Monday, July 18, 2016

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Ransom Riggs
352 pages (Hardcover)
Goodreads - Amazon - Barnes&Noble

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

I have finally succeeded in creating a small book club in my hometown with some of my close friends. The first book we chose to read was Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. It was a book that I had been avoiding for quite some time due to the incorrect impression I had of it. I tend to avoid books that I find scary or frightening and the cover of the book had given me an impression that the book would be darker and slightly more horror filled than was strictly true.

In the end, by looking more into the book, I realized it was more up my alley than I had first assumed. The interesting paranormal, fantastical portions of the story were engrossing and very well thought out. It was unique in a sea of books where there are too many with similarities. The mixed elements of children with special abilities or characteristics and time manipulation elements along with the horror of the enemy population combined to make a wonderful story.

I, along with my fellow book club members, found the characters to be fun, yet realistic. The wide variety of characters worked well together, making the story fast paced and easy to follow. The story was unpredictable and I enjoyed uncovering the enemy plot as the children learned more.

The pictures utilized by the author helped to make the story wholly unique and I loved being able to see the snapshots that were referred in the story. It gave the whole story a new dimension that made it feel real and touchable.

Only one portion made me groan, because the situation seemed to be just a little bit too much, but I'll not say what for sake of possibly spoiling it for people.

I would recommend this book to young adult lovers, especially those interested in paranormal, however it could be a great read for many types of readers.

Overall I would give it a level four out of five hangover.

Interested in purchasing this book? Check out the links above!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Review: The Amazing Book is Not in Fire

The Amazing Book is Not on Fire 
Dan Howell and Phil Lester
224 pages (Hardcover)
Random House
Goodreads - Amazon - Barnes&Noble

Hello reader,

In this book is a world. A world created by two awkward guys who share their lives on the internet!

We are Dan and Phil and we invite you on a journey inside our minds! From the stories of our actual births, to exploring Phil's teenage diary and all the reasons why Dan's a fail.

Learn how to draw the perfect cat whiskers, get advice on what to do in an awkward situation and discover which of our dining chairs represents you emotionally. With everything from what we text each other, to the time we met One Direction and what really happened in Vegas...

To start this off, I've been and fan of Dan and Phil for six years now. I follow them on YouTube and when they announced that they were writing a book together I was ecstatic! It came out a week after my birthday and I bought it as a gift to myself. I finished it in a night. I've debated whether or not I should review it, and finally figured I should. 

The book itself is a jumble of their personalities. It starts with them saying hello in the only way they know how - awkwardly. They story is all about their lives: how they grew up, secondary school,university, living together, and their YouTube careers. 

I honestly enjoyed this book. Most times when people hear a YouTuber is writing a book they roll their eyes at the thought. Dan and Phil keep their writing real and interesting. They don;t try and hide themselves from readers, but rather welcome them, They embrace their own weirdness and I believe that is what makes them relatable. 

If you are looking for a funny read that may cause a little bit of secondhand embarrassment, then you'll enjoy this book. It helps you realize not everything you have done is the most cringe worth, as Dan normally has that covered. 

Overall, I give this book a level four hangover out of five. 

Interested in purchasing this book? Check the links above!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: Alice's Adventures Under Ground

Alice's Adventures Under Ground 
Lewis Carrol
128 pages (Hardcover)
Cider Mill Press
Goodreads - Amazon - Barnes&Noble

In celebration of the story's 150th anniversary, this elegant new collectors edition of Alice's Adventures Underground features never-before-seen drawings from renowned artist Charles Santore, and an introduction by revered literary scholar, Michael Patrick Hearn.

When Lewis Carroll first put pen to paper and wrote what would become Alice in Wonderland, he provisionally titled the story Alice's Adventures Under Ground and accompanied the text with sketches to bring his story to life. Now, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the books first publication in 1865, we are publishing that original story, in a faithful and unabridged adaptation, under its original title. Like that first hand-written draft, this stunning new collectors edition features never-before-seen drawings throughout the story by celebrated New York Times bestselling artist Charles Santore (The Wizard of Oz, The Night Before Christmas), and an introduction from the premier authority on childrens literature, Michael Patrick Hearn.

I am going to start off by saying that I am a huge fan of anything relates to Alice in Wonderland. Books and music inspired by the story always holds a draw for me, and I'm rarely disappointed by the movies either. That being said, I adored this book.

Alice's Adventures Under Ground is the original story that was told to Alice Liddell l, far before it was expanded in order to make the book large enough to be successfully published. Here it has been revived. While the story lacks many of the signature characters, such as the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat, it still contains that same charm as the final Alice story.

What truly makes this book remarkable however is the sketches that go along with the story. Charles Santore's drawings are perfect to go with the story and I found myself studying them again and again. I cannot wait to the the fully finished paintings that these sketches were the precursors to.

I would recommend this especially to other fans of a Alice in Wonderland like myself, as well as anyone looking to read a short classic story with interesting artwork to go along with it.

Overall I am going to give it a level four out of five hangover.

 Interested in purchasing this book? Check out the links above!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Review: Divinity

Patrica Leever
200 pages (Paperback)
Omnific Publishing
Goodreads - Amazon - Barnes&Noble


They’re everywhere, hiding in plain sight. Chances are, you’ve interacted with one or two of them in your lifetime without even realizing it...

Demon hunter Evelyn Brighton saves unsuspecting humans from the malevolent creatures masquerading around them every day. Working under the Lebriga Corporation’s direction, she never fails to bring her A-game with her keen skill, fiercely independent spirit, and the best weapon in her arsenal: the Divinity blade.

Evelyn’s world is turned on its ear, however, when she is ordered to train cocky new recruit Daniel Summers. They both feel an instinctive pull drawing them to one another, the ancient spells tattooed into their skin illuminating whenever the two hunters come into contact. But with evil looming over the city of Los Angeles, Evelyn and Daniel’s mutual competitiveness and sense of duty to Lebriga and all humankind forces them to hold back their desires. Will their restraint be enough to keep them focused and save southern California, or will the dark forces prevail?

Set in modern-day Los Angeles, Divinity is an action-filled, fast-paced marriage of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Edgy, witty, and sexy, it will bind you in its spell.

I had been meaning to read Divinity by Patrica Leever for sometime now but had never found the opportunity to do so. Excitingly enough, I got a Nook this weekend, giving me the perfect reason to download a new book and read it in one go on my fancy new reading gadget.

Divinity is about a world full of demons and focuses on the gifted hunters that are out to protect the human race from all of the nastiness in the world. It was a quick-paced, short read that introduced its world and characters quickly before moving on with the plot. However, while I found many of the characters interesting and I was sometimes very pleased with the relationships between different characters, such as the different couples or the relationships between hunters and handlers, the speed of the story left something to be desired with the depth of knowledge and emotional feelings that I had for the characters.

The other issue in it for me was that the love relationship between the two main characters, Evelyn and Daniel, developed much too quickly. I normally thoroughly enjoy when couple are 'fated' for each other, however this felt too fast for me and ridiculously unbelievable. While very little actually happened between the couple until later in the book, the surety they had at times was too unrealistic for me.

What I did enjoy was the world that these characters lived in. The magic that was brought to life in the story was unique and very interesting.

The story was also told split between Evelyn's and Daniel's points of view. Sometimes this is a major flop in some books but it worked very well in this case, as it allowed me to see both sides of the story and to get more detail that I would have otherwise.

I would recommend this to people who are looking for a short and quick, yet fun, paranormal read.

Overall, I give this a hangover level three out of five.

Interested in purchasing the book? Check links above!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Review: Project Cain

Project Cain
Geoffrey Girad
341 pages (Hardcover) 
Simon & Schuster BFYR
Goodreads - Amazon - Barnes&Noble
Sixteen-year-old Jeff Jacobson had never heard of Jeffrey Dahmer, the infamous serial killer who brutally murdered seventeen people more than twenty years ago. But then Jeff discovers he was constructed in a laboratory only eight years ago, part of a top-secret government cloning experiment called Project CAIN. And scientists created him entirely from Jeffrey Dahmer's DNA.

Jeff isn't the only teenage serial-killer clone. Others have been genetically engineered using the DNA of the Son of Sam, the Boston Strangler, and Ted Bundy. Some clones were raised, like Jeff, in caring family environments; others within homes that mimicked the horrific early lives of the serial killers they were created from.

When the most dangerous of the boys are set free, the summer of killing begins. Worse, they hold a secret weapon even more deadly than the terrible evil they carry within.

Can Jeff help catch the "monsters" before becoming one himself?

This is one of those books that I had been anxiously awaiting a long time ago. It came out, I bought it in pure excitement, and then put it on my nightstand to be read after I finished the several that I was in the middle of.  Somehow, miracle of miracles, I am actively reading my way through my back-logged to-be-read pile this summer. Top of the list: Project Cain.

The premise of this story was one that interested me to no end. Serial killers? Sign me up! (As long as they stay in the pages.) And the added mixture of cloning to the plot sounded like it would add a unique twist. This also interested the Biology major in me. The question of how much nature and nurture each have to do with the way a person turns out is such an engaging question that I couldn't imagine not enjoying this book. For the most part I was correct.

The story was fast-paced and full of action toward the end. However, two things held me up a bit. Firstly, there was a lot of soul searching and inner monologue, especially in the beginning of the book. While it made sense, as the main character,  Jeff  (as in the clone of Jeffery Dahmer), found out he was not a normal boy but was in fact a clone. Unfortunately I was not really in an inner journey sort of mood. The second thing that I wasn't overly fond of was the way the dialogue was written. Girard wrote it in a style that was meant to hopefully be engaging to young readers, in particularly boys. While the style, full of short sentences and lists did contribute to the fast pace of the novel, I disliked that quotation marks weren't used. It threw me of a bit and I never really adjusted to it.
Another thing that I struggled a bit with was that the characters didn't excite me. Jeff struggled with his identity for the majority of the novel and some of the other characters fell flat due the journal-like format of the story. The growth of the other characters was lacking and there relationships to the main character were hard to understand.

However, one thing I loved about this was the amount of research that was clearly put into the novel. The number of facts and statistics were nearly overwhelming. It some other reviews I had seen that many people considered the book to much of an info-dump, but I enjoyed the conspiracies and theories, all born of fact. Besides, as the story is only written from the point of view of Jeff I can only imagine a bit of info-dump as the main character was thrown into this plot with all of the information flying at his

Overall, the story was a really intriguing concept that needed to be more finely tuned in some places in order to more emotionally involve the reader. (It is however possible that the adult version of this novel, Cain's Blood, would appeal to me more.)

I give this story a hangover level of 3 out of 5.

Interested in purchasing the book? Check out the links above!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review: House of Purple Cedar

House of Purple Cedar 
Tim Tingle 
192 pages (Paperback)
Cinco Puntos Press
Goodreads - Amazon - Barnes&Noble


"The hour has come to speak of troubled times. It is time we spoke of Skullyville." Thus begins Rose Goode's story of her growing up in Indian Territory in pre-statehood Oklahoma. Skullyville, a once-thriving Choctaw community, was destroyed by land-grabbers, culminating in the arson on New Year's Eve, 1896, of New Hope Academy for Girls. Twenty Choctaw girls died, but Rose escaped. She is blessed by the presence of her grandmother Pokoni and her grandfather Amafo, both respected elders who understand the old ways. Soon after the fire, the white sheriff beats Amafo in front of the town's people, humiliating him. Instead of asking the Choctaw community to avenge the beating, her grandfather decides to follow the path of forgiveness. And so unwinds this tale of mystery, Indian-style magical realism, and deep wisdom. It's a world where backwoods spiritualism and Bible-thumping Christianity mix with bad guys; a one-legged woman shop-keeper, her oaf of a husband, herbal potions, and shape-shifting panthers rendering justice. Tim Tingle—a scholar of his nation's language, culture, and spirituality—tells Rose's story of good and evil with understanding and even laugh-out-loud Choctaw humor. 


I was given House of Purple Cedar by my librarian, who asked if I would review the book for him, being that it had just arrived new to our library. Once I obtained the book I looked up reviews done by other to gauge if I would like the book. All the reviews I found rated the book highly and it seemed like it would be a page turner. It turned out to not be. 

In my own personal opinion, I did not enjoy House of Purple Cedar and find the ratings to be off.  When I first started reading the book I thought it was interesting, for about the first chapter. Afterwards, the chapters dragged on, not really coming to a point. Many of the stories told in the book, which contributed to the whole story, could have been smaller, which would help make the story a faster read. 

The book itself is to highlight the horrible discrimination PoC go through, especially Native Americans. The Choctaw people, in their small Oklahoma town, had to deal with a lot of discrimination towards Native Americans as a whole being. I am all for equal treatment for everyone, and there should be more books written about it, but there could have been a more interest sparking way to write the book. 

This is just my personal opinion on the writing and format of house of Purple Cedar, and it's not meant to offend others. 

Overall, I give House of Purple Cedar a level 1 hangover out of 5. But an A for effort. 

Interested in purchasing the book? Click the links at the top! 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Review: The Naturals

The Naturals 
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
308 pages (Hardcover)
Goodreads - Amazon - Barnes&Noble


Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive. 


I heard about The Naturals a few months before it came out and it sounded like it was going to be a really great book. I'm glad to say that it didn't disappoint me. In fact, I read it in a day because I wasn't able to put it down 

The novle was very fast paced, which I really liked. There weren't any parts in the middle of the story where it seemed to lag. 

I also really liked the cast of characters. Cassie was really interesting and I especially liked the mental processes she went through while profiling. I also very much enjoyed hoe realistic she was, even though she was "different." The rest of the characters, shane, Lia, Michael, Dean, and some of the rest, were also really fun and I liked there bickering and reactons to each other. Cassie's profiling training with the FBI agents was also extremely interesting. 

The other aspect of the novel that I loved was the mystery. Every few chapters there would be a snippet from the killer's point of view and they really added to the story. I didn't expect the ending at all, to be honest. 

The only small issue I had was the similarity between The Naturals and Kimbely Derting's The Body Finder series. However, there were enough differences that it was still enjoyable. 

Overall, I give it a hangover level of 5 out of 5. 

Want to purchase the book? Check out the links at the top!