Category Archives: Book Reviews

Review: In Articulo Mortis by Regina Bethory

I love a good horror story, especially the ones you can tell around a campfire at night. In Articulo Mortis is just that. If you scare easy, be prepared to leave the lights on after reading. Although, that might not keep the Reaper at bay.

This thriller written by Regina Bethory is one of the best I have read in a while. While it is a short story, the author packs a punch into 65 pages.

Theresa is the local coroner with a childhood that was equally as gruesome as the cases she now works on. Something from her past is stalking her and it isn’t just in her memories.

The writing had a good flow and kept me interested from start to finish. Bethory excelled the most in creating Death; the Grim Reaper’s character in this piece is a work of art. From physical description to purpose, you can count on being fascinated by this new version.

I am giving In Articulo Mortis a 4.5-star rating only because the story doesn’t tie off at the end and I have found no indication that second story is forthcoming. I’ll be following this author just in case.

Recommended read for all fans of horror and things that go bump at any time.

Review: Endlessly by Kiersten White

Kiersten White’s New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy comes to a breathless conclusion with a signature mix of wit, romance, paranormal creatures, and a truly original heroine.

In Endlessly, pink-loving, butt-kicking Evie has way too much on her to-do list. Paranormals are begging her to open a faerie gate so they can leave the human world, something Evie’s not sure she has the power to do. The Dark Queen is torturing humans and must be destroyed.

On top of all that, Evie’s prom is coming up. She’s not sure what to wear, and, oh, yeah, her shape-shifting boyfriend, Lend, has been cursed so that he falls into an enchanted sleep whenever he and Evie are in the same room…and even Evie’s ex-boyfriend, the faerie Reth, can’t reverse the dark magic.

An epic battle is looming, and the choices Evie makes will determine the fate of whole paranormal world—and her own life.

–back cover of Endlessly by Kiersten White

Endlessly provided a great end to the Paranormalcy series. The book was captivating and interesting, from the plot, to the characters, to the writing style.

Oftentimes I feel unsatisfied with trilogies for one of two reasons: I feel as if they drag out the series too long or too many questions are left unanswered. I think that this ending provided the perfect balance. I wasn’t left with any questions, just with a sense of fondness for the series.

The character in the series can be a bit of a hit-or-miss in my opinion. For the most part, I love Evie, even though being inside her head can be a little annoying at some points. I think her thought process is pretty realistic. Although realistic isn’t a bad thing, it can be annoying to read it in fiction sometimes. I like Raquel and the paranormals because they’re unique and have strong voices. I think that the twist on the paranormals in this trilogy is great. I like Evie’s friend Carly too. While all of these characters are good, my two favorites are Lend and Reth. I think that Lend is fascinating, and he is so kind. I have loved him from book one. Reth was not the character that I expected to become my favorite character, but he did. In this book, he gets quite the redemption arc. There is one character that drives me crazy though: Jack. I think he’s pretty cringeworthy, but I think he’s supposed to be cringeworthy.

The author’s writing style and voice remained unique, and I finished the book quite satisfied with the series.

While not perfect, it is a great trilogy which I highly recommend. I give the final book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Ten Underrated YA Books

There have been plenty of times that I have picked up a book from the library solely because of the hype it’s gotten on social media, but I have found that nine out of ten times I have not enjoyed these books as much as I expected to. I still read the books because it’s fun being able to talk about books with other people, but I feel like a lot of really good books are underrated while a lot of really okay books are overrated. I don’t want to write about the overrated books today, but I do want to give you what, in my opinion, are the top ten most underrated books.


1. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Read our review of The Rest of Us Just Live Here

This book is so ridiculously beautiful, and I really wish that every YA reader would read it. This book makes a point to be original, even poking fun at some common tropes, and I really love that. It is so refreshing and original that I wish it would become as big as The Hunger Games was, but I also hope that it doesn’t, because I love this book so much and God forbid it gets turned into a movie.

 


2. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Read our review of What Happened to Goodbye

Sarah Dessen is a well-known YA romance author, but it seems like this book is so often overlooked. It is by far my favorite Sarah Dessen book. It is quietly powerful with vibrant characters and a compelling plotline. It isn’t full of much conflict, which is why it may be overlooked, but it is one of those books I could read over and over again.


3. The Host by Stephanie Meyer

Most people don’t seem to be aware that Stephenie Meyer has more out there than the Twilight saga. The Host has been made into a movie, but it never got as much hype as Twilight. Really, The Host consists of what most people will claim Twilight lacks: an interesting plot, good characters, and healthy relationships. Also, no characters sparkle!  The Host is really all-around better, but most people don’t even know that it’s out there.


4. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Read our review of Paranormalcy

I think everyone should be obsessed over this paranormal book. It’s one of the best, most creative paranormal books that I have read, and I think that most YA readers would enjoy this. It may even make a good movie if it was done right–but how often are books turned into movies done right?


5. Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

Read our review of Waterfall

This is another book that I don’t think many people know exist, but it really is one of the most entertaining stories I have ever read. I fell in love with the characters–some more than others. This book is where I met my first book crush. If anything, just read this book for the oddly attractive characters.


6. Shatter Me by Tahareh Mafi

This book is amazing. The story is intense and well done and so captivating. Can we just replace the rest of dystopian books with this one, please? That’d be great.


7. The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

Read our review of The Alchemy of Forever

This book is addicting. The concept is fascinating, and the characters were so relatable. I was pretty much in love from the first chapter. I’m actually shocked that this book isn’t more popular because it seemed like something that would become huge. Regardless, I really love it.


8. This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer Smith

First of all, can we just take a moment to appreciate this gorgeous cover? I think it’s beautiful, just like everything else about this book is beautiful. The love story made me love the characters and want to read more and more. This is saying a lot because I am not one who needs or even really wants romance in a story, but I loved this book.


9. Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

Read our review of Bitter End

Every list like this has to have a totally depressing book added to it, right? Bitter End is definitely it. Jennifer Brown, the author, is generally underrated. She writes really good books.


10. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

I know. At this point, you’re probably a little bit infuriated that I have included two books by Stephenie Meyer, but this book– technically a novella–was quite amazing. Whether or not you liked the Twilight saga, you might be interested in this new outlook on the story. I felt like this 200-page book was better than the rest of the series combined.


Books get a lot of hype for a reason–the majority of people like them, but if you’re like me, maybe you’ll enjoy some of these options a bit more than what is mainstream.

Review: A Whisper and a Wish by Robin Jones Gunn

Christy Miller is convinced dreams do come true! What other explanation could there be for her family’s sudden decision to move from Wisconsin to California? But Christy soon learns there’s another side to this new life, which leads her to – A Whisper and a Wish

Fifteen-year-old Christy is thrilled that her family is moving to California! She’ll be right back at the beach with all her friends from last summer. But her dreams of a beach reunion are dashed when she learns her family will be living in an obscure town farther inland. Christy has to start all over again, meeting new friends and trying to fit in.

At first, things seem to be going well. She is accepted by a group of popular girls, which launches her social life, and one of the most gorgeous guys at school seems interested in her. But while her new friends are fun, some of them are facing problems that Christy doesn’t know how to deal with including a run-in with the police. As disappointments grow and things spin out of control, will Christy turn to God for help? Will her dreams and wishes come true?

–back cover of A Whisper and a Wish by Robin Jones Gunn

A Whisper and a Wish is the second book in the Christy Miller series. The author kept up the innocent, yet fairly preachy, feel that the first book had. This book had a significantly less amount of religion being shoved down people’s throats, so while I still think it would be for a younger audience, people of different religions besides Christianity may find this book enjoyable.

Christy continues to be a relatable character for girls around 15. She is like most fifteen-year-olds that I know–fun-loving, a bit insecure as they find who they are becoming, and wanting to be accepted. I think that she would resonate with people of that age. In this book, we also get to meet Katie who becomes one of my favorite characters throughout the entire series. She is fun and quirky and overall a great friend to every character that she meets.

Overall, the plot of this book was good. It was interesting and entertaining. When the girls are arrested it is dealt with in a realistic way.

There are two different things that I think readers should be aware of. For one, the “gorgeous guy” that she meets has abusive tendencies that are not addressed as abusive tendencies. They are looked on as normal when he really is not a very great guy. This book also deals with an eating disorder in one of the side characters. I do not feel like this was portrayed in a good way. It is not very accurate, and this is one of those issues that really needs to be portrayed accurately.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Review: The Impossibility of Tomorrow by Avery Williams

The immortal Seraphina is forced to face the darkness of her past—and risk losing the love of her life—in this second novel in the Incarnation series.

Seraphina has been living for centuries, thanks to a special method of alchemy, but only recently has she really felt alive. She’s finally broken free from her controlling boyfriend, Cyrus, and after years of swapping bodies to preserve her immortality, is happily settled into a life worth sticking with. Because in this life, she has Noah.

But Noah might not be as trustworthy as he seems. After he delivers an ominous message that could only come from Cyrus, Sera is worried that her new friends and family will find out her secret. And as her suspicions extend beyond Noah, Sera is forced to wonder about her new friends as well: Could her old coven be disguising themselves right under her nose?

Will Sera have to move to another body—and take another life—or can she find a way to keep what she’s got, forever?

–back cover of The Impossibility of Tomorrow by Avery Williams

With sequels, it feels like it is hit or miss. This sequel was wonderful, and the only complaint that I really have is that there currently isn’t another book out. I need this story to continue!

The first book ended on a cliffhanger and the second picks up later in that scene. The book started out so intense that I didn’t want to put it down from the very start. I devoured the first few chapters. This book had some seriously creepy parts. I was so attached to Sera and Noah that not knowing who Cyrus was driving me crazy, but in the type of way where I could not put the book down.

I just fell more in love with the characters. Sera becomes even more developed, and in this book I really began to relate to Noah. He seemed so similar to me, and I loved learning some more of his backstory. My only complaint with the characters is that I was not a fan of Reed and Rebecca. I think that they weren’t meant to be all that likable, but I found them annoying most of the time. This was such a small set back though, and I really think that this was a matter of opinion above anything else.

This fast-paced and suspenseful book made a great sequel. If this book sounds interesting to you, make sure to check out The Alchemy of Forever first. Both are great reads.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Review: Wolf Moon by C.D. Gorri

It is so hard to find a new take werewolves and shifters. But C.D. Gorri does an excellent job in her young adult paranormal novel Wolf Moon. This is an excellent coming of age story that deals with the problems a young girl faces not only becoming a young woman but also a powerful werewolf.

Graze, at the beginning of the novel, is fifteen and living the life of an ordinary normal girl. She faces problems with her home life, at school and dealing with her first crush. As that wasn’t enough, she suddenly finds out she is also a werewolf. That sets her on a new path of self-discovery and learning. By the end of the novel she has transformed into a solid, strong female lead that could potentially carry a reader through multiple further books.

There are some interesting twists in the plot and a romantic triangle that is set up for future books. Any young adult reader will gobble this up and want more. I look forward to future reads about the forthcoming war between witches and werewolves.

Warning: There is a bit of religion used in the book (Catholic) which may not suit all readers. I would advise readers to take that part with a grain of salt if you decide to read the book – this is a work of fiction after all.

A solid 4 out of 5 stars ~ Recommended read for all Young Adult book fans.

Review: The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

In the first novel of the Incarnation series, the immortal Seraphina grapples with a wrenching truth: Falling in love might mean succumbing to death. People say “love never dies”…but love might be the death of Seraphina.

Seraphina has been alive since the Middle Ages, when her boyfriend, Cyrus, managed to perfect a method of alchemy that lets them swap bodies with any human being. Sera ran away from Cyrus years ago, when she realized that what they were doing—taking the lives of innocent people—was wrong. Yet she doesn’t want to die, so she finds young people who are on the brink of death, and inhabits their bodies.

Sera has just landed in the body of a girl named Kailey who was about to die in a car accident. For the first time, Sera falls in love with the life of the person she’s inhabiting. Sera also falls for the boy next door, Noah. And soon it’s clear the feelings are returned. But she can never kiss Noah, because for her to touch lips with a human would mean the human’s death. And she has even more to worry about: Cyrus is chasing her. If she stays in one place for long, she puts herself—and the people she’s grown to care for—in great danger. Will Sera have to give up the one thing that’s eluded her for centuries: true love?

back cover of The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

This was one of those books that I totally stumbled upon by accident. I had forgotten what I was currently reading at home, so I went to the library between classes which gave me five minutes to get to the school library, find a book, check it out, then get back to class. I pretty much picked up the first book that I saw that looked even somewhat interesting. I am so glad that I did, because I really, really loved this book.

It was fast-paced and hard to put down. It would give me chills and make me tear up and make me smile. The plot twist at the end was definitely 5 out of 5 stars. It was the perfect ending and the reason I had to start reading the second book right away.

The characters were spectacular. Even though Sera was not human, she was one of the most relatable characters that I’ve read about in a long time. I loved her view of the world. As she fell for Noah I found myself falling for him too. “Noah was very human. It seems like in a lot of YA books the love interest is perfect, but he wasn’t and I loved that.”  Cyrus made a great villain and gave me chills.

I think that this is one of those books that there is a little bit of something for everyone in it. I suggest giving it a try.

I give it five out of five stars.

Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Katherine V thought boys were gross

Katherine X just wanted to be friends

Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail

K-19 broke his heart

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun–but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.
–Back cover of An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

To say the least, when I finished this book I was left with a sense of disappointment. I liked John Green’s other books, so I was excited for this one, especially because it seemed so much more lighthearted. It definitely was more lighthearted, but this book really dragged.

First of all, I didn’t feel like there was much of a point to it. It seemed like it led up to…pretty much nothing. I thought this was a big let down.

There also wasn’t much conflict. This made the book hard to read. There were a few interesting scenes but I spent most of it just waiting to finish it and hoping that something amazing would happen in the last few pages…. I was disappointed when it did not.

Secondly, I did not connect with any of the characters…at all.

Colin was a very awkward character. He was meant to be awkward and it was interesting reading about him because he is so quirky. He was amusing at some points, but there was no connection whatsoever. Hassan was probably my favorite character, and his little revolution at the end was inspiring. Still no connection, though. Lindsey was okay. She was even likable. I didn’t find myself really caring about these characters, though.

The writing style was rather distracting. There were footnotes that dragged my attention from the story nearly every page.

As much as I enjoyed Green’s other books, I was not a fan of this one. I give it 2.5 out 5 stars.

Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions…

–back cover of The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but I loved it. It’s now probably in my top three favorite books. It was very original and entertaining.

The writing style was highly unique, because of the bits about the “Indie kids” at the beginning of the chapters. The author has a way of drawing you into the story,  making it difficult to put the book down.

The characters were strong and diverse. Mikey was the point of view character, and he struggled with OCD. I thought that this was a very accurate portrayal of what it is. It did not make OCD out to be a quirk or something cute; it showed how much of a struggle it actually is. Mel is his older sister, who struggled with an eating disorder. Again, the author portrayed this in a very accurate way. Jared was Mikey’s best friend and probably my favorite character. He adds to the diversity by being both gay and heavyset. I think he was my favorite, because he is just such a nice guy, and he is worshiped by mountain lions, which is pretty great too. Mikey had a huge crush on Henna, a girl of a different ethnicity. Which such a diverse cast interesting things were bound to happen.

Everything about this book was interesting and well done. I loved how it poked fun at many common tropes, but I love how the story was still so meaningful. I also loved how things ended up being between Mikey and Henna. I won’t say more because of spoilers, but I thought it was perfect. The main plot was great, but the subplots were also strong and interesting.

I would recommend this to pretty much anyone, and I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Review: In Between by Jenny B. Jones

Unlike most kids, teenage Katie Parker never got a fair shot at a normal life. With a mother in jail and a missing-in-action dad, she’s never known what it’s like to truly be loved. Low on options and family members, she’s soon shipped off to a foster home. Now in an unfamiliar town, Katie’s rebellious attitude is at odds with her new family, school, and classmates. And after falling in with all the wrong people at school, things go from bad to really bad after she takes the blame for vandalizing the local performing arts theater.

But in the midst of a dark situation, Katie finds light in the most unexpected places: through her new friendship with an eccentric senior, the commitment of her foster family, and a tragic secret that changed them forever. And as she inches closer to acceptance and forgiveness, she finds that God has been there all along.

— back cover of In Between by Jenny B. Jones

This book caught my attention from start to finish. It was hilarious and heartwarming, with enough action to make it interesting.

I loved that the main character was in foster care because I don’t think that foster kids are represented very well in YA fiction. I appreciated that she didn’t romanticize it either–she didn’t go into a lot of detail, but she didn’t pretend like life is easy for them. I think that she portrayed it well for her desired audience. I also liked that the author was not scared to tackle other tough subjects such as illegal activities. She didn’t sugarcoat what would happen in a situation like this.

The characters in this book were very relatable. I think that most teenage girls could relate to how Katie views the world. Her “eccentric senior” friend, Francis, was one of my favorite characters. I loved the slight bit of cultural difference here, and overall Francis was just lovable. I think that my favorite characters would have to be her foster parents. They were loving and accepting of Katie even though she was determined to make them miserable at first. I loved them even more after learning some of their tragic backstories. Overall it was an interesting and well-rounded cast of characters.

My only complaint is that I felt as if sometimes the author tried a bit too hard with her humor. The book was hysterical, but there were some points that the humor took away from the story, which I thought was annoying at some points.

I also appreciated that despite being Christian fiction it was not a preachy book.

Overall it was a  good read. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

1 2 3 4 5 12