Books Left Unread #86


Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

This week’s post is dedicated to:

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)


Doesn’t this look like an awesome book? DRAGONS! But perhaps the fear of a bad dragon book keeps me from starting this. Also, high fantasy is tough for me to get into sometimes. It is not my most favorite genre. Have you read this? If so, what did you think?





About the Book
9780544912298_hresTitle: THE SPECIAL ONES
Author: Em Bailey
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Pages: 304
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | TBD

Esther is one of the Special Ones: four young spiritual guides who live in a remote farmhouse under the protection of a mysterious cult leader. He watches them around the clock, ready to punish them if they forget who they are—and all the while, broadcasting their lives to eager followers on the outside. Esther knows that if she stops being Special, he will “renew” her. Nobody knows what happens to the Special Ones who are taken away from the farm for renewal, but Esther fears the worst. Like an actor caught up in an endless play, she must keep up the performance if she wants to survive long enough to escape.



About Em:
EmEm Bailey is an Australian living in Germany where, despite having been a vegetarian for many years, she now enjoys the occasional Wurst. Em used to be a new-media designer for a children’s television production house and is now a full-time author. Shift is her first YA novel, although she has written a number of books for children under the name Meredith Badger.

When she’s not writing, Em is generally getting lost, losing stuff, reading, hanging out with her friends and family, and listening to Radiolab podcasts. Like Olive, she doesn’t like leggings that look like jeans, but has no problem with tofu schnitzels.




Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive a hardcover of THE SPECIAL ONES! US Only.
Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rafflecopter link:



Tour Schedule
Week One:

7/10/2017- YA Books Central– Interview

7/11/2017- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

7/12/2017- YA Book Madness– Guest Post

7/13/2017- A Dream Within A Dream– Review

7/14/2017- Novel Novice– Interview


Week Two:

7/17/2017- The Best Books Ever – Review

7/18/2017- Literary Meanderings– Excerpt

7/19/2017- Book Sniffers Anonymous– Excerpt

7/20/2017- YA and Wine– Review

7/21/2017- A Gingerly Review– Review

Black Sheep Review: When Dimple Met Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi


Brace yourselves, this will not be the gushing happy-happy-joy-joy post everyone else is doing when it comes to this book. I will be the black sheep because it fell very flat for me and I had major problems with characters & plot.


black sheep



Dimple wants nothing more than to be herself and not be held to the customs of her traditional Indian parents. She just graduated high school, has been accepted to a prestigious college, and has a passion for wanting to prove herself. She certainly is not thinking about marriage, kids, and giving up her dreams. Enter Rishi. He is the complete opposite – he wants to respect his parents traditions. He wants to meet a girl (even if it is an arranged marriage), get married, start a family, and uphold his deep family customs. They meet in a very unorthodox way but maybe something will blossom between them? Maybe they both have to really listen to their hearts to figure out what is best for them.

There is a lot of hype around this story. I mean, a metric ton of hype. When that much hype surrounds a story, as a reader I feel I have more pressure to like it as much as everyone else. Unfortunately, that did not happen for me. Not even close. The more the story continued, the more problems I found with it. I know what you’re thinking, “Sara, it’s just a story! Enjoy it!” Sadly I could not because too many things bothered me and overall it was not believable. Let me explain.

Dimple. I had a huge problem with Dimple as a whole. The first thing that stood out to me is that she came across super aggressive and rude. She was a bull in a China shop nearly the entire book and it started to grind my gears. She was rude to her parents, to her new school roommate, her roommate’s friends, the head of the summer program she was attending, everyone. When she yelled and was disrespectful to her parents several times, it made me like her less and less. They all needed to sit down and have a long talk about everything but that never happened. Dimple yelled at her parents for being too old fashioned and traditional, while Dimple kept screaming, “I DON’T NEED A MAN!”. What neither understood and it was never talked about is how they are different generations. They were brought up in different countries so beliefs and thoughts could be completely different. Maybe if Dimple had used her inside voice, it would have helped her parents understand her better. But what do I know. I get that she felt she had something to prove but calm down, sweetheart. Ever heard of the phrase “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar”? It is true for a reason. Besides all of that, she was a completely inconsistent character. What do I mean? I mean she started out the story being very confident, sure of herself, ready to face the world and I liked that. I liked it a lot. But then in the next paragraph she would be meek and oh no are they looking at me?! It gave me whiplash. Either you are strong and confident or you are a meek butterfly trying to figure out who you are, Dimple, you cannot be both. She really, really needed to get those emotions in check because she really was all over the place. I thought she was having manic episodes so many times because she would be super excited one moment, then screaming about how unfair it was that her mother wanted her to wear makeup.

Rishi. He was a far more stable character but he had problems. He came across like a stalker and that made me not like him so much. He knew everything about Dimple (of course he did, he knew that his parents were trying to set up an arranged marriage between them) and used that intel to keep pushing his intentions on her even after she said she only wanted to be friends. If he wanted to start something with her, he should have let it happen organically. That is not what he did. He would set up “non-dates” at romantic places where she would just so happen to find a favorite book of hers… that he planted for her to find. O_O It just came across that the boy couldn’t take “NO” for an answer. Oh, he also had instalove with Dimple. I swear to all things bacon there was nothing Dimple could do that was bad. Everything about her was pure magic in his eyes. The guy was instalove in love with her. He couldn’t stop making comments like, “She swept her voluminous hair back into a ponytail”. Excuse me? Who talks like that? Stalker instalove obsessed Rishi, that’s who. Another issue I had was with a little known secret: he likes to draw but SHHHHH! Don’t tell anyone! He wants to honor his parents and being an artist wouldn’t make them happen. I get he wants to respect their wishes but at some point he needed to come to the realization on his own that his wants matter and talk to his parents about it. Instead, it all magically resolved itself in the last few pages of the book. *sigh*

The plot. Or should I say the lack of a plot. First, let me get this off of my chest: Why is the name of a summer coding course named Insomnia Con?! It makes no sense! These kids slept a lot so the name just baffles me. Ok, I’m better now. Promise. Second, the point of this course is supposed to be this group of students learn how to develop and code a new phone app. I’m down with that. It would be great for those looking to build their coding skills. But wait! None of that happens in this story. Anything to do with actual school is glazed over with “the weeks fly by as we draw closer to the submission portion of our project”. I am paraphrasing but that is basically how it went down. These kids just have too much free time for an expensive 8 week program. The bulk of the time at “Summer School” (I use quotes because there is no learning that takes place from what I read…) was the students focusing on a …. talent show. Riddle me this: Why does a school program like this have a talent show? Why is so much focus on said talent show? How is this teaching these students how to code or anything to do with college? Oh that’s right, it doesn’t. There’s a massive chunk of the story devoted to figuring out what to do at said talent show, weeks rehearsing for said talent show (no coding or school work though), and then drama at said talent show. Suddenly BOOM – it is the end of the 8 weeks and projects are submitted for consideration. Wha?

We did see a lot of emotions happening between Dimple and Rishi, which is good… I guess. If you ignore the issues I had with the characters then it was okay. Actually, I didn’t feel the gushy feels towards this couple. I was not swooning or shipping these two. The ending did not surprise me at all. It felt just too perfect. It felt as if Menon tried oh so hard to wrap everything up in a pretty package. I didn’t buy it.

It seems I hated everything within this book but I didn’t. I promise I didn’t hate everything about it… I just disliked a lot of it. Besides, “hate” is such a strong word. Here are some things I did really enjoy:

-Discussion of Indian culture and Indian race. I liked how clueless rich white girl made rude and insensitive comment about “their unusual names”. Rishi quickly claps her back, puts her in her place, and shuts her down. I felt so happy for them at that moment.

-The cover is super adorable. It makes me think of happy summer days.

That’s all I have at the moment. Sorry.

This may be one of the longest reviews I’ve done in a while. WHEW. I had some thoughts and feelings to get out. I tried so hard… SO HARD to love and enjoy this book. If you don’t agree with anything I’ve said, that’s fine and I wish you and I could swap places. I wish I could have loved this book as much as you did. I feel so awful for wanting to love this book as much as other readers and it just not happening.



Waiting on Wednesday: A Map For Wrecked Girls

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

A Map for Wrecked Girls By Jessica Taylor

A Map for Wrecked Girls

From Goodreads:

We sat at the edge of the ocean—my sister Henri and I—inches apart but not touching at all. We’d been so sure someone would find us by now.

Emma had always orbited Henri, her fierce, magnetic queen bee of an older sister, and the two had always been best friends. Until something happened that wrecked them.

I’d trusted Henri more than I’d trusted myself. Wherever she told me to go, I’d follow.

Then the unthinkable occurs—a watery nightmare off the dazzling coast. The girls wash up on shore, stranded. Their only companion is Alex, a troubled boy agonizing over his own secrets. Trapped in this gorgeous hell, Emma and Alex fall together as Emma and Henri fall catastrophically apart.

For the first time, I was afraid we’d die on this shore.

To find their way home, the sisters must find their way back to each other. But there’s no map for this—or anything. Can they survive the unearthing of the past and the upheaval of the present?”


First of all… THAT COVER. Second… this sounds so good. I cannot wait to get my hands on it!


Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Romances

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week I’m listing…

Favorite Romances


I’ll Meet You There

I'll Meet You There



All The Bright Places



Six of Crows



Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda



Winter (please and thank you!)



Everything Everything



The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue



Anna & the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)



My Life Next Door

My Life Next Door



The Unexpected Everything


The Unexpected Everything


It was really difficult to narrow this list down to just 10… so many great romances in YA! What are some of your faves? Let me know! ❤


ARC Review: Little Monsters

Little Monsters


Kara Thomas did it again. I was blown away by her first book, The Darkest Corners, so that made me even more excited to read her second book. I was nervous because I had no idea if this would fall into the second book slump but I’m happy to report that this was just as amazing as I hoped it would be!

Short recap: Kacey is new to Broken Falls and is constantly trying to figure out how she fits in. One night she goes with Bailey and Jade, her two best friends, to visit the old barn that is supposed to be haunted. The next day Bailey is missing and the hunt is on to find her before something awful happens to her. At the center of the investigation is the Kacey. Did she cause Bailey’s disappearance? All clues do point to her…

I liked Kasey’s character from the start. This girl came from such a broken background that it made it hard for me to not like her. She moved in with her Dad and his new wife, changed schools, and trying to just overall fit in. Or at least find out where and how she fits in. Kasey just came across as a headstrong protagonist that was not going to be messed with. She wasn’t overly tough but she could handle herself. Kasey’s “best friends”, Bailey and Jade, were complete pieces of work. They are the type of girls you were always warned to stay away from, but how can Kasey say no when she just wants to have friends that accept her? Hard to argue with logic like that.

I was hooked from the first chapter. Kara Thomas just has a way to weave a wonderful mystery thriller full of twists and turns. This was evidence that she is gifted when it comes to the written word. She made these characters and events believable. I felt like I was right alongside Kasey for this entire crazy mystery. This was such a fast paced “whodunit” that I was finished before I knew it. I don’t know how else to say I was completely involved as the mystery raced towards the conclusion. I won’t ruin anything so don’t think I’m going to give away the ending! What I will tell you is that it stays true to Thomas’ first book’s ending where you just do not see it coming. But once you read it, close the book, sit back and think… it will hit you like a ton of bricks and you kick yourself for not seeing it sooner.

If there was a way I could carry Kara Thomas around with me just so I could have her nearby, that would be swell. She has proved herself to me as an author. She has now become an instabuy author for me and I will forever be her devoted reader. I want everyone to give this a chance so they can experience the thrills and chills that are waiting in her new novel.





Books Left Unread #85


Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

This week’s post is dedicated to:

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Blackhearts (Blackhearts, #1)


I am all for a pirate book but for some reason I just cannot bring myself to start this one. I know I want to but there is the fear of being let down. Heck, that stops me from reading a lot of books. Have you read it? What did you think?