Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Book Review: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Title: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (A Good Girl's Guide to Murder #1)

Author: Holly Jackson

Genre: YA, Mystery-Thriller

About the book: The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn't so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

 My thoughts: I must read the next book in this series. I really liked this one - I loved how she discovered her suspect list and the courage (and stupidity. . .) it took to follow up on the leads. Pip is a strong character and combined with Ravi they make quite a team. She drops clues along the way as to who committed the crimes, but it still kept me guessing almost to the end. It wrapped up nicely without being too abrupt or leaving anything hanging.

Book Review: Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers


Title: Honey Girl

Author: Morgan Rogers

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+

About the book: With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that.

This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her father’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows.

When reality comes crashing in, Grace must face what she’s been running from all along—the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.

My thoughts: This is a coming-of-age story about a young woman, Grace, who has always done what she was supposed to do - until she doesn't. This leaves her spinning and searching for a wife that she spent one night with, and a career that is harder to pin down than expected. She has to come to terms with her relationships, both past, and present, in order to find who she is supposed to be.

I liked the characters and the friendships portrayed in this book - not so much the parental ones, but the ones that are found along the way.

Book Review: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover


Title: Ugly Love

Author: Colleen Hoover

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, NA

About the book: When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

My thoughts: This book was a slow start for me. It went back and forth between Tate's POV (in the present) to Miles' life 6 years prior.  They start this relationship with the rules that Tate can't ask about Miles' past and with the expectation that there will be no future - yep - purely sexual relationship.  We all know how well that works out.  Slowly you learn what happens in Miles' past to make him feel this way.  By the end I really liked this book and can't tell you any more about his past or what happens - you will just have to read it!

Friday, June 18, 2021

Book Review: Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas


Title: Cemetery Boys

Author: Aiden Thomas

Genre: YA, Fantasy, LGBTQ+

About the book: Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts: This book was a nice surprise for me.  I had seen it on the shelves and had not been drawn to it at all.  Once I started reading it though, I couldn't put it down.  I love the support and acceptance between Maritza and Yadriel, and then when you throw Julian into the mix it just makes it more interesting.  The book has a little romance, a little mystery, and a little thriller - all with ghosts!  This one gets five stars from me. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Book Review: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young


Title: Sky in the Deep (Sky in the Deep, Book 1)

Author: Adrienne Young

Genre: YA, Fantasy

About the book: Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.(Goodreads)

My Thoughts:  I have a new favorite author.  I read Fable by Young last month and loved it - when I realized that I had Sky in the Deep sitting on my shelf from the library and it was by her, I couldn't wait to get started.  I really enjoyed this book as well. Eelyn is really just a young girl - I think 16 - when she is captured by the Riki.  She needs to learn how to survive and how to forgive her brother when she finds him alive and well with the Riki.  Some clan beliefs are so ingrained, though, that she doesn't know how this will be possible.  She learns a lot about herself in the months that she lives with the Riki, and a lot about people in general - how we are different, but more importantly, how we are alike.  

Friday, June 4, 2021

Book Review: A Cloud of Outrageous Blue by Vesper Stamper


Title: A Cloud of Outrageous Blue

Author: Vesper Stamper

Genre: Historical, YA, Fantasy

About the book: For fans of Fever 1793 comes the story of a young woman paving her own path and falling in love during the Great Plague of 1348, from the award-winning creator of What the Night Sings .

Edyth grew up in a quiet village with a loving family, before losing everything she holds dear in the blink of an eye. Suddenly sent to live in a priory and work with ancient texts, Edyth must come to terms with her new life and the gifts she discovers in herself. But outside the priory, something much worse is coming. With the reappearance of a boy from her past and the ominous Great Plague creeping closer and closer to the priory, it will be up to Edyth to rise above it all and save herself. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book, from the story, to the illustrations, to the slightly oversized book itself.  Though the setting was in a nunnery in 1348, the story just flowed very easily and was beautifully written.  Edyth has synesthesia, which enables her to "see" sounds as colors.  She tries to keep this ability hidden as people don't understand and think there is something wrong with her. Together with Mason, a boy from her village, they must uncover what her visions mean before the Plague destroys everything.  From the title, A Cloud of Outrageous Blue, I didn't think this story would be as dark as it got, but I still highly recommend it.  The author, Vesper Stamper, also did all the illustrations found in the book. 

Monday, May 17, 2021

Book Review: A Breath Too Late by Rocky Callen


Title: A Breath Too Late

Author: Rocky Callen

Genre: YA/Contemporary

About the Book: Seventeen-year-old Ellie had no hope left. Yet the day after she dies by suicide, she finds herself in the midst of an out-of-body experience. She is a spectator, swaying between past and present, retracing the events that unfolded prior to her death.

But there are gaps in her memory, fractured pieces Ellie is desperate to re-assemble. There's her mother, a songbird who wanted to break free from her oppressive cage. The boy made of brushstrokes and goofy smiles who brought color into a gray world. Her brooding father, with his sad puppy eyes and clenched fists. Told in epistolary-like style, this deeply moving novel sensitively examines the beautiful and terrible moments that make up a life and the possibilities that live in even the darkest of places. Perfect for fans of the critically-acclaimed SpeakI’ll Give You the Sun, and If I Stay.
 (from Goodreads)

My Thoughts: Where to start. . .   This book was heartbreaking, yet beautiful. The story is told by Ellie, the day after she has committed suicide.  It is her remembrances, both good and bad, that have led up to her fateful decision.  Through letters to her mom, dad, best friend August, depression, her house - she tells the story of a life - what might have been - what was - and the light and dark places in between.  She tells the story of her life with her mom and her best friend August, before her dad finds them, and how all of their lives change as her dad's alcohol and domestic abuse increases.  How insidiously changes creep in that can take away choices and friendships. Ellie sees too late the life she might have had, and the hope that her mother had been holding on to. 

Not being prone to this level of depression myself, I cannot relate to what triggers this might have for others. I would hope that it might give someone else the courage to hang on and look for that hope that is right around the corner.  To make them see the bigger picture that Ellie missed. If anything, it would be a good conversation starter for a young adult book club.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Book Review: The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky


Title: The Mary Shelley Club

Author: Goldy Moldavsky

Genre: Horror/Thriller

About the Book: New girl Rachel Chavez is eager to make a fresh start at Manchester Prep. But as one of the few scholarship kids, Rachel struggles to fit in, and when she gets caught up in a prank gone awry, she ends up with more enemies than friends.

To her surprise, however, the prank attracts the attention of the Mary Shelley Club, a secret club of students with one objective: come up with the scariest prank to orchestrate real fear. But as the pranks escalate, the competition turns cutthroat and takes on a life of its own.

When the tables are turned and someone targets the club itself, Rachel must track down the real-life monster in their midst . . . even if it means finally confronting the dark secrets from her past.
 (From Goodreads)

My Thoughts: I devoured this book.  It started in Rachel's past and the prologue leaves you hanging until almost the very end of the book. She has suffered a trauma and to deal with it has decided to watch horror movies.  She confronts fear by watching the movies and it allows her to not feel so afraid in real life.  

Starting a new school is tough for anyone, and since Rachel is only attending Manchester Prep since her mother is a teacher there, she really feels she doesn't belong.  Fortunately, resident gossip Saundra takes her under her wing and gets her up to speed on all the kids and happenings at the school.  It is because of Saundra though that lands her at a party where a prank has gone bad and brought attention to Rachel.  This turns out to be both good and bad.  Good - because she learns about The Mary Shelley Club and is invited to become a probationary member.  Bad - because she has become the object of mean girl Lux's attention.

This book makes you wonder, along with Rachel, if you really know everything that is going on.  The suspense builds and while I can't say that I knew exactly how it was going to end - you get a gradual idea of what is going on - you kind of learn as Rachel does.  I thought it was a very good book and would highly recommend it.  Especially if you are a fan of horror movies as there are a lot of shout outs to them in the book. 

Check out the book on Goodreads
You can follow the author on Instagram @goldywrites.

COVER REVEAL: Under the Milky Way by Vanessa Barneveld

Hello Readers! Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

Under the Milky Way by Vanessa Barneveld

presented by Entangled Teen!

What do you think of the cover?


Cassidy Roekiem is just an average teen girl from Colorado. Her parents are divorced, she has a cliché crush on the hot new boy, and her social life exists solely through the efforts of a well-meaning best friend. Until suddenly her life turns upside down.

First, that “hot new boy,” Hayden, asks her out. And one night when they’re driving through the isolated, winding roads of Saddleback Ridge after dark, something happens that neither one of them can explain…

Bright lights in the middle of the forest. Whole blocks of time they can’t remember. They’re nauseous and disoriented. We’re talking full-on episode of The X-Files. But when her fuzzy mind clears, she’s back home, and so is Hayden. Um, what?

Hayden has always been sweet and caring and fun. But now it’s like he’s hiding something. He knows something, and she can’t be sure who he really is anymore or how everything is connected to her. When it happens again…and again, Cassidy needs answers—and fast—because one of these times, she might not wake up at all.

Under the Milky Way by Vanessa Barneveld
Publication Date: August 3, 2021
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Australian Vanessa Barneveld lives in a 19th-century house in inner-city Sydney with a 21st-century husband, two eccentric cats and one ghost—all of whom provide inspiration for her spirited novels. In addition to her writing career, she’s part of a crack team that produces closed captions for deaf TV viewers and audio descriptions for the blind. An avid traveler, she enjoys the journeys almost as much as the destinations. She freely admits to being food motivated and will stop at nothing to find the perfect hot chips wherever she roams around the world.

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