Thursday, April 27, 2017

Review: Roanoke Girls

The Roanoke Girls By Amy Engel
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Format: Hardback, 279 pages
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.

After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane's first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.
Let me just preface this review by saying this book just wasn't for me! Also before I get into the rest of my review, if sexual abuse is a trigger warning for you or just something you are really uncomfortable reading about (like me) I would suggest staying clear of this. There wasn't really any indication that this would be a major plot point in any of the promotional material, which I think really did a disservice to readers.

So I really did want to like this book, and when I first started it I liked the southern gothic feel I got from the setting and I thought the writing style was really lovely. I will say that I did like the back and forth narrative of "then" and "now" so we got a feel for Lane's life as a teen on Roanoke farm and as a broken adult coming back to help find her missing cousin. I thought it was going to be a cool mystery thriller, and I was almost hoping maybe it would have a supernatural touch to it. But, nope, this was just about how the grandfather has had sexual relationships with all the women in this family---his sisters, daughters, and his granddaughters-- and it really pissed me off!

Sexual abuse was pretty much the whole point of this book, and it's revealed like 50 pages in so I wouldn't really say that this is a spoiler. You learn early on that Yates (Grandad) has had relations with the women in his family, and none of these women (or really girls) think it's wrong. Having it being used as a plot device, where it is mentioned so much, but none of the characters in the book actually talk about it really annoyed me. Reading about all the gross incest made me sick to my stomach. The only reason why I actually finished this book was that I wanted to find out what happened to Lane's cousin Allegra. 

So other than the gross incest being used as major plot device, the rest of the novel was pretty predictable. I wanted to find out what happened to Allegra, but I wasn't surprised when I found out what did, and the outcome of that. I won't give that away, but if you've gotten this far in the book you will probably see it coming.

I just generally did not enjoy this book, but that doesn't mean other people won't like it. If you want to read about dysfunctional families with a slight thriller aspect, this is a book for you. It just did not work for me. 

*I received this book from in exchange for my honest review.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Review: Remembrance

Remembrance By Meg Cabot
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: February, 2nd 2016
Format: Kindle Edition, 403 pages
My Rating: 

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N TBD
You can take the boy out of the darkness.
But you can’t take the darkness out of the boy.

All Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and since becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva). But when she’s hired as a guidance counselor at her alma mater, she stumbles across a decade-old murder, and soon ancient history isn’t all that’s coming back to haunt her. Old ghosts as well as new ones are coming out of the woodwork, some to test her, some to vex her, and it isn’t only because she’s a mediator, gifted with second sight.

What happens when old ghosts come back to haunt you?
If you’re a mediator, you might have to kick a little ass.

From a sophomore haunted by the murderous specter of a child to ghosts of a very different kind—including Paul Slater, Suze’s ex, who shows up to make a bargain Suze is certain must have come from the Devil himself—Suze isn’t sure she’ll make it through the semester, let alone to her wedding night. Suze is used to striking first and asking questions later. But what happens when ghosts from her past—including one she found nearly impossible to resist—strike first?
If you have ever stumbled upon this dumb little blog before you probably found out really quick that I love Meg Cabot. I spent a lot of years reading her Princess Diaries series, and she is probably the reason I read so much today. So it might shock a few of you when I say...I think her Mediator series might be my favorite series she's ever written.

I really enjoyed this new installment of Suze and Jesse's story. Like I blew through it so quickly, that it made me realize that maybe I'm just not reading the books I actually want to anymore. Whenever I pitch reading this series to someone I explain, "it's kinda like Buffy, but like with ghosts." I stand by that explanation. Suze has an attitude and sometimes she does really stupid shit, but that's why I enjoy reading about her so much!

I think the main thing I like about this series is that it's a part-paranormal, part-investigation novel. In order to help the ghosts move on, Suze has to first figure out why they are still here, and sometimes the ghosts are just not helpful. Like Lucia the little girl ghost that Suze tries to help in this novel. A little violent ghost that has plenty of reasons to be so angry about her death. I do like that Suze really can't do everything on her own and she enlists her research team (CeeCee) and the muscle (Paul Slater begrudgingly) so she can solve the issue of what is keeping Lucia on this plane. 

I actually love that Cabot makes it pretty clear that we were never supposed to like Paul. He's such a douche, and that's really clear is this novel with him trying to knock down Suze's old house that may effect Jesse! I hate that dude, so I'm really glad in the end of this novel everything works out for Suze and Jesse. 

There were a couple things about the adult Suze that made me really like her. First off all, in this novel Suze is the one that is more interested in sex than Jesse. Of course Jesse wants to abide by his beliefs of not having sex before marriage, which makes sense due to his upbringing and the time in which he was alive. I kinda of love that the woman is the one interested in sex, because we don't see that a lot. Even though woman like sex too! So I really appreciated that being included. The other thing I loved about her was the swearing. Dude, I swear a lot, like I just can't help myself anymore, so I loved to see another woman around my age swearing up a storm and everyone getting mad at her. That is pretty much my life, so I could totally relate. 

I will admit that the plot is not that different from the other books in the series. There's a ghost Suze has to help, Paul tries to mess up her relationship with Jesse, and Suze has to kick some major ass. But in all honestly, that's what I wanted out of this novel. I wanted to come back to these characters I loved and read them in action again. If Meg Cabot writes anymore novels about Suze, I will buy them all.

Have you read this series? What do you think of this adult installment?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Insta-Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is top ten things that instantly make me want to read a book. I'm not sure if I'm actually going to get to ten, but here we go!


This is a pretty easy one, if you've been to my blog before you'll know that Meg Cabot is my favorite author. So if has her byline on it, I'm going to read it! Even if it's not the greatest. I'll admit some of her adult novels have just not been my thing, but I'll still try them out.


If it's science-fiction or has a spaceship on the cover, I am so ready to read it immediately.


Sci-fi and fantasy crossover a lot on my shelves, so I will always also read any good fantasy book that comes my way.


So basically this could be grouped into the sci-fi/fantasy genre, but I like to count it separately. I love a good time-travel novel. Explain the consequences of time travel in a book and I am ready to read it.


I hate insta-love, it's so unrealistic, but I do love a good slow burn romance. I love to see characters gradually start to be interested in each other. 


On the other hand, I also love when characters hate each other at first and then slowly start to change their mind about each other. I know it's a cliche, but I'm about it.


I like to read books with more diversity, and I am especially out to find all the own voices novels.


I will pick up every new star wars novel I can get my hands on. Especially since they let Timothy Zahn write about Thrawn again, and they are hiring YA authors like Claudia Gray and Beth Revis.


I think this one is pretty obvious, I do read a lot of young adult. I tend to gravitate towards those books. I feel like a half-adult sometimes and I have trouble relating to adult characters in adult novels. 


More and more I have been getting interested in reading more adult mystery and thrillers. I just have to find all the good ones. 

What are some of the things that make you instantly read a book?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Pixar Book Tag!

I suck at doing Book Tags, because they end up taking me a really long time. However, when I saw this Pixar book tag created by The Bookavid, I couldn't resist!

Toy Story — A book where you wanted the characters to come to life.

Hmm...this is real tough one, because that means I have to choose just one book! Just one?? I think to be honest, Heir to The Empire, because I LOVE Star Wars, and I fell in love with this book as a young tween. Also, Mara Jade is a badass bitch that doesn't take shit from anyone, especially Luke Skywalker, so I would love to meet her. Too bad, the new Star Wars Canon says she doesn't exist, but to me she always will.

A Bugs Life — A character who goes through a transformation.

This one is easy, Tithe. This is a literal transformation, but I am always recommending this one. I love it so much. 

Up — A book that quickly made you become emotionally invested.

The Handmaid's Tale. It made me feel so many different emotions. I have an extreme love/hate relationship with this book. I think it has a good message and what is has to say is really freaking important, but that makes me both systematically angry and sad for our society. Especially, considering the current state of my country.

Finding Nemo — “P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney” A book that has an address or quote that’s burned into your memory forever.

Hm...I think I might need to pass on this one too. I'm not much for quotes, and I don't think I really pay that much attention to addresses in books. Haha, I guess I'm not that good of a reader.

The Incredibles — Coolest Book Family.

Alanna & Marko's family from Saga. That book is really just a family soap opera so much of it is about how a family survives and suffers, but I love how much Alanna and Marko will sacrifice for their daughter. I like that it is also shows them royally fucking up too. I like that it shows that being a parent is hard, and that these two are NOT perfect. Like at all!

Monsters Inc. — A strong character develops a soft side for someone.

Ooh, definitely Sybella from Dark Triumph. She is a hard character to like (Re: bitch) but that's why I liked her so much. She did not give a crap what people thought of her, but she did like Beast. I loved those two. 

Cars 1, 2, 3 — A book that keeps getting sequels you feel are not needed.

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS!! I think the show is still going on, but I stopped watching a long time ago. I think this is finally over (16 books total) but originally it was supposed to end at book 8. That was a good ending, but then she started writing more and they just got to be too much for me.

Ratatouille — A book featuring a non-human/humanoid.

Matthias in Redwall. 

Brave — Name a book with a strong mother/daughter relationship.

Oh this is easy, Mia and her mom in The Princess Diaries. 

Inside Out — Name a book that could be one of your core memories.

I think my last answer is the same answer for this one. But I think I'm going to go with Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Mostly because I got to meet her shortly after I read that, and now she lives the next town over from me. 

This was such a fun tag to do. Tag yourself if you feel like doing this as well. I didn't create this tag, so please make sure to give credit and link back to The Bookavid's post. 

Happy Reads Everyone!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Review: Red Rising

Red Rising By Pierce Brown
Publisher: Del Ray
Release Date: January, 28th 2014
Format: Kindle edition, 400 pages
My Rating: ★1/2

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N TBD

The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity's last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it's all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda.
Red Rising is a book that everyone kept telling me to read, but I just kept putting it off, or I got stuck between review books and I could never fit it in. I was hoping to get to it so I could review it for last Sci-Fi November, but alas I just couldn't get to it until now.

I loved the beginning of this novel. The bleak life and hardship that the Reds face is so clearly mapped out. I really got a good feel for what life and culture was like for the Reds. I love a good sci-fi novel with a class struggle, so I was hooked from the beginning. The book takes a turn once Darrow gets mixed up in the revolution and finds out that everything he had ever been told was a lie. I found Darrow's physical transformation super interesting, and watching him try to change himself and struggle so hard with that was one of the things that I loved about this novel. It's something that I was glad that he constantly conflicted with throughout the novel. He had to find a way to appear like a Gold, but without losing his identity as a Red in the process. Not an easy thing to do, and I like that we saw Darrow not always succeed with this.

I will admit, I do feel like at times the pacing got a little too slow for me. Once Darrow is in the battlefield, parts of that just got too slow and boring for me. A lot of what happens at this point in the book is really important to Darrow's mission, so a lot of it was integral to the overall plot but...some of it just dragged on way too much. I was like, "I get it, can we just finish this battle now?"

Darrow was an interesting character to read about. I felt like he read more like an adult, which I think was fine in this case because he was a Red that had already had a wife and grew up a lot quicker than the Golds he was surrounded by. Dude was straight up diabolical at the end as he systematically started to take out all the big bads to win favor in the battlefield. While, I really enjoyed this, at times I thought he was super reckless! Like when they were forging his name into the institute and he refused to go by a Gold-like name and insisted on keeping his Red-name. I thought that was a really stupid plan, and I'm actually surprised more people weren't suspicious of him. He also makes a lot of bad decisions in the battlefield, even if he is trying to do the best for everyone. I really liked that about him, because although he seemed like this amazing hero, he also had a lot of flaws and sometimes he just failed. Sometimes it's okay to fail.

I think a lot of the characters in this novel were written really well. Some are just there to be background characters, which I think is pretty obvious, but Mustang and Sevro have to stand out the most from the other characters. I loved that Sevro was such a little psycho! I also liked that he was just so loyal to Darrow. He didn't ask questions, he just made sure things got done. I also really liked that we never knew what was with Mustang until the very end. I was real cautious of her the entire book, as I wasn't sure what her angle was. I'm still not entirely sure she still isn't just playing the game, and that's what made her so interesting!

I liked this book a lot, and I'm kind of mad that I didn't read it sooner! I would definitely recommend this for fans of The Hunger Games or Sci-fi fans in general.

Happy Reads Everyone!