Little Darlings review

Little Darlings by Melanie Holding

Star Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

Format: library eaudiobook

Summary: After having twin boys, Lauren is having a hard time adjusting to life as a new morher. Things aren’t helped when a mysterious woman tries to steal Lauren’s twins. No one believes that she or her twins are in danger.

Review: Its very rare that you come across a book that is almost exactly like a book idea you had yourself. But that was the case for me and this book. Which means I don’t have to write it myself and can just enjoy this book with minimal effort. A+. 

I loved that the ending was open to interpretation, was Lauren crazy or not. Personally I mean towards her not being being crazy based on a lot of evidence in the book. One of the biggest things is that her husband refers to any woman not reacting the way he wishes as “crazy”. He does this with Lauren and with the girl he had an affair with. Also there seems to be physical evidence, such as that black material.

Personally, I was mad that Lauren was basically set up to fail. She’s not given any help with twins in the hospital. Everyone is just like oh you’re fine and leaves her. Her husband, not that I feel he would have helped, wasn’t allowed to stay the night and had to observe visitors hours. The only people that seem to show concern are her two friends that were pregnant at the same time. She’s obviously struggling with pod and ppa but her husband just blows her off and shows zero concern. He just gets mad she doesn’t go out.

I think my only critique is that I personally would have preferred if there was some more obviously faerie changeling in the book. It doesn’t really seem like anything the author was hinting at either. I mean, it didn’t take anything away but I just really love anything fae so when I read a changeling story that’s usually what I look for.

Recommendation: I thought this was a great book, it played into a lot of fears I had after I had my own daughter. I enjoy changeling stories lot, even before I had my own pixie baby, so if you’re interested in those type of stories, this one is probably one of the best I’ve read to date.

The Kingdom review

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Star Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

Format: library eaudiobook

Summary: Ana is a Fantasist, an artificial intelligence princess in a theme park called The Kingdom. She is accused of murder and the trial that follows explored what it means to be human.

Review: I’m a huge fan of Disney parks and I have a best friend who worked at one of the parks so I have a little insight into backstage. So when I heard about a book about a futuristic theme park that basically sounds like a beefed uped Disneyland, I was all in.

I loved Ana, her character development was so excellent. Her story was amazing, her growth was great. I liked how repressed all the princesses are, they have no freedoms– they are watched all the time and listened to as well. It really drove home the Disney resort gone wrong thing.

One thing I did really like about the park itself, is that it is bringing extinct animals back to life. I don’t really care for the hybrid animals but you know, you’re not exactly supposed to like the park as a whole.

I think that the book has absolutely have to have a sequel. I want to see Ana out in the real world. I want to see her sisters out there as well. I want to see how they interact outside of the park. I really want to see where their stories go from here. 

Recommendation: I had a lot of fun reading this book. I definitely thought this was a great book, I liked how it dealt with the question of what makes us human.

Once & Future review

Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy 

Star rating: ★★★★ ☆ 4/5 stars

Format: library eaudiobook

Summary: In the distant future, Merlin awakens to train the newest reincarnation of King Arthur – a girl named Ari.

Review: Alright, so a female King Arthur in space– sounds awesome right? You’re darn right it was real awesome. I thought this was such a cool take on the Arthur myth, I really enjoyed how the authors reshaped the myth for this novel.

There are quite a few slow spots in the book and with its length it makes the book a bit unwieldy. I think it needed to be cut back quite a bit, I felt myself zone out fairly often. Most of it was relevant to the overall plot but there were enough times I lost focus because it needed some editing that it warrants mentioning.

I liked how there were nonbinary characters and lgbt+ characters as well. I liked how it was handled in the book, how Merlin was the weird one for not thinking all of it was completely normal. It was a cool look at a potential future, I mean not the ruined earth and corporate overlords. 

Merlin ageing backwards and being a teenager was a cool plotline. I thought it was interesting to see him not as an old man but a teenager who has been around for forever. I feel that his origins will be explored more in future novels of this series.

I know this is a series but I can’t think of what else needs to be done in the stpry. I felt it was fairly tied up, there are a few small subplots but I don’t think there’s much beyond that. I don’t know, there another book coming out soon so I am sure it will be made more clear where the story goes.

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a fresh new twist on the Arthurian myth this is definitely what you need. It does drag some but overall it’s a good story.

2019 Popsugar Challenge Prompt: A book set in space

White Christmas – Bloody Christmas review 

White Christmas -Bloody Christmas: Finally the True Story of the Lawson Family Murders of Christmas Day 1929 by M. Bruce Jones and Trudy J. Smith

Star rating: ★★★☆ ☆ 3/5 stars

Format:  library hardcover

Summary: This book examines a murder case from 1929 where a man murdered his family. 

Review: For how expensive this book was on Amazon I had sort of expected something better. But this book is what it is and I don’t have to like it, in fact I doing like it. 

Right away in the introduction they let the reader know that for some of the book.they will basically be writing their own dramatic reenactments. Like it’s a goddamn made for tv movie. I wanted facts not some fictionalized ideas of what happened between the facts they have.

A lot of their conclusions of the truth seem to be based off of rumors. Some seem to be eyewitness accounts but they don’t specify too often so I wasn’t going to assume they were actual witnesses. 

Most of the chapters were extremely short, like one to two pages. I felt a lot of these tiny chapters could have been combined into longer chapters. It just made it feel like they had all these parts but we’re unsure how to make it a cohesive narrative. 

The ending conclusion was what really made me question the book’s integrity. The authors put forth this theory, which they offer no real evidence for aside from hearsay. It seems like they went with the most outrageous rumor and ran with it. 

Recommendation: This is an interesting case, no doubt– but the best part of this book was the fact the authors included the raisin cake that was left on the table after the murders. There are far better written and researched true crime books out there.

June + July 2019 wrap-up

Well I totally missed doing a wrap-up for June and I almost missed July as well. So I’m combining them both here so I can get back on track. Let’s see, live stuff going on… Went camping in July. It was fine, as far as combining two of my least favorite things (camping + beach) goes. 

Oh! So how about in June I got my septum pierced!!! It was a little spur of the moment thing for me (as much as you can call doing research for a week before actually getting it “spur of the moment”). I really really love it. I’m kinda surprised but I feel like it suits me and it’s so dang cute. Also this baby really has been healing way faster than I would have thought. 

Let’s get to the books I read these two months:

The Beatrice Letters
The hate u give
Shuri vol. 1
Ducktales vol. 1
Mr. & Mrs. X vol. 1
The water cure
Stay sexy & dont get murdered
Olivia twist
X-23 vol. 1
White christmas, bloody christmas
Once & future
Jessica jones vol. 1
The kingdom
Little darlings
Fruits basket vol. 10
Two can keep a secret
The princess and the fangirl
West coast avengers vol. 1
The unstoppable wasp vol. 1
Lumberjanes vol. 11
Rat queens vol. 6
Old man hawkeye vol. 1
The cruel prince
Troll bridge
Old man hawkeye vol. 2
X-men blue vol. 1

Total read: 29

I’m still behind on reviews and I don’t know how to catch up. I don’t want to cut back but I’m feeling overwhelmed and not sure what else to do. I don’t want to have unnecessary stress from something that’s supposed to be enjoyable. 

Olivia Twist review

Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon

Star rating: ★★★★ ☆ 4/5 stars

Format: library eaudiobook

Summary: Olivia grew up an orphan on the streets, pretending to be a boy to protect herself. Now as a young woman she lives with her uncle in upper class circles. When someone from her past shows up Olivia finds her past identity is coming back to find her.

Review: Full disclosure, I’ve never read Oliver Twist, or watched any of the movies– unless you want to count Oliver and Company. So pretty much what I know is “please sir, may I have some more?” Knowing that take my review of a retelling of something I’ve never read with a grain of salt. I really don’t know if this is true to the source or can spot Easter eggs or anything. 

So as far as a YA historical romance goes, I thought it was pretty dang enjoyable. I liked Olivia, her story and character development were good. It wasn’t the best I’ve read but I think it had quite a few good qualities that made for a really fun read. 

There is a bit of a love triangle within but I feel it was mostly a marriage of convenience for Olivia to consider with her friend. I don’t know how those who read the original will feel about it but I liked that the real love interest is the Dodger. I thought it was a nice touch that he had no idea when they were street kids together that Olivia was actually a girl. 

I loved how Olivia couldn’t forget where she came from and that once she was in a better position she tried to help as many other orphan street kids as she could. That comes in handy at the climax which was also cool.

Recommendation: Super fun historical romance, I had a great time reading it and would recommend to my friends that want something fun. 

The Water Cure review

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

Star rating: ★★★☆ ☆ 3/5 stars

Format: library eaudiobook

Summary: Three sisters, Grace, Lia and Sky, live isolated on an island. Their father has gone missing but they continue to practice the rituals he put in place. Their world is rocked when three men come to the island, they’ve never seen any other man besides their father. 

Review: I don’t know why this was compared to The Handmaid’s Tale aside from the fact that Margaret Atwood wrote a blurb for it. So just a heads uo, it’s not really like THT at all.

I didn’t dig this one a whole lot, it was difficult to follow. It starts intriguingly but it begins to drag and takes some weird ass turns. It was hard to tell who was the narrator during many points of the novel, which was disconcerting. It took most of the novel to be able to finally figure the three sisters’ ages, I legit thought they are teens but they are in their twenties. 

When I wasn’t confused as to what was going on I was either weirded out of bored. There is a ton of abuse within the novel, most of not all of their rituals are brutal to their bodies. They all have scars from the various rituals they do. It’s pretty clear this is some sort of cult.

I do like an unreliable narrator but this was beyond what I’m able to handle. I mean, I understand at a certain level these girls don’t know what’s going on themselves. The world building threw me for a loop and I really don’t know if it was post apocalyptic or if they were just an insane cult. I just don’t know what’s going on and I’m lost about most everything in this. 

Recommendation: This book made the rounds on almost everyone’s bookstagram. This one didn’t live up to the hype for me. 

2019 Popsugar Challenge Prompt: A book told from multiple character POVs

Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide review

Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff

Star rating: ★★★☆ ☆ 3/5 stars

Format: library eaudiobook and hardcover

Summary: The ladies that brought you My Favorite Murder present a dual memoir about their lives and how some of their most quotable moments relate to their own lives. 

Review: I wanted so badly to be in love with this book. I even picked up a hard copy after finishing the audio book in the hopes that it might change my mind, it didn’t. Let’s start with my main reason for not liking the audiobook.

I don’t think I’ve ever listened to a more unprofessional audiobook before in my life. There are some weird sudden guest narrators which was jarring. But dude, they used live performance recordings for sections. It sounded so bad. I expect a certain level of audio quality from audio books and this did not have it.

As far as content I think I enjoyed it far better as physical book. The audio quality really made it hard for me to listen to the content because I was distracted by it. The book has some great essays on it but overall I was underwhelmed. I think they do much better as podcast hosts, but it wasn’t a total disappointment. 

In the book there are a few poignant moments that the two women share. I was most struck by Karen’s sharing about her mother’s illness and eventual death. This is a subject she mentions briefly in the podcast but doesn’t give many details. In the book she does a deep dive into it. The other sections that left an impression were Georgia’s driving into the mountains with a “photographer”. And also Karen’s defence of thirteen year olds, that essay I think is super important because she’s right, no one sticks up for thirteen year old girls. 

Aside from a few good moments I wasn’t super impressed by the book. I liked learning more about the two of them, but I’m not sure I found it particularly good writing. The concept of a dual memoir is kind of bizarre and I feel that may have hindered the both of them in really shining. 

Recommendation: Do I regret reading their book? No, not really– I do wish I had avoided the audio book due to the quality. Will I read other books they may or may not write? Probably. I do love the podcast and I like them both so I would probably read any other books they might write. It’s a good read if you’re a big fan but otherwise I don’t see this appealing to other readers. 

2019 Popsugar Challenge Prompt: A book recommended by a celebrity you admire

Rebecca review

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier 

Star rating: ★★★☆ ☆ 3/5 stars

Format: library eaudiobook

Summary: A young woman working in Monte Carlo meets a wealthy widower names Maxim de Winter and quickly married him. After a pleasant honeymoon she discovers that at the estate her husband owns she cannot get out of the shadow of his late wife, Rebecca. 

Review: I had a hard time with this as a modern reader, it just feels super unbelievable. I think it is entirely plausible but I’m still left seriously doubting that anyone would handle this situation this way. 

I think it’s pretty well known that I have a hard time connecting with characters when their name is never revealed (also it’s super difficult to talk about when writing a review) and this book was no different. The main character felt distant and she also annoyed the crap out of me. She was super weak and not willing to do her own thing. If she found anything she was trying to do want against what Rebecca would do then she would convert to the way Rebecca did things. 

I’m sorry in avdance, but I just gotta give away a huge spoiler because I need to talk about this shit. I think I could have stomachs the main character being weak willed if she hadn’t reacted the way she did when she found out Maxim murdered Rebecca. The fact that her basic whole reaction is “yaaaaay he didn’t love Rebecca” creeps me out. She’s not at all bothered that HE KILLED SOMEONE. Talk about some toxic shit, like you’re not at all bothered that he killed his first wife. Only worried he will go to jail. It made me real uncomfortable, especially as a fan of true crime.

For being a mystery it didn’t feel super mysterious to me. There never felt like anything was super at stake. There were a few brief moments, like how bout that scene where the housekeeper almost convinces the main character to jump out a window by barely saying anything, but nothing that made me worried for the character. I don’t know if I just didn’t care about her or if there just wasn’t anything convincing me she was in danger. Besides the whole nonchalant response to her husband being a murderer. 

Recommendation: Ugh, I know this is a classic so I really hate shut talking it so much but damn– I feel like that book was a waste of my time. It just wasn’t my thing but as it has been such a successful book I doubt I have a popular opinion. 

Enchantée review

Enchantée by Gita Trelease 

Star Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

Format: library eaudiobook

Summary: After the death of their patents, it falls to Camille to support her two siblings. She relys on la magie ordinate to turn small bits of metal to coins for a short period of time. When her brother spends all their savings Camille looks for more unique ways of making money. Such as, learning to use darker and more powerful magie forbidden by her mother to transform into a noblewoman and sneak into Versailles to gamble against rich aristocrats. 

Review: You say French revolution era frame and you already got my attention. Then this book added in magic? I’m going to have to read that book then. And I ended up liking it a whole lot.

As far as the revolution is concerned, it isn’t that big of a role in this. It is more background noise than anything else. It leaves me feeling like things will not end up great for Camille as she now has a title and they are in the middle of the revolution. The book ends with this like oh haha isn’t everything grand, let’s fly in a balloon and I’m sitting her like bitch you in danger. I think that’s my main complaint about this book, I couldn’t enjoy the “happy” end because I am sitting here waiting for Camille to get carted off to the guillotine. 

Otherwise, I did find this book really enjoyable. I like how magic works here, that’s a very impermanent thing and requires so much of a person to cast. It’s very draining and often hard to control. It was set up well and didn’t leave me feeling like there were gaping holes I needed filled.

I love that the main love interest is a POC. I think for a historical fiction to be able to admit the world wasn’t just white people is great. Of course, that’s becoming less common now and more common to show how diverse the world was but I still like to acknowledge when authors are out here doing it right. 

Camille had a really good character arc, I thought it was fun to read how she goes from penniless to able to support herself. I think I could have used more scenes between her and her sister but I get that it was important to the plot that some distance grow between them both.  

Recommendation: While I really liked this novel, I feel like it could be a little niche for interests. You could probably enjoy this even if you’re not that into the French revolution but I feel you would get far more out of it if you are. 

2019 Popsugar Challenge Prompt: A book revolving around a puzzle or game