Review Rendezvous: 3/3/18

The Yearbook by Carol Masciola
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, historical, time travel
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 224
Publish date: October 2nd, 2015
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

YearbookMisfit teen Lola Lundy has every right to her anger and her misery. She’s failing in school, living in a group home, and social workers keep watching her like hawks, waiting for her to show signs of the horrible mental illness that cost Lola’s mother her life. Then, one night, she falls asleep in a storage room in her high school library, where she’s seen an old yearbook—from the days when the place was an upscale academy for young scholars instead of a dump. When Lola wakes, it’s to a scene that is nothing short of impossible.

Lola quickly determines that she’s gone back to the past—eighty years in the past, to be exact. The Fall Frolic dance is going full blast in the gym, and there she makes an instant connection with the brainy and provocative Peter Hemmings, class of ’24. His face is familiar, because she’s seen his senior portrait in the yearbook. By night’s end, Lola thinks she sees hope for her disastrous present: She’ll make a new future for herself in the past. But is it real? Or has the major mental illness in Lola’s family background finally claimed her? Has she slipped through a crack in time, or into a romantic hallucination she created in her own mind, wishing on the ragged pages of a yearbook from a more graceful time long ago?

There is so much going on in this one, but I ended up loving it the second I got started in on it. Our narrator, Lola, at first seems like she’s just a bit of an outcast student. But, there’s something big that haunts her past: her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her social workers are always wondering if it’ll be passed down to her.

Besides the standard teenage delinquency, Lola seems fairly normal. That is, until she’s tasked with cleaning an old, burned out room in the school library. It’s there that she travels back to 1923, meets a handsome young man at a school dance, and determines that she was actually meant to live in the 20th century. That, or the schizophrenia has finally taken over and she’s gone crazy. You really can’t tell, and that’s the fun part of having an unreliable narrator.

Honestly, this had me completely hooked in and believing that everything Lola was seeing was the real deal, all the way until the adults around her begin questioning her and poking holes in her story. Even Lola can’t decide what’s real and what’s not at one point. Either way, Masciola manages to capture the longing for a place that every outsider feels, alongside the complications of a mental illness that has everyone questioning your motives. Lola’s story in 1923 is also very sweet, although the only thing that I did find somewhat unbelievable was that fact that people accepted her immediately. You’re from New York and bought your shoes in Paris? Great! You grew up at a mining camp in Colorado! Perfect, makes total sense. I mean, maybe (probably) people were quicker to trust back in those days, so it could be chalked up to a shift in culture.

Definite read-again. I was kindly provided this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


If you liked this book, check this one out:


This follows a time traveller that falls in love with a woman who lives 10 years earlier

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Review Rendezvous: 2/24/18

Vicarious by Paula Stokes
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, science fiction, mystery
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 336
Publish date: August 16th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

VicariousWinter Kim and her sister, Rose, work as high-tech stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities at the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you—for a price.

When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter is devastated. She won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the digital recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her life in the process.

This one is another book that I was interested in at first but lost traction in the middle of the book. The idea of having virtual reality experiences seemed creative and intriguing, so I went for it. But somewhere after Winter discovers that her sister is dead, I lost touch. Maybe it was because she has a blatant disregard for her own safety and the protection that her brother-figure provides?

Either way, I put it down for a few days and then want to see how it ended, so I flipped farther towards the back. I was then met with quite a shock as I had read just past a huge plot twist in the book, So I went back a few chapters to see how things had developed. While it did not drag me back into the world, I will give Stokes credit for the move. I certainly did not see that coming at all, and it provided and interesting take on the unreliable narrator character.

I can’t give out the spoiler moment, but I will say that at least Winter does experience a fair amount of character growth by the end. The plot is a bit convoluted and crazy, which maybe be part of why I wasn’t keyed in, but it was good all the same. Maybe not re-read material, but interesting the first time around.


If you liked this book, check this one out:

Dear Amy

A newspaper columnist receives a letter from a girl who was kidnapped many years ago.

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Blog Tour: Quantum State

Why hello there!

Today I have the chance to take a part of a blog tour for M. Black’s book Quantum State. Check out the book deets, an author interview, and even a giveaway below!


About The Book


Pub. Date: October 31, 2017
Publisher: Creativia
Pages: 209
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NTBD

In a distant future only known as year 61 of MAQS, the quiet utopian district of Cherni contains the perfect system. Everyone is assigned a duty, and life is harmonious directed by the chief quantum computer: MAQS. 

But Masha Mikhailov is not convinced of MAQS’ sincerity and is determined to escape. Aided by her best friend Esfir, Masha’s plans take a surprising turn when she is assigned to marry the Keeper, Kazimir. 

With both time and options running out, can Masha find her way out… or be forever trapped in the “perfect” life designated for her by the powerful AI?


About M. Black:

AmiM. Black is Ami Blackwelder and writes for the brand ENTER TOMORROW. She is a Montessori teacher, helps the deaf and hard of hearing, is an avid Pescetarian, believer in animal rights and wildlife conservation, and a lover of books. she is the author of the never-before-seen-concept Animal Graph, and dubs herself the ‘Robot Girl’ since many of her stories revolve around robots and A.I. She has a Siamese cat named Lotus from Thailand when she was an educator there and he shows up in all her robot books. She adopted a cat named Ash in the States who also shows up in all of her robot books. She loves reading on Kindle Unlimited and only buys paperback. She enjoys many vegetarian dishes like veggie lasagna and four bean chili. She also likes watching movies, gardening, the beach, and hanging out with friends. Of course most of the time you will find her at home, pounding away at her computer.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


Author Interview:

1. Where did you get the inspiration for Quantum State?

I saw a show on how a computer is predicting crimes in certain states and thought about what that would mean if a computer started doing that for everything.  How much freedom would we give up?

2. Do you have a favorite character or scene?

I love it when our main character realizes the truth of everything and is speaking in the final scenes with the powerful AI.

3. Any interesting projects in the works?

I am finishing up book three in the Electric Gardens series, a four part series. If you love Terminator, Logan’s Run, Maze Runner, Divergent…you will love this series. It is a world where robots control us and Lexi019, a teenager, is just trying to break out of the Compound she has been in for the last twelve years.

4. How long have you been writing and what made you start?

I’ve been writing since Elementary school. First short stories that developed into full length novels. I’ve been publishing since 2009.

5. What gets you in the mood to write?

Do you have a cozy nook or stop by the local coffee shop? Tea and my bed. A good cool breeze;)

6. What was the publishing process like for you?

I love writing. I don’t care for publishing or marketing. There is a lot of time spent I’d rather put toward writing.

7. Just for fun, what’s one thing not many people know about you?

I am mostly vegetarian, except for occasional fish.


Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

Ends on March 6th at Midnight EST!

Enter here!


Check out the other stops on the book tour!


2/19/2018 – Caffeine and Composition

2/20/2018 – Jrsbookreviews

2/21/2018 – Nay’s Pink Bookshelf

2/22/2018 – Savings in Seconds

2/23/2018 – Abooktropolis


2/26/2018 – Buried Under Books

2/27/2018 – Confessions of a YA Reader

2/28/2018 – Adventures Thru Wonderland

3/1/2018 – Cindy’s Love of Books

3/2/2018 – MNBernard Books


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Review Rendezvous: 2/10/18

Starswept by Mary Fan
Book stats:
Genre(s): Science fiction, romance, young adult
Medium: eBook
Number of pages: 432
Publish date: August 29th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon

SIn 2157, the Adryil—an advanced race of telepathic humanoids—contacted Earth. A century later, 15-year-old violist Iris Lei considers herself lucky to attend Papilio, a prestigious performing arts school powered by their technology. Born penniless, Iris’s one shot at a better life is to attract an Adryil patron. But only the best get hired, and competition is fierce.

A sudden encounter with an Adryil boy upends her world. Iris longs to learn about him and his faraway realm, but after the authorities arrest him for trespassing, the only evidence she has of his existence is the mysterious alien device he slipped to her.

When she starts hearing his voice in her head, she wonders if her world of backstabbing artists and pressure for perfection is driving her insane. Then, she discovers that her visions of him are real—by way of telepathy—and soon finds herself lost in the kind of impossible love she depicts in her music.

But even as their bond deepens, Iris realizes that he’s hiding something from her—and it’s dangerous. Her quest for answers leads her past her sheltered world to a strange planet lightyears away, where she uncovers secrets about Earth’s alien allies that shatter everything she knows.

This book was so lovely! I’m big on sci-fi stories that include a romance plot line, but you really have to be good at world-building to do this genre justice. Mary Fan has no problems in creating her world, and with such an interesting concept, it was hard to pass this one up!

This one has a very Cinderella-esque feel – what with the penniless beginning and the boy swooping in to save the day. But there is more to it than that, which I’m glad for. The music and art depicted here are so enthralling, I simply couldn’t get enough. And then don’t get me started on the love story.

The combination of Iris and Dámiul paints such a beautiful picture, I couldn’t put this book down for a second! I feel like the sweet, romantic moments really helped to flesh out the world and to keep everything from getting too scientific and sterile-feeling like some sci fi can be. Then of course there’s the issue with Iris being and earthling and Dámiul an Adryil, which can only cause problems.

Overall, I 100% enjoyed this book! Very grateful to have the chance to read it, and should there be more from Mary Fan in the future, I’d be excited to read it!

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


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Review Rendezvous: 9/9/17

Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, dystopia, science fiction
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 335
Publish date: November 6th, 2007
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

UnwindThe Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

The premise of this book is chilling to say the least. I can’t imagine parents who would willingly do this to a child, but it is still frightening. Shusterman has written quite a compelling series, as this is the debut book. I don’t believe I’ve read the last one yet, but I will have to get to it.

This book basically pits children from ages thirteen to eighteen against the world, because if they become “too much” of a troublemaker (and that line is always blurry), they can easily be shipped off and unwound into different people. ‘Technically’ the kids don’t die, so maybe that’s how they adults are okay with this. But, not everyone is, as there are the stirrings of a rebellion.

I must say, Connor is basically written to be the leadership type. His actions, decisions, and temperament all point to the fact that he’s meant to lead a group, whether it is just the three main characters or if it’s an entire group of children fighting against the wish that they be unwound.

There are so many things wrong with this society, and yet that’s what makes it compelling to read, to see the characters triumph over the circumstances. People can do this thing called “storking”, which is leaving a baby on someone’s doorstep and they are legally required to care for it since abortion is not allowed any longer. Sounds good in theory, until you realize that it brings unnecessary burden on families that many not be able to afford it or care for the child easily.

Either way, this is one of the first dystopian series I ever read, and I’m kind of surprised that it took me this long to write a review of it. But, I do plan on taking up the last book soon, so I’ve been refreshing my memory. Shusterman managed to get in on a trend at least a year or more before it began to blow up with the onset of the Hunger Games franchise, so I have to give him credit for jumping in on a previously unloved genre.

Also side note, there’s this very well done video on YouTube I stumbled across depicting and “unwinding”. It’s not graphic, but it’s still slightly frightening because of the sound effects and all. Fair warning. Feel free to check it out if you’re interested.


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