Review Rendezvous: 10/21/17


This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, contemporary, thriller
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 285
Publish date: January 5th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

This is Where it Ends10:00 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.

This week we have another book with pretty heavy subject matter. I’m going to preface this by saying I mean no harm to those who have been affected by such violence. I know this is very sensitive and I’m trying my hardest not to overstep my bounds.

I found this book through Booktube yet again, and I must say it was quite the compelling tale. There are a few holes, but I’ll get back into that later. Nijkamp manages to stretch out the entire time of the shooting by head hopping between characters. I can’t say I’m entirely a fan of that move, but in this situation it works so that you can see the many sides of the situation.

The main drawback that I had with this book is that it does not go into the shooter’s motivation. He kinda comes off as the “I’m bad because I’m bad” type of villain. one-dimensional villains like that don’t lend themselves well to novels, and in this setting, it’s fairly insulting. The motivation of a school shooter is not something to be taken lightly, and to demean the situation by not offering more of an explanation is a bit harsh.

I did finish this book quite quickly, as it grips you from the second you open the cover. I do applaud Nijkamp for being able to write about the topic, because certainly authors (myself included) would shy away from the challenge. I would suggest it as a good read, not the best but still very good in my opinion.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Blog Tour: The Midnight Dance


Today I’m taking a bit of a detour from my usual every-Saturday book review to bring you a review on this lovely piece of literature! It just dropped yesterday, so pop on over to one of the retailers listed below and snap it up! You can also enter a giveaway for a free print copy of the book here!

The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult
Medium: Kindle
Number of pages: 320
Publish date: October 17th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository – Barnes & NobleiBooksKobo

Midnight DanceSeventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.

Dancing, private schools, unreliable narrators, I love it all! Plus that cover is gor-ge-ous! We open on the normal school day for Penny, but then a sense of unease and discomfort slowly sets it. In all honesty, I did get sidetracked from the book because my life experience a crazy two weeks, but if I had hunkered down I would’ve read this cover-to-cover in about 2.5 seconds. As it were I was almost late to work because I needed to finish it ;).

There’s something not quite right about this school, and I loved how the piece slowly unraveled rather than all at once. And Penny grows from a submissive schoolgirl into someone with her own thoughts and voice, which is a very important step for her. We also get flashbacks that set up how the school came to be and give us information on the mysterious “Master”.

I highly enjoyed this one, and would certainly recommend that you read it. There’s a ton going on in the book but it never gets too bad or overwhelming. It’s also interesting because there’s the juxtaposition of a historical setting and newer technology and science. Although to be honest, you don’t get too much historical detail, and the only reason that I really noticed it as past was the constant reminder of what year it was at the beginning of the chapters. Of course, this was to denote flashback and current day, so it’s not all that bad.

I was provided this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


If you liked this book, check these ones out:

Vicarious

When her sister is found murdered, Rose must uncover the truth of that night, even if the truth is not exactly what it seems

VA

Private school + supernatural = lots of crazy stunts, death threats, and maybe even some romance

Six Months Later

One day she’s an average high schooler. The next she’s on track to be valedictorian. But something is missing…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Review Rendezvous: 10/14/17


Baby Doll by Hollie Overton
Book stats:
Genre(s): Thriller, mystery
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 281
Publish date: July 12th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

Baby DollHeld captive for eight years, Lily has grown from a teenager to an adult in a small basement prison. Her daughter Sky has been a captive her whole life. But one day their captor leaves the deadbolt unlocked.

This is what happens next…

…to her twin sister, to her mother, to her daughter…and to her captor.

I heard about this book from Regan over at PeruseProject. Or it could’ve been Sasha on abookutopia, I’m honestly not entirely sure because this sat on my to-read list for a couple months before I finally got to it. Anyways, the premise seemed interesting because I’d just seen Room, an Oscar-nominated movie of similar subject matter. But what really tickled my fancy was the fact that we could read from the antagonist’s point of view, which is not something you see very often.

A big portion of the book explores the psychological effects of something like this happening. You see how missing Lily has affected her whole family, and it’s how everyone responds differently. They are all shocked once they realize who took Lily in the first place, and where exactly she was for the eight years.

The subject matter can be a bit dark and depressing, I will admit. And then there’s the people that have the gall to say Lily is making it all up, which honestly just infuriated me. I know that there are probably people out there that would go so far as to make that stuff up just to tear someone down, but you sympathize with Lily and it’s just frustrating to see people disbelieve her.

Either way, the character growth and development in just this one book is amazing. Normally it takes a few books to get anywhere with growth, but you see the maturity and struggle these people go through in order to better understand and handle the situation. I certainly highly recommend this one.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


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Blog Tour: Sublime Karma


As part of a blog tour, I have an additional review to bring you this week! If you’re interested in reading it, the ebook is also currently free on Kindle Unlimited! I also have the link to a giveaway below!

Sublime Karma by Peyton Garver
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, romance, mental health
Medium: Kindle
Number of pages: 277
Publish date: May 28th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository – Barnes & Noble

SUBLIME KARMA HIgh ResWhen Brie’s stepfather moves the family for what he calls a new beginning, it’s not the new beginning the beautiful, yet guarded, senior would have hoped for. Brie is instantly targeted by jealous girls at her new school, and the only available seat on her bus is next to the school’s star wide receiver, Jake, who for some reason, finds her offensive. After a humiliating article and picture of Brie is posted in the online school journal, a demon she thought she’d overcome resurfaces, and her life unravels. A newly compassionate Jake has finally taken an interest in her, but can Brie learn to trust her heart, or will she miss out on the best thing that ever happened to her?
Jake has his own secrets and has built his own walls, but eventually his curiosity about the new girl gets the best of him. Unfortunately, now there is competition: the captain of her cross-country team. Jake’s romantic histories with the girl next door and the school’s queen bee, adds tension to a simmering tempest when all he wants is Brie. Is he strong enough to help the one he loves weave sense into her crumbling new reality while overcoming his own tainted past?

I honestly haven’t read a book set in normal high school for a while. It was kind of refreshing to read something without some fantastical elements in it.

The story that we’re presented with is new girl Brie coming onto the scene when her family moves. It’s supposed to be a clean slate for the whole family, but Brie quickly draws the ire of basically every girl in school. This turns out to have harrowing consequences, as anyone who’s ever seen or heard of high school bullying can tell you.

I applaud Garvey for taking on the theme of bullying and giving it life once again. Yes, I’ve read similar stories before, but at least in this particular book she doesn’t get overdramatic or push things and make them entirely unrealistic. The book itself also pulls you in and hooks you, assuming you make it past the very girly cover. I sat and read this all in one sitting and quite enjoyed the tale.

Honestly, the only reason that I didn’t give this book more stars is that I’m not super into the whole love triangle plot that a lot of teen books have. I’d much rather see a relationship fully develop without the ‘competition’ incentive of another guy trying to get in-between the girl and her love interest.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


Excerpt:
The bus snaked its way through the country roads and then to the lavish development that backed up to the woods behind his house. Upperclassmen from this neighborhood had their own cars. This bus collected the underclassmen: those few who weren’t chauffeured, as minions of the privileged.

Jake leaned back in his seat and folded his arms across his chest, not looking at the kids coming down the aisle. None dared to ask if they could sit in the empty space next to him. They’d sit three to a seat rather than make that request. Just the way he wanted it.

The over-filled bus pulled to a stop midway down Belmont Circle. New stop? Jake looked out his window at the estate with a circular drive. Huh. It finally sold. He watched as a single figure headed toward the bus. What, so now they get door-to-door service? He rolled his eyes.

Seconds later, she stood in the aisle waiting. From his seat, his eyes skimmed up passed her faded jeans and plain, loose sweater, and his breath caught in his throat. Her long blond hair was pulled to the side in a loose braid. Her face? Ethereal. But then, his flustered gaze became an annoyed glare.

Her bleak gray eyes seemed to look right through him before they darted to the space next to him. Did she even register his indignation? She must have. Yet, she stood there in the aisle twisting the loose adjustment strap on her backpack tightly around her fingers.

“May I sit here?” her meek voice broke the silence that had fallen around them.

Noticing the hush of conversation, Jake’s eyes skimmed the crowded bus. There was no doubt he and this new girl had an audience. Not something he relished.

His eyes swept back to her. He could tell she was nervous. He heard it in her quavering voice and saw it in the way she avoided his eyes. He could just say no. But so long as she was standing, the bus wouldn’t budge.


PeytonAbout the Author:
As a child, Peyton called places like Livorno, Italy; Orléans, France; and Augsburg, Germany home. She has since settled in Maryland, where she earned her degree in education at Towson State University, married her sweetheart of two years, and became an instant mother to three spirited young boys before adding another son to the brood. And, with their yellow lab George, it’s no stretch to say she’s outnumbered.

When not writing, Peyton is a full time teacher. Inspired by the individual spirits, heartaches, and triumphs of her students, Peyton has developed characters who resemble real world teens dealing with real issues: relationships, jealousy, bullying, and depression. Her newest novel, Sublime Karma, is a contemporary story filled with emotion, depth, wit, and suspense. Sublime Karma was published in the fall of 2016 by Soulmate Publishing.

When asked if she actually involves her students in her stories, Peyton answered that her stories are completely fictional, but then admitted to an activity in which she does involve them. “One quirky, fun thing I like to do with students who have read my book is develop a dream cast for my characters. That all started when a group of girls were arguing over which actor they thought best fit the character Four in Veronica Roth’s novel Divergent. They then turned their efforts to my manuscript.  I’ve since added those dream casts to my website.”

When she’s not teaching or writing, Peyton enjoys traveling. The Caribbean Islands have become a favorite vacation getaway for Peyton and her husband. “Nothing is better than sitting on a beach, in front of the crystal clear sea, enveloped in the warmth of the tropical sun with a frosty piña colada and a good book that I just can’t put down.”


Giveaway Details:
One (1) winner will receive TWO signed copies of Sublime Karma, one for them and one for the high school of the winner’s choice to be dedicated in their name. You will also recieve $10 Amazon Gift Card, US Only.

A Rafflecopter giveaway


SUBLIME KARMA


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Blog Tour: From the Sky & Equinox


This week I’m part of another blog tour, featuring two books from the Beyond Moondust trilogy! The first two books are currently available through Kindle Unlimited, so pick them up today! There is also currently a giveaway for a copy of the first book! You can enter hereGiveaway closes October 14th at 11:59 PM PDT.

I have only reviewed the first book in the interest of keeping this post spoiler-free, however I did read the second one, and let me tell you, it was an amazing follow-up. Definitely one you do not want to miss!


From the Sky by J. E. Nicassio
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, dystopia, romance
Medium: Kindle
Number of pages: 259
Publish date: June 23rd, 2015
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository – Barnes & Noble

FromTheSkyRedo_Nicassio_coverWhen Samantha Hunter and her father move to New Mexico, it’s a chance to get away from the bittersweet memories of her past and start over. However, the arrival of a dark-haired stranger into her life changes everything. The stranger, a boy, named Lucien introduces Sam to the hidden world of real-life aliens.
Redemption and romance follow Sam in her new life as she works to decipher her complicated alien-human relationship and discovers what connects her to this strange alien boy.

I think I’ve decided I need more aliens in my life. Well, in fictional form that is. As soon as I got into this book, I definitely felt some major Roswell vibes, if anyone’s ever seen that series. Nevertheless, this was a fantastic book in it’s own right. I have zero time to do anything right now, but I still enjoyed reading this immensely.

The feeling of loss and the move that opens up the book is described in such a raw way. The idea of a new life in New Mexico away from painful memories is promising, but Sam will never fully be separated from the tragedy that has befallen her. She’s content to blend in at first, and then she meets a boy she swears she’s met before. Of course, this strange coincidence is only the first step in a large collection of even stranger things.

The emotion and character depth in this book is wonderful, I was engaged with the characters from page one. There is just enough action, suspense, romance, and even a little conspiracy theory, because you can’t have a novel with aliens without a little crazy conspiracy. Not to mention the relationship between Lucien and Sam, which I absolutely adored. What can I say? I’m a sucker for romance.

As with most books the include specific jargon, there was a fair amount of new terms. It wasn’t too hard to follow along, but I did forget what some meant and had to go back a few times.

I was provided with this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


Excerpt:
The morning dew kissed the steep slope and ridge boughs of the winding road. I loved how the shade of the sugar maple trees blanketed the dense, mossy hollow of Hidden Valley.

 I heard the thud before the antlers crashed through the windshield. Without thinking, my hands covered my eyes as the car flipped over the guardrail and down the embankment. The seatbelt pulled tight across my chest, squeezing the air from my lungs. The car rolled and rolled until it stopped on its side. I hit my head on the window, and everything went black.

I’m unsure of how long I had been unconscious, but I woke up to the flash of a bright light and realized I was trapped. It was the seatbelt. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t undo my seatbelt. I felt something wet and warm. A sweet, metallic, pungent smell entered my nose. Blood.

“Finn….” I struggled to speak.

He didn’t answer. There was only the rattling of metal and the sound of whizzing air, like when a can of Coke is opened after it’s been shaken.

“Finn, talk to me, please. Are you hurt?”

A second bright light flashed beyond the trees. In the distance, the rustling of movement and low voices were coming closer.

“We’re here,” I struggled to get the words out. “Help!” I tried shouting, but the belt made it hard to raise my voice. There was no way they would find us. Just when I thought all hope was lost, I felt someone at my side.

“Don’t be afraid. I got you,” the stranger said. It was a man’s voice, and he spoke gently to me, instantly soothing my worries.

The seatbelt snapped open, and I could breathe again.

“She’s free,” the stranger said. His words rolled off his lips like liquid gold.

Am I dead? Is he an angel?

My fingers trailed loosely at my side as he dragged me across the dry soil. He laid me down on the forest ground away from the wreckage.

The blurred figure above me pulled his shirt off and tucked it underneath my head. For a moment, I was enveloped in his scent, and he lifted my head just enough for me to see my brand-new iPhone crushed on the ground beside me.

“My brother?” I whispered. My voice still not as strong as it should’ve been.

“Shhh. Don’t try to speak,” the stranger said, pushing my hair away from my face. When he did, a calmness swept over me.

“What do you think you’re doing? Just leave her,” another voice said. I hadn’t known anyone else was there.

“Help my brother,” I said, more clearly now.

“I’m so sorry—” the first man started, but he didn’t have to finish. I already knew Finn was dead.

The shadowy figure placed his hands on me.

“Don’t do it,” said the second voice. “We have to leave now.”

“No! We caused this!” the first voice begged.

“Stop! You must not. Let’s just go.”

“I’ve got to do something. She’ll die…”

“It’s not for you to decide! It’s not allowed.

There’ll be consequences, brother.”

“I can’t let her die.”

“You can’t, or you won’t?”

“I won’t!”

“No…” I tried to tell them both. I could taste the blood as it filled my mouth and gurgled from my lips. “Let me die.”

“Not today,” The stranger that had rescued me said. I felt his hands brush over my head.

A jolt of electricity shot through my body. I wasn’t scared anymore.


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