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: 11/24/18


The Haunting at Ice Pine Peak by Wendelin Gray
Book stats:
Genre(s): Fantasy, mystery
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 546
Publish date: 2015
Purchase: Amazon

THaIPPTrouble is brewing in the province of Ling-xiu when the murder of an elderly queen sends young Princess Bingsong into exile at a forgotten mountain villa. When a series of hauntings begins and she finds her father’s old diary, Bingsong, her handsome bodyguard Azuma, the villa’s mysterious steward LimTamm, and teenage servant girls Peitho and Lysithe are drawn into a 400 year old murder mystery hinted at by a string of small nightingale paintings. Bingsong’s struggle against an arranged marriage merges with the sinister history of the villa, the site of a massacre spurred by the rivalry between two temple acolytes. As corrupt security forces led by the province’s head magician Kimon are poised to take over the capital and eliminate Bingsong’s puppet king father, Kimon awakens an ancient evil in his quest to find the ruins of the drowned palace of Zu-bai, once the home of the world’s most powerful magician. As the epic battle between the spirits on the mountain is set to span two provinces, Bingsong and her friends must delve into the ancient history of the neighboring province of Zu-dang in order to lay to rest the grudges of the past.

Not gonna lie, there was a lot going on in this book. most of it did end up flowing together very well, but at the same time maybe there was a bit too much? I’m all for action- or detail-packed storylines, I usually even prefer them over the simpler contemporary storylines, but this one had a bit more than I would’ve liked.

That is not to say that the story is bad, however. I am a big fan of Asian culture, art, and influences (my dream as a kid was to spend time in China and Japan) so I highly enjoyed those influences in this book. The writing was also beautiful, even if it did take me a while to read through everything because the print was a bit smaller than usual. But Once I adjusted to that, everything was great.

I’d say this book is great for people looking for a bit of fantasy, magic, and Asian influence all together in one. It’s not a book that everyone will love, but it is wonderfully crafted either way.

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: 5/26/18


The Ride Delegate: Memoir of a Walt Disney World VIP Tour Guide by Annie Salisbury
Book stats:
Genre(s): Nonfiction, memoir
Medium: Kindle
Number of pages: 170
Publish date: September 7th, 2014
Purchase: Amazon

Ride DelegateThe rich and famous experience Disney World differently from the rest of us: they’re escorted by VIP Tour Guides, elite Cast Members who truly do hold the keys to the kingdom. Annie Salisbury was one of these Cast Members, in charge of making the very best magic for those who could afford it. In The Ride Delegate, her memoir of life as a Disney World VIP tour guide, Annie shares some of her most memorable experiences:

  • The Middle Eastern royal family who needed a room at the Contemporary where all thirty-seven of them could pray, right now.
  • The wealthy woman who used cancer as an excuse for why her family should be able to ride It’s a Small World until they were ready to get off
  • The mysterious VIP (dubbed “Dr. No” by Annie) who arrived for his afternoon tour in a private plane at a private airport in the swamp
  • The famous football player who didn’t understand why he couldn’t ride Universal’s Incredible Hulk Coaster at EPCOT
  • Plus, you’ll learn about the perks and privileges of being a VIP Tour Guide, from corn dogs to illicit cash, and the lengths to which Disney will go to keep its VIP guests happy

Come get a taste of what Disney World is like for those with deep pockets—and personalities to match—and meet the eccentric, outrageous guests who turned Annie’s dream job into a reality show.

Now, this is waaaaaaay off the type of book I usually read. Well, I’ve actually read quite a few of this type, but that was back when I was preparing for my experience with the Disney College Program, which you can read about and watch videos on various platforms. So basically, before I go on, I will warn you that this review comes from someone who knows the situation all too well and has experienced the behind the scenes. It may “break the magic” for you, as some say, but I think it’s hilarious as all get out, so  the choice is up to you.

I love Annie’s voice and writing style. That’s one of the first things that stuck out to me. I opened this book kinda as a ‘meh’ read because it was on my suggestions for Kindle Unlimited, and boy did that suggestion work well. I blew through it in two hours (of course, I had to work when I was halfway through the book, which sucked, but I quickly got back to it after my shift).

She has so many anecdotes and hilarious stories, it is so worth the read. This book is memoir-style, so I can’t really critique plot or characters or anything since the whole thing is real. The fluidity between the chapters could be worked on a bit and there are a few minor spelling errors, but otherwise an all-around good read. If the “behind the scenes” of Walt Disney World has ever interested you, I think you’d enjoy this.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 5/12/18


A Grey Sun by S. J. Sherwood
Book stats:
Genre(s): Science fiction, dystopian, young adult
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 432
Publish date: November 16th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository – Barnes & Noble

TDA convicted Denounced, sentenced to death.

When sixteen-year-old Ned is wrongly convicted and kidnapped to a secret location, he meets ninety ‘Denounced’, and a terrifying truth begins to unfold – one that will change the world forever. 

Forced to lead a Pod of five, Ned begins to realise thousands of lives could depend upon him. A survivor by nature, he now has to face his past, confront his destiny, and fight a System that has never lost.

A Grey Sun is the first in a three-part series following six Denounced teenagers as they struggle to live in a world where a simple mistake will cost you your life…

I don’t think I will ever be able to get enough dystopians ever. This particular genre is easily my most read, and it is likely because I was getting fully immersed in the reading world just as series like Hunger Games and Divergent were making huge waves, which brought many more authors to that genre. Today I’m reviewing A Grey Sun, the first in a new dystopian series. I will admit, upon first glance I feel like the cover could have been better, but that could also be just me. It kinda works as a more minimalistic cover however, so to each their own.

Getting into this book, there is really no easing in. You are dumped into the action from the very first page, where the main character Ned is rescued (?) from certain death. But then he goes on to a training camp, and you begin to wonder if this rescue was really better than dying. Especially when there’s still a chance he could die anyways.

There’s quite a cast of characters, bringing to mind a series like The Maze Runner. But, despite all of the similarities to other dystopians, this new series has a good chance to stand on its own. We learn just enough about the world to be drawn in, but there is plenty of space to learn more in later books, which is very important if an author wants to sustain a series.

I honestly found the “mother figure” a bit creepy and strange, something just felt off about her. But I suppose that’s the point, as you go the entire book wondering if she really has the best interests at heart for these kids.

I’m definitely interested in reading another of these books, I want to know how the story ends!

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

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


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