Tag Archives: NetGalley Review

Book Tour: Phoenix Fire by S.D. Grimm

Entangled: Teen
March 5th 2018
432 Pages

After spending her life in foster care, Ava has finally found home. But all it takes is a chance encounter with hot nerd Wyatt Wilcox for it to unravel.

Now, things are starting to change. First, the flashes of memories slowly creeping in. Memories of other lives, lives that Wyatt is somehow in. Then, the healing. Any cut? Gone.

But when Cade and Nick show up, claiming to be her brothers, things get even weirder. They tell her she’s a Phoenix, sent to protect the world from monsters—monsters she never knew existed. It’s a little hard to accept. Especially when they tell her she has to end the life of a Phoenix turned rogue, or Cade will die.

With Wyatt’s increasingly suspicious behavior, Ava’s determined to figure out what he’s hiding. Unless she can discover Wyatt’s secret in time and complete her Phoenix training, she’ll lose the life, love, and family she never thought she could have.-Goodreads

Jumping right into this, I had an issue with Ava. For someone who has spent most of her life in foster care, she is a brat and that is the first impression you get from her. She claims to love her new family so much, that she throws a tantrum and throws it in their face that she is not blood. Its horrible really and for the rest of the book, it left a bad taste in my mouth and I generally did not like or care for her throughout the book. Ava proved to be a very judgmental and stereotypical character. But I kept going through the book. What was the saving grace was the fact that the story is told through different point of views.

But although the idea of the story drew me in, what kept me from fully enjoying the book was how narrow the storyline really was and how there wasn’t enough depth in characters. I wasn’t invested in them and that made me feel some type of way. The romance, cute but not enough for me to ship for them. I liked the build of the story but wished for more mythology. I felt that the author took too much time on little things as opposed giving the characters a deeper history and stronger voice. As for setting the author get points because I saw everything and felt that you know what maybe this could be a thing.

The pace of the novel wasn’t too bad. The author jumps right into the story and I appreciate that. It does stall and plot weakens after a few chapters. The book is just too long and not enough drive to want to finish it.

However, overall I was disappointed in this read because it didn’t provide enough history/mythology, the intensity wasn’t really there, the characters lack substance and the romance wasn’t exactly romantic. Do I think this was a decent start to a series? Kind of. There is a lot of promise and as I see a bunch of conflict in Ava and surround characters’ lives, if the author throws in more past trauma, more once a upon a time this happened, and more chemistry, this will be a great series to look after. I wanted to like this book but it was drawn out without enough passion.

2 Pickles

Book Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

Delacorte Press
Published Feb. 10, 2015
448 Pages

The night Quin Kincaid takes her Oath, she will become what she has trained to be her entire life. She will become a Seeker. This is her legacy, and it is an honor.

As a Seeker, Quin will fight beside her two closest companions, Shinobu and John, to protect the weak and the wronged. Together they will stand for light in a shadowy world.

And she’ll be with the boy she loves–who’s also her best friend. But the night Quin takes her Oath, everything changes.

Being a Seeker is not what she thought. Her family is not what she thought. Even the boy she loves is not who she thought. And now it’s too late to walk away.-Goodreads

This book was hard to swallow. There was a lot going on and the author moved in a few different directions. Let me start off with the positives:

I loved the three different point of views the author provided. It provided a story that was well rounded and it didn’t leave a lot of room for what if and questioning. This is not to say that it was a straight forward read either. It wasn’t but what I liked about the different point of views, is that it explained so much without explaining everything.

Another point that I enjoyed about this book is how fast it begins. The author doesn’t add a lot of fluff in the beginning and I am alright with that. Some stories do not need to build from nowhere.

However, with that being said here is what went wrong with that. The author is extremely vague with what happens after Quin takes her Oath. Vague may not be the right word but nonexistence would be better. You know something happens. You know something bad happens but the author doesn’t talk about it and it pisses you off because is weak. So very weak. Most of the book is about what happens after the Oath was taken because it changes everything. The fact that the author didn’t include that even and beat around the bush around it was the biggest disappointment in this book.

Another issue I had was the love triangle. There was really no need for it and the love did not seem genuine at all. The romance aspect of this read was a let down, considering there was a love triangle.

Also I didn’t like Quin. I can’t even give you reasons why but I did not like her. I actually liked John and wished there was more of him as opposed to Quin being the focused. I would totally read a book that was solely John’s voice and interactions.

Beyond those main issues, the story-line went from the present to past to the present. If that is not your thing, then you will not enjoy this read. I wish the transitions were better, I wish the intensity level of this book was on high and I would have preferred a more constant pace throughout the novel.

Not a bad read at all but not something I was completely satisfied with.

2 Pickles

Book Review: You Own Me by Mary Catherine Gebhard

Published Fe.b 14, 2015
360 Pages

Lennox is on the run from her ex-boyfriend. She had to drop everything, tell no one, and move to a new town, alone. She expected to be lonely, she expected to be afraid, but she never expected to meet a man named Vic who drove her crazy with lust and anger and called her “Lenny.” If it’s at all possible, Vic is more twisted than the man she ran away from. 

She should ignore him, but they’re drawn to each other like magnets. Lennox ran from from Seattle to Santa Barbara to get away from violence, to create a new life, and to be something simple. Instead she’s found herself wrapped up in great friends and an epic love. This new life is the opposite of everything she wants, but it might just be everything she needs. -Netgalley 

Do not let the cover fool you. You’re not going to get a deep read about a woman working to better her life and escape from an abusive past. You don’t get a woman is extremely cautious about life. She thinks about it and even stresses out about it but no. She just goes with it.

Lennox has some issues that she doesn’t exactly resolve before going to be with someone else. She comes off as one of those people who cannot be alone and needs someone with her in order for her to feel like life means anything. You can stretch it and say at the end of the book, she grows and becomes stronger and blah but she didn’t. She learned how to deal and then she folded as soon as her happy ending came.

I understand that not everyone becomes the strong of strong woman, who can slay dragons after being torn apart by one. I get that. But I wanted that for Lennox. She needed it.

The romance i.e. the love did not feel natural. Lust from beginning to end is the most and only appropriate response for Lennox and Vic. But the tacky romance could be forgiven but what wasn’t forgiven was the inappropriate attempts of humor the author tried to pull. I should have known once I saw that how I wasn’t going to really enjoy this book.

I would go longer with my dislike for this read but it isn’t worth it.

1 Pickle

Book Review: #Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid

Tor Teen
TBP: Feb. 13, 2018
228 Pages

When Peter Smith’s classmate snaps a picture of him during a late night run at the track, Peter thinks he might be in trouble. When she posts that photo–along with the caption, “See the Pretty Boy Run,”–Peter knows he’s in trouble. But when hostiles drop through the ceiling of his 6th period Chem Class, Peter’s pretty sure his trouble just became a national emergency.

Because he’s not really Peter Smith. He’s Jake Morrow, former foster-kid turned CIA operative. After a massive screw-up on his first mission, he’s on a pity assignment, a dozen hit lists and now, social media, apparently. As #Prettboy, of all freaking things.

His cover’s blown, his school’s under siege, and if he screws up now, #Prettyboy will become #Deadboy faster than you can say, ‘fifteen minutes of fame.’ Trapped in a high school with rabid killers and rabid fans, he’ll need all his training and then some to save his job, his school and, oh yeah, his life. -Goodreads

Before anything, I would like say that this book was inspired by #alexfromtarget If you do not know anything about that story, you can take a look here to see whats its about.

I was excited for this read. Black teenager, who works for the CIA undercover. Sounds fantastic. However, I was disappointed in this book not initially but as the story progressed.

  • It took place in a day.

I really enjoyed the fact that the story was not drawn out and the author was able to build a world and story that last literally less than 24 hours. For me, it showed skill and creativity. And overall, it added some intensity and that help drive the story. But the downside to this was I felt some things were missing.

  • The story was far from narrow.

The author complicated the story as much as she can without it being distasteful. I liked that about this book. What you think you do or what you can guess isn’t exactly how it is going. There are some instances where what you see is what you get but not for everything.

  • #prettyboy didn’t cut it for me

Not only was there not enough description of Peter, the book pretty much only mentions the hashtag twice. Considering that it throws the anti-social Peter in the spotlight, I wanted there to be more about it. His class for the most part do not really react to his new found fame. They really don’t care and his fan base is only on twitter and not even close to real life. Yes, I understand why the author did this because it really does tie the story together but considering it is part of the title and it changes Peter’s day, I wanted more attention on it.

#prettyboy Peter was a unlike-able character

Didn’t like him. He had no real personality. He doesn’t know anything about fitting in, which is where considering that he is in the CIA and this isn’t his first run. He is more bite than bark. He needs way more training.

Although the short time frame of the story provided intensity, it didn’t last and at a certain point, I was just ready for the bad guy to be caught. However, the author was able to suck me in at the end and want a book two.


2 Pickles

Book Review: The Tiger’s Watch (Ashes of Gold #1) by Julia Ember

Harmony Ink Press
Published Aug. 22, 2017
180 Pages

Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.

Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.

When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.- Goodreads

I have mix feelings about this book and I have mix feelings about book two and it didn’t even come out yet. Jumping right into this, when I began the book I was all over it. Tashi is an interesting character because he/she makes decisions that are based so much more on emotion rather than common sense, faith or basic knowledge. The decisions come off really selfish and surprising especially at the end. Tashi also isn’t as passionate as I would have liked nor is there growth in that area. Tashi’s emotions from beginning to end feel really misguided and it was frustrating to read because Tashi could have been a bad ass.

The story centralizers around relationships, oddly enough. Be it Tashi’s relationship with the tiger, Katala, Xian and Tashi’s partner/friend. Although the author makes it seem as if the war and the battles are the focus, it really isn’t. It is the backstory because while Tashi falls in love with Xian, the author throws it in there that he is enemy. I wanted more about the war and the battles won and lost. I wanted more fight and blurred lines between love and duty. There was a really great battle scene but like having your first taste of sugar, I wanted more.

My excitement for the book didn’t last because things began to become redundant. The relationship between Tashi and Xian didn’t have the chemistry or passion one would expect with first love and at the end you really don’t know where the two actually stand. And as important as Tashi’s relationship with Katala and her partner, you see less and less of it as the book goes on.

Now my mix feelings about book two is it isn’t in Tashi’s point of view. That bothers me because the ending just kind of ends. I want to know what Tashi is doing at this point and my interest in her partner isn’t even there.

Overall, it was alright. I liked it but at the same time I’m on the fence if that makes sense. I just wish Tashi made smarter decisions and the book wasn’t so relationship based.

3 Pickles 

Book Review: The Changeling by Victor LaValle

Spiegel & Grau
Published June 13, 2017
448 Pages

Apollo Kagwa has had strange dreams that have haunted him since childhood. An antiquarian book dealer with a business called Improbabilia, he is just beginning to settle into his new life as a committed and involved father, unlike his own father who abandoned him, when his wife Emma begins acting strange. Disconnected and uninterested in their new baby boy, Emma at first seems to be exhibiting all the signs of post-partum depression, but it quickly becomes clear that her troubles go far beyond that. Before Apollo can do anything to help, Emma commits a horrific act—beyond any parent’s comprehension—and vanishes, seemingly into thin air.

Thus begins Apollo’s odyssey through a world he only thought he understood to find a wife and child who are nothing like he’d imagined. His quest begins when he meets a mysterious stranger who claims to have information about Emma’s whereabouts. Apollo then begins a journey that takes him to a forgotten island in the East River of New York City, a graveyard full of secrets, a forest in Queens where immigrant legends still live, and finally back to a place he thought he had lost forever. This dizzying tale is ultimately a story about family and the unfathomable secrets of the people we love. – Goodreads

This book was really different for me. I normally, for one, do not read adult fantasy. For whatever reason they do no appeal to me as much as YA fantasy does. But I am trying to change that and my first book for that goal is The Changeling. I was not disappointed.

Let’s start with the pros. The story is about a black family in modern New York City. For me it not only making it relate-able by because of location but because racially and culturally I can identify with the characters. (Diversity for the win!). But also beyond that, I really really loved the fact the author decided to write this from parents point of view and not a brother or a sister. This added a completely different emotion and truth to the book even if you are not a parent.

Also the way the author was able to wrap Apollo’s world as well as New York City with the mythology was smooth and seamless. There was an art and care as well as a appreciation for a world that was already existed. That is not something your find all the time in books.

Despite these points, I did have an issue with the book. It was long. It was so long and drawn out that I had to put the book down breathe and then dive back in. I appreciate the author building up to the point but the build up was like climbing a tall snowy mountain the first time. It was a bit rough.

In regards to characters, everyone played their role and fit together well. I wanted Apollo to be more supportive of his wife in the beginning because of his out-worldly experience. But at the time, I was a bit disappointed in him because although he was a book collector/seller business man it felt like he didn’t actually read. Its slightly hard to explain but reader to reader you can tell.

Overall, I enjoyed this read would have liked it to have not been as stretched but I enjoyed it.


3 Pickles. 

Late Night Reads: Corliss (The Girls of Spindrift #1) by V.C. Andrews

Pocket Star
Published June 12th 2017
80 Pages

Corliss is not like other girls at her Los Angeles high school. Incredibly intelligent, shy, and a loner, she has difficultly in fitting in. What’s worse, a clique of girls is out to get her after she refuses to take drugs with them, leading to a violent confrontation.

When Corliss is unknowingly drugged, her entire life is turned upside down and no one—not even the handsome valedictorian who had agreed to go out with her—looks at her the same way. Will she be able to return to her high school or is there another path she can take? And where will it take her? – Goodreads

This book is a novella. Therefore, it is fairly quick to read (and this will be a short review) but it provides some form of fulfillment when you need a book to read in between your next big read.

Corliss is a genius, who is constantly being bullied and feeling isolated because of her smarts. Despite what happens to her, she still remains diligent on her studies but now with a purpose to right the wrong against her.

My biggest issue with this book is VC Andrews makes an assumption that because A happened Corliss is now prone to do B. I actually was fairly annoyed by that because it didn’t make sense to me for it to happen. If it was something she wanted to do before being drugged then I would be okay with it but it doesn’t appear to be that way.

As it is a quick read,  I enjoyed this book but it left a lot of questions as to what next and as to the purpose of the story. What do I get from it?

Overall, I am curious about this series and how everything connects.

2.5 Pickles

Book Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Flatiron Books
TBP: Sept. 5th, 2017
400 Pages

At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass.

When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina.

Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all. -Goodreads

This is a Snow White retelling and it doesn’t become apparent til about half way through the book. I do not have any issue with this at all because this book was a really surprising and good read.

Before dipping into the story, there needs to be an appreciation for how the author was able to use magic within this story. It wasn’t a run of the mild magic as stated in the summary one girl has a heart of glass while the other is made of snow. The magic in this story isn’t slap in your face from beginning and end but it was powerful and there was always a thin layer of when the explosion is coming. I liked that about this book; although it had a slow start once Mina’s voice got stronger the book picked up.

I liked Mina better than Lynet. Mina was stronger, she wasn’t sheltered nor did she whine a lot. Mina has a purpose and eventually Lynet finds hers and she does become a different person but there is a strength about her that still isn’t there especially compared to Mina.

But what I really enjoyed about this book was the relationship between Mina and Lynet. There is love… genuine love between them as a mother and daughter and it was everything that I wanted in any Snow White retelling especially in the book “Fairest of All” by Serena Valentino. I really really loved seeing their relationship from the beginning to the end (I guess).

The romance in the story was alright. I would have appreciate more love and less obligation. It wasn’t a strong or even close to the mother daughter fierceness. Therefore, I didn’t feel that the romance was love and more something new,

Overall, this book is creative, I loved how it references the original fairy tale but it isn’t the original fairy tale. Although it started off slow, when it picked up, it got good.

4 Pickles

Book Review: Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra

Penguin Canada Published May 5, 2015 272 Pages
Penguin Canada
Published May 5, 2015
272 Pages

Leo was born into a family with privilege and in 1870 she is short of nothing. Living with her wealthy sister, Leo seems to have the perfect life. But an intense speech impediment (stuttering) stops her from speaking, causing her to mimic her aunt’s words in order to satisfy society’s curiosity.

Thus causing suitors to stay away from her except adventurer Mr. Thornfax. But why would he want a woman like her? And is he connected to the terror attacks plaguing the city with victims are taken over by opium fever? Leo must find out the truth and find her true voice. 

What I enjoyed about this book was the original idea. A woman during the 1870s with a stuttering issues, and no about of doctor visits can solve the issue. I liked how the author brought a different light to the “perfect” woman (protagonist). But this was a hard read as there wasn’t a whole lot of conversation due to obvious reasons. Therefore, the tone sounded the same for a majority of the book and that is a huge problem for me.

I didn’t have an issue with Leo as a character. But I did have an issue with her lack of personality. Although for some time she tried not to speak, I didn’t think that was grounds for making her a bit lifeless. I wanted some kind of spark, rebellion from her not when she needed to find the truth but from the beginning.

The pace of the novel was a bit slow. It takes a while for things to really happen and the beginning of the book doesn’t really get you involved in the book. I wasn’t sucked into this story at all, which is extremely unfortunate but it wasn’t a bad book but it wasn’t a great read either.


2 Pickles

Book Review: The Rise of the Dawnstar (The Avalonia Chronicles #2) by Farah Oomerbhoy

Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Published April 2017

The seven kingdoms of Avalonia are crumbling and evil is spreading across the land like a plague. Queen Morgana is close to finding a way to open The Book of Abraxas and it’s only a matter of time until she uses the power trapped inside its pages to enslave the entire world.

With Avalonia growing more dangerous by the day, Aurora must travel through war-torn lands and deep into the heart of the fae kingdom of Elfi. Her goal is to find a legendary weapon infused with the last of the realm’s ancient magic—the only weapon in the world powerful enough to stop the queen.

Aurora might have survived her first battle against Morgana, but the true fight to save her kingdom and restore her throne has only just begun. -Goodreads

If you haven’t read the first book, I would recommend it. I thought, although the story isn’t that original, it was still written amazingly and I was excited at each page. This book took a different turn than the first one and I was thrown back by that. Book two is focused on romance and yup if you didn’t know what I meant by that statement, I mean there is a love triangle. And let’s be honest, that annoyed the crap out of me. It bothered me because although it wasn’t the driving force of the novel it became really clear as to what would be happening next.

There was no real surprises in this book, however, that does not mean it isn’t written just as good as the first book. Aurora loses sight of what is important but she gets back on track once her distraction is gone. But biggest issue with Aurora is she isn’t the Queen she should be and I don’t know if she will and that makes me concerned. I understand that there need to be growth and development through a space of time but man, she was killing me. I don’t mind romance. I mind love triangles. I mind when a focus shifts from the life changing world changing mission to what about the man I am in love with. This is not to say that this is all Aurora did but there were times when some decision was based off her emotions for someone she doubted.

Beyond that and the love triangle -_- the book was written well and I didn’t expect anything different from this author. I wasn’t as excited as I was in the first book but that does not mean I wasn’t into this book. The pace was great, the overall story was what I wanted in Aurora’s development to becoming Queen but her enthusiasm was not really there. I wish there was more fight and more twist and turns but a solid book two.


3 Pickles