Archive | March 2019

Review: The Wicked Deep

Title: The Wicked Deep

Author: Shea Earnshaw

Date of Publication: March 6th, 2018

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Goodreads Summary:

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

My Review:

After that emotional and magnificent read, I’m a weeping willow of a mess! I’m just going to say I loved this book more than breathing air, and that it’s probably one of my favorite reads ever. I loved it so much!

We get a book with a witchy type of a sisterly tale! But my favorite part was the contemporary aspects and the mystery and the perfection of the author’s words!

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Penny and Bo were so good together and there chemistry was cute and sweet! I especially loved the chapters with the backstories on the sisters, so heartbreaking! I want everyone to know that I’m not okay after reading this, even though I’m totally okay … or am I? I already need back in these pages, and I need more books from this author!!!

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What’s your favorite witchy book?

Review: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Title: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Author: Fred Rogers

Date of Publication: March 19th, 2019

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Goodreads Summary:

For the first time ever, the beloved songs from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood are collected here in a charmingly-illustrated treasury, sure to be cherished by adults who grew up with Mister Rogers, and a new generation of children alike.

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood had a revolutionary impact on children’s television, and on millions of children themselves. Through songs, puppets, and frank conversations, Mister Rogers instilled the values of kindness, patience, and self-esteem in his viewers, and most of all, taught children how loved they were, just by being themselves. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhoodreimagines the songs from the show as poetry, ranging from the iconic (“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”) to the forgotten gems. The poem are funny, sweet, silly, and sincere, dealing with topics of difficult feelings, new siblings, everyday routines, imagination, and more. Perfect for bedtime, sing-along, or quiet time, this book of nostalgic and meaningful poetry is the perfect gift for every child–including the child in all of us. 

My Review:

Literally one of the greatest human beings to have ever existed! I grew up with the television show and hearing Mr. Rogers speak, and he was always so genuine. He was also so amazing with adding diversity to his shows and the world!

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I loved these poems! They were so incredibly encouraging not only for children but adults. It’s okay to feel sad sometimes and it’s okay to feel happy too because that’s what makes us human. Some of the poems showed love about being different, about loving yourself, about being yourself—so much encouragement.

Not only were the poems great but the illustration matched really well! Overall this is a must read from a man who wasn’t a social media giant but spread his word through love and stories!

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Did you grow up watching Mr. Rogers?

Review: The Karate Kid

Title: The Karate Kid

Illustrator: Kim Smith

Date of Publication: May 7th, 2019

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Goodreads Summary:

The classic movie about a boy and his karate teacher is now an adorable picture book for the whole family!

When The Karate Kid appeared in theaters in 1984, its heartwarming story of an unlikely friendship between a bullied boy and the Japanese maintenance man in his new apartment building became an instant classic. Now the beloved film is reimagined as a cute and colorful picture book, with charming illustrations by Kim Smith. When young Daniel is targeted by students from the Cobra Kai dojo, his neighbor Mr. Miyagi agrees to train him for the upcoming karate tournament. But why is Mr. Miyagi making Daniel wax his cars, sand his deck, and paint his house? Will Daniel ever master the art of karate? This timeless story of overcoming the odds will delight kids, their parents, and anyone who has ever had that one special teacher.

My Review:

I freaking love the Karate Kid! Wax on, wax off! It was a no brainer that I would probably love this children’s book! Answer = I DID!

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If only I had this picture book when I was a kid then that would have been immaculate! However, I still thoroughly enjoyed it as an adult! The illustrations were so perfect and matched the movie so well!

Also, I feel like the message is a good one, always has been! Now, I need to go watch the movie right this second!

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Have you seen the Karate Kid?

Review: More Than We Can Tell

Title: More Than We Can Tell

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Date of Publication: March 6th, 2018

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Goodreads Summary:

Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay…until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.

Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.

When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected. This must-read story will once again have readers falling for Brigid Kemmerer’s emotional storytelling.

My Review:

Letters to the Lost was so amazingly good and Rev was one of my favorite side characters ever. He gets his own story, right? What could go wrong? The other MC is what.

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Emma! She’s a gamer which is pretty freaking awesome in itself. The character even started out fine. I love feisty girls, but there’s a difference between that and just completely not nice. She was so mean to her mom, her best friend, and even Rev at times. I didn’t get it! I’m usually fine if the character has tremendous growth but I didn’t see that in her!

However, Rev was perfect. I loved him so much! And his story is so incredibly sad. His adoptive family was so awesome and caring and I’m so glad he got to have them! Also, the new addition of his foster brother Matthew was great! The poor boy had such a horrible backstory, and I think he should get his own book, too!

Overall, I think it would have been much better if it was only Rev’s story or if Emma’s personality would have still been spunky but not so hateful. Either way, if you loved Letters to the Lost then you should still check this out!

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What’s your favorite contemporary book?

Review: Call it What you Want

Title: Call it What you Want

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Date of Publication: June 25th, 2019

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Goodreads Summary:

When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship…

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

My Review:

I’ve only read A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, but I think I’m starting to become a fan! I also saw her speak at a pannel and she seriously seems like such a funny and an incredibly down-to-earth person!

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Two character POVs. First we get Maegan, who I will admit I was frustrated with at times, but I genuinely did get the way she thought. She was brought up by a cop with a sister who was good at everything, of course the pressure would be on. But now we get to my baby boy, Rob! Dear stars, I felt so bad for this boy. And I seriously loved him with all my crooked heart! He went through so much and I honestly got the choices and decisions he made. Nothing in books and real life is black and white. EVER! And I think the world needs to think about that sometimes.

This book made me really think about the gray lines and the characters actions. I would think one way, but then think from the other angle. There was just so much in this book, emotion, swoon, friendship, enemies, forgiveness, beautifulness! I’m actually going to have to go backward and read some more of Kemmerer’s books because I can’t get enough!

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Have you read any books by Brigid Kemmerer?

Review: Untold

Title: Untold

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan

Date of Publication: August 29th, 2013

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Goodreads Summary:

It’s time to choose sides…. 

On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.

But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?

A darkly humorous take on Gothic romance, Sarah Rees Brennan’s Lynburn Legacy weaves together the tale of a heroine desperate to protect those she loves, two boys hoping to be saved, and the magical forces that will shape their destiny.

My Review:

After that intense ending to book one, I had to dive right back into this world and see what the heck was going to happen! The sorcerer concept is really cool along with the Gothicky vibe which is my favorite!

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Oh my, I wanted to shake Kami and Jared so many times! But no matter how many shakes I wanted to give them, I loved them so much. Kami just has the coolest and quirkiest personality while Jared is a bit harder but when humorous things slip out of his mouth, I’m like, yes!

Rob is still a douchebag, trying to do douchey things. So Kami and her friends have to gather themselves to figure out how to stop this looney idiot! There was so much humor, magic, swoon, friendship, and emotion in this one! This author literally has the best witty dialogue I’ve ever read! Can’t wait to start the last book!

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What is your favorite Gothic novel?

Review: A Very Large Expanse of Sea

Title: A Very Large Expanse of Sea

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Date of Publication: October 16th, 2018

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Goodreads Summary:

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.

My Review:

So Shatter Me is my favorite series ever, yet it took me a while to read this one. Why, you ask? Because contemporary is iffy for me. Most of the time I like my contemporary light and fluffy. But this was time! Oh, and breakdancing is awesome!

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Here’s where things get tough for me. I was seventeen and in high school in 2002. I remember everything as clear as day, so I was confused by several things. First, the texting? I don’t really remember anyone texting back then. It was mainly AIM and landline phone calls! Also, I feel like most of us still had CDs vs MP3 players! Also, if Shirin’s family didn’t have a lot of money then how was she always using this cell phone that didn’t have unlimited minutes or texts? Why not just use the landline????

Next gripe, I felt this book was over dramatic. I don’t want people to think that all schools were racist like this. In fact, if teachers would have acted like this to any student at my school, they would have probably been fired! Right after 9/11 kids at my school were NOT like this about Muslims and I live in SE Texas. In fact the only separation we ever had was between the preppy kids and the metal kids, but it was more of a “let’s just hang out in our own social circles!” This book kind of reminded me of the movie A Walk to Remember, when popular dude dates nerdy girl and the kids in school get all hostile toward Mandy Moore’s character after they start a relationship. It just baffles my brain and doesn’t seem real.

It was super hard for me to connect to Shirin, and I was so sad about this, but the fact was that she was just as prejudice as these other kids. Yes, she had been through a lot, but she was just so very angry. I’m just a big fan of showing kindness over that anger! Ocean, for example, was nothing but sweet to her, and at first she was pretty mean to him! Also, she mentioned in her head that he should be with a blonde. Why a blonde???

As for side characters, I seriously loved Navid and his group of friends. They were so cool and awesome and I literally wanted to breakdance with them! I will say that Shirin does grow as a character by the end, and I really loved that! Ocean, dear Ocean was so sweet but he got a bit over dramatic, too! I just don’t even know what to say except I still feel confused here, but I seriously love Tahereh Mafi’s writing more than anything.

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Can you clearly remember where you were during 9/11?

Review: Storm and Fury

Title: Storm and Fury

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Date of Publication: June 11th, 2019

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Goodreads Summary:

Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

My Review:

I loved being back in this world. Yes, this is a spinoff series but I highly recommend reading the other trilogy! You know what the best thing in the world is? Gargoyles!

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Okay, so I’m going to start out and say I did not like this one as much as the first trilogy! While I didn’t love it, I definitely liked it, though! This book is pretty big, like 535 pages! I think if the first half had been cut about 100 – 150 pages it would have helped because things really get going in the second half!

Another issue is I liked Trinity, but I loved Layla more from the other trilogy, and again, it was hard for me to not compare the two. The cool thing about Trinity is she has a disability with her eyesight but she doesn’t let it get the best of her! Those aspects were so amazing! Also, we do get cameos from characters from the other books and that was incredibly exciting!

Let me talk about Zayne for a minute because he’s such an adorable gentleman. And yes, there was some swoony scenes and yes, I’d give those all my stars. *Throws stars at that right now*

There are some great action scenes as well and addicting writing! Armentrout always knows how to sprinkle in the perfect amount of humor. I love how it ended because it’s open for the next book but not the deadly bomb of a cliffhanger. So I’m so very interested to see what happens next!

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Have you read the Dark Elements Series?

#WriteMentor Wishlist

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Hello possible mentees! I’m so ecstatic that you came to visit me!

Some hopefully interesting things about me:

I’ve lived in Texas my whole life and the weather is ridiculous! I’m married with a nine-year-old daughter, a cat, and a bearded dragon. Anyone who gifts me with avocados or white chocolate has my forever gratitude. I’m an 80s fanatic, but don’t worry because 70s and 90s are equally pleasing! Goonies never say die!

Books I’ve written:

Hearts Are Like Balloons, Bacon Pie, Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, The Bride of Glass, Clouded by Envy, and Veiled by Desire

If you still have any questions after reading this post, you can contact me on Twitter @literarydust or email me at literarydust@gmail.com

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

My Wishlist!

First, I’m only taking on YA. MG is great, but I feel like I wouldn’t be very helpful in that field! Here’s what I’m hoping to see!

1) Urban Fantasy/Fantasy/Paranormal/Horror/Gothic

I absolutely love monsters, fae, and weird. Think Holly Black, Sarah J. Maas, or Brenna Yovanoff. It can be set during any time frame—1800s, present day, fantasy world, you name it. I also really love things that have a gothic spin on it, like books by A.G. Howard. Let’s just say dark = good. If it’s something like vampires, let the book be dark. Example: The Lost Boys. One of the main things I looks for besides plot is the characters personalities! They can be morally gray, they can be weak, they can be strong, but the main thing is that they need to shine!

2) Contemporary

Quirky and romantic is my jam. Think Jenn Bennett! If it’s a super serious contemporary, I can’t do those. It has to be fun and cute and give me lots of heart eyes! With contemporary, I seriously love character driven books—those ones have my entire soul!

3) Must haves

There has to be some form of romance in the book. Doesn’t have to be the focus, just something minuscule at least. Witty banter gets bonus points!

What can you expect from me as a mentor?

I’m here to be part of YOUR team and help you to my best ability. Anytime you need to email me with questions, I’m here, and I can schedule phone calls as well!

First round, I’ll hit you up with big picture notes and inline notes inside the Word document. From there, we’ll see what other work needs to be done. Most importantly, this is your story! You aren’t going to agree with every single suggestion I make, but as a team we’ll collaborate and talk out our ideas until we get there together!

I’m not a cheerleader, but I’ll be cheering for you the whole way!

Good luck! I can’t wait to see what your manuscript brings!

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Are you submitting a manuscript to #WriteMentor?

Review: Places No One Knows

Title: Places No One Knows

Author: Brenna Yovanoff

Date of Publication: May 17th, 2016

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Goodreads Summary:

Waverly Camdenmar spends her nights running until she can’t even think. Then the sun comes up, life goes on, and Waverly goes back to her perfectly hateful best friend, her perfectly dull classes, and the tiny, nagging suspicion that there’s more to life than student council and GPAs.

Marshall Holt is a loser. He drinks on school nights and gets stoned in the park. He is at risk of not graduating, he does not care, he is no one. He is not even close to being in Waverly’s world.

But then one night Waverly falls asleep and dreams herself into Marshall’s bedroom—and when the sun comes up, nothing in her life can ever be the same. In Waverly’s dreams, the rules have changed. But in her days, she’ll have to decide if it’s worth losing everything for a boy who barely exists.

My Review:

I have loved every book I’ve read by Brenna Yovanoff! I’ve loved getting lost in her worlds, getting lost in her characters, and getting lost in her beautiful words. Seriously her words are a string of art!

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Marshall was by far the best character. I felt for him and his emotions. I could feel his love for Waverly with every fiber in my being. I could just truly feel his character! Waverly had to grow on me, though. Her struggle was trying to be perfect. I feel like in life, we’ve all had to fight that little demon. But I wanted to shake her at times and scream that Marshall was right there and to break out of her shell! However, her character truly grew into a blossoming flower!

Seriously, anything written by this author I will buy! Her books are super character driven, which gives me starry eyes! And I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! And the ending to this one was perfecto! Yet, I was yearning for an epilogue!

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Have you read any books by Brenna Yovanoff?