ARC Review: After The Fire

After the Fire

 

Do not let the cover of this book fool you. This is a powerhouse of a story, one that will stay with you for a very long time. This is a novel that I wish everyone would give a chance because it deserves the attention.

Short recap: Moonbeam is struggling to process what happened and accepting the fact that she was in a cult. She and the other kids are in a hospital/care facility after the fire. They are closely monitored and question by trained physicians and even law enforcement about what took place in the compound, but most are tight lipped. Moonbeam finds the courage to speak the truth about the events leading up to the fire. Does she have the strength to admit her part in everything? Can she confess to what she really did?

Once I started this book, it never left my mind. When I wasn’t reading it, I wanted to be because I had to know what happened. Everything about this story was masterfully done. The pacing, the plot, the character development, the arcs, all of it. Reading Moonbeam’s POV constantly gave me chills as her take on events was eye-opening. She was only a small child when her mom brought her into the cult so she grew up thinking their way of life was normal. Only after being there a few years did her mom realize what a mistake that was. In an effort to save her Moonbeam, her mom left to try to find help. Only, she never came back. Moonbeam spent most of her teenage years as a promised wife to the leader. That didn’t mean Moonbeam had it easy. The things she and the other kids had to go through was nothing short of pure torture. The way Moonbeam told the events of what happened had me transfixed. I quickly became obsessed with the story and the need to know what happened. At the same time, I almost did not want to know what happened because some scenes were horrific and terrifying.

While I could continue to go on about how utterly amazing this story is, I really want to give you enough of a tease to make you want to read it. There are parts of the story that made my skin crawl and made me want to do harm to adults, but the entire story made me want to fight for Moonbeam. I wanted to hug this girl and let her know everything would be ok. She was subjected to a level of hell that nobody should witness. But she came out on the other side so much stronger than she realized she could be.

I don’t want to give much more away. I’ll say it again though – everything about this story is magnificent. The characters were deeply flawed and wonderfully complex, the story had so many twists and turns that I never knew what was going to happen, the pacing was perfect and it made the story fly by. I finished this in a matter of a day or two. I just could not put this one down. I still cannot get over how much this story affected me and I mean that in a good way. This will say with me for a while. I do hope you will check it out.

 

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Review: The Bird and the Blade

The Bird and the Blade

 

I finished this book a while ago and have been struggling with my thoughts since. I loved this story so much that I believe I am now ruined. This was so much more than I could have imagined… it was masterfully done. I wish all YA fantasy stories could be written this way because it was pure magic. Be warned that this review will be a struggle for me to write so it may be a little scattered. I loved this story so much so that means I will have a difficult time properly expressing everything I enjoyed about this outstanding novel.

While this is labeled a “fantasy” story, it did not feel like every other fantasy story out there. This felt original, engaging, absorbing, and enchantingly amazing. I have not really been a big fan of high fantasy and I’m happy to say this was not that type of fantasy. This was just enough of everything to be perfect. The author did a wonderful job of keeping this historical side of this story entertaining and engaging. I did not feel overwhelmed with infodumps of unnecessary details. The Asian influence of the story was beautifully expressed.

The characters felt flawed and complex while still being believable. From the very beginning, I connected with these characters and simply had to know how the story ended. Let me tell you right now – that ending shattered me. I mean, absolutely gutted me. I was speechless for a while after I put this book down because it just would not stop playing in my mind. I was shook (in a good way).

What I am trying and failing to say is that I highly recommend this book to everyone. I was trying to give a review that did not give too much away, other than saying this was a brilliantly written story with deeply flawed and complex characters that will steal your heart. You want to move this up your TBR if you have not already. You need to read this.

 

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Otherearth Book Tour: Review and Giveaway

OTHEREARTH

www.rockstarbooktours.com

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About the Book:

OTHEREARTH coverTitle: OTHEREARTH (Last Reality #2)

Author: Jason Segel, & Kirsten Miller

Pub. Date: October 30, 2018

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, audiobook

Pages: 320

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonAudibleB&NiBooksTBD

 Return to the series BuzzFeed compared to Ready Player One in the second book in a new fast-paced trilogy from New York Times bestselling authors Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller that’s perfect for fans of HBO’s Westworld

Simon would have done anything to save his best friend after a mysterious accident almost killed her–including follow her into a virtual world. And what he and Kat discovered there was more terrifying than they could have ever imagined. Unwitting hospital patients are being forced to test a device that lets VR be experienced with all five senses. The technology is so advanced that it’s deadly.

Now the world’s biggest tech corporation is hunting Simon and Kat while war rages in Otherworld, the virtual world it created. Determined to destroy the Company, Simon and Kat must join forces with a hacker, a gangster, and a digital entity. But as they battle to save two worlds, they uncover an all-new threat to our world: the Company’s latest creation, an augmented-reality game called OtherEarth. Not only does OtherEarth kill, it has the power to erase the line between what’s real and what’s fantasy.

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Review

While I loved the first book, this one suffered from Middle Book Syndrome. It did a good job of recapping what happened but most of the book was spent with the characters within the game of OtherWorld itself. Many chapters were spent describing new simulated characters, new Children, new worlds within the game. I felt there was just too much time spent describing things that did not matter to the overall story. Hence the reason I said this was a true Second Book.

Regardless, this was such a fast paced read that it was over before I knew it. The story took twists and turns I was not prepared for. It certainly set up for the next book, which I hope promises to be big.  If you are interested in a gripping read that has echos of Ready Player One and Warcross, you need to check out this book.

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Praise for Otherworld 

A New York Times Bestseller


“A potent commentary on how much we’re willing to give up to the lure of technology.”–EW.com

“A fantastic journey from start to finish.” –Hypable.com

“An engaging VR cautionary tale.” —AV Club

Full of high stakes, thrillers, and fantastic twists and turns, fans of Ready Player One are sure to love this addictive read.” —BuzzFeed

 

About Book 1:

 Untitled-1Title: OTHERWORLD (Last Reality #1)

Author: Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller

Pub. Date: November 7, 2017

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 368

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook

Find it: AmazonB&NiBooksAudibleTBDGoodreads

The company says Otherworld is amazing—like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive—that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.

Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.

And it’s about to change humanity forever.

Welcome to the Otherworld. No one could have seen it coming.

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About Jason:

JasonNew York Times bestselling author Jason Segel used to have nightmares just like Charlie, and just like Charlie, he’s learned that the things we’re most afraid of are the things that can make us strong…if we’re brave enough to face them. Jason likes acting, writing, making music, and hanging out with his friends. Sometimes he writes movies. Sometimes he writes songs for movies. Sometimes he stars in those movies and sings those songs. You might know him from The Muppets and Despicable Me. Your parents might know him from other stuff. Nightmares! is his first novel.

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

 

 

About Kirsten:

KirstenI write books.

Some of my books are what librarians call middle grade. (Kiki Strike, Nightmares!)

Some should be kept away from small children and people with weak stomachs. (How to Lead a Life of Crime, The Eternal Ones, Otherworld)

I write some books with Jason Segel.

I’ve written quite a few books on my own.

I’m an Aquarius.

My favorite food is cauliflower. (No joke.)

I will eat almost anything. And I’m weirdly proud of it.

I believe New York City is the most magical place on earth.

I love Dolly Parton and David Attenborough. Equally.

I cannot sing or play any musical instruments.

I’m obsessed with sewers and sanitation systems.

I once broke into a Mayan temple with my brother, Spike.

Spike is an alias. It’s not his real name.

I also have a sister. She prefers to remain anonymous.

We have the same birthday.

Yes, that sucks.

I think that’s all you need to know.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of OTHEREARTH, US Only.

Rafflecopter link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2830/?

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:

11/1/2018- A Gingerly Review– Review

11/2/2018- Jena Brown Writes– Review

 

Week Two:

11/5/2018- Zach’s YA Reviews– Review

11/6/2018- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

11/7/2018- YA Books Central– Interview

11/8/2018- The Pages In-Between– Review

11/9/2018- Moonlight Rendezvous– Review

 

Week Three:

11/12/2018- Mundie Moms– Excerpt

11/13/2018- Bri’s Book Nook– Review

11/14/2018- Book-Keeping– Review

11/15/2018- The Book Nut– Review

11/16/2018- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review

 

Week Four:

11/19/2018- A Dream Within A Dream– Review

11/20/2018- Smada’s Book Smack– Review

11/21/2018- BookHounds YA– Interview

11/22/2018- Lisa Loves Literature– Review

11/23/2018- Savings in Seconds– Review

 

Week Five:

11/26/2018- Girl plus book– Review

11/27/2018- Book Briefs– Review

11/28/2018- The BookWorm Drinketh– Review

11/29/2018- Nay’s Pink Bookshelf– Review

11/30/2018- Christen Krumm, Writer– Review

 

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Review: Dry

Dry

 

I’m going to start this review by saying I am going to struggle to properly express how I feel about this book. I liked it but at the same time I felt it was lacking something … I don’t know exactly what that is but I hope to pinpoint by the end of the review.

Short recap: The residents of California did not take the warnings to ration water seriously… until one day it was gone. Alyssa, along with her brother and parents, struggle to figure out what to do. Very little news is given, nor is help. Outright panic takes the state over. Alyssa’s next door neighbor, Kelton, is the son of a man who is prepared for the next apocalypse. They team up in hopes of surviving the chaos of the drought. Can they survive long enough for help to arrive?

I know my recap is a little sketchy but you get the gist, I hope. Alyssa and Kelton were an unlikely pair to team up because Kelton has had the biggest crush on Alyssa, but he and his family have a stock-pile of supplies to last through nearly everything. They end up being enjoyable characters but I never felt I truly got to know Alyssa. I knew that she trusted nearly everyone (probably a bad trait in the long run) and she had an innocent side to her that really got on my nerves. I want to be more positive and I wish I could be as trusting as she was, but at some point in time even I have to realize that not everyone is good. Alyssa was not that way. Example: in the early part of the story, the family goes to Costco for water (like everyone else in the state). She gets the idea to go for ice instead of water bottles. People are out of their mind crazed trying to find water when a strange older man offers to pull her cart of ice to the register. That’s when he tried to claim the cart was his and she nearly put up no fight at all… not until her uncle showed up. Why couldn’t this girl understand that in a time of crisis, people are in survival mode, not help mode. She nearly gave up and gave into the strange man simply shrugging it off. Her character stayed like that the entire story. It was frustrating to read. Kelton was good but too much in puppy-love with Alyssa to think/act clearly.

There are a slew of other characters that are given POV chapters but they are introduced at odd times in the story. It felt like they were added simply to keep the story moving. There was a chapter from the uncle’s POV – one chapter only. There was another POV introduced more than halfway through of a young kid that was a smooth talker. I don’t believe his voice was necessary to the overall story. Jacqui is another character that was introduced that was given a voice. If it wasn’t for the the audio and knowing the voices changed, I might have become confused reading the actual book. It felt like too many characters in a short period of time.

The premise of the story was a good one. I love dystopians so this felt like home to me. I would love to believe I could survive for a little bit in a world like this but who knows. I may wuss out and sit crying in a corner somewhere. While I loved the concept of the story, the ending felt incomplete. It was not stated why these events happened or why they were limited to the one state. The rest of the US was fine and dandy but people in the one state were dying of dehydrating. Holy unanswered questions, Batman! I like to know the WHYS of a story but this did not provide that.

Am I sorry I read it? Not at all. I enjoyed the overall story but it was not something that absolutely blew my hair back. I would recommend but urge caution that not all of the answers will be given so don’t ask to begin with. Shusterman and Shusterman did an excellent job of rekindling my love for dystopians and the want of this genre to come back.

 

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DNF Review: Layover

Layover

 

I really do not like DNFing books but we all know it has to happen sometimes. There are some books that are just not for us and we must make the decision to stop, cut our losses, and move on. That was me when it came to this book. My only regret is that I did not stop it sooner.

Short recap: Three kids are traveling to meet their parents in a tropical paradise when they are in LA on a layover. The youngest kid spills the beans about why they are going to meet their parents. The three make the decision right then and there – in the airport – to not make their connecting flight. They choose to leave the airport and have an adventure in LA.

Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. I had so many issues with the small part of the story I could stand to sit through. First, the characters are absurdly naive and weirded me out. The girl, Flynn, apparently had feelings for her brother-yet-not-brother Amos. I’m sorry but WHAT. Amos was just as attracted to Flynn but both hid their feelings from one another. That alone should have been enough to make me stop but I seemed to be under the impression this story would get better. (Spoiler alert: it didn’t) Then we had Poppy, the youngest. She apparently had some sort of condition that was always hinted to but never truly addressed. She was on specific medication and a very strict diet but threw it all out the window as soon as she knew adults were not around. That, my lovely readers, was a HUGE problem for me. The personalities of these kids did not feel fully flushed out. Flynn felt like a cardboard cut out, Amos had a subscription to his issues and refused to deal with anything, and Poppy was painfully young, naive, immature, and unnecessary. All three of these characters were given POV chapters but Poppy was the worst. She droned on about how she wanted a birthday party when she was young(er) but there was a blizzard that kept everyone away or how she couldn’t play with the other kids unless her shoelaces were tied *just the right way*. She also claimed to be an “old soul”. She was obsessed with classic Hollywood and wanted to be like them when she got older. I never connected with her nor could I care what she was going on about. She was more excited about ice cream and donuts than the fact that she didn’t have her medication to take daily. None of these kids thought it would be a big deal – at all – to simply not catch their next flight and have a day in LA.

Also, instead of turning their cell phones off so they couldn’t be tracked via GPS – they threw them in a trashcan. Get out of here with that nonsense.

I think I know what the author was trying to accomplish but I can only guess. The storyline made zero sense to me. I could not continue listening to a story where the nine year old character was the main voice and the two siblings-yet-not-siblings denied feelings for each other (that relationship was never fully explained in the portion I read so I don’t know if it ever was…). This story felt like a complete waste of my time.

 

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Review: Tradition

Tradition

 

I have found that I do enjoy books set at schools but this was not one of those books. This was absolutely not what I expected.

I am not doing a recap as I am not entirely sure what this book was supposed to be about. I know the premise but I believe it missed its mark in my eyes. It was supposed to be about rape culture but it fell flat. Here is why – the story was boring as all get out. This was one of the most boring and uneventful stories I have read in a while. The topic was clearly enough to get me to borrow the story, but it was not enough to keep my attention.

The characters were underdeveloped and weak… dare I say they felt unoriginal? Jules was nothing to write home about. She felt like a bad representation of what the author felt a feminist should be. The motivation behind her was not believable. Bax was your garden variety ally with zero personality. Together, these two made for a frightful read.

There was rape within the pages of this book yet I don’t feel it was handled correctly. It is a serious topic that should have been taken seriously but it wasn’t. The overall story was not developed, much like everything else within this story. It was utterly forgettable. In good faith I could not and will not recommend this to anyone. This will be a short review as I have stated my case for why I did not enjoy this one. If you do give this a try, do so gingerly (no pun intended). You may become as bored as I was and forget what you are reading or quickly lose interest.

 

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Review: A Map of Days

A Map of Days (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #4)

 

I do love this series and admit I was more excited for the series to continue than I care to admit. I did listen to the audio of this and it read just as well even without the creepy photos. This was an interesting take on the story and I’m curious to know where it goes.

Short recap: The Peculiars have to learn to live in the real world and turn to Jacob for help. Jacob is going through his own issues as his family wants to have him committed. Jacob soon discovers what his grandfather really did in the world of Peculiars. Will Jacob leave his parents behind to go on one last mission to be like his grandfather?

This book was intimidating, there is no doubt about that. The audio was over 13 hours (at 1x playback) while the physical book pushed 500 pages. It was still a fast paced adventure that had me guessing at every turn. Of course I would never guess to know what Riggs was thinking when he wrote the book so I could not begin to speculate where the story would lead. What I can tell you is that the cast of characters you came to know and love in the first three books are back and better than ever. They all had wonderful character arcs and continued to surprise me as they began to grow into their own. They even started to question authority, which was refreshing. Miss Peregrine did have a part in this story but not as big of a role in past stories.

There was one small complaint I had about the story – there was a scene that felt almost like a direct rip-off of Harry Potter. If you have read the story, I think you know what I am talking about. I do not always feel the need to compare everything to my beloved HP but when it feels like copying someone’s test but changing enough so the teacher doesn’t know you copied word for word, then I have to give pause and question. It did sort of help the story along but in the end it did not feel like it made any difference at all. It was hardly referenced after the characters moved past that particular place. It made me wonder why it was even included unless it will have a bigger part in future books.

This was still a fun read and I was excited to be back in this world. I am curious to see how the series continues. I can only hope that the Peculiars will have further development rather than just how Jacob perceives them. I know that would be difficult as it means there would have to be multiple POVs and this story just isn’t set up for that. A girl can hope, right?

 

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