Review: The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

Another book I received in a subscription box is “The Disappearances” by Emily Bain Murphy. I always do my best to try to use the clues the companies give to guess the books that will be included, but I was absolutely surprised by this choice! I was very delighted with the surprise, and I was so excited when I found out it was set in the 1940’s! I have been reading too much contemporary fiction recently and got really burnt out, and this was just the change I needed.

First, a synopsis from Amazon…

35529075Every seven years something disappears in the remote town of Sterling: people’s reflections, the stars in the sky, the ability to dream. Aila realises that her mother may be to blame for the curse. But some mysteries are buried very deep and some secrets want to stay hidden – and one young woman’s desire to uncover the truth may not be enough to save Sterling from the past.

A beautifully told story of love, loss and finding the truth – no matter how difficult that may be.

So, the official synopsis doesn’t provide much information, so I’ll clue you in to the set-up for the series:

The year is 1942, and Aila’s mother has just died. She and her younger brother Miles are being sent to live with her mother’s best friend in a small town so their father can go fight in the war. Before she leaves, she comes across a volume of Shakespeare that her mother had scribbled over, as well as a letter to a mysterious individual accompanied by  a  ring. When Aila and Miles arrive in Sterling, they realize that the town is very odd: people don’t have reflections, some things don’t get wet when it rains, they can’t see the stars, they cease to dream, and all the color seems to leave their paints and crayons when they try to use them. The whole town believes that these Disappearances are linked to Aila’s mother, and she and her brother are ostracized. Continue reading

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Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

I subscribed to Book Box Club a few months ago, and the very first book I received was One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. It was the featured volume in their “Schoolroom Scandals” box. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up if I hadn’t been sent it, but I enjoyed it very much!

Before I get too far into it, though, here is the synopsis from Amazon…

32887579Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive. For fans of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, this is the perfect high school thriller.

Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.

Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.

Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.

Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.

And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.

He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects.

Everyone has secrets, right?

What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.

Continue reading

Review: Because You Love to Hate Me

So I recently finished “Because You Love To Hate Me”, an anthology of short stories about villiany by some popular YA authors and BookTubers. It took me AGES to get through! I just haven’t had much time to read lately.

Anyway, as with any anthology, I liked some stories much better than others. Before I go into that too much, here is a synopsis from Amazon

becauseIn this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from . . .

Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon

BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel). Continue reading

Service Review: Book Box Club

A few months ago, I was overloaded on working overtime and I figured I may as well treat myself — I had been wanting a book subscription box for a while, and I was combing instagram eagerly every month to see the books and contents of all the different boxes as they arrived with their subscribers. I eventually decided that Book Box Club was the best pick for me.

First, let me explain a little bit about the subscription service. You can sign up month-to-month, with the option of skipping a month if the theme isn’t for you, or you can buy a subscription block of 3-months, or 6-months.

What drew me to this service is that they don’t stick with a particular genre. They may send out a fantasy book one month, a contemporary one the next, and a historical one next month. I like the variety and I feel like it makes the box more of a surprise.

So, what do they include in their boxes?

Continue reading

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Okay, another book that was not what I thought!!

I really need to stop imagining things so vividly when I read their synopsis.

So, I mentioned that I got on a RR kick and read a few books of hers in a row. I think I have almost everything now — minus a short story (or two), and I’m saving Carry On for when I have a good few days off in a row.

landlineBefore I dive into this, though, the synopsis from Amazon:

What advice would you give the younger you…and would you listen?

As far as time machines go, a magic telephone is pretty useless. TV writer Georgie McCool can’t actually visit the past; all she can do is call it, and hope it picks up. Is she going crazy or is this a chance to make things right with her husband, Neal?

Maybe she can fix the things in their past that seem unfixable in the present. Maybe this stupid phone is giving her a chance to start over…if that’s what she wants…

A heart-wrenching – and hilarious – take on fate, time, television and true love, Landline asks if two people are ever really on the same path, or whether love just means finding someone who will keep meeting you halfway.

So, I’ll make this clear — this is NOT a YA book. It’s about a woman in her mid-30’s who is faced with the possible break-up of her marriage.

I knew *that* going in. What I didn’t expect was the connection into the past. The synopsis — especially the first line of it — makes it seem like Georgie would be speaking to herself in the past.

She doesn’t.

Let me start from the beginning.

Georgie is a television writer for a somewhat successful show. However, she has been working on a script for a television series that would be HERS. She receives a green light from an interested party and is enthusiastic to throw herself into her project — but it means that she will have to miss Christmas with her husband and children. Her husband, Neil, takes the children to his mother’s house for Christmas and Georgie is left at home wondering if she made the right decision.

Every single time she tries to call her husband, though, she cannot get through to him. His phone is either off, busy, or he’s not in. When she calls from her old landline phone at her mother’s house, though, she speaks to him. But it’s not HER Neil — it’s Neil from when they were dating. So her Neil, but past Neil.

Speaking to past Neil helps her reconnect with why she fell for him in the first place.

It’s very sweet, but very frustrating to go through the situation with Georgie. You identify with her — you sympathize with her — you understand why she wants to have her own series so bad and stop working on the crap series that she’s on, and you understand that she only has this one chance — but you also get so frustrated that she isn’t spending Christmas with her husband and children. (Or maybe it’s just me — I haven’t been able to spend the last two Christmases with my family =( sigh)

A few entertaining things happen along the way — her sister has a crush on the pizza delivery driver and orders pizza all the time, and Georgie’s mother has a pregnant pug who is due to give birth at any moment.

Overall, it was enjoyable. Rowell is an excellent writer and I could definitely sympathize with her characters.

Have you read this book? Did you have the same misconception I did? What did you think?

 

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

So, I finally visited my local library and picked up a book — The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black! I was so stoked they had it. When I first read the synopsis, it sounded super intriguing — how can you not love a story with a boy in a glass coffin, knights, princes, faeries, and curses?

I have to say, though, that this book was NOT what I thought it was!!!

the-darkest-part-of-the-forest-holly-blackFirst, a synopsis from Amazon:

Near the little town of Fairfold, in the darkest part of the forest, lies a glass casket. Inside the casket lies a sleeping faerie prince that none can rouse. He’s the most fascinating thing Hazel and her brother Ben have ever seen. They dream of waking him – but what happens when dreams come true? In the darkest part of the forest, you must be careful what you wish for…

Pretty straightforward, yeah?

I think because of the whole faerie prince and glass casket thing, it immediately put me in mind of some medieval-type setting. You know the ones — women wearing laced bodices, drawing water from a well — that type of story.

It’s not. Continue reading

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

I’m not gonna lie — I went on a Rainbow Rowell kick. I got a few of her books for my birthday, so the next few reviews I will be publishing will be reviews of her works.

The first I’m going to review is the short story she did for World Book Day: Kindred Spirits.

First, a synopsis from Amazon:

‘Everybody likes everything these days. The whole world is a nerd.’
‘Are you mad because other people like Star Wars? Are you mad because people like me like Star Wars?’
‘Maybe.’

If you broke Elena’s heart, Star Wars would spill out. So when she decides to queue outside her local cinema to see the new movie, she’s expecting a celebration with crowds of people who love Han, Luke and Leia just as much as she does.

What she’s not expecting is to be last in a line of only three people; to have to pee into a collectible Star Wars soda cup behind a dumpster or to meet that unlikely someone who just might truly understand the way she feels. Continue reading

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Okay, I have to admit: I’m not much of a graphic novel person. I love them, but I always hesitate spending on them because I feel like I fly through them so quickly, and I always feel like I’m not getting my money’s worth of enjoyment/time spent on the work.

Does that make sense? I feel like that makes me sound a little snooty. I’m not!

However, after reading Fangirl and adoring the illustrations, and realizing that Noelle Stevenson did some work for a collection of Adventure Time stories I have (yay Fionna and Cake!), I couldn’t resist Nimona.

First, a synopsis from Amazon:

nimona_finalNemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel has been hailed by critics and fans alike as the arrival of a “superstar” talent (NPR.org).

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

Continue reading

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Oh, this book gave me the feels.

I didn’t think it would, to be honest. But before I explain, I should probably give you the synopsis…

justonedayFrom Amazon:

When sheltered American good girl Allyson “LuLu” Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Continue reading

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Oh my gosh I loved this book. I loved the drama, I loved the mythology, I loved the struggle of belief. I loved the intrigue, I loved the romance, and I loved the setting. I loved the internal dialogue, though sometimes I wanted to shake Twylla. I loved everything about this book, and I can’t wait to read the sequel.

First, I should let you read a synopsis from Amazon:

sineaterSeventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court. She’s the executioner. As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company. But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen. However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favour of a doomed love? Continue reading