Bring Me Home Review

Bring Me Home by Bree Howland

Synopsis:

While Kailey was growing up, she was sure of two things:

1. She wanted to devote her life to helping animals.
2. She would never be without her best friend Cole Martin.

When her father had them pack up and move two provinces away two years before graduation, it felt like the rug was pulled out from under her.

Now she’s in college, finally pursuing her interest in veterinary medicine. Even better, Cole is at the same school. But Cole has changed and so has she. Gone was the innocence of childhood friendship and easy conversations.

Between new friends, unexpected feelings, and a road trip, Kailey’s first year in college will be more eye opening than she ever imagined.

Review

I LOVED this book. I want to start out by stating that I am usually not a romance reader, but this is a story that should be on everyone’s TBR list. It’s not cheesy and it will not make you roll your eyes into oblivion. It is a sweet story that will make you believe in love and happy endings. I binge read this book in one sitting because it was that good. I suggest curling up in a warm blanket and settling in while reading this book, because you will not want to put it down.

Kailey (Kail) and Cole are wonderful characters. Their friendship and love feel real and in no way forced. All of Howland’s characters have great chemistry. You can picture yourself in college along side Kail and her friends and you can easily fit into the friend’s adventures and witty banter.

This is a beautifully written story that will leave you wanting completely satisfied. There’s friendship, true love, cute animals, and an atmosphere of pure delight. Whether you’re an avid reader of romance stories or a fair weather fan, you will find something in the story to connect to or believe in. I cannot recommend this book enough!

Rating: 5/5

I received this ARC from the author, Bree Howland, in exchange for an honest review

Bring Me Home will be available on January 1, 2019 

Preorder Links!

*Bring Me Home is also available on Kindle Unlimited!

About the Author

Bree Howland lives in Atlantic Canada with her husband and two fur children, two finicky felines. When she’s not working, her life revolves around reading, writing and taking care of her foster cats. You will more than likely find her curled up somewhere quiet with a book or scrolling aimlessly through Twitter.

Be sure to check out Bree’s website and social media pages: Website; Twitter: Instagram; Goodreads

Fortunate Felines Rescue

If the story alone is not enough to convince you to buy and read this book, all proceeds from Bring Me Home go to the Fortunate Felines Rescue. If you would like more information about this organization, check out their Facebook or Instagram pages. 

Be sure to check out all posts on the Bring Me Home Blog Tour!
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Stardust Review

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

The town of Wall is a quaint little place. Wall is so named for the enormous wall and its guards posted at an opening in the wall. Once every nine years, people come from far and wide to cross the wall into the land of Faerie to attend the market.

The story begins with Dunstan Thorn crossing the wall, meeting a young girl, and them conceiving a child. Their son, Tristan Thorn is the star of the story. He desperately tries to win the love of Victoria Forester. Tristan sees a star fall to the earth beyond the wall, and promises to being it back for Victoria.

But when Tristan enters the land of Faerie, he gets more than he bargained for. Everyone is desperately searching for the fallen star and the benefits that come along with it. Tristan is taken on the adventure of his life and begins to question what he’d do for his true love.

I listened to this book on my way to/from a trip to Chicago. Stardust was a joy yo listen to. Gaiman makes his characters come to life. The story was hilarious and complex with a rich cast of characters. Gaiman has a talent of world building and making the mysterious of a magical world seem ordinary. The plot felt deliberate and the magical realm so detailed that I wanted to immerse myself into the story and stay alongside Tristan. I highly recommend this book. It’s the perfect fantasy story to whisk you away to a new world.

Rating: 4.5/5

Autumn Aesthetic

When I think fall, I think of comforting things. It is my favorite time of year. I love watching the leaves change and feeling the cold move in. Many people consider fall a time of death because all of the plants are dying. I prefer to think of it as the process of rebirth. Everything will come alive again one way or another, like a Phoenix rising from the flames. Your trees and flowers will bloom again.

Comfort can be found in anything. From your favorite book or movie, comfortable clothes, comfort food, a favorite place you can return to. I would label my “autumn aesthetic” as comfort!

Every fall, I like to return to a book I love. Usually, Harry Potter or The Name of the Wind. But I also like to change it up. I like to do a fall reread because it makes me reflect on why I liked a book so much. Or perhaps I find details I missed the first time I read it. Comfort reads are books I carry close to my heart. Like Looking for Alaska because that was my first introduction to John Green. Or Of Mice and Men because I read it on a road trip with my family.

Fall is a great time to stay in and watch movies or TV shows. I’ll admit that I’m a binge-watcher. Whether it’s something new or an old favorite, it can be nice to take an afternoon or a day to yourself and get lost in movies or shows. I love curling up on the couch with my dog, a blanket, and a giant bowl of popcorn.

Comfort foods can range from person to person. For me, I love simple things like mashed potatoes or gooey mac n cheese. But there are also more complex things. Like the lemon bars my grandmother used to make me as a child or spanakopita (spinach pie). Some times on cold days, I’ll make a huge pot of mac n cheese and just be content.

What is your autumn aesthetic?

The Darkest Star

The Darkest Starby Jennifer L. Armentrout

“That was what I wanted at some point in my life, for someone to look at me like I looked at tacos.”


Synopsis:

In the aftermath of the Lux war that changed the face of the Earth, there is still a stark divide between humanity and Lux, an alien race inhabiting the planet. As tensions rise in a small town, a string of murders take the town by surprise. The murders are suspiciously supernatural and the bodies are left where they are sure to be found. Seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher must decide what secrets are worth keeping and which ones she’s willing to share with those closest to her. As Evie gets mixed up with the Luxen, and a new guy, Luc, in her life, she questions everything she’s ever known. In a race to find answers, Evie and her friends are met with new threats and more questions at every turn.

 

Characters:

The characters are brilliant and dynamic, each in their own ways. As a reader, you know something is amiss about some of the characters and their physical traits. But we’re not told until well into the storyline the mystery we keep guessing at.

Luc is a mysterious bad boy with captivating violet eyes. He is tough, powerful, and everyone seems to be afraid or at least apprehensive of him. But there is more to Luc than meets the eye.

Evie is a painfully naïve teenager who gets more than she bargained fro when she joins her best friend, Heidi, at a club in town. This club, Forsaken, is special because this club allows humans and Luxen to intermix without judgment. But Evie’s life changes the moment she walks through the big red doors.

Sylvia & Jason are Evie’s parents, but both held secrets from her. Jason died during the war, and Evie and her mother moved

The rest of Evie’s friends fit into categories we know, without being a boring sterotype. You have the overprotective, semi-jealous friend, James. James is leery of Luc and everything unraveling, but he’s still supportive of Evie. April is loud and brash, quick to jump to her own conclusions even without having all of the facts. Zoe is calm and open-minded, and will do anything to ensure Evie’s safety. Heidi and Emery are more free-spirited, but both know more than they let on.

 

Review:

As a caveat: it has been quite some time since I’ve read a book by Armentrout. I forgot that I read part of the Luxen series until I read this book. However, I don’t think that reading the original series is a requirement to enjoy this spin-off series, as the characters in the Origin Series are not main characters in the original series.

I immensely enjoyed this book. While parts of the writing style read like the way a teenager would speak, I think this adds to the main character’s internal dialogue. You genuinely become immersed in Evie’s thoughts and the world in which she is living. Yet, Armentrout is still not predictable. The Darkest Starwill take you on an adventure of twists and turns. Once you think you have it all figured out, you’re thrown another curve ball. I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to read the rest of the series.

 

 

Rating: 4/5

**I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

The Darkest Star will be available on October 30, 2018 by Tor Teen Publishers.

 

Tell Me Three Things

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Synopsis: Jesse Holmes lost her mother two years ago. Now, her father eloped with a woman he met online and up and moved his family from Chicago to California. Jesse is forced into a new life and a new school, Wood Valley High School. That’s not the only weird thing that happens, Jesse receives an anonymous email from someone at her school under the screen-name of Somebody Nobody (SN). This mysterious guy turns into Jesse’s “spirit guide” at school. As Jesse navigates the waters of her junior year, SN helps Jesse discover what truly matters to her. All the while, Jesse is determined to learn more about SN and who he is.

This book had me hooked from the beginning. I will say that there are a lot of cliche’s in this book, the hot blonde California stereotypes are strong in this high school settling. And Jesse is supposed to be like a “breath of fresh air” who catches the eye of the most popular guy. But, you know that’s the kind of story you’re getting into from the beginning. The emails are also a way to get to know this cool mysterious guy from another angle.

This book is not subtle, it is in your face and melodramatic. I like this about it because I genuinely laughed out loud at how ridiculous some of the situations are. This is not a realistic tale of someone moving from the Midwest and being forced into a Hollywood glamour lifestyle. In the first chapters, we discover just how ridiculous and painfully self-absorbed Jesse’s new stepmother is. And how loud, cruel, and stuck up the students are at the high school.

A small part of me hopes that this book is a means to make us laugh at how badly self-absorbed we can all be in the Internet age. Because these are not serious characters. They are outlandish and take stereotypes too far, from the hatred of costal elites to the need to fit in and be as skinny as possible. If you take it with a grain of salt, you’ll likely find this book funny. And you’ll probably love the ending–I know I did!

Rating: 4/5

The Calculating Stars

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

The year is 1952 and a meteorite has struck Earth. In the aftermath, the majority of the eastern seaboard of the United States has been destroyed, including the nation’s capitol of Washington D.C. However, the shock of the meteorite was felt around the world and is not threatening an extinction-level event. As a result, a space race to colonize the moon and Mars starts.

Elma York is a mathematician and a former WASP Pilot from the war. Due to her experience, she becomes a human computer for the International Aerospace Coalition (IAC). Her husband, Nathanial York, is the lead engineer in the space race project. Elma is not content just being a computer, she loves flying and wants to get into space and become an astronaut.

Elma paves the way for lady astronauts to be included into the space and colonization programs, but some of her closest friends are denied entry into the program because of the color of their skin. Elma fights for equal opportunities but is met with hostility and question at every turn. But, her determination opens the door for women in space and the expansion of the colonization program. In a beautifully written story by Mary Robinette Kowal, readers become immersed in an alternative version of history and the fallout and rebuilding of society.

This is usually not the kind of book I willingly reach for, but I am glad this book was recommended. In July, I had the honor of meeting one of my favorite authors, Patrick Rothfuss. Someone asked what books he was reading or what he would recommend, and he recommended this book. I was skeptical at first, but I do enjoy pushing my book comfort zone every now and then; especially when I am in reading a slump.

I loved this book! This is my first time reading a book by Mary Robinette Kowal and I think tat the writing was phenomenal and the story makes you question the progression of history. In a time where we are currently dealing with gender and race issues, this story approaches the prejudices head on. While most of the main characters are white, Elma forces a male-dominated field to accept lady astronauts on scientific grounds. However, while there is a victory for women in general, there is not a victory for women of color. The prejudices presented make you question the way society is ran and why so many women and people of color are still held back after a catastrophic event.

I highly recommend this book. It’s not “too outer space driven,” but it is also not a post-apocalyptic world. Instead, the United States, United Nations, and the rest of the world are faced with an alternative version of history. This book is classified as science fiction, but do not let the term scare you. It is grounded in fiction and there are some technical terms. But, you do not need a fundamental understanding of rocket science to enjoy this novel.

Rating: 5/5

Undead Girl Gang

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

Synopsis:

Mila Flores loses her best friend and her whole world is ripped open. Everyone is saying Riley committed suicide, but Mila knows her best friend better than that. Riley would never commit suicide. It is also strange that two popular mean girls committed suicide in the same week. Mila sets out to prove that her best friend was not at fault and an investigation should be opened. Before Riley died, her and Mila dabbled in witchcraft. Shortly after Riley’s death, some mysterious book arrives with spells from the occult. It’s the kind of witchcraft the girls have never engaged in, but Mila takes it as a sign. She decides to resurrect her best friend and discover the cause of the three gruesome deaths.

Review:

This is the perfect fall read! It will put you in the mood for Halloween and make you wish you were sitting in a park wrapped in a warm sweater watching leaves blow around you. This is a tale of conjuring the dead and girl power. Strange friendships are formed between the undead and Mila.

June and Dayton are classic “mean girls” before their deaths. But after their resurrection, they learn that popularity is fragile. Both girls have secrets that they have kept to themselves and don’t want to get out. But as their time as the undead winds down, each girl must face up to the facts. If they don’t tell their truths, the mystery of their deaths will go unsolved.

The foursome forms the “undead girl gang” as an unlikely connection between Mila, June, Dayton, and Riley begins to grow. June and Dayton quickly become more likable and light-hearted instead of the stuck up girls they used to be. Riley is also different in the afterlife, she cannot remember what happened prior to her death and she’s not happy to be back. Mila learns to open her heart and tasks risk for the love of her best friend.

While this is a cute story, it is a little predictable. I guessed the “bad guy” in the first third of the book, and believe most people will see the final twist. Especially because Lily Anderson leaves some small hints scattered throughout. However, this story is enjoyable and light hearted.

If you’re looking for a story of witchcraft and strong friendships (both new and old) with a sprinkle of young love then this is the story for you! There is not a strong romance aspect, the majority of this novel focuses on the girl gang. I highly recommend this novel and think it should be added to your fall TBR (to be read) list.

Rating: 4/5

Royals

Royals by Rachel Hawkins

Synopsis:

Daisy Winters is used to living in her sister’s shadow. Her big sister, Ellie, is dating the prince of Scotland. Ellie’s face is plastered all over magazines and online tabloids follow her life closely. Daisy is used to her sister being in the spotlight and living her own life in the shadows. But once Ellie announces a royal engagement, she encourages Daisy to come join her in Scotland to keep the media frenzy at bay. However, both Ellie and Daisy get more than they bargained for during Daisy’s stay in Scotland.

 

Review:

This story is one cliché after the next. The storyline is predictable, there are no twists or turns you cannot see coming. Both the dialogue and characters are flat. I found myself skimming parts of the book wishing for some action or adventure.

Prince Sebastian and his “boys” are supposed to be shrouded in scandal. I expected some kind of mischief or just general debauchery, but no such things happened. The inside cover promised scandal and boasted about how it followed the Prince, but that is nowhere to be found in this story. There are some “oops moments” but nothing we have not seen in movies or shows before. I feel like Prince Sebastian and his crew is an amateur Gossip Girl.

There are some cute and feel good moments in this book. You do still root for Daisy and Miles and hope for the best. But the build of their relationship is too slow to keep your interest. There are no strong character connections and the arcs are too flat to care. I honestly mixed up the names of Sebastian’s friends because they were all interchangeable to me. No individual stood out enough to make a name for himself.

Take this book at face value: it’s a romantic comedy about a girl getting integrated into royal society to appease her soon-to-be-princess big sister and falling in love with a Scottish guy of her own. If you enjoy a simple story and a tale of quick romance, this is the book for you!

 

Rating: 2.5/5

 

How to Walk Away

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

“It’s the trying that heals you. That’s all you have to do. Just try”

*Spoilers*

Maggie has a picture perfect life. She has a perfect job lined up and an extremely bright future. She has a fear of flying and yet her boyfriend, Chip, is finishing up his pilot’s license. In an attempt to be romantic, Chip decides to take Maggie up in his plane and propose to her.

Maggie’s picture perfect future is ripped away from her with a shocking accident. But her new fiancé, Chip walks away without a scratch. Maggie is left recovering for weeks in the hospital and everything starts to fall apart around her. All of her relationships are called into question. Chip is rattled with guilt, Maggie’s parents decide to take her back into their home, and Maggie’s estranged sister shows up out of the blue. As her recuperation in the hospital lengthens, her chances of making a full and miraculous recovery dwindle. Maggie is caught between wanting her old life back and starting anew. Maggie has to learn how to depend on herself and learn to overcome a new disability and walk away from the things in her life that are holding her down.

I chose this book as my May BOTM and honestly, I was a little disappointed. This book was a little slow and underwhelming for me. I had no idea what to expect going in and I thought this would be an uplifting story, but instead it was predictable.

While Katherine Center’s writing style is wonderful, her character development is not. I found a lot of the characters flat, especially Chip and his predictable actions. The mother/daughter dynamic between Maggie, her sister, and her mother also feels like a stereotype—with one sister being in the spotlight and the other, rebellious sister, is constantly vying for her mother’s love and attention. But these are not the worst relationship clichés in this story. The unhealthiest is the connection between Ian and Maggie. The dynamic of a patient and caretaker falling in love is not story I care to read.

I’m frustrated with this book. In the beginning, Maggie seemed like a strong willed, determined woman. She applied for a job she knew she wouldn’t be qualified for yet she went in with confidence and became a shoo-in. However, the book becomes filled with “fluff” and moments and one-liners that will make you roll your eyes. Maybe I’m too jaded to see this is an uplifting story. And I do appreciate the Epilogue because Center did not make this into the story I thought she would I was pleasantly surprised enough to raise my initial rating from two to two and a half stars.

I think this book is a gamble; either you’ll love it or you’ll hate it. If you want a quick read about a story of love and loss, this will fit the bill. However, of you’re looking for an uplifting story with an empowering main character, you can pass on this book.

 

Rating 2.5/5

 

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