Review Rendezvous: 12/1/18


The Color of Lies by C. J. Lyons
Book stats:
Genre(s): Mystery, young adult, thriller
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 336
Publish date: November 6th, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

TCoLHigh school senior Ella Cleary has always been good at reading people. Her family has a rare medical condition called synesthesia that scrambles the senses—her Gram Helen sees every sound, and her uncle Joe can literally taste words. Ella’s own synesthesia manifests itself as the ability to see colors that reveal people’s true emotions…until she meets a guy she just can’t read.

Alec is a mystery to Ella, a handsome, enigmatic young journalist who makes her feel normal for the first time in her life. That is, until he reveals the real reason why he sought her out—he wants to learn the truth behind her parents’ deaths, the parents that Ella had always been told died in a fire. Alec turns Ella’s world upside down when he tells her their deaths were definitely not an accident.

After learning her entire life has been a lie, Ella doesn’t know who she can trust or even who she really is. With her adoptive family keeping secrets and the evidence mixing fact and fiction, the only way for Ella to learn the truth about her past is to find a killer.

First thought: love the cover! Something about the simplicity of the vibrant text on the black speaks to me. Good thing though, the simplicity stops at the cover because this is one book that I definitely enjoyed reading. There are so many good twists and turns!

The story is set in first person, as most YA usually are, but I love the concept of synesthesia thrown in, because you can never really be certain if she is “seeing” the true emotions. Ella has come to depend on the colors a lot, so when a new person who doesn’t show color appears, things are a little different than her norm. Plus this new boy is bringing in ideas about how there might be murder involved, and who’s not up for a good mystery?

Most YA books include a romance, and this is no exception, however it didn’t end up taking over the whole storyline, which I liked. There was enough in the background to still draw me in and yet I liked the investigation being front and center. Overall, definitely recommend!

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

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 11/17/18


Music Boxes by Tonja Drecker
Book stats:
Genre(s): Middle grade, mystery, thriller
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 155
Publish date: March 5th, 2019

MB“I only desire your talent…”

Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay’s biggest dream is to be a famous ballerina. But after moving to New York, she ends up at the Community Center with a teacher who’s a burly bear in tights.
When she meets Madame Destinée, the teacher of a top dance school who offers her classes for free, Lindsey can’t believe her luck. In exchange, she must perform in the school’s exclusive midnight shows, ones sure to make her a star. But something’s not right…
One by one, the other dancers disappear. Each time they do, a music box with a figurine just like the missing ballerina joins Madame Destinée’s growing collection. If Lindsey doesn’t discover the truth about the dance school, she might end up a tiny figurine herself.

Raise your hand if you’re a non-dancer who’s ever thought of how cool, fun, and amazing being a ballerina/tap dancer/etc would be? That would definitely include me, many times over. Even though this book is a middle grade piece with less pages than I normally read, I still did enjoy the story as a whole.

I loved the intricacies of the sibling relationship that was included. It resonated be since I have a younger sister of my own. I do question the fact that Lindsey’s sister is able to attend college at eight years old, even if she is a musical prodigy. But, there will always need to be some suspension of disbelief in stories, so that kind of detail is not a deal breaker.

There also wasn’t much, if any, romance involved, which I thought was good since it is targeted at a younger age group. I’ve read so much YA drenched in cliched love triangles and lover’s spats that I liked following the story of just a main character without romantic interest for once.

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

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 10/27/18


The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo
Book stats:
Genre(s): Historical fiction, fantasy, retelling
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 416
Publish date: October 2nd, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

TSoKVTWhen Ichabod Crane arrives in the spooky little village of Sleepy Hollow as the new schoolmaster, Katrina Van Tassel is instantly drawn to him. Through their shared love of books and music, they form a friendship that quickly develops into romance. Ichabod knows that as an itinerant schoolteacher of little social standing, he has nothing to offer the wealthy Katrina – unlike her childhood friend-turned-enemy, Brom Van Brunt, who is the suitor Katrina’s father favors.

But when romance gives way to passion, Ichabod and Katrina embark on a secret love affair, sneaking away into the woods after dark to be together – all while praying they do not catch sight of Sleepy Hollow’s legendary Headless Horseman. That is, until All Hallows’s Eve, when Ichabod suddenly disappears, leaving Katrina alone and in a perilous position.

Enlisting the help of her friend – and rumored witch – Charlotte Jansen, Katrina seeks the truth of Ichabod Crane’s disappearance, investigating the forest around Sleepy Hollow using unconventional – often magical – means. What they find forces Katrina to question everything she once knew, and to wonder if the Headless Horseman is perhaps more than just a story after all. In Alyssa Palombo’s The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel nothing is as it seems, and love is a thing even death won’t erase.

I loved the spookiness of this book right off the bat. I also have not read a historical fiction in forever, so I enjoyed getting back into this genre. Honestly, this is the perfect book for Halloween time.

There’s a great blend of retelling and fresh, new content with the romance side. I did notice the attraction popped up pretty quickly, but it didn’t bug me too much overall. There is definitely a bit of the “I’m my own person, I’ll do what I want” attitude that may be a bit cliche for historical romance heroines. On the flip side though, it’s also nice that she’s not just a doormat that lets people walk all over her.

The beginning may have been a bit slow, but overall I think this is a really good read. It’s perfect to curl up on the couch with a warm blanket and hot drink in the fall/Halloween season 🙂

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

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 6/30/18


Top Choice by Sophie McAloon
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young Adult, dystopian, romance
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 330
Publish date: April 16th, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository

TCAs a future leader of the female-led regime her grandmother fought hard to establish, Alice Kearns is no stranger to pressure. Being the best in a society where women are expected to be high-achieving is the only option her powerful mother has ever accepted for her, and now that Ali’s a senior in high school, the pressure to succeed is greater than ever. But fortunately, as of her eighteenth birthday, Ali has a place to blow off steam: she’s finally allowed into the Choice Clubs.

Filled with an enticing mix of music, drinks and gorgeous guys, the Choice Clubs were founded to ensure that smart girls wouldn’t get distracted in their real lives by anything as trivial as a shallow crush or a pretty face. Choice guys are fun, flirty, and the perfect eye candy, but Ali would never dream of actually falling for one—until she meets Tag.

Tag McPhail is Top Choice. With his mischievous grin and chiseled abs, he is exactly the kind of boy that Ali’s mother believes needs to be kept contained. But after he kisses Ali at the Choice Club, she suddenly sees him everywhere—and she’s surprised to learn that there’s more to him than his perfect looks. Tag is sweeter, smarter, and funnier than Ali ever expected… and, she soon discovers, he’s also dangerous. Because Tag leads a double life: when he’s not working at the clubs, he’s leading a rebel group trying to overturn the girl power society that the women in Ali’s family have worked so hard to put in place.

Getting closer to Tag upends everything Ali thought she knew. But will she betray everything she was raised to protect for a guy she’s not even sure she can trust?

In the current setting of politics and shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, this book was quite the interesting shift in perspective. Too often we see dystopians where female characters are put down and treated improperly, but what if it was the other way around? There is plenty of objectifying of not just women but men as well, so what if it was all combined in a future society?

That premise alone is what drew me to this book. The writing style was well done and easy to follow. I enjoyed the descriptions of setting and character, and McAloon seems to be able to get into her character’s heads well. She did well with fitting her character’s attitudes and personalities to the society they’ve grown up in, instead of taking characters that existed in today’s society and tried to fit them with a future government.

There were plenty of surprises to keep me on my toes which I highly enjoyed. There’s always a rebel group going against power in futuristic settings, and this one is no different. But the fact that the main love interest has a double life just brings depth to his character instead of him being the typical ‘cute boy’ stereotype that the others like him seem to fall into.

Overall, great work. Would definitely read this one again.

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

Rating:

HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 4/4/18


Today I have the chance to review Antipodes by Michele Bacon for her blog tour! Check out the giveaway down below.

Antipodes by Michele Bacon
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young Adult, contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 288
Publish date: April 3rd, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

AntipodesWhen Erin Cerise steps off her plane in Christchurch, New Zealand, she is focused intently on her mission: do something unique that will erase the mess she made of her life on her 17th birthday. She’s already lost her swim team captainship, her boyfriend Ben, and her reputation. Her mother is certain studying abroad will regain Erin’s chances of a good future. Once Erin sees her uninspiring host family and city, though, she’s not so sure.

Before Christchurch, Erin wasn’t always intense and focused. Years ago, a mission sounded like a fun adventure, and the only ivy she cared about was the stuff growing around her grandparents’ back porch at their peaceful Upper Peninsula home. When had her priorities gone upside down?

Now Erin balks at NZ’s itchy school uniforms, cold houses, and her hosts’ utter inability to pronounce her name correctly. Christchurch does boast amazing rock climbing, gorgeous scenery, and at least one guy who could make her forget Ben if she lets him. With months ahead of her, Erin slowly begins to draw on the years behind her, one step back into her memories at a time. As she rebuilds her life from the other side of the world, she finds that when life turns your world upside down and you’re far from home, every way you move takes you closer to where you came from.

The first thing that intrigued me about this book was the setting. If you’ve ever heard of a tiny little film series by the name of the Lord of the Rings, you have seen what it looks like. So of course I had to take a peek at a book set in such a beautiful place. And the fact that the author spent time there herself also means that she has the first person experience to weave into the book.

I will admit, the character comes off a bit snotty and entitled in the beginning. She’s focused on everything she’s lost, which is quite a bit to be fair. She’s also angling for the Ivy League acceptance, which can take a lot of work. Slowly she manages to turn things around though, and realizes life may not be all about what she’d gotten wrapped up in.

The writing style is quite lovely as well, I enjoyed the voice that Bacon uses. The contrast between current time and flashback chapters also allows for an interesting point of view. She also does very well in showing the growth of several characters, and they quickly endear themselves to you.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart

About Michele:

MicheleI was born in Trumbull County, the only square county in Ohio, where books were my favorite means of escaping an unhappy childhood. Writing was my transparent attempt to create the things I craved: big happy families, international adventures and unconditional friendship. From a young age, I was drawn to people’s stories, and I still want to know how you met your best friend or fell in love with your partner.

In high school, I embraced my inner geek and wrote my first novel. In college, there were short stories and still more novels. I graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in English, with concentrations in critical theory and creative writing.

Full-time work sapped my creative brain for several years, but my professional life was one of reinvention. In state government, business management consulting, and nonprofit fundraising, I adapted easily and absorbed the languages of different professions. My last paying job was as an independent fundraising consultant for nonprofit organizations. That was seven years ago.

Since then, I have been writing and traveling (and, let’s be honest, chasing down small people who don’t like to wear clothes). I’ve traveled to all 50 states and dozens of other countries, always collecting pieces of characters and ideas for stories. I recently spent a year on sabbatical in Christchurch, New Zealand, where I may have left my heart at Ilam School. Now that we’ve settled back in the States, I’m writing for adults and young adults, exploring the Pacific Northwest, and baking like a fiend. (You’d thinking baking would be the same everywhere, but it’s not. Something is different about kiwi butter.)

When an idea strikes, I scrawl sweeping plot outlines, character idiosyncrasies, and ideas for scenes on the nearest blank spot of paper. My current manuscript was born of those torn slips of paper, used envelopes, lollipop wrappers, fuel receipts and–once–that little paper bit that keeps a nursing pad sticky until it’s time to use it. My manuscripts are better than the quality of papers where they began. Promise.

Outside of writing, I am a tabletop game enthusiast, passionate skier, and lover of prime numbers. I also am a mentor at the Moving Words Writing Clinic, and a freelance copyeditor.

I live in Seattle with my husband and three growing children.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy ANTIPODES, US Only. Enter here.

ANTIPODES


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