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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 

 

 

Ascension by Hannah Rials

Dear Bookworms,

 This week is a fun urban fantasy, Ascention, by Hannah Rials. I was provided with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Cheyenne Lane is a 17 year old Deuxsang (half human/half vampire) growing up in rural Virginia. With a strained family relationship due to a particularly traumatic Ascension ceremony when she was 13 (think puberty for half vampires- where one embraces the vampire side and merges the human and vampire nature within themselves), Cheyenne agrees to spend a summer with her married older sister in the city of New Orleans. Befriending a local Deuxang, Ann, she is inexplicably drawn into a circle of friends which include the devilishly handsome Eli, who just so happens to be a witch (forbidden romance brewing here folks). Cheyenne and her group stumble upon some startling secrets within the Deuxsang community, dangerous ones. 

I'm just gonna go ahead and put this out there, I am obsessed with this book. Urban fantasy's have a special little place in my heart and this underground world of witches and Deuxsang have found a home with me. And can we talk about how the author, Hannah Rials is still in college?! I mean, the most meaningful thing I had accomplished by my 20th birthday was being able to do a keg stand for 22 seconds straight.... I kid I kid....but seriously, that's pretty inspiring. 

Ok let's get down to business here. I enjoyed the unique take versus a more a traditional "vampire" VA book. The societal and class system within the vampire and Deuxsang community was unique and serves as a neat source of conflict for the book as a whole. Cheyenne is a pretty rad character and a major ass kicker which I love, girl can pack a punch! I like that she's tough and can stand up for herself but at the same time shows a vulnerable side. She struggles with the uncertainty of knowing who you are and how you fit into the world around you which is something I think we have all dealt with at one time or another. I hope we learn more about the witchy side of things with the next book as I really enjoy Eli's character and it seems like there is much to explore given the breadcrumbs tossed our way about his backstory. Lilith seems like she is shaping up to be a formidable foe and knowing what a bad ass Cheyenne can be, I am pretty pumped to see them face off at some point. As far as the setting, NoLa was the perfect backdrop for this story. I'm a huge fan of the city myself, and felt Rials captured the feel and the essence of the city to a tee. I could see Cheyenne and Eli in my minds eye wandering up to Mothers for a po'boy (then consequently salivating for said po'boy), or exploring the crumbling cemeteries. The writing was on point and kept me engaged from page one, flowing seamlessly throughout the book. Hannah Rials has definelty foind a fan in this bookworm, and I am anxiously awaiting book two! 

Go ahead and hop over to Amazon to pick up a copy of Ascension here, and check out Hannah Rials' website to stay up to date on this series and other cool stuff here.

See y'all next week!

XOXO, 

Coco

Fyre by Katherine Bogle

Dear Bookworms,

This weeks read is an author requested review. I was provided a free copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Fyre is a companion book of short stories to complement the novel Haven by Katherine Bogle (haven't caught that review? Read it here!). This novella is broken up into four short stories, one for each of the Fyre siblings, Haven, Lucian, Marcel, and Astrid. The first story tells the story of a young Haven as the victim of a terrible riding accident which should have killed her (did actually kill her?) after which she learns the shocking truth of her immortality. The second focus' on Lucian, oldest of the Fyre siblings who is sent to guard Helms Keep while the battle rages against Queen Kadia and her troops along the war front, supposedly far from where Lucian has been posted. When the enemy troops unexpectedly breach the front and swarm the Keep, Lucian is put to the test fighting a dangerous foe, one never before seen by the trained fighter. The third story focus' on Marcel as he too rallies against Kadias army at the Keep. A head injury leaves him with a short term case of amnesia in a town not far from the Keep, can Marcel regain his memories in time to prepare for another assault from the Mad Queen? Lastly, Astrid. For her safety, Astrid is sent to an isolated mountain cabin by her sister, soon to be Queen Haven after the bloody battles have killed her brothers and parents. Living a cold life of seclusion is a hard pill to swallow for the pampered princess. After a jaunt in the woods surrounding her cabin goes terribly awry, Astrid must use her wits and bravery to stay alive, and find her way back to safety. 

 

Another stunning cover- y'all know I'm a sucker for a good cover!

Another stunning cover- y'all know I'm a sucker for a good cover!

When Katherine contacted me about this book of short stories I was pumped to jump back into her world, being that I was a big fan of her first novel (thanks Katherine!) These short stories where just what I needed to hold me over until the next novel is released later this year. Being that her first book really mainly dealt with Haven (not that it's any big surprise being that the title is....Haven), it was really neat to be given a more in depth look at some of the other characters only mentioned in passing or referenced. Seeing these people from Havens life come alive actually make Haven herself even more of a real character in my eyes. We see the relationships she cherished and the bond between herself and her siblings, which really cemented that loss for her even more in retrospect. I have to say, I was really taken with her brother, Marcel from the beginning. I was drawn to his carefree personality and the love he had (has) for Haven was very apparent. I was shocked to learn of his fate (way throw me for a loop!) and am excited to see how that will play out in future books. I was also very intrigued by the mysterious Julian character and am wondering what role she will play in the upcoming book as well. Overall, the writing was well done (I would even venture to say better than the first book, which is saying alot!) There is plenty of action which keeps the book exciting and fun to read while also exploring lots of back story which adds a new layer to the series as a whole. My only complaint is that I wanted more Kadia! I enjoy me a good villain, and she is a goodie! (a goodie at being a badie? A really good badie? You know what I mean). 

Hop on over to Amazon and snag your copy of Fyre here.  The second installment of the Chronicles of Warshard, Savages, will be out in April so stayed tuned for it's review sometime soon!

Until next week friends!

XOXO,

Coco

The Pipers Price by Audrey Greathouse

Dear Bookworms, 

Another week, another review! This one is an author requested review. You may remember my review for The Neverland Wars several months back? (No?! What's wrong with you?! Read it here). The Pipers Prince is the second in this planned trilogy and I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC to read (thanks Audrey!), in exchange for an honest review. 

Pipers Price picks up a couple of weeks after the first book left off; Gwen is back in Neverland and is collaborating with Peter and the Lost Boys in an effort to save Neverland once and for all from those in reality who are after it's magic. They have devised a plan to locate the Piper in an effort to (hopefully) garner his support and help in preparing for a final showdown with the grownups for the magic contained in Neverland. Gwen is tasked with traveling back to reality to locate missing pieces of the puzzle and ultimately summoning the Piper. Bargaining with the Piper turns out to be more tricky than Gwen had imagined and the stakes are raised when the Piper kidnaps someone close to Gwen. With the grownups on their trail and an army of children to round up, Gwen, Peter, and the Lost Boys attempt their last ditch, pixie dust filled effort to rally troops to save Neverland.

Knowing how much I loved Audrey's first book in this series, I came into this one with high hopes....and was not left wanting. Audrey has such a beautiful way with words, like they are chosen and arranged with the utmost of intention. The flow of the story line was seamless; I would venture to say even more so than in the first book. Gwen continues to struggle as she teeters on the cusp of adulthood yet still clinging to the remnants of carefree childhood abandon. She is such a strong and loyal character, one who you readily and eagerly cheer for from the outside of the pages. I enjoyed seeing the relationship between Jay and Gwen deepen and flesh out more in this book, he really came alive much more as a character for me. This book also branched out from a strictly Peter Pan retelling to include other characters from some of our most well known fairy tales. The book club full of grown up princesses? Puss and Boots in lock up? Definitely a very nice touch! The tension and danger were definitely amped up a notch in this book which really lent to (what I hope is) setting the tone for a killer third book. The stakes have definitely been raised in this one people. Despite his gruffness, I actually really enjoyed the character of the Piper. An unlikely and dubious hero in his own right, but certainly dangerous. There were certainly more poignant moments this go around, including the scene with Foxglove near the end. That one tugged at the heartstrings a little (read: ALOT). Can't wait for book #3!! 

This one goes on sale on February 21, 2017. Go ahead and preorder your copy today from Amazon here, and be sure to check out Audreys website here, to stay up to date on all her latest news!

See ya next week!

XOXO,

Coco

Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little

Dear Bookworms,

Another mystery/thriller this week! Dun Dun Dun.....

One time Hollywood socialite, now convicted murderer Janie Jenkins was recently released from prison. Her conviction has been overturned ten years into her life sentence for the murder of her mother as a result of mishandled evidence by the lab and Janie is free and determined to find the real murderer of her mother. Her memory of that night is hazy at best, (copious amounts of alcohol will do that to you), and with the help of her faithful lawyer Noah, Janie sheds her beautiful "it girl" persona and follows what information she gathered in prison to a tiny mining town in South Dakota. Mining truths from lies and digging into the past, Janie uncovers shocking revelations about not only her mother, but herself as well. 

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I have to say, this book started out slow for me. The whole first half really seemed to drag with not so much going on, it was a struggle y'all. The second half picked up tremendously and really kept me engaged, lots of discoveries and increasingly building tension. The ending was for sure a shocker, I really didn't see that coming, but I was so dissatisfied with how Janies story was wrapped up. I mean, seriously?! I don't want to give away any spoilers for all of you who haven't read it yet, but it really didn't do any justice to the plot line in my opinion. What I did enjoy about the book was Janie as a character. She was the perfect combination of crass sarcasm and dry humor, which was entertaining to say the least. The plot, though slow to get started, was solid with lots of secrets and hidden truths (essential material for any good mystery/thriller). I did enjoy the small town characters and the sexual tension between Janie and Leo was well written and fun to read. For the most part this was a fairly good read. I still think Little could have given Janie a better ending but I enjoyed the story overall.

Have any of you all read this one? What did you think?

Until next week!

XOXO,

Coco

 

While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell

Dear Bookworms,

This weeks read is a fairytale retelling (insert happy girl squeal here). I can't get enough of a good fairytale retelling and While Beauty Slept did not disappoint.

Everyone has heard the tale of Sleeping Beauty. Beautiful Princess, stricken with a sleeping spell that was broken by true loves kiss. Time has muddled the details, but Elise Dalriss was there, and the truth is not quite what is shared in girlish sighs of fancies across the kingdom. Now an aging great grandmother, she retells the story, for the first time, to her great granddaughter. As a young girl of 14, after surviving the pox, Elise heads out to the castle in search of work as a servant. Quickly rising the ranks within the servant hierarchy, Elise finds herself, poor farm girl, as personal attendant to the Queen. So begins Elise's journey of self discovery, growing from a poor, sheltered country girl into a confident women within the court, friend and confidant to the Queen and Princess Rose. As Elise knows all too well, the real world is no fairytale and sometimes our happy endings are what we make of them.

Honestly people, I loved this book. Fans of Wicked or the Lunar Chronicles will enjoy this read for sure. I loved how this classic tale was told from the perspective of Elise, an attendant to the queen and focused on her life; her loves and losses, sacrifices and redemption's. While Rose played a significant part in her life and the choices she made, Rose was not the main star of the novel. A more realistic portrayal, there is no magic or potions but it still has the same backbone as the original that we all know and love. I admired Elises' devotion and loyalty to her charges, even at the repudiation of her own wants and needs. She was such a strong and resilient character and while her tale was fraught with self sacrifice, she loved fiercely, and in the end, she had her version of happily ever after. The end of the novel takes an unexpected turn and I won't spoil anything, but I will say I was pleasantly surprised with the ending for our ladies. As far as the writing, Blackwell delivers a beautifully written tale, rich in imagery and emotion. Her words have a way of coming alive on the paper. I felt as if I was walking the halls of the castle with Elise, my heart quickened with the beginning of true love and felt the loss of it as well.

Ok, enough from me already, just go check it out from the library. Or head to the bookstore. Or order it from Amazon. However you get your books, get it!

Blackwell has a new release coming out February 1st, In the Shadow of Lakecrest, and y'all can bet I'm setting up my Amazon preorder now! Check out her website here so you don't miss any exciting news!    

See ya next week friends!

XOXO,

Coco

What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan

Dear Bookworms,

Another thriller/suspense this week and oh-eee was it a good one!

Rachel Jenner is a recent divorcee, navigating the world as a single mother to her son Ben. A leisurely walk in the woods of Bristol Park one Sunday afternoon flips her world upside down when Bed runs ahead to the tree swing down the path, and winds up missing. So begins a tumultuous week where Rachel is forced to examine every relationship in her life while also coming under the microscope herself as her sons disappearance makes national headlines. Life changing secrets are revealed and lies come to light as Rachel races against the clock to find her missing son.  

This is the first book I've read from Gilly Macmillan and I can promise you it won't be my last (I may or may not have ordered her other novel on Amazon after I finished this one). As any good thriller/suspense book should be, this book was filled with twists and turns, false leads and deception. There are some very startling revelations that I did not see coming which threw some major wrenches in my (many) theories of "who dun it". As a mom myself, this book was particularity gripping and emotional for me. Just the thought of being in Rachel's situation and having one of my children taken from me is enough to send me into anxiety overload. Needless to say I flew through all 467 pages needing some sort of resolution to Ben's disappearance. A good plot is nothing without stellar writing and Macmillan delivers. The novel is well written and paced, Rachels emotions scream through the pages, and as a mother, it was gut wrenching. I would definitely recommend this to all you lovers of a good psychological thriller. 

Check out Gilly Macmillans website here to stay up to date on all her works! 

Until next week friends!

XOXO,

Coco

Helix Episode 4 (Anomaly) & Epiosde 5 (Inversion) by Nathan Farrugia

Dear Bookworms, 

We're back again with the next 2 Episodes in Nathan Farrugia's action packed thriller series! Once again, these books were provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review.

Purity is quickly gaining momentum in Eastern Europe as the new political super power and our favorite genetically enhanced assassin, Olesya has formed a tentative truce with Sophia. Sophia and her crew are reunited with Nasira, Damien, Jay, and Aviary, together going on the hunt for a famed genetic engineer to help them find a way to dismantle the "kill-switch" embedded within the genes of all the ex-Fifth Column operatives. Olesya meets a friend from her past who warns her of a catastrophically deadly terrorist attack to take place in Poland in just under 30 hours. Sophia and Olesyas respective teams form a tenuous alliance as they race the clock to thwart what could possibly be the biggest terror attack in history.  

Once again, Farrugia delivers an action packed continuation of the complex and interconnected world of subterfuge and espionage. With fight scenes to rival any Mission Impossible movie, there really isn't a dull moment. Finally (like seriously ladies, you're fighting the same battle here), Olesya and Sophia aren't trying to shoot each others brains out, and they make a pretty bad ass team once they started to work together. I enjoyed the twists and turns the story took as we were clued more into the terrorist plot, and talk about 9 lives! These characters escape more unlucky and death defying scenarios than is fathomable. Not everyone makes it out unscathed, or alive for that matter (my fingernails sure didn't). Don't get too comfortable reading this series, just when you think everyone is in the clear, a wrench is thrown into the mix. Inversion ended on a major cliffhanger (as seems his style), how much more can one bookworm take?!

Pardon me while I take an antacid and have a lie down after that heart pounding marathon read.

Until next week friends!

XOXO,

Coco

Helix: Episode 2 (Exile) & Episode 3 (Interceptor) by Nathan Farrugia

Dear Bookworms, 

So after reviewing Helix: Episode 1 a couple of weeks ago I just HAD to read the rest of the series. Lucky for me, Nathan Farrugia so graciously sent me the remaining 4 episodes in the series so I dug right in! I'm going to review episodes 2 & 3 in this post and do a separate post for 4 & 5 since these books are on the shorter side. 

The second episode opens up with more background into the elite training camp for Project GATE, specifically around the characters of Damien, Jay, Nasira, and Sophia. Fast forward 6 years and these four may be separated by oceans but all are working to bring down the corrupt organization of The Fifth Column from which they have managed to escape. Oleysa has been clued into a new threat that is perhaps even deadlier than The Fifth Column, while simultaneously scouring the continent for clues and leads to find her kidnapped friend, Val. Sophia is on her own mission to deprogram Fifth Column operatives but runs into a new breed when she comes up against Valeria (uh- oh!) and finds her programming has been firewalled. A cliffhanger of an ending to epiosde 3 leaves us with a brutal face-off between Oleysa and Sophia.  

Once again packed with loads of action and fight scenes, this book has not one dull moment. Told in much the same fashion as episode 1; 2 & 3 bounce between various characters story lines from all over the world, Russia, Las Vegas, Colombia, Poland, you get the idea. While the settings are scattered all throughout the world, Farrugia does a great job of staying authentic to each locale in the scenes. The feel of each place came through well in his writing. I enjoyed the new characters introduced this go around, including Aviary, who I am eager to learn more about. The way in which the characters storylines are all so connected but yet separate at the same time is well engineered and crafted. Farrugia has some great one liners in these episodes, there is always room for a well placed Harry Potter reference in my mind! The standoff between Sophia and Oleysa is intense and makes me wanna shake them both. Like, just hear the other one out for 2 minutes and you could clear up a whole lotta misunderstanding and confusion ladies! 

Alright, gonna get back to episodes 4 & 5 now! Come back next week to dish on the the next two episodes in this thrilling series!

XOXO,

Coco

2016: Reading in Review

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Hello my faithful bookworms! Can you believe 2016 has come and gone? So many books so little time (ain't that the truth for bookworms everywhere?). I had a pretty successful book reading year, clocking in 50 books! My goal for the year was to complete this reading challenge and branch out of my normal "reading comfort zone" by picking up some books I may not normally be drawn to, but alas, I was sucked in once again to the YA fantasy and fiction world. I also went on a thriller/suspense binge there for a little while. C'est la vie! Take a look at my reading list for the year, I didn't get to all the categories but I certainly read some goodies! 

Because I am a fan of lists, and (obviously) a (hugely enormous insane) fan of books, I wanted to do a little recap to highlight my top 3 favorite books of the year. Now this is hard people. I have read some truly amazing books this year, but these three in particular were stand outs to me for many different reasons. 

3) The Way I Used to Be (Amber Smith)- This book was deep with the feels. Truly heartbreaking, it really does a spectacular job of showing what a devastating effect sexual assault has on an individual and the ripple effect it creates in its wake. This should be on every highschool reading list for sure. 

2) The Grisha Trilogy (Leigh Bardugo)- I know this is technically three books and I am also aware that this series ended in 2014, not in 2016, but they were new to me this year AND this is my list so just let me have my moment ok?  I absolutely fell in love with the fictional land of Ravka. The tumultuous plot kept me enthralled from start to finish. It doesn't hurt that the villain was also a heartthrob. 

1) Harry Potter & The Cursed Child (JK Rowling)- Of course HP would top my list of books for 2016. Although written as a play and not a traditional novel, it brought back all the feels to be transported back to the magical world of Harry Potter. I found the new characters delightful and story line was solid and well imagined. 2017 goal? Go see the play in NYC! 

2016 books were good to me. Who am I kidding, books are always good to me, but now it's time to look forward to 2017. Here's what I'm most excited to read this year!

  • Peace Talks: Dresden Files #16 (Jim Butcher)- I have been a fan of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files for YEARS. This series is top 3 of all time for me (next in line Harry Potter series and the Outlander series). A humorous, sarcastic wizard detective in Chicago battling all things that go bump in the night? I could read him forever. There is no official release date as of now, but the sooner the better! 
  • Lord of Shadows (Cassandra Clare) - I am super stoked for the next book in the Dark Artifices series. I can't get enough of the Shadowhunter world and am pumped to see where this one takes us! 
  • Carve the Mark (Veronica Roth)- Really enjoyed her trilogy Divergent (minus that ending- dang Veronica what were you thinking?!). I have high hopes for her next series and can't wait to get my hands on a copy come January 17th!
  • The Romeo Catchers (Alys Arden)- May 23rd I can finally dive back into the vampire city of NoLa and catch up with Adele, Nicco, and Issac. 

I'm sure I'll fall in love with many more books in 2017, and hope to continue to read more books outside of my norm. I plan on (attempting) another reading challenge and found this awesome list if you are looking to challenge yourself as well, you can find a printable version here

What are some of your top reads for 2016 and what are you most looking forward to reading in 2017?! 

Happy Reading friends! 

Rain by India R. Adams

Dear Bookworms

This weeks review is author requested. I was provided with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Rose is a small town girl who gave up dreams of college and her own life to stay home to take care of her younger siblings and ailing mother. Her small town has been wracked by a killer plague which has already taken the life of her father, and threatens the life of her mother. Rose soon finds herself and her future intertwined with a mysteriously man (excuse me, male) from the woods surrounding her now desolate farmland. One prophecy, a pair of soul mates, and an enchanted world within the woods weave a beautiful tale wrought with both love and heartache.

So what did I think of this weeks read you say? So glad you asked! So I've read a few of India's books this year and without a doubt this was my favorite. She creates such a magical, mystical world within those woods I found myself yearning for a real life glimpse of a place just half as beautiful as this one. Everything from the people, to their humble and simplistic way of life was enchanting. The entire plot was masterfully woven together and the relationship between Rose, Ryder, and Gunner was so truly unique and pure. Much like with her previous novel, My Wolf and Me, watching the non-human and human characters interact was humorous and heart warming. The missed social cues and colloquialisms were comical, giving me a good laugh on more than one occasion. And can we just talk about Ryder for a second. Fictional crush alert in overdrive over here. Where can I find me a Warrior Elf of my own? (Sorry husband!) Although archaic and primal, I found his and Roses relationship endearing. The truth and beauty of their relationship just bled from the pages. I loved how the book was told in alternating perspectives between both Rose and Ryder. I always enjoy first person, and it was especially appreciated being that our two main characters are entirely different species. It really give the reader much more insight into each of their worlds and really solidified the relationship between the two in my eyes. I am absolutely DYING to read the second book in this planned series, River, and will be anxiously awaiting it's debut in 2017! To check out his book and India R. Adams other works, check out her website here

Thanks for a truly delightful read India!

XOXO,

Coco

 

Helix: Episode 1 by Nathan Farrugia

Dear Bookworms, 

This weeks review is author requested. I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review. 

A seemingly ordinary girl growing up in post-Soviet Russia, Olesya is recruited by a top secret government agency of The Fifth Column. Whisked away and cut off from her family, Olesya trains and studies with other recruits at an intense academy in the US. Most everyone in the program possesses some sort of genetic anomaly which allows them supernatural abilities. Shortly after an intense training exercise, Olesya and a few recruits from her squad are kidnapped (rescued?) by a rebel group, a faction which has since splintered from the original Fifth Column. Fast forward half a dozen years and Olesya is an elite agent, tasked with hunting down and capturing the very recruits she once trained alongside. 

EKKKKK! Guys! This. Book. Was. So. Good! It had a sort of Darkest Minds (Alexandra Bracken)/Zero World (Jason Hough) vibe to it. The story line was intriguing and intense from literally the first page. The chapters alternated between Olesyas story line (7 years in the past leading up to present day) and Damien's (only present day) which kept the reading interesting and definitely hard to put down. The end of each chapter leaves you needing to know more so I just HAD to keep reading (which being the bookworm I am- I did- I read it in one sitting). The attention to detail was precise and description of the fight scenes (of which there are a plethora!) was high energy and fast paced. As far as the characters, Damien won me over with his witty sarcasm from the first words out of his mouth- he's my kind of people for sure. Although more cool and collected, Olesya was well written and engaging in the plot. I am interested to see how and when these characters come back together as the series evolves. 

Please excuse me now while I hop on over to Amazon to pick up the next episode in the series! 

Until next week friends!

Want more reviews??? Check out my Corner!

XOXO,

Coco