Friday, August 28, 2020

Book Review: The Lost Wonderland Diaries by J. Scott Savage

 Book: The Lost Wonderland Diaries by J. Scott Savage

Genre: MG fantasy

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

I was happy to nab this one from NetGalley for an early review. Wow, it's been awhile since I've done that! 

This is an awesome tribute to Alice in Wonderland and its author Lewis Carroll. We have two kids who are struggling in the real world, who meet up and quickly bond over their respective issues. As they are hanging out in the library, they stumble upon the lost diaries of Lewis Carroll which transports them straight to Wonderland itself!

But something is off in this Wonderland. All the familiar characters are there, but everyone is different. Things don't seem right. These two kids quickly realize that not only do they need to figure out how to get home, but they need to save Wonderland too! They go through adventure after adventure having to solve problems and riddles all along the way to accomplish their goals. Kids will love this. There's also a ton of learning thrown in, learning about different animals, learning vocabulary, etc. Kids, and parents, will love this even more! 

So yes, there's much humor and fun in this book that both kids and adults will enjoy, especially those who love Alice and her adventures. It's fun to see these kids have a similar, yet very different experience in Wonderland. And then come out of it stronger and better and much much more confident about dealing with their real life struggles. Perfect. 

This book will be published early September. Look for it!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Book Review: Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen

 Book: Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Genre: YA historical

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Another awesome book by a favorite author! This one is about resistance fighters during WWII. We follow the story of one girl who gets kicked out of her Jewish ghetto in Poland and ends up joining a resistance gang. They spent a lot of time sneaking food and news in the ghettos, and, in one instance anyway, sneaking out babies. And also sabotaging the supplies of the Nazis who were occupying their cities.

This story has our girl involved in one of the first (the first even?) armed attacks by Jewish people, and then later, she was part of the huge Warsaw ghetto uprising. So most of the book is her path to getting to this event. And then living through it. We see her bonding with her fellow resistance fighters and learning to trust and rely on them. We learn about some of the real life leaders of these cells, all of who were very young. We learn about the courage and tenacity of these people during this hard and terrible time in history. It's hard to read about the things they went through, but it's also uplifting to see the strength of people.

The book as an afterword that adds to the understanding of everything that happened, which I really appreciated. And the author mentions that the point of the book is not place judgment on how any one person acted during this time, which I also appreciated. People chose all sorts of ways to survive this terrible-ness, and we, reading from the future, have no idea how bad it was and what prompted any of them to do what they did. It's so very eye opening. 

So, yeah! Another great book club read!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Book Review: Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts by Nancy Campbell Allen

Book: Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts by Nancy Campbell Allen
Genre: steampunk fantasy
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

This is a fun one about a feisty girl, Emme O'Shea, who is on a mission to fight for Shape Shifter rights. She is making quite the name for herself in society as the spokesperson for this cause. And in so doing, she tends to get herself in a lot of trouble. The dude who happens to always be there to pull her out, and then arrest her, is her nemesis of a detective...Mr. Oliver Reed. He doesn't think twice about literally throwing her over his shoulder and carrying her off to the slammer! 

But then one day when she is about to set off to Scotland for a summit where she will be giving the keynote speech trying to change legislation in favor of Shifters, she is sent a life threatening message. And suddenly she finds this detective has now been appointed as her bodyguard! 

This makes for an awesome scenario in which lots of fun banter, flirting and compromising moments arise. Not to mention life and death adventure! And they both quickly find that they don't hate each other quite as much as they originally thought.

This book is very very loosely based on Cinderella but I only found a few similarities... mostly a wicked step sister, a carriage filled with pumpkins, curious mice, an ally named Gus, some fancy shoes, and midnight. LOL! So yeah, very fun! Throw in some vampires and you have it all, right? 

So yeah, I really enjoyed the banter and many romantically charged moments. And of course the steampunk setting. Always fun. 

This book, due to be released in October, is part of the Proper Romance line from Shadow Mountain, and specifically part of the steampunk romance line. (I reviewed another book in this line here. The stories have no connection as far as I can tell, just the world and setting.) Thank you to Shadow Mountain for the opportunity read and review another fun book!

Here's a fun book trailer:

And more about the author:

Nancy Campbell Allen is the author of seventeen published novels and numerous novellas, which span genres from contemporary romantic suspense to historical fiction. In 2005, her work won the Utah Best of State award, and she received a Whitney Award for My Fair Gentleman. She has presented at numerous writing conferences and events since her first book was released in 1999. Nancy received a BS in Elementary Education from Weber State University. She loves to read, write, travel, and research, and enjoys spending time laughing with family and friends. She is married and the mother of three children. Visit her at, on Instagram @authornancycampbellallen, on Facebook at nancycampbellallen, or on Twitter @necallen.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Book Review: Trick of the Spotlight by M.L. East

Book: Trick of the Spotlight by M.L. East

Genre: Kpop romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★

I was approached to read this first book of a new kpop romance series by a new author. Of course I was all, sure! It seems to be kind of my thing at the moment I guess. She warned me that this one might have some content (language and etc.) that I might have issues with, but still I said, eh. I'll see what I think. 

Well, let's just say the warning was justified! Whew, this one has a LOT of content that I usually don't read! It actually read like a fanfic, which I am not...a fan of...even though I've never really read any. LOL. But a fanfic in this fandom is when people write really explicit (usually? mostly?) stories about their favorite kpop groups turning them into lustful, rebellious, sometimes nasty boys. If I understand right, people insert their fantasies into these stories including their favorite ships (meaning the boys in love with each other) and inserting themselves (what we call a y/n moment... or your name here moment) into the stories. So many people LOVE LOVE LOVE them and they get a lot of response and activity.

So that being said, they aren't my favorite thing and yet, this book really felt like that to me. If that makes sense. But despite that, I found it interesting to just plug along and see where this book took me. 

It's about a girl from Ohio who loves a very popular kpop group. They inspire her to tryout for the singing thing herself and by some crazy miracle she makes it! And suddenly she finds herself in Korea becoming a very popular idol herself and even in the same company with her favorite band! The book opens when she is on a TV talk show together with these guys. So we meet them there and see their interaction and her first impressions of them in real life. Afterwards, she gets invited to their concert and then gets invited to their after party. And they are... shall we say... interesting! And not at all how I picture MY kpop boys!

After that she ends up in their same path often, and starts a relationship with her favorite dude. Which makes her a little nervous because this favorite dude is "shipped" with one of the other guys. And she is worried about whether or not this relationship is actually real. Is she messing something up? Or is this relationship just a play for the fans? She doesn't know for sure. And it goes from there and things get a bit crazy!

So in that aspect it was lots fun. And again it's fun to see someone's idea of what might be going on behind the scenes. This take was very very different from the other's I've read in that regard. These boys were in my opinion, not so nice. Sex craved, foul mouthed, mean to our girl, and etc. And of course, we don't know what they are like in real life when the cameras are off, but I like to still imagine them as decent guys! 

The girl was interesting too. I wanted to like her more, but she made me a little crazy. But not sure I can actually put my finger on why. Maybe because she went along with things way too easily. She portrayed herself as a very naive, but she didn't act like that. I don't know. She was interesting. I am willing to give her a chance though.

So yes, I understand there will be more to this story. I think if given the opportunity I will continue. I am curious. The author told me these characters will go through quite the arc and will make changes. I want to see that! And my heart goes out them, because they are portrayed as having many hard issues they are dealing with. So it would be nice to see what happens to them and if they find happiness and peace.

Thank you to the author for sending me this book to read and review! Hopefully it's okay that I am totally honest in that there were some things that were a bit over the top for me! :)

Oh, this book has a lovely book trailer:

And here's the book jacket so you can read the blurb:

Reading Recap July 2020


Here's what I read this past month of July 2020

Rhythm of Love by Trish Milburn: It's Remi's turn to fall in love. With the book store manager! YES!

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty: Three couples deal with the aftermath of a traumatic event that happened at the bbq the all attended.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins: The back story of President Snow, including what happened at the Tenth Hunger Games.

Seriously thought I could do better! Oh, well. 

Goals for August:

  • The book club book (wow I better figure out how to get my hands on it!)
  • The new Twilight book, if I can get my hands THAT.
  • I have some ARCs I need to read and review.

Y'all are still reading, right?

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Book Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Book: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
Genre: YA dystopian
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

At first I didn't think I'd want to read this one, but then everyone started raving about it, and I thought perhaps I'd need to give it a chance. So I ended up buying it and my daughter devoured it, and needed to discuss it, so then it was my turn!

As everyone probably knows by now, this is the back story of President Snow. It takes place when he is 18 and a senior in high school. The 10th Hunger Games are about to happen and they've decided to add a couple of new twists to the game. First, they are having mentors and they've chosen the top students to mentor the tributes. Of course our guy is chosen to mentor the tribute from District 12, a girl named Lucy Gray Baird. 

They've also decided to add the element of betting on a winning and being able to sponsor your choice. This makes it so many many more people become invested and are watching, which is the whole point of these things. And it was our Snow boy's idea. 

The games look a lot different back then then they do in Katniss's time though, and it's interesting to compare. Still it's very very ruthless, and this book has many extremely violent moments. Wow. 

Anyway, it's interesting to see his struggle with who he should be. I worried I would end up with too much sympathy for him, but it was just the right amount, you know? Like it was there, it was good to see where he came from, what he was dealing with, and yet, because of his choices, I am still not his fan. And I am not sad knowing what happens to him in the end. 

But, in the end there, it was strange how fast he made a choice and flipped. Like it seemed so sudden. Anyone else who's read this feel this way? Even though it was expected, and we were all waiting for it, I was like.. WHOA dude! So quick with that! AHH!!!

It was especially fun to speculate after reading this and learning about all these characters from the past, who was connected to whom. And how everything fits in and becomes full circle. So awesome.

I'm really glad to have decided to read it! It feels like part of the story that we need to know now. Do it if you are still on the fence about it. Do it!


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