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The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser

Dear Bookworms,

Wow. Wow. Wow. Holy geez. And wow. 

This weeks book has to be one of my favorite reads in recent memory. In part because it involves a girl who is able to jump inside of books and hang out. Yes, pretty much every bookworms dream come true right? But also for the beautiful way in which Glaser is able to deliver. 

Seventeen year old Amy Lennox lives in Germany with her young mother Alexis. She has never known her father or extended family, only that her mother left young, when she was pregnant with Amy, and has refused to return ever since. When her mother experiences a particularly hard breakup, and Amy battles her own issues with peers in school, the two drop everything to take off to Alexis' childhood home on the island of Stormsay in Scotland. Shortly after arriving at Stormsay, Amy finds out she is from an ancient line of book jumpers. One of two clans tasked with protecting the world of literature by ensuring all stories remain intact, doing so, by actually entering the story itself. But something is happening within the stories, ideas are being stolen from the books, irreparably damaging the plot and thus the stories themselves. With the help of Will, fellow book jumper from the McAlister clan, Amy must find out who is stealing from the stories, and why, before countless classics are damaged forever. 

I'm sure anyone can see why I was drawn to this book from just reading the blurb online. I had it on my Amazon wishlist and my kids picked it out to gift me for Mothers Day this year. I was immediately sucked into Amy's book jumping world with pure fascination and if I'm being honest, a smidgen of jealousy. To actually be able to enter my favorite book world and talk to beloved characters, well I can't imagine a much better dream come true. Glaser writes such a uniquely magical story that any book lover will fall in love with. The island of Stormsay itself is a lovely backdrop to the story. Secluded, with beautiful marshes and centuries old castles, it was breathtaking. The book had a nice flow that was paced well with plenty of intrigue and action. The budding relationship between Amy and Will made my heart pitter-patter in only that way that a good YA romance can do. There were some things I figured out myself along the way, and many others that I did not see coming. The ending was much different than I had anticipated but was perfect in a way you'll understand once you read it. This book will certainly hold a little piece of my heart and will be one that I will most definitely revisit again. 

Until next week friends, I'll just be over here dreaming about book jumping...*le sigh*

XOXO,

Coco

Destiny by India R. Adams

Dear Bookworms,

This weeks read was given to me for free in exchange for an honest review.

You guys may recall the review I did for Serenity a few months back (read it here)? I know it wasn't the most glowing review, but the story had good bones so I went ahead with the second in the series, Destiny. 

Serenity and Dereck are married, navigating life at the University of Texas where Dereck is a beloved football star and Serenity is often heckled and scorned for her misunderstood past. After a video of Dereck singing at the Destiny concert goes viral, he is suddenly launched into stardom with a record deal, music video, and summer tour with Destiny. On the road, Serenity and Destiny's relationship deepens, and new protectors are added to the unusual group of people in Serenity's life. As they try to understand their unique relationship to each other as well as their unique abilities, a darkness threatens the group. Seeming to grow more powerful and dangerous as the groups relationships and devotions solidify, not everyone will make it out unscathed. 

I am glad that I stuck with this book and listened to my gut that this story had great potential as I really enjoyed the second installment to this series. Perhaps it was the fact that I was going into it with the knowledge that this group was different and that there seemed to be a greater force at work within their lives and relationships? I think the flashback scenes to previous lives were interesting and reinforced the idea that this group of people are meant to be together and have purpose. I would even venture to say I would love to see more and longer flashbacks that drew into the current plot line and struggles the group is currently facing. Speaking of the plot line, it definitely came together more in this second book with a much deeper understanding of how everyone really fits together, why they are they way they are if you will. The addition of all the new characters (there were a lot) seemed to fit together with the core group nicely. The new characters were all well written with fleshed out personalities (Zane was kind of my favorite, seconded by Tank). The sense of familial love palpitates from the pages and without giving away any spoilers, the scene with a main character facing mortal danger was honestly so tense and heartbreaking my eyes were flying across the pages to see what happened. Overall a good read and I am excited to see where Serenity's story takes us next! 

Check out my other reviews for Indias reads, The Wolf and Me here and Rain here

See you guys next week!

XOXO,

Coco

You Are Here by Jenny Lawson

Dear Bookworms,

This weeks read is a tad unconventional but bear with me, it's worth it. I promise. 

Back in March, Mia took me to the book signing for You Are Here in Raleigh, NC. We were awkward and cringy (stop telling me "cringy" isn't a word autocorrect!) but meeting Jenny was definitely a blast.

See that story here: RELATED: THE BLOGGESS BOOK SIGNING

You Are Here is not your traditional book. It's a hybrid coloring book, short stories, funny quips, and inspirational musings. While on tour for her book, Furiously Happy, Jenny would often find herself stuck in hotel rooms, paralyzed with anxiety. Needing something to occupy her time (and hands) she took to doodling as she often would growing up. She would share her drawings on Twitter and her followers (myself included) devoured them (figuratively of course). This book is a collection of those drawings and others, meant to be colored, torn out and hung up, or left as is. As she states in the beginning, we are co-creators of this book, free license to do as we please! 

As per her usual style, this book is rife with dark humor surrounding tough subjects, namely mental illness. Jenny has a unique, off the cuff way of writing so many different complex emotions, simultaneously making you cry, making you chuckle, or simply just inspiring. It's  a unique emotional roller coaster of a read. But a good one. Not one of those ones you feel all stiff and wobbly and a little vomit-y after.  

I, myself, have yet to color in any of the pages, every time I try I am paralyzed with fear that I will "mess it up". (Also the inner bookworm at me screams every time I even think about bringing a coloring pencil to the books pages) One day perhaps....

For now I will leave you with a few of my favorite lines from the book, be well friends.

"I am made up of stitched-together parts and worn-out pieces and small, bright things and memories that bring happiness and sadness, and tiny patches that I picked up along the way and forgot where they came from. I am made of rips and tears and gentle stitching from myself and loved ones and strangers. I am a patchwork quilt. Comforting and surprisingly warm."

"Weird on, you bad-ass motherfucker."

XOXO,

Coco

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Dear Bookworms,

I'm back with another Gaiman masterpiece! I have gone so off course with my reading challenge the past few reads, this one didn't fit into any of the categories, but it's Neil Gaiman! I couldn't help myself. 

Nobody Owens, or Bod as he is known around the graveyard, is an usual boy. Granted the Freedom of the Graveyard as a toddler when his family was brutally murdered and he toddled into the graveyard, he lives in a world of shadows. Living in the graveyard, his playmates are ghosts, his lessons consist of learning how to "fade" and why not to trust a ghoul. Silas, his undead guardian, has assumed responsibility for Bod, ensuring he is fed and clothed, procuring things from the outside world that a growing child might need. Bod is never to leave the graveyard as the man, Jack, who murdered his family still hunts for him to finish the job he was tasked with completing, killing him. As Bod grows up into a young teen, he eventually must face the man Jack, but will he come away unscathed?

This book was quirky and dark, full of rich and vibrant characters, which is kind of odd considering mostly all the characters are dead, or undead, or somewhere in between. (Also why does auto correct keep trying to change "undead" to "unread"? Apparently auto correct  hasn't read much fantasy/fiction *sigh*)  Bods adventures growing up in the graveyard were magical and fun to read, and his strength and fortitude were something I admired in a character. My personal favorite was his foray into ghoul world. (Note to self, never foray into ghoul world!) This is a book you could read solo as an adult, or read with your kids (though it's never childish) and enjoy it just the same. As an added bonus, the reading was punctuated by some pretty stellar illustrations by Dave McKean that really brought the book even more to life. 

Any other Gaiman fans out there? What else should I read of his?

Until next week friends!

XOXO,

CoCo

 

The Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon

Dear Bookworms,

This weeks read was provided to me for free courtesy of Library Thing and their early reviewer program, in exchange for an honest review. 

I was really excited when I received this beauty in the mailbox as a) it seemed like a really good read based on the blurb I had read online and b) I was immediately in love with the stunning cover art (I know, I know...always with the cover art right? I can't help it- I'm a sucker for a good cover!)

Hel is just your average 14 year old goddess, banished from her new place in Asgard in order to become the ruler of the Underworld. Daughter of a god and a giantess, with a wolf and a snake for brothers, Hel has not known much in the way of love and affection. Made more embittered and ravenous for revenge after her banishment, Hel bides her time in the underworld waiting for the end of times. 

Told in the first person, this YA novel was a seriously fun read! Hel is witty and crass, sarcastic and cranky.... in other words, she's my kind of people. Her life as a goddess had many interesting parallels to real life as a teenager; parents who don't understand you, siblings who drive you nuts, peers who reject you, poor self esteem and self image, we've all been there right? The book follows Hel from her birth (like literally the moment she was born- she remembers it all) until, well, the end of times. I enjoyed all the myth and mythology that was central to the plot line and characters, and felt having the main character be an unlikely goddess, one perhaps not so revered and idolized in culture, was brilliant. Like I mentioned, this is a YA novel, but my 32 year old self found plenty of enjoyment in it so all you adults out there, don't write it off!

Thanks for stopping by this week my bookish friends, come back next week!

XOXO,

Coco  

 

 

The Perfect Girl by Gilly MacMillan

Dear Bookworms,

You may remember a few months back when I reviewed, What She Knew, by Gilly MacMillan (read here if not), and I absolutely fell in love with her writing style and storytelling, which of course meant I had to purchase her other novel, The Perfect Girl.

Zoe is a 17 year old musical prodigy with a genius IQ to boot. Attempting to settle into her "new normal" life with her mom and newly acquired stepfather, stepbrother, and half sister she is finally starting to feel like she is putting her life back together. After a devastating accident left 3 of her schoolmates dead, landing Zoe in juvenile detention for 18 months it's been difficult to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. An elaborately planned evening piano concert was supposed to be her reemergence back into her former glory days of playing, but before sunrise the next day, Zoe's mother is dead and she finds herself falling down the rabbit hole as she examines her new family under more scrutiny and tries to understand just what happened to her mother. 

Given that the span of this book was over the course of roughly 24 hours and at over 400 pages long, it was incredibly rich in detail. Alternating perspectives between Zoe, Tessa (her aunt), Richard (her uncle), and Sam (her former lawyer) kept the story fresh. It was interesting to see events unfold through so many different lenses and mindsets. The story contained flashbacks and recollections of the horrible accident which sent Zoe to a correctional facility which ultimately played a large part in her feelings and thought processes when faced with a new crime/investigative procedures. It made it all the more threatening for Zoe which ramped up the paranoia and tenseness. The ending was not as much of a shocker for me compared to her previous novel but it was one that I was hoping for which left me satisfied. Overall it was a great read, a perfect thriller to get sucked into!

See ya next week friends!

XOXO,

Coco 

The Siren by Kiera Cass

Dear Bookworms,

Waiting for my heart to stop pitter-pattering over here so I can write this review, but I fear that may take awhile so I'll just jump right in. 

Kahlen was given a second life by the Ocean 80 years ago. Saved from a shipwreck, she is in service for 100 years to the Ocean as one of her Sirens. Made to sing thousands to their death each year to sustain and feed the Ocean, Kahlen has resigned her time on her sentence to taking care of her sisters, completing her scrap books with all the people who have perished under her song, and most importantly, keeping to herself in the human world so as never to disclose her secret. Forbidden from speaking to humans lest their secret be reveled, many Sirens have had flings but none have ever had a relationship with a human, until now. Kahlen finds herself drawn to the human boy Akinli in a way she never thought possible. Torn between her growing affection for Akinli and her duties as a Siren, Kahlen finds herself in an impossible position, one which may have deadly consequences. 

I was absolutely sucked into this story from page one. The ocean is always something that has seemed so wonderful and majestic while at the same time dark and dangerous and this book really captured that essence for me. Watching Kahlen and Akinli fall for each other in their brief snippets of time together was heart warming and endearing. Akinli stole my heart from the beginning with his mild mannered sweetness and playful disposition. Their separation and Kahlens subsequent heartbreak and torn loyalties was gut wrenching.  My only complaint about the book as a whole was the Ocean as a character was very reminiscent of an abusive significant other at times and I sometimes had a hard time really feeling sorry for Her, even in the end. The possessive and fierce love She had for Kahlen was at times overpowering and frightening. Overall, this story was so well written, eloquently capturing the deadly beauty of the ocean and the powerful force of love. 

I will definitely be snagging a copy of Kiera Cass' Selection series as she has found a fan with The Siren!

See you guys next Tuesday!

XOXO,

Coco

 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Dear Bookworms,

So I picked this weeks read to fulfill one of my 2017 reading challenge items, "Read a book recommended by an author you love". Jenny Lawson (Let's Pretend this Never Happened, Furiously Happy, You are Here) is a big Neil Gaiman fan and always recommends his books. I read his novel American Gods a few years back, which I enjoyed, and while perusing his other works, was immediately drawn to this one, once again sucked in by another beautiful cover. (My kryptonite!)

Coming back to his childhood home in order to attend a funeral, a middle aged man reminisces about his time as a young child and the strange girl, Lettie Hempstock who lived at the end of the road. Memories of great and terrible things resurface, things he had long ago forgotten. He once again recalls those monstrous and frightful events and what truly happened to little Lettie Hempstock. 

I am SO. GLAD. I took Jennys advice and cracked open another Neil Gaiman book. This man is a master storyteller. His writing is intoxicating, addicting, and mysterious. His story and world building feels ethereal and otherworldly but simultaneously real and present. This novel brings you back to the days of youth, when magic is commonplace and monsters are real. It's a world long lost by adults but present nonetheless. Do yourselves a favor and add this one to your TBR list, like right now. 

See y'all next week people!

XOXO,

Coco

 

Letters from the Looney Bin by Thatcher C. Nalley

Dear Bookworms,

I chose this weeks read to fulfill a category on my 2017 Reading Challenge, a book of letters. So while pursuing Amazon for something to fit this category I came across this read, Letters from the Looney Bin. Being that I work in mental health, the synopsis sounded interesting so one click, 2 day shipping, and I was in business!

Although made to look like a work of non-fiction, it is, in fact fiction. No one ever found out what happened to Emerson Rose mental institution. It's patients, doctors, and staff mysteriously disappear with no clues as to what happened or where everyone went. Years later, as the property was set to undergo demolition, a cache of letters was found hidden within a mattress. The letters were all addressed to a Dr. Quill and were written by patients in the months leading up to the mysterious disappearances. Detailing their torrid pasts as well as the heinous conditions of the institution, they provide a brief glimpse into the events leading up to the disappearances. 

Let me just go ahead and rip the band aid off quickly, this was not a great read. While the concept and idea were really interesting and had so much potential, the writing quality was poor and the book was FILLED with typos. They were so distracting as I was reading I just really couldn't get past them. There was really no resolution at the end of the book, the letters just....ended....The patients back stories and descriptions were interesting, and with a little fine tuning in the writing department, I think they could have been even better. It had a sort of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest mixed with a little American Horror Story Asylum feel. I assume this is one of a series and I would give the second one a go since I did like the idea of this book, in the hopes that the writing improves and someone actually edits the book for typos. 

Until next week friends!

XOXO,

Coco

 

The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell

Dear Bookworms,

This week was a twisty psychological thriller full of dark secrets and shady characters.

Clare Wild and her two girls, Pip and Grace, move into a small rental flat in London after a devastating fire and an estrangement from her husband left them homeless. The apartment buildings form a ring to enclose a beautiful private communal garden place for the residents. Full of roaming teens, talkative neighbors, hidden nooks and crannies, and more than it's fair share of secrets, the garden is the backdrop to a mysterious crime which leaves Grace unconscious, in a coma.

I guess I have another thriller writer to add to my ever growing list of authors who have wowed/stumped/blown me away. Jewell has so many complex and interesting characters, each with their own secrets and agendas, that it's hard not to suspect everyone of some nefarious wrong doings in the book. Starting off the book with a bang, the opening chapter is Grace being found unconscious in the park by her sister Pip. The rest of the book (except the very end) take us back, months prior, to when the Wild's first move into the flat. Working through the devastating house fire and estrangement from their father, the young girls navigate life in the new terrain of the communal garden forming new ties, and making new enemies. I found myself suspicious of everyone in this book, certain with each new piece of information, that I had sleuthed out the person behind Grace's attack. If there was one thing I learned from this book, it's that you can never really know someone, not if they don't want you to and especially if you don't care to look. The lengths to which some people go to cover up or ignore those in our lives who we suspect of wrong doings was disturbing and certainly can make one uneasy. Overall, it was an insanely addictive page turner with an quietly explosive ending that left me more than a little terrified of what people are capable of, both in committing, participating in, and turning a blind eye to chilling crimes. 

What are some of your favorite page turning thrillers?

See you all next week!

XOXO,

Coco

  

Freeks by Amanda Hocking

Dear Bookworms,

Hello again! So a few things about this weeks read. First of all, I absolutely fell in love with this book when I saw the cover, isn't it gorgeous?! We all know I am a sucker for a beautiful cover, and this one is a looker folks. Secondly, I have been a huge fan of Amanda Hocking ever since I devoured her Trylle series (sidenote: please read those books if you haven't!) It should come as no surprise that when I heard she was publishing a stand alone book I had to scoop it up. 

Mara, 19, travels the country with her mother as a part of Gideon Davorians Traveling Carnival. Filled with friends who have turned into family, most everyone involved in the carnival is special, or possess a unique ability. The show has been summoned to Caudry, Louisiana in what was promised to be a 10 day stint with a pretty hefty payout upon completion. Caudry proves to be a place harboring its own secrets. Everyone's abilities seem to go on the fritz since entering this small town and something is stalking the carnival at night; something dangerous and deadly. Mara is also inexplicably drawn to a local, Gabe, who harbors his own secrets. Something about him screams at Maras insides that he's dangerous. Can Mara and her carnival family figure out who (or what) is picking them off one by one, and more importantly, can they stop it?

I came into this book with high hopes being that I was already an Amanda Hocking fan, and surprise surprise, I was not disappointed. I know I have an unhealthy obsession with literary characters (I make no apologies), but dang it if I didn't just add another literary love to my life. Gabe is a dreamboat people! There I said it.....His and Mara's strong pull and chemistry with one another just left this chick weak in the knees. This mysterious love unfolding to the backdrop of an increasingly dangerous and dark plot and conflict made it extra heady. I couldn't get enough of all the carnival "freaks" and to be honest, I fantasized more than once about running away with the circus while reading this book. (Besides the whole supernatural entity stalking and attacking them, it seemed like such an exciting nomadic way of life.) And about that....there were quite a few surprises throughout this read, some I had figured out, others I had not. The ending was exactly what I had hoped for (thank you Amanda!). Even though it was written as a standalone novel, this is definitely a literary world I would love to read more of!

Check out Amanda Hockings website here for more info on all her published works.

You can pick up a copy of Freeks here on Amazon.

See y'all next week!

XOXO,

Coco 

 

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Dear Bookworms,

So, I chose this weeks read because I recently saw a trailer for the new Hulu original based on this novel and I was immediately intrigued by the premise. Written roughly 30 years ago, it's not a newbie by any means, but as I came to conclude after finishing, definitely worth a read! 

In a dystopian future, women fulfill certain, predefined roles within society, namely to bear children. Healthy, live, full term births are very rare and those women who are fertile are just as rare themselves. Women are forbidden to read and write, and live strictly to serve (in some capacity) at the mercy of their men. Men in high ranking positions whose wives are infertile are gifted with a Handmaid, a woman whose sole job is to bear a child for this distinguished couple, then to be moved on to another family to hopefully do it once more. Offred has been transferred to be the new handmaiden of a Captain, replacing one who was unable to bear him a child. She reflects on her life before, when she was happily married, employed at a job she loved, and raising a young daughter, while simultaneously contemplating this new world and her role within it.  

This novel was so chilling. Just to imagine our society slowly crumbling and morphing into something so unrecognizable from our current lives was enough to give me serious pause. The careful and systematic stripping of rights until it was to late for anyone to do anything was something I found eerie and honestly (terrifyingly) very believable. Written in a somewhat disjointed style, paragraphs often skip from various stages in Offreds life (childhood, college, marriage) back to present day under this new rule,  I was easily engrossed. The story was very finely crafted and written, and really painted a bleak picture of society as a whole. I will definitely be tuning in to the Hulu original to see this enthralling novel brought to life on the small screen. (Release date April 26, 2017)

Who else out there has read this book and what did you think, especially with the way it ended?

Catch y'all next week!

XOXO, 

CoCo

 

A Curse of Stone and Moonlight by Ashley Maker

Dear Bookworms,

This week's read was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review. 

I was pretty excited to read this one since I really enjoyed Ashley Maker's first novel, Under the Trees (find that review here). Once again she writes a winner!

Cursed to live life as a marble statue in the evil sorcerers Wilmonts collection, Adele is only able to be turned human by either an incantation done by Wilmont or when a moon beam touches her skin. Awake and able to see, hear, and feel what goes on around her, Adele spends years as his beautiful captive. Her quest for freedom and her promise to her mother right before she was struck by the curse keeps Adele strong throughout her captivity, always looking for a means of possible escape. Can Adele keep her long ago made promise to her mother, and escape the evil Wilmonts ghastly collection? And what about all the other sculptures scattered around the room in which she is held? Are they too victims of the evil Wilmont?

Look at that cover art people! So striking! 

Look at that cover art people! So striking! 

My only qualm with this book (novella? short story?) is that is was way too short! When I received the copy I didn't realize that is was more of a short story versus a full length novel and I was left seriously wanting more (which is not necessarily a bad thing per se...as long as we get more to the story soon!). I was totally engrossed in the story line and was amazed when I zipped through it in 20 minutes. The concept for the story was definitely unique and I am sure I will find myself looking twice the next time I peruse an art gallery. I would absolutely love to see this as a full length novel, or at the very least, more short stories within this world!

This short story will release on April 18th, hop over to Amazon to snag a copy here.  

See y'all next week!

XOXO, 

Coco

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Dear Bookworms, 

So many feels this week, be still my heart!

Let me first give you all a little backstory. Growing up a child of the 80's, The Princess Bride has always been, hands down, my most favorite movie of all time. I can quote the entire movie line by line (and to the annoyance of those who watch the movie with me, I do so...frequently). Westley was one of my first ever fictional crushes (a close second was Macgyver....80's kid remember?). My most shinning parenting win was when my then five year was told to brush his teeth and he promptly head into the bathroom proclaiming, "Asssssss yooooooou wiiiiiiiish". 

Now for an embarrassing truth.

I had absolutely no idea that this was originally a book (insert gasp here). 

The self proclaimed booknerd who devours everything she can get her hands on HAD NO CLUE HER FAVORITE MOVIE OF ALL TIME WAS A BOOK?! It's shameful I know. 

This year for Christmas, my husband gifted me with a copy of the 30th edition. 

"It's a book?!" I gasped clutching my new treasure to my chest

"It is" he replied with a grin (he knew he won Christmas this year for sure).

So here I am, learning all sorts of new things about one of my most cherished childhood stories. 

For those of you who have been living under a rock in recent history (or like me who only knew of the movie version). The Princess Bride written by William Goldman and published in 1973, later still to be written into a screen play, giving us the 1982 classic of my childhood. 

Gah! Look at that beautiful cover...I swoon!

Gah! Look at that beautiful cover...I swoon!

Buttercup is a beautiful farm girl who falls in love with the quiet farm hand Westley who leaves said farm to strike out on his own in search of riches in order to return home again and marry his beloved, not as a poor farm boy, but as a made man. Thought dead at the hands of pirates, a broken hearted Buttercup acquiesces to a marriage with Prince Humperdinck (booooo) but not long before the wedding is kidnapped by a clever Sicilian, a Master Spaniard swordsman, and a fiercely strong giant. Trailed by a mask man in all black, the gang of three kidnappers is slowly bested by the man in black who ultimately reveals his true identity to Buttercup. True love, adventure, loss, magic and revenge weave a tale that is truly unforgettable.

For fans of the movie who have not read the book, please....do it now. It was so exciting to read my favorite one liners from the movie in novel form. "My name in Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die." Perhaps even better than that, was reading all the new (to me) passages from the book which were not represented in the movie. Reading snippets of back story on Fezzik and Inigo, the Zoo of Death,  and the torture of Westley at the hands of the Count. And can we talk about the illustrations for a second? This edition was illustrated, beautifully so, by Michael Manomivibul. They added just another layer of perfect whimsy to an already perfect story. 

But wait! There's more!

THE STORY DOESN'T END THERE

There is a sequel in the works entitled, Buttercups Baby, with Goldman joking it may be ready by the 50th anniversary of The Princes Bride (sorry dude, I can't wait that long!). While initially hesitant about treading into new territory with my favorite characters, after reading the excerpt at the end of the 30th edition, I have to say..... I am foaming at the mouth to finish it. (As long as no one dies, my soul couldn't take such torture!) 

So I will leave you with this bookworms. I apologize for such a nostalgic review this week but I feel like a kid again, my favorite characters are alive and well in a novel with the promise (hope?) of more to come in the future. If you are a fan of the movie and haven't read the book- do it. If you have never heard of either, read the book and watch the movie. You can come back to thank me later. 

Until next week friends!

XOXO,

Coco

 

 

Get It Together, Delilah! by Erin Gough

Dear Bookworms,

This weeks read was provided to me for free by Library Thing, in exchange for an honest review.

When 17 year old Delilah's dad goes off on a months long trip to ease his broken heart, she thinks she will be fine, keeping an eye on things at the family cafe and going to school. It doesn't take long for things to quickly unravel as the cafe manager gets deported, she catches (and subsequently fires) the full time employee for stealing, throw in some good ol mean girl style drama at school, and Delilah finds herself quitting school to take over the running of the cafe. As if that isn't enough for one headstrong 17 year old girl to deal with, there is Rosa. The beautiful flamenco dancer from the restaurant across the street who Delilah can't seem to stop swooning over. Can Delilah keep herself (and the cafe) above water or will she (and everything else in her life) sink.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It was refreshing to read a more diverse YA contemporary novel than the ones that I typically pick up. In fact, I don't think I have read one where the main character was gay. I will say, I was becoming slightly disappointed that there really wasn't much of a plot line about Delilah/Rosa until it picked up more about halfway through. Once I really stopped to think about it though, this wasn't a "love" story, it was more about Delilahs journey as she figured herself out; her relationships (peers, familial, past crushes), her goals, and how she relates to and interacts with the world as a whole. Although rough around the edges at times, Delilah was a likable character and her struggles were honest and relatable (no matter what end of the spectrum you are on as far as your sexuality). Being that the book was based in Sydney, Australia, I was stumped more than a couple times when local vernacular and colloquialisms were used (thank you Google!), but I wouldn't say that deterred any from the books likability for me. I think (especially in today's time) the world needs more diverse books, as much for the people who see themselves reflected in the characters, as for those of us who need to see things from a different perspective, one that we may have not considered before. Definitely add this one to your TBR and let me know what you think!

Hop on over to Erin Gough's website here to check out more on Get It Together, Delilah which is available in the US on April 4th. Pre-order your Amazon copy today! 

See you all next week!

XOXO, 

Coco

 

 

 

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Dear Bookworms,

This weeks read was provided to me for free by Library Thing, in exchange for an honest review.

After her mothers suicide, 15 year old Lane Roanoke is sent to live with her maternal grandparents and spitfire cousin Allegra, in rural Kansas. Having never met her mothers family, Lane settles into life on the farm as one of the privileged Roanoke girls with ease. Over the course of one hot summer, Lane's life is forever changed as insidious family secrets worm their way to the surface, causing Lane to pick up and run, leaving behind her brokenhearted boyfriend and cousin. 10 years later she is called back home when her cousin Allegra turns up missing. A decade later, but no further from the emotions that made her run all those years ago, Lane must come face to face with her past as she works to uncover the truth of what happened to Allegra. 

When I got this book in the mail, I was pretty "meh" about it. Don't get me wrong- the blurb sounded alright and I didn't think it would be a bad read, but nothing about it really screamed "THIS IS GONNA BE GREAT- READ ME IMMEDIATELY". But y'all....I'm sitting here like ermahgerd after finishing it just now. It's told from alternating time periods, both then (when Lane came to live on the farm at 15) to now (upon her return when Allegra goes missing) with a couple of chapters sprinkled in from other women from the Roanoke line whose stories weave their way into the main plot. If a V.C Andrews book had a baby with Gone Girl, this would be it's love child. A deliciously creepy page turner that brings all the skeletons out of the Roanoke family's closet. The alternating chapters strung me along giving me hints and clues, one sickening puzzle piece after the other until the culmination of it all finally revealed the disturbing truth. Jane and Allegra were such beautifully broken characters, head strong, but fractured women who really wormed there way into my heart. Battling his own inner demons, Cooper was such a solid rock throughout the homecoming experience for Lane. Rekindling his relationship with Lane was interesting to watch, especially considering Lane's destructive personality. I cannot recommend this book enough and am still sitting her thinking about how twisted and disturbing the whole thing was. Brava Amy! 

Check out Amy Engels website here & grab copy of Roanoke Girls from Amazon here!

See y'all next week!

XOXO,

Coco

 

 

Drawn Away by Holly Bennett

Dear Bookworms,

This weeks read, Drawn Away, was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review from Librarything.

A senior in highschool, Jack and his family are new in town. While sitting in math class, Jack suddenly becomes transported to another time a place. To an antiquated town with a waif of a girl selling matches on the street corner. Although spooked at first by the realistic feeling of the encounter, Jack, a type one diabetic, shrugs off the strange occurrence as a low blood sugar episode and soon doesn't think much of it. Until it happens again.....and again. Each time the match girl becomes more animated and fearsome. With the help of his new friend (and love interest Lucy) the two race against the clock to figure out who this match girl is, how their lives are connected, and how to stop her dangerous obsession with Jack, before he is drawn away into her world forever. 

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I have to say, this was a really unique twist on the classic Hans Christian Anderson tale. While a short read, it was packed with an interesting plot and relatable characters. I found it refreshing and unique to have a main character someone who lives with a chronic illness, even more so to have that illness play a major role in the story line and serve as a point of conflict. Learning the backstory of the match girl and how her life from the past is inexplicably intertwined with the main characters from the present was interesting and fun to follow. The conflict resolution was a tad rushed to me, but overall I enjoyed the read and was happy with the ending. Of note, while the books target age is listed as 12 and up, I would say it isn't quite appropriate for the middle school crowd given some strong language and sexual situations. 

You can scoop up your copy of Drawn Away on Amazon here.

Check out Holly Bennetts website here to read up on her other YA novels!

See y'all next week!

XOXO,

Coco 

The Sister by Louise Jensen

Dear Bookworms, 

A psychological thriller up this week! The Sister, is the debut novel from Louise Jensen and guys.....she killed it. Let's start with a little summary shall we?

After a traumatic event sends Grace, then 9, to live with her grandparents in a small village in England, she finds a fast friend in the larger than life Charlie. Years later, reeling from Charlies death, and obsessing over the note she left before her disappearance, Grace is desperate to piece together clues as to what happened to her best friend.  

"I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me."

On a mission to resolve loose ends in Charlies life, Grace connects with Anna who claims to be Charlies half sister. They too become fast friends, Anna filling a hole in Graces life that has been left empty for too long. But things get weird (umm hello this is a thriller people). Things go missing, Graces live in boyfriend is acting strangely, and her career slowly crumbles in front of her. Grace uncovering more questions than answers but can she figure out Charlies secret before it's too late?

 

Now if that doesn't peak your interest I don't know what will! This book has all the intensity and intrigue you would expect with such a genre; weaving a tale that takes you down various paths of mounting questions, dead ends, and surprise revelations. I enjoyed that it alternated time periods between "then" and "now" which was the perfect mechanism to dole out bits and pieces of information over the span of the novel. Grace was a well written main character and her grief induced drinking/pill popping added that touch of uncertainty to her reliability which always keeps things interesting. You know you are reading a good thriller when you have approximately 678765 theories running at any given time (which, by the way, they all turned out to be wrong). Working in the mental health field I think I had a unique mindset when coming to terms with the ending. Without giving anything away, I did feel sympathetic to our "villain" to a large extent. Overall, everything from the quaint English town setting, to the intriguing and well paced plot, to the nerve wracking events leading up to the conclusion combined to make one heck of a read! I will most definitely be reading anything Louise Jensen comes up with next! 

Catch y'all next week!

XOXO,

Coco

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

Dear Bookworms,

Christmas gift for the win over here!

You may not know this about me but I am a huge fan of The Gilmore Girls. I think a Lorelai & Rory Gilmore mashup is most likely my spirit animal. The fast talking, coffee drinking, book reading, pop culture junkies are my people, my tribe if you will. If I could live in any TV created universe or bubble it would be, without a doubt, Stars Hollow. My mother being the thoughtful and generous creature that she is, gifted me with Lauren Grahams latest novel for Christmas and I have literally devoured it. 

Ok, so maybe not literally....I but raced through it in one sitting and could. not. get. enough. 

Written as a memoir with heavy emphasis on her time spent working on the original Gilmore Girls show as well as the reboot, Lauren Graham regales us with her tales from childhood up through those famous last words on the Gilmore Girls revival. Everything from houseboat living, kindergarten skipping, and butt auditioning to her major film successes both on the small and big screen. Oh, and thanks for filling us in on the top secret Hollywood diet secrets, you've saved me oodles on diet books, much obliged! This book is light and fun, witty and downright hilarious. I'm not even going to try and lie and say I didn't tear up as she described her time back on set for the Gilmore Girls revival. (Ok.... confession..... it was a downright ugly cry...there I said it.) Thank you Lauren for opening yourself up and giving us a glimpse into the life of the women behind the infamous Lorelai Gilmore! 

Who else is a Gilmore Girl fanatic?!

See ya next week!

XOXO,

CoCo 

 

Bryant & May: Strange Tide by Christopher Fowler

Dear Bookworms,

I won a copy of this book from LibraryThing through their early reviewers program. (Sidenote: totally check out LibraryThing if you have a second, especially if you review books or have a book blog or love books or.... well you get the point. They have monthly raffles for tons of early release books up for grabs!)

Ok back to business.

In London England, The Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU) has landed a case that just makes no sense. A young women was found drowned to death, chained to a stone post in the river Thames. Bryant and May (well, May moreso than Bryant) have been tasked with sleuthing out the details. How did she get down there, who chained her, why the ceremony of chaining her to begin with?! The more they investigate the more muddled the case becomes. Meanwhile, Bryant has been declining, rapidly, in health. Mental health that is. He's technically not even supposed to be working the case. What's deemed a peculiar case of dementia leaves Bryant with episodes of confusion, fugue states, and even hallucinations. Even more peculiar are that these hallucinations are steering Bryant in the direction of possible clues. 

I have never read anything by Christopher Fowler before (had actually never heard of him) and was quite excited when I had won a copy of this novel as the description seemed really intriguing. Unfortunately the whole novel was soooooooo drawn out to the point of boredom for me. This is one of a continuing series. Having never read any of the others it wasn't hard to keep pace, each novel seems as if it focuses on a separate investigation with the ability to read any as a stand alone. I can say I enjoyed the characters for the most part. Bryant was comical, in an old, ornery-man-who-is-loosing-his-marbles sort of way. May was a good balance to his partners eccentrics. Being a non-Londoner I found the lingo and colloquialisms somewhat confusing at times (thank you Google!) and there was just not enough action for me. I enjoy my murder mystery/detective novels with a tad more adrenaline. This novel was more slow paced and lackadaisical for my liking.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this one. There are tons of other dectective/mystery novels I could recommend that are way better reads.

Womp-womp

See ya next week friends!

XOXO,

Courtney