April 2018 Reviews · Exciting New Releases! · Kids Books

Book Review: Unwritten

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Author: Tara Gilboy
Pages: 198
Published: November 16, 2018
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Rating:  4/5

I received this one for review from NetGalley.

Gracie knows that she was rescued from a story by her mom. She had to tell her after she started having incredibly realistic dreams and visions of a beautiful woman and a fire. But all that her mom will tell her is that she saved her because she died in the story. She knows the authors name and that her mom doesn’t like the author, but her mom refuses to tell her anything more than that and changes the subject whenever she brings it up. She also knows that her best friend Walter was also saved. But he doesn’t know. Now Gracie has a chance to meet the author in person and ask her what really happened in the story. Should she go against her mom’s wishes and try to find out the truth or trust that her mom is only keeping her safe?

 

This one was adorable. I love the idea of the main character being rescued from a story. The two plot lines worked out really well together and I never felt like it was too far fetched of an idea to pull off. I think my only issue is how dark one of the main plot points was. For a middle grade I thought it was a little graphic but I guess if you look at all of the stuff that happens in books like the Harry Potter series that it wasn’t too bad. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this one and I read it in one sitting. I really hope we get more books about Gracie!

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April 2018 Reviews · Exciting New Releases!

Book Review: Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder

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Author: Chip Conley
Pages: 256
Published: September 18, 2018
Genre: Nonfiction, Ageism, Business
Rating:  4/5

I received this one for review from NetGalley.

Wisdom at Work provides invaluable insights for professionals at any age. Chip Conley discusses his time working with Airbnb as both an advisor and intern and how he had to overcome the severe dichotomy that exists between “millennials” and “baby boomers”. He argues that we need to bring back the idea of mentors in order to overcome some of the ageism that exists in the workplace and I have to agree with him. In order for younger generations to thrive while beginning their careers and older generations to continue thriving, both need to come together and recognize that they each have a lot to offer the other.

His examples of older adults providing guidance to start up companies in Silicon Valley offered the most insight that I’ve seen when talking about ageism in the workplace and how to get past it. This is definitely one that I’m going to purchase a hard copy of once it is released and I know I’ll continue to come back to it year after year. I enjoyed the tips that he offers while also providing real world examples of older adults joining new companies. I’m still not a fan of the “if I can do it then anyone can” mentality, but overall I felt that this particular career advice book has a lot to offer and would definitely recommend it.

April 2018 Reviews · Exciting New Releases! · Kids Books · Series/Trilogies

Book Review: Trapped in Room 217

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Author: Thomas Kingsley Troupe
Pages: 136
Published: September 1, 2018
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror
Rating:  4/5

I received this one from NetGalley for review.

Jayla and her brother Dion get to start spring break early! After their dad receives notice that he is needed in Estes, Colorado for a job the family moves into the Stanley Hotel for a week. Upon entering the hotel Jayla is in awe of how fancy it is, but quickly gets freaked out when she hears an older couple mention something about the room they will be staying in, room 217. On their first night in the hotel both Jayla and Dion have a ghostly encounter that puts both of them on edge and ready to leave, but is there more to the hotel than meets the eye?

 

I thought this one was cute. I enjoyed reading about the relationship between Dion and Jayla and how they were able to navigate the move into a strange place together. I also liked that this book was different from basically every other book written for younger readers in that the adults actually took the kids seriously. And of course we can’t overlook the setting for a kids book. Who doesn’t want to read about the Stanley Hotel? Overall I thought this was a fun read and I’ll definitely continue on with the series.

April 2018 Reviews · Exciting New Releases!

Poetry Review: The Hatch

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Author: Joe Fletcher
Pages: 120
Published: June 1, 2018
Genre: Poetry, Horror, Fantasy
Rating:  3.5/5

I received this one for review from NetGalley.

I don’t claim to have any understanding of poetry at all and I feel like that really impacted my ability to enjoy this collection. There were so many poems that I know had a deeper meaning than what I was getting, but I had no idea what I was reading. That being said I found the writing really beautiful and did really enjoy some of the ones from section two. I think The Wake and The Hatch are probably my favorites of this collection.

A dark and weird collection of poetry I would recommend this one for poetry lovers and horror fans.

April 2018 Reviews · Exciting New Releases!

Book Review: Obscura

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Author: Joe Hart
Pages: 348 (ebook)
Published: May 8, 2018
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Sci Fi
Rating:  5/5

I received this one for review from NetGalley.

Dr. Gillian Ryan has had a rough few years. After her husband developed a new pervasive form of dementia called Losian’s (which has no set age of onset) they got into a car accident that severely damaged her leg and led to her current addiction to painkillers. On top of that, her husband passed away shortly after their daughter was born (who now also has Losian’s) and now she found out her funding for Losian’s research is being cut. Basically everything sucks for Gillian. That is, until an old college friend reappears in her life and offers her a position with NASA that could change everything but would require she leave her daughter for at least six months. Gillian has to decide if the promise of funding for her research is worth the precious time spent away from her daughter who could pass away at any moment.

This one was all over the place (in a really good way). Working in Gerontology I fully went into this one expecting to hate a horror story written about dementia. But Joe Hart did such a fantastic job of not only taking the real emotions that come with dementia (loss, anger, fear, frustration, helplessness) and created a world where people actually care about it (more than just those that work in the field and those with family members that have it). I found myself fully invested in Gillian’s story and needed to know what the hell was going to happen next to her. The entire time I was playing guessing games with myself to determine what could possibly go wrong next and was pleasantly surprised to be wrong every time! It’s always a bummer when a story is predictable and this one wasn’t at all.

I highly recommend this one for horror fans. It had just the right amount of WTF moments mixed with reality to make it truly terrifying at times. An excellent read.

 

April 2018 Reviews · Exciting New Releases!

Book Review: Tin Man

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Author: Sarah Winman
Pages: 224 (Hardcover)
Published: May 15, 2018 (originally published July 27, 2017)
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, LGBT
Rating:  5/5

I received this one for review from NetGalley.

Michael and Ellis became best friends when they were 12. A relationship borne out of tragedy that spurned a beautiful love story…ish. Half of the story follows Ellis from the time he met Michael until adulthood as a widow from his wife Annie. While the other half is from Michael’s diary.

I didn’t originally plan to pick up Tin Man because it’s not a genre I typically go for (contemporary, adult fiction), but it has quickly become one of my favorite reads of 2018 so far. Both endearing and heartbreaking, Tin Man is everything that I didn’t realize I needed in a book. The characters are written beautifully and the relationships are complex and tragic but still believable. I found myself rooting for so many different storylines and in the end I think I would have been happy with anything the author decided to do. I highly recommend everyone pick this one up.

April 2018 Reviews · Exciting New Releases! · Horror Reviews

Book Review: The Atrocities

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Author: Jeremy Shipp
Pages: 104 (ebook)
Published: April 17, 2018
Genre: Gothic, Horror, Fantasy
Rating:  4/5

I received this one for review from NetGalley.

Ms. Valdez has taken a new job as a governess for Isabella. So far her experience has been…weird. After navigating a maze outside of the house where she was confronted with grotesque statues she was finally able to enter the home but has not yet been able to meet Isabella. No one will tell her much about the girl other than that she was in an accident and now needs help. Is this the job that she signed up for?

This one left me guessing the entire time. I was sure that I knew what the answers were going to be as I was reading and being introduced to each new character, but of course not. Shipp did a great job of taking some of the weirdest concepts and combining them with the traditional story of a new governess meeting a strange family. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and can definitely recommend it!

April 2018 Reviews · Exciting New Releases!

ARC Review: The Seasons of My Mother

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Author: Marcia Gay Harden
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Published: May 1, 2018
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Alzheimer’s
Rating:  4/5

I received this one as an e-ARC from NetGalley.

This was definitely not what I was expecting as far as a memoir about Alzheimer’s, but I really enjoyed it. Marcia Gay Harden’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011, but the majority of the book is a beautifully written look back on her life with her mother and the impact that she has had on her life and career. She uses her mother’s love of flowers and the Japanese flower arranging art of Ikebana to move the reader through the ups and downs of her life as a waitress, then actress, mother and ultimately caregiver.

I really appreciated the focus that is given on her mother as a person rather than on Alzheimer’s as a disease. This is a great addition to the handful of books being written by family members on the topic and I’m happy to recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about how memory changes and what dementia looks like for families.

I had some issues while reading it, but nothing that was enough to totally take me out of the narrative.

Exciting New Releases! · Horror Reviews · March 2015 Reviews

Book Review: The Silence by Tim Lebbon (ARC)

Author: Tim Lebbon
Pages: 400
Published: April 14, 2015
Genre: Horror
Rating: 5/5

One of the creepiest novels I’ve ever read. And the only novel to make me tear up.

I was sent an ARC for review from Titan Books.

The Silence is the new horror novel from Tim Lebbon that is sure to give you the creeps.

Ally is a teenage girl that wants nothing more than to be a journalist and she’s found a new story to follow. After a cave discovery in Moldova is broadcast on the news, both Ally and her father Huw become intrigued. While Ally is home with her brother, mom, and grandmother, she turns on the Discovery Channel to watch the live feed of the explorers at the cave site. While away on a business trip, her father Huw has done the same thing. Unknowingly they are both about to see something horrifying that will change their lives forever.

Now as the monsters that have been unleashed from the cave are making their way across the world, Ally and her family must decide if they want to stay in their home and wait it out, or try to make it to Huw’s parents old vacation home in Scotland.

No one knows what the monsters are. The only facts that have been shared about them with the world are that they are killing people and they hunt by sound. For Ally’s family this presents a challenge unlike what most other families will experience since Ally is deaf and her family can communicate through sign language.

Follow Ally and her family as they fight to survive in Tim Lebbon’s new fantastically terrifying novel, The Silence.

This novel was absolutely fantastic. I enjoyed every second of it and am now completely hooked on Tim Lebbon’s writing. The Silence is the second sensory deprivation novel that I’ve ever read and that’s partly what made it so terrifying. This is also the very first novel I’ve ever read that made me tear up. Which says a lot about Tim Lebbon’s ability to create characters that the reader can relate to. I highly recommend all horror fans read The Silence and gave it a much deserved 5/5.

Exciting New Releases! · January 2015 Reviews

First Book Review of 2015! Rite of Rejection by Sarah Negovetich

Author: Sarah Negovetich
Pages: 320
Published: December 4, 2014
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Rating: 4/5

That was awesome.

Rebecca and Cheryl are your average 16 year old girls. Except that they live in a country where once you turn 16 you are forced to attend a ceremony where you are either Accepted as a member of society or Rejected to the PIT because you may or may not have a propensity for crime. At least, those are the reasons that the Cardinal has given for why people are sent to the PIT.

Rebecca believed she had nothing to worry about and would easily get Accepted, but all that changed when the lights on the Machine flashed red indicating that she was to be banished to the PIT. Now forced to live the life of a “criminal” in horrible poverty, Rebecca must figure out how to survive with nothing and no one to help her. That is, until she sees a familiar face also living in the PIT.

Eric was the first one to ask her for a dance at the ceremony and she knew right away that he was perfect for her. Now with Eric by her side and a few of his friends, it seems like maybe life in the PIT won’t be so bad. Or will it?

An awesome dystopian novel, I devoured Rite of Rejection in two sittings because I needed to know what would happen next. The only reason I didn’t give this book a 5 was because some of the main plot points were a little predictable which kind of took me out of the moment. However, this book was still fantastic and I could definitely see it being the start to a series.

Highly recommend!