Month: April 2018

The Special Ones

Author: Em Bailey
Published: July 18, 2017
304 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

A mysterious cult leader has complete control over Esther’s life…or does he?

Esther is one of the Special Ones: four young spiritual guides who live under his protection in a remote farmhouse. The Special Ones are not allowed to leave, but why would they want to? They are safe from toxic modern life, safe from a meaningless existence, safe in their endless work. He watches them every moment of every day, ready to punish them if they forget who they are—and all the while, broadcasting their lives to eager followers on the outside.

Esther knows that if she stops being Special, he will “renew” her. That means being replaced with another Esther. Nobody knows what happens to the Special Ones who are taken away from the farm for renewal, but Esther fears the worst. She also knows she’s a fake. She has no ancient wisdom, and is deeply troubled about her life in captivity. But like an actor caught up in an endless play, she must keep up the performance if she wants to survive long enough to escape.

Kim’s Review:

To be 100% honest, this book seemed like a rehash of The Cellar by Natasha Preston. There were a lot of similarities and it really felt like almost exactly the same story. However, there were details that were different and I still enjoyed reading this book very much!

The first half of the book was definitely stronger than the second half. I enjoyed reading about the specifics of the kidnappings and imprisonment of the Special Ones and I liked learning about the nature of the delusion in which he has immersed himself. But, I was left feeling a bit disappointed about the photograph from which he got his inspiration. Who were these people? Why was that photo so important? What kind of research did he do? How did he know their names? We’ve had this discussion before, I’m a historian and you can’t leave me dangling like that! I need more information! Em, I’d like to formally request a book exclusively about those people in the photograph. Thank you.

The ending did get a little slow, but I liked the way the story resolved itself. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good psychological thriller or anyone who loves Criminal Minds. Yes, I did try to do some behavioral analysis on this book . . . it kept me stumped so I think that’s the sign of a stirring story! Definitely worth 4 stars!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Graphic Novel Review: Awkward

Author: Svetlana Chmakova
Published: July 21, 2015
224 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Cardinal rule #1 for surviving school: Don’t get noticed by the mean kids.
Cardinal rule #2 for surviving school: Seek out groups with similar interests and join them.

On her first day at her new school, Penelope–Peppi–Torres reminds herself of these basics. But when she trips into a quiet boy in the hall, Jaime Thompson, she’s already broken the first rule, and the mean kids start calling her the “nerder girlfriend.” How does she handle this crisis? By shoving poor Jaime and running away!

Falling back on rule two and surrounding herself with new friends in the art club, Peppi still can’t help feeling ashamed about the way she treated Jaime. Things are already awkward enough between the two, but to make matters worse, he’s a member of her own club’s archrivals–the science club! And when the two clubs go to war, Peppi realizes that sometimes you have to break the rules to survive middle school!

Kim’s Review:

This is my first ever graphic novel. It’s nothing serious, just a funny middle school read! I think I would have found all the dramatics annoying if this had been written in novel form. The artwork is enjoyable, the characters are amusing, and the story is lively and entertaining! I did give it 5 stars, mainly because I have nothing to compare it too, but also because I had so much fun reading it. I recommend this to anyone just starting out with graphic novels and to anybody who wants a light, hilarious read, especially kids!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Summer Constellations

Author: Alisha Sevigny
To Be Published: May 1, 2018

Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Dates Read: April 12-17, 2018

Book Description:

Julia Ducharme is ready for a fresh start. Her little brother has finally recovered from a serious illness, and now she just wants to enjoy peak season at the campground her family owns. Maybe this will be the year her annual summer fling with Dan Schaeffer becomes something more?

But her summer dreams are quickly shattered. First, Dan arrives for vacation with a new girlfriend in tow, and then Julia discovers this may be her last summer in the only home she’s ever known.

Crushing medical bills have brought her single mom to the brink of bankruptcy, and a wealthy developer is sniffing around the campground. He sees what Julia sees: lush woods, a pristine lake, miles of trails for adventure. Unlike Julia, he thinks this is the perfect spot for a casino resort.

Heartbroken and afraid, Julia looks to the stars for some perspective. Taking her telescope down to the dock one night, she has a chance encounter with a guitar-playing boy who offers some helpful advice. Too bad this handsome stranger is the developer’s son, Nick Constantine.

As plans for a resort move forward, Julia is desperate to find a solution that doesn’t mean leaving the lake. Nick, in turn, is desperate to separate himself from his father’s aggressive business tactics. He promises that, together, they can thwart the sale.

But can Julia trust him to conspire against his own father? And could she ever she trust him with her heart?
Jessica’s Review:

If Summer Constellations  had been published when I was a teenager, it would have most likely been one of my favorite books! It is a perfect summer read for a teen girl, especially if she is going camping.  I am not the target demographic for this novel, but I still enjoyed it!

There is the whole summer romance involved  and Julia is just the ‘normal’ teenage girl. I would have identified with her as a teen.  When she finds out her mom may be selling the only home she has ever known she is not happy at all. She works to try to do everything she can to prevent the sale from happening.  And then there is Nick…. Oh wow: Should she trust him or not? Is he just taking advantage of her situation to get what he wants? And what does he really want?????

I am not a quick reader but had this one read in a few days.  It is a quick and enjoyable read and I wanted to know what was going to happen. Was mom going to sell the campground or not????   I was rooting for Julia to be successful in what she wanted.  The middle did drag a little for me, but the ending made up for it being bittersweet and it really gets moving in the last 50 pages.

Sevigny really captured everything I loved in this novel.  She even did well with the realism with how mom felt with the financial situation.  You could feel how torn mom is about selling.  If you have a teen daughter, let her read this novel.

Summer Constellations is recommended. Thank you KCP Loft for my ARC copy!

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK (Publication Day is May 3rd)

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