Author Archives: adultintheyasection

Rescued

Rescued Book Cover Rescued
Peter Zheutlin
Pets
Penguin
2017
256

"In the follow-up to his New York Times bestseller Rescue Road, acclaimed journalist Peter Zheutlin offers a heartwarming and often humorous new look into the world of rescue dogs. Sharing lessons from his own experiences adopting dogs with large personalities as well as stories and advice from dozens of families and rescue advocates, Zheutlin reveals the often surprising and inspiring life lessons rescue dogs teach us." -- Back cover.

 

Review:

I’m an animal lover and strong advocate for rescue animals.  “Rescued” is written for anyone like me.  Instead of focusing solely on the dogs it focuses on rescuers and how the dogs have impacted their lives.  Recommended for all lovers of second-hand dogs.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

But Then I Came Back

But Then I Came Back Book Cover But Then I Came Back
Estelle Laure
Hmh Books for Young Readers
April 4, 2017
320

From the author of This Raging Light comes the story of Eden Jones, a seventeen-year-old girl who feels lost after surviving a near fatal accident. Unable to connect with her family and friends, Eden forms an unlikely relationship with Joe, a boy who comes to the hospital to visit Jasmine, a friend who may soon be gone forever. Eden is the only person who can get through to Jasmine, but is she brave enough to face a world that's bigger and more magical than she ever would have allowed? Lyrical, unexpected, and romantic, Estelle Laure's new novel is about interwoven lives, long goodbyes, and the imperfect beauty of young love.

 

Review:

While I was back and forth on my feelings toward the magical realism contained in “But Then I Came Back,” I had to give it four stars for the beautiful portrayal of what it’s like to come back after a serious head injury.  The struggles physically and mentally were portrayed well, but it also covered the existential questions that often come up after a life-changing event.  That is something I have rarely seen in a novel.  There is also a nice romance on the side.  Recommended!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Underage Drinking

Freefall

Freefall Book Cover Freefall
Joshua David Bellin
Young Adult Fiction
Simon and Schuster
September 26, 2017
368

Cam is eager to leave Earth with the rest of the elite 1% until he connects with one of the 99%, Sofie, and joins her in the fight for Lowerworld rights.

 

Review:

I am definitely in the minority with this, but “Freefall” felt blah to me.  There was a good story and good world-building in there, but it feels like it moved at a snail’s pace getting to anything exciting.  I also felt disconnected from the main characters. This is one of those where I can neither recommend nor not recommend it.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

A Short History of the Girl Next Door

A Short History of the Girl Next Door Book Cover A Short History of the Girl Next Door
Jared Reck
Young Adult Fiction
Knopf Books for Young Readers
2017
272

After years of pining for the girl next door, fifteen-year-old Matthew Wainwright must deal with Tabby dating a popular senior just when he needs her most.

 

Review:

I’m not sure how to rate “A Short History of the Girl Next Door.”  If I say too much, it will take away from the surprise.  I can say that it was a roller coaster of emotions that takes the reader from crying with laughter to ugly sobbing with heartbreak within the span of just a few pages.  If you’re ready for some strong feels and a story that will stay with you long after you are finished, then I recommend it.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations

I, Eliza Hamilton

I, Eliza Hamilton Book Cover I, Eliza Hamilton
Susan Holloway Scott
Fiction
2017-09
400

In this beautifully written novel of historical fiction, bestselling author Susan Holloway Scott tells the story of Alexander Hamilton's wife, Eliza--a fascinating, strong-willed heroine in her own right and a key figure in one of the most gripping periods in American history. "Love is not easy with a man chosen by Fate for greatness . . ." As the daughter of a respected general, Elizabeth Schuyler is accustomed to socializing with dignitaries and soldiers. But no visitor to her parents' home has affected her so strongly as Alexander Hamilton, a charismatic, ambitious aide to George Washington. They marry quickly, and despite the tumult of the American Revolution, Eliza is confident in her brilliant husband and in her role as his helpmate. But it is in the aftermath of war, as Hamilton becomes one of the country's most important figures, that she truly comes into her own. In the new capital, Eliza becomes an adored member of society, respected for her fierce devotion to Hamilton as well as her grace. Behind closed doors, she astutely manages their expanding household, and assists her husband with his political writings. Yet some challenges are impossible to prepare for. Through public scandal, betrayal, personal heartbreak, and tragedy, she is tested again and again. In the end, it will be Eliza's indomitable strength that makes her not only Hamilton's most crucial ally in life, but also his most loyal advocate after his death, determined to preserve his legacy while pursuing her own extraordinary path through the nation they helped shape together.

 

Review:

“I, Eliza Hamilton” is a beautifully written historical romance about one of our favorite families.  While it is fiction, the historical aspects are well-done and thoroughly researched.  It felt as though you were right there with them as history happened.  While it’s listed as an adult novel, if you have an advanced middle school history buff they will enjoy it.  Highly recommended!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Enzon Races in the Rain

Enzo Races in the Rain! Book Cover Enzo Races in the Rain!
Garth Stein
Juvenile Fiction
HarperCollins
October 7, 2014
40

[Enzo Races in the Rain!; TR 9780062295330] New York Times bestseller Garth Stein's picture book debut about the lovable dog Enzo from The Art of Racing in the Rain is a heartwarming tale of coming home. Fans of Bad Dog, Marley! by John Grogan and Charlie the Ranch Dog by Ree Drummond will delight in Enzo's unforgettable personality and funny antics. Enzo the puppy's action-packed adventure begins when he makes the journey from the farm to the city (bark twice for faster!), discovers just how big the world is, and finds the family that was meant to be his. Life on the farm is pretty quiet—except when he races the cars that come down the barn road. Because Enzo is fast. He knows he's different from other dogs. But people never understand Enzo when he barks, and it drives him crazy! Then one day Enzo meets a little girl named Zoë and her father, Denny, and everything changes. R. W. Alley's fantastic illustrations bring the beloved Enzo to life as he learns to adapt to life in his new home and discovers just what it means to become a family.

 

Review:

I loved “Enzo Races in the Rain.”  The illustrations are fun and the story is fleshed out enough that it will make a good story time choice or bedtime story for older kids.  The illustrations will keep all but the youngest involved.  It’s also nice to read about Enzo without sobbing at the end!

The Agony of Bun O’Keefe

The Agony of Bun O'Keefe Book Cover The Agony of Bun O'Keefe
Heather Smith
Razorbill Canada
2017-03

Little Miss Sunshine meets Room in this quirky, heartwarming story of friendship, loyalty and discovery.

It's Newfoundland, 1986. Fourteen-year-old Bun O'Keefe has lived a solitary life in an unsafe, unsanitary house. Her mother is a compulsive hoarder, and Bun has had little contact with the outside world. What she's learned about life comes from the random books and old VHS tapes that she finds in the boxes and bags her mother brings home. Bun and her mother rarely talk, so when Bun's mother tells Bun to leave one day, she does. Hitchhiking out of town, Bun ends up on the streets of St. John's, Newfoundland. Fortunately, the first person she meets is Busker Boy, a street musician who senses her naivety and takes her in. Together they live in a house with an eclectic cast of characters: Chef, a hotel dishwasher with culinary dreams; Cher, a drag queen with a tragic past; Big Eyes, a Catholic school girl desperately trying to reinvent herself; and The Landlord, a man who Bun is told to avoid at all cost. Through her experiences with her new roommates, and their sometimes tragic revelations, Bun learns that the world extends beyond the walls of her mother's house and discovers the joy of being part of a new family -- a family of friends who care.

 

Review:

I fully recognize that I am in the minority here, but I did not like “The Agony of Bun O’Keefe” at all.  The main character bothered me, even though she was supposed to be one I felt sympathetic toward.  There were good issues brought up, but there were way too many and it made the whole thing seem crowded and rushed.  The only things I liked about it was the character of “Busker Boy” and the diversity.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Situations, Child Abuse, Verbal Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Racist Language, Violence

The Border

The Border Book Cover The Border
Steve Schafer
Young Adult Fiction
Sourcebooks Fire
September 1, 2017
368

One moment changed their lives forever. A band plays, glasses clink, and four teens sneak into the Mexican desert, the hum of celebration receding behind them. Crack. Crack. Crack. Not fireworks—gunshots. The music stops. And Pato, Arbo, Marcos, and Gladys are powerless as the lives they once knew are taken from them. Then they are seen by the gunmen. They run. Except they have nowhere to go. The narcosresponsible for their families' murders have put out a reward for the teens' capture. Staying in Mexico is certain death, but attempting to cross the border through an unforgiving desert may be as deadly as the secrets they are trying to escape...

 

Review:

Words cannot describe how important I think “The Border” is for everyone from middle grade up to read.  The story really put a face on the plights of those crossing the US border from the south.  The author did meticulous research and took great care to tell the story in an easy to understand manner.  This would be perfect for classroom and child/parent discussions.  It’s also a good choice for reluctant readers and those looking for diversity in their books.  Highly recommended.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Brief Sexual Situations, Violence, Underage Smoking

Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad, Book 1)

Nyxia Book Cover Nyxia
Scott Reintgen
Young Adult Fiction
Crown Books For Young Readers
2017
384

Emmett accepts an interstellar space contract but learns en route that to win the promised fortune he and nine other recruits face a brutal competition, putting their very humanity at risk.

 

Review:

I’ll say right off the bat that “Nyxia” borrowed quite a few elements from other science-fiction and dystopian works.  That being said, it didn’t diminish my enjoyment.  It was a quick read that left me wanting more.  Emmett is complex, as are the secondary characters, and there are definitely deeper things going on that I want to know about.  Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait for the second book.  The cast of characters is extremely diverse.  This is a good setup to the rest of the trilogy that I can easily recommend to those who enjoy science-fiction or dystopian novels.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

Black Bird of the Gallows

Black Bird of the Gallows Book Cover Black Bird of the Gallows
Meg Kassel
Young Adult Fiction
Entangled Teen
September 5, 2017
300

Her love breaks his curse. But his love spells her death. A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full. Angie Dovage can tell the mysterious new boy next door is more than he appears, but she can't imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. But when a grotesque, otherworldly man tries to attack her and Reece comes to her rescue, everything changes. Any minute, chaos could rain down on her town, on her family, on everyone she cares about. But that's only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

 

Review:

“Black Bird of the Gallows” was not a bad book, but it wasn’t for me.  I liked the backstory and the magical realism, but there seemed to be something missing in the actual execution.  I didn’t like the main character, so that was definitely part of the problem.  I can neither recommend nor not recommend it, so I suggest that if it looks good to you to give it a shot.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence, Animal Death