Tag: 4 stars

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

Author: Marisha Pessl
Published: June 5, 2018

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Enter a realm where fears are physical and memories come alive in this absorbing psychological suspense thriller with a sci-fi twist.

Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim–their creative genius and Beatrice’s boyfriend–changed everything.

One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft–the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world–hoping she’ll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death. But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened.

Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions.

Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers . . . and at life.

And so begins the Neverworld Wake.

Kim’s Review:

This cover drew me in. It’s so gorgeous and makes me want to stare at it forever. The description was just vague enough to make me want to read it to find out what’s going on. I will say that it is a pretty unique story.

This is actually going to be a short review, because I don’t want to give too much away. There have been several books that I’ve reviewed that I didn’t say much about because those books are best read without too much prior info. I will just say that there was some repetition that got a little tiring, and that’s the reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.

I really enjoyed the story and the mystery was very well done. The ending surprised me a lot! The characters were all likeable, if slightly annoying since they are teens. It was nice to read something different and I really have very little critique to give. This is absolutely worth the read. There is some language and sexual content, but not too bad; just enough to keep it for older teens. A really great book that I liked a lot!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK



Release Day Review: She was the Quiet One

Author: Michele Campbell
Published: Today, July 31, 2018
352 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 22-29, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

When twin sisters Rose and Bel Enright enroll in The Odell School, a prestigious New Hampshire boarding school, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. But the sisters could not be more different. The school brings out a rivalry between them that few ever knew existed. And the school itself has a dark underbelly: of privileged kids running unchecked and uninhibited; of rituals and traditions that are more sinister than they seem; of wealth and entitlement that can only lead to disaster.

For Sarah Donovan, wife of an ambitious teacher who is determined to rise through the ranks, Odell also seems like the best thing that could happen to their small family. But how well does she really know her husband? What lengths will he go to to achieve his goals? And when one dark night ends in murder, who is guilty, who knows the truth, and who has been in on it all along? SHE WAS THE QUIET ONE. Because murderers are almost never who you expect.

Jessica’s Review:

She was the Quiet One is Michele Campbell’s second novel. I hope to read her debut It’s Always the Husband. I enjoyed this novel and read it in a week, which is good for me: I tend to get books read in 10-14 days.  The chapters were short and the mystery kept me reading wanting to know how the novel was going to end. From page one you know that one of the twin girls is dead due to murder; we just don’t know which one. This was the way to pull you in!

Boarding schools make for great settings: There is always a lack of supervision and the kids always seem to get away with so much and trouble is always lurking somewhere.  There was one thing I could not get over throughout the novel: No locks on the bedroom doors at all?!?!? I found that highly unbelievable as that is just asking for trouble (which happens).

Bel and her sister Rose are fraternal twins and very different girls.  I liked both of them, and they really are Yin and Yang: Total opposites but still care for each other as they are all they have left…. Until they get to Odell Academy.  As I read I was wondering what was going to happen to break that seemingly unbreakable ‘twin bond’.

“I was constantly wondering which twin was going to be murdered; I kept going back and forth between Bel and Rose.” I really had no idea which one it was going to be, as both could have been described as ‘the quiet one’ in their own individual way.

There are many secrets held by many characters throughout the novel. You also see how cruel kids can be to each other.

The mystery of the killer’s identity was a predictable one for me. I was hoping for a twist surprise but it became obvious that was not the direction the novel was going to go.  As it was predictable for me, the last act of the novel was anti-climactic. BUT then we have that epilogue……  It brings everything together and everything makes sense.

I enjoyed She was the Quiet One and look forward to reading more by Campbell. Special thanks to St Martin’s Press who sent me an arc copy along with a tote bag for It’s Always the Husband via a Goodreads giveaway.

She was the Quiet One is recommended.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


The One and Only Ivan

Author: Katherine Applegate
Published: January 17, 2012

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 15-20, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

Jessica’s Review:

I listened to the audiobook version of The One and Only Ivan: It gives the fictional story of a real gorilla, Ivan, who lived for 27 years in a shopping mall until he was moved to Zoo Atlanta in 1994 where he lived the rest of his life. Ivan passed away  on August 20, 2012.

The One and Only Ivan is written for children, but adults could enjoy it as well. Ivan and the other animals did not have a happy life and Applegate made Ivan’s story feel all the more personal through this novel.  There are tough issues addressed in the novel (the death of an animal) and the protestors.  The tough issues are handled well for children to understand and adults to feel something as well. 

I encourage you to learn about the real Ivan and his story before reading this fictional version.  The book ends with a timeline of Ivan’s history. 

The narrator did a very good job keeping my interest.  He did great with Ivan’s voice with Ivan having been a silverback.

The One and Only Ivan is recommended.

Zoo Atlanta’s site about Ivan is here.
Ivan’s obituary is here.
Here is a video of Ivan: https://youtu.be/FF1oWHL-lSs

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK