find myself forgetting who was narrating and who each of the other people were they kept referring to and honestly, it took me out of the book. I just wish we had one perspective or that the voices felt a little different so I could tell them apart.

On the whole, this was a good read, it's just not my favorite kind of read. It had atmospheric writing that pulls you in, and a plot full of magic and mystery but the plot fell a little flat for me and the characters blended together.

I give Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle 8 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. If you like atmospheric YA in the vein of Jodi Lynn Anderson and Maggie Steifvater maybe check this out but if you are looking for a book with a great mystery and interesting characters then this may not be for you.

Have you read Spellbook of the Lost and Found? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Stacking the Shelves: July Haul

A weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews

This is going to be a small by mighty book haul. I did not get very many books this month. After ALA I have been very good about not buying books or requesting them from Netgalley or Edelweiss. That of course reflects in this month's book haul. I mean I didn't really even get any audiobooks. I've been hoarding my Audible credits so I can use them for rereads this fall. But I did get some super exciting books for review. Like two of my most anticipated reads of the year.

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica - Add to Goodreads / My Review
The only book I bough this month was an audiobook so I could cancel my membership. I'm glad I did because the audio for this was really good.

For Review

The Rattled Bones by S.M. Parker - Add to Goodreads
This is a total me book. New England harbor town and a main character who is haunted by ghostly visions from a mysterious island with a tainted history. I smell an atmospheric historical mystery. I started this yesterday and I am hopeful

Bonfire by Kristen Ritter - Add to Goodreads
I love a good mystery/thriller. Interestingly this one is giving me some Veronica Mars (the movie) vibes and it is written by an actress who was in Veronica Mars.

The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimental - Add to Goodreads
I really like Jane Austen retellings but I think Persuasion might be my favorite. You don't see them very often but that's exactly what this is.

The Sky is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith - Add to Goodreads
A dystopian future with a city plagued by dragons. You heard me right, a dystopia with dragons. I love science fantasies like this and this books sounds so freaking unique. I can't wait to read it

Artemis by Andy Weir Add to Goodreads
I really loved The Martian. I would read basically anything written by Andy Weir. On top of that this book sounds like a fantastic science fiction story with a badass female protagonist I would love.

The Dire King by William Ritter - Add to Goodreads
I saved the best for last! I lost my ability to even when I opened up my copy of this book. I am a huge fan of this series and I am super anxious to find out what happens in the final installment. I'm so grateful to Algonquin for sending me an advance copy.

Those are the books that I got so far in July. What books did you get? Are you excited for any of these? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Friday, July 28, 2017

ARC Review: The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Title: The Hearts We Sold
Written by: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Published: August 8, 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a demon—her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life—she finds the trade may have been more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she could have ever imagined. 

With reality turned on its head, Dee has only a group of other deal-making teens to keep her grounded, including the charming but secretive James Lancer. And as something grows between them amid an otherworldy ordeal, Dee begins to wonder: Can she give someone her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

This was a pretty good read. It pulled me in with the talk of selling your soul to a demon but it kept me reading with an action-packed plot and a complex and interesting world with a science fiction flare. But it wasn't perfect. I didn't love the characters.

I have to admit, I went into this book expecting it to be a dark fantasy type world. When I hear it's about selling your soul to a demon that's where my brain goes. But this pleasantly surprised me in that it was much more surprising and complex world. There is more to the demons than meets the eye and more to the reason why they are taking the hearts from people. I don't want to give too much away because that's part of the joy of reading this book, and any book, is finding out what is really going on. But just know that it has a subtle science fiction feel to it and I loved that. Plus, the author did a great job of showing you the world and letting it all come out as the book unfolded. But I did really enjoy the world of this book.

But this book also unfolded in other and interesting ways, especially when it came to the plot. This was a much more plot-driven read than I expected. It was a book with much more action and adventure that I thought. The plot wasn't particularly complex, in fact it was pretty basic when I think back on it. But it was still incredibly engaging and readable. I wasn't at all bored. There were tons of moments that had me on the edge of me seat wondering what was going to happen and nervous about how it would all develop. And it was paced really well. It all built to an exciting conclusion with an ending that I kind of saw coming but still enjoyed. Plus when I sat down to read this book I just flew through it. It was definitely an engrossing read.

The only thing I didn't love about this was the characters. Now don't get me wrong, they were fine characters. Dee was likeable enough. I appreciated her desire to make her own way and do anything to get what she wanted most, even selling her soul to a demon to get it. I respected her drive and intelligence for sure. But at the same time I felt like she was being needlessly reckless when it came to some of her actions and they never really had consequences. With sell your soul kind of narratives there is usually a coming of age element and there wasn't really here. And even though I liked the spin on the trope I would have liked if they had pulled some more of these traditional elements.

But I think my bigger concern with the characters was with the relationships. I just didn't feel like there was enough attention placed on developing these relationships, both friendships and romantic. The best example of this was Riley. There wasn't enough time for us to get to know her. She just felt shoehorned into the crew and became instant best friends with everyone and I just wasn't feeling that. But I also wasn't feeling the romance between Dee and James. I can understand that they might like one another but it went from her being not understanding or interested to them being in a relationship. My romancephobia just totally got fired up with that. I just wish there was more attention put on developing the relationships.

On the whole, The Hearts We Sold was an engaging and interesting story. It had an interesting and unique world and a plot full action and adventure that will keep you reading until the very end. This book was not at all what I was expecting but I'm okay with that.

I give The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones 8 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. I didn't love this book as much as I thought I would but I did enjoy it. I think readers who are fans of more plot-driven books will enjoy it, especially if you are looking for something a little different. But if you are looking for a dark fantasy wish fulfillment coming-of age story, look elsewhere.

Have you read The Hearts We Sold? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Steifvater

A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: All the Crooked Saints
Author: Maggie Steifvater
Published: October 10, 2017 by Scholastic

Synopsis: Here is a thing everyone wants:
 A miracle. 

Here is a thing everyone fears:
What it takes to get one. 

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect. 

Maggie Stiefvater has been called “a master storyteller” by USA Today and “wildly imaginative” by Entertainment Weekly. Now, with All the Crooked Saints, she gives us the extraordinary story of an extraordinary family, a masterful tale of love, fear, darkness, and redemption.

Why I'm Waiting:

I love me some Maggie Steifvater. She is an amazing writer and a really nice human being. I've met her multiple times and every time she has been super sweet and super funny. I haven't read all her books but all her books I have read I have loved. Basically I would read any of Maggie's books because she's fantastic.

But even if I didn't love the author I would still be super interested in this bool For one thing it has a magical realism vibe to it. I really love magical realism and they are the perfect reads for the fall in my opinion. They usually have a subtle magic and unique fantasy elements plus an atmospheric setting, and diverse and complex characters. That is everything that this book has.

Plus Maggie does those things really well. She is a master at developing atmospheric and complex worlds and settings that pull you in and capture your interest. Plus her books already have a subtle magic to them so they perfectly fitting for a magical realism kind of magical system. I am really interested to see her take on this kind of story. I think she'll do an amazing job with it.

I was really excited to get a copy of this at ALA and see Maggie again. I'm so excited to have my hands on it and I can't wait to read it.

What about you? What are you waiting for this Wednesday? Are you waiting on All the Crooked Saints along with me? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Blog Tour: Buried Heart by Kate Elliott Review and Giveaway

About the Book:

Title: BURIED HEART (Court of Fives #3)
Author: Kate Elliott
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Pages: 448
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | TBD 

Synopsis:  The explosive finale to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's captivating, New York Times bestselling young adult series 

In this third book in the epic Court of Fives series, Jessamy is the crux of a revolution forged by the Commoner class hoping to overthrow their longtime Patron overlords. But enemies from foreign lands have attacked the kingdom, and Jes must find a way to unite the Commoners and Patrons to defend their home and all the people she loves. Will her status as a prominent champion athlete be enough to bring together those who have despised one another since long before her birth? Will she be able to keep her family out of the clutches of the evil Lord Gargaron? And will her relationship with Prince Kalliarkos remain strong when they find themselves on opposite sides of a war? Find all the answers in this beautifully written and exciting conclusion to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's debut New York Times bestselling young adult trilogy!

My Review:

**** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher as part of the blog tour in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****

 I am so excited to be on the blog tour of this book. Especially because I really enjoyed the first two books in this series. It's an incredibly engrossing dystopian book with subtle fantasy elements, and amazing world building. And Buried Heart was a good conclusion to the series.

My favorite thing about this book, and the series of in general, is the world building. This is a series with such a rich world. It's not uncommon to find a fantasy or dystopian series with influences from Greek and Rome, but somehow the author makes it feel unique. Perhaps it's the fact that there such an elaborate and intriguing history and mythology to this series. In the course of three books we have learned so much about this world and the magic and mystery that influence. Here we learned more about Efea and everything we learned was amazing. There's and incredible amount of depth here. So much so that I think we've only just begun to explore it. But Kate Elliott's writing pulls you in and makes it all come alive.

I also really like the characters in this series. In the course of three books I have become quite attached to these characters. First of all, I adore Jessamy, our protagonist. She's such a great hero. She's tough and resourceful, but also fiercely loyal. She cares so much about her family and the people that she loves me that she will do anything for them. There's something so likable about her for those reasons. You want her to succeed and save the day. But she doesn't always get to do that. She's not perfect. There is a subtle vulnerability to Jess that makes her even more complex and likable. She's a great main character and I love her voice.

This is also a series with fantastic secondary characters. There is a pretty big cast of characters here, many of whom you have had three books to connect with them. In particular I really like Jes's family. Her mother, who gets some great development and a really interesting storyline here, and her sisters are great and complex characters. But I think her father might be the most complex and interesting of her family members. There's so much depth to to him. He has some really great development and his daughter is so much like him that everything I love about her, I love about him. Speaking of love, I have to talk about Kal. Their relationship develops further in this book and some of the most emotional moment here come at the hands of Kal. And yet it was still a subtle relationship. The romance didn't take the focus, it just added depth to a book already full of depth.

The focus of this book was on the political intrigue. Seriously, there was so much political intrigue in this book. I love when the plot of final books focus on the politics and these kind of elements. So much of it was about the relationship between to Saroese and the Efeans. There's the war, the court intrigue, who's going to rule, why, and those who have long been oppressed throwing off the shackles of their oppressors. This series has long explored the mistreatment of the people who have been viewed as inferior and it was great to see their rebellion in full effect as this book developed. This is one of the things I like about dystopia and it is was a great part of this book as well. It was a hugely satisfying ending and I loved the way it developed.

However, I didn't totally love the pacing of this book. It is on the longer side for YA, which is totally fine. I love a long book. But I like a book that doesn't feel long. This book however felt long. It dragged in parts even though there was a lot of action. But I think it just didn't have a good flow to it. It felt a little bit like two different stories. There was one in the first half just about the affects of he first book and the court intrigue, then the second half was more about the rebellion. They were both really interesting but only loosely connected. I just would have liked there to be a little bit of a better flow to it.

On the whole, Buried Heart was a really engaging read. It was good ending to a great dystopian series, it has a brilliant and creative world, likable and complex characters, and a plot full of intrigue and action.

I give Buried Heart by Kate Elliot 8.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. If you liked the first two books in this series you will not be disappointed by this one. It's a really good series that I would definitely recommend to fans of dystopia. But even if you are kind of over the genre, give this one a try. It feels classic and creative at the same time. I really enjoyed it and I think you will as well.

Have you read Buried Heart? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. And if you haven't read the book and want to, there is a giveaway as part of the tour. Scroll down for more info and become one of 3 people to win a copy of the book. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

About Kate: 

Kate Elliott has been writing stories since she was nine years old, which has led her to believe that writing, like breathing, keeps her alive. As a child in rural Oregon, she made up stories because she longed to escape to a world of lurid adventure fiction. She now writes fantasy, steampunk, science fiction, and YA, including recent works Black Wolves, Court of Fives, and Cold Magic.

It should come as no surprise that she met her future husband in a sword fight. When he gave up police work to study archaeology, they and their three children fell into an entirely new set of adventures amid dusty Mexican ruins and mouthwatering European pastry shops. Eventually her spouse’s work forced them to move to Hawaii, where she took up outrigger canoe paddling. With the three children out of the house, they now spoil the schnauzer.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Live Journal | Goodreads | Tumblr 

Giveaway Details: 

Tour Schedule: 
Week One: 
7/17/2017- YA Books Central - Interview
7/18/2017- The Eater of Books! - Review
7/19/2017- Novel Novice - Guest Post
7/20/2017- Just Commonly - Review
7/21/2017- Two Chicks on Books - Interview

Week Two: 
7/24/2017- My Thoughts Literally - Review
7/25/2017- Sarcasm & Lemons - Review
7/26/2017- Stephanie Plotkin - Review
7/27/2017- PaperTrailYA - Excerpt
7/28/2017- Seeing Double In Neverland - Review

Thanks again to Rockstar Book Tours for having me on the tour for this book. I really enjoyed this series. Have you read The Buried Heart? What did you think? Leave a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Crossing Over - Mysteries with Missing Persons

Hey all. It's been awhile since my last Crossing Over post. If you're not familiar with Crossing Over it's a feature that stemmed from my desire to recommend an adult book with crossover appeal based on a YA or sometimes Middle Grade book that are similar. I hate that we pigeonhole books into a specific age range and so I try to combat that. Plus it's basically an if you liked, then try but for crossover books. It runs once a month (usually) here and I pick the books based on the theme of what I'm reading. So this month my theme is historical fiction and honestly that was a pretty hard one for me. I feel like I don't read a ton of adult historical fiction and the ones that I do are very different from the YA I read. So I did a little bit of a twist on the topic and do time travel stories with a big focus on historical fiction

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehring
Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

This book is about a girl who goes missing and how her best friend and boyfriend has to cope with that and find out exactly what happened to her. Everyone thinks she just ran away but the main character suspects foul play. As the book unfolds we learn more about both the character who goes missing and the narrator. In fact, much more of the focus is on the development of Flynn's character, which honestly was totally fine with me.

Because honestly, the best part of this book may have been the characters. This is a book that is full of fantastic and complex characters. Seriously, most of the characters in this book were incredibly unlikable, even January. But the author does a great job in making you connect with them. You don't agree with their motives but you respect them for their bad decisions. They felt realistic and interesting. Which to me is an essential part of a good mystery.

Speaking of that mystery, this was a pretty good one. I prefer my mysteries to be solvable. I want there to be clues along the way that help me figure it all our but not until the very end. I want it to unfold in a way where I am solving it with the characters. And while I did figure this one out pretty easily there were still plenty of surprises along the way.

In general, it's a good read and an interesting mystery. It's more character-driven than I expected but that was okay because the characters were some of the best things about this book. I totally recommend it to fans of YA mysteries.

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Read My Review / Add to Goodreads

This book is about a girl who goes missing and how her best friend and roommate has to cope with that and find out exactly what happened to her. Everyone thinks she just ran away but the main character suspects foul play. Then there is the mysterious appearance of a woman in a town an hour away that the other main character is drawn to and no one else seems to care about or even notice really. As the book unfolds we learn more about the character who goes missing, the girl who just showed up, and the narrator. I don't want to give too much away but there are a lot of good reveals.

Because honestly, the characters were amazing. This is a book that is full of fantastic and complex characters. Seriously, most of the characters in this book were incredibly unlikable, even the narrators at times. But the author does a great job in making you connect with them. That is what Mary Kubica does so well in all her books. You don't agree with their motives but you respect them for their bad decisions. They felt realistic and interesting. Which to me is an essential part of a good mystery.

Speaking of that mystery, that was probably the best part. I prefer my mysteries to be solvable. I want there to be clues along the way that help me figure it all our but not until the very end. I want it to unfold in a way where I am solving it with the characters. And that is exactly what this book did. You don't have all the pieces of the puzzle until the very end and when you do and you see the whole picture you are shocked and so entertained.

In general, it's a good read and the perfect summer mystery. It's more character-driven than I expected but that was okay because the characters were one of the best things about this book. I totally recommend it to fans of mysteries.

Besides the fact that both of these mysteries involve kidnappings, I would say that the main similarities are that they focus more on the characters and who they are then on the over-arching whodunit kind of aspects of the mystery. That is one of the things I love about all Mary Kubica's books and I know Caleb Roehring focused a lot on making his characters complex but still sympathetic. If you like those kinds of mysteries check these two out for sure.

Have you read Last Seen Leaving and/or Don't You Cry? What did you think? What mystery novels with crossover appeal do you like? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

ARC Review: Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

Title: Little Monsters
Written by: Kara Thomas
Published: July 25, 2017 by Delacorte Press (Random House)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: For fans of Pretty Little Liars, Little Monsters is a new psychological thriller, from the author of The Darkest Corners, about appearances versus reality and the power of manipulation amongst teenage girls.

Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley and ALA in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

Little Monsters was a pretty good mystery. I read a lot of YA mysteries and I am always looking for one what is going to shock and amaze me. And I have to say, that was not this book. But it was entertaining and interesting.

As far as the mystery goes, it was good. I prefer a mystery that is solvable. One that takes it's time to unfold throughout the book and then when you finally get to the big reveal you are surprised and satisfied but not totally shocked. Little Monsters was a little bit of both those things. For one, I solved about half of the mystery. There was one aspect that I figured out almost immediately but I didn't figure out why until the very end. That is a good mystery for me. But there was another element that felt totally out of left field. I think this could have been a really fantastic mystery if it had didn't have that part. Or if that part had more of a build up. There was just too much focus on other elements.

But I will say, this book was really well paced. I'm constantly saying how basically every book I read lately has a slow beginning and then an overly-thrilling ending. But not Little Monsters. I hooked me pretty early and kept me engaged until the very end. It also steadily built to an interesting climax. It took me only a few days to read this book and I even read it over a very busy weekend full of parties and trips to waterparks. Only a book that I was really enjoying would have captured my interest at a time like that.

The other thing that captured my interesting was the setting and atmosphere of this book. I thought the author did a really good job of setting the scene. It had a really good small town feel to it. I love mysteries that are like that, ones like Fargo and Twin Peaks. And the cool thing to about this town is that it had a history and urban legends that added to the atmosphere. I thought the stuff with the Red Woman was really interesting and added a great atmosphere to the book. To be entirely honest I would have liked some more of The Red Woman.

But what I didn't like about this book was the characters. I feel like that is something crutially important in a good mystery. I usually prefer unlikable characters, ones who are odious and complex so you question their motives and actions. That is of course a personal preference, but I do still think you have to connect with the characters and I didn't here. I think maybe there was an attempt to make them unlikable. I mean they did have a Mean Girls/frenemy kind of vibe to them which I appreciated. But for the most part they weren't very memorable. The attempt to make them mysterious kind of made them bland to me. The most interesting character was Bailey who was only around in flashbacks. I wish that I had just connected with the characters a little bit more and they had been more complex.

But on the whole this was a pretty good mystery. It had a great atmosphere and a plot that kept me hooked from beginning to end. It wasn't perfect but it was thoroughly entertaining. It's not the next great YA mystery in my opinion but it is one that is worth the read.

I give Little Monsters by Kara Thomas 8 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. I would definitely recommend it to fans of YA Mysteries. It was a pretty interesting read with a good mystery. If you liked The Darkest Corners I would check this one out as well.

Have you read Little Monsters? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY BREADING!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston

A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: That Inevitable Victorian Thing
Author: E.K. Johnston
Published: October 3, 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers (Penguin Group)

Synopsis: Set in a near-future world where the British Empire never fell and the United States never rose, That Inevitable Victorian Thing is a novel of love, duty, and the small moments that can change people and the world.

Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendent of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history two centuries earlier. The imperial practice of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage like her mother before her, but before she does her duty, she'll have one summer incognito in a far corner of empire. In Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire's greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir apparent to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an unusual bond and maybe a one in a million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process —just like the first Queen Victoria.

Why I'm Waiting:

I have read a few of E.K. Johnston's books and they were pretty good. I liked A Thousand Nights but I loved Exit, Pursued by a Bear. It was one of my favorite books of last year. After really enjoying that book I decided I wanted to try more of the author's books. This is the perfect opportunity to do just that because on top of enjoying the author, this is a total me book.

For one thing this is an alternate history. I have been really loving alternate histories lately. I used to think that I didn't really enjoy them because it messes with the historical fiction aspect of the book. But then I read few that really blew me away. I think I'm realizing that the alternate histories I prefer are ones that take place in the future after something different happened. That's what this is.

So the thing I am most excited about when it comes to this book is the world. It has that Victorian era thing about being about court politics, debutante balls, society, and such but it also involves unique and interesting things like sci-fi or steampunk elements. Plus it mentions pirates so like, sign me up for that!

Plus can we talk about this cover? First of all it is purple which is my favorite color. Any book with a purple cover I am on board with. But on top of that you have the dichotomy of the tree and what looks like maybe parts of a motherboard. Either way, it's science-y. Also, it's shiny! It's going to look so pretty in the final hardcover.

I was really hoping that there would be copies of this at ALA and I was so glad to hear that there were. I of course picked up a copy it looks quite pretty just in the ARC format. But I am so excited to read it!

What about you? What are you waiting for this Wednesday? Are you waiting on That Inevitable Victorian Thing along with me? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Audiobook Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Written by: Sandyha Menon
Published: May 30, 2017 by Simon Pulse

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right? 

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself. 

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not? 

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

I know so many of you loved this book. It's one that I saw a lot of talk about when it came out in May. I wanted to let the hype die down a little bit before reading it. But then all the drama over the character came out and so I decided it was time. I don't read a ton of YA contemporaries but every once in awhile it's nice to take a break from the genre fiction and read a cute romance. And that's exactly what this book was, cute.

The story was built on the relationship between Dimple and Rishi so I have to start with the characters. As far as Dimple goes, I really liked her. She is a bit on the rebellious side wanting to be more of an American teenager and less of the Indian teenager her parents want her to be. She's sassy and tough, fiercely independent, and will do anything for the people she cares about. She's also incredibly ambitious, working hard to get what she wants. I respected her for this and rooting for her. Rishi on the other had is the traditional Indian teenager his parents want him to be. He's also incredibly sweet and kind but with a bit it mean streak that appreciated. I did however like Dimple way more than Rishi. I think Rishi was just too perfect. What's the male equivalent of a Mary Sue because that's what a Rishi was. I liked him so much better in the rare moments he did something that wasn't cautious and according to plan.

But honestly, so much of this book was about these characters realizing you can't entirely plan out your life because the unexpected could be much better than what you ever imagined. Both of them have great development throughout the book as they learn and grow into more well-rounded individuals. It felt very genuine and honest to see two teenagers feel conflicted about their futures, make mistakes, and figure what it was they really wanted. Not what their parents wanted for them or what was expected of them, what they wanted.

And of course I have to talk about the romance. It was incredibly cute. I am quite romancephobic and when it comes to romances it's often hard to please me. And if I am being entirely honest, this wasn't my favorite romance. It was very sweet. Like overly sweet at times which just isn't my thing. But in the end it won me over. I think because it didn't stay perfect the entire time. Even though it was a short span of time, this relationship definitely had its ups and downs and I appreciated that. This very easily could have been a wish fulfillment kind of relationship and at times it seemed like it was going there but in the end it was something more genuine and complex.

Before this review is over though I want to take a second to talk about the secondary characters. That is definitely another place where this book shined. First of all I really enjoyed Dimple and Rishi's parents. Both sets of parents were involved and invested in their children's lives. They cared so much for them and would do anything to see them happy. That's not super common in YA so I appreciate it when I see it. I also really like Ashish, Rishi's brother. They had such a realistic sibling relationship. Plus Ashish was hilarious and is already so likable. I hear he's getting his own book and I can't wait for him to get a little more depth.

I did enjoy this book but it didn't totally blow me away in the way it has for most people. I think just in general it's not my favorite kind of read. It was just a little on the sweet side for me. But it had great characters and the romance won me over in the end.

I give When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon 8 out of 10 stars

Buy.Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. If you like really cute YA contemporary romances and are looking for a new one to read definitely check this book out. It is totally adorable and I think will really appeal to fans of romance.

Have you read When Dimple Met Rishi? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!