Monday, October 15, 2018

Book Review: The Point by John Dixon

Media Type: ebook
Title: The Point
Author: John Dixon
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: paperback, 320
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Sci-fi Fantasy

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy science fiction stories similar to X-Men.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon
Scarlett Winter has always been an outsider, and not only because she's a hardcore daredevil and born troublemaker--she has been hiding superhuman powers she doesn't yet understand. Now she's been recruited by a secret West Point unit for cadets with extraordinary abilities. Scarlett and her fellow students are learning to hone their skills, from telekinetic combat to running recon missions through strangers' dreamscapes. At The Point, Scarlett discovers that she may be the most powerful cadet of all. With the power to control pure energy, she's a human nuclear bomb--and she's not sure she can control her powers much longer.

Even in this army of outsiders, Scarlett feels like a misfit all over again, but when a threat that endangers her fellow students arises from the school's dark past, duty calls and Scarlett must make a choice between being herself and becoming something even greater: a hero.
This story started off strong. We meet Scarlett as she's blowing off her own high school graduation, much to her mother's dismay. She is a rebellious, angry, angsty teen who is struggling with her future plans. When she gets into trouble, her only option to avoid jail is to join the military program at West Point.

Of course this isn't just a regular program at West Point, Scarlett has special abilities that the military is interested in. Posthumans are in their own program where they are learning to control and focus their powers. As is standard for Scarlett, she isn't that interested in doing what she's told. I liked her rebelliousness and bending of the rules despite her angst ridden feelings.

I really enjoyed the first 3/4 of the book, where we learn all about Scarlett and her experience with other posthumans. My frustration with the ending is mostly that is feels so different from the rest of the story. We are quickly introduced to the enemy and there's a showdown of sorts. Very movie-esque in its hastiness.

If you're looking for an interesting science fiction story that feels a lot like X-Men or the show Heroes, I think you would enjoy this book a lot. It definitely leans more towards Young Adult genre, but not in a bad way.

 FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Book Blogger Hop: Halloween Edition!

Book Blogger Hop: Halloween Edition!

Happy Friday friends!

It's been a really long time since I've participated in one of these hops, mainly because we were posting infrequently for a while. I missed them! Getting to answer fun questions, visiting other people on their blogs, it's a great way to network! I actually miss being up on what other book bloggers are doing, and so it's one of my goals for the rest of this year and all of next year to start getting connected again.

Let's start things out with this book blog hop, shall we?


This week's question:
It's getting close to Halloween. If you HAD to read one of these two genres, which would you prefer -- urban fantasy, or horror, and why?


This is actually an easy one for me, because I read both of these genres! So, to make it a little tougher, I'm going to go ahead and choose one as a favorite and explain why. Are you ready? Because I'm going to settle right into why I love HORROR.

Horror books run the gambit from middle grade, all the way up to adult books and I love every single aspect of this genre. I could gush for ages about everything from ghost stories, to gore filled slasher stories, to stories filled with tense moments and overall dread. There's something beautiful about a well-written horror novel. They allow characters to take chances, face their fears and, hopefully, come out the other side a stronger person. They pit us, the reader, against all the things that we normally try to hide from. They make the fears we hold inside a little bit easier to understand, because we can see them through the eyes of someone else.

Plus, I just love to be scared!

Since I was a young reader I've loved that feeling of encroaching dread that comes with a good scary story. Every September and October you'll see my bookshelves filled with these kind of books and I can't wait!

Want some recs?

If you want some YA horror that features ghosts, fabulous characters, and ominous happenings, try The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud. The whole series is fabulous!

If you want to read a tome, that features historical fiction mixed with horror, try The Terror by Dan Simmons. It's gory, but wonderfully done.

Finally, if you want a book that will enchant you, terrify you, and make you fall in love with every single character, try Boy's Life by Robert McCammon. Get tissues. You'll need them.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Book Review: Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Begone the Raggedy Witches
Author: Celine Kiernan
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: Hardcover; 288
Release Date: September 11, 2018
Source: NetGalley / Publisher
Content Screening: Mild Fantasy Violence

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers of all ages who love a good story about family, filled to the brim with magic.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
When witches kidnap her dad, Mup is swept up in a wild tide of magic that carries her to another world. Can she reunite her family and find her way back?

On the night that Aunty dies, the raggedy witches come for Mup's family. Pale, cold, and relentless, the witches will do anything for the tyrannical queen who has outlawed most magic and enforces her laws with terror and cruelty -- and who happens to be Mup's grandmother. When witches carry off her dad, Mup and her mam leave the mundane world to rescue him. But everything is odd in the strange, glittering Witches Borough, even Mam. Even Mup herself. In a world of rhyming crows, talking cats, and golden forests, it's all Mup can do to keep her wits about her. And even if she can save her dad, Mup's not sure if anything will ever be the same again. First in a new trilogy by Irish author Celine Kiernan, this tale of family and forbidden magic charts a fresh path through the landscape of beloved fantasy tradition -- and promises to bewitch any reader in search of stories to love.

This is my first book by Celine Kiernan, but it definitely won't be my last. Although Begone the Raggedy Witches is aimed at young readers, this is a story that will resonate with readers of all ages. It's a story filled with family love, tough choices, and beautifully created magic. Books like this make my heart sing, because they don't talk down to their intended audience. Kiernan weaves an exquisitely vivid world around Mup and her family, and it's one that I guarantee you won't mind being lost in.

Mup is such a delightful character, that I fell into step with her instantly. She's everything that a young girl would look up to, facing everything that comes her way with a kind heart and a brave face. It was so satisfying to read from her point of view, and Kiernan does a stellar job of making her feel just as real as you and I. Her love for her family is fierce, and her tiny spirit even fiercer. In other words, Mup is the perfect person to face the trials that unexpectedly come her way and it makes this book a joy to read.

There is no lack of action here either, and the plot zips along at a pace that perfectly matches Kiernan's elegant writing. Everything is described just enough to settle the reader right into the dark land that Mup's mother Stella finds herself in. There are no punches pulled as war breaks out, and Mup is unfortunate enough to be right in the middle of it. As I said before, I love stories that don't talk down to their readers and this definitely fits that bill. Kiernan shows just how dark things can get, but how brightly one can shine in the midst of that as well.

What else can I say? This book was just a delight to read, and I'm so happy that I had to the chance to review it. There will always be this special place in my heart for Middle Grade books. Authors like Celine Kiernan, who weave magical places for young readers to visit, are my favorite. So, I loved this! I think you might too.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Cursed Rebel by H.G. Lynch

Happy Monday readers! What an exciting start to the week with this fabulous new Faery tale. That cover is breathtaking and I'm sure the story will be too. 

Cursed Rebel
H.G. Lynch
Publication date: October 5th 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

My grandma always warned me never to trust a Faery. I never believed they were real…until I was kidnapped by one.

Finn is an obnoxious, mercurial Fae whose job it is to bring me to the King. He’s gorgeous, but in this world, the prettiest things are the deadliest.

But if I want to survive the Fae realm and find a way home, I’ll have to trust him…for now.

Add it: Goodreads / Amazon
My breath caught in part fear and part awe at the faery boy‘s beauty. One side of his mouth tilted up in a smirk.

"About time you woke up. I was starting to think you were going to pull a Sleeping Beauty, and I‘d have to kiss you to wake you up."

I swallowed and sat up, forcing my eyes off him to take in my surroundings. I was lying in a field of swaying purple flowers, the sun beating down on me through a canopy of lush green leaves. Through the shifting pattern of leaves above, I could see the sky was a perfect, summer-soft blue. The air was warm, a gentle breeze teasing my hair around my face. Somewhere, a bird sang in trilling, sweet notes. It was incredibly beautiful, and completely terrifying.

H.G. Lynch is a Paranormal Romance author from Scotland. She is an avid reader, and cat-lover. She spends most of her days writing, while wrestling her cat off her laptop. She loves horse-riding, Star Trek, and snow.

Her books are dark paranormal romances.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


Friday, October 5, 2018

Small Business Spotlight: Spooky Finds

It's time for another small business spotlight post, and this time around we're celebrating all things spooky! Or, at least, spooky cute? Heck, it's just stuff that I would totally want to buy and now I'm sharing it with you. Let's get started!

** note that all photos are the property of the store owners **


Double, Double, Toil & Trouble Pin by TheGrumpyUnicornCo

Every witch needs her very own boiling cauldron to cackle over. If it's pin sized, and ready to put on your lapel, I call that a win! Plus we have a Shakespeare reference here. So, bookish friends, why don't you just go ahead and click already? You know you want it!

Girl From the Ring - Felt Bookmark by SpeedSnailShop

I might be a little biased, because I love embroidery, but this bookmark is so freaking cool! I'm torn because I want it, but I'm also afraid I'd set my book down and then be startled when I saw the bookmark on the outside. Spooky and practical. Who could ask for more?

Midnight in Salem Candle by TheBookishCandle

Need something to set that seance mood? I'm thinking this candle might be just the ticket! With heady florals and fruits, this is definitely a way to celebrate the spooky season!

My Books Would Give You Nightmares Mug by NoteworthyGiftsInc

Finally, to round things out, here's the perfect mug to pair with those oh so spooky reads that you've been devouring this month. Horror books and warm tea? Damn right.


There you have it ladies and gents! A list of the perfect items to help this season be extra spooky! Find anything else out there in Etsy land that you love? Shout it out in the comments!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Book Review: Inconvenient Wife by Natasha Boyd

Media Type: ebook
Title: Inconvenient Wife
Author: Natasha Boyd
Publisher: Self
Pages: paperback, 260
Release Date: June 28, 2018
Source: Purchased
Genre: Contemporary Romance

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy friends to lovers stories with a lot of build.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
All Beau Montgomery, one of Charleston’s most eligible bachelors, wants to do is build boats. He has no interest in marriage whatsoever … until it means he might not get his inheritance and he can kiss his boat building dreams goodbye. But the hungry hordes of Charleston debutantes looking to score a Montgomery scare him sh*tless.

Gwen has loved Beau Montgomery since she used to run barefoot around the marina as scrappy teenager. Knowing she’ll never fit into his high society family, she decided long ago that she’d become his indispensable best friend rather than not be in his life at all. When he tells her he needs to marry in order to fulfill his dreams, she panics that he might actually meet someone and she’ll lose him forever.
Where to begin? This was another fun, interesting romance by one of my favorite authors. While not quite living up to the laugh out loud moments of the first book in this series (Accidental Tryst) I really enjoyed the tension building of this friends to lovers story. Gwen, or Gracie, and Beau have a definitive chemistry that most couples strive to find. Friendships are great, but when they can be more it can be even better.

I know this particular trope gets kind of a bad rap in the romance reading community, but I assure you that Boyd does a fabulous job keeping the story moving without falling into a repetitive pace that leaves the reader with that "will they just get it on already" feeling. I found myself reading easily and excitedly to find out what would happen next. There's a lot to unravel and I really enjoyed the other characters contributions to the story.

Beau is an idiot. I mean that in the nicest way possible. He does all the wrong things and seems to not understand women at all. For having a best friend that is female, he hasn't learned anything useful to his endeavor. It was hard to like him at all at first, but there are a few redeeming moments that saved his character for me. Apologies are important people, that's all I'm saying.

Gwen is fierce and gentle. She seems like someone I'd like to get a beer with and swap awful dating stories. I immediately related to her and it was easy to be in her corner from the beginning. Not without faults, her stubbornness made for an interesting middle of the story. The ending is probably one of my favorite parts, all thanks to her.

If you're looking for a fun romance with a bit of angst and a happy ending, you should definitely grab this book.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Birthdays and Anniversaries, Oh my!

Greetings my bookish friends! It has been a bit since I've done a personal update and today happens to be my birthday so instead of working on the several reviews I need to do, I decided a fun post was in order. I actually made that cake in the picture for my little ones 3rd birthday a few weeks ago. Yes, she's 3 now. CRAZY right? When we asked Peanut what kind of party she wanted she said "a rainbow monster cake to scare my friends cause that would be funny". I enjoy baking as a hobby so I figured this would be a fun challenge. It was an interesting experience and was delicious so all in all a success. Peanut was thrilled with the results. 

Oh, did I mention this week is the 4 year anniversary of joining Jessica on this crazy book blogging journey? Lots of reasons to celebrate. When Jessica asked me to join her 4 long years ago, I had no idea how crazy my life was about to get. 2 kids, a cross country move, and several long hiatuses later I'm still here and posting. It has been an incredible journey and I always look forward to the excuse/reminder to actually read some books. There's only so much PJ Masks and Umizoomi I can watch anyway ;-)

Despite my lack of reading and blogging, I have kept up with reading to my kiddos on an almost daily basis. They are growing up with a love of books and reading, and really that's worth a few years of less than stellar book counts under my name. I do miss getting lost in a book and reading a story from start to finish in one sitting. I took a mini vacation recently and got through 3 books in 3 days. I forgot what that felt like. The demands of two young kids have made it difficult to focus on books, but I've been told that it will get easier as they get older. I'm just happy to be getting a decent amount of sleep again, real talk.

Anyway, thanks for your continuing patience with my (our) inconsistent blogging schedules. I think Jessica would agree that our interest in providing great content has not waned, but life gets in the way sometimes. We appreciate you! 

Monday, October 1, 2018

Book Review: Yeled Tov by Daniel M. Jaffe

Media Type: Print Book
Title: Yeled Tov
Author: Daniel M. Jaffe
Publisher: Lethe Press
Pages: Paperback; 320
Release Date: May 12, 2018
Source: TLC Book Tours / Author
Content Screening: Brief Sexual Acts, Mild Adult Language

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who want a well-written glimpse into the life of a 1970's LGBTQ young man.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon
1974 and Jake Stein wants to be a good Jewish boy, but he finds himself struggling to reconcile his traditional beliefs and his strong faith in God with his growing attraction to other boys. He lands a part in the school play, The Diary of Anne Frank, and while he should be imagining the suffering of the Holocaust, he feels real tsuris over falling for the kid who's playing Peter van Daan. Even college is no escape, as his freshman roommate happens to be gorgeous and rarely dressed. Author Daniel M. Jaffe's newest novel offers readers a compelling young hero trying to find a path between desire and devotion, often with advice from the voice of God, or at least how Jake imagines the Almighty ​would instruct a young man to do the right thing.
My heart is still hurting for Jake Stein, I tell you what. I started Yeled Tov, planning to read a few chapters in between chores. Instead, I ended up stuck on the couch and reading this book intensely. Daniel M. Jaffe's book is raw. It's an unapologetic trip into the mind of a boy who is not only told by his religion that the way he feels is unnatural, but also by society as whole. It's a story about hiding who you are, until you can't anymore. This book simply tore at my heart.

Jake's character is instantly likable. He's your standard teenage boy, headed into college and looking forward to the future. Sweet, well-mannered, and full of promise. Or, at least, he is on the outside. Inside Jake is a mess. Jaffe does such a perfect job of showing the reader how conflicted our protagonist is about the truth of who he is. When your whole goal in life is to be a yeled tov (a good Jewish boy), how does having "deviant" sexual feelings fit into that? Jake's story isn't a new one, but it's definitely one that needs to be told as many times as possible. Jaffe allows the reader to step into Jake's shoes, and see how rough young adulthood can really be.

Truthfully, my only small complaint with this book was that each section felt just mildly too short. I know this is a semi-autobiographical novel. I also know that in real life our stories don't just comfortably flow from one chapter to the next. Still, I adored Jake. His struggle, his feelings, I just wanted to crawl deeper into his story and really sit next to him for a while. There's something heartbreakingly beautiful about watching someone fall apart, and then put themselves slowly back together again. I'll never tire of reading books that really make me feel.

Fair warning, this book really is at the upper end of Young Adult labeling. There isn't any actual sex depicted, but there are plenty of things very close to that making their way onto the page. If you are uncomfortable with the proper names for genitalia, or with briefly mentioned oral sex acts, this might be a book that you want to avoid. As I mentioned above, this book is raw. It's starkly written, right down to the poor choices that our budding protagonist makes as he tries to figure himself out. It didn't offend me in the slightest, since it's written as an important part of the story. Still, I feel like it's fair to put it out there for potential readers. Trust me, this book is worth your time.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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