Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

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Summary:

The Serpent King is a book you won’t be able to resist or forget. The Southern boy in me savored every syllable and the reader in me fell in love with every page.” —John Corey Whaley, National Book Award finalist and Printz Award winner

Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

He and his fellow outcast friends must try to make it through their senior year of high school without letting the small-town culture destroy their creative spirits and sense of self. Graduation will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is content where he is thanks to his obsession with an epic book series and the fangirl turning his reality into real-life fantasy.

Their diverging paths could mean the end of their friendship. But not before Dill confronts his dark legacy to attempt to find a way into the light of a future worth living.


My Thoughts:

First off—I did really enjoy Serpent King!

Second—I feel like the hype got me way too excited.

Don’t get me wrong, it was great–but I don’t think it’s what I thought it was going to be.

I kept hearing people say they were sobbing and I just didn’t have that reaction at all.

Sure. There was a time or two that hurt my heart, but nothing that full on major.

However…it was still great! Don’t get me wrong there! I’m looking forward to what Zentner releases next because I do think he’ll do some great things.

This one did have the vibe of a debut novel to me. That’s hard to explain really without it sounding bad, but it does.

But the MOST IMPORTANT THING!!!

Are you ready?

These character ARE relatable. I think that’s WHY I didn’t have a “sobbing” reaction. I felt like the three characters actually could be people that I know. That completely made the book for me! Amazing characters and setting!

The only thing I wish is that Dill’s family would’ve had a more concrete resolution. I have questions about what happened next. I honestly want MORE! Again…these characters were AMAZING!

I do suggest Serpent King, especially if you’re in the mood for a contemporary.

Let me know what you think if you’ve read it!

-Melanie

Waiting on Wednesday: Smash and Grab by Amy Christene Parker

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Summary:

Ocean’s Eleven meets the star-crossed lovers of West Side Story. Grab some popcorn and get ready for an adrenaline-filled heist!

LEXI is a rich girl who loves a good rush. Whether it’s motorcycle racing or BASE jumping off a building in downtown Los Angeles, the only times she feels alive are when she and her friends are executing one of their dares. After her father’s arrest, Lexi doesn’t think twice about going undercover at his bank to steal the evidence that might clear his name. She enlists her hacker brother and her daredevil friends to plan a clever heist.

CHRISTIAN is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. The local gang has blackmailed him and his friends into robbing banks, and he is desperate for a way out. When the boss promises that one really big job will be the last he ever has to do, Christian jumps at the chance for freedom. In fact, he’s just met a girl at the bank who might even prove useful. . . .

Two heists. One score. The only thing standing in their way is each other.

Told in alternating points of view, this caper is full of romance and fast-paced fun. Hand to fans of Perfect Chemistry, The Conspiracy of Us, and Heist Society.

Why:

I absolutely LOVED Parker’s Gated books a couple years back. I still recommend it to people all the time actually. So when I hard about this one I was naturally intrigued!

This seems like it’ll have a good Romeo and Juliet vibe going to it and that is always a fun time in books. Plus, Amy is just a fun writer as it is.

I can’t wait to read this! While you wait, pick up a copy of Gated and give it a try!

-Melanie

Waiting on Wednesday: The Square Root of Summer

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Summary:

This is what it means to love someone. This is what it means to grieve someone. It’s a little bit like a black hole. It’s a little bit like infinity.

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she’s hurtled through wormholes to her past:

To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.

Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie’s past, present, and future are about to collide―and someone’s heart is about to be broken.

With time travel, quantum physics, and sweeping romance, The Square Root of Summer is an exponentially enthralling story about love, loss, and trying to figure it all out, from stunning debut YA voice, Harriet Reuter Hapgood.

Why I’m Excited:

Time travel and a physics prodigy…SIGN ME UP.

I’ve been hearing a lot about his book.

Let’s be real- that’s a cute title and the cover is gorgeous.

Soooo…I looked into it some more.

This sounds so much fun! I’m also glad to have a MC who is a math genius. That’s not something that happens very often, so it’ll be different.

I can’t wait for this book and I hope that I enjoy it as much as I’m thinking that I will.

It releases May 3, so check it out when it is available!

-Melanie

Review: The Way I Used to Be

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Summary:

In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.

My Thoughts:

One day I will quit doing this to myself and reading books like this, but today is not that day!

THIS. BOOK.

The blurb of being compared to Speak had me interested, so I had to read it and I’m glad that I did.

It was interesting to me to see the long term effects throughout the course of her high school career and that this was not something she easily moved on from. It was hard to read Eden’s story at times, but that’s actually what made the book so good.

I cannot recommend this enough, but be sure that you have tissues handy because your heart will hurt for Eden and also cheer her on.

The Way I Used to Be released TODAY, so go get a copy ASAP!

-Melanie

Review: When You’re Back by Abbi Glines

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Summary:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines comes the next new adult novel in her beloved Rosemary Beach series, which continues the story of Mase and Reese from When I’m Gone.

She was where my home would always be. It was time I took the next step and proved to her I was all in. Forever.

A chance meeting in Rosemary Beach has turned into a fairy-tale romance as Reese prepares to move in with Mase on his family ranch in Texas. With the loving support of the Colts, and her recent discovery that she has family of her own, Reese can finally move on from the dark horrors of her past and into a bright future.

But Aida isn’t going to let that happen. The beautiful blonde has been raised to think of Mase as her cousin, but it’s clear to Reese that Aida doesn’t love Mase like a cousin should.

And then there’s Captain, the inescapable stranger who has connections in Dallas and Rosemary Beach—and who conveniently shows up wherever Reese happens to be. Hot, mysterious, and plain-speaking, Captain isn’t afraid to tell Reese what he thinks about Mase—and how he feels about her.

As the competition for Mase and Reese’s hearts heats up, Reese’s past begins to unravel, illuminating shocking truths that will forever change the lives of the happy couple—and set the final stories of Rosemary Beach in motion.

My Thoughts:

Last May, a friend and I went to RT Convention in Dallas, TX, where she was excited to meet Abbi Glines. I hadn’t read any of her books before, but her latest release at the time, When I’m Gone, caught my eye.

I read it and loved Reese and Mase’s story, so I immediately preordered the follow-up.

When You’re Back has been waiting on my Kindle for months and I finally decided to read it as a way to get out of a reading slump. Turns out that it was just the book that I needed because I zoomed through it!

I enjoyed resisting the characters from the last book so much and getting more form Reese and Mase. However, it is important to not that, though this IS part of the Rosemary Beach series, you do not have to read the entire series. I do eventually want to read the entire story to get more about the rest of the supporting character, but I’ll get to those when I hit another slump and need a quick, fun read.

Granted, this book isn’t anything extravagant- it’s a romance novel, but it’s a fun one. Sometimes, though, a simple read is exactly what’s needed, right? I suggest this one if you find yourself in that position or if romance is just your thing. You’ll definitely find yourself hooked on wanting to know what will happen next!

-Melanie

Review: Emmy and Oliver

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Summary:

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life. . . . She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart. . . . He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who had kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing, and his thoughts swirling.

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will devour these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.


My Thoughts:

Emmy and Oliver was a book that I actually even debated buying. The silly thing is that for awhile it was on sale for $1.99 and I was debating it with a gift card. (Buying ban–don’t judge me!) That said, I downloaded the sample to help make my decision and was instantly hooked. As if that wasn’t enough, I asked my mom if she thought that I’d like it. “Are you kidding? This sounds like one you would read. Buy it and quit asking me silly questions.”

However, even though the beginning hooked me I was still skeptical. There’s no way that it was going to keep me hooked that much, right? Nope. I was constantly drawn to the characters and wanting to know what happened next. I was sympathizing with Oliver’s situation and trying to understand how on earth Emmy was dealing with everything.

In all, I absolutely loved this story! It normally takes a bit to hold my attention, but Emmy and Oliver’s relationship and subsequent problems kept me on edge until the very end.

I highly suggest this as it is one of my new favorite contemporaries!

-Melanie

 

Review: Black Widow- The Finely Woven Thread

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Book Info:

Collects Black Widow (2014) #1-6. You’ve seen Black Widow as an Avenger and even an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. But on her own time she searches for atonement for her past as a KGB assassin – in ways of which those teams just wouldn’t approve. The Black Widow goes undercover in Russia, but from its cold streets, the Hand of God reaches out to crush her…and it is as merciless as its name implies. Outmatched by the brute force of a powerful new villain, Natasha faces her deadliest test, and discovers a deadly plot unfolding that spans the entire globe.

Release date: November 27, 2014

Publisher: Marvel Comics

My Thoughts:

First, a HUGE thanks to my OTSP Secret Sister for sending me this on my kindle! I finished a book on Sunday and then wanted something “light” to read for the rest evening and this seemed like the perfect choice- and it was.

I’ve been a fan of graphic novels for years and I love how they can be for any type of reader thanks to the diversity of the comic and graphic novel world. Being a Marvel fan and a (most of the time, thanks to my hair stylist…) redhead, I’m a BIG fan of Black Widow. She’s tough and she gets things done on her own initiative! But, what about this particular collection of the character, right?

If you’re interested in Black Widow or if you’re new to her story then you’ll like this collection. I think it would be a great introduction to readers who don’t know much about her story. Plus, the artwork is beautiful! There is a tiny bit of profanity in the story, but it also isn’t meant for children, so that shouldn’t be an issue unless you’re buying it for a middle schooler that you don’t want to read it. Honestly, it’s not a lot and it didn’t bother me,but yeah…just making the note in case you decide to buy it for a kid.

Another thing to note is that the stories have a fast pace. Obviously comic issues are short, but I never once felt that they were long and drawn out because of how engrossed I was in the story.

Again, I highly suggest looking into this one! It’s currently sold out on Amazon in paper form, but the ebook version is clear and easy to use. I love the fact that you can even double tap on a panel to enlarge that panel, but it is never necessary. Trust me, I have terrible vision and I never once needed to enlarge the panel, but it’s still handy to have available. That’s one great option that you can’t get from paper, so…plus one to ebook comics!

Who’s your favorite comic book character?

-M