Monday, October 30, 2017

Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher (Review)

29844228Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Genres: Young Adult Fiction
Publication date: 
December 27th 2016 

Publisher: Razorbill
Format: hardcover, 352 pages
How I got it: My public library
Buy it: Amazon Barnes & Noble
My rating: 4/5 

You can’t stop the future. 
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why. 

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

My thoughts:

This book follows Clay who gets tapes from Hannah, a girl who recently committed suicide from his class.  Clay had a crush on Hannah and had several interactions with her.  Hannah’s portion of the book is told through tapes and written in her own words in the book.   Clay must listen to all thirteen tapes and then pass them onto the next person on the tapes.  Each tape is dedicated to one person and how they affected Hannah and caused her to commit suicide.

I loved that we could get both Clay’s feelings as a friend and Hannah’s feelings in one book since both had different views.  The author took his time to develop the two characters and bring them both to life.  The views from the two characters also showed how not every person is going to view the same situation the same.  I think it is important that not every event leading up to Hannah’s suicide was a major event in everyone’s lives, but the author did a great job building up the story.   Hannah did a great job explaining how she felt and how it connected to the big picture.  

The author did a great job creating Hannah in my mind.  The emotions that Hannah was experiencing felt real and I felt came through in the book loud and clear.

The author did a great job taking a very challenging topic and making people talk about it.  I liked how the author had Clay open-up to one character about what was going on and how he was feeling.  I find that a challenging piece is finding the right person to talk to who will listen.   I think this should be a book that a lot of people should read and talk about since suicide sometimes can be prevented.   Not every scenario will play out like this, but it does make you think about your actions and words and how they affect others.  Also, it makes you think who is reaching out to you for help.

My one complaint would be that I wish we got a little more out of Clay.  A large portion of the book is dedicated to Hannah and the tapes, with Clay giving small tidbits here and there, but I wanted a little more out of him.

Also, I have not watched the Netflix series yet, but the trailer and the book seem vastly different.  I am not sure how the series does play out on Netflix and can’t wait to watch it.

Also, I think it is key to remember when reading this is a work of fiction.  That I would look at this book for calling attention to a difficult topic. 

I would suggest this as a weekend read.  I found it challenging to put the book down at times, but there were also moments I needed to walk away from it for a few moments.   The book does give you a lot to think about. 


About the Author

Jay AsherJay Asher was born in Arcadia, California on September 30, 1975. He grew up in a family that encouraged all of his interests, from playing the guitar to his writing. He attended Cuesta College right after graduating from high school. It was here where he wrote his first two children’s books for a class called Children’s Literature Appreciation. At this point in his life, he had decided he wanted to become an elementary school teacher. He then transferred to California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo where he left his senior year in order to pursue his career as a serious writer. Throughout his life he worked in various establishments, including as a salesman in a shoe store and in libraries and bookstores. Many of his work experiences had an impact on some aspect of his writing.

He has published only one book to date, Thirteen Reasons Why, which was published in October 2007. He is currently working on his second Young Adult novel, and has written several picture books and screenplays. Thirteen Reasons Why has won several awards and has received five stars from Teen Book Review. It also has received high reviews from fellow authors such as Ellen Hopkins, Chris Crutcher, and Gordon Kormon.

Author Links:

{Blog Tour} Talisman Of El - Al Stone (Spotlight & Giveaway)

Talisman Of El
T.O.E. Trilogy, Book 1
Author: Al Stone
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Centrinian

Book Description:

One Planet.

Two Worlds.

Population: Human ... 7 billion.
Others ... unknown.

When 14-year-old Char­lie Blake wakes up sweat­ing and gasp­ing for air in the mid­dle of the night, he knows it is hap­pen­ing again. This time he wit­nesses a bru­tal mur­der. He's afraid to tell any­one. No one would believe him ... because it was a dream. Just like the one he had four years ago - the day before his dad died.

Char­lie doesn't know why this is hap­pen­ing. He would give any­thing to have an ordi­nary life. The prob­lem: he doesn't belong in the world he knows as home.

He belongs with the others.

On Sale for $0.99 for a limited time on Amazon!

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Vanishing Year - Kate Moretti (Review)

27274370The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti
Genres: Mystery, Fiction
Publication date: 
September 27th 2016

Publisher: Atria Books
Format: paperback, 304 pages
How I got it: My public library
Buy it: Amazon Barnes & Noble
My rating: 4/5 

Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.

What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her. As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.

The Vanishing Year combines the classic sophistication of Ruth Rendell and A.S.A. Harrison with the thoroughly modern flair of Jessica Knoll. Told from the point-of-view of a heroine who is as relatable as she is enigmatic, The Vanishing Year is an unforgettable new novel by a rising star of the genre.


My thoughts:

This book follows Zoe who is married to a very rich man in New York.  Zoe meet Henry and got married quickly to him.  We don’t know much about Zoe in the beginning of the book, but as we get into reading we learn a lot more about Zoe.

Zoe is a complex character that the author did a great job creating.  I loved that we got bits and pieces of her past and what happened to get her to the point in her life that she is now.  Zoe has overcome a lot of diversity in her life and was able to pull herself together.  I loved how Zoe was somewhat naive, but also had street smarts mixed in.

The story itself does go off in a few directions, but it does follow a good path.  The author hits the reader with a lot of facts in the beginning and then we start to unravel the mystery.  The pace was perfect and I felt we were hit with the exact amount of information we needed at the right time.
Towards the end of the book the pace picks up significantly and it becomes harder to put the book down.  I wanted to know what was going to happen and what the end results would be.  The pace allowed me to read more during this time.

The author does an amazing job summing up the end of the book.  I felt complete when I finished this book and I didn’t have any lingering questions that I needed answers too.  I love when I know what the author was expecting for the reader to get out of the book.

My one complaint would have been I would have liked to get to know Henry a little more during the book.  If we could have gotten his perspective of what was going on I think it would have been interesting.

I would suggest this book as a nighttime read.  I could read a little bit each night and put the book down without missing a beat.  The book was easy to follow along with and it was easy to take a break from reading. 


About the Author

Kate MorettiKate Moretti lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and a dog. She’s worked in the pharmaceutical industry for ten years as a scientist, and has been an avid fiction reader her entire life.

She enjoys traveling and cooking, although with two kids, a day job, and writing, she doesn’t get to do those things as much as she’d like.

Her lifelong dream is to buy an old house with a secret passageway.

Author Links:

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A List of Cages - Robin Roe (Review)

25613472A List of Cages by Robin Roe
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Publication date: 
January 10, 2017
Format: hardcover 320 pages
How I got it: My public library
Buy it: Amazon Barnes & Noble
My rating: 5/5 

When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian—the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kindhearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives…


My thoughts:

This is by far my favorite book of the year so far.  I had a hard time writing this review because the book left me with so many emotions in the end.  I am keeping this review short, but I think everyone should consider reading this book.

This book follows Adam who seems to be a relatively popular Senior boy.  Adam must help the school psychologist once a day as a school elective.  During this time Adam gets assigned to help Julian who happened to be a foster brother of Adam’s at one point.  Adam tries to bond with Julian as he has become almost mute.  It takes time, but the bond begins to develop again between Adam and Julian.

Adam grows immensely during this book.  The transition from the beginning of the book to the end is almost unrecognizable.  So much happens in a short time and decisions need to be made, which leads me to love Adam’s strength that comes through during this book.  It is hard to be a teenaged on the verge of adulthood and to know exactly what to do when something horrible happens.

Julian is a very complex character that the author does a great job developing.  I loved how we got a look into Julian’s thoughts during the book it helped me to be able to see what he was going through during this life.

The author does an amazing job with this story.  There are a lot of tough issues that we come across in the book and the author keeps the emotions and actions in check, in my opinion, based on how I would feel someone younger would act.  The author keeps this book written in the young adult voice throughout the book and I feel that the actions and reactions seem natural and emotion based.

This book tugged hard at my emotions and made me make sure to remember to question things that are going on around you, you just never know.

I would suggest this as a weekend read.  This book brought up a lot of emotions and I had a very hard time putting it down.  I just wanted to know what was going to happen and more on what previously happened to the characters. 


About the Author

Robin Roe
Robin Roe is the author of A LIST OF CAGES, which has received starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, School Library Journal, Shelf Awareness, and Publishers Weekly. She has a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s from Harvard. She counseled adolescents in Boston before she moved to Dallas to run a mentoring program for at-risk teens. 

Author Links:

Undercover Attraction - Katee Robert (Review)

34522290Title: Undercover Attraction
Series: The O'Malley's Book # 5
Author: Katee Robert
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 28th 2017
Publisher: Forever
Format: Digitial and Print

Scandal. Wealth. Power. Seduction. Welcome to the world of the O'Malleys.

Ex-cop Charlotte Finch used to think there was a clear line between right and wrong. Then her fellow officers betrayed her, and the world is no longer so black and white. Especially when it's Aiden O'Malley, one of the most dangerous men in Boston, who offers her a chance for justice. The only catch: she'll have to pretend to be his fiancée for his plan to work.

Aiden can't afford to let anyone see the man behind the mask. To run the O'Malley empire, he has to be cool and controlled at all times. But the moment he meets Charlie, they're playing with fire. Her slightest touch is enough to send him over the edge. At first their "engagement" was a way to eliminate his enemies. Now he'll do whatever it takes to keep her safe-- even if he has to destroy his own family to do it.

Download at:  

This book contains adult themes.

This is the fifth book in the O’Malley’s Series by Katee Robert.   I loved the fourth book in this series so I went into this book very positive and I was not disappointed.  I think I enjoyed this book even more then the first one.  I also just requested the first two books from the series from my library! Let’s hope I can get them soon.  Also, I love the cover so I needed to read this one! 

The O’Malley’s are part of the Irish mob in Boston, they are one of the largest families.  Aiden has since taken over the O’Malley family after his father took an early retirement.  Aiden is working very hard to keep his family safe even if it means stepping on a few toes.  Aiden drags in Charlie since she has a vendetta against the same man he is going after.  Aiden now needs to find out how much he cares about vendettas versus his family.

The author does a great job creating the two main characters for this book.  The book is basically told through the POV of the two main characters, but we do get a few other characters popping up who take over chapters, which is a nice break in the reading.

I couldn’t help, but just fall in love with Aiden when I was reading.  I love how he could open up and really reflect upon what was going on in his life.  Aiden grew over the course of the entire book and became a more respectful guy.  I enjoyed getting to hear the innerworkings of Aiden’s brain as he was thinking through what was going on.

Charlie was such a great main character to be opposite Aiden.  Charlie comes with her own baggage and own issues, but she can see things from a different perspective, which is exactly what the family needs.  Charlie’s fresh set of eyes and her previous experience make her rough around the edges and not easily intimidated.   Charlie can stand her ground during the book and work on deciding what she wants out of her future.    I love that the author created a mixed background for Charlie because when we got to hear her internal thoughts it gave me a lot to think about while reading.

I loved all the drama that was created during this book.  We get a few major events happening during the book, which really push the action along, but you can also feel something big coming while you are reading.  The author does an outstanding job building up the drama and leaving you little clues that something is going to happen.  I love the ability for the book to keep going up to the climax without it having to be dragged out.  
Also, the climax is exactly what I wanted it was the perfect revelation of everything the book was working up too.

I would suggest this as a weekend read.  I got sucked into the O’Malley world and wanted to know what was going to happen with Aiden and Charlie.   I ended up not being able to put the book down!  This book can be read as a standalone book, but I recommend reading other books in the series.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley to provide an honest review.  This does not affect my review of this book.

My Rating: 5/5

Other Books in The O’Malleys Series


About Katee Robert
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her 2015 title, The Marriage Contract, was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it 'a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension."  When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. 

Connect with Katee at: Website | Facebook | TwitterGoodReads | Instagram

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fall Theme Q&A

I originally saw this post on Rebel Mommy Book Blog and loved it!! The Fall Theme is hosted by TheBlended Blog.  I decided to join and link up my post!

  1. Favorite Fall Sweet Treat: I love a good Apple Pie! The apples need to be fresh.
  2. Red, Yellow, or Green Apples:  Red Apples
  3. Favorite Fall Sport to Play:  I am not big on playing sports, but I do love to hike in the Fall with the changing leaves!
  4. Best Drink for Fall: Maple Pecan Coffee from Dunkin Donuts (I might be addicted)
  5. Favorite Fall Activity:  I love to go to haunted houses or haunted anything really. 
  6. Must Have Fall Purchase:  Mums for the front porch! I always find mums to be the one thing that starts off my fall decorating.
  7. Pumpkins – Pick your own or store-bought:  We grow pumpkins in our backyard every year.  They always end up tiny and then we buy one at the store, but we always have a few home-grown ones mixed in.
  8. Real or Fake Pumpkin:   I have a mix of real and fake pumpkins decorating my house.
  9. Favorite Halloween Costume:  I work at a company that sells Halloween Costumes and after managing it all year it is hard to get dressed up.
  10. College Football or NFL:  NFL I love to sit on Sundays and watch football all day while reading!
  11. Fall or Halloween Decor: Fall décor you can leave it up longer!
  12. Raking Leaves or No Leaves to Rake:  Raking Leaves, we have one tree on our property, but every leave comes off that tree.
  13. Favorite Soup: Butternut Squash for Fall
  14. Favorite Fall Candle Scent: Anything pumpkin.
  15. Love or Hate Pumpkin Spice:  Love pumpkin spice!
  16. Short Booties or Tall Boots:  Tall boots, although it has been warm recently so no boots yet.
  17. Favorite Halloween Candy: Reese peanut butter cups!
  18. PSL, Yes or No:  Yes, although I try to only get a few during the season.
  19. Hayride or Corn Maze: Hayride all the way! There is one by my parents that is a scary hayride it is always fun!!
  20. Favorite Fall TV Show: This is Us, I love the Pearson family!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

This is Our Story - Ashley Elston (Review)

23341252This is Our Story by Ashley Elston
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Mystery
Publication date: 
November 15, 2016

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Format: hard copy, 320 pages
How I got it: My public library
Buy it: Amazon Barnes & Noble
My rating: 4/5 

Five went in. Four came out.

No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the district attorney’s office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she investigates with Stone, the aging prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot, she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own.


My thoughts:

This story follows Kate as she is in her Senior year of high school and interning for the district attorney.  A short time ago five boys went into the woods and only four came out of the woods.  The major issue is that no one is speaking so they aren’t saying who shot the one boy.  The boys are from very affluent families so they are also calling in all there favors to make sure this doesn’t get prosecuted.  Kate believes that the responsible party should be brought to justice.  Kate ends up becoming way to involved in the investigation and gets herself in a lot of trouble throughout the book.

I enjoyed reading this story.  The author did a great job throwing in some curve balls that I did not see coming and I think added perfectly into the story.  The story kept me on my toes at most points.  Towards the end I felt like I knew how it was going to end so it could have been a little more of a surprise ending for me, but overall, I enjoyed the story.

The pacing of the book was perfect for me.  In between the chapters we got short snippets from the killer and it would leave you wanting more and asking more questions.  I feel like we found out the right information at the right time to keep the story moving and me wanting more.  The killer snippets made me keep questioning who could have done this.

Kate was an easy character to like.  She had morals that she didn’t want to compromise and she thought that she was texting with the dead boy right before he died.  Kate wanted to see justice be severed no matter what the length.  Kate helps the district attorney to prosecute the case by studying emotions of the boys in the videos.  Kate then begins her own investigation and watching the boys closely to find one that will crack.  Kate gets in way over her head during the book.

I would suggest this as a weekend read.  There is a lot going on in this book with a lot of action and I just couldn’t put it down at some points.   I wanted to keep reading and figure out what happened in the woods and if someone would get prosecuted.  This book gave me exactly what I wanted in the end.

My Rating: 4/5


About the Author

Ashley ElstonAshley Elston lives is North Louisiana with her husband and three sons. She worked as a wedding and portrait photographer for ten years until she decided to pursue writing full time. Ashley is also a certified landscape horticulturist and loves digging in the dirt. Her debut novel, THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING, was published by Disney Hyperion in 2013 and the sequel, THE RULES FOR BREAKING, in 2014. Her latest novel, THIS IS OUR STORY, will be published on November 15, 2016.
Author Links:

Fates and Furies - Raye Wagner (Review)

34306933Fates and Furies by Raye Wagner
Series: Sphinx #4
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Fantasy 
Publication date: 
June 29th 2017
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Format: ebook, 434 pages
How I got it: Purchased from Amazon

Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My rating: 5/5 

The Olympian gods cause nothing but chaos…

Hope escaped the Underworld with her life, but her memories are as blank as the Book of the Fates she brought back. Still determined to break the curse, she and Xan take an offering to the Olympian temple to solicit the goddess Artemis for aid. But the petition has disastrous results, and now the gods are hunting her.

Athan sacrificed everything for Hope, but she’s leaving him behind to travel with Xan to Mount Olympus. But the closer they get, the more Athan’s mortality becomes a liability. Forced to seek refuge in mists and darkness, Athan tangles with deities that weave the very threads of fate. But these goddesses also wield the immortal blades that lay ruin to destinies.

With everyone she loves damaged or destroyed by the blood of Olympus, Hope must face the power of the past to change the fate of the future…

Fates and Furies is the fourth and final book in The Sphinx series.


My thoughts:

This was a hard book for me to read.  I always find the last book in a series the most challenging typically because I just don’t want the series to end and I am afraid that it will either disappoint or leave me wanting more.   This book did not disappoint at all.  Fate and Furies is the fourth book in the Sphinx series and by far my favorite book in this series.

The author continues to create a vivid world of Gods and Demigods in this conclusion book of the Sphinx series.  The entire book is about Hope trying to escape her curse as the Sphinx.  As the series reads we learn a lot about each God and what is really going on at Olympus.  The journey finally takes us to Olympus in this book.

I feel this is the most fast paced of all the books.  We cover a lot of ground during this book, but there was never a part where I felt that it was overwhelming at all.  The pace was perfect for such an elaborate series.  Also, since there was a lot of setup in the previous books it felt perfectly in tune with the series.

Hope really grew into such a mature character during the series of these books.  I enjoyed watching her grow and become her own person.  Hope could put everything aside for the common good and work towards a bigger picture solution.  I loved how level-headed Hope was during this journey even with so much happening and her friends being placed in danger.

The author does an amazing job creating the world in this series and in this book, we get an amazing look at Olympus.  I loved all the world building the author created, she really took her time to go into a vivid description of how she pictures Olympus.  I was easily able to image being with the characters while they were in Olympus and taking this journey with them.  The author made the characters come off the page.

My one complaint would be that the series ended.  The ending is perfect for this series I didn’t want more at the end, but just knowing there isn’t a book five is hard.  I can’t wait to see what Raye writes next.

I would suggest reading the entire series from start to finish.  I don’t really feel these are standalone books as the author pulls people and previous events into the series.  I would suggest this as a perfect weekend binge series. 


About the Author

Raye Wagner
Raye Wagner grew up just outside of Seattle, Washington. As the second of eight children, she was surrounded by chaos, and escaped the mayhem by reading. 
Raye studied the art of medicine long before she had an interest in the Gods on Mount Olympus. 
One sunny afternoon, the history of Apollo’s ancient curse and the myth of the Sphinx dropped into Raye’s consciousness. She started scribbling notes down after her sister convinced her the story was worth writing. 
She writes young adult fiction for teens and adults.
Curse of the Sphinx, a YA urban mythology, is her first novel. Demigods and Monsters, the second book in the Sphinx series, will be released April 2016.

Author Links:

{Blog Tour} Make Me Crave - Katee Robert (Review)

Have you Pre-ordered MAKE ME CRAVE Yet? In MAKE ME CRAVE by NYT Bestselling Author, Katee Robert, Roman Bassani will do anything to ...