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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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

Favorite Autumnal Reads

Favorite Autumnal Reads

When I think autumnal reads, I think of books I can curl up and get lost in. Maybe sit by a window with a giant cup of coffee and my coziest blankets and escape the world for a while. Sometimes I want to reread books in the fall because they are comfortable and I can reminisce about all of the warm feelings these books bring me. Other times I want something witchy or creepy. But I also enjoy long books, where I can binge read. Maybe lose a few hours (or days) entranced by a great story.


Here are 10 books/series that I think would be great for fall:

1) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

  • Of course I have to start here, because I’m part of the Harry Potter generation. But what you don’t know is that I start every September with a reread of a book in the series. This year, I chose The Chamber of Secretsbecause this is one of my least favorites. I always want to skip over this book. I suspect it has to do with my disdain of Professor Gilderoy Lockhart. But every time I reread this one, I’m glad I have. This would be the perfect place to start if you want to rekindle your love of fall reading with an old favorite.

2) Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

  • I recently finished this book and you can find my full review here. But I adored this book. It’s a cute take on how far a person is willing to go to solve their best friend’s potential murder. If you like tales of witchy craft and creepy incidents, this is a great book to pick up this fall. Plus, you’ll walk away from this one delighted, despite the twists and turns.

3) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

  • This is a book that I initially read in the fall. I remember this book dominating an entire weekend. I didn’t get out of bed unless I had to. But this is also a book I frequently come back to. There are so many minute details that you won’t think are important, but will come back to mean the world. Especially once you read the second book in this series. I am constantly recommending this book to people, because it is one of my all-time-favorites. The Name of the Windis a perfect book to read in the fall, because it’s a book you’ll want to binge read.

4) American Gods by Neil Gaiman

  • I am a little late to the Neil Gaiman train, but I am so glad I’m finally on board. This book is massive and a little dense at times, but well worth the read. I definitely lost almost an entire day to this book; I could not put it down. Gaiman’s take on mythology and Gods of the old world is astounding. This is a great fall read because you’ll be transported to different places with new stories of each important God. Plus, there’s a great commentary on the new world technology versus old world traditions.

5) The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson

  • I can’t make a list of books without including one book about dinosaurs! The Extinction Trialsis a wonderful fall read because you can escape our world and be thrown into a new one. This is perfect if you love the dystopian feel because Storm’s world in closing in on her as the population grows. The dinosaurs aren’t exactly cliché in this book and there are some moments of cutthroat competition. But this is a story about more than survival, you’ll be introduced to new friendships, families, trust and betrayl.

6) The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry

  • Are you obsessed with witches and the Salem witch trials? Do you love learning about history? Do you want a new take on an old favorite? If you answered yes to all of these questions, then this is the book for you!

7) Dracula by Bram Stoker

  • I figured I had to throw at least one classic into this mix. Dracula has had a profound cultural impact on the way books and movies are written and portrayed. Dracula himself is a creepy and intoxicating character and you can tell that a substantial amount of research and time went into this character. If you want to know how and why the vampire phenomenon was revived in mainstream culture, you can see it here. If you have to read this book, so why not now?

8) The Merciless by Danielle Vega

  • I honestly still don’t know what to make of this book. I’m confused about a lot of the events and the ending surprised me a little. But if you’re looking for weird yet engaging this fall, then this is the book for you! I’d classify this as a “scary” read because a group of teenage girls are attempting to perform an exorcism and things go wrong, but not in the way you’d expect. This book stands out to me because I have no read another one like it. I’m still trying to determine if that’s a good or bad thing.

9) Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls Series) by C.C. Hunter

  • When I think of fall, my mind immediately jumps to Halloween. I have a fond love of all things paranormal. When I was putting together this list, I’ll admit that I didn’t immediately think of this series until I did some digging. If you look this book up, you will find a mix of reviews. Some people hate it and other love it. But I think this is a fast-paced series. Yes, some things are predictable. But you get love, laughter, and a host of characters who will keep you amused. This is an entertaining series and will keep you engaged.

10) Final Girls by Riley Sager

  • Final Girlsis the book equivalent of a slasher film, and I LOVED that. Quincy survives a horrible event that she has slowly forgotten about over time. But when a new friend shows up, she starts reliving her personal nightmare. Maybe I enjoyed this book because I didn’t predict the killer and was surprised. But I still couldn’t put it down. You will need to know what happened to Quincy all those years ago just as much as you’ll need to know what’s going to happen next.

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

 

Love & Luck

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

In the spinoff from the 2016 hit from Jenna Evans Welch, Love & Luck is an adorable tale of letting go and realizing who you have and keep in your life your life makes all the difference.

Addie is a young teen who is learning to live without her best friend, Lina. Lina moved to Italy and left Addie to fend for herself in her final years of high school. She winds up in Ireland because her aunt is getting married and must be in line for the picture-perfect wedding. After the wedding, she wants to travel to Italy to spend time with her best friend because Lina will know how to fix all of her problems. But nothing seems to be going Addie’s way. She has a secret she’s keeping from her mother, best friend, and everyone else. The only person who knows is her brother, Ian.

Ian pushes Addie to confess her secret before it blows up in her face, but she’s not ready to face the potential fallout. Instead, the two siblings fight and bicker. And their fighting threatens to ruin their aunt’s wedding. Their mother gives them an ultimatum. Ian and Addie have to get along in Ireland and then in Italy or both kids are off of their respective sports teams. This pushes Addie to behave. However, Ian has other plans.

Instead of going to Italy, Ian wants to go on a brand band-tour of Italy in anticipation a giant music festival. Addie is torn, should she ignore her brother and continue onto Italy without him? Or should she stay and make sure Ian doesn’t cause more trouble.

Addie learns that letting go of her problems at home is easier with a little help from friends, both new and old, as well as an old guidebook called “Introduction to Ireland for the Heartbroken: Unconventional Guide to the Emerald Isle.” Within the guidebook, Addie finds helpful tips and exercises to let go of grief. And lucky for Addie, most of the spots the author recommends line up with the stops that Ian wants to make as well.

I adored this story. I might have a bit of a bias because I love all things Ireland. But the connection that Welch creates between Addie and Ian is the perfect sibling relationship. There’s a little bit of rivalry, some protective big brother moments, but ultimately the two come together and their friendship is beautiful. It was also great to see some characters from Love & Gelato. We are faintly aware of the Lina and Addie friendship in the first book, but this one fills some gaps we weren’t aware of in the first novel. However, I do not think that reading one book is not a requirement for picking up the other. I do recommend this novel and it is a great read if you want to escape to Ireland!

Rating: 4/5

The Extinction Trials

The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson

This book was an impulse buy for me. I saw the cover, the sticker that said this book is a mix between Jurassic Park and the Hunger Games, and I jumped at the chance to pick this book up. Not only did this book meet my expectations (and the description) but it surpassed them as well.

The Extinction Trials is a gripping tale. In a world that is quickly running out of resources, the powers that be look beyond their land to a territory that is overrun with primitive animals. Time and time again, champions have been sent to Piloria to collect data about the animals on the land and report back. However, most champions are not given the luxury of coming home. But now, the scientists believe they have found a solution and all that is need is dinosaur DNA. Who will be the one to go and retrieve the DNA? Will they make it back alive? Are there other dangers that the scientists aren’t telling the champions?

The story goes between the point of view of Lincoln and Stormchaser (Storm). The story is further split into several parts: the lives of Lincoln and Storm before the trials, the trials themselves, and the island of Piloria.

Lincoln has decided to enter the trials because he needs to money and rations that come with being a winner. Lincoln’s younger sister is dying and is in dire need of medical attention. While his mother can only do so much. Lincoln is the only hope his family has. And he will do whatever it takes to become a champion. Storm, on the other hand, is not sure why she entered the trials. As first, she was excited about eating well. But as the trials progress, she realizes she’s good and could possibly be the champion.

Once on Piloria, all of the trial champions are tested time and time again. The dinosaurs are vicious, they have little supplies, and their designated tasks are deadly. No one trusts each other, as most people have a hidden agenda. Not only are the animals dangerous, but so is the terrain. One wrong step, and you could die. Things are hidden in swamps, cliffs are abrupt, and the dense forest is riddled with secrets. Storm and Lincoln fight for their lives in a living nightmare.

S. M. Wilson has created a wonderful world full of danger—both human and animal. While some of the characters are not entertaining, they are dynamic. We learn what drives each champion; most want to help their families, some just want the fame and notoriety, while Storm wants to learn more about the animals on Piloria. The Extinction Trialsis a quick and gripping read. And one of the best takes on “dinosaur books” I have seen in quite a while.

Rating: 4.5/5

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