Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review: Rootless by Chris Howard


Chris Howard
Print Edition: 336 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: November 1, 2012
Source: Aubidle

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible

17-year-old Banyan is a tree builder. Using salvaged scrap metal, he creates forests for rich patrons who seek a reprieve from the desolate landscape. Although Banyan's never seen a real tree--they were destroyed more than a century ago--his missing father used to tell him stories about the Old World.

Everything changes when Banyan meets a mysterious woman with a strange tattoo--a map to the last living trees on earth, and he sets off across a wasteland from which few return. Those who make it past the pirates and poachers can't escape the locusts . . . the locusts that now feed on human flesh.

But Banyan isn't the only one looking for the trees, and he's running out of time. Unsure of whom to trust, he's forced to make an alliance with Alpha, an alluring, dangerous pirate with an agenda of her own. As they race towards a promised land that might only be a myth, Banyan makes shocking discoveries about his family, his past, and how far people will go to bring back the trees.

I first learned of this book from Asheley over at Into the Hall of Books when she posted THIS gushing review.  I added it to my TBR.  And now I’ve finished it. 

I can honestly say, that if Asheley hadn’t convinced me in her review, this isn’t something I would have chosen on my own.  The names, the setup, the lure of trees…it all seemed kinda hokey.  But I would have judged wrong.  Way wrong.

What Howard gives us in a world that is raw and vast and void and so many unknown variables.  There are some clichés, things/people/places typical of the post-dystopian genre.  When you look at the big picture it all works to weave an intriguing, enrapturing story that kept me rooted to my seat reading this.

I love the world that Howard created with the Big Bad Guy and the fighting-tooth-and-nails-to-survive little guy.  I love the intrigue and suspense.  And that people die at a Game of Thrones pace—that you being to care about them, and then Howard kills them off!  I love that it’s heartbreaking and nerve-wracking.  I love you don’t really know what’s coming next.  I love that each character has a unique voice (yes, I read this as an audiobook, but even without the voice actor, each character was unique), that they were true to themselves through the entire book, even if they made the wrong choice.  I love that there are difficult decisions that have to be made, and they are torn to shreds over what to do.

The things, and there’s only a couple, that annoyed me are Banyan's single-mindedness and that Howard used the various forms of “reckon” frequently.

Y’all, there was a point where I was sure that I would finish Rootless, but not continue the series.  Then Howard put some more words down and changed my mind.

rating 4 of 5

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews


Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Jesse Andrews
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Print Edition: 304 pages
Release Date: March 1, 2012
Source: Library

Goodreads | Amazon

Up until senior year, Greg has maintained total social invisibility. He only has one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time—when not playing video games and avoiding Earl’s terrifying brothers— making movies, their own versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics. Greg would be the first one to tell you his movies are f*@$ing terrible, but he and Earl don’t make them for other people. Until Rachel.

Rachel has leukemia, and Greg’s mom gets the genius idea that Greg should befriend her. Against his better judgment and despite his extreme awkwardness, he does. When Rachel decides to stop treatment, Greg and Earl make her a movie, and Greg must abandon invisibility and make a stand. It’s a hilarious, outrageous, and truthful look at death and high school by a prodigiously talented debut author.

Y’all, when I found this, I thought it might be a little like The Fault in our Stars.  To some extent it was.  What it was not, however, is heartfelt, life-affirming, or serious. 

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is not so much about the dying girl (Rachel) as it is about how being friends with Rachel changes Greg and Earl and their journey through this growth.  It’s irreverent, funny, and so strikingly honest that it will beat you about the head and neck.  It reveals how teens deal with death, and sickness, in a way that you can relate and understand, but also as the same time feels genuine yet tongue-in-cheek. 

Andrews writes Greg in such a self-deprecating way that at times, and there are very few of them, that you want to slap him and say, “Just get on with the story!”  I do like that Greg isn’t taking any of this seriously from beginning to end.  I enjoyed Andrews’ voice, pacing, story-telling.

MEDG is definitely irreverent and almost offensive.  But ultimately, it’s a good read, lots of fun, and, if you like things a little disrespectful, you should check this out.

rating 4 of 5

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson


The Name of the Star
Maureen Johnson
Series: The Shades of London (Book 1)
Print Edition: 384 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: September 29, 2011

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

Y’all, I didn’t really know what to expect when I started this.  I did know that my 18yo sister-in-law really enjoyed this book.  And that it had been on my TBR list forever. So I finally downloaded it from Audible.  And I’m so glad I did!

The Name of the Star is all kinds of amazing!  The storytelling, the world building, both the relationship and personal growth.  And obviously the paranormal parts!

I know I’m seriously late to the game on reading this one (it released in2011!), and even though most of you all have read it, I’m going to try hard to keep this spoiler-free…for the small fraction of society that hasn’t read it yet!

Rory is off boarding school in London.  She’s like the fish out of water—grew up in Louisiana, as Southern as they come.  I appreciated that Johnson didn’t overdo Rory, or make her a caricature of a Southern teen—her voice is authentic and honest.  All the characters seem that way, too—genuine.  There wasn’t a single character (except the bad guy) that I didn’t like!  And then, just when I’m pretty comfortable with everyone, Johnson surprises us with Boo…she is so great, mysterious, but great.  And you know something’s up with her.  And the something doesn’t disappoint!

I swear, Johnson is a magician!  She knows exactly when to mix things up!  There’s the thing with Boo and Rory during the dance with a phone and a car and…you just don’t know.  I almost cried!

And then there’s the big event.  And it’s HUGE, and it’s masterfully written.  And it ends on a perfect note.

So, y’all, if you haven’t yet read The Name of the Star, you should.  I will continue the series!

rating 5 of 5

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Beautiful Curse by Jen McConnel

"Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at “Breaking the Spine”, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

What I'm Waiting On?

Beautiful Curse

Publisher: Swoon Romance
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Sixteen-year-old Mya Jones is cursed.
She is, hands down, the most beautiful creature on earth. But beauty can wound, and Mya finds herself reviled and shunned by her peers. If there is even a chance that she could start over, Mya longs to take it, no matter the risks.
So when the strange Mr. Merk offers her a new life away from home, Mya is hesitant but hopeful. Only she didn't count on the mysterious Ross, or her feelings for him.
BEAUTIFUL CURSE is a contemporary retelling of the myth of Psyche and Cupid.


Why I’m waiting

I honestly don’t know much about Beautiful Curse, but I am excited to see what Jen McConnel has done with this myth. I also think the cover is nice! What do you think?
Is Beautiful Curse on your to read list?
Can’t wait to see what books you are wanting this week?

Review: The One by Kiera Cass


The One
Kiera Cass
Print Edition: 336 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Source: Library

Goodreads | Amazon

The highly anticipated third book in Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series, The One will captivate readers who love dystopian YA fiction and fairy tales. The One is perfect for the fans who have followed America's whirlwind romance since it began—and a swoon-worthy read for teens who have devoured Veronica Roth's Divergent, Ally Condie's Matched, or Lauren Oliver's Delirium.

The Selection changed America Singer's life in ways she never could have imagined. Since she entered the competition to become the next princess of Illéa, America has struggled with her feelings for her first love, Aspen—and her growing attraction to Prince Maxon. Now she's made her choice . . . and she's prepared to fight for the future she wants.

Find out who America will choose in The One, the enchanting, beautifully romantic third book in the Selection series!

Y’all, I reread my review of the first two books (HERE) and I surprised myself…I actually liked them! 
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I actually forced myself to finish The One simply to have finished it.  I didn’t care about what happened to anyone.  I can’t figure out how Cass managed to get a 3-book deal on this—the entire plot line could have fit neatly into one 3-400 page book.

The One moved so incredibly slow that it felt like I was moving backwards most of the time, and when something exciting did take place, it was a brief page or two.  America annoyed me so much.  I couldn’t get over how unbelievably stubborn and idiotic she was—throughout the entire series. 

One of the things I look for in a series, is “Do the characters grow?”  I think everyone had substantial amounts of growth while America grew only slightly.  Also, “Are there holes?”  Cass opened up plotlines that weren’t addressed (i.e. America’s dad was a rebel?!?!  What are the implications of that?  And what about Kriss?).  And, how could Maxon recover so quickly from the loss of his parents?  And what about Celeste?  Did Maxon change the world, were they able to make a difference?  …See, too many unanswered questions. 

I do not agree that this book was enchanting, beautiful, or romantic.

I did, however, like the Epilogue, except for the cheesy last two lines of it. 

rating 1 of 5

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


Rainbow Rowell
Print Edition: 448 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition
Release Date: September 10, 2013)
Source: Audible

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

I’ve been mulling this book over for a few days.  I can’t quite decide how I feel about it.  It’s like I’m having a love-hate relationship with it—along the lines of “I want to love it” but still feeling like I can’t quite give in to those feelings.

Cath is quirky, nerdy, and straight-up weird.  Borderline crazy.  And I didn’t understand why Rowell picked such a neurotic voice to be the main character.  But the more I learned of Cath, the more I began to understand her, feel her pains and anxieties.  I began to really relate to her…and like her character.  She was pretty dumb at points, and there were several, “Oh, I know where Rowell is going with this” points in the plotline, but honestly y’all, I really liked Fangirl

I think of all the people in the book, Levi and Regan are my favorites.  I love their dynamic, and how the embraced Cath and her idiosyncrasies and brought her into their club.  I’m glad, though, that they weren’t the main characters…I think that seeing too much of them together might have been a bad thing.

Cath, for all my love for her, annoyed me immensely at times.  I wanted frequently to punch her in her throat and yell at her and tell her to get over herself.  The obsession with Simon Snow was weird—I didn’t understand it at all.  But I do understand that people get obsessed with things.  I think it was the snippets of the “books” that Rowell included—Snow is a selfish, bratty, unlikeable twerp.  Which might have been on purpose.  Ms. Rowell, if you read this, did you write Snow that way to be tongue-in-cheek?  Please, I really do want to know.

All-in-all, Rebecca was right, this was a enjoyable story.  It’s a contemporary, a genre I don’t read often, and even the lack of the magical, paranormal, and mystery, I would recommend this.  To everyone.

rating 4 of 5

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Gray Mountain by John Grisham


{Releases 10.21.2014}

John Grisham has a new hero . . . and she’s full of surprises

The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer’s career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track—until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the “lucky” associates. She’s offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she’d get her old job back.

In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town’s legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to “help real people with real problems.” For the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most small towns, harbors some big secrets.

Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.
Why I’m waiting:
You may know I grew up reading John Grisham.  I’m excited about getting back to my roots, to read something that hopefully will feel like coming home.  I also have Sycamore Row (released in 2013) in my queue.

What are you waiting on?
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Review: The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

The Future of Us
Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Publisher: Razorbill; First Edition edition
Publish Date: November 21, 2011
Source: Audible
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible

It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.

Ok you guys…I’m a little late to the party on this one.  It’s been on my TBR forever, and I finally got it it the other day and listened during my commute.  I finished it.  And now I’ve mulled it over. 

I LOVED Thirteen Reasons Why, so when I heard about this one, I added it ASAP to my TBR.  However, I was a little bit letdown.  I don’t know exactly what I expected from TFoS, but I don’t think I got it. 

I did not like Emma for most of the book.  She’s bratty and annoying.  Josh seems very levelheaded and real about things, albeit a teenage boy.  Asher/Mackler wrote both characters very honestly and genuine, and I appreciated that.  But the story as a whole just lacked something.

I think that maybe there needed to be a prologue with a glimpse into the actual futures of Josh and Emma.

rating 3 of 5

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Excerpt and Giveaway: Charming by Krystal Wade

To hop over to other tour stops click the banner above.


They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and that's great . . . as long as you don't die.

Sixteen-year-old Haley Tremaine had it all: top-notch school, fantastic family, and a bright future, but all of that changed when an accident tore her family apart. Now, an alcoholic father, a bitter younger sister, and a cold headstone bearing her mother’s name are all she has left.

Chris Charming has it all: a powerful CEO for a father, a prestigious school, and a fortune at his fingertips, but none of that matters when he lands a reputation as a troublemaker. Struggling to follow in his father’s footsteps, he reaches out to the one person he believes truly sees him, the one person he wants: Haley.

Little do they know someone's determined to bring the two together, even if it means murder.

Available at: Smashwords - Barnes & NobleAmazonGoodreads

Excerpt: CHARMING by Krystal Wade

“Hey, kids.” Mrs. Charming stood by their feet, smiling down at them, still linked to her husband. “We should head out. Park closes at dark. Plus your dad and I have a movie to go see.”
Chris drove Haley back to his house; both sat quietly, leaning somewhat toward the center of the small Porsche. He pulled up next to Dad’s truck and sighed. “Thank you for being so good to them.”
“No, I mean it.” Chris opened the truck door for her, then closed it as she slid onto the cold leather seat.
Haley rolled down the window and leaned on her elbow, so close to him, so freaking close. “They’re good people.”
And deserve better than me in their life.
“Most people treat them as if they’re just money bags from which to draw upon when they have a need.”
“I don’t need anything from them. I just want your family to be happy, you to be happy, Chris.”
“You’re different, Haley Tremaine.”
“So are you, Chris Charming.” Haley turned the key in the ignition, but the truck wouldn’t start. Cold, stabbing panic ripped apart her lungs.
“Guess I’ll need to walk.”
“You’re nuts if you think I’m letting you walk. Murderer on the loose, remember?” Laughing, Chris opened the door and took Haley by the hand, then guided her to the driver’s side of his car. “In fact, I’d really like you to drive.”
She smiled and snatched the keys. “Okay. Fine, but you better wear your seatbelt.”
He did, and she drove, and they laughed, winding down country roads, passing cars as though they sat still and Chris and Haley were in a speeding bullet. Haley downshifted and squealed the tires as she stopped in front of her house on Main Street. But when she glanced at the front of the house, her heart skidded to a halt.
Niles sat on her porch, bouquet of flowers in hand, scowling.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Meet Krystal Wade, author of CHARMING

Krystal Wade.300x399

About Krystal Wade: Krystal Wade is happily married to the love of her life (don’t gag) and raising three beautiful children in the gorgeous state of Virginia. They live just outside Washington, D.C., and every day she wakes up to find herself stuck in traffic trying to get there. When she’s not working, commuting, or chasing after her three children (four if you count the man), you can usually find Krystal outside talking to her chickens like they’re the cutest things in the world (they are), or training her amazing dogs how to herd said chickens (which they love), or curled up on the sofa with a good book (why can’t that be 100% of the time?).
WebsiteFacebookTwitter - Google+GoodreadsInstagramTumblr

Sounds good right?!?!
I hope you give Charming a try, I am about to start reading it myself.
Good luck in the giveaway:)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Review: Off You Go: A Novella by Boo Walker

Off You Go: A Novella

Off You Go
Boo Walker
Print Length: 71 pages
Publisher: Sandy Run Press
Published: April 1, 2014
Source: Author

In Charleston, SC, a young woman has jumped off the Cooper River Bridge. She left a suicide note in her abandoned car. There were witnesses. But her mother doesn’t buy it and hires Dewey Moses, the vegetable farmer and sometime private investigator to find out the truth. Dewey finds out quickly that sometimes it’s best to leave things alone.


Y’all, I hate to do this, but I’ve got a couple complaints about this one.  Off You Go is too short!  And, because it’s so short, the story comes to an abrupt halt…and I still have questions!

I am absolutely in love with Dewey Moses!  He’s got a jaded past, but is working on getting his life back in order.  He’s broken, but being repaired.  There’s an honesty and realness that I like about him.  He’s a fine addition to Walker’s cast of leading men.  I like his getting-back-to-his-roots-and-nature lifestyle.  He’s laid back and easy to like.  If Dewey were an actual person, I think he’d be an excellent friend.

I do wish there was more to the story.  That’s a common problem I have with novellas—that they just don’t have enough time to really develop and flesh-out the characters and plot line.  I didn’t feel like I was able to invest in the story or that it’s completely resolved.  Yet in the time allowed, Walker creates a compelling story that will get you hooked immediately.  I didn’t want it to end!

I can only hope that Walker writes more books with Dewey Moses as the main character.  I’ve read everything Walker has written, and plan to read everything he writes in the future!

rating 4 of 5
4 out of 5 (only because OYG ends too quickly!)

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Gideon by Alex Gordon


Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: January 6, 2015

Preston & Child meets Kim Harrison in this edge-of-your-seat debut thriller—a superb blend of mystery, urban fantasy, horror, romance, and the supernatural.

When Lauren’s father dies, she makes a shocking discovery. The man she knew as John Reardon was once a completely different person, with a different name. Now, she’s determined to find out who he really was, even though her only clues are an old photograph, some letters, and the name of a town—Gideon.

But someone—or something—doesn’t want her to discover the truth. A strange man is stalking her, appearing everywhere she turns, and those who try to help her end up dead. Neither a shadowy enemy nor her own fear are going to prevent her from solving the mystery of her father—and unlocking the secrets of her own life.

Making her way to Gideon, Lauren finds herself more confused than ever. Nothing in this small Midwestern town is what it seems, including time itself. Residents start going missing, and Lauren is threatened by almost every townsperson she encounters. Two hundred years ago, a witch was burned at the stake, but in Gideon, the past feels all too chillingly present.

Why I’m waiting

I wish so badly that this was coming out before Halloween! Doesn’t seem like the perfect read for this time of year? 

Is Gideon on your to read list?
Can’t wait to see what books you are wanting this week?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Review: Zombies Don’t Forgive by Rusty Fischer


Zombies Don’t Forgive
Rusty Fischer
Series: A Living Dead Love Story (Book 2)
Paperback: 321 pages
Publisher: Medallion Press
Released: April 1, 2013
Source: Publisher

Following Barracuda Bay’s homecoming cum zombie Armageddon, fellow zombies Maddy, Dane, and Stamp have fled to Orlando where they work at a theme park, hiding in plain sight at their jobs in the Great Movie Monster Makeover show. The three spend most of their time together in their apartment trying to avoid curious Normals and Sentinels—humans and zombie cops. While Dane and Maddy draw closer, Stamp drifts away, falling for a mysterious blonde. But when the mysterious girl puts their existence in danger, all Maddy cares about is hunting the blonde down to separate her from her head.


Y’all…I love everything I have ever read by Rusty Fischer.  And this is no exception.  I devoured this book like a zombie eating brains—once I charged my Nook.  It’s been awhile since I have read an actual non-audio book.  Zombies Don’t Forgive was a nice reintroduction to print. 

ZDF is everything we love about, nay, expect from Rusty Fischer—humor, gore, sappiness, and a little tongue-in-cheek.  And it’s perfection!

I absolutely love Maddy and Dane!  They have the been-married-for-sixty-years relationship down pat.  And it’s endearing—making them all the more lovable.  A few times I face-palmed…but they are teenagers after all, so it’s not unrealistic.  For the most part, I forgot they were zombies and just enjoyed them being who they were, living life.  But I do love all the zombie-ness, too!  It makes a quirky, interesting plot all that much more fun!

I like that Fischer writes his characters so real and honest.  Even the supporting cast is believable—there’s no caricatures of people, no exaggerations.  They behave, react, love as real people would.  And I think that’s part of what makes the Living Dead Love Story series so wonderful—I can relate to Maddy, Dane, Stamp, and the others.

If you haven’t yet started this series (or just haven’t read this installment)…You. Need. To.  Like yesterday!  We don’t get to live forever like Maddy, so don’t waste any more precious time and read Zombies Don’t Forgive soon!

rating 5 of 5

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Other Books in This Series

Zombies Don't Cry (Living Dead Love Story, #1)Zombies Don't Surrender (Living Dead Love Story, #3)
{Click the covers to go to Goodreads.  Click HERE to read my review of Zombies Don’t Cry}

Monday, October 6, 2014

What We’ve Watched: Hemlock Grove--Season 1

Season 1 Summary (2013) :A teen girl is brutally murdered, sparking a hunt for her killer. But in a town where everyone hides a secret, will they find the monster among them?
I don’t do the horror thing, but every now and then, I try something that pushes me.  Hemlock Grove is one of those things.  I don’t remember why I decided to watch it.  But I’m glad I did.  I really enjoyed Season 1.  It took me F O R E V E R to get through it—I had to watch like one episode per month.  Did you catch that…per month!  It freaked me out that bad.  And I couldn’t watch it alone in the dark; other people had to be in the house (if the kids were home I would watch on my iPad with headphones in).

There is so much awesomeness in this…and it’s based on a book.  I was intrigued and horrified at the same time.  It was like a car accident—I couldn’t not watch.  So, if you need something to add a little creep-factor to your October viewing schedule, add Season 1. 

If I can handle Season 2, I’ll let y’all know.

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Review: The Undertaking of Tess by Lesley Kagen

The Undertaking of Tess

The Undertaking of Tess
Lesley Kagen
Print Length: 118 pages
Publisher: SparkPress
Release Date: July 24, 2014
Source: Publisher

During the summer of 1959, ten-year-old Theresa “Tessie” Finley has her work cut out for her. Not only is she attempting to come to grips with the devastating loss and guilt she feels after she witnessed her father’s drowning, but her kid sister, Birdie, refuses to believe that their beloved Daddy is really gone. Tessie needs to make sure that she does before their Mom gets wind of how much “weirder” her sister’s getting. Stronger, and more down to Earth than ethereal Birdie, she’s always watched over her sister, so it’s only natural for her to come up with a plan that she jots down on one of her never-ending TO-DO LISTS. If Tessie can’t achieve her goals, she’s desperately worried that the beautiful, but self-occupied Louise, might send emotionally fragile Birdie to the county insane asylum.

Her daddy always told her, “A Finley never throws in the towel,” so more than anything Tess wants to make him proud, but despite her resourcefulness and grit, she’s smart enough to know that the odds are stacked against her and her time is running out.

Heartbreaking, funny, nostalgic, and spiritually uplifting, you’ll cheer the Finley sisters on from the first page to the last of this charming novella that sets the stage for the upcoming novel, The Resurrection of Tess Blessing.
I know there are a lot of people out there that get annoyed by novellas, I just happen to not be one of them. I love that there are authors out there that can completely enrapture me in a little over 100 pages and leave me feeling satisfied. Now, after reading The Undertaking of Tess, I know that Lesley Kagen is one of those authors.
When I was twelve I ended up taking care of my little sister for hours at a time, so when I started TUOT I was pulled into the story completely as it is told through Tess’ ten year old voice. Tess goes through a very traumatic experience when she witnesses her father drown. Now she has to figure out a way to keep her family together as her mother has never been able to deal with her “different” sister, Birdie.
Kegan wrote this story and its characters in such a way that I honestly felt every emotion as if it was being pushed to me through the pages. I laughed out loud, and yes, even shed some tears throughout this story.
If you enjoy being pulled into a story to the point that you come out feeling that you have an understanding of the characters lives, read The Undertaking of Tess. I don’t think you will be disappointed, and as I said at the beginning of my review, this is a novella, so an afternoon is all you need.  
rating 5 of 5   

Other books in this series
The Resurrection of Tess Blessing
Cover will take you to Goodreads page.
Release Date: December 9, 2014