Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

  • ISBN-10: 0553497782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553497786
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books (February 23, 2016)


In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. This deeply moving and authentic debut is for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, and Benjamin Alire Saenz. Intertwining stories of love, tragedy, wild luck, and salvation on the edge of America’s Last Frontier introduce a writer of rare talent.

Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.
Four very different lives are about to become entangled. This unforgettable book is about people who try to save each other—and how sometimes, when they least expect it, they succeed. 

I found The Smell of Other People's Houses  to be slightly dark, emotionally evocative and is one of the most engaging books I've read so far this year!

Ms. Hitchcock did a superb job of describing life in Alaska 1970's and all that teenagers (and adults) faced during that time. The characters were engaging, realistic and the plot was sometimes heart-warming and at other times gut-wrenchingly sad.   

This story just blew me away and it had a pretty big impact  on me. I  can't quite seem to let thisstory go even though I finished it over a week ago. I have a feeling it will be staying with me for a bit while I sort out my thoughts and emotions about it.   

4.5 Stars!

  • Thank you to Wendy Lamb Books and Netgalley for the gift of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Every Second Counts by Sophie Mckenzie

  • ISBN-10: 148143926X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1481439268
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (March 1, 2016)


Charlie and Nat must expose a public official for who he truly is before he is elected prime minister in the riveting and romantic sequel to the explosive thriller, In a Split Second.

Nat and Charlie are on the run and in more danger than ever before. Nowhere is safe and they can’t trust anyone but each other. Roman Riley’s networks could discover them at any time, so Charlie believes their only option is to go undercover in Riley’s team, but Nat doesn’t agree. So Charlie sneaks away to pursue her plan alone. 

Nat is desperate to find Charlie, but his family is relying on him, and he can’t leave them behind. Even if Nat and Charlie can find each other again, could being together be even more dangerous than being apart?

Every Second Counts is an action packed, non-stop adventure, mystery/thriller and romance. This story will keep you on the edge of your seat until you finish the very. last. page!

It's the second book in the series; the sequel to In A Split Second. While this book can be read as a stand alone novel, I wouldn't recommend it. I would recommend reading the books in order as Every Second Counts starts right off where the first book ended and it can get confusing if you haven't read In A Split Second first. 

Charlie and Nat were engaging and  likable characters. The plot was built for action, action and more action so while it was a bit fantastical that teens would be caught up in national and world affairs, the story worked and was interesting and engaging.  

I found this novel to not be my cup of tea but that doesn't mean it is not a good book. It's just means that it is not a good fit for me. If you like action with a bit of romance and a lot of mystery/thriller, this book will be perfect for you!

3 Stars!

Thank you to Simon and Schuster  as well as Edelweiss for the gift of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Top 10 Recently Enjoyed Books That Were Out of My Comfort Zone ~ TTT

Hosted by the Broke and Bookish

This week's topic is ... Top 10 Recently Enjoyed Books That Were Out of Our Comfort Zone. 

Here's my list ... 

Mystery / Thriller/ Horror

I mostly avoid horror stories but this one really captured my interest and seemed to be "mild horror" and more mystery and suspense. I really enjoyed this one!


I enjoy reading classics, more so now then when I was younger.  The older sci-fi  /dystopian novels have captured my interest over the past year and I absolutely am enjoying them! 

City of Ember series


Mystery and Thrillers

I've only just started to branch out into reading this genre. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading these books!

Biographies and Memoirs

This genre is probably my least favorite. Recently I've changed my mind as I've read over the past year several books in this genre and really enjoyed them! 


Happy Reading!  

Friday, February 19, 2016

Shades of Doon by Cary Corp and Lori Langdon

  • ISBN-10: 0310742358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310742357
  • Series: A Doon Novel (Book 3)
  • Publisher: Blink (September 1, 2015)

  • Synopsis: 

After cheating death, Veronica Welling is determined to savor every moment in her idyllic kingdom with both her true love and best friend by her side at last. At the same time, Mackenna Reid is enthusiastically building her new life and a theater with her prince. But just as their dreams of happiness are within reach, the world Vee and Kenna have chosen is ripped away, leaving them to face their most horrific challenge yet—their old lives.
Thrust out of Doon, the best friends are confronted with tormentors from their past and no way to return to their adopted land. When the MacCrae brothers rush to their rescue, the girls’ situation turns from nightmare to modern-day fairy tale. But their happiness could be short lived: unbeknownst to them, someone in their closest circle is aiding the witch of Doon in her bid to destroy the kingdom once and for all.

Shades of Doon is the third book in the Doon series and this book is just as good if not better than the prior 2 books. It has it all ... friendship, romance, mystery, suspense, betrayal and yes, plenty of action. It's a fairy tale like story that is delightful to read and I am truly enjoying this series!  

The plot is very well written and moderately to fast paced. The characters are well developed and overall, it's just a really. good. book!  

What things did I like about this book?  First off, the cover is gorgeous. Second, my favorite part of this book is when the MacCrae brother's rescue Vee and McKenna. There's definitely a lot more  things I liked about this story but I have no wish to spoil your reading experience.

I also just found out that there is fourth book being released this year ... Forever Doon (release date ~ August 2, 2016). I can't wait to read this as well!

4.5 Stars

Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for the gift of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken Narrated by Saskia Maarleveld

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 13 hours and 28 minutes
  • PVersion: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Release Date: January 5, 2016
  • ASIN: B018WINFO4


Violin prodigy Etta Spencer had big plans for her future, but a tragedy has put her once-bright career at risk. Closely tied to her musical skill, however, is a mysterious power she doesn't even know she has. When her two talents collide during a stressful performance, Etta is drawn back hundreds of years through time.
Etta wakes, confused and terrified, in 1776, in the midst a fierce sea battle. Nicholas Carter, the handsome young prize master of a privateering ship, has been hired to retrieve Etta and deliver her unharmed to the Ironwoods, a powerful family in the Colonies - the very same one that orchestrated her jump back, and one Nicholas himself has ties to. But discovering she can time travel is nothing compared to the shock of discovering the true reason the Ironwoods have ensnared her in their web.
Another traveler has stolen an object of untold value from them, and, if Etta can find it, they will return her to her own time. Out of options, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the mysterious traveler. But as they draw closer to each other and the end of their search, the true nature of the object, and the dangerous game the Ironwoods are playing, comes to light - threatening to separate her not only from Nicholas, but her path home...forever.

I snapped up Passenger as soon as it was released and listened to it right away. I have not read any of Ms. Bracken's books before this one but right off the bat, I fell in love with her beautifully crafted prose and writing style. In addition, the story itself is amazing! 

To me, it read like a contemporary novel with time travel and romance both as major story components but all three were blended so well, no one aspect overwhelmed the others. In addition, this story includes plenty of action, adventure, mystery and suspense! The pace of the story was steady but fast enough to keep me engaged while allowing me to savor the story. 

My favorite characters? Etta and Nicholas. I also enjoyed the time travel periods that they went to as well. Ms. Bracken did excellent research those time periods. 

The narrator, Saskia Maarleveld had a pleasing voice and did a wonderful job reading this story and portraying all the characters. I truly enjoyed the freedom of doing other things/living life while listening to the story. I do have to share though that at times the story was so vivid, it carried me away and I just had to stop and listen to it. Chores definitely fell to the wayside while I listened to Passenger. :)  

I can't wait for the second book in this series to be released!

5 Stars

Fantastic Debut Novel ~ The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig!

  • ISBN-10: 0062380753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062380753
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books (February 16, 2016)
  •  Book 1 of a 2 book series


Heidi Heilig's debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City, to nineteenth-century Hawaii, to places of myth and legend. 
Nix's life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. 

As long as he has a map, Nix's father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he's uncovered the one map he's always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix's mother died in childbirth. Nix's life—her entire existence—is at stake. 

No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix's future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who's been part of their crew for two years. 

If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.

The Girl From Everywhere  is a unique and wonderful debut novel by author Heidi Heilig! It's full of fantasy, history, family and a truly unique  and fresh twist on time travel.  

The plot is fast paced and full of action and adventure. There are a lot of sub-plots running through this story and they all come together in the end to make one really good story! 

My favorite character is the heroine from this story, Nix. She is full of pluck, strong-willed yet vulnerable; deeply devoted to her family (her father and her shipmates), scared of an unknown future and longing to find her place in the world.  I also liked all of Nix's shipmates; each one had their own unique quirks and charms. I wasn't overly fond of her father for reasons that you'll find out when you read the story.
The suspense of the story really had me reading page to page, sitting on the edge of my seat and enjoying every minute of it. The story flowed really well and while there were many sub-plots throughout this book, they all came together at the end.  

While The Girl From Everywhere read as if it was a stand alone novel, I was excited to hear that this is a two book series. I can't wait to read more of Nix and her time traveling family and friends! 

4.5 Stars

Thank you to Bonnier Publishing, Edelweiss and Netgalley for the gift of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years

  • Publisher: Kids Can Press (August 1, 2015)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 1771381078

  • ISBN-13: 978-1771381079


When a young girl named Kikko realizes her father has forgotten the pie he was supposed to bring to Grandma's house, she offers to try and catch him as he makes his way through the woods. She hurriedly follows her father's footprints in the snow and happens upon a large house she has never seen before. Curious, Kikko peers through the window, when she is startled by a small lamb wearing a coat and carrying a purse. Even more surprising, the lamb speaks, asking her in a kind voice, "Are you here for the tea party?" Suddenly, Kikko realizes her trip through the woods has turned into something magical.

The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi is a delightful children's book. Though it is marketed  for ages 3-7 years of age, it's story will engage and bring a smile to those reading it as well the the children listening.  

The story is engaging and the open ending of the story will spur a child's creative side with whirlwind thoughts of what really did happen in this story!

The pictures are superbly done,   mostly black and white with intermittent red and yellow color. Children will be captivated by each page as you read them this story or for the older child, as they read it to themselves. 

All in all, this is a wonderful book and one I will be gifting to my friends who have young children or expecting an addition to their family!

5 Stars

Thank you to Kids Can Press and Netgalley for the gift of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

  • ISBN-10: 1481432699
  • ISBN-13: 978-1481432696
  • HPublisher: Simon Pulse (February 9, 2016)


When Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, returns home from a year at sea, he finds his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn't love and sick of the high society he was born into, all Teach wants is to return to the vast ocean he calls home. There's just one problem: he must convince his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following the death of her parents, Anne Barrett is left penniless. Though she's barely worked a day in her life, Anne takes a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks and Anne longs to escape the confines of her now mundane life. How will she ever achieve her dream of sailing to CuraƧao--her mother's birthplace--when she's trapped in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn together by a shared desire for freedom, but kept apart by Teach's father, their love is as passionate as it is forbidden. Faced with an impossible choice, Teach and Anne must decide whether to chase their dreams and leave England forever--or follow their hearts and stay together.

Blackhearts is a stunningly beautiful debut novel by Nicole Castroman and most definitely worth reading!

Blackbeard, one the most notorious pirates on the high seas is not clearly recognizable in this historical fiction novel of his early years. In this novel we find a young man passionate about the sea trying to make his mark on the world while yearning to please his father. A young man who finds love where he least expects it.  

This novel is beautiful, romantic, heartwarming and quite sad at times. It made for perfect reading over Valentine's Day weekend though I can honestly say it would be perfect for reading at any time.   

I am eagerly waiting for the next book to be released!

5 Stars

Thank you to Simon Pulse publishing and Edelweiss for the gift of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

  • ISBN-10: 0062377647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062377647
  • Series: Reign of Shadows (Book 1)
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (February 9, 2016)


Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok's lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna's survival depends on the world believing she is dead.
But that doesn't stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.
With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

Have you ever finished a book that you can't stop reading because it is just so darn good but where you loathe to reach the end because well ... it's the end of the story?

That's exactly how I felt reading Reign of Shadows

This book is fantasy at it's best ... good vs evil, life threatening challenges, monsters, mayhem and a quest. Add in a bit of true love/ romance and it just adds up to a book that I couldn't put down! 


I really enjoyed the unexpected surprises in the plot! They kept me glued to the story and on the edge of my seat.  

I also really liked Luna and Fowler.  Both are worthy characters and there's nothing like the bloom of young love fighting desperately to stay alive in a doomed fantasy world. 

I also really, really liked the ending! 


I really don't have anything that I disliked about this book other than having to wait to read the next one in this series! 

Guess you can tell I am not a patient person but in this case, I'll just have to hold on till the second book is published. :)

5 Stars!

Thank you to Harper Teen and Edelweiss for a the gift of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Stop the Presses ~ Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to be released as a book!

  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pottermore (July 31, 2016)

  • The official script  book of the original West End (London) production to be released in book/e book format!

  • Publication Date: July 31, 2016


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on 30th July 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

I knew I'd never be able to go to another country to see the play so I was over the moon when I heard the play script was going to be released as a book (both hardcover and ebook format)!!! 

Go check it out at Amazon ~ it's available for pre-order!