Book Review · Books

Winter Of The Wolf

Bean’s best friend is her older brother, Sam, who named her back when he was two. He was that thrilled to be getting a little sister. Bean also, has her long time BFF, Julie. High school life seems fairly mundane and normal until the night of Sam’s best friend, Skip’s party. Sam hasn’t finished his paper, so their mom grounds him from going. He’s ticked off and fuming.

Julie and Bean were supposed to have a BFF sleepover, but that night their parents have company over. Bean gets their mom to ok Sam to quickly take her to go pick up Julie since Bean is only a freshman. That night a bad storm is ragging and the conditions are awful. The conditions were ripe for what happens next. The accident is horrific with a deer running out in front of the car and a tree stopping them.

Sam is gutted by the accident. Julie and Bean watch him go in the pouring rain to briefly lay himself over the dead deer. They get him to stumble home where his parents realize that he has a big gash down him and he’s bleeding a lot. His mom cleans him up and he retreats to his room to work on his paper. Bean and Julie go to their room.

Awhile later they hear a horrific scream. They rush to find Bean’s mom staring into Sam’s room. Bean can’t erase what her eyes are seeing. The paramedics are called and they all race to the hospital.

The end result is Sam is gone. Bean can’t fathom life without her brother. The cause of death is ruled one thing, while Bean determines it can’t be that. Sam loved his life. She determines to figure out the reason for his passing, to dig deep behind the supposed cause of death. Will Bean ever figure out the true reason?

I received my complimentary copy of Winter Of The Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler from Greenleaf Book Press, care of FSB Associates. The views are mine and of my own choice. This novel tackles the heavy topic of death and how Bean and her family each handle Sam’s passing.

Book Review · Books

The Degenerates

London gets knocked up by a boy she believes loves her. She gets taken away from the lady who is watching over her and taken to the Fernald School where at first she is treated kind, but then put in a cell where she is made to clean up filth by the other inhabitants.

London meets Maxine and Rose. She wonders why they are stuck in this awful place. Rose has her stick she likes to hold, which gives her comfort and is childlike. London heard Rose termed as a Mongoloid. Maxine is Rose’s older sister and very protective of Rose. Then there is Alice who has a club foot. Slowly they form a potential friendship.

Enter the world of the Fernald School where London, Alice, Maxine and Rose are stuck. Maxine keeps hoping her mother will come rescue her and Rose, but she never even comes to visit on family day. Their lives at the school is regimented by breakfast, walks and helping in different areas, like laundry, etc. Those in charge are mean.

I received my complimentary copy of The Degenerates by J. Albert Mann from NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own choice. This historical novel gives you a glimpse into the world of an institution for the feeble minded, disabled, etc. I wondered if this was a real place and Googled it. Here is a short video about it. Watching videos on this place is beyond disturbing and so sad. This novel brings this place to life. It’s not an easy read, but important to educate.

Book Review · Books

Don’t Read The Comments

I confess. I’m not a gamer. I played a bit old school in elementary school like Super Mario Brothers, but nothing extravagant like the online game explained in Don’t Read The Comments. It honestly took me some time to get into this young adult novel, but once I did I was hooked.

Enter Divya who has her own streaming gaming channel where she plays Reclaim The Sun. She has a great fan base who all support her except for online trolls who don’t like that a woman is a gamer and actually popular. One day while trying to claim a planet and name it the said trolls descend in mass and blow up her ship. This ship Divya had decked out from gaining experience points, etc. She was shocked and devastated to have to start from scratch.

One day while playing the game she finds a planet she can name, but someone else is already there and the player doesn’t look familiar. He seems nice and when he realizes whose there with him he totally fan girls over her. This player, Aaron can’t believe Divya is actually chatting with him in the game. She doesn’t get what all the hype is about. Divya enjoys gaming, but for her it’s a way to earn money from the sponsors she gets so that she can help out her mom financially.

Aaron and Divya slowly start an online friendship. Divya has her best friend Rebecca who is also, who helps produce her streams for the channel is a tad leery of Aaron after the way the online trolls took out Divya’s ship.

When the trolls start upping their harassment Divya is not sure if she should still attend GameCon in person. Should she report them? How do you report anonymous harassers?

I received my complimentary digital copy of Don’t Read The Comments by Eric Smith from Park Row Books, Hanover Square Press, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. This novel will sure become a favorite wether you are a gamer, or not. The topic of online harassment is uncomfortable. With a lot of social interaction being online people feel they can spew hate and that it’s not equally harassing since it’s not in person. This book will be a great conversation starter for teens of all ages. I think it’d be great required reading for junior high and high schoolers.

Book Review · Books

The Grace Year

Some books leave you breathless, in shock as though you’ve survived a war. The Grace Year, is such a novel. This book sucks you in from the first sentence and still holds on after the last one is read.

Tierney is about to go serve her grace year with other ladies of her county. Some have been chosen to be brides when they return and others have not. Tierney didn’t expect to get a veil, but she got one from the last man she expected. They’ve heard rumors of what the grace year is like, away from the county, for them to rid themselves of their womanly magic. When they arrive at their encampment they are shocked to discover there’s more to it than they thought.

Kirsten is the pretty one of the group, who leads with an iron first. She is angry because she thought she would getting married to the man who chose Tierney. She doesn’t realize Tierney is just as shocked as Kirsten. Tierney tries to ignore her, but when Kirsten gangs up against her with the other girls, Tierney is banished from the group. The challenge with this isn’t just not having access to the supplies they were given for the year, but out in the forest there are poachers. These men hunt the grace year girls. Can Tierney survive outside the encampment? What has made the other girls turn on her? Why do the poachers kill the grace year girls?

This novel discusses what superstition can do to a community. It’s fascinating to me how the view of women after their period has started has changed through out history. Not only that, but the view of the Eve of the Bible as being evil and that just being a woman means you are marked as being a temptress, that women are meant to be reined in by men and for a woman to stand up for herself is a huge sin. This book explores what the stance of women being the weaker sex does physically and psychologically to a woman and how it affects the community.

I received a complimentary digital copy of The Grace Year by Kim Liggett from NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own accord. I haven’t ever read Lord Of The Flies, The Hunger Games, or The Handmaiden’s Tale, but if you loved these books then you’ll want to grab a copy of this new book this fall. If you’ve also, read an early copy of this engrossing read please message me. I want to chat about this book!

Book Review · Books

Band Of Shadows

Do you enjoy fantasy? Are you a fan of Sarah J.Mass and Veronica Roth? If so, join me in Scarlet’s world. Scarlet is a 17 year old foster kid who loves reading and being a loner, except for hanging out with her foster brother, Jensen.

Scarlet is weirded out when she keeps dreaming of a door. She has no clue why she keeps dreaming of it, or what it could mean. One day walking with Jensen she sees the actual door. She wants to open it right then and there, but Jensen has to go coach a game so they leave.

Soon Scarlet is determined to go back to the door and open it. Jensen is not as comfortable with the idea, but Scarlet wants to know what’s on the other side. They go back and Jensen attempts, but it appears locked. Scarlet tries and it opens for her. Going through this mystery door lands Scarlet in Avalon.

This place is greener than anything Scarlet has ever experienced. She discovers she is a Faye and it’s her true home. Not only has she been lured to her real home by some mysterious door, but that she has special abilities: being an empath and telekinesis. Why was Scarlet brought home now and what does the leader of the island, Morgana, have in store for her?

I like Scarlet because I am also, a bookworm who prefers a small group or time one on one with others and am am empath. I think it’s fascinating how she learns to understand others by being able to sense the other’s emotions and how to block others emotions from over taking her own.

I received my complimentary copy of The Band Of Shadows by H.P. Waitt from Smith Publicity. The views are mine and of my own free will. This novel makes me think a bit of Narnia and the Divergent series. This novel has great characterization and scenery description.

Book Review · Books

Almost Gone

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Mackenzie is a junior in high school when she meets a handsome man on a social dating site. He’s Muslim, respectful and enjoys chatting with her. Mackenzie is a Christian with a boyfriend at the time. This new online friendship blossoms. Once her relationship with her current boyfriend doesn’t pan out she immediately intensifies communicating with this new friend, Aadam whose from Kosovo. Mackenzie’s parents sense something is amiss when their daughter starts pulling away from the family, her Christian faith and her best friends. They have no idea Aadam exists. When Mackenzie asks her dad if she can buy a Koran her dad is floored, but figured everyone goes through their own faith walk and exploration. When Mackenzie states she’s converted her parents are stunned. Why has their daughter all of a sudden gone from social to reclusive? Why the sudden belief change? Will her parents figure out why before it’s, too late?

This book brought up some personal memories for me. In high school relationships can seem like the end all, be all. Teens want to be taken seriously. If you are eighteen you are legally an adult, but not necessarily emotionally or mature enough to be considered an adult. It’s a tightrope to use your wings to gain independence, but still know your parents do love you and want you to make safe life choices. As for faith, growing up in a Christian home myself, there aren’t many opportunities to be exposed to other faiths that differ from your own. I can see why Mackenzie would be enthralled with Islam. It’s different, unique and a person she cares about is of this faith hence why it becomes important to her.

I received an ARC of Almost Gone by Mackenzie Baldwin and John Baldwin for free from NetGalley in exchange for my thoughts on this book. I think this book explores many important topics that parents and teens face today: online dating and how to handle when your teen decides to not believe what they were raised on faith wise. If either of these topics resonates with you I’d recommend this book.