Vacation Time.

It’s currently 3:30 a.m and I am totally beyond the point of tired. Tomorrow, technically today, my boyfriend and I will be going to Michigan to visit family. We will be there for NINE days. Nine days that are completely booked, thanks to all the wonderful things I have planned.

My baby sisters are graduating from high school this weekend, and I am so NOT prepared for that. They grow up so fast! *UGLY CRIES*

I plan on getting two new tattoos, one with each of said sisters. My boyfriend is getting a Star Wars tattoo. Yes, he’s nerdy. But what’s even more nerdy than that, is the fact that we got nerdy couple tattoos together last year. We got our avatars from an online game we play together, called Ragnarok. No regrets. (Picture of our tattoos below. His is on top, mine on the bottom.)

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My mom, sister and I are taking my boyfriend to his first MLB game. Being from Michigan, especially the Metro Detroit area, we are Tigers fans. I’m hoping they win since it’s his first game, but I have a pretty horrible streak going on at the moment. The last 4-5 games I’ve been to have all been losses. So… fingers crossed?

On top of that, I will be seeing an old friend who I have not seen in approximately 10 years. We’ve known each other since kindergarten, but had lost touched when she moved away in high school. Speaking of friends, I will also get to meet my best friends second baby! I’m so excited. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE babies! I hope the baby fever stays away, lol

Unfortunately due to my busy schedule, I will not have time to read. Which means, no book reviews for little awhile. I had hoped to read more books leading up to my trip so I would have some reviews to post while in Michigan, but I’ve been so busy with doctor appointments, cleaning and planning for the trip, I just didn’t have time to read.

I hope everyone is doing well, and maybe I will do an update or two when I’m in Michigan.




RANDOM CONFESSION: I HAVE 5 TATTOOS, BUT HAVE BEEN TATTOOED 6 TIMES. I HAD A PARTIAL COVER UP AND ADDITION TO MY FIRST TATTOO. ALSO, I HAVE 3 JUST ON MY LEFT ARM.

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Hurt by Travis Thrasher

Young Adult Genre496 pages
Published in 2013 by David C. Cook

Goodreads Summary:

His Rebellion Will Soon Turn to Hope When Chris Buckley first encountered the mysteries of creepy Solitary, North Carolina, he had little idea how far he would fall into the town’s shadows. After losing the love of his life, Chris tried to do things his way. He hunted answers. Then he gave up trying to find them. But now Chris comes back to Solitary knowing there’s a purpose for his being there. As he watches his place in a twisted and evil bloodline become clear, Chris waits for the last battle—and wonders who will be left when he finally makes his stand. The fourth and final book in the Solitary Tales shines light into deep darkness as Chris’s journey to Solitary comes to a dramatic close.

Review:

Let’s do a minor recap: I have now read all four books in The Solitary Tales. Solitary=Loved it, minus the ending due to feels. Gravestone= Disappointed. Temptation= Really enjoyed. Now onto Hurt, the final book in the series. Get ready for another wishy-washy review people!

I enjoyed Hurt a lot more than Gravestone, BUT!, I was left scratching my head at the end. I liked watching Chris try to take control of his life and future. He’s a lovable character and I really hated how his luck with girls is pretty much nonexistent, so I was really rooting for him and his girlfriend Kelsey. Of course, the bad guys in Solitary don’t want them together, and they don’t care about hurting whoever gets in the way of what they think is Chris’s destiny.

As I mentioned in my review of Gravestone, I am not religious in any way. Because of this, it was sometimes hard reading the religious bits throughout the book. For the most part, I set aside my beliefs, or lack of actually, and just tried to savor the story. I like to think I’m pretty open minded, so I did find some of it pretty interesting. I certainly found it intriguing watching Chris evolve from an angsty teenager who denied the existence of God, to an almost adult who relies on religion to help him get through challenging times.

It had the same suspenseful, “what the hell is happening” moments, which I loved about this series. But I felt so confused throughout the series; I was hoping for some closure or answers in the final book. Honestly I finished Hurt with more questions than before. I did not understand a damn thing that happened. I love the idea of the series, even the religious parts don’t bother me, but I’m not sure the execution was right. Maybe I missed something. Maybe I have to read the series again to understand. Which I would be willing to do, later down the road.

I don’t know what else I can say about this book or series. I was left completely confused. Don’t get me wrong, there was A LOT that I really liked. But I feel like I’m missing a big point in this last book, so I’m not sure how to rate it. I guess I’ll just give it a relatively middle ground rating, because I’m being tugged between “liked” and “disliked”.

You can find my reviews for the previous three books here: Solitary by Travis ThrasherGravestone by Travis Thrasher and Temptation by Travis Thrasher

Rating: 2.8/5

Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik

Young Adult Genre320 pages
Published in 2017 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary:

Things Chloe knew: Her sister, Ivy, was lonely. Ethan was a perfect match. Ethan’s brother, David, was an arrogant jerk.

Things Chloe should have known: Setups are complicated. Ivy can make her own decisions. David may be the only person who really gets Chloe.

Meet Chloe Mitchell, a popular Los Angeles girl who’s decided that her older sister, Ivy, who’s on the autism spectrum, could use a boyfriend. Chloe already has someone in mind: Ethan Fields, a sweet, movie-obsessed boy from Ivy’s special needs class.

Chloe would like to ignore Ethan’s brother, David, but she can’t—Ivy and Ethan aren’t comfortable going out on their own, so Chloe and David have to tag along. Soon Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan form a quirky and wholly lovable circle. And as the group bonds over frozen-yogurt dates and movie nights, Chloe is forced to confront her own romantic choices—and the realization that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal.

Review:

I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED THIS BOOK!

Did I mention I loved this book? The story follows Chloe and her autistic sister Ivy while they pretty much go on double dates with David and his autistic brother, Ethan.

Chloe and David go to school together and often bump heads. Chloe has a rich jock boyfriend and David is a standoffish arrogant guy. Ivy and Ethan are in a special class for people with autism. Ivy is a hesitant girl who wants to do the things her younger sister gets to do and Ethan is a movie buff wanting a girlfriend.

Being someone with sisters, I completely understand Chloe. I understand wanting freedom from being a caretaker and just wanting to live life. It was amazing seeing her love and dedication to Ivy. You also see it between David and Ethan. With David, you’re supposed to kind of dislike him and think he’s a jerk, but really he’s just a teen with a hard life, but still has a lot to give; and he gives it all to his brother.

It was great seeing what it’s like for families living with someone on the autism spectrum. You actually get to see two sides. Chloe’s family definitely differs from David’s when dealing with their autistic child. You really get to see that towards the end.

You get to see Chloe make a lot of different choices, many that aren’t really the right ones. She judges David without really getting to know him; she stays with a boyfriend that might not be right for her; and she pushes Ivy into a relationship that maybe isn’t right for her. Chloe makes a lot of assumptions and quite a few mistakes. She’s a typical teen girl, and her character is completely relatable.

Chloe tries to push Ivy and Ethan closer together, but then there’s a huge revelation. Maybe they’re not right for each other. Perhaps their relationship is one sided. When the big secret is revealed, it sends both families into a tail-spin and everything changes; we see changes with Ivy, Ethan, David, Chloe’s step-dad, and the relationship between Chloe and David.

I HIGHLY recommend this book. It makes you feel something, something real. If for some reason you struggle in the beginning and you think you might not want to finish, KEEP READING! This story has everything: sisterhood; brotherhood; LBGTQ recognition; and family struggles. Seriously, give this book a try!

Rating: 4.7/5

Temptation by Travis Thrasher

Young Adult Genre432 pages
Published in 2012 by David C. Cook

Goodreads Summary:

The third book in the Solitary Tales series for young adults, Temptation follows the soul-wrenching twists of Chris Buckley’s journey as he heads deeper into a darkness that threatens all he loves best.
As a reluctant student at Harrington High’s summer school, Chris meets a fun-loving senior girl who offers a welcome diversion from Chris’s past. Soon Chris no longer searches for the truth about the town of Solitary. He no longer tries to pierce its shadows. He no longer questions his role in its mysteries. He makes a new choice: he runs. What he doesn’t realize is that he’s running the wrong way—and is very close to being beyond any choices at all.

Review:

Temptation is the third book in The Solitary Tales. If you read my review for the second book, Gravestone, then you will know that I was not a fan. It left me extremely disappointed. So when I picked up this book, I was very wary.

Thankfully, I had nothing to be worried about. I was pleasantly surprised by how the story seemed to up the ante compared to the previous book. From the very beginning, I was hooked. It was like, “Oh hey, this is what I remember Solitary being like. Yeah, here’s the suspense I remember!”

I felt bad for Chris because he just does not have the best luck with girls. He really doesn’t. As I was reading, I would shake my head at his stupid comments and think back to when I was a teenage girl dealing with clueless boys.

Thrasher did a really good job building his characters. He made you love the characters you’re meant to love and hate the characters that you’re meant to hate. Reading anything to do with Marsh or Staunch made my blood boil.

Towards the end of the book, we learn some truths about certain characters; and it showed how messed up the town and people of Solitary truly is. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, Thrasher proves you wrong.

This was a huge improvement from Gravestone, in my opinion. I’m really glad I did not give up on this series. Look for my review on the next and final book in The Solitary Tales: Hurt.

Rating: 3.5/5

Here are my reviews for the first two books: Solitary by Travis Thrasher and Gravestone by Travis Thrasher

Gravestone by Travis Thrasher

Young Adult Genre421 pages
Published in 2011 by David C. Cook

Goodreads Summary:

In the latest book in the four-book Solitary Tales, Travis Thrasher once again plunges young adult readers into the dark mysteries of Solitary, North Carolina. At first, Chris Buckley was simply warned. And watched. But as Chris unravels the haunting riddles of quiet Solitary, he finds that much more than the life of a town is at stake. Whether facing a pastor with a house full of skeletons or a cousin he never knew existed, Chris is forced to choose between light and darkness, life and nightmarish death. In this shocking sequel to Solitary, Travis Thrasher masterfully weaves a tale of one high school student thrown into a battle over a town, a secret-and ultimately his own soul.

Review:

This review will be pretty short.

I did not like this book… at all. I had high hopes, because I really enjoyed the first book, Solitary. (My review can be found here: Solitary by Travis Thrasher) But there was just something about this one that just didn’t really work for me. It didn’t grab my attention as much.

I often found myself bored. I had to stop reading quite a lot just so I could take a break and try to regain interest in it.

It still had a bit of the suspense that Solitary had, but it wasn’t as good as I had hoped for. My favorite parts included a new character, Iris. She was so mysterious and I loved the way she approached religion when talking to Chris. I’m not religious AT ALL, but I enjoyed reading those parts. It made me think; it made me feel.

I really can’t think of much else to say. Overall, I was quite disappointed in this book. But I did continue the series! I will have a review of the third book, Temptation, up shortly.

Rating:2.3/5

She Needs to Sort Out Her Priorities!

Last night was beyond terrifying. Ready for story time?

First of all, I live in NE Iowa.

I was talking to my sister on the phone, when all of a sudden the sky was turning super dark. I could tell we were going to be hit by a bad storm, but I was not prepared for how bad it would be. I had to put her on hold while my boyfriend (Phillip) and I shut all windows because it started to get really windy. I got back on the phone with her and within a minute it started pouring.

When I say pouring, I mean we couldn’t see out our windows because it was like the ocean was being drained over our apartment. I knew it was getting REALLY bad, so I told my sister I had to go.

Phillip and I hurried to find our two cats, Bane and Piper. They were freaked out by the loud rain and wind, so they ran under our bed. Then the hail started. We had no basement to seek shelter in, so we locked ourselves in our hallway and grabbed blankets to help protect our bodies.

The hail was intense. I’ve never heard anything like it in my 26 years. It was like thousands of the pitching machines you find at a batting cage pitching baseballs directly at our apartment. The noise was so intimidating. I experience severe anxiety, and I was totally freaked out. But I tried to remain calm for Bane and Piper.

The whole thing lasted about a half hour. When it started to die down I told Phillip to stay with the cats while I investigated. We had some leaking around the windows, all our screens were either blown off or damaged and we have a minor crack in one window. It could have been worse. I heard my landlord (who lives downstairs part-time) outside, so I went downstairs.

I first noticed the bits of hail on the ground. Then I saw glass. I looked over and saw our landlords window broke and his stuff was blown around inside. I went to the side of the building and saw the house two lots over with all its window on the side blown out and the siding dented up. It looked like a machine gun was shot off at it.

Pretty much instantly we had departments from at least four different towns helping homeowners board up their windows. It was amazing to see so many people gathered helping each other.

Today it was confirmed that 70-80% of my towns buildings/homes have some sort of damage. It was also confirmed that there was a EF0 tornado about 3-5 miles east of us. No one was injured or killed.

While we were laying down towels around the windows, we checked our belongings to make sure nothing important got wet. When we reached our spare bedroom/rec room, I looked at my book shelf. I sighed with relief and said, “Thank goodness my books didn’t get wet. I would be crying right now if something happened to them.” My boyfriend stared at me for a moment and then walked out while shaking his head.




RANDOM CONFESSION: I ACTUALLY ENJOY STORMS. I LIKE GOING OUTSIDE DURING A THUNDERSTORM AND WATCHING THE LIGHTNING. HOWEVER, I DO NOT LIKE TORNADO-LIKE WEATHER. THAT’S WHEN MY ANXIETY SHOOTS THROUGH THE ROOF.

A Little Behind.

So, the last time I posted, I listed all the books I brought home from the library. That was about two weeks ago, and I’ve only read three. I tried reading a fourth one, but I got maybe 15 pages in and then I had to stop.

The book was Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas. The book was about two teen pen pals with health issues, which prevents them from ever meeting in real life. The idea was great. The summary caught my interest immediately, but once I started reading, I got super bored… super fast.

Currently, I’m reading Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik. I’ve only read between 10-15 pages so far, but I’m liking it as of now. I’m hoping I’ll have better luck with this book. Once I finish it, I’ll write up a review.

I still have five other books I need to read from the library. I was hoping to have more books read already, but I’ve been pretty busy the past week. It happens. Currently, I’m trying to decide whether I want to get back to reading or if maybe I should find something to eat. Oh, the many choices I must make. *sigh*

Here’s a random picture of what’s happening next to me. TOO MUCH CUTENESS! The gray one is Bane (my baby boy) and the calico is Piper (AKA “Derp”).

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RANDOM CONFESSION: MY CATS ARE MY EVERYTHING. THEY’RE THE EQUIVALENT OF HUMAN CHILDREN, THOUGH I DON’T HAVE ANY OF THOSE. ALSO, I LIKE PUTTING BOW TIES ON BANE. =^.^=

King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

Young Adult Genre528 pages
Published in 2017 by HarperTeen

Goodreads Summary:

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

Review:

THIS BOOK! It’s everything.

I was pretty upset at the end of Glass Sword when Mare was captured by Maven. I think we [the readers] all were. But let me tell you something; it was worth it. Yeah, I said it. I’m glad she got captured and made a prisoner.

I don’t mean for it to sound so harsh, but honestly, if Mare hadn’t been captured, we wouldn’t have been able to see all the character development that happens throughout King’s Cage.

Mare kind of breaks down and then builds herself back up. As horrible as it sounds, I loved seeing her devolve into this weak girl because that’s exactly what should happen to someone in her situation. Aveyard didn’t sugarcoat the conditions which Mare lived in while being kept a prisoner. It made it realistic. I also liked watching Mare learn more about her ability. Her use of lightning is more powerful than she realized, and it was cool seeing what she’s really capable of.

Cal didn’t change as much, but he finally starts to open up. That’s something I’ve been waiting for. His time from Mare has really made him face how he feels about her and it gets you right in the feels. *SPOILER* When they are reunited it totally shows how much they really care for each other. That was something that was lacking in Red Queen and Glass Sword, even though the readers already knew. Then at the end, he pissed me off so much. (Just wait and see!)

I saved Maven for last , because OH, MAVEN! He’s the fragile bad boy that I just can’t resist. You’re supposed to hate him, and I get that. But I just can’t do it. In this book, we get to see the real Maven. He is so beyond lost, and he losing a grip on things. I just feel so bad for him, and I want to hug him so tightly. Don’t get me wrong, he is evil. He’s done horrible things, but learning about his past and what his mother did to him, makes it impossible for me to hate him.

In the second book, we got to meet a whole new breed of people: Red-and-Silver, “Newbloods”. In King’s Cage, Newbloods continue to be found and they are now working together, better than before, to take down Maven and his prejudiced government. It was fun seeing more abilities that haven’t been shown yet.

I loved King’s Cage. I initially thought this was the last book, until I read the end. It was heartbreaking and so aggravating. MEN! Am I right, girls? *sigh* But anyway, there is in fact one more book left in the series that is due to be released next year. I can’t wait. If the last three books are any indication of what is to be expected of the fourth installment, I know I won’t be disappointed.

Rating: 4.8/5

My reviews for the first two books can be found here: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Young Adult Genre264 pages
Published in 2015 by Scholastic Press

Goodreads Summary:

Callum Hunt’s summer break isn’t like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren’t heading back to the magical world of the Magisterium in the fall.

It’s not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.

Call escapes to the Magisterium — but things only intensify there. The Alkahest — a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic — has been stolen. And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends Aaron and Tamara awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes — and get closer to an even more dangerous truth.

As the mysteries of the Magisterium deepen and widen, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare take readers on an extraordinary journey through one boy’s conflict — and a whole world’s fate.

Review:

The Copper Gauntlet is book two in the Magisterium series. I have read the first one, The Iron Trial, and I loved it. I have not done a review for The Iron Trial, but I hailed it as the next Harry Potter.

Yes, that is right, I am comparing it to Harry Potter, but not as you may assume. Both involve magic, but the magic in the Magisterium series is very different. The reason I say it’s the next Harry Potter is because we follow a trio that is just as lovable and adventurous as the Golden Trio from Harry Potter. The story is pure magic in itself, and I think it could get the same commercial success.

That is as far as I’ll go for comparing the two.

The second book was just as good as the first one. At least, from what I can remember of it. I read it back when it first came out in 2014, and I have been waiting the second book to come to my library. Finally, after continuously requesting it, I was able to check it out, and finished it in one sitting.

The book is geared more towards middle schoolers, but I thoroughly enjoyed it as an adult and I loved every moment. Each character is different and while their personalities would seem to clash, they work together very well.

I really like Calls’ character because he truly is an underdog. He scored poorly while testing for the entrance exam and he has a physical disability that he does not let get in the way. He has a lot of secrets that he has bottled up, and he’s really struggling with that, especially when his best friends are concerned.

I think this would be a great book for kids to read with their parents. If you or someone you know liked Harry Potter or even the Percy Jackson series, then I’m sure you’d like this too. A third book was released last year, and I’m hoping I won’t have to wait too long before getting my hands on it.

Rating: 3.8/5

Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly

Young Adult Genre432 pages
Published in 2015 by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Goodreads Summary:

The city of Bryre suffers under the magic of an evil wizard. Because of his curse, girls sicken and disappear without a trace, and Bryre’s inhabitants live in fear. No one is allowed outside after dark.

Yet night is the only time that Kymera can enter this dangerous city, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail—they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre.

Despite her caution, a boy named Ren sees Kym and begins to leave a perfect red rose for her every evening. As they become friends, Kym learns that Ren knows about the missing girls, the wizard, and the evil magic that haunts Bryre.

And what he knows will change Kym’s life.

Review:

Before I get into my review, I want it known that Monstrous is targeted more towards middle school aged kids. Despite that, it can be enjoyed by all ages.

The story follows a girl named Kym who is so unique. She is a Chimera. So many people compare the book to Frankenstein, but I don’t think that’s the best comparison, though it can be used. When I was talking to my boyfriend about it, I told him it was Nina’s story line from Full Metal Alchemist meets Anastasia. Once I explained everything, he said he agreed.

The language is pretty basic, which is why it’s great for middle school kids. The story itself, has some dark elements, but it fits perfectly with what you’d expect from a classic fairy tale.

It was fast paced and all the characters where great. My biggest complaint though is the predictability. Pretty much from the beginning, I knew where the story was heading. Unfortunately, yes unfortunately, the very end was completely unexpected. I can deal with the predictability, and the way the story progressed. I actually liked the story, but the end just didn’t sit right with me. I actually hated it, to be honest.

I know this review isn’t the best, and it’s so wishy-washy. I’m finding it so hard to review it. I guess all I can say is to give it a try. I think the idea is great, but maybe the execution wasn’t the best.

Rating: 3/5