Reviews

Book Review | Uncomfortable Labels: My Life as a Gay Autistic Trans Woman by Laura Kate Dale

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*Book given by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Uncomfortable Labels: My Life as a Gay Autistic Trans Woman
Description: 

“So while the assumption when I was born was that I was or would grow up to be a neurotypical heterosexual boy, that whole idea didn’t really pan out long term.”

In this candid, first-of-its-kind memoir, Laura Kate Dale recounts what life is like growing up as a gay trans woman on the autism spectrum. From struggling with sensory processing, managing socially demanding situations and learning social cues and feminine presentation, through to coming out as trans during an autistic meltdown, Laura draws on her personal experiences from life prior to transition and diagnosis, and moving on to the years of self-discovery, to give a unique insight into the nuances of sexuality, gender and autism, and how they intersect.

Charting the ups and downs of being autistic and on the LGBT spectrum with searing honesty and humour, this is an empowering, life-affirming read for anyone who’s felt they don’t fit in. –goodreads.com

 

 


What I Liked

I have to say, I feel honored by being let into the authors life. This book is very raw, real, and powerful. Her writing pulled me in nearly right away and when I read this, I needed to keep on reading it. This book was really insightful and really gave me an understanding of the trials and tribulations of their live with being transgender as well as having been diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

On top of sharing their story, the writing was wonderfully and refreshingly honest. This book faces all of their experiences both positive and negative. The author faces these in writing this story and I give the author a lot of credit for being so open. There were times where I was angry on her behalf at how she was treated. I also cheered with her for every victory she shared. I was very much pulled into the story.

I really don’t want to say much more about this book, I really feel like it is best read without knowing too much about it. I will say, there are very difficult topics discussed in the book, transphobia, suicide, depression, bullying, addiction, assault. So, if these topics or similar topics bother you unfortunately this book might be difficult to read. Please read other reviews and make your own decision, you are the only one who can make this choice for you.


What I Didn’t Like

At times the writing itself was a bit all over the place, but this is more a personal feeling than anything. I can see a lot of people not being bothered by it.


Overall Thoughts

Honestly, I think this is a very powerful book. It is brutally honest, insightful, and I think it is a great book to read to not only learn about the trans community or the autism community, but the life experiences of a very strong person. I recommend picking this book up either from the library, online or your local bookstore.

4stars


Author Links


Twitter: LaurakBuzz

Book Information

Publication Date: July 18th 2019

Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

List Price: $18.95

ISBN: 9781785925870

Pages: 192 pages

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Reviews

Book Review | A Constellation of Roses by Miranda Asebedo

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*Book given for review by Wunderkind PR*

A Constellation of Roses
Description: 

Ever since her mother walked out, Trix McCabe has been determined to make it on her own. And with her near-magical gift for pulling valuables off unsuspecting strangers, Trix is confident she has what it takes to survive. Until she’s caught and given a choice: jail time, or go live with her long-lost family in the tiny town of Rocksaw, Kansas.

Trix doesn’t plan to stick around Rocksaw long, but there’s something special about her McCabe relatives that she is drawn to. Her aunt, Mia, bakes pies that seem to cure all ills. Her cousin, Ember, can tell a person’s deepest secret with the touch of a hand. And Trix’s great-aunt takes one look at Trix’s palm and tells her that if she doesn’t put down roots somewhere, she won’t have a future anywhere.

Before long, Trix feels like she might finally belong with this special group of women in this tiny town in Kansas. But when her past comes back to haunt her, she’ll have to decide whether to take a chance on this new life . . . or keep running from the one she’s always known.

With lovable and flawed characters, an evocative setting, and friendships to treasure, A Constellation of Roses is the perfect companion to Miranda Asebedo’s debut novel The Deepest Roots. –goodreads.com

 


What I Liked

I would like to start off with something some might not see as a positive, but this was one emotional book. It felt like a roller coaster, but in a really good way. It did not feel like a soap opera. This book follows a young girl named Trix who has had a very hard life. She was stealing to survive and life, she really didn’t trust anyone but 2 friends, one who liked like her and another who was in jail.

This book starts off right away and slowly you see the world build and Trix. She is a really complex character with a ton of development, which I loved. I was rooting for her the entire time and I just wanted her to begin to trust people and connect with her family. The author wrote her in an amazing way. The world she built was believable, and tangible even though there was a few magical elements tossed in. I had genuine emotional reactions to a few of the events in the book, I don’t want to get too specific, but I cried and I wanted to smack a few characters in the face. On the other hand there were some I just wanted to hug and celebrate with when things went right. I will note that even the side characters of sort made an impression on me.

Another thing I really enjoyed the book was the little magical element. This element was woven into the story is such a believable way. It is subtle and well thought out due to the diversity of magic help by some of the characters. These little gifts are listed in the books description and I knew they were coming up, but I really loved how they fit into the characters personalities and were presented.

Honestly, I could go on and on, this is pretty much a gushfest and I am totally okay with that because this book earned it.


What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, nothing. I loved every page of this book. It was beautifully written and constructed. This, I do not say often.


Overall Thoughts

I thought this was an amazing read, it could easily be one of my top books of the year. As I have said the author is very talented. Her writing is well balanced and easily creates a world and characters that the reader can fall into with out a problem. I was engaged in the story from page one and I wanted more when it was over. I highly recommend this book to anyone.

5stars


Author Links

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Book Information

Publication Date: November 5th 2019

Publisher: HarperTeen

List Price: $17.99

ISBN: 9780062747105

Pages: 336 pages

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Reviews

Book Review | Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

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*Book given for review by Wunderkind PR*

Ogre Enchanted (Ella Enchanted, #0.5)Description: 

Evie is happiest when she is healing people, diagnosing symptoms, and prescribing medications, with the help of her devoted friend (and test subject) Wormy. So when Wormy unexpectedly proposes to her, she kindly turns him down; she has far too much to do to be marrying anyone. And besides, she simply isn’t in love with him.

But a certain meddling fairy named Lucinda has been listening in, and she doesn’t approve of Evie’s rejection. Suddenly, Evie finds herself transformed from a girl into a hideous, hungry ogre. Evie now has only sixty-two days to accept another proposal—or else be stuck as an ogre forever. –goodreads.com


What I Liked

I want to start off by saying I have not read Ella Enchanted, which I know many love. This is my first time reading a book set in this world and also by this author, so please keep that in mind. I will say, I found Gail Carson Levine writing enjoyable. It flowed nicely and when I did pick up the book to read I was pulled in a usually for long chunks of time. The world is one you fall into.

Outside of Levine’s writing style I really enjoyed the world she created as well as the characters. When it came to the main character, Evie, I really liked how she wrote a character that was very much herself. While this book has a beauty and the beast type feeling with a marriage proposal leads to someone being turned into a monster. I felt that Evie turning down her proposal due to her dedication to healing much more interesting and compelling instead of just being interested in physical appearance. I found it to be a really interesting turn on the idea. It also added a lot to the characters personality in my eyes.

While Evie is young, she has a passion, and at times she read a bit older due to this. Even after she is cursed the fairy, she has graphic thoughts, which come with being an ogre. The other side of the coin is that at times she does very much read like a young girl, which makes sense. At times this could be jarring, but it never took me out of the story too much. It was more like, “Oh, right”.

When it came to the idea of what an Ogre is I really like the way Levine handled it. I feel like she could have taken the same route as shriek and hidden a lot of the cruel side of an ogre. In Shrek an idea of what an orge was more lent itself as a cover to keep humans away. Instead I feel like Levine showed the more traditional, at least in my eyes, view of an ogre. Where they like to eat humans or are overly hairy among other grotesque things. I appreciated the author being more aligned to this idea.


What I Didn’t Like

While I did read this book in only a few sittings, I will say that there were points in the book that dragged. Nothing that was too bad, but they were there. On top of that, as I stated earlier, there were times where the main character acted older than she was and this could be a tad bit jarring if you are sensitive to that. This point really comes down to preference.


Overall Thoughts

Overall, I really have to say I enjoyed this book. I really like the twist on the fairytale of declined marriage proposal where someone turns into a  monster. I also really like the writing style and the main character and her protrayed as an ogre. I feel like the author did an amazing job merging the idea of the ogre with such a dedicated, self assured character. In my eyes if you read and were interested by the description you should give this book a try. It is an interesting story in a really interesting world created by a talented writer.

4stars


Author Links

Gail Carson Levine


Book Information

Publication Date:  October 16th 2018

Publisher: HarperCollins

List Price: $17.99

ISBN: 9780062561213

Pages: 352 pages

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Reviews

REVIEW | The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

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* I received this book from publisher via netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.*  

The Turn of the Key
Description:

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is. –goodreads


What I Liked

Ruth Ware for me has been one of my favorite thriller writers. She has mastered the art of building a world and atmosphere that the reader is just pulled into. In fact, I was so enthralled with this novel, I read it in a single day. It kept me from the first page till the last.

The main part that pulled me in, apart from the atmosphere, was the characters she created. I really was interested in the people she wrote into being.  I always felt like they were hiding something, there was just something I couldn’t understand, even though their character was very distinct and in a lot of cases had a lot of interaction with one another so you have a good handle on their voices. Especially for the main character, I had to say I really loved how Ware decided to tell this story. I don’t want to spoil it, but I think the method really added to it. Not only did I feel like these flushed out characters feel like there was something just under the surface, the way they interacted with one another was interesting.

On top of the development of the characters and the great atmosphere, I have to say the location of the novel I thought was just a wonderful choice, I don’t want to say more because I think others will really enjoy it coming to life as you read.

As for the plot there were a few things I saw coming and a few things I did not see coming. For me that is a true sign of a good thriller. While, I read a lot of thrillers I can say with some confidence that I have gotten quite good at being able to predict what is going to happen. So, if it can surprise me not once, but multiple times, the author has done a very good job.

Also, I must add, this is one of the best unreliable narrators I have seen in some time.


What I Didn’t Like

Uh, nothing. I honestly loved it from front cover to back cover. Ruth Ware truly has a talent and I feel like with every one of her book she continue to get better and better.


Overall Thoughts

Overall, I think this is a fantastic thriller. It has the atmosphere, the setting, an unreliable narrator, and wonderful characters in addition to a wonderful plot. If you enjoy thrillers or any of the things I mentioned in this post, I really think you should give it a try. I will also add, that I liked it so much I bought a final copy of this book so I can tell more people about it.

5stars


Author Links

Ruth Ware

Website: ruthware.com
Facebook: @ruthwarewriter
Instagram: @ruthwarewriter

Book Information

Publication Date: August 6th 2019

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

List Price: $27.99

ISBN: 9781501188770

Pages: 337 pages

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Reviews

Blog Tour Review | A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper

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Before I get started with this review, which I am terribly excited about,  I wanted to state that I was gifted a copy of the book to review and be part of this amazing tour. Also, please check out all of the stops!


A Knife in the Fog Description

September 1888. A twenty-nine-year-old Arthur Conan Doyle practices medicine by day and writes at night. His first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, although gaining critical and popular success, has only netted him twenty-five pounds. Embittered by the experience, he vows never to write another “crime story.” Then a messenger arrives with a mysterious summons from former Prime Minister William Gladstone, asking him to come to London immediately.

Once there, he is offered one month’s employment to assist the Metropolitan Police as a “consultant” in their hunt for the serial killer soon to be known as Jack the Ripper. Doyle agrees on the stipulation his old professor of surgery, Professor Joseph Bell–Doyle’s inspiration for Sherlock Holmes–agrees to work with him. Bell agrees, and soon the two are joined by Miss Margaret Harkness, an author residing in the East End who knows how to use a Derringer and serves as their guide and companion.

Pursuing leads through the dank alleys and courtyards of Whitechapel, they come upon the body of a savagely murdered fifth victim. Soon it becomes clear that the hunters have become the hunted when a knife-wielding figure approaches.

Purchase links:

Amazon (US): https://amzn.to/2xMjcbV

Amazon (UK): https://amzn.to/2JGprn3

Indiebound (US): https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781633884861

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What I Liked

A Knife in the Fog is truly a wonderful atmospheric historical fiction murder mystery book that mixed the perfect amount of fact and fiction.

One of the most notable things about this book was the fact that it felt very accurate to the time period that was being written about. Not only does Harper take one of literatures well known figures, Arthur Conan Doyle, he embodies the time period. You can tell that author has done his research. He knows the use of language at the time well, clothing, customs, and social hierarchy. It is far from a haphazard combination of these vague ideas, which for me is a huge deal. In addition to being well versed in the time period, he is also very knowledgable about the Jack the Ripper case. This knowledge is essential since our three main characters are on the hunt for this vicious murderer.

While the author fuses fiction with the real life case of Jack the Ripper he also pulls from real world individuals such as, Professor Joseph Bell and Miss Margaret Harkness. In doing this it really brings this story to life for me. The characters were wonderfully written and had very distinct personalities. Professor Bell, the inspiration of Sherlock Holmes, was very much observant, interesting, and not afraid to speak his mind. Miss Harkness was a strong woman who was not afraid to do what she needed to do to tell her stories as well as help with this investigation. She was truly a wonderful strong character in this novel and I loved how bold she was.

Throughout the story the character acted true to themselves as different obstacles were presented to them. Between walking the unsafe streets, helping people in need, going to the police station, and murder scenes I was truly entertained by the story and plot. I laughed when they called themselves the Three Musketeers because I was actually thinking that were like the three musketeers before they said it themselves. Three great characters taking a very dangerous and risky mystery with some humor tossed in for good measure.


What I Didn’t Like

At times there were events that happened for the sake of happening to showcase something. But, it wasn’t out of character. It still felt like it belonged in the story and it didn’t take away from the story. But, a few things happened in the story were I was felt like it was kinda random just to show us something that needed to be established. While it might have felt random, the information gathered was needed and none of them were unenjoyable.


Overall Thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. I was very happy to find out that this is the first book in a series because I would be able to have another adventure this these characters, but also with this authors writing. I cannot stress this enough, this author does a wonderful job at building a very real atmosphere with what seems like minimal effort and that for me is a mark of a good writer. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction, mystery, murder mysteries, or if you have an interest in the Jack the Ripper stories or Arthur Conan Doyle.

4stars

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About the Author: Bradley Harper

Bradley Harper

Bradley Harper is a retired US Army Pathologist with over 37 years of worldwide military/medical experience, ultimately serving as a Colonel/Physician in the Pentagon. During his Army career, Harper performed some 200 autopsies, 20 of which were forensic. 

Upon retiring from the Army, Harper earned an Associate’s Degree in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. He has been published in The Strand MagazineFlash Fiction Magazine, The Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine and a short story he wrote involving Professor Moriarty in the Holmes tale of The Red Headed League (entitled The Red Herring League) won Honorable Mention in an international short fiction contest. A member of the Mystery Writers of America, Authors Guild, and Sisters in Crime, Harper is a regular contributor to the Sisters in Crime bi-monthly newsletter.

Harper’s first novel, A Knife in the Fog, involves a young Arthur Conan Doyle joining in the hunt for Jack the Ripper, and was a finalist for the 2019 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel by an American Author. 

Queen’s Gambit, the upcoming sequel to A Knife in the Fog will be released in September 2019.

ONLINE LINKS:

Website: www.bharperauthor.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bharperauthor

Instagram: www.instagram.com/bharperauthor

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bharperauthor

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Book Information

Publication Date: October 2nd 2018

Publisher: Seventh Street Books

List Price: $15.95

ISBN: 9781633884861

Pages: 288 pages

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Reviews

REVIEW | Women Talking by Miriam Toews

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* I received this book from publisher via netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.*  

Women Talking
Description:

One evening, eight Mennonite women climb into a hay loft to conduct a secret meeting. For the past two years, each of these women, and more than a hundred other girls in their colony, has been repeatedly violated in the night by demons coming to punish them for their sins. Now that the women have learned they were in fact drugged and attacked by a group of men from their own community, they are determined to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm.

While the men of the colony are off in the city, attempting to raise enough money to bail out the rapists and bring them home, these women—all illiterate, without any knowledge of the world outside their community and unable even to speak the language of the country they live in—have very little time to make a choice: Should they stay in the only world they’ve ever known or should they dare to escape?

Based on real events and told through the “minutes” of the women’s all-female symposium, Toews’s masterful novel uses wry, politically engaged humor to relate this tale of women claiming their own power to decide.

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What I Liked

The main reason I wanted to read this book was because it was based upon real events. I enjoy reading non-ficiton and historical fiction and I felt like this book would be enjoyable. This book tackles dark events dealing with an established religious group and how the women must either come to terms with the status quo or make changes. As you can see from the description the status quo is not something I think many of us would want to endure.

I really enjoyed that the author did put this struggle into words and I feel like it could be applied to many other situations. While this story very dark and very extreme in its content, if you are triggered by rape or the discussion of it please do not read it boils down to women in a very bad situation determining if it is worth living with the devil you know, or chancing it with the devil you don’t know in a world you don’t understand. In other words,  you can either endure traumatic treatment and stay with what you know and fear, or go off and try to get away for your hope of a safe situation in a world you have no idea how to navigate. On top of that the fear of what might happen if you are not successful. Obviously, every situation is different and each needs to be thought of on its own merits, but I can appreciate that this author was willing to have a discussion about this.


What I Didn’t Like

I didn’t like how slow paced this book was. I kind of had to push myself through it. I am not sure if this is because I was expecting a lot to happen based upon the description, but I felt that for the size of the book it was a slow mover. At times I felt it was rambling and I would grow bored.


Overall Thoughts

I feel like this was a good topic to discuss and should continue to be discussed. The topic was interesting for sure. I just don’t know if the topic was enough for me to fully enjoy this book. For me personally I do not enjoy slow moving books that are more talk than action. So, I feel like if you enjoy that type of writing style, you would easily like this book more than I did. 3stars

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Author Links

Miriam Toews

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Book Information

Publication Date: April 2nd 2019

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

List Price: $24.99

ISBN: 9781635572582

Pages: 216 pages

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Reviews

REVIEW | Little Guides to Great Lives: Anne Frank by Isabel Thomas

BookReview12:17

* I received this book from publisher via netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.*  

Little Guides to Great Lives: Anne FrankDescription:

Anne Frank was an ordinary girl living in extraordinary times. Forced to go into hiding to escape the Nazis’ persecution of Jews in World War II, Anne kept a diary that would become one of the most famous books in the world.

Meet one of history’s most inspiring figures in this beautifully-illustrated guide to her amazing life.

From artists to aviators and scientists to revolutionaries, Little Guides to Great Lives is a brand new series of small-format guides introducing children to the most inspirational figures from history in a fun, accessible way.

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What I Liked

First off I have to say that the story of Anne Frank and the holocaust as a whole is not an easy topic no matter how you look at it. But, these are both important stories that need to be shared. I read this book two times before writing this review, for a few reasons.

The firs being that this author did a wonderful job telling this story. It is done in such a way that it does not hide the truth, but gently explains what happened to Anne Frank and others who were victimized during WWII. It explained the steps leading up to the labor and concentration camps in a factual way, but in a very respectful manner. I have to say that this is one of the most gentle, but truthful children’s book I have read on the topic personally.

The second reason I read this multiple times was the art style and illustrations that are present throughout. While I hate to say that this story is beautiful, because it is so heart breaking, this book is beautiful and is a work of art.

Another thing I loved about this book was that it just did not tell the story of Anne Frank, but it was so much more. It talked about the global economy and the rise of the Nazi to give the story context. There was also a lot of helpful information such as key character descriptions, timelines, and a glossary to aid young readers in learning and making sense  of the complex story. But, the best thing they had in there was further reading. You can tell the author cares about the topic and is passionate about learning when they share where readers can learn more.


What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, there is nothing bad I can say about this book. It was well structured, it covered a difficult topic in a very accessible way to children.


Overall Thoughts

Overall I really enjoyed reading this, even though I am not a child I found it to be informative and interested without being overwhelming. This is a great way to expose young children the the holocaust and the story of Anne Frank without being overwhelming in my opinion.  I even bought a copy for a friend of mine for her to read to her children.

5stars

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Author Links

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Book Information

Publication Date: April 23rd 2019

Publisher: Laurence King Publishing

List Price: $11.99

ISBN: 9781786273987

Pages: 64 pages

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REVIEW | If, Then by Kate Hope Day

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* I received this book from publisher via netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.*  

If, Then Description: 

The residents of a sleepy mountain town are rocked by troubling visions of an alternate reality in this dazzling debut that combines the family-driven suspense of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere with the inventive storytelling of The Immortalists.

In the quiet haven of Clearing, Oregon, four neighbors find their lives upended when they begin to see themselves in parallel realities. Ginny, a devoted surgeon whose work often takes precedence over her family, has a baffling vision of a beautiful co-worker in Ginny’s own bed and begins to doubt the solidity of her marriage. Ginny’s husband, Mark, a wildlife scientist, sees a vision that suggests impending devastation and grows increasingly paranoid, threatening the safety of his wife and son. Samara, a young woman desperately mourning the recent death of her mother and questioning why her father seems to be coping with such ease, witnesses an apparition of her mother healthy and vibrant and wonders about the secrets her parents may have kept from her. Cass, a brilliant scholar struggling with the demands of new motherhood, catches a glimpse of herself pregnant again, just as she’s on the brink of returning to the project that could define her career.

At first the visions are relatively benign, but they grow increasingly disturbing—and, in some cases, frightening. When a natural disaster threatens Clearing, it becomes obvious that the visions were not what they first seemed and that the town will never be the same.

Startling, deeply imagined, and compulsively readable, Kate Hope Day’s debut novel is about the choices we make that shape our lives and determine our destinies—the moments that alter us so profoundly that it feels as if we’ve entered another reality.

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What I Liked

This was a very fast paced read that had you flying through the lives if the four propionate characters. I have been reading a lot of big novels such as The Count of Monte Cristo, so reading such a fast paced book, that didn’t feel rushed was wonderful and just what I needed.

I also enjoyed how this was a science fiction novel that wasn’t too out there. It just blurred the lines between alternate realities and did so in a really interesting way. As I was reading this I was almost getting NOS4A2 vibes in this respect. It was just a little science fiction that really lit up the story. It takes a skilled writer to just take something small and build a story like this surrounding it.

The writing in this novel was done really well. It takes talent in my eyes to be able to create a story that shifts so much between characters, time, and in some cases reality as the characters know it. If I had tried to do such a thing there would be plot holes left and right. Additionally, her writing style is very enjoyable to a point I will be looking into her future books, I hope she writes more.


What I Didn’t Like

Personally for me I did not get fully attached to any of the characters. This does not mean they were poorly written or anything like that. I just think because there were four main characters and the story flew by so quickly I didn’t really get a chance to connect with them. The characters themselves were interesting, especially since they seemed to be “battling” and experiencing such different things in their lives.


Overall Thoughts

This is a very intriguing and interesting book. The premise of this book reminded me of a combination of books I already enjoyed, while it was all her own. The book flew by, but I can also see how that can be a disservice to this story. Overall, it was a good read in my eyes, I was entertained and I wanted to know what would happen next so I kept turning the pages.  If you want a fast paced read that is a little out of the ordinary and has you thinking about alternate realities/dimensions I suggest this book to you.

4stars

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Author Links

Kate Hope Day

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Book Information

Publication Date: March 12th 2019

Publisher: Random House

List Price: $26.00

ISBN: 9780525511229

Pages: 272 pages

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REVIEW | The Familiars by Stacey Halls

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* I received this book from publisher via netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.*

The FamiliarsDescription

Young Fleetwood Shuttleworth, a noblewoman, is with child again. None of her previous pregnancies have borne fruit, and her husband, Richard, is anxious for an heir. Then Fleetwood discovers a hidden doctor’s letter that carries a dire prediction: she will not survive another birth. By chance she meets a midwife named Alice Grey, who promises to help her deliver a healthy baby. But Alice soon stands accused of witchcraft.

Is there more to Alice than meets the eye? Fleetwood must risk everything to prove her innocence. As the two women’s lives become intertwined, the Witch Trials of 1612 loom. Time is running out; both their lives are at stake. Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.

Rich and compelling, set against the frenzy of the real Pendle Hill Witch Trials, this novel explores the rights of 17th-century women and raises the question: Was witch-hunting really women-hunting? Fleetwood Shuttleworth, Alice Grey and the other characters are actual historical figures. King James I was obsessed with asserting power over the lawless countryside (even woodland creatures, or “familiars,” were suspected of dark magic) by capturing “witches”—in reality mostly poor and illiterate women.

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What I Liked

I would like to start off by saying, this is going to be one of these reviews where I just want to gush about a book and ramble. I am going to do my absolute best and actually write a review that makes sense.

The main thing I like about this historical fiction novel is the fact it doesn’t just take place in the past. I have read so many historical novels that just take place during a time period, but this novel really encapsulates the events, social order, societal expectations. The author embedded characters and people who were alive during the time period and even though this is a work of fiction you can tell that she did a lot of research and in knowledgeable about this period.

One part that I really like is how accurate she was when showing how women were treated during this period in time. I have read a few reviews that said that the main character is meek, but I have to respectfully disagree with this. During this period in time, if you were not meek and subservient as a women, SADLY, your life could be in serious danger depending on who your husband was. I found that even though that this character was controlled to an extent, she was also free and really pushed the barriers. A lot of women would have been deathly afraid or just did not think of doing a lot of the stuff Fleetwood has done. This historical fiction novel, like I said earlier, is pretty darn accurate historical fiction. Do I think this was good? No, but regrettably it is a great representation.

I also liked how class prejudices were lightly touched on, especially with the witch themes throughout this book. I felt that this book not only was accurate, but it also tried to show how wrong these social norms were.

Apart from the historical aspects of this novel, I really enjoyed the writing. I sat down in 3 sittings and I flew through this. It was fast paced, but did not jump in a way that made you think you missed something. I also enjoyed that it did not feel like the writing was modern, it was a nice touch and really added to the atmosphere of the book. I also felt genuine anger at some parts of the book and I felt myself tearing up at others. I really was rooting for Fleetwood and Alice.

What I Didn’t Like

The only fault I could even think about is not knowing more of what happened to a particular a character.

Overall Thoughts

If you could not tell, I really enjoyed this novel. I loved how period accurate it was and how the author used real names from the year that this is taking place. I also enjoy how she embodied the time period, but also exposed the issues that and pointed out how unfair the system was towards particular people. It is safe to say that I am preordering this novel.

Thank-you for listening to my gushing rambles!

5stars

Tweet showing how much I wanted to read this in less time:

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Author Links

Stacey Halls

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Book Information

Publication Date: February 19th 2019

Publisher: Mira Books

List Price: $26.99

ISBN: 9780778369189

Pages: 352 pages

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Reviews

REVIEW | Kawaii Doodle Cuties: Sketching Super-Cute Stuff from Around the World by Pic Candle / Zainab Khan

BookReview12:17

* I received this book from publisher via netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.*

Kawaii Doodle Cuties: Sketching Super-Cute Stuff from Around the WorldDescription

Prepare for the cutest world tour ever with Kawaii Doodle Cuties! YouTube celebrity artist Pic Candle will show you how to draw kawaii characters from every stop on the map!

The Japanese word kawaii translates to “cute,” and this how-to book is chock-full of super-adorable images from your favorite spots around the globe. From animals and nature to fashion and food, you will learn to draw cute artwork from countries all over the world!

Learn how to draw a cute Eiffel Tower and kawaii macarons from Paris. Master how to draw natural beauty like Holland’s stunning tulips and monuments like the Taj Mahal in India. Or sketch fashion fun with a cute K-pop skirt from South Korea or a kimono from Japan. The simple, step-by-step illustrations and instructions make drawing these characters perfect for beginner artists or anyone who wants to add a heaping spoonful of cute to their art.

Thanks to this adorable crash course in doodling all things kawaii, you’ll soon be enhancing your notebooks, stationery, artwork, and everything with unbelievably adorable illustrations!

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What I Liked

Right off the bat, I really liked the overall look of this book. It is cute, just like the title says. The authors style is really defined in this book, when it comes both to color pallet and technique. I also like how simple a majority of these are. While you do need to be able to draw ovals, circles, triangles, and other shapes to follow the instructions, with practice you will be able to follow most of these with ease.

I also loved how this book had adorable doodles from many, many countries. Including, USA, Mexico, Australia, Spain, Cuba and many more. They ranged from buildings to foods, a very wide array to represent each country in there.  I will admit I was a bit partial towards the foods, what can I say?  I love food and they were just too kawaii. They truly lived up to the title.

What I Didn’t Like

Some of the step by step recreations kinda take weird jumps. One example is the crepe. You go from adding. a few simple lines to then in the next stop add in all of the cream and. strawberries without giving a starting point. While the author does say to fill it with your own favorite toppings, it would be nice to practice drawing the ones in the book with more guidance to get better with perspective and layering. I do appreciate the author trying to give the reader more control, while learning there need to be more guidance,  then once mastered move on.

Overall Thoughts

Overall I think this is a really fun drawing book. I think it gives great practice when it comes to learning to draw basic shapes and developing better hand control while drawing. While some of the tutorials take up jumps in the steps as stated before, you can figure it out with some time. As with anything new you are learning with practice, you improve. If you are looking to learn to draw or just want to play around, I think this is an adorable option for you.

4stars

Some of my doodles from the book!

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Author Links

Twitter: @PicCandle
Youtube: piccandle

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Book Information

Publication Date: November 6th 2018

Publisher: Race Point Publishing

List Price: $21.99

ISBN: 9781631065682

Pages: 144 pages

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