Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews, Graphic Novel Reviews, Graphic Novels

Book Review: Sorceline (Sorceline #1) – Sylvia Douyé, Paola Antista (Illustrations)

Rating: 3/5 🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Graphic Novels, Comic Books, Middle-Grade

Review:

I came across this book on NetGalley and I was at once fascinated by that cute cover. Plus I love fantastic creatures and stories so of course, this book was right up my alley. Sorceline is a young girl who wants to study cryptozoology and when she gets into Professor Archibald Balzar’s school, it’s a dream come true. Now, if she could only get chosen as his apprentice, it would be icing on the cake.

The storyline wasn’t as exciting as I’d expected it to be. Some of the plot twists were quite obvious and there were plot holes as well that needed to be dealt with. That said, this book has a lot of potential. As it’s the first book in the series, I sure hope the storyline gets better. The dialogues felt a bit stunted at first but it was a nice surprise when I did get some witticism.

Now, quality of drawings—Graphic novels are such a visual medium rather than imagining the scenes in your head like with the written word, so the quality of the drawings is a deal breaker for me. I’m glad to say I loved the graphics in Sorceline! The drawings were beautifully drawn and made this book well worth it.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Welcome to the Island of Vorn, where mythical creatures roam free and only the brightest students are invited to study them. In Book 1 of this riveting new middle grade graphic novel series, a gifted young cryptozoologist-in-training must learn to tame powerful beasts—including her own inner demons.
For as long as she can remember, Sorceline has had a knack for the study of mythical creatures. Now a student at Professor Archibald Balzar’s prestigious school of cryptozoology, she’s eager to test her skills and earn a spot as one of Balzar’s apprentices.
But for all her knowledge of gorgons, vampires, and griffins, Sorceline is mystified by her fellow humans. While she excels in her studies, she quickly clashes with her classmates, revealing her fiery temper.
When one of her rivals suddenly disappears, Sorceline must set aside her anger and join the quest to find her. But the mystery only deepens, leading Sorceline on a journey far darker and more personal than she expected . . .

Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: The Girl Next Door – Jennifer Hanks

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Rom-Com

Review:

This book was such a surprising discovery for me and this author new to me. I hadn’t come across Jennifer Hanks’ books before and I have to admit I got this one mostly because the cover’s so cute. Plus, I just love the girl-next-door/boy-next-door trope. I started it on a whim and it was so much fun I read it in one sitting.

Millie Solanski is not your typical woman. She redefines the meaning of ‘original’ & ‘eccentric’. She marches along to the beat of her own drums, knows exactly who she is, and makes no apologies for it. She was such a fun, unique character, I absolutely loved her.

Who could blame Colin Campbell for being fascinated with her? Especially after his hard past, his regrettable choices, his need for atonement, and his hopes and determination to build a good, safe home for his son, Noah. The boy is adorable and kids always make life so much fun, right?

The characters were relatable and I had the best time reading this book. Some of the scenes were so hilarious, they left me in stitches. Some of the conclusions to the plot twists were a bit lukewarm but otherwise, this book left me in smiles long after I finished reading it.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

 

Synopsis:
After a disastrous marriage and an even worse divorce, Colin Campbell is looking forward to a fresh start with his son in their new home, and the calm that will bring to his life.
The quiet life he’s been craving is well within his reach.
Until he meets his new neighbor.
Millie Solanski.
Uninhibited.
Outspoken.
And maybe even a little crazy.
Somehow, he finds himself involved in her world and the ridiculous situations she seems to constantly find herself in, squashing any hope for the life he wants.
Or at least the life he thought he wanted.
Before he met the girl next door.
Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: The Starburst Effect – Kelly Oram

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult

Review:

The book cover was the first thing to get my attention. It’s so cute, right? The author’s a familiar one too – I’ve read a couple of Kelly Oram’s contemporaries and I enjoyed the romantic comedies best, namely The Avery Shaw Experiment & If We Were a Movie.

The Starburst Effect has all the vagaries of high school – the popularity hierarchy, the turmoil and angst of being a teen with a kind heart, trying to do the right thing while being harassed by the bully next door. You can’t help but empathize with Lily who has a little brother to look out for.

Noah is your typical jerk, gorgeous, popular, a jock, and a bully. I wanted to punch him for everything he put Lily through. Then the accident happens. And everything changes. Noah learns firsthand the repercussions of his actions and the meaning of kindness and true friendship rather than the fake life he’d been living.

This story is a rollercoaster of emotions. It will make you angry and sad, make you laugh and cry. It’s filled with poignant emotions and a realness that will tug at your heartstrings.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

*Thanks to NetGalley e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:
Lily Rosemont lives next door to the biggest jerk in high school. Noah Trask has bullied Lily for years, and now he’s ruined her senior year by making her a target and turning the whole school against her. On top of that, her parents are getting divorced, and her world is falling apart around her.
After an accident on the football field leaves Noah with a traumatic brain injury, shattering his life as he knew it and leaving him with a whole heap of new disabilities, he’s no longer at the top of the high school food chain. In fact, he’s right down at the bottom with Lily.
In a cruel twist of fate, if Noah wants to graduate high school on time, he needs Lily’s help to complete a project—a book he wants to write about his experience. Lily’s not sure she can put aside her anger and hate for the boy who destroyed her senior year, but she desperately needs this project to get a scholarship to college.
It doesn’t take long for Lily to realize that the Noah who got injured is not the same Noah who survived the accident. He’s different. Way different. Slowly, Lily softens to this new Noah, but can she find it in her heart to forgive him? Can the two most unlikely people find friendship in adversity and help each other pick up the pieces of their broken lives?
Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: Forgotten in Death (In Death #53) – J.D. Robb

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Review:

I have no idea why I didn’t review this book the first time I read it when it was obviously a 5-star review for me and is one of my favorite series. But better late than never, right? And I can say that the second time around, Forgotten In Death was once again a 5-star review for me.

This new case from the first body to the second pulled at the heartstrings. It was just so sad and that sadness kept tugging at me. Their fates were so tragic. The case in itself was actually two cases and it was intriguing to see Eve tackling it from two different ends.

The conclusion to both cases was absolutely satisfying. I loved the ending chapters and how Eve found justice for her two victims. In every Eve Dallas book I read, I always find the strength and courage to keep going on. This series is one with values, justice, about doing the right thing. About hope.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

*Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: In the latest novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, homicide detective Eve Dallas sifts through the wreckage of the past to find a killer. The body was left in a dumpster like so much trash, the victim a woman of no fixed address, known for offering paper flowers in return for spare change―and for keeping the cops informed of any infractions she witnessed on the street. But the notebook where she scribbled her intel on litterers and other such offenders is nowhere to be found. Then Eve is summoned away to a nearby building site to view more remains―in this case decades old, adorned with gold jewelry and fine clothing―unearthed by recent construction work. She isn’t happy when she realizes that the scene of the crime belongs to her husband, Roarke―not that it should surprise her, since the Irish billionaire owns a good chunk of New York. Now Eve must enter a complex world of real estate development, family history, shady deals, and shocking secrets to find justice for two women whose lives were thrown away…
Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Blog, Book Reviews

e-ARC Review: The Silence That Binds Us – Joanna Ho

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Mental Health, Asian, Racism

Release Date: 14 June 2022

Review:

First of all, that cover is absolutely apt for this book. It was what drew me to it. I have anxiety and depression and sometimes it feels like I’m drowning and the surface feels too far away. This cover emphasized that and resonated with me.

Maybelline’s brother was the perfect one, who had his life all figured out, who he wanted to be, where he wanted to go to college whereas Maybelline can’t seem to get her mother’s approval for even one achievement. Then the unthinkable happens and Danny takes his own life, leaving May and her family reeling in the aftermath.

The author’s writing was exceptional. She did a remarkable job emphasizing and showing difficult issues such as mental health and racism. I liked that she didn’t just focus on Asian but Black people and the ignorance of others over the prejudice they have to endure.

Best of all, you could see May’s character growth as she fell down and picked herself back up, how she learned to see the world as it was and not how she wanted it to be. And you couldn’t help but love Tiya, Marc, Hugh, and Celeste.

The emotions in the story surged through and had a huge impact on me. The grief and the guilt, the sibling love between May and Danny, the friendships, that glimmer of hope at the end. And there were scenes that ripped your heart out and left you in tears.

The fact that the author could pull these powerful emotions in me says it all. This is by no means an easy story, with powerful scenes that will change you forever. And that is exactly why you need to read it.

Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Maybelline Chen isn’t the Chinese Taiwanese American daughter her mother expects her to be. May prefers hoodies over dresses and wants to become a writer. When asked, her mom can’t come up with one specific reason for why she’s proud of her only daughter. May’s beloved brother, Danny, on the other hand, has just been admitted to Princeton. But Danny secretly struggles with depression, and when he dies by suicide, May’s world is shattered.
In the aftermath, racist accusations are hurled against May’s parents for putting too much “pressure” on him. May’s father tells her to keep her head down. Instead, May challenges these ugly stereotypes through her writing. Yet the consequences of speaking out run much deeper than anyone could foresee. Who gets to tell our stories, and who gets silenced? It’s up to May to take back the narrative.

 

Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

e-ARC Review: The Holloway Girls – Susan Bishop Crispell

Rating: 3/5 🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Romance, Fantasy, Magic

Review:

Being a Holloway Girl means your kiss is literally magic. One kiss and good luck knocks on your door. Each Holloway girl gets one kissing season. But there are rules to follow. Break one of those rules and who knows what peril will befall you?

Remy’s older sister, Maggie, had her kissing season and now it’s Remy’s turn. She hopes and dreams of an amazing, successful season. Alas, her luck runs out with her choice for her first kiss, which starts a mess that spirals her life down the drain.

The story started out well, though I can’t imagine kissing anyone just to bestow luck. I did like Remy’s outlook on that, on being more selective than Maggie, on choices that actually meant something. I loved all the baked goods and the new characters were quite charming. I loved the intensity and pull between Remy and the new boy.

That said, the book dragged a bit at times, and the ending was kind of anticlimactic for me. I wanted the people who’d wronged Remy and her family to actually get their comeuppance and wished Remy had a stronger character. But all in all, it was a nice story.

I was going to review the book a day before the release date but decided to wait a few days because of my 3-star review. Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
When your kiss is good luck, the wrong kiss could change everything…
During the kissing season, one kiss from Remy or her older sister Maggie will give the boy—or girl—good luck. Or so it has been for all the Holloway girls before. But this year, Remy’s first season, she doesn’t follow the rules, dooming the boy she kisses to bad luck that almost kills him and leaving Remy with a cursed kissing season.
Now Remy is adamant about keeping her lips to herself. But the new boy in town is making it hard to keep her promise. Especially because he seems to really want to get to know her, and isn’t just using her for the Holloway luck. But before she can even think about kissing someone else, she’ll have to find a way to fix the curse, or else her family’s legacy will be tainted forever.

 

Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: Nightwork – Nora Roberts

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Intrigue

Review:

As a die-hard fan, I’m always on the lookout for new book releases of Nora Roberts and though lately there have been more misses than hits, Nightwork did not disappoint. From the get-go, I loved Harry Booth. He snuck in my heart and stayed there.

I empathized so much with him, over the huge responsibility he shouldered, what he took upon himself to try to pay the bills and take care of his mother. How can you fault him his choices?

I loved how the author portrayed him from a child to a teen to a young man, and as an adult. Harry Booth already had the maturity of an adult at a very young age but you could see the difference in age and experience as we followed his journey into adulthood.

The period of his life when he first met Miranda had me chuckling over how she baffled him. He needed that upheaval in his life. I can go on and on over how much I loved this book and it will still not be enough.

This story right here, is why I love Nora Roberts’ books so much. Her ability to craft a poignant story, with compelling characters, vivid descriptions, dashes of dark humor here and there, a deep abiding love, passion, intrigue, and an apt ending leaves me in awe.

Thanks to the publisher St Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Harry Booth started stealing at nine to keep a roof over his ailing mother’s head, slipping into luxurious, empty homes at night to find items he could trade for precious cash. When his mother finally succumbed to cancer, he left Chicago—but kept up his nightwork.
Wandering from the Outer Banks to Savannah to New Orleans, he dons new identities and stays careful, observant, distant. He can’t afford to attract attention—or get attached. Still, he can’t help letting his guard down when he meets Miranda Emerson. But the powerful bond between them cannot last—because not all thieves follow Harry’s code of honor. Some pay others to take risks so they can hoard more treasures. Some are driven by a desire to own people the way they own paintings and jewels. And after Harry takes a lucrative job commissioned by Carter LaPorte, LaPorte sees a tool he can use, and decides he wants to own Harry.
The man is a predator more frightening than the alligators that haunt the bayou—and when he strongarms Harry into robbing a Baltimore museum, Harry abandons Miranda—cruelly, with no explanation—and disappears. But no matter what name he uses or where he goes, LaPorte casts a shadow over Harry’s life. To truly free himself, he must face down his enemy once and for all. Only then can he hope to possess something more valuable than anything he has ever stolen…

 

Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: Book of Night – Holly Black

Rating: 2/5 🌟🌟

Genre: Fantasy, Adult

Review:

An unbeatable thief in a world of shadows and secrets, how can you pass over a book like that? The answer is you can’t. From the book cover to the back, Holly Black’s new adult novel, Book of Night, is designed to entice and sink its claws deep into you so you can’t escape.

Charlie Hall isn’t your typical character, rather she’s an unlikely one, with a history of mistakes and bad decisions under her belt, but she did the best with what life handed to her. It’s all we can do, isn’t it? Play the cards we’re dealt.

Vince, another unlikely hero, the mirrored surface of a lake. Among the myriad characters in this book, he fast became my favorite. I wanted to know more about him and his story. How he and Charlie met, what happened to make him end up where he did.

I enjoyed the concept of the shadows and the power they held. This story had a lot of potential but I felt like the back-story kind of detracted from the main story. At times, there were too many details about the past and other characters that could have been shortened. In her young adult novels, Holly’s Black’s writing is compact, tight, and captivating. But the writing in Book of Night was kind of flat.

Despite that, I would have loved the story if not for the ending. The ending left me feeling cheated – like I’d been put through the wringer for nothing with no prize at the end. I mean, this is supposed to be a standalone but feels like the first in a new series? I don’t like when a book is advertised as being standalone but ends up being a series. It feels kind of underhanded. That said, I enjoyed the potential of this story.

I actually bought the eBook and finished it on May 13, Friday night, only to find that the publisher sent me the ARC by post, which I received today, on May 15, Sunday.

I thank the publisher, Tor Books, for the ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Holly Black makes her adult debut with Book of Night, a modern dark fantasy of shadowy thieves and secret societies.
In Charlie Hall’s world, shadows can be altered, for entertainment and cosmetic preferences—but also to increase power and influence. You can alter someone’s feelings—and memories—but manipulating shadows has a cost, with the potential to take hours or days from your life. Your shadow holds all the parts of you that you want to keep hidden—a second self, standing just to your left, walking behind you into lit rooms. And sometimes, it has a life of its own.
Charlie is a low-level con artist, working as a bartender while trying to distance herself from the powerful and dangerous underground world of shadow trading. She gets by doing odd jobs for her patrons and the naive new money in her town at the edge of the Berkshires. But when a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie’s present life is thrown into chaos, and her future seems at best, unclear—and at worst, non-existent. Determined to survive, Charlie throws herself into a maelstrom of secrets and murder, setting her against a cast of doppelgängers, mercurial billionaires, shadow thieves, and her own sister—all desperate to control the magic of the shadows.

 

Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: Gallant – V.E. Schwab

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Gothic, Horror

Review:

Gallant wasn’t what I was expecting but that is not to say it was a disappointment. Far from it. In fact, from the first page, I was so invested in Olivia I needed to know what was going to happen next, and how her life would unfold.

I enjoyed the side characters a lot and I empathized so much with Matthew. I understood him, his frustration, his feeling of imprisonment caused by duty and obligation, the burden of responsibility, the grief of loss, the pain and guilt. I liked Olivia but Matthew was my favorite.

And is it weird that I found the Master of the House enigmatic? Creepy as he was, I was also fascinated by him. The ending wasn’t what I wanted but I can say that it was apt.

The measure of a good book, for me, will always be the author’s writing – masterful, interlocking words that bring to life the story so vividly in my mind that it allows me to live vicariously through the character. That is the best compliment I can give for Gallant.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn 

Synopsis:
Everything casts a shadow. Even the world we live in. And as with every shadow, there is a place where it must touch. A seam, where the shadow meets its source.
Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home—to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home, it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.
Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.
Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?
Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews, Netgalley

Book Review: Namesake (Fable #2) – Adrienne Young

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Review:

I remember when I finished the book, Fable and I was in pins and needles after that cliffhanger. I needed Namesake. I was dying to know what happened next. However, when I did get my hands on Namesake, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to read it. I’m glad I waited to read it, otherwise, I might not have enjoyed it as much as I did now. In fact, I almost missed my stop one afternoon because I was so engrossed in reading, lol.

I started Namesake on Tuesday and every day I anticipated when I’d be able to continue reading it. The first few chapters were a bit slow but as the story progressed and I got in deeper and deeper, I enjoyed the intrigue and plot twists.

I saw a softer side of Fable that I found at odds with her character in the first book – I mean, I wanted her to be stronger, fiercer. Alternatively, I liked the darker side to West though I didn’t agree with some of his decisions. I enjoyed the emergence of the new characters who added value to the story as a whole.

Overall, in this duology I loved the originality of the concept of gems found in the seas, gem sages, and the dredgers. The plot twists were excellent and I loved that climactic conclusion to the story. Bloody fantastic! The ending was another satisfactory conclusion. The one thing I admired the most was how the author’s writing drew you in with a vividity that left you breathless.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.
With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and the rest of the crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when Fable becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination, she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.
As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception, she learns that the secrets her mother took to her grave are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them, then she must risk everything—including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.