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review 2019-01-21 18:52
Nine Perfect Strangers - Liane Moriarty 
Nine Perfect Strangers - Liane Moriarty

Dear book designers: a rainbow on a book jacket currently means Gay. While I support inclusion, and appreciate it, in this context, it is misleading. I get not wanting it to look girly, but I think I would have gone more in the crime vernacular. Not that it matters about selling it to me, I was going to read the book regardless, because I really like Moriarty's unusual mix of humor and crime and social issues and romance, but some people be sadly disappointed.

 

Loved the book. I was pleased that at least one character wasn't white. There were some interesting surprises, lots of story on everyone, and a very satisfying finish. 

 

Library copy

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review 2019-01-04 22:37
Brutal but stunning dark fantasy, this chilling debut goblin-king novel has roots in Norse mythology
White Stag - Kara Barbieri

In this dark fantasy, Janneke is the last child in a family of daughters and has been groomed to be the ‘male heir’, having been taught to hunt, track, and fight. When her village was burned to the ground she was the only survivor and was taken captive by the malicious goblin Lydian, who scars her for life, and who then sends her to work for his nephew Soren.

She then has to serve this monster who she is bonded to in the Permafrost. A brutal hunt begins for the beautiful white stag as Lydian and Soren compete for the throne of the next Goblin King. Janneke's humanity comes at the cost of becoming more attached and loyal to the goblin Soren, and as she has to learn to survive in the world she has been made to live in, learning truths about the past and about who she really is.

 

This is the first novel from a talented new author, Kara Barbieri, who brought it to life on WattPad; she has imagined a world called the Permafrost, heavily influenced by Nordic mythology, laden with dangerous monsters alongside the goblins, living in an unforgiving frozen landscape. Set to be the start of a series, ‘White Stag’ is both frightening and captivating.

*Frightening because of the amount of sheer brutality in the novel: there are plenty of references to rape, torture, mutilation, and abuse, as well as all the combat/fighting leading to bloodshed and descriptions of injuries and more. Janneke has been victim to unspeakable acts at the hands of Lydian, and we gradually learn about his true capabilities as the story goes on, making him just about the vilest character you can possibly ever read about. Soren, who she is bound to, is the unlikely antidote to this goblin villain, and ironically becomes the one to bring romance and emotion to her world, despite the ‘humanity’ leaving her life.

*That's your trigger warning, folks!

 

 

What I found most appealing about the book, is the journey that Janneke goes on, both physically and emotionally, which kept me captivated throughout; the hunt and the battles are relentless and test her constantly, and the relationship with Soren gradually changes. I've read some criticism of the relationship between her and Soren (I made the mistake of reading others' reviews, which I don't normally do), and I disagree that it would be unlikely that she would become attached to him, given that she is his charge and bound to him. I wasn't sure whether to attribute her feelings towards Soren to a sort of Stockholm syndrome or because she genuinely developed feelings for him because he seemed to care for her (he became more human as she lost her humanity). The dichotomy here is fascinating. They've been attached for some hundred years or so, and the intensity would undoubtedly bring some connection; why now though is more the question, but it makes for great reading.

 

Barbieri has set the stage for a series in a world that may trigger many readers but evokes images, not unlike the Game of Thrones and is for anyone who loves Viking or Nordic-inspired tales and mythology. I appreciated her sense of humor throughout the novel, and I know there is so much more to come from this bright light that is Kara Barbieri.

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/39863517-white-stag
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review 2018-12-29 19:16
A twisted family affair...
Emma in the Night - Wendy Walker

 

 

๏ ๏ ๏  Book Blurb ๏ ๏ ๏ 

 

One night five years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister's return might just be the beginning of the crime.

 

 

 

 

 

๏ ๏ ๏  My Review ๏ ๏ ๏ 

 

I've read reviews where they call the MC of a book an unreliable narrator, but I've never quite grasped what that means...until now, that is.  I think it's when they (the MC) is not giving you; the reader, all the information despite it being from their pov.  For instance, in this book, Cass doesn't give anything away, other than conveying that you "don't know the whole story".  Do I like this approach?  Maybe...my feelings are mixed on this.

 

This was an okay read, despite anti-climatic ending...nothing spectacular...but I mostly liked it.  The narrators were decent too.  The topic of narcissism was not only interesting but also something quite different and it felt well researched.  It was a worthwhile listen just for that alone.  Which is good because the characters were somewhat unlikable at best...and the rest were quite obnoxious, although, some of them were that way on purpose, for sure.

 

๏ ๏ ๏  MY RATING ๏ ๏ ๏ 

 

☆3.8☆STARS - GRADE=B

 

 

 

 

 

 

๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏ 

 

Plot⇝ 4/5
Main Characters⇝ 4/5 
Secondary Characters⇝ 3.7/5
The Feels⇝ 4/5
Pacing⇝ 4.2/5
Addictiveness⇝ 4/5
Theme or Tone⇝ 4/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇝ 3.7/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇝ 4/5
Originality⇝ 4.3/5
Ending⇝ 3.7/5 Cliffhanger⇝ Nope.
๏ ๏ ๏
Book Cover⇝ It freaked me out at first, it kinda looks like an exorcism, because you have to look closely to see that her face is actually facing forward.
Narration⇝ ☆4.5☆ for Therese Plummer (as Abby) & Julia Whelan (as Cass)...they were both quite good and also had distinct voices.  I've listened to them both many times in many different books.
Setting⇝ Connecticut
Source⇝ Audiobook (Library)
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Goodreads
Amazon
Booklikes

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review 2018-12-28 02:51
Space Chicken sounds like the name of a new wave band
Space Dumplins - Craig Thompson

Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson utilized all of the keywords that normally make me sit up and take notice: space adventure, hi-jinks, talking chickens... I absolutely loved the super colorful illustrations but as far as the story...it didn't completely blow me out of the water. Our main character, Violet, is a little girl living in the Roids which is a space community comprised of members of the working classes (classism is an issue). Her father is employed in a dangerous (and morally suspect) line of work gathering space whale nuggets (poop) which are manufactured to be used as fuel. Things have become increasingly dangerous especially for those living on the fringes as the whales have started to invade populated areas of space and cause massive damage in their wake including Violet's school. So when Violet's mom is offered a swanky job in fashion at the space station (where the extra swanky live) she snaps it up without hesitation and takes Violet with her hoping to earn more money and get her daughter a high class education. But things go from bad to worse in the Roids while they're away and Violet's father is somehow all mixed up in it. With the aid of her friends Zacchaeus (looks like a talking bean) and Elliott (actually is a talking chicken) Violet sets off on a mission to save her father and bring an end to the destruction and terror wrought by the wild space whales. Why are they on a path of devastation and mayhem? And what exactly does her father have to do with all of this? If you're interested in finding out the answers then check out Space Dumplins. My take: 6/10 mostly for the awesome illustrations. 

 

Slightly spoiler-y warning: There are vivid depictions of animal cruelty in this book so if you can't deal with that (and I don't blame you because I had a lot of difficulties) then give this book a pass.

 

An example from the inside of the book. [Source: Craig Thompson Books]

 

What's Up Next: Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-11-21 21:58
A Sweet and Sassy Country Music Story that's sure to please...
You'd Be Mine: A Novel - Erin Hahn

๏ ๏ ๏  Book Blurb ๏ ๏ ๏ 

 

 

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.


Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

 

 

 

 

๏ ๏ ๏  My Review ๏ ๏ ๏ 

 

I really thought this was going to come off as overly heavy with the Young of Young Adult, but it surprised me, it deals with some heavy issues and does it surprisingly well.  With a feel that reminds me of Open Road Summer, this story did not disappoint and I think I liked this even more than that book.  The romance has all the feels, even for YA...and I loved every one of the characters so much.  I was also blown away by the songwriting, especially "you'd be mine" and how it embodies the whole story. I would love to hear it put to music.  Since I'm from Michigan, I loved that Annie and even the Author is too.  There was even a shout-out to Grand Rapids, which I live only a little north of.


๏ ๏ ๏  MY RATING ๏ ๏ ๏ 

 

4.8STARS - GRADE=A

 

 

 

 

 Breakdown of Ratings  

 

Plot⇝ 4.5/5

Main Characters⇝ 5/5

Secondary Characters⇝ 5/5

The Feels⇝ 5/5

Pacing⇝ 4.5/5

Addictiveness⇝ 4.5/5

Theme or Tone⇝ 5/5

Flow (Writing Style)⇝ 5/5

Backdrop (World Building)⇝ 5/5

Originality⇝ 5/5

Ending⇝ 5/5 Cliffhanger⇝ Nope.

๏ ๏ ๏

Book Cover⇝ It's okay...

Setting⇝ Michigan/Indiana and all over the United States

Source⇝ I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review 

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Goodreads

Amazon

Booklikes

 

 
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