Sunday, February 26, 2017

Book Review: The Education of Margot Sanchez

Title The Education of Margot Sanchez
Author Lilliam Rivera
Release Date February 21, 2017

THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father's credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26594801-the-education-of-margot-sanchez
Review

My biggest issue with this book was Margot herself. I get flawed and unlikable characters, but she was completely self-absorbed. It was hard to see past her selfishness. While there was some character growth (less than what I would have expected) for her at the end of the book, I feel like it came too late to change my opinion of her.

There's a lot going on throughout the book as far as the story goes. It's some pretty heavy stuff: family issues, growing up, fitting in, and gentrification to name a few. The book doesn't seem busy, though, because a lot of it isn't explored as fully as one might like (recalling what happened at the beach party here).

The Education of Margot Sanchez was a decent, but predictable, book.

Rating

3 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday (#14)


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because everyone loves a good list, don't they? We love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Ten Books I Loved More/Less Than I Thought I Would

More

Looking back on these books, I realize that I enjoyed them so much more than I originally thought. I review/rate a book as soon as I'm finished with it, so sometimes after sitting for a while my opinions can change. With these books, I've come to realize they are much better than I originally gave them credit for.
  1. Bird Box by Josh Malerman - When I originally rated this book, I gave it 4.5 stars. I really enjoyed it, but was left somewhat disappointed by the ending. However, looking back on it now, this is a solid 5 star read for me. Bird Box stuck with me long after I read it. I even had a dream (nightmare?) definitely influenced by something that happens in the book.
  2. The Children's Story by Robert A. Krueger - When I wrote my review, I gave this book 3 stars. I said it was a strange book. Thinking back on it, though, I lean more towards 4 stars. I think I'd like to revisit this book again. I feel like it would probably be much better on a second read through.
  3. Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton - Originally, I rated this book 3.5 stars and then rated it 4 stars. Thinking about it now, my opinion flips back and forth between 4 and 4.5. This is another book that was strange, but I feel like would be better on another read through. The author contacted me not too long ago with an updated version of the story. I'm hoping to get to it soon. I think it'll be worth another read.
  4. Unbreakables by Joe Pringle - This book wasn't something I'd normally pick up on my own. However, I decided to give it a shot whenever the author contacted me about reading it. It was such a surprise to me that I enjoyed it so much. I liked the sequel, 144, even more. I love when a book surprises you with how great it is.
  5. Clingstone by Marti Ziegler - When I first started this book, I had a bit of trouble getting into the story. I gave it a bit of time, though, and fell in love. This is another book that I was pleasantly surprised by.

Less

Sometimes, you can't help but get excited about a book. You just know, before you've read a single sentence, that you're going to love it. Whether it's the blurb or the numerous raving reviews, you've got high expectations going in. Only, sometimes, the books falls short. These books are the ones that let me down.
  1. I Am Her... by Sarah Ann Walker - When I decided to read this book, it was because of the numerous 5 star reviews. Yeah, there were a few one star reviews, but I saw more positive reviews than negative. After reading it, though, I'm almost convinced that the people that gave it 5 stars had a different book than I did. I always try to find some positive quality when I negatively review a book, but I failed here.
  2. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson - I almost can't believe I'm putting this book on this list. Especially since I rated it 4 stars. Hear me out, though. This was a fantastic book until the end. If it would have ended earlier, it would have been 5 stars and wouldn't have made this list. I probably wouldn't normally put it on a list of books that disappointed me because it was still a great read, but it's fresh in my mind and so it ended up here.
  3. After You by Jojo Moyes - An unneeded sequel to an amazing book. Skip this, but definitely don't skip Me Before You.
  4. Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee Jones - An unrealistic, cliche book that leaves you with no answers, but plenty of sequels. No thanks. 
  5. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys - Though well researched, this book left me wanting. If the story would have focused on one or two characters/view points, instead of four, I feel like would have been a much better book. The short chapters and constantly switching view points made it harder to have an emotional connection to any characters (which is something I definitely need in a book of this nature).
Which books did you like more or less than you thought you would? Leave your Top Ten Tuesday link in the comments below and I'll be sure to stop by!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (#23)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event that's hosted by Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm waiting on...

Title Until It Fades
Author K. A. Tucker
Release Date May 2, 2017

Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population two thousand outside of tourist season.

And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.

Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works.

For a time.

But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust.

Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27408566-until-it-fades

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Share your links in the comments below and I'll be sure to drop by!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Book Review: Paper Butterflies

Title Paper Butterflies
Author Lisa Heathfield
Release Date June 30, 2016

June's life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one—and a secret one. She is trapped like a butterfly in a net.

But then June meets Blister, a boy in the woods. In him she recognises the tiniest glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away from her home and be free. Because every creature in this world deserves their freedom... But at what price?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29079057-paper-butterflies
Review

I was not prepared for Paper Butterflies. Somehow, I didn't get abuse from the blurb and it caught me totally off guard. To be honest, I'm not sure what I was expecting since I've reread the blurb and clearly see it's about something dark and sinister. Just be prepared.

Paper Butterflies was an incredibly heartbreaking book to read. The injustice of it all was infuriating. The thought that though this book is fiction that something like this can and does happen in the world is mind-boggling. How can we live in a world so cruel?

Though June's life is filled with horrifying scenes at every turn, both at home and at school, there is happiness in her life. Her time with Blister is so separate from the rest of her life. It astounds me that the author can write both the cruel injustices in June's life and still show her true happiness with Blister. She's able to show these conflicting moments in raw and real ways that you can't help but emotionally connect with June. You can feel her fear and pain just as strongly as her love and happiness.

Though very different from Lisa Heathfield's debut, Seed, I enjoyed this one just as much. She's an author that evokes such strong and powerful emotion. I can't wait to read more from her in the future.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Spotlight/Giveaway: The Ceruleans Series


This February marks two years since the first book, Death Wish, in The Ceruleans series was published. To celebrate the relaunch of her novels, Charlotte Wilson (previously published under the pen name Megan Tayte) has provided us with a short Ceruleans story as well as a couple of teasers and a giveaway! I hope you all enjoy and check out this wonderful series if you haven't already!



Anniversary

The cake was homemade. Lopsided. Slathered in gloopy frosting. Judging by Adam’s previous attempts in the kitchen, it was safe to assume it would be inedible.

Estelle loved it.

‘You baked? For me?’

She reached over and pulled Adam into a hug, awkward with the massive baby bump wedged between them.

‘Happy anniversary!’ he said.

Estelle pulled back, frowning. ‘That’s tomorrow.’

A year since she had Become a Cerulean. A year since she had died.

‘I know,’ said Adam. ‘But I have a surprise for you. A… gift. And I wasn’t sure how you’d take it, so I thought: give it to you today, and if you… well, if it’s not what you want, then it hasn’t spoiled tomorrow.’ He smiled at her – nervously.

‘O-kay,’ said Estelle. She couldn’t fathom what gift she could potentially dislike that much. Unless he’d bought her something girlie. She didn’t do girlie.

‘Good,’ said Adam. He grabbed her hands. ‘Ready?’

She’d barely begun to nod when it happened… the picnic blanket, the beach, the ocean, all gone, replaced, in the bewildering blink of an eye, by a grimy urban alleyway.

What came next was not pretty. Estelle hadn’t been that sick since her first trimester.

‘Are you insane?’ she hissed eventually, when she was done and could get a word in edgeways between Adam’s apologies and panicked are-you-okay-is-the-baby-okays. ‘You Travelled us to…’ She looked about and recognition made her jaw drop. ‘No,’ she said. ‘Truro?’

White-faced, Adam nodded. He didn’t say anything; he just pointed at a shopfront visible at the top of the alley. The sign was so weathered it was unreadable. That didn’t matter; Estelle knew exactly what it said: Tattoo Tony’s.

Furious, she rounded on Adam. ‘You’d better start explaining right now.’

‘The nightmares you’ve been having about… him. I couldn’t do nothing. It’s not right, Estelle, that he’s living his life here. Unpunished. So…’ He held out his hands. Ethereal blue light lit the alley.

‘Quit it!’ Estelle slapped his hands, hard. ‘Adam…’ She stared at the one person she loved, who’d given her a home and a purpose – to whom she’d confided her deepest, most painful secret: that when she was nine, the year before her mother ODed, a man named Tattoo Tony had abused her.

Adam stared right back at her, and there was a spark in his eyes she’d never seen before. ‘What’s the point of having power over life and death,’ he said, ‘if you can’t use it to take out a bad guy? One touch, Estelle. That’s all it would take.’

No! she should have yelled. No, Adam, that’s sacrilegious, against everything the Ceruleans stand for. But the words wouldn’t come.

She looked up the alley again, at the shop. She lay a hand on her swollen belly. Then she reached out and took Adam’s hand, and they walked toward the street.

They would have looked an odd couple – he the picture boy for geek chic, her Gothed out from head to foot – had they been visible. They weren’t, though, thanks to Adam’s power. They could walk right across that street, into the tattoo parlour and kill a man, and no one would ever know it was them.

At the door to the shop, which was propped open, Estelle pulled Adam to a stop. She could see an old man inside. He was gaunt and stooped, and his breath was coming in wheezy pants.

‘Do you feel it?’ she murmured to Adam.

‘Yes,’ he said. ‘Lung cancer, I think.’

‘How long does he have?’

‘Months, if that.’

Estelle thought carefully before asking the next question: ‘Do you feel the pull? Are you meant to heal him?’

She saw Adam shake his head. No. This man was destined to die. Slowly. Painfully.

Suddenly, she realised that she could see Adam; he was no longer shielding them from view. That’s how well he knew her. There would be no wicked deed here today, no Falling from grace. Only justice of the karmic kind.

‘God I love you,’ she said, and she pressed her lips to his.

‘Er… can I help you?’ Tony had come to the door and was frowning at the couple kissing on his doorstep.

Estelle and Adam broke off, but they didn’t even look at the man beside them.

‘Take me home,’ Estelle told Adam… and he did.

They stayed on the beach for the rest of the day, lying in the sun, paddling in the surf. When the sun set there wasn’t a crumb left of that cake. It was dry. It was salty. It was crunchy with egg shell. But it was the most delicious thing either of them had ever eaten.


About the Author
Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess. ‘Write, Charlotte,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did.

Thirty-odd years later, Charlotte is a professional writer. For authors and publishers, she writes and edits books as The Book Specialist. For herself, she writes soulful, coming-of-age romance for young adults.

Charlotte grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but these days she makes her home in a village of Greater Manchester with her husband and two children. When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her walking someplace green, baking up a storm, or embarking on a DIY project. She recently achieved a lifetime ambition of creating a library in her home to house her ever-increasing collection of books. She pretends not to notice that the shelves are rather wonky.

Author Links
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
Goodreads

Giveaway

Monday, February 6, 2017

Book Review: Allegedly

Title Allegedly
Author Tiffany D. Jackson
Release Date January 24, 2017

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the grey areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, and acknowledges the light and darkness alive in all of us.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30037870-allegedly
Review

Emily May said it best in her review. This was a solid 5 star read until the very last chapter. The last chapter weakened an otherwise strong story. In my opinion, it almost seemed like the author wasn't sure how to end the story and went with this sort of twist instead of an ending that would have felt more authentic given how the story had played out thus far.

Other than the disappointing ending, I thoroughly enjoyed Allegedly. It was a compelling story that captivated my attention from the very first page. An overall intense and difficult story to digest, but totally worth the read.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars