Review: The Raven Boys

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Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Purchased
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Review:

I listened to this audiobook a couple of years ago and I loved it. I found it a little difficult to differentiate between the characters when I was listening to it, so I bought a hard copy to read before reading the second book. I still loved the story.

It’s a great unique story. There’s mysticism and fantasy with Blue’s eccentric family. You never know what they’re going to do. The Aglionby boys were also unpredictable. It seems like the more you learn about them, the stranger they seem.

There was so much that happened in the story! Looking back on it, it seems like a whole series in one book. I can’t wait to see what happens in the rest of the series!

Review: Lullabies for Little Criminals

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Title: Lullabies for Little Criminals
Author: Heather O’Neill
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Release Date: October 17, 2006
Rating: DNF

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A gritty, heart-wrenching novel about bruised innocence on the city’s feral streets—the remarkable debut of a stunning literary talent

Heather O’Neill dazzles with a first novel of extraordinary prescience and power, a subtly understated yet searingly effective story of a young life on the streets—and the strength, wits, and luck necessary for survival.

At thirteen, Baby vacillates between childhood comforts and adult temptation: still young enough to drag her dolls around in a vinyl suitcase yet old enough to know more than she should about urban cruelties. Motherless, she lives with her father, Jules, who takes better care of his heroin habit than he does of his daughter. Baby’s gift is a genius for spinning stories and for cherishing the small crumbs of happiness that fall into her lap. But her blossoming beauty has captured the attention of a charismatic and dangerous local pimp who runs an army of sad, slavishly devoted girls—a volatile situation even the normally oblivious Jules cannot ignore. And when an escape disguised as betrayal threatens to crush Baby’s spirit, she will ultimately realize that the power of salvation rests in her hands alone.

Review:

Since I read about a book a day, I rarely say I can’t finish one. However, I just couldn’t finish this one. I made it through the first third of the novel before I had to stop.

I was confused right at the beginning of the story. Some of the editing gave the sentences two meanings. It starts out with Baby saying “my dad, Jules, and I moved into an apartment” and so I assumed that meant she moved with her dad AND Jules. But Jules is her father’s name. It took about four pages for me to figure that out.

The story was tedious to read. The same things kept happening over and over. Some parts were also hard to read. Young teenagers talked about being paid to have sex with men, and other children were looking for drugs to try. I struggled with both the subject matter and the style.

I’ve heard a lot of people rave about this book, but unfortunately it wasn’t for me.

Review: Leatherback Blues

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Title: Leatherback Blues
Author: Karen Hood-Caddy
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Dundurn
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Robin is kidnapped by dangerous poachers while trying to save leatherback turtles in Central America.

Robin Green is carrying on her work rescuing vulnerable animals at The Wild Place Animal Shelter when she and Zo-Zo get an amazing chance to help protect sea turtles in Central America. Worried about the bugs, the heat, and the threat of poachers, Robin faces her fears and travels there with Zo-Zo, her brother, Squirm, and her eccentric grandmother, Griff.

It only takes one scorpion sting before Robin wants to go home, but the unbelievable sight of a leatherback turtle laying eggs on the beach changes her mind. Just when the group starts making progress, the poachers strike back. Suddenly, the turtles aren’t the only ones who need rescuing! Can Robin and Zo-Zo find a way out?

Review:

This is a great story to teach kids about wildlife!

Robin is a great character. She’s brave because she’s willing to travel around the world to save animals. She convinces her family to travel to Costa Rica to help a turtle sanctuary. She’s realistic because she is also flawed. She doesn’t listen to her grandmother when she tells Robin not to go on the beach by herself. Robin ends up paying the price for that when she is kidnapped, so she learns to follow her grandmother’s rules.

The setting of Costa Rica was very realistic too. My friend just came back from vacation there, and it was depicted just the way she described it to me. It was very hot but rainy when she got there, just like when Robin arrived . Carlos even says “pura vida,” which is what all the locals say. Though I have never been to Costa Rica, I felt like I was there in this story.

The climax of the story, when Robin is kidnapped, happens close to the end. Since it was mentioned in the description, I thought it would happen earlier. But this was an important turning point in the story. Robin learned what the animals at their rescue shelter feel like when they are kept in cages. She ended up learning from the scary experience.

This is a great story for young readers who are interested in wildlife!

Birthday Book Tag!

Today is my 25th birthday! I found this tag on Becca’s blog, becandbones, when it was her birthday earlier in the month. You can check out her post here!

So here are the questions!

COUNT YOUR BIRTHDAY ALONG YOUR BOOKSHELF AND THEN SUBTRACT YOUR BIRTH MONTH

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So I have yet to read this book, but I love the covers in this series so I bought the first two. Maybe this is a sign that I should read it soon…

IF YOU COULD SPEND YOUR BIRTHDAY WITH ANY FICTIONAL CHARACTER WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

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I would spend my birthday with Harley Quinn. She would let me read all day, because she knows it’s my favourite thing to do. But then she would force me to go out on the town with her to some wild clubs at night. We would probably end the day snuggling with puppies she just rescued on her last mission. But she’s so unpredictable, that the day could really go in any direction.

FIND A BOOK THAT TAKES PLACE IN THE SEASON YOU WERE BORN IN

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I recently reread this book with the girl who I tutor. It’s one of my favourites, and since it takes place on Valentine’s Day, it’s set close to my birthday. I LOVED Junie B. Jones when I was a kid, and she’s still hilarious to read about today!

FIND A BOOK THAT IS THE COLOUR OF YOUR BIRTHSTONE

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Gone Without A Trace is the colour of my birthstone, which is Amethyst. But this story isn’t as calming as the stone looks. It was one of my favourite thrillers of last year, because I was shocked at the ending. You can read my review here.

PICK A BOOK SET IN A TIME PERIOD, WORLD, OR COUNTRY YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE BEEN BORN IN 

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I would have loved to have been born in the Victorian Era. I also would have loved to have been born in England!

I tag anyone with a birthday coming up soon!

Review: Black Panther, Volume 1: A Nation Under Our Feet

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Title: Black Panther, Volume 1: A Nation Under Our Feet
Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Marvel
Source: Purchased
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A new era begins for the Black Panther! MacArthur Genius and National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me)takes the helm, confronting T’Challa with a dramatic upheaval in Wakanda that will make leading the African nation tougher than ever before. When a superhuman terrorist group that calls itself The People sparks a violent uprising, the land famed for its incredible technology and proud warrior traditions will be thrown into turmoil. If Wakanda is to survive, it must adapt–but can its monarch, one in a long line of Black Panthers, survive the necessary change? Heavy lies the head that wears the cowl!

Review:

I absolutely loved this graphic novel!

There is great diverse representation in this story. The entire cast is made up of people of colour. In the first issue, a lesbian couple was introduced. I love seeing minority groups represented in a superhero story!

At the beginning, the story was a little confusing because there were so many characters in a original world. But the “letters” pages in between issues, where readers submitted their letters to the writers, helped me with that. I was reassured after each issue that other readers had the same feelings as me. I quickly caught onto the story and ended up loving it!

I also loved the bonus comic at the end, which shows the Black Panther’s first appearance in Marvel comics. It’s a great piece of comic book history. It was a great addition to the first volume of this new series.

I haven’t seen the new movie adaptation Black Panther yet, but I hope to see it soon! After reading this graphic novel, I can’t wait!

Review: The Nest

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Title: The Nest
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Purchased
Release Date: February 1, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered.

All he has to do is say “Yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back?

Review:

This is a great middle grade book!

The story was quite creepy at times. It reminded me of Coraline and Skelig. The children in those stories also encountered supernatural things in their backyards.

Steve had very realistic dreams that haunted him during the day. I’ve had dreams that seem like they’re really happening and it can be very scary. But the wasps in his nightmares also appeared to him outside. I kept wondering if Steve was really going crazy!

This story is a great learning experience for children. Steve has to learn to cope with his ill baby brother. Though he doesn’t want him to be sick, he also wouldn’t want to replace him with a perfect baby. Many children have to deal with a sick relative at some point, and though it is difficult, we have to learn to deal with illness. Steve also has anxiety, which is not often depicted in children’s stories, but children can get anxious too.

This is a great story for middle grade and adult readers.

Blog Tour: My Sweet Friend

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Title: My Sweet Friend
Author: H.A. Leuschel
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Helene Leuschel
Source: Reads & Reels Book Tours
Release Date: December 6, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives
A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?
Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships.
But is Alexa all she claims to be?
As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?
In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.

Review:

I really enjoyed this story.

The writing was excellent. Each chapter alternates between Rosie’s and Alexa’s perspectives. There were also flashbacks in each chapter, about the time that Alexa spent in the office. These flashbacks were woven into the narrative seamlessly. Sometimes it is jarring when a story returns to the present from a flashback, but that wasn’t the case with this story.

The story was a bit of a thriller too. Alexa’s behaviour was suspicious and her past was strange, since she didn’t talk about it. I kept wondering how much her behaviour would escalate and if she would become dangerous. It kept me guessing through the whole story.

If you’re looking for a light thriller, go check out this book.

About the Author:

HA Leuschel

Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches yoga.

https://www.facebook.com/HALeuschel

https://twitter.com/HALeuschel

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15337013.H_A_Leuschel

http://www.heleneleuschel.com

Tour Schedule:

Feb. 19th

Reads & Reels (Feature Promo) http://www.readsandreels.com

Brizzle Lass Books (Excerpt) https://brizzlelassbooks.com

The Repeat Mom (Review) http://Thethreepeatmom.blogspot.com

Sinfully Wicked Reviews (Review) https://sinfullywickedbookreviews.wordpress.com

Nesie’s Place (Review) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

Jill’s Book Blog (Review) https://jilljemmett.com

Feb. 20th

Books and Belle (Excerpt) https://booksandbelleblog.wordpress.com

Beware the Reader (Excerpt) http://bewareofthereader.com

Jenacidebybibliophile (Review) https://jenacidebybibliophile.com

Darque Dreamer Reads (Review) https://darquedreamerreads.wordpress.com

Cover to Cover (Excerpt) http://www.liisthinks.wordpress.com

Feb. 21st

Girl Masked (Review) http://girlmasked.wordpress.com

Didi Oviatt (Excerpt) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

Book Reviews by Shalini (Excerpt) www.bookreviewsbyshalini.wordpress.com

The Starving Book Worm (Review) http://thestarvingbookworm.wordpress.com

Tranquil Dreams (Review) http://klling.wordpress.com

Feb. 22nd

Splashes Into Books (Review) http://splashesintobooks.wordpress.com

Kristin’s Novel Café (Review) https://knovelcafe.wordpress.com

The Bookworm Chronicles (Excerpt) https://www.muretbookworm.wordpress.com

Feb. 23rd

The Orangutan Librarian (Review) https://theorangutanlibrarian.wordpress.com

On the Shelf Book Reviews (Excerpt) https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com

Love Books Group (Review) http://lovebooksgroup.blog/

Just 4 My Books (Review) https://just4mybooks.wordpress.com

R&R Book Tours

Thank you to R&R Book Tours for letting me participate in this blog tour.