Friday, September 7, 2018

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Girls, girls, girls. Missing girls. A much explored topic in literature, but Sadie brings a unique take.

We live in an age of podcasts where true crime stories are among the most popular subjects explored. Maybe Serial popularized this trend, maybe not, I'm not well versed enough in the history of podcasts to know, but it is one I listened to which helped me to understand half of the format of Courtney Summers's compelling and gripping new read. Sadie, a story of a girl gone missing, is told in part through podcast transcript and in part through the first person perspective of Sadie herself in the days leading up to her disappearance.

I have always found Courtney Summers books to be "unputdownable" and to sweep me up into the emotional reality of the characters very quickly. I like that she has a fondness for writing girls who aren't mainstream pleasant, but full of the jagged edges of life which manifest in all the ways pain does manifest for girls. Anger, violence, control, manipulation. Exploring how girls react to the unique torments the world has for them in light of the patriarchy, in light of being girls, is still not as explored as it should be and remains an area I love to read about.

Writing the book in half podcast format also allowed Sadie to touch upon the exploitation of such stories, of such pain for the consumption of others. Why are we drawn to these stories? It's worth thinking about the ways in which we use the pain of others for our entertainment.

Giving away the plot is not something I'm interested in doing, so instead I'll leave you with this. The writing in this book is equal parts incisive and poignant. I felt every ounce of Sadie's pain even if her unique circumstances don't look anything like my own. Of course I recommend this book, I'm just sorry we'll probably be waiting another three years for the next?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Friendly Town that's Almost Always by the Ocean by Kir Fox and M. Shelley Coats

blog tour banner for a friendly town that's almost always by the ocean

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I love middle grade novels that employ a fresh sense of adventure and creativity. I feel there is something about books in this age group that allow them to be creative and innovative in fun ways and A Friendly Town That's Almost Always by the Ocean is no exception. This book is utterly charming while still having the kind of heart that you want a book like this to have. The story isn't sacrificed for the creativity, so to say, though it's format is quite different.

Davy moves to Topsea which is unlike any place he has ever been before and certainly unlike his last home. He's been facing a lot of changes in his life and he's trying to adjust, but Topsea's differentness presents quite a challenge to him. For example, he finds out his locker is at the bottom of the swimming pool!

The book is full of charming characters with their own quirks and in between chapters focused on these characters you can find historical anecdotes about Topsea as well as letters, articles from the school newspaper and so forth. The illustrations are also full of character and add just the right touch to the book.

Will Davy adjust to Topsea? Read this delightful book to find out! I do think this sort of book would make an EXCELLENT read aloud book so that is also something to consider for the family.


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Autonomous by Andy Marino

Blog Tour Banner for Autonomous by Andy Marino
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you've been following the news lately, you know that as a country we are finally starting to come to terms with a topic that has been begging to be discussed in more depth for awhile. Data management. In exchange for the opportunity to use many tools on the world wide web, we've exchanged the rights to our data. And I do think that for a lot of people we don't fully realize how adept technology is at tying it all together. It can be shocking, then, when in order to verify our identity for something we realize just how much is known about us.

And it can be a weapon as we're realizing. We passively engage and use many tools and live our lives. Meanwhile, others are figuring out how to use their knowledge of us against us in order to achieve their own goals.

So with these interesting topics in mind, I was delighted to participate in a blog tour for Autonomous. Autonomous is not just about our data though that is certainly a lot of it, but also combines the subject with our increased technology in the area of artificial intelligence, specifically self-driving cars.

William Mackler is just an ordinary teenage boy who miraculously wins a driverless car and a dream road trip with his friends--the last summer before they head off to college. They are all excited for various reasons to do it and they quickly head off on what they think will be a dream trip. However, several things happen along the way that reveal the car is more than just a regular car and they feel they are losing control. Not only of the car, but their futures and friendships.

The characters in the book were all pretty fun and I was able to feel sympathetic towards their various situations. I liked how the story touched on a lot of relevant issues concerning technology and data while still being futuristic and fun.

The plot took some turns I didn't expect, and the overall theme ended up being a little different than I anticipated. I appreciated that! It was fun, it made me think, and kept me engrossed.

If you like fast action packed stories and are interested in fiction that draws from some of the current slate of issues we face without being too preachy, I think you would enjoy this book.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Final Girls by Riley Sager

Final Girls by Riley Sager

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts.

I love horror. It's my favorite genre because it consistently keeps me entertained. I like how in horror you can examine your very real fears often in settings that are unreal which makes it feel safer. I also like the fight and will to survive. And a good jump.

Lately there's been an increase in turning slasher stories into longform stories. It sounds counter-intuitive and it is in many ways. Still, I enjoyed the TV shows Slasher and Scream more than I enjoy the typical slasher film. They allowed me to dig in deeper with the characters, care about them more, and thus be more invested in the stories and their outcome. Plus because the narrative needed to be sustained over time, they each had a great "who's the killer?" mystery. So when two fiction books came out last year with the same theme, I was interested. A lot interested.

One of them was Final Girls. If you know horror, you know in slasher films there's a trope where basically a bunch of people get butchered but one girl survives. She's the final girl. Apparently, the term was coined in 1992 by Carol Clover in her book, Men, Women, and Chainsaws Gender in the Modern Horror Film.

So last woman standing, final girl. This book centers on Quincy, a final girl who doesn't remember a lot about the night a lot of her friends got killed. She's one of three in the nation, and she has since moved on building a successful website/blog and maintaining a relationship with a significant other. News comes that one of the final girls has killed herself which sets in motion a series of events that forces Quincy to take another look at her life and what happened in the woods all those year ago when her friends were killed.

Final Girls is an engaging read. I enjoyed it. It's a good mystery with interesting developments. It's fairly quick paced and I was able to get engrossed in it easily. The ending is very satisfying with some delicious irony.

It goes back and forth between the past and present but not every chapter or anything like that, mostly when it fits within the current timeline's narrative to do a flashback.

I liked it, but I also wish it had been more, if that makes any sense. I'll be looking for more books in this genre and I will definitely read more from this author.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Just Between Us by Rebecca Drake

Just Between Us by Rebecca Drake

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

I love thrillers or books billed as "can't put them down" and something about the description of this book really appealed to me. Over the holidays, I always feel low-key and take some extra time to relax and this book was perfect for that. I ended up with an extra day off or two and found myself quickly turning the pages of this book.

Just Between Us is primarily a thriller but it dips into some interesting themes, primarily that of female friendship. A friendship between four women makes this story possible. Without their closeness but also their petty insecurities and jealousies, the story wouldn't be possible.

What would you do if you knew one of your best friends was being abused? How would you intervene? And to what lengths would you go to in order to support her when she attempts to defend herself?

That's the situation the characters in this book find themselves in. I don't want to give away too much because this sort of book is best enjoyed with very little knowledge of the events that unfold. I will say, though, that it's kind of messy and you'll certainly feel at points that the character should have been a lot smarter. Even so, it was a great read, one I really enjoyed about growing paranoia and suspicion, friendship, secrets, and the reminder that people who commit criminal acts are not always that bright. It also challenges perception and how much we project our own histories onto the present.

Great read, recommended!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Yesterday She Was Tiffany by Emily Perez

yesterday she was tiffany
Yesterday She Was Tiffany

One of the exciting things that happened in 2017 is that my niece published a book! She raised the funds through Kickstarter to publish it. While I contributed to that fundraising, the main disclosure is that she's my niece.

If you're looking for a last minute Christmas gift this is what I recommend!

This is a light horror book that falls squarely in the YA realm as it is written by a teenager for teenagers. It's about a young girl who is school obsessed...or rather obsessed with perfection and a lot of that manifests itself in her school work. But one day things start going a little weird and her perfect an reliable memory is flawed. This spirals out of control until she no longer knows what is real and what is not.

I loved this book! The author has a very engaging style...full of humor and a quick pace. And the topic of perfectionism and being a control freak is explored in such a dramatic fashion that it makes it safe to think about these topics. The book reads very quickly and is very entertaining. And it feels so authentic because it's written by a teenager. :)

I hope you'll consider picking up a copy of Yesterday She Was Tiffany and supporting a young independent author.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Berkley's Bookmas! Christine Feehan's Christmas with Christine!

I am excited to participate in Berkley Bookmas and I'm hosting Christine Feehan today! Berkley Bookmas is chock full of exclusive content from authors like exclusive excerpts, deleted scenes, author recipes and more! Check out the calendar of events below:

For tomorrow’s fun, head to one of the following blogs:
· Bambi Unbridled
· Read-Love-Blog
· We So Nerdy
· MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It

There's also an awesome giveaway you can enter for one $100 Visa gift card, and a book/galley/bound manuscript by each of the authors participating. Please follow this link to enter.

Christmas with Christine Feehan

We take Christmas very seriously in my house! I have four Christmas trees.

The tree in the kitchen is for my grandchildren, but started with my darling little Shylah’s suggestion. It was 2 feet tall when we started and it is 6 feet tall now! All of my grandchildren help to decorate this tree and it warms my heart to see it.

This is the I-spy tree. We have so much fun playing I-spy, looking for certain ornaments with the children. This tree is located in the living room with a train that circles around its base.

This is my beautiful peacock tree and I absolutely love it! I love peacocks and peacock colors. This is located downstairs in the rec room and it’s the tree we put all the gifts under.

My Favorite Holiday Memory

I have so many wonderful holiday memories, but the one that stands out and really makes me happy happened many years ago when my brothers and sisters and I were all children. My Mom was always very good at guessing what we got her each year, so one year my Dad, who was quite the prankster, put weights in her gift boxes, to weigh down the presents and made each box the same exact size to thwart her attempts to guess what they were by simply lifting them and shaking. That year we caught her late at night checking out the gift boxes when she thought we were all asleep. She got busted! Dad made all of us kids take turns guarding the gifts so Mom couldn’t check out what she got ahead of time.

Favorite Holiday Ornament

My Mom gave me my very first set of Christmas ornaments. They were a set of early Enesco ornaments and even after all of this time a few of them have survived numerous moves, children and grandchildren. I also love the ornaments that my readers send to me. I have received ornaments from all over the world and those are very special to me.

Favorite Holiday Tradition

By far, my favorite holiday tradition is playing I-spy with my grandchildren. We gather around the I-spy tree looking for specific ornaments as part of our game.

Christine Feehan is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 60 novels. Her next novel, Judgment Road, begins the Torpedo Ink series about a motorcycle club of men and women who were trained from childhood to be the perfect assassins. Christine has received numerous honors throughout her career, including a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews and the Borders Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in northern California. Readers can connect with her online at,,, and