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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Review Rendezvous: 2/17/18

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Book stats:
Genre(s): Dystopian, classic, feminist
Medium: Kindle
Number of pages: 324
Publish date: February 17, 1986
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository Barnes and Noble

HandmaidThe Handmaid’s Tale is not only a radical and brilliant departure for Margaret Atwood, it is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men of its population.

The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid’s Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.

This book has been on my to-read list for quite a long time. Like, four years long. Not going to lie, I forced myself to finally pick it up because the TV show was coming out in May of this year, so I had to read it before I saw the series. Holy cow, there is so much going on here! It’s also kinda frightening because though it is pretty far off from our current society, it really would not take too many steps with the wrong people in power to get there. But, no more of my political views, this is a book blog after all.

The narrator, Offred, used to be a normal U.S. woman, but that all changed when the Republic of Gilead took over. She is no longer allowed to read, speak her mind, and must hope that somehow she becomes pregnant. She, at first, is just trying to survive with her new way of life, keeping her head down and staying away from anything that causes trouble. Slowly but surely, she begins to break away from the status quo. Nothing too overt at first, but then she is off doing highly illegal things that would get her hung should anyone find out.

Honestly, the only thing I could think while I was reading this is how terrified I would be. There’s no possible way that it was easy for Offred to stand up like that, but when you get to the point where risking your life is better than living with your head down, you know something is wrong. I applaud the way Atwood was able to portray a strong woman in such a society. The theocracy taken to the extreme is very disturbing, and Atwood was still able to create a character that so many people identify with. The handmaid costume has also become very symbolic, and I have to say the book is considered a classic for a reason.


If you like this book, check this one out:

The Jewel

Violet is about to be stripped of her name and identity, her only purpose to produce an heir for the elite.


Every girl gets at tattoo at sixteen, showing she’s ready for sex, but there’s a dark side to this world touting pleasure and excitement…













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Review Rendezvous: 11/25/17

A Bad Day For Sorry by Sophie Littlefield
Book stats:
Genre(s): Mystery, thriller
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 288
Publish date: August 4th, 2009
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

Bad DayStella Hardesty, our salty, unlikely heroine, runs a sewing shop in rural Missouri. She also has a side business helping battered women with their abusive boyfriends and husbands. When Chrissy Shaw asks Stella for help, it seems like a straightforward case, until Chrissy’s no-good husband disappears with her two-year-old son. Now Stella finds herself in a battle against a more formidable enemy as she risks her own life to recover the boy.

I had such high hopes. So high. After coming down from the amazing-ness that is Kelly Oram’s books, I jumped into this one, and was supremely disappointed. Nothing against the book, but I had envisioned the protagonist quite a bit different than she actually is.

Stella Hardesty is an older (I believe 40s or 50s?) woman on her own in Missouri. She’s taken it upon herself to stop men from beating up on their wives and girlfriends, which would be fine, but she delivers “justice” however she see’s fit. From the review I wrote of “Premeditated” by Josie L McQuein, you should know that I really don’t like characters that take justice into their own hands.

I tried, I really did. This is another of the books that I read precisely two chapters and proceeded to skim the rest so I could decipher the plot. There was a twist at the end, but unlike other books where the twist has hooked me and I go back to read, there was no saving this book.

I’ll be chalking this one up to an unsuccessful finish, and it may interest you in a different way, it’s just not my cup of tea.


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Review Rendezvous: 11/18/17

Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, romance
Medium: Kindle
Number of pages: 254
Publish date: August 15th, 2014
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

CinderIt’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder. 

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.

That cover design though. Can anyone say adorable? So much better than the original one. With that said, remember how I adored last week’s book so much that I could buy it and read it six million times over? Yeah. Double that excitement for this book. I am a former Disney Cast Member, so anything remotely fairytale-related immediately strikes me. I will say though, I am all for those who actually put a spin on the tale (I’m looking at you, Lunar Chronicles), and I would say that this series does a fairly good job.

Ella begins by moving into a new home, which she was essentially given no option out of. She has scarring on much of her body, leaving her a bit of a social outcast and in pain fairly often. Her new family is certainly unwelcoming, though her dad does try. The relationships in her life are quite dismal, so it is a relief when things begin to look up for her.

On the other side of this story, we also see things through the viewpoint of Brian Oliver, resident Hollywood bad boy trying to clean up his image. He’s been forced into a fake relationship in order to resuscitate his public face, in hopes that he become a legitimate Hollywood A-lister.

The two know each other through Ella’s blog, with Brian only communicating under the screen name “Cinder”. With names like Cinder and Ella, you know it’s only a matter of time before they get together. I will admit though, there are quite a few obstacles in their way, and meeting face to face may in fact send Ella spiraling back to where she came from instead of providing the healing she most desperately needs.

I love this story so much, because there’s so much focus on character growth and their reaction to the situations. There’s also something to be said about the fact that they actually have a relationship beforehand, so there’s no case of instalove (which turns me off of a book big time). This is the first book in a duology, so fear not if you feel like you need more. There is a full-blown sequel that is even more adorable. If that’s possible.

I read both this series and the V is for Virgin series on Kindle Unlimited, so if you’ve haven’t tried it, you can get a 30-day trial. Or just sign up for a month or two because these books are seriously worth it!


If you liked this book, check these ones out:


Another feel-good romance from Kelly Oram


The story of what happens after the glass slipper


It’s Cinderella, but as a cyborg in SPACE!








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