Monthly Archives: June 2016

The King Slayer (The Witch Hunter, Book 2)

The King Slayer Book Cover The King Slayer
The Witch Hunter, Book 2
Virginia Boecker
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
June 14, 2016

An action-packed and suspenseful sequel to The Witch Hunter, perfect for fans of Graceling and the Grisha Trilogy.

"I think, in time, you'll either be my greatest mistake or my greatest victory."

Former witch hunter Elizabeth Grey is hiding within the magically protected village of Harrow, evading the price put on her head by Lord Blackwell, the usurper king of Anglia. Their last encounter left Blackwell ruined, but his thirst for power grows stronger every day. He's readying for a war against those who would resist his rule--namely Elizabeth and the witches and wizards she now calls her allies.

Having lost her stigma, a magical source of protection and healing, Elizabeth's strength is tested both physically and emotionally. War always means sacrifice, and as the lines between good and evil blur once more, Elizabeth must decide just how far she'll go to save those she loves.

"[Filled] with everything a good fantasy book needs: swords, poison, black magic, and betrayal."--April Tucholke, author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, on The Witch Hunter



“The King Slayer” is an excellent follow-up to “The Witch Hunter.”

For those who read the first of the duology, you will be happy to know that all of your favorite (and not-so-favorite) characters are back, most of them with much bigger parts in the story.  I’m almost afraid to write anything in this review for fear of spoiling someone.  I can say that it is as good as, if not better, than the first.  The world is still one of the most well-built I have ever read.

There is something that some may find controversial, but given the historical context, it’s really the only way it could play out realistically.

Oh, and please Virginia Boecker, give us a book about Schuyler.  There seems like so much to tell, and I don’t want to see him go.

Highly recommended to anyone who loved the first.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence, Gore

Summer of Supernovas

Summer of Supernovas Book Cover Summer of Supernovas
Darcy Woods
Crown Books for Young Readers
May 10, 2016

As the daughter of an astrologer, Wilamena Carlisle knows the truth lies within the stars, so when she discovers a rare planetary alignment she is forced to tackle her worst astrological fear--The Fifth House of Relationships and Love--but Wil must decide whether a cosmically doomed love is worth rejecting her mother's legacy when she falls for a sensitive guitar player.


Book Review:

Reading “Summer of Supernovas” was like reading the literary equivalent of the actual character of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Willamena is the main character, a young woman obsessed with astrology and who has lost her mother.  The character is written as edgy and artistic, but this character is trying WAY too hard.  She’s irritating and immature.  The astrology stuff has loose connections but never seems to come together, completely pushing to the side the interesting fact that she is a genius with actual astronomy.  As is always the case with an annoying female character, there is a love triangle, leaving us to wonder what is going on in this world.

The frustrating part is one of the love interests has so much potential to be a great character and salvage the book on his shoulders alone.  Instead, the author leaves us with facts about him that make the reader want more only to never get it.  The relationship Willamena has with her grandmother is another goldmine waiting to be explored.  It had some page-time but not nearly enough.

The author of “Summer of Supernovas” has talent, but it was focused, in my opinion, on the wrong areas of the story.  I wish there could be a do over, because there really is a story in there I would like to read.  Unfortunately, I can’t recommend this one.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence, Underage Drinking

Lily and the Octopus

Lily and the Octopus Book Cover Lily and the Octopus
Steven Rowley
Simon and Schuster
June 7, 2016

Combining the emotional depth of "The Art of Racing in the Rain" with the magical spirit of "The Life of Pi," "Lily and the Octopus "is an epic adventure of the heart. When you sit down with "Lily and the Octopus," you will be taken on an unforgettable ride. The magic of this novel is in the read, and we don t want to spoil it by giving away too many details. We can tell you that this is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can t live without. For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog. "Lily and the Octopus "reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all. Remember the last book you told someone they "had "to read? "Lily and the Octopus" is the next one."



Friends, let me tell you right now, if you are a dog or an animal lover you are going to flat-out ugly cry over “Lily and the Octopus.”

I mean snot running down your face, inconsolable, nothing-will-ever-be-ok-again sobbing.

The other thing I will tell you is that you will be so, so glad you read it.  It’s a beautiful work of literary fiction about the nature of life and love told with a lot of humor and sadness.  As the description says, the joy of this particular book is in the reading of it.  A summary will not actually convey what it’s all really about, and aside from the crying, I think everyone will take something different away from it.  This is definitely one of those novels that is colored by what the reader brings to the table.

What “Lily and the Octopus” gave me was the memory of the pain of loss, but most importantly, the memory of love and it all being worth it.  Animals and humans alike, they’re worth it in the end.

I can’t recommend it enough.

This unbiased review is based upon a copy of the book won through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program.


Content Warning:

As this is an adult book, there are no content warnings.

Summer of Sloane

Summer of Sloane Book Cover Summer of Sloane
Erin L. Schneider
May 3, 2016

Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.

These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she'd be spending at her mom's home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.

Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there's no reason Sloane shouldn't enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn't always play by the rules, she knows he's the perfect distraction from everything that's so wrong back home.

But it turns out a measly ocean isn't nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane's carefree summer might not be as easy to come by as she'd hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.



“Summer of Sloane” is the perfect choice for those looking for a beach read that is fun with a side of seriousness.

Sloane is a character put into a very difficult situation through no fault of her own, and the way she works through it feels very natural and realistic.  She’s someone who is easy to like, something that is not always easily found in young adult romances.  All of the supporting characters added to the story and were well-developed.  Most are the sorts of friends anyone would want to have.  You’ll know the ones you definitely do not want when you read it.

I loved the pacing and the writing.  It flowed steadily and the narration really sucked me into Sloane’s world.  Not an easy feat since I have never been to Hawaii and probably never will get to go.  I felt like I was sitting around a bonfire with my friends a good amount of the time.  None of the conversation felt stilted or forced, and the writer gave each character a unique voice.  There are also some very important life lessons thrown in that don’t seem at all preachy.  It strikes a nice balance.

“Summer of Sloane” is a good book for anyone looking for a teen romance with a little bite.  It’s also a cheap summer getaway to paradise.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence, Underage Drinking

Morning Star (Red Rising Book 3)

Morning Star Book Cover Morning Star
Red Rising, Book 3
Pierce Brown
Del Rey Books
January 5, 2016

"Born a lowly Red in the mines of Mars, Darrow lost his beloved wife to the treacherous Gold overlords. Vowing to fight for the future that his wife believed in, Darrow joins a secret revolutionary group and is remade into a Gold so that he can infiltrate the ruling class and bring them down from the inside. Now, after years of hiding amongst the Golds, Darrow is finally ready to declare open revolution and throw off the chains of oppression. Nothing in Darrow's world has been easily won, and this final fight will be the most harrowing of all"--



Mr. Brown, if you’re reading this, please know that there is an intense need to see Dylan O’Brien play The Jackal.

I’m serious.  If he can’t be in the actual movie please try to film a home video or something.  I’m ok with shaky cam.  Snap chat.  Instagram.  I know you have a bunch of Teen Wolf cast friends who also love your books.  Give me my fix, man.

The only other things I can say are perfect ending to a perfect trilogy.  Also, I’m really glad we don’t have to leave this world behind.  How many days now until “Iron Rain” is released?

You Had One Job!

You Had One Job! Book Cover You Had One Job!
Beverly Jenkins
Andrews McMeel Publishing
July 12, 2016

You Had One Job! is a collection of hilarious pictures features job-related disasters and general ineptitudes. If someone hangs a stop sign upside down or paints crooked lines on a highway, count on someone else to snap a photo and post it online. You Had One Job! is a collection of hilarious pictures features job-related disasters and general ineptitudes. All of these new, never-before-seen images will be accompanied by witty captions.



“You Had One Job” has many pictures in it that had me literally laughing out loud and scaring the animals.  It also seemed a bit on the short side and had too many photos that have been over-exposed online.  A bit longer and with more original content and it would have been a five-star book.

This review is based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Breaking Cat News

Breaking Cat News Book Cover Breaking Cat News
Georgia Dunn
Andrews McMeel Publishing
May 10, 2016

This just in: Three adorable house cats are reporting the most hilarious breaking news! Based on author/illustrator Georgia Dunn’s real life pets, Elvis, Lupin, and Puck strap on neckties and pick up microphones to provide the most up-to-date relevant news stories (at least according to them).

Cats reporting on the news that matters to cats with stories such as The Vacuum Cleaner Is Back!, The Woman Is Cooking Bacon!, and The Ceiling Cats Are Everywhere Tonight! Cynical, no nonsense Elvis and shy, sweet, sensitive Puck are the reporter kitties in the field, while the adventurous jokester Lupin serves as anchor cat. Together they break headlines on the food bowl, new plants, mysterious red dots, strange cats in the yard, and all the daily happenings in their home.



Oh how I loved “Breaking Cat News.”  I still have a smile on my face just thinking about it and am going to buy a physical copy the next time I am in a bookstore.  Any cat lover is sure to see their own cats in the news team, and it will make a perfect gift for anyone in your life that needs some cheering up.  It’s also appropriate for children and is sure to get everyone laughing together.  Highly recommended!

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Square Root of Summer

The Square Root of Summer Book Cover The Square Root of Summer
Harriet Reuter Hapgood
Roaring Brook Press
May 3, 2016

This is what it means to love someone. This is what it means to grieve someone. It's a little bit like a black hole. It's a little bit like infinity.

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she's hurtled through wormholes to her past:

To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn't even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.

Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie's past, present, and future are about to collide―and someone's heart is about to be broken.

With time travel, quantum physics, and sweeping romance, The Square Root of Summer is an exponentially enthralling story about love, loss, and trying to figure it all out, from stunning debut YA voice, Harriet Reuter Hapgood.



Actual Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

“The Square Root of Summer” is the perfect example of why there needs to be a half star option for rating books.  It is definitely better than a three, but the one major flaw keeps it from being a four.

Gottie and her family are wonderful and quirky characters, especially her grandfather Grey.  I would love a book just focusing on him in all of his glory.  They provide the perfect cast of characters for the theme of heartbreak coming in all kinds of forms, and the only way to deal is to tackle them head-on.  Gottie is not the only one having problems with this, and it’s interesting to see how everyone handles their losses.  I do have to say I think her friends and brother were more than a little hard on her, but that isn’t unrealistic for teenagers experiencing all kinds of losses and changes.  This part of the story is five stars.

The problem is the physics aspect of the time travel thread.  I loved the time travel itself, but physics was never my strong suit, and even though the author did her best to make it make sense it ended up leaving my brain in a puddle.  Some parts were easy, and I did learn quite a few new things, but I believe the science was over-explained.  Being so lost made that part turn into an indecipherable mess by the end.

I still would recommend “The Square Root of Summer” to older young adults and adults.  It is worth it for the story of loss and the wonderful Grey.  I do think if you’re inclined to math and science you will get more out of it than I did.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations

True Born

True Born Book Cover True Born
True Born, Book 1
L.E. Sterling
Entangled: Teen
May 3, 2016

Welcome to Dominion City.

After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated...and their genetics damaged beyond repair.

The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…

And then there's Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are.

When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, including the charismatic leader, Nolan Storm, and the beautiful but deadly Jared, who tempts her as much as he infuriates her. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters?

As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood.



I would liken “True Born” to the “Under the Never Sky” series.  Not in plot, but in the guilty pleasure type of enjoyment it provides.  The similarities include that there’s a world that doesn’t make much sense, though I suspect that will be cleared up in future books, and science that is barely explained and is best left unquestioned.

In spite of the things mentioned above, it’s fun. It takes the ideas of plagues, shape-shifters, and religious zealots and mixes them into a good adventure filled with quite a bit of romance.  The language can get a bit flowery at times, but that settles down by about a quarter of the way through.

The characters are intriguing and mysterious, and there is definitely a lot of surprises left in store for readers as the series continues.  I have my theories on what will happen and am anxious to see whether or not I’m right.

I recommend “True Born” to anyone looking for a quick and easy read that doesn’t require too much thought.  It’s the perfect book to read after something depressing and/or heavy.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence