Monday, February 17, 2020

Nilay's Wish by Riya Aarini



A story filled with adventure, heart and courage, Nilay's Wish takes readers through the lively and colorful times of historic India. When young Nilay gets to make a wish, he never expects to travel to 300 CE India. Nilay is in for countless surprises, as Jai fulfills wishes like no newbie genie ever has!  The youthful friends follow the trail of India's silk weavers, learning gems about Indian history and growing as eleven-year-olds and novice genies only do.  Join Nilay and Jai on their boisterous adventures from contemporary Canada to an exotic land in this engaging work of historical fiction.  Pick up Nilay's Wish and start the fantastical journey!

My Thoughts

I so wish I had this book a few years ago!  Back when I taught second grade, I would read chapter books to my class every day.  Nilay's Wish is definitely one that they would have enjoyed!

The adventure, time travel, magical elements... my class would have loved this book!  I know that I certainly enjoyed it.  I am going to keep it around in case I ever teach second grade again.  I highly recommend this book for anyone who is middle grade or who enjoys reading middle grade books!

*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Countdown by Deborah Wiles



Franny Chapman just wants some peace. But that's hard to get when her best friend is feuding with her, her sister has disappeared, and her uncle is fighting an old war in his head. Her saintly younger brother is no help, and the cute boy across the street only complicates things. Worst of all, everyone is walking around just waiting for a bomb to fall. 

It's 1962, and it seems that the whole country is living in fear. When President Kennedy goes on television to say that Russia is sending nuclear missiles to Cuba, it only gets worse. Franny doesn't know how to deal with what's going on in the world -- no more than she knows how to deal with what's going on with her family and friends. But somehow she's got to make it through. 

Featuring a captivating story interspersed with footage from 1962, award-winning author Deborah Wiles has created a documentary novel that will put you right alongside Franny as she navigates a dangerous time in both her history and our history.

My Thoughts

My Daughter bought this book for me for Christmas.  I had noticed it at the used book store a few visits before and considered buying it but just never did.  She surprised me with it and I wanted to pick it up immediately!  I already had books to read so I had to wait until February.

Now here we are, a few weeks after I finished it, and I can say that it was a really good book!  I had somehow missed that it was middle grade but was pleasantly surprised when I realized.

I highly enjoyed the bits of real history and clips from newspapers and ads and things.  It added so much to the book!

I really am so glad that I read this book!  Such a great mix of real history and wonderful fiction.  Great read!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Again, but Better by Christine Riccio

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Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane's made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time's a ticking, and she needs a change—there's nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She's going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.

My Thoughts

I can't believe it took me so long to read this book!  I've had it on my bookshelf for forever.  Well, thanks to my tbr jar, I finally picked it up.  And, let me tell you, Again, but Better was full of surprises.

I honestly didn't know there was going to be a magical element.  I'm not sure how I missed that little tidbit but I did.  So, that was a complete surprise to me.  I was pleasantly surprised, though!

I've read a few reviews that express their dislike for the 'excessive 2011 references' but I really didn't mind them.  This is a YA book.  I expect it to be a little "extra" at times.

Overall, I did enjoy this book.  It was a cute, fun read.  I'm glad I finally got to it!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Past This Point by Nicole Mabry

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Karis Hylen has been through the New York City dating wringer. After years of failed relationships, she abandons her social life and whittles her days down to work and spending time with her dog, Zeke. Her self-imposed exile ends up saving her life when an untreatable virus sweeps the east coast, killing millions.

Alone in her apartment building, Karis survives with only Zeke, phone calls to her mom, and conversations with two young girls living across the courtyard. With the city in a state of martial law, violence and the smell of rotting corpses surround her every day. But her biggest enemy is her own mind. As cabin fever sets in, vivid hallucinations make her question her sanity.

In addition to her dwindling food and water stash, Karis must now struggle to keep her mind in check. When a mysterious man enters the scene, she hopes she can convince him to help her make it to the quarantine border. With the world crumbling around her, Karis discovers her inner strength but may find that she needs people after all.

My Thoughts

This book is so good!  It surprised me with how good it was!  No zombies, no monsters, no magic.  Just a 'real-life' look at post-apocalyptic living.

I was immediately pulled right into the story and never wanted to have to put it down.  Karis is such a great character!  She is smart and resourceful, kind and brave.
The girls across the street... they had my heart!
And Zeke, I am such a dog lover so I completely felt the struggle that Karis had when she was told she would have to leave Zeke behind in order to get on the plane!  I wouldn't be able to do it either!

Overall, this is an excellent read and I highly recommend it!

*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Her Perfect Lies by Lana Newton

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The twisty psychological suspense that will keep you guessing…

Claire is beautiful.
Claire is famous.
Claire has a handsome husband and a house to die for.

But Claire doesn’t know any of that. Claire isn’t even sure who she is…

When Claire Wright wakes in a hospital, she sees a stranger staring back at her in the mirror. With no memories from before the devastating car accident that left her and her father with life-changing injuries, she must navigate the life of a stranger along with all the mistakes her former self left behind.

As Claire discovers the person she used to be she must also unravel the mystery that surrounds the accident. But the more Claire uncovers, the more she will be forced to face up to the dark secrets from her life before…

My Thoughts

The summary sounded extremely good so I was really excited to start reading!  I was instantly drawn into the story.  I love it when that happens!

Now, while I didn't hate this book, there were a few things that are keeping me from giving it a higher rating.  First of all, without giving too much away, I did guess too many things before they were revealed.  All of the "twists" that other reviews had talked about were not surprising tome at all.  I figured it out way early in the book.  That made for an uneventful read.

If I hadn't figured everything out early I probably would have enjoyed this book a bit more.  All in all it wasn't a bad book, just not what I was ultimately hoping for!

*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Alex and Eliza by Melissa De La Cruz



Their romance shaped a nation. The rest was history.

1777. Albany, New York. 

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball. 

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history. 

My Thoughts

I don't know what took me so long to read this!  I really did enjoy it!

Eliza is such a great character!  I honestly didn't find her to be annoying or anything like that.  Sometimes a main character tends to have certain quirks that make them seem stuck up or extra judgey or something.  But, I didn't find that in Eliza at all.

And, Alex!  I love Alex so much!

This is such a great, solid book!  I'm so glad I finally read it and I can't wait to pick up the next one!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Solving Cadence Moore by Gregory Sterner

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How much will one man risk to solve the unsolvable?

Ten years ago, famous young singer Cadence Moore disappeared without a trace on a remote highway in western Pennsylvania. To this day her fate remains unknown. Was she kidnapped or murdered? Or did she simply run away in search of a new life, leaving behind the abuse and heartbreak that haunted her?

Charlie Marx, host of the popular conspiracy radio show "Underground Broadcast," is obsessed with Cadence. Desperate to find her after deceiving his boss to save his job, he launches an investigation of his own, digging deep into the missing woman's past and uncovering her darkest secrets. Working feverishly for weeks, he claims to have solved the mystery and promises to reveal Cadence's fate at the end of a groundbreaking podcast series and live radio special.

But is it all a lie? As years of twisted details slowly unravel, Charlie races to solve the biggest mystery of the decade. If he succeeds, it will mean closure for Cadence. If he fails, his entire world will come crashing down live on air--and the truth may be lost forever.

My Thoughts

I love mysteries!  I love listening to and watching things about unsolved cases.  I had such high hopes for this book!

It's not that I hated it.  I found it simply ok.  I guess that's the problem... I was underwhelmed.  It didn't have what I was hoping for!  I can't exactly put my finger on what it is that I felt that it was lacking, I just needed something more!

Like I said, this isn't a bad book, it just isn't great.

*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.