Review: Hunt by Maggie Stiefvater

Hunted (Spirit Animals, #2)

Hunted by Maggie Stiefvater

Spirit Animals #3

January 7, 2014 – Scholastic

Purpose: Review

Source: Netgalley, Publishers

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

4 Stars

This is the second book in the series. The story continues with the 4 kids and the great beasts trying to get the talismans firsts.  As the story progresses each character is facing their own set of challenges. But, they’re also learning more about themselves, each other and their spirit animals.  We enjoyed this installment of the series. The stakes are raised, there’s more action and we learn more about what’s going on. Doubts about the Greencloaks are raised. Glad we already have book 3 ready for us.

Netgalley Review: One Was Lost

One Was Lost

Netgalley Review: One Was Lost by  Natalie D. Richards

October 6, 2016 – Sourcebooks Fire

Source: Netgalley

4 stars

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

6 students and 2 teacher chaperones go into the forest for wilderness survival mandatory senior trip. After a flash flood the group is separated, 3 on one side and 5 on the other.  When Sera, Emily, Jude and Lucas wake up they find their chaperone, Mr. Walker, drugged and words etched on their wrists. Deceptive, damaged, dangerous and darling.  Each one has been labelled and no one knows what it means.

I’m  glad that I finally picked this book up. It kept popping up at bookstores and I was drawn to it. The mystery was very well developed and paced. As I tried to figure out who was behind everything, I found myself becoming more and more paranoid. Like the characters were.  The character growth that happened was believable, as well as relatable. Because there are some seriously twisted people in the world, the plot isn’t too far from being realistic. We watch as the characters begin to take on a new understanding of labels that they have put on one another. We also see them embrace and accept themselves, and one another, for who they are and not the labels that were applied to them (literally since they have been written on skin).


Always Shine!

Review: The Progeny by Tosca Lee

The Progeny (Descendants of the Blood Countess #1)

The Progeny by Tosca Lee

Descendants of the Blood Countess #1

“My name is Emily Porter . I am twenty-one years old and I am renting a tiny cabin in the north woods of Maine, for reasons I no longer remember.”

What if you knew of a secret that would destroy the world that you lived in? It was so dark, twisted and powerful that people would kill those you knew and loved just to get to you? Would you choose to forget it all and leave that life behind, knowing that you would also have to lose the people that you love to keep them alive?

This is what Emily Porter does.The memory erasing procedure is so complete she has no idea why she chose to do this to herself.  She awakens as a new person, with no memory of who she was or what she is.  Though it is awkward starting life on her own, she begins to embrace it. Then she meets Luka and Rolan. Two men that eventually tell her that they know her past and one is here to kill her while the other is here to protect her.  She doesn’t know who to trust and soon realizes that  no one is to be trusted until she can rediscover who she is and why she chose to forget. Emily soon learns that Luka and Rolan are not the most dangerous people out there and more powerful people are after what she has chosen to forget.

I love love loved this book! It kept me guessing, and I didn’t figure anything out.  To be completely honest, I am not sure if I fully understand everything that was discovered. Luckily, I don’t think you have to. Emily/Audra also doesn’t understand everything either. She is thrust into a world where trusting the wrong person can get you and your loved ones killed. Her people and her enemies both want something from her, and both sides are willing to force her into giving it to them. She has seen death way too many times to be comfortable. She has to have someone (multiple someones) tell her who she is. In the end she does learn why she chose to take the chance and erase her memory. But by the time she figures it out, she has been threatened, her loved ones have been threatened. She is at the end of her hope. But she is ready to fight. AND THEN IT ENDS!!! Yes, this ends on a cliffhanger. I am pretty sure that when I reached the halfway point, I knew that it would. I hate cliffhangers.  But there wasn’t a better way to end this book.

“My name is Audra Ellison and I am twenty-one years old.  I am Utod, from the noble and long line of Bathory. I remember who I am . . .those I died for, those I love.  And I am ready for the fight of my life. “

I am really looking forward to the next book. But, in the meantime, I will check out the rest of Lee’s books.

Always Shine!

The Progeny will be available May 24, 2016.

You can contact Tosca Lee or find more information about her books on her website , Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

My opinions and thoughts are my own, but I was given a copy of The Progeny, free, in exchange for sharing my thoughts.

Review: This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

January 2, 2016 – Sourcebooks Fire

285 Pages – Young Adult, fiction, contemporary

Marieke Nijkamp

Facebook: yes

Twitter: @mariekeyn

Purpose: Review

Source: Netgalley, Sourcebooks

I was given a digital copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

From Goodreads: 10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

My Thoughts: Wow! This book left me breathless and heartbroken, but also hopeful. School shootings is always a scary topic, mainly because they happen way too frequently for comfort and almost everyone has been touched by it in some way. As with suicide, those who are left in the aftermath or who are outsiders to the event, school shootings leaves the world asking questions. The number one question being “Could I have stopped this?”

But what Nijkamp shows is that a shooting involves a whole lot more people than just the shooter. A shooter rarely wakes up one morning and decides to bring a gun to school to exact revenge on those around them. There is more to it than that. She was able to show this without really being in the shooter’s head at all. That is one thing that I find the most intriquing, very little time (if any) is actually spent inside the shooter’s head. What we learn about him comes from the people that interacted with him directly, mostly in some negative way or from what the shooter says to the other characters.  We have to assume that the character’s perspective and the shooter’s dialogues tells us the truth of who he is. But, I kind of hope that they’re wrong. If not, than they were all pretty naiive to not expect something like this to happen.  And yes, I can say that, because as a reader I know all of the secrets and truths that each character had but chose to keep to themselves. And it’s easy to come to this conclusion when you don’t already have a gun pointed at you and you have enough information and experience. It’s called the outsider’s perspectives.

Besides getting to know the shooter, we are also given the opportunity to get to know the other characters. And they are a diverse group. Heroism comes in unexpected places. But so does cowardice. Not everyone can be brave. But you would think that someone who is closer to the shooter would be braver, instead I found her to be selfish and a bit of a coward. I don’t think that the author intended her to be portrayed this way, but that’s the way she came across to me.

I was impressed by this book on so many levels. But this one is worth mentioning directly. This is the work of a debut author. This is Nijkamp’s first published book. And it is written as though she has been in the game for a while. Well written, authentic characters and engaging plot. Flawless. I have never said all of that about any other debut author’s work.  And yes, I know that just because it is the first published work does not mean this is the first book she’s ever written (for all we know it could be her hundredth attempt at a book, this same story even). But it is the first in what I hope is long long publishing career.

5 stars *****

Always Shine!

My Last Five 4/12

my last five

I am a little late getting this one posted,as well as some reviews. But there was spring break and starting a new position. But I am getting back into the swing of things. But I have been reading.

Kill Shakespeare, Vol. 3: The Tide of BloodKill Shakespeare volume 3: The Tide of Blood by Conor McCreery    3 stars – While I did enjoy this volume, it was not my favorite one of the series.  And as long as it doesn’t take the next volume forever to come out, I do plan on continuing with these graphic novels.

A Brush of Wings (Angels Walking, #3) Brush of Wings by Karen Kingsbury  Angels Walking #3 5 Stars- I really liked this one. It is the conclusion of a trilogy, and my review is already posted.

 Straight Punch Straight Punch by Monique Polak 5 stars  This was a random book that I picked up from the library. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised, and ended up really liking this story.  I think that the main character was authentic and stronger than she thought that she was. It was definitely a feel-good story, but one that the character had to work for.

Time to Run (Nick of Time #1) Time to Run (Nick of Time #1) by John Gilstrap 3 stars I had this book for review, via Netgalley. And the only reason that I requested this was because I started his Jonathan Graves series and loved it. I will have  full review of this up soon, but I think that it has a decent beginning. This novel is told and released a serial novel before the complete novel comes out. I am not sure if I like that or not, but at least this part came to a decent stopping point.

Could a Shark Do Gymnastics?: ...and other questions - Hilarious scenes bring shark facts to life! Could a Shark Do Gymnastics? and other questions by Camilla De la Bedoyere. 5 stars. This is a review book, via Edelweiss, that I requested for my son. It was not only a cute, funny story, it was full of information. It’s a great step into nonfiction for kids, and presents the information in a way that most kids come about theirs; by asking silly thoughtful questions.

Well, I will have another one of my last five posts to put up shortly. But I am hoping to put up a couple of review posts and a diversity discussion in the meantime.

So, what have you been reading?

Always Shine!



Review: War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay

War Brothers: The Graphic Novel

War Brothers: the Graphic Novel by Sharon E. McKay 

February 1, 2013 -Annick Press

208 Pages – Young Adult, Graphic Novel, True Events,wr story

Sharon McKay

Purpose: Review, Netgalley

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

From Goodreads: This is the graphic novel edition of Sharon McKay’s novel set in Uganda, where Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has, since 1987, abducted up to 30,000 children from their villages and homes for use as soldiers and slaves. It is in these nightmarish times that the fates of 5 boys and a girl are entwined. Captured from their school by the LRA, the boys wait for rescue only to discover that if they are to survive they must rely on themselves. But friendship, courage, and resilience might not be enough to save them. Based in part upon interviews with child soldiers in Northern Uganda, War Brothers is a stunning depiction of the human cost of wars fought by children. (description modified from the novel edition

My Thoughts: A copy of this title was given to me, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.
This was heartbreaking but also filled with hope. It was interesting to see this situation through a victim, a young boy forced to become a child soldier. It brought to life a story that many have heard about but are still disconnected to.

5 stars *****

My Last Five 2/15

my last five

Yay! I have finished 5 more books. But, before you ask, they were not full length novels. Here they are:

Saga, Volume 1 Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

This graphic novel was recommended to me by my friend Theresa. If you cannot tell by the cover image, it is about a mixed couple who has a kid. What makes this fun is the fact that they are two different species, fighting on opposite sides of a war. I love Alana’s badassery and Marko’s vow of peace that he tries to uphold. The graphic novel is narrated by Hazel their daughter. This was my introduction to graphic novels, and it is still my favorite. Saga, Volume 2 Saga Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan

This was read for several reasons. (Actually volume 1 and 2 are tr-reads.) But I had this one for review, and it also fits into the Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge. I like this one as well. It continues Alana, Marko and Hazel’s journey as they try to outrun those who are trying to kill them. This time, they have guests and unexpected help.

The Merciful Scar  A Merciful Scar by Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue

This is a review book from Netgalley, so I won’t go into detail. But I did  enjoy it, it was a good story with a lot of moments that made me stop and think and feel. Even though I do not share the same condition as Kirsten or any of the other characters, I was able to empathize since it is something that the girls I used to work with had gone through.

Henry Hodges Needs a Friend Henry Hodges Needs a Friend by Andy Andrews

This is a review book for Netgalley. It was cute and one that I would like to add to my son’s library.

D Is for Duck Calls by Kay  Robertson D is for Duck Calls by Miss Kay Robertson

This is a review book for Edelweiss. It was cute and my son enjoyed it. This is another book that I would like to add to his library.

  • I am now at 10 books read for the month, including 2 re-reads.
  • I am also at 22 books into my Goodreads challenge (though Goodreads says 19 since it doesn’t count re-reads) which puts me 13 books ahead of schedule.
  • I have complete 4 out of 24 tasks for the Read Harder Challenge.
  • I have completed 5 out of 12 tasks for Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2016 Reading Challenge
  • 7 out of the 10 books that I’ve read this month are also part of the #readmyowndamnbooks challenge as well.

I am still doing good with staying on track with my reading goals. There are a few books that I anticipated finishing already, but I will get to them soon.


Always Shine!