Review: Ever Alice

When Alice fell through the rabbit hole, she discovered a world filled with mystery and quite a bit of nonsense. She battled jabberwockies, talked with animals, and met a queen. But what happened when she came back?

Screen Shot 2019-03-01 at 8.29.43 AMEver Alice picks up where Lewis Carroll left off. Alice has talked about Wonderland non-stop since her return and her parents are concerned. They’ve taken her to doctor after doctor until they have no choice but to commit her to an asylum. But Alice knows she’s not crazy. Every bit of Wonderland was as real as the padded walls around her. And when the White Rabbit shows up once again to lead her to Wonderland, she is convinced even more that what she’s seen is real. But the Rabbit hasn’t come back to invite her to tea or to walk through the gardens. This time, he’s back with a mission, one only Alice can do. He wants her to kill the Queen of Hearts.

H.J. Ramsay doesn’t skip a beat in this beautiful, nonsensical retelling of a classic. While keeping the integrity of Carroll’s characters intact, she makes it her own as well. It’s easy to get lost in the wonders of Wonderland and I’m reminded of my childhood and discovering Wonderland with Alice for the first time. Ramsay delivers more than just a new chapter in Alice’s story. She reminds us that sometimes reality isn’t all it seems and it’s ok to go back to Wonderland.

**I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.**

Review: The Afterlife of Holly Chase

We’ve all heard A Christmas Carol. It’s a classic. There are a hundred different remakes of the story. But what happens when you get to live it? What happens when you’re the Scrooge?

34322944Holly lives a charmed life. Her dad is a well-known director in California. Her stepmom is a designer to the stars. Holly wants for nothing. Until Christmas Eve night when she is visited by three spirits: the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmases Yet to Come. But Holly doesn’t believe. All of it’s fake, right? Which is why Christmas morning, she finds herself hit by a car and her afterlife has begun…as Ghost of Christmas Past at Project Scrooge. She takes her sentence like a champ and six years later, she’s actually good at her job. That is, until this year’s Scrooge is announced and Holly finds herself breaking the rules just to see the Scrooge outside of work.

In a brilliant re-telling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Cynthia Hand perfectly portrays the classic characters in a new and unique light. When I first picked this up, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. But I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to fall into the story and get caught up in the lives of the characters. I enjoyed the fact that I could never tell quite how the story would end. Would Holly succeed in saving this Scrooge? Would her choices screw it all up and Project Scrooge would fail? Hand dazzles with her story-telling abilities and her imaginative plot. I want to read this book again and again!

This book was simply amazing. One that could be read anytime of year and still have the same impact: what are we doing with what little time we’ve been given?

Review: House of Salt and Sorrows

Ghosts. Gods. And plot out the wazoo.

39679076._UY844_SS844_Annaleigh has just buried another one of her sisters. It seems as if her family had been in mourning for as long as she could remember. The islands they made their home believed there was a curse on their family. And when Annaleigh begins seeing the ghosts of her dead sisters, she wonders if they may be right. But that’s not the only strange thing going on.

I want more of this book! House of Salt and Sorrows is one-in-a-million. While being incredibly interesting, it also holds quite a bit of a spook factor. There were times where I didn’t want to read it alone because it gave me the heebie-jeebies in the best way possible. Mixed with fantasy and romance, the characters are incredibly easy to fall in love with. And there was just plot twist after plot twist! It was constantly throwing me off track on what I thought would happen. I seriously can not wait for this to come out in hardback because I will be snatching it up!

**I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.**

Review: Clementine & Claudia

I’m a sucker for World War 1 books. I love the era and the culture of that time. So when I found a copy of Clementine & Claudia on NetGalley. I couldn’t wait to dig in! Cut to almost a year later, and I’ve finished it!

cover93699-mediumClementine & Claudia, two sisters, who couldn’t be more different. Clementine is a “plain Jane” who has devoted her time to the Red Cross movement and helping out in the war-time hospitals as much as she can. She’s compassionate, smart, and someone Alexander doesn’t expect to meet, let alone to turn his world upside down. Claudia is strikingly beautiful. Having had multiple beaus it’s no wonder that she catches Alexander in her snares. But as their wedding day approaches, Alexander unexpectedly meets her sister and falls in love with her. What follows is the tale of two lovers pitted against fate and fighting for their future and their country.

I wanted to throw this book across the room on so many occasions! Not because I hated it or because it made me disgusted. But because I got so frustrated with the characters. It seems like no matter what something always stood in Clementine and Alexander’s way! I love this book for that though! I love that I got so involved in their relationship that I was frustrated for them, cried with them, and laughed with them. While it felt like some bits of this story seemed a bit rushed or that the plot was suddenly “convenient”, I still enjoyed every minute of this spectacular novel. If I had to complain about one thing, I want more from the ending! But don’t we all say that?

**I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.**

Review: Hazel and Holly

IMG_0944Hazel and Holly is the perfect novel for those who love witchcraft and magic. Living in a little place called the Grove, Hazel and Holly are sisters trying to find their way in a world without their parents. Their mother, Willow, passed away but has been trapped in a geas by their necromancer father. And now, Hazel has made it her mission to track down their father and make him release their mother’s soul so she may finally be at peace.

Filled with quirky characters and a compelling storyline, Hazel and Holly is the best of the magical worlds. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, however, I did get a bit frustrated with the sisters here and there. Through making bad decisions and generally being annoying, they eventually became some of my favorite witches to read about.

There were a few moments where it felt as if the story dragged a bit but it quickly picked up again. I was expecting a epic ending to their journey but found it a bit anticlimactic for me. However, I do believe Snider left it open for more adventures from these two witchy sisters. Something I hope she delivers soon. Look for Hazel and Holly to hit shelves May of this year!

**I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.**

Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Why does it still feel like Monday??? I’m trying to get back into a normal schedule after being gone last week. My actual job is starting to pick up and so I’m trying to find more and more time to read. Thankfully, I’m managing because I (seriously) need to get through my huge stack of TBR books that have been gathering dust.

IMG_0921Lara Jean is in love….or was in love…or at least thinks she was. Things are changing and it’s hard to cope with everything. Her big sister Margot is moving across the world for college. She’s starting her junior year in high school. And somehow, the love letters she’d written for the five boys she’s ever loved have been mailed out. Lara Jean is mortified and confused and now must somehow figure out how to navigate the fact that her biggest secrets have been released into the world.

When I first started reading To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before I wasn’t sure what to expect and honestly, I was afraid I wouldn’t like it. It seemed to much like a teen drama for me to enjoy. (I’m in my 30s for those curious.) And while I did get a bit bored in the beginning, it wasn’t difficult for my curiosity to be piqued. I wanted to know how Lara Jean would deal with all the things life was suddenly throwing at her. I got a bit annoyed in certain parts because it felt like the author was trying to move the story along without actually connecting the plot points. But it didn’t bother me enough to stop reading. I was especially annoyed with the ending of the book…because now I have to go buy the second one to find out what happens!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a cute and quirky teen romance novel, mixed with a bit of coming-of-age story. Jenny Han pulls us into a family filled with love, laughter, and everyday relationships that anyone can relate to. It was an easy read with quick chapters. Overall, a typical love story with a unique twist. I’m just not sure it’s enough to make it stand out from other novels of its genre.

Review: Shatter Me

264 days. That’s how long Juliette has been in isolation. No one knows what to do with her or even what she is capable of. After accidentally killing a little boy, just by trying to help him to his feet, she’s been locked away until someone can figure out what to do with her. That is, until the day she wakes up to find Adam Kent in her cell with her. Then things begin to get interesting.

IMG_0901In Shatter Me, society has fallen. What’s left of civilization has been broken up into sectors. Food is scarce and families are broken apart. A young man named Warner has taken a special interest in Juliette and her power. She is taken to his home and introduced to the world that she’s been away from for so long. It’s nothing like what she remembered. And it’s made even worse by the fact that Warner now wants to use her as a weapon for his own personal gain.

Shatter Me was a pleasure to read! I loved every minute of it. I’ve been on a dystopian/post-apocalyptic kick lately and this fit right in with my mood. Mafi creates characters that make you want to read and her prose is beautiful. I can’t tell you how many times I had to pause in my reading just to admire the wordsmithing. Beautiful! Uniquely written and kept on the edge of my seat, this book was a page-turner that I couldn’t put down. While I felt that the romantic relationship seemed to move a little quickly in Shatter Me, I still appreciated the connections made between characters.

Overall, an excellent read and I can’t wait to pick up the second book in the series!

Review: The Girl With All The Gifts

Is there anything better than reading in the mountains? I’m out in Colorado (heading home today) for my real job but I still found some time to cozy up with a book and get some major reading done.

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The Girl With All The Gifts is a post-apocalyptic tale focusing on a young girl named Melanie at the center of a chilling science experiment. The world has ended. People have been infected and are turning into “hungries”. Except the children. The children still seem to hold a sense of self-awareness and no one can explain why. But Dr. Caroline Caldwell is determined to find the answers, no matter what’s at stake. Meanwhile, Miss Justineau, a teacher for the children, has become attached to Melanie which causes issues in itself. When the base they are inhabiting is attacked, the three of them along with two soldiers must find their way back to civilization (or what’s left of it) without falling victim to the infection that has killed most of the population.

img_0841I’ll be honest, I was not expecting a zombie novel when I first picked this book up. I did what they always say not to do and I judged the book by its cover. Still, I’m glad I picked it up. M.R. Carey managed to write a not-so-typical zombie novel which kept my interest and had me on the edge of my seat through some of the situations these characters had to go through. Each character was easy to get attached to (or despise with a fiery passion) and I felt fully involved in each of their separate stories. I did, however, get a little lost in the scientific talk throughout the book but could understand enough to get the basic gist of it.

All in all, I highly recommend picking up The Girl With All The Gifts if you’re looking for a newer take on the zombie story, or if you enjoy reading post-apocalyptic novels.

Life is Like a Parade

Tommy Taylor has spent the last twenty-seven months in the Peace Corps, helping those in need in Panama. And while he’s enjoyed his time there, it’s time to come home. His main goal once he’s back in the US? Have his first kiss.

32738278._uy630_sr1200,630_Life is like a Parade is a funny romantic novel from the perspective of the guy. I loved the new look on a typical romance story. L. Henry Smith does a wonderful job of creating characters that are funny, loveable, yet they’re two-dimensional. The writing fell a bit flat for me as some metaphors were over used.

When we’re introduced to Tommy, his only thought is of asking out a girl, Mandi, when he gets the chance. But we only really see Mandi once or twice throughout the entire novel. Instead, a woman named Jamie becomes the focus of Tommy’s endeavors. The book was short, a mere 170 pages, and reads very quickly. But towards the end, it felt as if Smith tried to tie up the loose-ends, almost as if he had a word count limit he needed to meet.

For those looking for a quick chuckle and maybe a few romantic feels, Life is Like a Parade would be perfect. For those looking for a little more substance, I suggest looking elsewhere.

They Called Me Wyatt

When Jordanian student Siwar Salaiha is murdered on her birthday in College Park, Maryland, her consciousness survives, finding refuge in the body of a Seattle baby boy. Stuck in this speech delayed three-year old body, Siwar tries but fails to communicate with Wyatt’s parents, instead she focuses on solving the mystery behind her murder. Eventually, her consciousness goes into a dormant state after Wyatt undergoes a major medical procedure.

Fast-forward twenty-two years. Wyatt is a well-adjusted young man with an affinity towards the Middle East and a fear of heights. While working on his graduate degree in Middle Eastern studies, Wyatt learns about Siwar’s death, which occurred twenty-five years ago. For reasons he can’t explain, he grows obsessed with Siwar and spends months investigating her death, which police at the time erroneously ruled as suicide. His investigation forces him to open a door he has kept shut all his life, a spiritual connection to an unknown entity that he frequently refused to acknowledge. His leads take him to Amman, Jordan where after talking to her friends and family members and through his special connection with the deceased, he discovers a clue that unravels the mystery of her death. Will Siwar get justice after all?

img_0855Let me just say, They Called Me Wyatt is not something I would have picked up on my own. However, reading the synopsis seriously intrigued me and I found myself sucked into this strange and unique story of Siwar and Wyatt. They Called Me Wyatt was an entertaining read for sure and lovers of supernatural mysteries will love it! However, I felt like I was drowning in the details of Siwar’s life. While I enjoyed getting to know her, and she was a well-developed character, I couldn’t get attached to her or to Wyatt for that matter. The chapters interweave between Siwar stuck in Wyatt and her time in Jordan as well as in the US before her death. That is until halfway through the book when the story is picked up by Wyatt solely.

Dying was not the worst part. It was what came after dying.

I’m a stickler for well-edited books and this one definitely needs to be edited as there were many grammatical issues I found that distracted me from the story. Still, Natasha Tynes has created a remarkable and unique mystery that I think many will enjoy! I have never read anything quite like what she has written. The way she manages to fit the pieces of the puzzle together are outstanding and I look forward to reading many more of her works!

**I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review.**