Sunday, May 30, 2021

Book Review - Twisted River by Siobhán MacDonald

 

Kate and Mannix O'Brien live in Curragower Falls in Limerick. They live in a beautiful house that they can barely afford. Fergus, their son, is constantly bullied in school. Izzy, their daughter feels helpless as she can't do anything to help protect her brother. Kate is struggling to see her family deal with life and decides that they all need a vacation.  She thinks their luck is about to change when she finds a beautiful Manhattan apartment available on a home exchange website.

Hazel and Oscar Harvey live with their two children in Upper West Side, Manhattan. On the outside, the couple seems happy and perfect. However, Hazel is covered with mysterious bruises and Oscar has secrets about his dental practice. They decide that they need a change of pace and offer their apartment  up on a home exchange website. Hazel always wanted to show her family her native home and it will give the couple a chance to work on their marriage. However, things take a turn for the worst when Oscar discovers a body in his host's car.

The book had an interesting premise but, it failed to keep my attention. Both couples were very similar and I had to go back a few times and try to remember who they were. The book had quite a few twists but, it was mostly the author led you to believe this but, they really meant this. Almost all the twists were like this. Around the middle point of the book, this book became insufferable that I was struggling to power through it.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Book Spotlight - The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim + Giveaway

 

 

About the Book:

Title: THE LAST FALLEN STAR

Author: Graci Kim

Pub. Date: May 4, 2021

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

Pages: 336

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, KindleAudibleB&NiBooks, KoboTBD, Bookshop.org

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Graci Kim's thrilling debut about an adopted Korean-American girl who discovers her heritage and her magic on a perilous journey to save her witch clan family.

"Graci Kim does such an amazing job of blending Korean mythology into the modern world, I am now wondering how I ever lived without knowing all this cool information."--New York Times #1 best-selling author Rick Riordan

Riley Oh can't wait to see her sister get initiated into the Gom clan, a powerful lineage of Korean healing witches their family has belonged to for generations. Her sister, Hattie, will earn her Gi bracelet and finally be able to cast spells without adult supervision. Although Riley is desperate to follow in her sister's footsteps when she herself turns thirteen, she's a saram--a person without magic. Riley was adopted, and despite having memorized every healing spell she's ever heard, she often feels like the odd one out in her family and the gifted community.

Then Hattie gets an idea: what if the two of them could cast a spell that would allow Riley to share Hattie's magic? Their sleuthing reveals a promising incantation in the family's old spell book, and the sisters decide to perform it at Hattie's initiation ceremony. If it works, no one will ever treat Riley as an outsider again. It's a perfect plan!

Until it isn't. When the sisters attempt to violate the laws of the Godrealm, Hattie's life ends up hanging in the balance, and to save her Riley has to fulfill an impossible task: find the last fallen star. But what even is the star, and how can she find it?

As Riley embarks on her search, she finds herself meeting fantastic creatures and collaborating with her worst enemies. And when she uncovers secrets that challenge everything she has been taught to believe, Riley must decide what it means to be a witch, what it means to be family, and what it really means to belong.


Praise for The Last Fallen Star

The Last Fallen Star folds Korean culture as well as diaspora feelings into a magical adventure. The way Graci Kim takes traditions and lore and incorporates them into an exciting contemporary fantasy setting makes my heart soar as a Korean reader. This fantastical story is filled with heart and humor. Readers who love magical adventures, complex family relationships, and sisterhood—not to mention food!—should pick up THE LAST FALLEN STAR immediately!"—Kat Cho, internationally best-selling author of Vicious Spirits

“Korean mythology gets a modern twist in this rollicking adventure by debut author Graci Kim. From entering a secret temple by way of the fried chicken counter at H-Mart to summoning a goddess at the Santa Monica Pier, every chapter of this novel delights and surprises. At times laugh-out-loud hilarious, at times heartwarming and poignant, The Last Fallen Star will capture the imaginations of readers for years to come!”—Axie Oh, author of Rebel Seoul and Rogue Heart

“Reading The Last Fallen Star is like taking a course in Korean mythology taught by your favorite teacher ever—while riding a gigantic roller coaster beneath a sky filled with shooting stars! I loved following Riley's thrilling adventures, and pass the bulgogi tacos, please.”—Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medalist for A Single Shard

“Like a true magician, Graci Kim intertwines Korean mythology with an all-too-relatable sister story in her heart-stopping adventure that's sure to capture the heart of anyone who's ever felt like an outsider. You can't help but root for plucky Riley Oh as she engages on a quest to find belonging and acceptance.” —Jessica Kim, author of Stand Up, Yumi Chung!

"I wish I could go back in time and hand this book to young Ellen. I would have loved it so much, because this was what I was missing in my life. Thank you, Graci, for writing it!"—Ellen Oh, author of The Dragon Egg Princess and the Spirit Hunters series

"The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim absolutely shines. Riley Oh's positive voice is infectious and will have readers wanting to follow her adventures long after the last page is turned." -- Zoraida Córdova, award-winning author of the Brooklyn Brujas series

 

About Graci:

Graci Kim is a Korean-Kiwi diplomat turned author who writes about the magic she wants to see in the world. The Last Fallen Star is her middle grade debut. In a previous life she used to be a cooking show host, and she once ran a business that turned children's drawings into plushies. When she's not lost in her imagination, you'll find Graci drinking flat whites, eating ramyeon, and most likely hugging a dog (or ideally, many). She lives in New Zealand with her husband and daughter. Follow her on Twitter @gracikim and Instagram @gracikimwrites.

 

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

 

Giveaway Details: 

3 winners will win a finished copy of THE LAST FALLEN STAR, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

5/1/2021

YA Books Central

Excerpt

Week Two:

5/2/2021

jillpiscitello

Excerpt

5/3/2021

Nerdophiles

Review

5/4/2021

Amani’s Reviews

Review

5/5/2021

Little Red Reads

Review

5/6/2021

The Bookwyrm's Den

Review

5/7/2021

BookHounds YA

Excerpt

5/8/2021

A Court of Coffee and Books

Review

Week Three:

5/9/2021

Kait Plus Books

Excerpt

5/10/2021

onemused

Review

5/11/2021

Midnightbooklover

Review

5/12/2021

booksaremagictoo

Review

5/13/2021

History from a Woman’s Perspective

Review

5/14/2021

Celiamcmahonreads

Review

5/15/2021

Abellafairytale

Review

Week Four:

5/16/2021

Fyrekatz Blog

Review

5/17/2021

Haunted By Books

Review

5/18/2021

Momfluenster

Review

5/19/2021

The Momma Spot

Review

5/20/2021

Ficticiouswonderland

Review

5/21/2021

Bookwyrming Thoughts

Review

5/22/2021

Book Briefs

Review

Week Five:

5/23/2021

Rajiv's Reviews

Review

5/24/2021

fictitious.fox

Review

5/25/2021

Emelie's Books

Review

5/26/2021

Eli to the nth

Review

5/27/2021

Popthebutterfly

Review

5/28/2021

Books and Zebras

Review

5/29/2021

YA Book Nerd

Review

Week Six:

5/30/2021

two points of interest

Review

5/31/2021

Lifestyle of Me

Review


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Book Review - Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

 

In 1954, two U.S. Marshals have been assigned to find a missing patient at Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane on Shutter Island. Teddy Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule, were asked to locate a woman named Rachel Solando, who has murdered her children. Rachel has managed to escape her locked cell even though she is under constant surveillance. 

A deadly hurricane hits the island and causes the entire island to erupt into chaos. As Teddy and Chuck investigate the disappearance, they find clues of radical experimentation, patients being operated on, and strategies on how to win the covert shadow war. Teddy realizes nothing is what it seems like and that he will need to think ahead if he wants to leave the island alive.

I haven't seen the movie so, this book was new to me. I was able to guess where the book was going but, I wasn't fond of the ending. I thought the writing style was a bit choppy at times. I thought at times the novel stalled and the story went no where. However, I am still open to reading other books  by the author.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Book Review - The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

 

When Elise marries Rupert Bainbridge, she felt like her luck has finally changed. She would finally live a life of luxury instead of having to work in a match factory. Elise becomes pregnant weeks after her wedding and Rupert leaves to ready the family estate for her and their child. Elise receives news that her husband has passed and she must come to the country. There Elise finds the servants resentful of her and the locals to be hostile.

Elise only has her husband's awkward cousin, Sarah for company. The pair decide to take a tour of the house and come across a locked door. Behind the door is a painted wooden figure that looks like Elise. The servants are terrified of the figure but, Elise believes that it's just simple superstition. However, weird things are starting to happen and then Elise noticed that the eyes on the dolls are following her.

I have read the previous novel of the author and enjoyed this book too. The book had a special creepy and unnerving factor to it. However, I felt like there were few parts of the story I wish the author went into more detail on. For example, Hetta's relationship with the gypsy boy and Elise's history with her parents and brother. Some details were given but, most were hinted at. Overall, it was an interesting read and I would read other books by the author.

 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

May 2021 Empties Part 2!

 

Wow, May has come and gone and I have done zero with my life! I feel like this year has progressed so quickly in a blink of an eye. I did manage to finish a few things but, I still buying more than I am finishing (I finished 41 things this month but, bought 154 new items...). There were days where I didn't do my skincare routine like I should have and my skin looked and felt crumbly the next day. However, there are days where I manage to do my full and complete routine and I felt less stresed.

I finished two new masks Facetory's dream garden. I actually liked both masks and might repurchase. My face felt hydrated after application and stayed hydrated. I buy a lot of niche brand nail polish and I saw that some have their own top coat. I thought the Leesha's Lacquers was okay. It was for $3 and it did a decent job. I would re-buy in a pinch. I tried a deluxe sample from Curology utilizing one of their reduced cost trials and got a full routine. I don't usually suffer from acne but only during the start and end end of my cycle and when I eat very unhealthy.  I thought it was a decent basic moisturizer but, I wouldn't get it again. I think if you suffer from acne or prefer a streamlined beauty this would be for you.

 Here is everything I finished this week -

Bonvivant Botanical Mask Pack Chamomile + Tea Tree
Feel Brilliant Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sheet Mask
Facetory Dream Garden Elderflower Mask
Puclair Cocktail Chi-Chi
Facetory Dream Garden Chamomile Mask
Leesha Lacquer Top Coat
Sephora Retractable Eye Liner Pencil
Spa Technologies Microdermabrasion Cream
Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt
BBW Aromatherapy Relax Body Lotion
Sabon Dead Sea Shower oil
Delia Organics Body Tonic Oil
Curology The Moisturizer
Rituals Hammam Olive Scrub
Malin + Goetz Lip Moisturizer
Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture CC Cream


Thursday, May 20, 2021

Book Review - 10 Truths and a Dare by Ashley Elston + Giveaway

 

It's Senior Party Week, the magical time between after classes has ended but before graduation. It's filled with get together, parties, and last - minute bonding. Olivia is excited to start her next steps at LSU and give her speech as the class salutatorian.

As Olivia begins to celebrate with her family, she receives an email about a missing P.E. form. If Olivia doesn't get the form signed in time, she won't graduate with the rest of her friends. She realizes she has only one week to set things straight without letting her family know. Olivia decides to volunteer at a local golf tournament to help get her needed credit. However, her phone is equipped with a tracking app so, her mom will know her every move. She realizes the only way she can pull it off if she asks for help from the Fab Four. Will Olivia be able to pull off her stunt before anyone else finds out?

I read the author's previous book, 10 Blind Dates and I liked it. This book had the same basic formula but, it failed to keep my attention. The book was very predictable and I had a hard time connecting with the characters. I find it hard that a scholar who is dedicated to her schoolwork wouldn't put much thought into a course she took or even kept ditching the class. Olivia was constantly late and disappointing the coach even though she got a second chance. I also felt that it was unrealistic how much her mom texted her and kept tabs on her. Overall, this book seem had a lot of "fake drama" to create story.

**Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.**

 

 

 

About the Book:

Title: 10 TRUTHS AND A DARE

Author: Ashley Elston

Pub. Date: May 4, 2021

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

Pages: 304

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindle, AudibleB&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD, Bookshop.org

This companion to Ashley Elston's beloved 10 Blind Dates follows Sophie's high-achieving cousin Olivia as she juggles last-minute P.E. credit, end-of-year parties, and a secret new romance in the chaotic week before graduation.

It's Senior Party Week, that magical in-between time after classes have ended but before graduation, chock-full of gimmicky theme parties, last-minute bonding, and family traditions. Olivia couldn't be more ready. Class salutatorian and confident in her future at LSU, she's poised to sail through to the next phase of her life.

But when the tiny hiccup of an unsigned off-campus P.E. form puts Olivia in danger of not graduating at all, she has one week to set things straight without tipping off her very big and very nosy extended family. Volunteering to help at a local golf tournament should do it, but since Olivia's mom equipped her phone with a tracking app, there'll be no hiding the fact that she's at the golf course instead of all the graduation parties happening at the same time. Unless, that is, she can convince the Fab Four--her ride-or-die cousins and best friends Sophie, Charlie, and Wes--to trade phones with her as they go through the motions of playing Olivia for the week.

 

Praise for 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston:
2020 ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers Top Ten Title

2020 Florida Teens Read Book List


"POSITIVELY DELIGHTFUL—all caps—from beginning to end."—NPR

"This piece-by-piece romance doesn't need its Christmas theme to sell, but it makes it glitter all the more."—Booklist

"A fun story of finding love, getting to know yourself, and getting to know your family."—Kirkus Reviews

"In a funny holiday romance that has Sophie dog-sitting in a hockey rink, watching porn at a drive-in theater, and playing the Virgin Mary in a middle school Nativity, Elston cleverly reflects the family members' personalities through their choices of dates for Sophie."—Publishers Weekly

Grab 10 BLIND DATES now!

 

About Ashley:

Ashley Elston is the author of several novels including: 10 Blind Dates (a Top Ten ALA Quick Pick and the companion to this book), The Rules for Disappearing (a finalist in the Best Young Adult Novel category of the International Thriller Writers Thriller Awards), This Is Our Story, and The Lying Woods. She has a liberal arts degree from Louisiana State University in Shreveport and worked for many years as a wedding photographer before turning her hand to writing. Ashley lives in Shreveport with her husband and three sons. For more information about Ashley and her books, please visit www.ashleyelston.com.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon


Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of 10 TRUTHS AND A DARE, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

5/1/2021

The Book View

Review

Week Two:

5/2/2021

What A Nerd Girl Says

Excerpt

5/3/2021

YA Books Central

Excerpt

5/4/2021

Fire and Ice

Review

5/5/2021

BookHounds YA

Excerpt

5/6/2021

YA Book Nerd

Review

5/7/2021

Lifestyle of Me

Review

5/8/2021

Moonlight Rendezvous

Review

Week Three:

5/9/2021

Jenguerdy

Review

5/10/2021

Ficticiouswonderland

Review

5/11/2021

Book-Keeping

Review

5/12/2021

Amani’s Reviews

Review

5/13/2021

booksaremagictoo

Review

5/14/2021

Eli to the nth

Review

5/15/2021

Emelie's Books

Review

Week Four:

5/16/2021

Kait Plus Books

Excerpt

5/17/2021

Zainey Laney

Review

5/18/2021

onemused

Review

5/19/2021

Midnightbooklover

Review

5/20/2021

amandainpa

Review

5/21/2021

Geauxgetlit

Review

5/22/2021

two points of interest

Review

Week Five:

5/23/2021

Book Briefs

Review

5/24/2021

Momfluenster

Review

5/25/2021

Star-Crossed Book Blog

Review

5/26/2021

michellemengsbookblog

Review

5/27/2021

Rajiv's Reviews

Review

5/28/2021

Do You Dog-ear?

Review

5/29/2021

Books and Zebras

Review

Week Six:

5/30/2021

My Fictional Oasis

Review

5/31/2021

Popthebutterfly

Review