I'm giving this book five stars, even though I only read the first 10% and the last 10-15%. It~*Check out all my reviews over on The Bent Bookworm!*~
I'm giving this book five stars, even though I only read the first 10% and the last 10-15%. It was extremely painful to read, and Nathan's aunt's character reminded me so much of my mother. I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian cult (much more repressive than even Aunt Lori's beliefs seem to be, from what part of the book I read) and even what little I read brought back some really bad memories.
After reading the ending, though, this is a story that needs to be told AND it needs to be read. I fully intend to finish the entire book at some point. It does, I think, need some serious content/trigger warnings though.
Two Like Me and You is a quirky, funny debut novel about two teenagers trying to navigate thei~*Check out all my reviews over on The Bent Bookworm!*~
Two Like Me and You is a quirky, funny debut novel about two teenagers trying to navigate their own mental and emotional growing pains, and their quest to help an old man find the girl he lost in the chaos of World War II. I was a bit skeptical of the tone of the book at first, but soon it becomes apparent that Edwin, our narrator, just has a rather anxiety-filled yet still somehow irreverent way of looking at life. And that he’s still not over his now famous ex-girlfriend, Sadie.
Parker is hilarious and so unashamedly herself, I absolutely loved her. I would love to see another book from her point of view. She isn’t afraid to take chances (to the point of stupidity, at one point, but thankfully no one was harmed), and she isn’t afraid to be different. That’s my kind of girl!
There is a lot of stuff going on in this story that just…would never, ever happen. I know it’s fiction, of course, but still. I expect my contemporaries to be a little more realistic. For instance, there is NO WAY IN HELL any nursing home would have let an old man go off with two high school kids. Definitely not the way it’s explained away in this story, anyway. Also all the running around and dodging of police? Come on, y’all. Just be prepared to have to suspend a little more disbelief than you might be use to.
The romance was cute, very puppy-love like. Edwin is sweet, but he has a lot of growing up to do. Parker does right by him though. She totally does. You’ll have to read it to find out what I mean!
Overall this was a very enjoyable read, lighthearted but with some really heartfelt bits when Gordon is telling his story of being in France and meeting the love of his life during the war. I was expecting a little more of a Letters to Juliet type story, but I was still quite satisfied with how this turned out. 3.5/5 stars!
The Pumpkin War (due out on May 21, 2019) is a story of friendship and family, of getting back~*Check out all my reviews over on The Bent Bookworm!*~
The Pumpkin War (due out on May 21, 2019) is a story of friendship and family, of getting back to the earth and enjoying the small things in life – and all this in a beautiful setting, with writing that seems just perfect for a middle grade audience! I was quite impressed. Usually books that try to take on this scope of feelings and events end up falling flat in one way or another, but this one is just right. I feel like Goldilocks, dancing around with glee after finding the three bears’ house and baby bear’s “just-right” porridge.
Billie is 12 years old, the oldest of three siblings. Their dad is Irish and their mom is Ojibwe, and they live on a Canadian island. Billie is fiercely competitive in all ways, and ESPECIALLY when it comes to growing monster pumpkins! She has been in an almost year-long standoff with the boy who used to be her best friend, since she is convinced he knocked her out of last year’s pumpkin race on purpose.
I loved the depiction of rural life in Canada. Billie not only takes care of her pumpkins, but also bees. Bees! Also there is more about fishing, and gardening, and the traditions of the Ojibwe. It was just so…homey. Down to earth. I loved it, and I think middle-school-me would have loved it as well. Also, adult-me loved her parents! Their differences in background were lightly touched on, and Billie obviously embraces both sides of her heritage. She even finds out about some “family secrets” part way through the book (nothing adult level), and has a part in reconciling her dad with his past. Also, Billlie’s youngest sibling is born near the beginning of the book and the struggles of adding a new baby to family life are also portrayed – Billie’s mom and dad aren’t perfect, and I totally sympathized with them.
Billie struggles all summer long to come to terms with what happened with Sam in the last race. Despite his efforts, she’s not quite willing to forgive him. Will she let a mistake ruin their friendship? Is being first more important? I thoroughly enjoyed the way this played out, and also the fact that the author didn’t make her competitive nature a bad thing (as happens so often when it is a girl character being competitive).
5/5 stars. This book will be going on my shelf!
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review!
I sort of do know what she means, sitting here in the semi-dark and the semi-silence. I have a scratchy, restless feeling, as if my soul were grinding against my skin, my bones, not necessarily wanting to get out but urging my body to go to impossible places, convinced I can touch the stars and not burn.
The Waking Forest is a story that is a true journey. I wasn’t EXACTLY sure what to expect going into it, and I was almost halfway through before I was even sure what the heck I was reading! Perhaps not the most stellar start for a debut novel, BUT. Bear with me – and bear with the book, too. While I did only rate it at 3.5/5 stars (rounded up), I also feel it is totally a book worth reading and I will gladly be reading the next novel that Alyssa Wees comes out with.
The first half of the book is told in alternating chapters between Rhea, in our modern world, and the Witch of the Wood, in a very odd dream-like world. I was SO confused as to what was supposed to be happening in these…but the writing is beautiful. If you are not into heavy descriptions and very sustained metaphors, you might not enjoy it. It’s a very different style from what I’ve been reading recently, so it took a little while for it to grow on me. But grow on me it did, and eventually the prose (which could, admittedly, be considered kind of “purple” prose) was just painting these amazing pictures…so even if I was turned around and had no idea where the story was going, I was just enjoying the journey.
Eventually the two tales merge, and that is rather…mind-bending. There is enough foreshadowing that you sort of see it coming, but not…not…in the way it played out, or at least I didn’t. The story shifts to an entirely fantasy world, with incredible creatures and magic. I really wish the magic had been better explained! I was still kind of confused by how everything worked in the end, but it was glorious and shiny and I liked it.
My absolute favorite part was Rhea’s relationship with her sisters. These four girls are kicking ass and taking names and making no apologies – and dealing with their own issues along the way. There is some beautiful encouragement for those of us who struggle with anxiety in these pages – and the characters aren’t considered less than or incapable because of it! I loved it. Absolutely loved it.
Overall, The Waking Forest isn’t perfect but if you like fantasy and quirky characters, definitely give it a try. And keep an eye out for more books by Wees!
The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane is the kind of book I would have LOVED reading as~*Check out all my reviews on the blog over at The Bent Bookworm!*~
The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane is the kind of book I would have LOVED reading as a nine or ten-year-old. It has strong, independent kids with their own unique voices, an intriguing mystery (that the adults are dead-bent on NOT being helpful with), and juuuuust enough creep factor to make a warm blanket desirable.
Emmy's father disappeared when she was a toddler, and her mother is a "parenting expert" that is rarely around and emotionally distant even when she's physically present. At the start of the story, Emmy is shipped off to a boarding school in England, despite having never been there in her life. Never one to remain down for long (however much her mother's actions might hurt her), she acclimates quickly, making new friends with some of the more colorful characters at the school.
The mystery of Emmy's father's disappearance is a main theme, as she is (as many of us would be) desperate to find out anything about him, his life, and yes of course his disappearance. It was very intriguing to have all that thrown in with the typical school stuff (reminds me vaguely of Harry Potter here, considering the main friend group is also three people), and it seems the groundwork has been laid for future books in the series. Some questions were answered by the end, but even more were asked! I'm very eager to see when the next book will be released and what will happen to Emmy and her friends next.
I did wish there had been at least ONE adult who was straight with the kids, instead of constantly blowing them off or just trying to pretend things hadn't happened. Children are smarter than we give them credit for, and often able to handle things much better than we might anticipate.
I was intrigued by the premise of The Psychology of Time Travel. Time travel itself has always fascina~*Review first appeared on The Bent Bookworm!*~
I was intrigued by the premise of The Psychology of Time Travel. Time travel itself has always fascinated me, and I loved the idea of it being a group of women pioneers who actually made that leap for the first time. Also, the author herself is a psychologist, which I think lent a special depth to the characterization and some aspects of the story (notably mental health issues).
Characters [image error] ^Unfortunately I couldn’t find a picture with a redhaired model, but this is about how I picture Ruby.
Within the first couple of chapters we are introduced to one of the main characters, Ruby, as she changes the oil in her motorcycle, and I was SOLD. I’m hopeless when it comes to mechanical things myself, but I love seeing women mow down that stereotype. Also motorcycles are just awesome. I miss ours…but I digress.
The characters – and there are MANY – are from various walks of life, various sexualites, various cultures. I enjoyed all the diversity but the constant perspective hopping became exhausting rather quickly. Especially since even after the book was halfway over, there were STILL new characters being introduced! I almost went cross-eyed trying to keep them all straight. That said, the friendships developed through the book are really what MADE the story. Not the romance – which was a little hard to believe – but the friendships.
I struggled some to connect with the characters, sadly, and only really felt invested in two. The others I didn’t really care that much about, they were interesting but if they lived or died I was just…meh.
The SCIENCE Yes, all caps, because the amount of thought put into just how time travel would work – really, actually, maybe work – was very much evident. Unlike a lot of books with time travel elements, there are no dire consequences if your younger or older self sees you as a time traveler (no time-turner woes here), it’s just an accepted part of society and life for those travel. There is new slang and jargon for time travel and the occurrences that go along with it – even down to terms for sex with one’s older or younger self! The story also probes into thedisregard for death that most time travelers either already have, or develop through their career. After all, if someone they love dies, they can just travel back in time and see them again. Despite that…they aren’t actually able to change the past. It’s all very mind-bending.
The Mystery There’s a behind-a-locked-door murder mystery plotline as well, and it was quite interesting. However, that is definitely not the main draw for the story.
Overall, 3.5/5 stars. The Psychology of Time Travel is a very intriguing story, especially if you like seeing things from many different viewpoints and angles.
5/5 stars for an adorable, realistic summer romance! I was not expecting to love this book as much as~*Review first appeared on The Bent Bookworm!*~
5/5 stars for an adorable, realistic summer romance! I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. But I was intrigued by the synopsis, being a small-town girl at heart myself, and while I’ve only visited Maine once it was gorgeous and picturesque and I would love to go back.
“The cardinal rule of every beach town is that locals do not get involved with tourists. They always leave.”
Babe is a bisexual baking barista (try saying that five times fast) who is struggling to let go and move on as her life – and her best friends – change around her. Her two bests friends are going on to college, and she’s not. Her choice, but she wants everyone she’s grown up with to stay the same right along with her. But is she really staying the same?
I absolutely loved the way Babe stuck to her guns about NOT going to college and staying in her home town. I think sometimes in all the narratives (and real life experiences) of people leaving home and never looking back, that we forget there are people who love their towns and what to stay there, build a life for themselves in the same place they grew up. On the other hand, I was glad that Babe realized she wasn’t entirely staying the same, she was growing and changing as a person too – even if she stayed in the same physical place.
Levi and Babe were adorable together. Even though their relationship is a little insta-y, it wasn’t insta-LOVE and I appreciated that. After all, insta-LIKE is pretty common and has a large variety of endings, haha. They had chemistry, but the author steered away from things like heavenly boy-sweat and sparks flying from the touches of fingertips. Thank you. I also loved that they both knew, pretty much from the start, that their relationship (whatever it was at the time) might not be permanent, and they were okay with that.
Babe’s issues with Elodie, her ex-girlfriend, were difficult to read about. Elodie is not out, and Babe has been for years, so that really threw a painful wrench into their relationship. After their breakup, Babe eventually – after a lot of tears and pain – moves on. When Elodie comes back to town after a year at college, Babe didn’t crumble. She had realized how much Elodie hurt her and how much she was a selfish person, and wasn’t going to let her do it again.
She was deflecting, trying to unload the responsibility of her decisions on me.
Having let people do this to me more times than I can count, I actually teared up that Babe found the strength within herself to call Elodie out on it. YES. Because it is damn difficult.
Also I desperately wanted some of Babe’s baking confections. OMG. I was EXTREMELY disappointed that there were not recipes for these…I mean, come on! That’s just cruel. Maybe someone will be inspired to come up with some? Because I know I’m not that talented…just page me if it happens. Kthx.
Highly recommend for a breezy summer read that still has some substance. I loved it and am very excited to see what debut author Lillie Vale comes out with next!
Many thanks to the publisher and author for a review copy in exchange for an honest review!
I am so excited to be able to give a high recommendation to Anya Cosgrove’s debut novel! This book was~*Review first appeared on The Bent Bookworm!*~
I am so excited to be able to give a high recommendation to Anya Cosgrove’s debut novel! This book was such a fun, entertaining read.
They say ignorance is bliss. I say ignorance gets you killed. I still miss it, though.
- Um, the brothers! Duh. They’re very different but they’re both hot. Haha! Thom is the friendly, popular guy that everyone likes, and Liam is the brooding anti-hero. As you know by now, if you’ve read my blog for any length of time…I am ALL ABOUT the anti-heroes. Yes please.
- Alana is a fun character, and I’m super eager to see how she grows and matures in future books. She comes around to this whole supernatural thing very quickly, and it would have been a sore point for me except that she even says in her narration that it’s very odd, how easily she accepted this new world that she is suddenly thrust into. So I’m interested to see if that plays out in any way down the road as well.
- The slow burn! I absolutely hate insta-love, and while of course it’s pretty normal for any hot-blooded human to feel some physical pull to an attractive other person, I don’t think it’s normal for a true obsession to switch on immediately. THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN HERE, and I am so grateful. It made me enjoy the story so much more! - The evil guy is really despicable. Not just sort of nasty. Like made my skin crawl in horror. Which is IMPORTANT! If the stakes aren’t high enough, the story won’t work…and it worked, let me tell you.
- Love triangle. Obviously that was a main point of this story, it even says it in the GR description – but I really didn’t think *I* personally would be so torn between the brothers. ARGH!
- Need more details on how all this witch/warlock/demon/magic stuff actually works, and it’s origins. It’s explained a little, but…really needs some more fleshing out. Hopefully in the next books! - Erm…the cover. I absolutely HATE covers with barechested men or scantily clad women. Like I couldn’t read a physical copy of this in public. Can we please just not? There’s so many other cool scenes from this book that they could have chosen…but that’s a very small beef. Just ignore the cover!
I cannot WAIT for the next installment of Bloody Hearts, which is titled Witch’s Honor and is due out on April 11, 2019!