Science Fiction, Young Adult

Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

Girls with Sharp SticksGirls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

What do I say about this book other than that I loved it? Well here’s my best shot!

Girls with Sharp Sticks is a young adult book focused on the lives of several girls living in an elite boarding school. They are taught to uphold the highest standards of behavior and grace, striving for perfection in all things. But things aren’t what they seem to be at Innovations Academy. And the girls must band together to discover the truth.

I truly don’t want to give anything away with this book because it’s a great journey of discovery from start to finish as the story unravels. I adored the girls at Innovations Academy. Despite the pressure to be perfect, they all exhibited their own human elements that made them likable and relatable.

The only reason it didn’t receive 5 stars from me is that it seemed just a tad too long. There were a few points in the middle where I felt like there was a lull or I felt like the story was dragged out just a littleeeeee too much. Just a tiny bit of editing would have gone a long way for me here.

I had no idea when I started this book that it would be the first in a series. And now I cannot wait to read the sequel. The last 100 pages really hooked me, and the book ended on a wonderful cliffhanger that will keep any reader coming back to find out what happens next. I also adored the way Suzanne Young announced the name of the sequel at the end of the book (super clever touch!).

Girls with Sharp Sticks reminded me of a cross between Vox and The Hunger Games/The Maze Runner. It had that same young adult feel with a mistreated group organizing an uprising against their oppressors. After I was done reading Girls with Sharp Sticks, I could see the way in which the author used this first book in the series to set up future books. It was definitely more of a background set up type of book so I cannot wait to see what the second book holds as I think it may be more action packed now that the groundwork has been laid.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Suzanne Young, and Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for the opportunity to review.-

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General Fiction (Adult), Science Fiction

If, Then by Kate Hope Day

If, ThenIf, Then by Kate Hope Day

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Expected publication: March 12th!

Congrats to Kate Hope Day on a successful first novel. I simply adored the concept as well as the telling of If, Then.

Do you ever think about how your life would have turned out if you made a different decision somewhere along the way? This book challenges the reader to stretch their imagination and consider their own alternate realities while experiencing the journeys of several characters in a sleepy mountain town. Each of the various characters in this book have a story to tell and each of them struggles with inner demons. But, when they begin experiencing some paranormal activity in the form of what they think are hallucinations, they wonder if they’re catching a glimpse into what could have been or if they’re just going crazy.

I really enjoyed this entire book from start to finish. It is relatively short so makes for a quick read. And I felt that the characters were all distinct and relatable. It was easy to envision each person trekking their way through life, overcoming their daily struggles, discovering themselves. And the way each of their stories interconnected was done wonderfully.

I would characterize this more as a “slow burn” as it wasn’t terribly fast moving. But while it was on the slower side in terms of movement, I never found myself bored. Kate Hope Day was able to strike a good balance.

Overall, this was a very solid novel with some interesting philosophical content. I would recommend to anybody who tends to like books that make you think on a deeper level.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Kate Hope Day, and Random House Publishing for the opportunity to review.-

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Audiobook Review, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller

The One by John Marrs

The OneThe One by John Marrs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You guys! I absolutely adored this book! And this isn’t one I’ve seen blasted across the internet on various social media platforms. I just kind of stumbled upon it through recommendations of friends.

The premise of the book was super interesting. What if you could take 23&Me and and put them together into one mega dating app? Submit your DNA and be matched with your one and only soulmate. Would you do it? Follow the stories of four people who took the plunge. Experience the good, the bad, and the ugly.

As a woman who met her husband on seven years ago, the content of this book really tickled my fancy. I thought the concept was such an interesting idea and enjoyed the variety of plots that evolved from it. Each story had an original spin and each had a super exciting twist or two.

This was a great audiobook with a lot of excitement that held my attention. I couldn’t get enough and found myself walking around the house with headphones on waiting to see what happened next (not the first time…).

If you haven’t checked this one out, I would highly recommend it. It is certainly unique and entertaining.

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Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller

The Anomaly by Michael Rutger

The AnomalyThe Anomaly by Michael Rutger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Wow! Wow!

This was my June pick for Book of the Month, and now I’m wondering why it took me 6 months to finally read it!

The publisher says The Anomaly is a mix of Indiana Jones and The X-Files which is accurate. But it is so much more than that. It reminded me of a cross between The Curse of Oak Island, National Treasure, and As Above, So Below sprinkled with archaeological elements straight from the walls of our natural history museums. If you’re at all fascinated by The Discovery Channel or The National Geographic Channel, you will love this book.

Nolan is seen as a joke in the scientific world. He is the star of the YouTube show, The Anomaly Files, which seeks to find exciting secrets about our life on Earth by uncovering anomalies never before discovered. He and his film crew are on a mission to unearth Kincaid’s cavern deep within the remote reaches of the Grand Canyon, an anomaly documented in the early 1900s that has never since been found. But they may be about to get more than they bargained for.

I wish I could say more about the plot, but I don’t want to give away even a tiny portion of the surprises. And there are so many of them. Seriously. So many times along the way with this book there were jaw dropping surprises that I did NOT see coming!

The science nerd in me loved the way Michael Rutger tied together all the mysterious elements of the story, and while it is in no way believable, it had that mystical quality that made you think, “even though this isn’t realistic, it makes enough sense fundamentally for me to love the concept.”

When I logged onto Goodreads to write this review, I noticed this book was denoted as “The Anomaly Files #1” and I instantly got super excited at the prospect of it being the first of a series because, honestly, I couldn’t get enough of the characters and the story. And to my excitement, after a quick Google search, I found that a second book is due to be published next year called The Possession (can’t wait!).

If you are looking for something utterly unique and different (i.e. not “vanilla”), you should definitely give The Anomaly a try! You won’t regret it.

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General Fiction (Adult), Science Fiction

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

The DreamersThe Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Out January 15th!

Ok folks. Here is your first great read of 2019 so add it to your lists and hold onto your hats!

If you are at all interested in stories about pandemics/outbreaks/diseases taking over the planet, this book will be your new best friend. I have always had an interest in books, movies, and TV shows about pandemics. Think Contagion, The Walking Dead, The Crazies, World War Z. Ok… they don’t always have to be about zombies. But the idea that there is a patient zero and this sickness spreads like wildfire throughout a community has always amazed me. Because it could happen (and already has…. can you say Ebola? Zika? The list goes on). And the strategies we would have to take to contain the spread are also fascinating. I digress.

The Dreamers is a unique pandemic story that tells the tale of a sleep-inducing sickness that spreads throughout a small town in California. It starts quietly in a college dorm and slowly spreads throughout the whole town. The townspeople who are affected fall into an unwakeable sleep. Those who are lucky enough to be discovered will be tended to in the increasingly overcrowded hospital. Those who succumb to the sickness alone will die of dehydration. Nobody knows the cause of this sudden outbreak, but soon the residents of Santa Lora will find themselves in “quarantine,” forbidden from leaving the infected town.

The story follows several different townspeople as they try to weather the storm, fend to stay alive, and plan their next move. Their stories weave together beautifully.

My heart was thumping throughout this entire book. I couldn’t put it down. I finished it in less than 24 hours because I just could not wait to see what happened next. There was the perfect amount of tension, expertly crafted by Karen Thompson Walker. Several of the individual stories paused at just the right cliffhanger to leave me wanting more.

The ending was quite beautiful, and I loved the philosophical messages it sent. I have a feeling the end will not be everybody’s cup of tea just because it is not black and white and doesn’t give concrete answers to some of the questions presented throughout the book. But I think that’s the beautiful part. Just enough was left up to interpretation, and every reader will take home a different message.

This book would be a really great read for anybody who enjoyed Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. It comes highly recommended from me with five big stars.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Karen Thompson Walker, and Random House Publishing for the opportunity to review.-

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