Reviews

REVIEW | If, Then by Kate Hope Day

BookReview12:17

* 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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Finding Balance | Netgalley Backlist & Rules

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Overall, I have to say I am pretty good with keeping up with my Netgalley list now. I used to be fairly bad at it. I would often go on requesting sprees because I was not sure if I would or would not get approved for books. I figured most were a long shot and I would just up my odds by requesting a bunch. Well, that approach did not work.

When I first started I had no system or rules in place, so I would just pick a random ARC I needed to review and read it every so often. I did not account for when it came out or how long I had on my shelf. I was kind of overwhelmed and I had a ton on my kindle. I really had no idea where to start so I pick threw a dart and read that one.

This was not the best course of action for me. I saw more and more books go into the 6 months or older section and I became stressed. I was getting approved more often as I handed in reviews, which I was excited about, but then I had more and more books coming into my kindle that I previously. One day I was just so over whelmed I took a day and just went through everything. When I did this I came up with a few rules and tracking system that helped me.

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My Tracking System

I made a really simple tracking system for myself. I write down the title, if I reviewed it, when it is to be published, and when it will be archived. When I go to read an ARC, I go to this list and I look at the published date to determine which one I will read next.

You may notice that I do not track which books I request. I used to, but now I only pick one ARC to request per month. You can see from the above image I have an ARC for February, March, April and July. I only requested one per month so I can’t get over whelmed with the ARCs coming in. Having one ARC a month means I can still read all the books I have on my shelf without worrying about getting my reviews in.

My Rules

Now these rules are just what works for me, that does not mean they will work for you, but I thought it would be interesting to share.

  1. Request one book per month, dependent on the release date.
    • This limits the amount of ARCs coming in
  2. Read the an ARC the month before it’s release date.
    • Takes the pressure off
  3. As soon as I get an approval email, add book to the ARC Tracker
    • This ensures I don’t forget a book I am approved for.
  4. Only request books I would pay to read.
    • This one is my top rules, this makes sure I request only books I will want to read asap. I will not want to put them off and I know I am not taking ARCs away from others who really want to read them.
  5. No book can make it to the 3 month or older shelf.
    • Ensures I keep my feedback ratio over 80%

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The Current State of my Netgalley

Feedback Ratio: 87%

31 Approved  |  27 Feedback Sent

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How do you manage your requests and netgalley reviews?

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Reviews

REVIEW | The Familiars by Stacey Halls

BookReview12:17

* 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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Reviews

REVIEW | In Focus Astrology: Your Personal Guide Hardcover by Sasha Fenton

BookReview12:17In Focus Astrology: Your Personal Guide
* I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Description

In Focus Astrology provides the ins and outs of all the star signs, along with instructions to create your own astrology chart. Included with the book is a fully illustrated reference poster detailing each astrological sign. 

Who is your perfect mate? A Capricorn, Libra, or Virgo? Why are you not getting along with your coworker, who is a Gemini? Why are you constantly making the same mistakes? In Focus Astrology will give you a deeper understanding of your own nature, as well as those closest to you—and, perhaps, those you should keep at arm’s length.

In Focus Astrology answers every sun and moon sign question, including how how to create your own astrology chart. Packaged inside the book is an 18″ x 24″ illustrated wall chart with the main characteristics of each astrological sign.

This guide covers the full breadth of astrology topics, including the signs of the zodiac, sun and moon signs, astrological houses, the planets, and aspects. You will also learn how astrology relates to your body and health.

The In Focus series applies a modern approach to teaching the classic body, mind, and spirit subjects, using expert authors in their respective fields and featuring relevant visual material to smartly and purposely illustrate key topics within each subject. As a bonus, each book is packaged with index cards and/or a poster, to give readers a quick, go-to reference guide containing the most important information on the subject, for easy practice and retention. –goodreads.com

What I Liked

The first thing I noticed about this book was how beautiful it looked. Now, this might sounds a bit contrary to what you should write in a book review, but with this book the imagery throughout adds a lot. The reason I say this is because all images in this book serve a purpose. They either illustrate a star sign or they are a diagram of some sort. The style is cute, they are all informative, but not distracting in my option. Everything was very complimentary.

Now, this goes into my next point, this book is very informative. It talks about a wide array of subjects that are related to astrology. This include star signs, ascending and rising signs, the aspects and the houses as well. Even with all of this information and how in-depth it is, I was never confused. The language used to explain aspects of this field is very upfront, but done so in a way that is straightforward and not overly filled with jargon.

What I Didn’t Like

The one thing I think that would be a negative with this book would be that you really need to want to explore astrology. This book is not a book that you just would just jump into to know what astrology is, it is for those who want to the topic more in depth. I feel like this is more of a perfect book for those who have read one already or are very dedicated to learning about this topic.

Overall Thoughts

This guide is great for those who are really interested in learning about astrology. It is a very well rounded guide that covers many aspects of the topic. Not only does it cover the more known topics such as the signs such as Cancer, Taurus, and the other 10 zodiac signs it goes houses, planets, and more. It is really a great book to read and have on hand to reference if you are committed to astrology and learning all there is to learn about the topic.

4stars

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Author Links

Sasha Fenton

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Book Information

Publisher: Wellfleet Press

Publication Date: July 31st 2018

List Price: $19.99

ISBN: 9781577151692

Pages: 160 pages

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Reviews

REVIEW | The Navigator’s Touch by Julia Ember

BookReview12:17The Navigator's Touch (The Seafarer's Kiss, #2)
* I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Description

After invaders destroyed her village, murdered her family, and took her prisoner, shield-maiden Ragna is hungry for revenge. A trained warrior, she is ready to fight for her home, but with only a mermaid and a crew of disloyal mercenaries to aid her, Ragna knows she needs new allies. Guided by the magical maps on her skin, battling storms and mutiny, Ragna sets sail across the Northern Sea.

She petitions the Jarl in Skjordal for aid, but despite Ragna’s rank and fighting ability, the Jarl sees only a young girl, too inexperienced to lead, unworthy of help. To prove herself to the Jarl and win her crew’s respect, Ragna undertakes a dangerous expedition. But when forced to decide between her own freedom and the fate of her crew, what will she sacrifice to save what’s left of her home?

Inspired by Norse mythology and J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, this companion novel to The Seafarer’s Kiss is a tale of vengeance, valor, honor, and redemption.

goodreads.com

What I Liked

While I really enjoyed the first book in this companion series, The Seafarer’s Kiss, I found this retelling to be just as imaginative and interesting. This time around Julia Ember pulled from Norse mythology to aid in creating a retelling of Peterpan in a way. I find that Ember does a wonderful job in keeping to the characters she is has drawn inspiration from, but also makes them something new and her own. I know that sounds contradictory, but it is true.

I also really liked about this novel was the fact that it has flawed characters. For me when I see a flawed characters, even with a bit of magic and mythology surrounding them, it makes them more real, more tangible. Throughout the book Ragna is making mistakes, unreliable, and can just be rude. But, this makes her seem more human. I also did enjoy the sense of tension between her and her crew. I though it was an interesting way to go with their relationship since she rely on them and they rely so much on her as a leader. It also makes some of the issues “internal” in a sense and not just us against others.

Another thing I really liked was the fact that this novel the focus was not on romance. While I really enjoyed the previous book, I was glad to see more than just a romance. It allowed the world to become bigger, more vibrant, and the characters to shine on their own a bit more. Also, can I just say the mixture of mythology and elements from Peter Pan made such an interesting world and story. This combination was unique and I have not read anything similar to it.

What I Didn’t Like

One thing I was not overly thrilled with was the fact that were are times of violence that was pushing my limits at times. I do not think the violence in any way was prolonged, but it is there.  Now, this is personal and I do want to point out that I am pretty sure Interlude, the publishing house that oversees Duet Books does post warning about their books. I did not look at these before hand. If this is something you think will bother you I highly suggest you look up the warning. But, I will be honest I would have read it anyway because I enjoyed Ember’s previous book and I enjoyed this one as well even though it had moments of violence.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I thought this was a unique book. The combination of Embers world building, characters, and tension create a very good read. I also think that this is something that can be read on its own or the books can be easily read out of order and the reader wont miss out on anything. If you are looking for an interesting retelling I highly suggest this book.

4stars

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Author Links

Julia Ember

 

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Book Information

Publisher: Duet Books

Publication Date: September 13th 2018

List Price: $16.99

ISBN: 9781945053702

Pages: 256 pages

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Wrap Up

A Week in Review | September 16th-22nd

a week in review

This week I surprisingly finished 2 books. I am not sure how I was able to do that with all of the personal things that happened to me this weekend. I did not think I would be able to concentrate on anything or really find time to get on the computer, but it actually really helped me a lot in the few min. here and there that I found I needed to fill up.

Books I Finished

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)

I was partially surprised that I liked this novel as much as I did, I also put the second book on hold at my library already. Oops! With all of the hype surrounding this book when it first came out I was a little worried. While, I have always enjoyed Blacks writing, when a book is hyped I always become suspicious. I am happy to say that in my eyes this book deserves the hype. I enjoyed that the character was not “saving the world” like a typical YA politically driven novel. Honestly, I hate when novels are like that now. Might be why I have moved away from reading YA. I also loved the use of myths and other folklore that was used to develop this world. Also, the ending make my head spin, I really came to care for and respect the main character and how human she felt.

A Fierce Glory by Justin Martin

A Fierce Glory: Antietam--The Desperate Battle That Saved Lincoln and Doomed Slavery

This past week I started and finished A Fierce Glory, overall I really liked it. I thought it was a well written and unique way to look at the Battle of Antietam. If you want more information and a full review you can find that here, REVIEW | A Fierce Glory by Justin Martin. I recommend this book to those who want to read more nonfiction because it is not a detailed account of troop movements, it focuses on the people and the big picture.

I am Still Reading

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Heart's Invisible Furies

I am officially 74% through this novel and I am heart broken! This book has been such an emotional rollercoaster, I just want to take the main character and protect him from everything. Sadly, I can’t and I need to watch him make life decisions, some I agree with and others I did not and the unplanned happen. There are a few times where I cheered for the by chance things that happened while others I wanted to throw the book. John Boyne has written a great novel and if you are looking for something that is beautifully written and heartfelt I am already recommending this book, just get some tissues if books make you cry.

Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson

HangsamanShirley Jackson’s Hangsaman has been such a great read, as I have said the past few weeks. Sadly, I did not get a chance to read more of it this week because I really wanted to. Life got in the way, but I really want to know what happens to the main character because of the description I know something will happen to her, but they don’t tell you what! It is like waiting for the shoe to drop and that really is adding to the story in my opinion.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Sun Is Also a Star

I only just started this book, but so far I am really enjoying the novel. I really like the family so far and I like the formatting of the book. Also, can we just look at that cover? It is beautiful. Also, I wanted to yell already, why do people have to be so harsh and cruel for no reason at all? Nicola Yoon is great at writing novels that make you feel.

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NEXT BOOK

Under the Dome by Stephen King

Under the Dome

So last week, or a few weeks ago I posted on twitter to ask what Stephen King book I should read and those that voted for the most part picked Under the Dome. I am very excited to get to this novel because I want to watch the adaptation and that fact that I have heard so many great things. I remember when I saw this in the bookstore and I needed to have it. The small little town looking peaceful and strikingly beautiful, while contrasting with the eerie dome over it.

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*A Fierce Glory by Justin Martin was given to myself by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own and honest.

What did you read this week?

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Reviews

REVIEW | A Fierce Glory by Justin Martin

BookReview12:17A Fierce Glory: Antietam--The Desperate Battle That Saved Lincoln and Doomed Slavery
* I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Description

From an acclaimed author and historian, the dramatic, character-rich story of Antietam–the high-stakes battle Lincoln needed to win to save the Union and free the slaves

September 17, 1862, was America’s bloodiest day. When it ended, 3,654 soldiers lay dead on the land surrounding Antietam Creek in Western Maryland. The battle fought there was as deadly as the stakes were high.

For the first time, the Rebels had taken the war into Union territory. A Southern victory would have ended the war and split the nation in two. Instead, the North managed to drive the Confederate army back into Virginia. Emboldened by victory, albeit by the thinnest of margins, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves and investing the war with a new, higher purpose.

In this vivid, character-rich narrative, acclaimed author Justin Martin reveals why this battle was the Civil War’s tipping point. The battle featured an unusually rich cast of characters and witnessed important advances in medicine and communications. But the impact of the battle on politics and society was its most important legacy. Had the outcome been different, Martin argues, critical might-have-beens would have rippled forward to the present, creating a different society and two nations.

A Fierce Glory is an engaging account of the Civil War’s most important battle.

goodreads.com

 

What I Liked

Having lived in the U.S. I have been hearing about this battle from a young age and how it is the bloodiest of our history. Even moving on to University I learned even more and I though I had a very good grasp on the events of this battle. I am happy to say that this novel has shed some fresh light ton aspects of the battle I did not previously know or fully understand. Martin has done a great job in creating this unique and very well informed account.

One thing I look at while reading a non-fiction novel is I am very mindful of the footnotes/end notes. For me this can either make a nonfiction book or break it. When writing about nonfiction these authors need to cite a lot of documents and other articles to come across as legitimate and essentially prove that they did their due diligence while researching. It is apparent here that he has done just that. I also appreciated the mention of women dressing up in mens clothing so they too can fight.

Another thing I really enjoyed about A Fierce Glory was how the author showed how the soldiers and leaders lived and were affected. Additionally, the narrative benefited greatly by the author showing the battle in a large scope instead of focusing on the movements of soldiers. Often while reading a something about the battle you hear something along the lines of, so and so did this and then this happened. What was done with this account is very unique. Not only does the author NOT show you what happened, the historical figures do. This is something I think will benefit a lot of readers who normally would not pick up this genre.

What I Didn’t Like

While the author mentioned women taking part in the fighting, such as Barton, I just wanted to hear more. Now this is a person want and does not mean the book is not good in anyway. In fact, I am happy the author talked about women roles during the civil war. I just wish I could learn even more about it.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I would say this is a very solid look at Antietam and the bloodiest day in U.S. history. The way the author conveys the information give it a more human feeling instead of the others I have read that keep the readers at a distance from the people who fought by hiding behind troop movements. I really think this book would be well recommended for those who are interested in the battle, U.S. History, and want to get into reading nonfiction. The way in which this is written makes it very accessible.

4stars

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Author Links

Justin  Martin

Twitter: JustinMartinNYC

 

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Book Information

Publisher: Da Capo Press

Publication Date: September 11th 2018

List Price: $28.00

ISBN: 9780306825255

Pages: 320pages

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Reviews

Review & Blog Tour | Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel

Keeper of the Bees*I received this book from the publisher for this book tour, which was Organized by YA Bound Book Tours. My options and review are my own and honest.

Description:

KEEPER OF THE BEES is a tale of two teens who are both beautiful and beastly, and whose pasts are entangled in surprising and heartbreaking ways.

Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people.

He follows harbingers of death, so at least his curse only affects those about to die anyway. But when he arrives in a Midwest town marked for death, he encounters Essie, a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden.

Essie is fascinated and delighted by his changing features. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse. Add to Goodreads

Before I Begin

I just want to let all my readers know that this is the second book in a companion series, you do not need to read the first novel first one to enjoy this one. The bonuses to reading a companion series!

What I Liked

First off I have to say how much I love the authors writing style. It flows so nicely and because of this I often found myself reading for longer than I had planned and one time I was actually late seeing one of my friends. Ooops! Even though the story takes place in our world her writing was magical and that really added to the setting and the over all feeling of the novel.

While the setting and feeling of the novel were wonderful, I also liked how Kassel wrote the characters in this novel. I often read books where internal tension is more surface and there just to move a plot, in Kassel’s novel that is not the case at all. The characters have true tension within themselves and go a lot further than a surface issue. It entwines itself around the core of the character. It is present throughout the novel and not just when it helps the plot, for that I am thankful.

The last point I would way I absolutely adored about this novel was the fact that it was unique from a lot of things I have read. The way she incorporates magic, curses, and aspects of ancient/historical events to aid in a timeline, which I really appreciated. It added more to the story than just saying he was ancient or centuries old. It makes his life and age more tangible because of it.

What I Didn’t Like

The one thing I did not like, which I know many will not have an issue with is that sometimes the story just felt like it was too last. This did not happen throughout the novel. It only happened one or two times and didn’t last long at all. I know that this wont bug many people, I think it only bothered me because I was liking it so much honestly.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I really liked this novel. I know I will be picking up the companion novel to this in the near future. Between the writing, characters, and use of magic this book really came to life for me. Every time I picked up this novel I fell into what felt like a new world. I would highly suggest this book to anyone who enjoys reading paranormal or a cute romances with a twist.

4stars

Books in the Companion Series

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About the Author

Meg Kassel is an author of fantasy and speculative books for young adults. A graduate of Parson’s School of Design, she’s been creating stories, whether with visuals or words, since childhood. Meg is a New Jersey native who lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her husband and daughter. As a fan of ’80s cartoons, Netflix series, and ancient mythology, she has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart® winner in YA and a double 2018 RITA® finalist for her debut novel, Black Bird of the Gallows.
Website: http://megkassel.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/megkassel

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/seemegwrite/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/megkasselauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8353652.Meg_Kassel

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Meg-Kassel/e/B0756Q8N2L/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1524085261&sr=1-1

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Book Information

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Publication Date: September 4th, 2018

List Price: $17.99

ISBN: 9781640634084

Pages: 304 pages

Genre: YA Paranormal

Purchase Link: Entangled Publishing

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*I received this book from the publisher for this book tour, which was Organized by YA Bound Book Tours. My options and review are my own and honest.

YA Bound Book Tours

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Reviews

REVIEW |Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft Edited by Tess Sharpe & Jessica Spotswood

BookReview12:17Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft
* I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Description

A young adult fiction anthology of 15 stories featuring contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories featuring witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era.

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth.

History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.

Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.

A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.

From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely–has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. Toil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored.

 

 

What I Liked

Both Tess Sharpe and Jessica Spotswood did an amazing job editing this short story collection together. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every single short story that I read. Normally, in a short story collection there are one or two duds that just lay flat or I disliked the authors writing style, but that is far from the case with this collection.

This collection of stories that revolves around witches was amazing for multiple reasons. The first being that each author had their own view of what a witch was. You can see that these authors come from different backgrounds and have heard myths from their cultures about witches. I loved this. Not only did I get to read about witches, but I got to read about different interruptions on what a witch is.

On top of there being different takes on what a witch is the stories in this collection are not just modern, but also some are written in the past. Being a history lover myself I loved that some of the stories were from along ago when in the United States were just colonies. Even if history is not your thing I feel like you would love those stories anyway due to the plots of the stories themselves. Even though these stories are short I felt connected with the characters I rooted for them.

What I Didn’t Like

The only fault I have with this collection is the fact that it ended. I wanted the book to keep going and going.

Overall Thoughts

I adored this collection of short stories so much. I have to openly admit that this short story collection has truly been a winner in my eyes. There was not a single short story that I did not love. All the authors writing was wonderful and the varying takes and time periods that their stories took place in were all done so well. Each story was its own and was wonderful.  I even loved that there was LGBTQ+ elements to this collection.  I know that I am going out to the store and buying this collection when it comes out in stores. I will be rereading it and annotating it so much. I highly recommend this collection of you love reading stories about witches from long ago to modern times.

5stars

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Editor Links

Tess SharpeTwitter: https://twitter.com/sharpegirl

Website: http://www.tess-sharpe.com

Jessica Spotswood

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jessica_shea

Website: http://jessicaspotswood.com

List of Contributing Authors

  • Brandy Colbert
  • Zoraida Córdova
  • Andrea Cremer
  • Kate Hart
  • Emery Lord
  • Elizabeth May
  • Anna-Marie McLemore
  •  Tehlor Kay Mejia
  • Lindsay Smith
  • Nova Ren Suma
  • Robin Talley
  • Shveta Thakrar
  • Brenna Yovanoff

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Book Information

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Publication Date: August 28th 2018

List Price: $18.99

ISBN: 9781335016270

Pages: 416 pages

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* I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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