Once Was A Time Review

  

Once Was a Time by Leila Sales
Star Rating ⭐️⭐️ 2/5 Stars

Release Date: April 5th, 2016

Synopsis: 2 young girls during World War 2 are separated through time travel, and one of them goes on a journey to discover what happened to her best friend while trying to navigate the new world she finds herself in.

My thoughts: 

This book was all kinds of a mess for me, the plot sounded interesting but it just didn’t deliver. 

I felt like the whole thing was too convenient and predictable, and as a middle grade lover I have read some that really can span to any age but this was not one of those. It read very middle grade and way too simple for the first half. I had a problem in that right in the middle of the book, all of a sudden 3 years have passed but Charlotte herself didn’t really change, and after that chapter there seemed to be a lot more material added that was more confusing. 

There’s a big part that goes into the physics of time travel and Stephen Hawkins’s theories etc. and I just didn’t understand how most of the book was so simple and then BAM, stuff no one really understands… 

I didn’t like Charlotte, I felt like she was so predictable and it really annoyed me how she just fell in with the mean girls and never questioned it even though she came from a time where they did things differently. I had even bigger issues with the fact that she just showed up out of nowhere and none of the adults in the book question anything!

I think the only thing I really liked was Jake, and the idea itself of the book kept me going… It wasn’t hard to read, in fact with all the questioning I did while reading, I wasn’t bored or anything. It was a very short book and that might have been the issue.

I love Leila Sales, This Song Will Save Your Life is one of my all time favorite books, but I just don’t think this one worked.

If this had been a YA book instead of middle grade, with older characters and a lot more information and character/world building, it might have worked. 

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

If you’ve read this, I’d love to know your thoughts? 
Thanks for reading.

Until next time, bye!

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Passenger review – Spoilers ahead

  

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️ 2/5 stars
Synopsis: Etta, a 17 year old violinist discovers she comes from a family of time travelers. She is sent on a journey to find a powerful object and has to navigate this new world around her in order to save her family.

Young Adult, romance, fantasy, time traveling

My thoughts (there WILL be SPOILERS included in this)

Disclaimer: If this is a book you loved and you really don’t want to hear anything negative about it, please don’t read this. I also want to say I’m sorry if it is one of your favorites, it just goes to show that not every book is for every person and I mean no disrespect to you with what I’m about to say.

Again, SPOILERS AHEAD, if you haven’t read this and are going to.

My very first comment will be this might have been a 4/5 star review if there had been one element removed from this whole story and that is, Nicholas… I have very little negative things to say about his character, save for the fact that he was extremely hot headed and resorted to violence first in every questionable situation. 

The fact remains that the romance in this story killed the entire book for me. Their dialogue was so corny and repetitive, in whole chapters and not just small bits.

Also, this whole thing mirrors the Ruby Red trilogy so much that I couldn’t get past it. I didn’t particularly enjoy that one either, but this book was worse. 

Let me point out some of the similarities: They both feature time traveling families, a powerful object that needs to be found/completed, a bratty side character who likes to be in charge and get her way Charlotte/Sophia, a main character is who thrown into this world without any training, a horrible insta love romance and a big bad mean guy at the top of the pyramid who wants to control everything.

Come on…

Back to the romance, which ended up being half of the plot of this book. Was so unrealistic it made me angry… You cannot, fall that intimately in love with someone you have know for 4 days… Yes they were on the ship for longer, blah blah, but they hardly spoke… So I’m going off the 4 days they were traveling. Sorry Etta, you can’t know him that well… You don’t, bottom line, and I’m still mad that they slept together… Also that he swings, fights, or shoots at the first sign of anything out of the ordinary, hitting her with a bullet twice in the middle of these encounters! But she still is like, it’s ok because we’re in love and I understand him.

Ahhhhhh!

It also bothered me that the only reason Etta was a violinist was to write in the parts about hearing the time travel passages… Why was she so quick to give up on music when it had been her whole life… 

The only reason I gave it 2 stars instead of 1 was because, some of the time travel was ok. Because there were a few moments in the book that I was like, that’s interesting, it gets an extra star…. That’s it. 

Who would I recommend this book to… No one to be honest, and I hate saying that because I don’t like to do negative reviews but by the end of this book I was beyond annoyed with it. 

I guess if you really love romance that is quick and corny and some time travel, you might like this… I seem to be in the minority of people who don’t so, who knows.

If you have read this and you disagree or agree with me on anything, let me know in the comments… If you haven’t read this, I really hope you didn’t read my review because I was really open and I’m sorry if you did cause I spoiled it. I had to get this out though, I couldn’t wait to take this back to the library 😢

Thanks for reading

Until next time, bye! 😏

Walled City Review

  

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Star Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5 Stars

Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Synopsis: Dai, Jin and Mai Yee are all in the Walled City for different reasons but all 3 must face the harsh reality of their environments and make hard choices to secure a better future.

My thoughts: (no spoilers)

How do I even begin with this one. 

This book floored me, it was so incredibly written.

It follows 3 characters. 

Dai is living in the city because of something tragic that has happened in his life, and he is trying to find a way to clear his name so he can leave.

Jin is a girl who is pretending to be a boy, living in the city searching for her sister whom their father sold.

Mai Yee is said sister and lives in a brothel owned by the most powerful drug dealer in the city.

Ryan Graudin is such an amazing writer, I was so connected with all of these characters. I felt what they felt, I empathized with their struggles, I felt almost as if I was in this world following them around every time I picked it up. Or listened to, I had the audiobook as well as the kindle book.

The world they live in was so vivid, brutal and sad but I had no problem picturing it. They were so real, their dialogue, their choices, their hope. 

I loved the way the plot line came together, that each character had a different piece to the puzzle. I loved the bravery of the characters but that they still sometimes had doubts and fears, it made it feel more realistic.

I really can’t say a lot without giving away too much of the story, I feel like this is one you really have to experience without knowing too much about it. 

However, if you are sensitive to triggers, there is a lot of violence in this… People die, and not nicely, there are brothels and drugs and just plain awful things that happen. This is a world where the authorities have no say, it is basically a small city run by a drug lord that always gets what he wants. If that’s not something you are comfortable with, please don’t read this… 

If you are ok with a realistic storyline that involves some uncomfortable things, then I think it is a fantastic read. I love Ryan Graudin’s writing style, and that she completes the story making it well rounded and addictive.
I felt at a loss for words on how to describe my thoughts accurately with this one, I loved it but I’m not sure I can convey exactly why in all the words. I think it was fantastic, if someone was thinking of reading it, I would say yes! Go for it… Bottom line right there.

Thanks for reading

Until next time

Bye! 😊

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace – Review

  

 Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace
Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3/5 stars

Release Date: January 26th, 2016

Young Adult, Paranormal, Mystery, Horror

Synopsis:  Breezy wakes up by being dug out out of the grave she’s been in for a year and finds the man who dug her up dead by her own hands. Her journey to discover the truth about the monster she has become leads her through some dangerous situations. (I can’t really give you more than that without giving too much away)

Personal thoughts (no spoilers)

First, let me start off by saying what I liked about this book.

I thought the idea of this was fantastic, the different monsters and the idea of them living among us was fascinating. Stuff like this always grabs me.

The way this book was written was mysterious, it threw you right into the middle and continuously gave you more info the more you got into it. This kept me intrigued, I wasn’t ever bored and I was throughly invested in knowing what was going to happen. I needed to know!

Also, no romance! Thank goodness for an author who didn’t feel that her characters needed to fall in love to make the story interesting. I don’t mind romance sometimes but it is not needed for every single story.

However, without spoiling the story I need to say that I was disappointed in this book. I don’t feel like all the questions were answered. There was something missing, I don’t know what it is specifically. There were a lot of characters introduced and while most of their stories received endings of sorts… I was not personally satisfied with them, I wanted to know more about the world of monsters, the different things they could do in more detail than I received… Maybe even some better back story. I didn’t get that.

But I did enjoy reading it, it was possibly just a personal thing that I didn’t like the ending. I wouldn’t want that to deter someone from picking this up because it was a very fascinating idea. 

I would recommend this to someone who likes paranormal mystery books, and while there was a pretty nasty character in this that would possibly be scary… It was only borderline horror, but still decently creepy.

Big thanks to Epic Reads and Katherine Tegen Books for sending my the ARC to read and review 😍

If you’re planning to read this, or have read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts 😀

Thanks for reading

Until next time, bye 😘

Lies We Tell Ourselves -Review

  
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5 stars

Historical fiction, LGBTQ, YA contemporary 
Synopsis: 2 girls in 1959 on opposite sides of the civil war movement, their school becomes integrated and they are forced to confront the issues of the time up close and personal and decide how they both really feel about their world and the people in it. 

My thoughts: (No spoilers)

This book follows 2 girls, an African American named Sarah who is in the first group of kids integrated into the white school in their town, and Linda who is one of the white kids who go to the school already.

The first thing I noticed was how hard it was for me to read, because the white people during this time were so completely awful to anyone of color that it makes me sick… I realize that even during our time there are racial issues, but the way they treated people before and during the Civil Rights movement is appalling… 

Linda is a white girl who’s father is high up in the community and often writes articles about negros needing to stay in their places, give them rights but keep them separate sort of stuff. So she believes strongly that her school should not be integrated. 

Sarah is such a strong character, I felt very attached to her through out the book. Not just because I felt so awful for the things she was going through but also because of the way she handled it… She held her head high and she dealt with the issues in a very mature manner. She had plenty of doubts, but she was adamant that what she was doing was for the greater good and I believe she handled it all very gracefully.

The 2 girls are forced to work together on a project, and they go through a lot of issues in conversation, learning much from each other throughout the book. Also, early on in the story we find that both girls are attracted to girls instead of boys and we go through their struggles with this and how they feel about it, and it obviously being 1959 and that being something that people just didn’t talk about at that time.

I thought the story was beautiful, heartbreaking, and hopeful. I felt like I was there in this time with them, experiencing their feelings and their hardships. I absolutely loved it, and if I could give it 10 stars or more, I would.

I would recommend this to everyone, I think it’s an important read.

Thank you for reading, and if you want to check out the review that had me wanting to read this, check out the lovely Kayla Rayne. She’s fabulous and I love this one and all her videos 😍 

Also my friend Michelle at MichEllisLife read this right after me and reviewed it on her channel 😍

Until next time, bye! 😀

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld review

  

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti

Star rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3/5 stars

Young adult, magical realism, superheroes, adventure


Synopsis: A group of teenagers with special powers have to use their abilities to save their friend from a dangerous situation.

My Thoughts: POSSIBLE SPOILERS (I try not to spoil but read my thoughts at your own risk) 

The synopsis of this kind of sums up this book… Yeah, it was that sad…I didn’t hate this book, but it definitely wasn’t what I expected. 

I bought this book for YALLfest, Scott Westerfeld was attending and I had never read any of his books, this one just happened to be coming out and I love superhero type stories, like X-men and the Heroes tv show. That isn’t really what I got.

I liked the idea of this, I actually liked some of the characters, the plot of the book fell a little short. The whole story took place in a weeks time frame, and for an almost 600 page book, that is way too long to get to the point. 

I only liked half of the powers, I thought Flicker was pretty cool (She’s blind but can shift her vision to other people’s eyes so she can see), and Anonymous (He is forgotten by people as soon as their focus is taken off him, the downside is that no one ever remembers him, which is sad to me) even though I felt really bad for him most of the book. 

But Scam (Has a second voice that always seems to know information to get him what he wants… Or from the plot of the story, it just ends up getting him in trouble) was just annoying, Crash (Can crash anything electronic, but has very little control over it and technology actually hurts her)  was pointless in my opinion and Bellwether (Can focus a group of people to a common goal), seriously… What was the point, and that Mob (Can feel and change the energy of a crowd) and Bellwether pretty much have the same power… It was just boring.

The plot wasn’t unique or interesting and I’ve seen a million other stories, movies and TV shows with the same plot, suspense and ending…

So I didn’t hate it, but to be honest, I wouldn’t tell someone else they should read it either… And if my copy didn’t have my name in it, I probably wouldn’t keep it on my shelf…  

Anyways, if you’ve read this, I’d love to know you’re thoughts, and thanks for reading 😊

Book Review: The Duff

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
  
Star Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 out of 5 stars
Young Adult, Contempory, Romance

Synopsis: This book follows Bianca, a high school student who finds out that she is considered the Designated Ugly Fat Friend (DUFF) of her friends group. She in turn, to escape a not so good home life, starts a “enemies with benefits” relationship with Wesley Rush, the womanizer who first informed her of her DUFF status in the first place.

 My Thoughts:  POSSIBLE SPOILERS (I try not to spoil but read my thoughts at your own risk)

I feel I need to start by saying that I don’t usually pick up contemporaries, however, this author is attending YallFest and I felt like I should probably go ahead and read it before I go. 

I really enjoyed this story, I felt it had a good message. Being that girls tend not to see themselves the way others do, that we tend to pick out our flaws and see ourselves as the DUFF… I wish I could say it isn’t true, but it’s just a normal part of life I suppose… 

Bianca is actually a semi strong character to me, she has her self esteem issues but she also knows who she is, what she wants and she doesn’t apologize for being herself nor does she try to change anything about herself to fit in. I have to commend her for that…

Wesley is an interesting character also, it kind of opens you up to realize that seemingly perfect people don’t really have perfect lives. He’s a handsome guy, gets lot of action, seems to live without a care in the world but he is actually really lonely and only has one real friend that he is with regularly.

You learn bits and pieces about the other characters in the story, but most of the book focuses on Bianca and Wesley and the way things and people around them affect their lives and relationship.

So in all, I felt is was a pretty real story. Not completely realistic but real enough that I related to the characters well and I was pretty hooked into the story. There was a lot of sex in this book, not graphic but I guess not really as much as I usually expect from YA books… So if that is not something you like to read about, I wouldn’t pick this one up.

Recommended: Anyone who loves contempory romances, real life situations, and strong willed characters. 
P.S. This book is very different from the movie (which I watched first and loved) just a head up.