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review 2018-12-05 01:13
Heavy material in a light package
Sunny Side Up - Matthew Holm,Jennifer L. Holm

Sunny is looking forward to her awesome summer vacation going to the beach with her best friend...and then she gets sent off to stay with her grandfather at his retirement community in Florida. What Sunny views as a punishment is actually her family trying to shield her from her brother's trip to rehab. Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm looks at substance abuse from the viewpoint of a younger sibling which is rather refreshing and ultimately important when a child is trying to find books that relate to themselves. (I don't know anyone with a picture perfect childhood so it's a good idea if children's literature reflects that.) The references to substance abuse are rather oblique for the majority of the book so it's not heavy handed in the slightest. For the most part, we see Sunny acting pretty snotty as she comes to terms with the fact her summer is not going to be anything like she had planned but intermixed with that is a healthy dose of fear, anxiety, and shame. Remember she has no idea what has caused her family to send her away but she think she must have done something terribly wrong. (Also, her grandfather is the mack daddy of the retirement community and it's hilarious.) She does manage to make a friend of commensurate age though and the two of them develop a mutual interest in superheroes and comics. 

 

It's hard to say where the author lands in terms of keeping family secrets (they experienced something similar to Sunny in reality) but what the reader does see is Sunny learning about the difficulty of maintaining secret identities as she gets into reading comics. By the end, she is told what has happened with her brother and the reader (if they hadn't already figured it out) sees all the puzzle pieces fall into place. Because the reader is seeing everything through the eyes of Sunny the reading experience is quite different from some of the realistic fiction on this topic that I've read before. I think from that standpoint this is quite a unique and important book especially for children who have experienced this and are feeling quite alone and isolated. In fact, at the end they tacked on a bit about talking to someone if you know a family member is struggling with substance abuse. If you're creating a booklist for your students and you're looking for material that touches on substance abuse and/or family dynamics you could do a lot worse than picking Sunny Side Up. 8/10

 

The illustrations reminded me of Sunday newspaper comic strips. [Source: Scholastic]

 

What's Up Next: 5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior by Alexis & Mark Siegel and illustrations by Boya Sun & Matt Rockefeller

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2018-12-03 19:03
October and November wrap up
Escape Journey vol 1 - Tanaka Ogeretsu
The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
Jar of Hearts - Jennifer Hillier
Skin - BB Easton
44 Chapters About 4 Men: A Memoir - BB Easton
A Court of Frost and Starlight - Sarah J. Maas
Merry and Bright: A Novel - Debbie Macomber
wotakoi love is hard for otaku 3 - Maki Fujita

Apparently I forgot to do my October wrap so I combined October and November 

 

Favorite from October jar of hearts 

Favorite from November a court of frost and starlight 

 

Oct 

 

1 manga 

2 audiobook

1 library 

2 ebooks

 

 

Nov

1 manga

2 audiobook 

1 library 

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review 2018-12-03 16:10
Audio Book Review: Stone Cold Touch (Dark Elements #2) By Jennifer Armentrout
Stone Cold Touch - Jennifer L. Armentrout

 

This novel was TOO long-winded and was not worth 15 hours of my time. The basic concept is interesting but the way this was written doesn't do the story justice. The only way I finished this novel was by speeding up the audio book because things weren't moving and I was too far into the novel to justify not finishing it.

 

Layla makes SO many bad decisions and it always goes bad but she has yet to learn any lessons from the things she goes through. She's too naive and predictable. It's only gotten worse in this novel. All the rash and dumb decisions she makes has reached its quota for me. She's become more and more unlikable with every chapter.

 

This may or may not be an unpopular opinion with this trilogy, but how in the world is this love triangle even worth it at this point? Both "teams" are so bad in different ways and for different reasons. All the lying, making things up and secrets piling up only serve to make everything more dramatic and long-winded. Zayn seems to have a death wish in the form of trusting someone that can't even control her abilities (and those abilities can actually get him killed). Roth with all his lies and his noble justifications can't make everything that happened as a consequence to that all go away just by saying sorry.

 

The demons the author includes in this series (which was emphasized with the dance club scene with Roth) makes it seem like the demon world is a whole other complex universe, but it doesn't come across in the story. The wardens, especially, have an archaic system and think of themselves as "saviors" of some kind. Truthfully, they just keep getting worse and worse as a group. The other demons aren't even explored. They're just declared monsters to be killed or creatures to be run off. The story would have been more interesting had there been more of a focus on them instead of all the drama and "danger" surrounding Layla.

 

What the heck was that ending? I saw that coming from miles away (just like the twists in the first book). I'm starting to think that maybe it's what the author was going for. There weren't enough "twists" to this story to make this novel keep my attention.

 

My Consensus: This story only happened because everyone lied to someone about some important thing at one point in time. I wish it went deeper than that because the world the author created could have made for a really good story.

 

A Note: I'd like to mention how glad I was to see that the girl on girl hate has lessened (compared to the first novel), but the slut-shaming is at an all-time high (especially in the beginning).

 

The Audio Book:

 

This narrator isn't for me. There was barely any distinction between male and female voices this time around. There was also a few parts where I couldn't tell what was story narration and what was a character speaking.

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review 2018-12-01 00:56
A magically delicious start to a new adult fantasy series...
Kill the Queen - Jennifer Estep

๏ ๏ ๏  Book Blurb ๏ ๏ ๏ 

 

In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

 

But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

 

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

 

But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

๏ ๏ ๏  My Review ๏ ๏ ๏ 

 

This first entry in the Crown of Shards Series opens up with this magically fantastical and intriguing world that feels part medieval mixed with some modern flourishes.  The cover encompasses this medieval-modern-ness that it has going on, perfectly. This is billed as Gladiator meets Game of Thrones (albeit it's a whole lot cleaner than GOT) and from what I know of those works...it's a fairly apt description. 

 

This book doesn't burden you with a whole lot of info dumping, it cuts right to the action and doesn't let up until the end.  This fast-pace is paired with a 28-year-old heroine that isn't the typical teenager heroine that you get with Fantasy.  There is also only a splash of romance and it's kept fairly tame, but for me personally, I hope that the romance heats up a bit in the second book.  Overall this was exquisitely bad-ass and I couldn't stop listening and I totally can't wait to listen to the sequel.

 

 

๏ ๏ ๏  MY RATING ๏ ๏ ๏ 

 

☆5STARS - GRADE=A+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏ 

 
Plot⇝ 5/5
Main Characters⇝ 5/5
Secondary Characters⇝ 5/5
The Feels⇝ 5/5
Pacing⇝ 4.7/5
Addictiveness⇝ 5/5
Theme or Tone⇝ 5/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇝ 4.8/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇝ 4.5/5
Originality⇝ 5/5
Ending⇝ 5/5 Cliffhanger⇝ "to be continued"
๏ ๏ ๏
Book Cover⇝ Love it!  It is rather badass...
Narration⇝ ☆4.5☆ for Lauren Fortgang, I liked her better in this than I did in the Grisha Trilogy.
Series⇝ Crown of Shards #1
Setting⇝ Bellona
Source⇝ Audiobook (Library)
๏ ๏ ๏
Goodreads
Amazon
Booklikes
 

 
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text 2018-11-30 07:05
Cover Reveal - The Dating Alternative

 

The Dating Alternative
Jennifer Woodhull


Publication date: December 26th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

She’s so over dating. He wants to be her alternative.

 

Max has crushed on Brie for as long as he’s known her but the timing was never right. When he finds out they’re finally single at the same time, he’s poised to move from friend zone to serious dating… until he finds out she’s only looking for something physical. He offers his services in hopes she’ll come around.

 

Just when things are starting to go his way, a shocking turn of events snatches her from his grasp. Now he has to resurrect the life he thought he’d left behind to help the woman he’s falling in love with before it’s too late.

A sweet, funny, sexy romance, The Dating Alternative launches everywhere December 26th.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

 

 

 

 

Author Bio:

 

Jennifer Woodhull is based in the Southern United States, spending time in her second home of England, and traveling as often as she can. Her love of travel permeates her work, and her characters often find themselves exploring new and foreign surroundings.

A keen observer of human behavior, Jennifer often draws inspiration from something as simple as a fleeting connection, or the glimpse of a unique trait or characteristic. Her favorite place to write is on airplanes.

 

"The drone of the engine, the scores of people, all traveling to something or from something, and being disconnected from digital distractions are a combination that provide the perfect place to write," she says. "If you see a woman in seat 9F who is balancing her Macbook on her lap because it's time to close your tray table, please have patience. I'm just trying to finish one more sentence."

 

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

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