Tag Archives: family

Book Review: Nice Girls Don’t by Sue Barnard

Smashwords Edition Published July 14, 2014
Smashwords Edition
Published July 14, 2014

Its 1982 in Southern England and Emily, although content with her life, feels as if she isn’t going anywhere. One day working at the library, she meets a man named Carl,  looking for books to trace his family history. 

Fascinated by Carl and his mission to discover his Grandfather’s past, Emily digs deep to help him but finds the secrets to her past as well. 

Cute, short read. I wasn’t expecting much out of this but I got hooked. There is nothing too spectacular about this book. However, the author did tell a really good story.

I am a sucker for history and the fact that the author incorporated history without the constant facts each page or sentence, I thought was great. I loved the fact that it was personal and I wasn’t reading a text book. I also didn’t mind the fact that there wasn’t too much controversy within this book. Although it would have been perfect for a much more thrilling and longer read, it was good.

As for Emily, there wasn’t too much personality coming from her. I wish there was more emotion and she didn’t just take things as they were. I also wanted more from her relationship with her mother. This would have made the book perfect if there was more conflict.

The drama of the novel wasn’t as intense as the author made it seem to be and that was mainly because Emily just agreed to anything that happened. She reacted without much drama and I completely get why. But after a few chapters, I was like is she going to change her tone a bit. It was disappointing. However, I was into this book. Between the search for the truth, the use of a library, the bits of romance, the lack of technology . . . I couldn’t stop reading.

Overall, this read felt like a snippet to a bigger story.  It could have been perfect if the author just added more history, war, love and intensity. Despite all of this, I would recommend it.

3 Pickles



Book Review: Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

Feiwel & Friends To be published Oct. 4, 2016 336 Pages
Feiwel & Friends
To be published Oct. 4, 2016
336 Pages

Flynn’s girlfriend, January has disappeared and the cops are asking him questions he cannot answer. And her friends are telling stories, he has never heard of. Determined to discover the truth about his girlfriend, Flynn hunt down answers but with a secret of his own, he has to tread lightly.

 *Short review*

I am disappointed in this book. Not just from the summary but from the book itself. It started off really really good. But then the author feel right into the predictability. And he didn’t just fall slowly, but the downfall was really fast.

I hated Flynn. He was a jerk and he had no right even close to complain about January when he was using the mess out of her. He had this sense of entitlement as her boyfriend; he had no right and he pissed me off.

What made the story predictably was Flynn’s secret and what happened to January. It was such a typical turn of events. Yeah, it had its little oh moments but there wasn’t many. The way it was written despite the predictability was really good. I kept reading the book but it was a struggle because I knew what was going to happen. Roehrig has talent as a writer but this book would be best for someone who has never read this type of story before.

I can’t say much about the characters because they were predictable as well as the romance.

Overall, I would have probably enjoyed this book better if I read this before I read any other disappearing act stories.


2 Pickles

NetGalley Review: The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough

Jo Fletcher Books Originally Published 2009 144 Pages
Jo Fletcher Books
Originally Published 2009
144 Pages

A woman watches her father take his last breathes and while doing so, she relives the past week and thinks about what brought her family together and what tore them apart. As the middle child in a family of five, she has secrets; one in particularly that keeps her at her childhood home and that keeps her waiting for the darkness. 

*Short review for a short novel*

Dangggg Tanya, what’s with you and these short stories?!!? I know I have said constantly that I do not enjoy short stories and yet I keep reading them. I don’t know why I do it but I do it.

So anyway, I actually really like Ms. Pinborough’s writing, which is why I requested this book. She can paint a pretty picture or in this case a chilling picture.

I liked this short read but I did feel it was very dull and drawn out. This feeling had nothing to do with the fact that from beginning to end, we are waiting for a man to die. It comes from the lack of color from the narrator or even the other characters. I did not expect it in present time but more so from the past. It was even hinted at one point but the that was it. I get the whole point of this book is to be despair but some kind of life would have made this book perfect and much more chilling.

Beyond, this I liked the creativity shown in this book. I like what the author was able to draw out of the story and I really loved how she made this much bigger than simply a daughter watching her father die alone. There is so much depth to this 144 page story, you can’t help but be in awe.

The pace could be improved but I am not complaining that much. Overall,

3 Pickles

Children’s Book Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Algonquin Young Readers To Be Published Aug. 9, 2016 400 Pages
Algonquin Young Readers
To Be Published Aug. 9, 2016
400 Pages

Once a year, the Protectorate leave a baby as a sacrifice to the witch that lives in the woods in exchange that she will not bother the town. But the witch, Xan, is nothing short of kind. Not understanding why the people of Protectorate do this every year, she brings the baby she finds to a family in the surround towns.

But one year is different. Xan finds a baby she is unable to let go and she feeds her moonlight instead of starlight and the child is filled with unfathomable amounts of magic. To keep, Luna, her new child safe, she locks her magic to be released when she is 13 years old. But when Xan is away the magic begins to release. 

At the same time a man from Protectorate, looks for the witch to save his people from the agony experienced each year. What is Luna to do when everything she comes to love is slowly slipping away. 

As a disclaimer, I need to say that if you are an Adult reading YA books, this book is not for you. This is for middle schoolers/children and it is written as such.

I am grateful that I was approved for the arc via Netgalley because this is such a cute, creative and entertaining read. I highly recommend it for children, who are getting into fantasy.

Its a detailed and complex story but not too complicated where someone will feel lost or feel as if something was missed. The pace was surprisingly great. I expected a slow book because it was a children’s read but also because Xan is the most self-sacrificing witch, I have ever read. She gives everything to Luna and to the people that sort her help. But what kept the book interesting was the switching of narratives. You move from Xan, Luna, the man looking to kill, a swamp monster named Glerk and a dragon named Fyrian. This kept the book interesting and I like that.

Luna, throughout the book, was still developing i.e. that is why this book is considering coming of age. Therefore, I will not dig deep into her personality. What I can say it the character development for her was done very appropriately. Luna was the main focus but she didn’t become the main character til closer to the end of the book. This isn’t a issue at all. Kudos to the author.

The book did take some time to get going and I also feel that there wasn’t enough intensity coming from the past. I would have liked more drama, considering Xan had a heck of a life; a little history would have helped as well.

Overall, recommended read for the kiddos.

4 Pickles

Book Review: Sister Dear by Laura McNeill

Thomas Nelson To Be Published April 19, 2016 336 Pages
Thomas Nelson
To Be Published April 19, 2016
336 Pages

Allie Marshall was convicted of a crime she did not commit and after years behind bars, she is finally free and back home in Brunswick, Georgia. But the welcome she was hoping for, especially from her daughter Caroline, didn’t come as expected.

Now determined to get her life back and discover the truth about what really happen that night, Allie digs into the pass of her small town, not realizing she is going to uncover the biggest secret hidden by her sister. 

Shout-out to Netgalley for recommending this amazing read. The summary doesn’t give much away and it sounds pretty cliche but I figured why not step out my YA zone and read something different. I am glad I did.

McNeill can write and this is first noticed in the pace of the novel. Although a bit slow and dull at times, she wrote in a way that keep me wanting to know what happens next. I wouldn’t exactly say this novel is suspenseful but I would say that it keeps your attention once it truly gets moving.

I enjoyed the character details. I didn’t feel that it was too much or too little. Everyone had a role to play and they played it well. Despite these two big things, I did have some qualms about this book.

For starters, I felt that Allie didn’t do much to discover the truth. Her being there caused things to unravel and ultimately the truth to come out. This is not to say that detective work wasn’t done but it wasn’t done intensively, I guess I should say. I also felt that Allie wasn’t too concerned about the truth until her daughter (who I didn’t like very much) threw a challenge in her face. I had expected her to have her boots on the ground almost immediately when she got home but no; it took some time (this wasn’t too bad but it showed a lack of necessity for a woman, who lost most of her life being in prison).

Secondly, predictability was there.  You knew something from almost the beginning was weird about everyone that wasn’t family. (I’m just going to leave that there).

Lastly, Allie’s ex-fiance is a butt.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. I wish for more intensity but I am not complaining at all with how the book was written.


4 Pickles. 


Book Review: Wendy Darling: Stars (Wendy Darling #1) by Colleen Oakes

Sparkpress Published Oct. 13, 2015 256 Pages
Published Oct. 13, 2015
256 Pages

Wendy Darling lives a comfortable life with her parents and brothers in the wealthy part of London. But when she begins to fall for a bookseller’s son, she realizes what her family is willing to do to keep their status in society.

One night when her parents are off at a ball, a boy comes into the room Wendy shares with her brothers through the window. The boy is Peter Pan and he promises them an adventure like no other. 

Falling completely over his charm, Wendy and the boys follow Pan to Neverland. But all isn’t what it seems once they get there. Wendy has a hard time remembering the life she had before she flew out the window and as Pan captures her heart she realizes there is a darker side to the magical world and the boy who controls it.

*Short Review*

I never understood the hype over Peter Pan. *Shrugs* it isn’t one of my go to classic children tales. But I was intrigued by seeing the darker side of Pan. I was hoping for some creepiness not a lot considering that is not the type of book this is but something that would make me go “ooooo.” There is a certain type of excitement seeing the good guy finally showing the jerk he really is.

While reading this book you have to keep in mind that Wendy is a child not a child adult but a child, who for most purposes, lived a privilege life. So like any child if you don’t get what you want you have a fit but when you find a new toy you forget what you had a fit about. That is Wendy in regards to her love life. I just wanted to put that out there.

I didn’t like the pace of the novel. The story was creeping by with each page. Wendy didn’t provide much help because she didn’t have much of a personality. I didn’t care for her relationship with her brothers because they turned on her the moment they could, especially John.

I felt that the story needed more than just Peter Pan and although the author does eventually give more life to the story, I couldn’t get into it. I also felt the author used Peter Pan way too much as a clutch for the story; there wasn’t enough originality.


2 Pickles

NetGalley Review: Salvage by Duncan Ralston

Forsaken Publishing To Be Published Nov. 10, 2015 Kindle 304 pages
Forsaken Publishing
To Be Published Nov. 10, 2015
Kindle 304 pages

Thirty years earlier Peace Falls was flooded to build a dam leaving ruins under Chapel Lake. A pastor and his parishioners have strangely disappeared, leaving a town divided and haunted.

Owen Saddler is a loner; not very close to his mother and hates his Step-Father. All he has is his little sister, Lori. When she mysteriously drowns at the “haunted” waters of Chapel Lake he decides to follow in her footsteps and discover the truth. 

This was a creepy book. But it was good despite some issues.

It is slightly hard for me to rate the characters within this book because for the most part I have no idea why the author describes Owen as a loner, mama’s boy for most of the book. Owen it in very easily with people and although he was feeling some type of way about life he wasn’t as depressing as described, even when he was by himself.

I liked Owen not as a accelerator of the story but as average guy; because to be perfectly honest he isn’t spectacular and the events that happen to him when they do happen are lack luster. The tension you feel through the entire book isn’t fixed by amazing dramatic scenes if nothing else you wish for more . . . I wished for.

As for the other characters .  .  . there wasn’t enough about them for me to feel that if they were missing from the book I would be upset. Even the “romance” didn’t add anything or make Owen more human.

The book was slow and this was because of the lack luster drama scenes. Do not get me wrong it was creepy and almost scary but there wasn’t enough to give this book a higher rating.

However, the author Ralston, can write. Although it took me a while, I finished the book and I liked it. He was able to pull me into the tension, give me goosebumps and make me semi content with the ending.

Overall I did like the book despite the issues I had.

3 Pickles

NetGalley Review: Darkest Dawn (Willows Lake, #1) by Katlyn Duncan

HarperCollins Publishers, Carina UK Published Sept. 17, 2015 175 Pages
HarperCollins Publishers, Carina UK
Published Sept. 17, 2015
175 Pages

11 years after the death of her mother Sloane Baker returns to Willows Lake to discover the truth about her mother’s accident. What she isn’t expecting to find is someone that looks exactly like her. Brianna Taylor has lived her entire life in Willows Lake and her world has seemed safe and secure until she sees Sloane.

Unable to figure out how they are connected, Sloane and Brianna must find the truth about each other and find a way to save their life and the life of those they love.

Not a bad read. *Nods head in approval*  Let’s get straight into this.

Sloane is awesome; fierce no bull type of girl. Brianna is her soft spoken other half. I loved how the author showed this without having to say it.  Did Brianna get annoying after a while? Yes, she did. The author wrote her as this fragile girl that needs to be protected even from the littlest things. Not my cup of tea.

I liked the fact that author didn’t go with the most obvious reasoning for Sloane and Brianna’s existence. It minimize the predictability and it made me want to read the second book. I had some issues though with the surrounding characters. Their feelings didn’t seem genuine and in some scenes it felt like they were forced to be there.

The romance in the story could have been a lot stronger. Actually all the relationships in the story could have been stronger. Especially Sloane’s relationship with her dad. His appearance was lack luster, his “anger” or outrage was fake and I didn’t appreciate how the author made him come and go all within two pages.

The ending was a mess. It was like the author wasn’t sure how to end it since this was a series, so she gave the simplest ending possible. I wanted more much much more.

However, despite this I liked the book. The pace was great even though I would have preferred a little more action. I am hoping the author does more character development in the next book; not necessarily with Sloane and Brianna but with the surrounding characters.

3 Pickles


Graphic Novel Review: This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator)

First Second  Published May 6, 2014 320 Pages
First Second
Published May 6, 2014
320 Pages

Every summer Rose and her parents go to Awago beach, their escape from the world. There Rose’s friend Windy wakes, whom like herself visits during the summer. Their relationship is like family and they cannot wait for the summer.

But Rose’s parents won’t stop fighting and the distance between Rose and her mother is growing. So Rose and Windy are left to themselves and by doing so these girls grow up a bite faster than necessary. 

I was not expecting such an intense read. This is a really powerful book about family and growth.

Firstly, I have to point out Windy. She is a plus size girl that dances eats and isn’t self conscious about her weight. I love it because she just enjoys herself and its interesting because when there was doubt regarding herself it was when Rose made a point to show that Windy either doesn’t take things seriously or isn’t honest enough in regards to other people’s issues.  I loved Windy.

Rose is having issues with her family and its really because she is left out of the know and the tension between herself and her mom is rough. Its hard to really see the relationship she had before this summer with her mom because she talks about her dad and how close they are. Its not to say she doesn’t love her mother but the relationship was tough to see. Her mother is going through a rough time individually which is causing issues for her husband as well as Rose.

Now the book is a coming of age because the girls talk about sex and boys. Rose finds herself infatuated with an older boy, who is a clerk at a store. Because of this infatuation Rose and Windy are exposed to adult themes and although neither act on these themes it makes them think about when they go home.

The art work was extremely detailed. It was beautiful and you cannot help but appreciate the effort the illustrator put into it. Its amazing and even after I finished reading a section, I would go back to the art that is how important it became.

Overall, a recommended read that leaves you wanting for more

3.5 Pickles

Graphic Novel Review: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Artist)

Image Comics Published Oct. 23, 2012 160 Pages
Image Comics
Published Oct. 23, 2012
160 Pages


Two soldiers on the opposite side of a never ending war fall in love. And by bringing new life into the war filled world, danger is at their every turn.

Where have I been that I completely missed this graphic novel for the past two years?

Take a look at this cover. The details, the realism (minus the horns an the wings) and most importantly the intensity. The artwork throughout this entire book is intense and pulls as much emotion out of you as the story does.

It is a extremely brilliant and you can really see the care the artist and the author took when creating this.

The plot was interesting and at first I didn’t think I would enjoy it but the author reeled me in with curiosity. Marko and Alana have a strange chemistry that seems like love hate but it really isn’t as you get deeper in the novel.

I love the complexities of each character even though you find out more about their past in the second book. I also cannot get over the fact of how human they are. They are more human than most human characters I read. It is a beautiful display of emotions

Overall, I am only on book 3 of the series and it is one of the most captivating graphic novels I have read in a long time.

5 Pickles.