Thursday, February 28, 2019

Mini Review: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green - 4 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Title: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
Genre: Adult Sci-Fi
Author: Hank Green
Publisher: Dutton
Publication: September 25th 2018
Cover Rating:  5/5

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green is the story April May, Andy, and the Carls. Now what are the Carls you might be asking, well, they are aliens from somewhere that just randomly appears on the streets of the major cities in the world. They are giant statues and April May happens to be the first person to document one on social media.

April May is on her way home from a very late night at work when she sees this extremely large, extremely wasn't there yesterday, statue just sitting on some random sidewalk in New York City. She calls her friend Andy so they can film it and then they post it on social media and it explodes. Oh, did I mention they kind of named him, the statue, Carl?

This book shows exactly how crazy social media can be. April May blew up and became a superstar all because she called a friend who filmed the Carl in New York City first. This hype ruined a lot of things for April and we slowly get to watch her life unravel. 

In the end, I felt like I was reading an alternate version of Transformers but that wasn't exactly a bad thing. I will be honest, this book coming from John Green's brother had me skeptical as heck but I found a signed copy for really cheap so I decided to give it a try and I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I also just found out that there will be a book 2?! I guess I will read that when it comes out.

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Mini REVIEW: Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - 4 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments

Title: Little White Lies
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/Comedy-ish
Publisher: FreeForm
Publication: November 6th 2018
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading format: Netgalley Proof/Owned Hardback

Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is the story of Sawyer and how she went from living in a low-income neighborhood working as a mechanic to living with her wealthy grandmother and becoming a debutante. 

Sawyer IS NOT someone you would peg to become a debutante. She works at a garage fixing cars while her mother is off with whatever her guy flavor of the week is. But, if you offer someone money, six-figures worth of money, anyone can become a debutante. 

With her new lifestyle comes a lot of new people/'friends'. Sawyer becomes sort of friends with her cousin and sort of friends with the other girls in the debutante world and she even meets a few guys who kind of catch her eye. But this is all trivial stuff, Sawyer's true reason for accepting her grandmother's offer doesn't involve the money or the fancy lifestyle. It involves finding out who her father really is. But Sawyer gets herself in too deep with blackmailing and kidnapping and she starts to wonder if it was all even worth it.

In the end, while the beauty queen stuff isn't for me I do occasionally like reading about the drama that comes with that lifestyle and boy did this book provide a lot of drama and mystery. Sawyer was looking for her father and each time she got close to finding him I thought it was this man but it turned out to be someone I didn't start suspecting until the end and I was happy about that. I love when a book can keep me guessing. Oh! And there will be another book so I can't wait to see where that goes.

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

REVIEW: Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott - 2.5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 1 comments
Title: Five Feet Apart
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/Romance
Author: Rachael Lippincott
Publisher: Simon+Schuster
Publication: November 20th 2018
Cover Rating: 3/5
Reading Format: Owned Hardback

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott is the story of Stella and Will, teenagers with Cystic Fibrosis who meet in the hospital and end up falling in love. But for them, love can be deadly, and they could never truly be together anyway.

Stella has practically lived in the hospital since she was six. She has been living with Cystic Fibrosis and her lung function is slowly degrading. She needs to get a lung transplant soon or she won't live much longer. And she can't imagine doing that to her parents. Especially after what happened with her sister. The sister who used to comfort Stella and draw her a new picture each time she had to stay at the hospital.

Will has just been checked into the same hospital as Stella so he can undergo experimental treatment. His mother has money and she has made sure he gets as many experimental treatments as possible. He is so tired of the treatments and the hospitals and not being able to control his own life. 

When it comes to taking meds and doing the treatments, Will and Stella couldn't be more different. But when Stella finds out that Will isn't taking his meds on time or doing his treatments like he is supposed to be, she takes things into her own hands and that's when she starts falling for him. He starts falling for her when he finds her YouTube channel and binge watches all her videos.

Soooo... WHY DID THAT CHARACTER HAVE TO DIE?! I am not saying who or anything because duh, spoilers, but seriously why? I know CF can kill you at any time but there was no mention about how sick this person was and it just happened. One minute they were fine and the next they were dead. I feel like it was just a ploy to make the readers cry and pull them in and while, yes, I did tear up, I was more angry than anything. 

In the end, it was a cute enough story but it was beyond problematic. If "love" ever makes you questions whether you should have life-extending surgery then you are doing it wrong. I also think people truly just need to stop romanticizing cancer and life-threatening illnesses. I heard that this book was based on the movie but it came out beforehand. I will definitely not be seeing that movie. Another The Fault in Our Stars flop for me.

Overall, I gave the book 2.5/5 stars.

Monday, February 25, 2019

REVIEW: A Blade so Black by L.L. McKinney - 5 stars

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Title: A Blade so Black
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy
Author: L.L. McKinney
Publisher: Imprint
Publication: September 25th 2018
Cover Rating: 3/5
Reading format: Owned Hardback

When Alice is at the hospital, getting the news that her father has dies, she can't take it and runs out of the building. This is when she is first confronted by a Nightmare, a creature from another world that feeds off of peoples fears. During the attack, Alice is saved by a mysterious guy who ends up taking her under his tutelage to train her to be a defender for Wonderland.

Alice lived a pretty normal life before Wonderland happen. Well, aside from the fact that her father just died. After Wonderland? Well, she splits her time between lying to her best friends, lying to her mother and fighting off Nightmares. Talk about going from zero to sixty in a few seconds.

While Alice is under the guidance of the guy who saved her(I feel like I shouldn't say his name for some reason, it's weird) she learns to battle and becomes extremely strong. She meets a lot of new people and gets to explore this new world. But every time she enters Wonderland, her mentor can only go so far with her before he because he is technically banned. But it isn't until almost the end of the book that we find out who he truly is.

It is because of Alice's mentor that she must go on a dangerous adventure. Alice was attacked one day while she was in Wonderland and the attacker sent her back with a message for her mentor. This message sadly was magical and it lashed out and pretty much poisoned him. So Alive now has to go back to Wonderland to try and figure out how to save him.

This book is honestly one of the best Alice In Wonderland retellings I have ever read. Not only do we get Alice, a strong ass woman of color, we also get to see the characters of Wonderland reformed into something entirely different than their originals. I am so glad I decided to give this book a chance even thought the cover bugged me.(I really don't like covers with actual people on them)

In the end, I cannot wait for the next book! I loved this story entirely and I NEED to know what happens to all of my characters and that ending was insanity. It will be very interesting seeing where the author takes that ending. Also, I really can't wait to hear the excuse Alice gives her mother, her butt is in TROUBLE!

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Series I'm Afraid to Finish

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 1 comments

So... I have a confession to make. I'm a serial book series unfinisher, we will call this SBSU for this post. I have so many book series sitting on my shelves that are complete and I have read half of the last book but put it down because I just COULD NOT let the series end. In 2018 I tried to fix this problem by reading a few ends of trilogies but that's as far as I got. I FINALLY read A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray this year and I swear I was so proud and so mad at my self at the same time. It ended. It's over. WHY! So I have decided to air out my dirty laundry, err books, and make a list of the series I have left unfinished.

1. Throne of Glass
In my defense, I did read the entire series in October of 2018 for the first time. Then Kingdom of Ash came out and I started it THAT DAY with intentions of finishing it THAT DAY but that never happened. I put the book on my shelf and walked away about halfway through. I'm scared ya'll!(I have since finished it and UGH WHY DID I FINISH IT NOW IT'S OVER WHHHYYYY)

2. Harry Potter
So, in 2016 I decided to read the entire series for the first time. I got to the part in Deathly Hallows where Fred wasn't alive anymore and I just couldn't read on. Nope. Sorry.

3. The Lunar Chronicles
This one is kind of bad. I have reread all the books up to Winter 3 times but every time I get to Winter, I will read 1/3 of the book and just stop. I actually WANT to finish this series but my SBSU ain't having none of that.

4. Vampire Academy
If I thought The Lunar Chronicles was bad then I have no idea what to say about this one... oh Dimitri! I own ALL the books and even credit this series for giving me my love of YA books but I never finished the series. I got to book 4, Blood Promise and just could never push myself to continue. This one had reasons though. It broke me. 

5. The Lux Series
Yeah... I own about 40 different Jennifer L. Armentrout books. I have ever met her twice. BUT I have no managed to finish this series. I have 3 sets of books too. English, English bind up with new covers and the German editions. I think that is pretty bad. Hopefully, in 2019 I can get this unfinisher disease under control and get this series done. Especially since there is a new book out in the same world!

I know there are more series that I have left unfinished but these are the ones that stick out the most to me. Do you have any book series that you have started but never finished?

Monday, February 18, 2019

Mini Review: Dry by Neal+Jarrod Shusterman - 4.5 stars

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Title: Dry
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Author: Neal + Jarrod Shusterman
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication: October 2nd 2018
Cover Rating: 3/5
Reading format: Owned Hardback

Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman is a book about California without water. It is a pretty realistic representation of how people would be if water all of a sudden wasn't available anymore. 

Alyssa is the main character for this book. As a whole, we really don't get to know her very well, she is just the face chosen to represent this plot-driven story and even though we don't really get to know her, she is still a good main character to ride along with.

Now what I mean when I say "plot-driven story" is that this event could have been told through anyone's eyes that was going through this drought and we still would have understood what the author was trying to portray. We might have gotten to see different personal events and endings but the overall plot would have been the same. But I am glad we got to see things through Alyssa because we got to see many sides to the story, we got to see many different people and how they were all dealing with no water. Alyssa was also a very strong individual and I appreciated her viewpoint on things. 

This book showed us the desperation and violence that can occur when people know they are in danger. It is even worse when there are mass amounts of people who know they are in danger. It turns into every man for himself and things quickly go downhill. Almost all shreds of humanity disappear and we get to see exactly how people would react in a crisis and it is not pretty. It pretty much shows that we, as the human race, would have a hard time fending for ourselves without the luxury of being supplied all the essentials for our needs. Hungry? Go to the store. Need water? Grab a bottle that you bought from the store. 

In the end, I wasn't sure how much I was going to like this book. I have never actually read anything by Neal Shusterman but I own a lot of his books. I'm also not sure what made me pick this book up first but I am glad I did. I enjoyed this book enough but I feel like his books can only get better from here. But, a book about no water? You better bet I was drinking water while reading it. This book was scary but I think it was pretty impactful because IT CAN HAPPEN.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

REVIEW: The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson - 5 stars

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Title: The Vanishing Stair
Genre: Young Adult Mystery
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication: January 22nd 2019
Cover Rating: 4/5
Reading Format: Owned Hardback

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson is the second book in Truly Devious series. This book continues a little bit after the first book ends. It is a continuance of the mystery/murder that happened in the first book plus Stevie is still trying to solve the first mystery that happened at this school in 1936, the kidnapping of the school owners wife and daughter. This is an amazing mystery/thriller book series so far and I highly recommend it to anyone when I get the chance

Stevie's parents took her out of the Ellingham Academy after all the chaos with the death of one classmate and the disappearance of another. This broke Stevie's heart and she would do absolutely anything to get back to Ellingham. Well, that anything comes in the form of Edward King, the politician that her parents work for, the man she hates and the same man who happens to be the father of the boy she started and ruined a relationship with back at Ellingham.

King offers Stevie the chance to go back to Ellingham by talking her parents into letting her go back, he even offers to have her flown there on his private plane. What's the stipulation? Stevie has to keep an eye on David, his son. David stopped going to class and has been acting crazy ever since Stevie left. So, since she said she would do anything to go back to Ellingham, she agrees and is spirited away back to campus.

When Stevie gets back to school she starts working with a woman who wrote a crime novel on the Ellingham crims and the academy. Stevie supplies this woman with fact checks and information about the school so she can write another book. But it soon becomes clear that there might be an inheritance for whoever solves the crime of what happened to Albert Ellinghams daughter, Alice.

While all of that is happening with the inheritance and Stevie working with the author, things at school and with David started out good and then quickly went south especially after finding the body of his friend. David started acting out even more and doing very strange things and by the end of the book, it is made abundantly clear that David might have something to do with the fire that happens at the end of the book that happens to kill someone.

You know that feeling when you wait all year for a book to come out and when it finally does you are so excited and scared and hesitant to read it because you know it isn't the last book and you don't want to have a repeat of the last book you read and have to wait ANOTHER year just to find out more? Yeah, that feeling is sooo real with this book, it's not even funny.  But, I pushed through the fear and I read the book in about four hours and I REGRET IT SO MUCH! 

In the end, this book didn't end on a cliffhanger, it just ended. Most books at least lead you up to something and while, yes, this book did have a pretty open ending with much for me to ponder while I wait ANOTHER YEAR for the next book, it just ended. I ranted to my husband for 20 minutes about how much I love and hate these books because they just suck me in and don't let go even when they end. Truly Devious and The Vanishing Stair are honestly two of my favorite young adult mystery/thriller books and I can not thank the author enough for writing them. Also, WTF DAVID! (you'll understand this when you read the books) 

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Repost Review: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson - 5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Title: Truly, Devious
Genre: YA Mystery
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Publication: January 16th 2018
Cover Rating: 4/5
Reading format: Owned Hardback

I love mysteries. I love everything about them. I can usually figure out the answer really quickly and sometimes that makes me feel good and sometimes that makes me a little annoyed because then all the fun/suspense of the book is ruined. I picked up Truly Devious because it sounded like something I would love. I was afraid I would figure everything out within the first few pages but luckily that never happened and I was very pleased with this book.

Our main character is Stevie. She got accepted and is currently attending the prestigious Ellingham Academy. A free school set up by a very rich man in 1936. This school is a  character all in itself so we will get to that in a bit. But Stevie loves crimes. She loves trying to solve them and studying them. She gets accepted to this school because she wants to try and solve the massive crime that happened there. 

So, about this school. In 1936 Albert Ellingham bought a piece of land, built his house on it and then made a school around it. He made this school so he could offer free education to kids who were struggling to be challenged by normal school work. So he opened up this school and all was going well until a murder/mystery happens that uproots his entire life. The book centers around this murder/mystery and the school.

Stevie goes to Ellingham to try and solve the mystery but she ends up solving something a whole lot bigger when one of her classmates ends up missing. I really loved the plot of the book. The romance was a bit annoying, especially at the end when Stevie found out she was being lied to, badly. It also kind of pissed me off that David reacted the way he did to something Stevie did when he was hiding something THIS big from her.

Aside from the funky romance, the friendships and other characters we get to meet in this book are very unique and interesting in their own ways. I think my favorite relationship is the one Stevie forms with Larry, the security guard/ex-police detective. He understood her and it was just a nice relationship.

In the end, I really enjoyed the entire story, aside from David and his lies, and I have never been so happy to know that a book will be getting a sequel! The ending was SO cliffy. I NEED TO KNOW!!!

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

REVIEW: The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes - 4.5 stars

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Title: The Black Coats
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Author: Colleen Oakes
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: February 12th 2019
Cover Rating: 4/5
Reading format: Provided ARC(thank you)

The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes is a contemporary novel about a group of women who go against the odds and fight back again people who hurt them. I do want to point out that this book contains sexual assault so TRIGGER WARNING. "We are in the business of righting the wrongs done to women." "...aren't you tired of being afraid in your everyday life, of not walking home alone after dark, of locking your doors, of making sure that your shorts aren't too short lest you attract some unwanted attention?" These 2 quotes are from the same conversation yet they have so much meaning towards what this book is about.

Thea seems to be your average, everyday teenage girl. But she isn't. Her cousin, Natalie was murdered and no justice was ever served. So Thea lives life scared and that is no way to truly live. While she is at school she received a black envelope telling her to go on this sort of scavenger hunt. Each envelope has BC written on it and it isn't until the end of this hunt that Thea is lead to a group of women that call themselves The Black Coats, restorers of justice. This group offers Thea something she can't say no to. They offer her revenge against the person who killed her cousin, but only if she works with the group.

This book is violent. I won't beat around the bush and sugar-coat things. But the violence is normally in retaliation of violence done against someone in the group or someone they care about. It is sad, most of the time you head 'Violence doesn't solve violence' but that is not always the case. The women in this book are tired of sitting back and just accepting whatever wrong is done to them and I can't help but agree with them. But, as with most powerful positions, corruption can happen. No matter how worthy your cause might be, there will always be doubts and someone who wants more.

I have no idea why but some part of me thought this book was going to be historical fiction. Just the thought of a group of women trying to go against wrongs screams HISTORICAL FICTION to me. But this book was present day, contemporary, and, although I would have LOVED this book to be historical fiction, I still loved it just as much. 

In the end, I am so glad this book exists. It is very empowering for all females but most importantly our female youth. This book shows that women ARE strong and don't need to continue to accept the things we are put through just because we ARE women. This is another book that will be going on my favorites shelf right next to Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

Monday, February 11, 2019

REVIEW: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan - 4.5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Title: Girls of Paper and Fire
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Author: Natasha Ngan
Publisher: Jimmy, Little Brown
Publication: October 23rd 2018
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading Format: Provided ARC

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan is a beautiful and horrible Asian inspired fantasy story about a kingdom that is ruled by a Demon King. Humans are labeled Paper Caste and each year eight Paper Caste girls are taken away from their families to be trained in the ways of sexual pleasure for the king. These girls become his concubines for a year and then new girls come in. But this year, something different happens. A ninth girl is brought in and she might end up being the king's downfall.

Lei is the ninth Paper Girl. She is stolen from her home by a general trying to get back into the kings good graces. What makes Lei so special? Her eyes look like molten gold. This makes her rare. sadly, though, this isn't the first time someone has been taken from her family. Years ago, the king's army raided her village and took her mother. As Lei is accepted into the Paper Girl house she learns that things are going to be a lot harder for her than she imagined but she is determined to make sure the king never gets her and she is even more determined to figure out what happened to her mother.

The story itself was beautifully told, the writing was gorgeous and the world building was pretty but could have been a bit more. Girls of Paper and Fire is a book that proves that things can be both beautiful and tragic. Yes, this plot was mostly fantastical, a lot of the elements came from truth.

This book does contain a lot of sexual references and a lot of sexual assault but the book has a lot of meaning and fact behind it. I had a very interesting conversation with a friend of mine about how different things are for women in Japan and Korean, she didn't want to touch on China because she didn't personally know how they work and this was coming from her personal experience with her own culture and family members. She really opened my eyes to many things and I am grateful to her for talking to me about the subject matter.

Aside from the sexual assault and gratuitous sexual mentions, there is a romance in the book between Lei and a girl and it is an amazingly beautiful relationship built on trust and a mutual understanding and hatred of the king. So not only does this book contain a lot of cultural meaning, but it also contains an LGBT+ romance that adds so much depth to the story.

In the end, I recognized that this is one of those books that I will probably have to read a few times in order to fully grasp everything that went on. All the good, bad and treacherous deeds that occurred throughout this story are something that needs to be digested over a period of time. I am sort of happy about this because aside from all the horrible things that the girls in the book faced, the story itself, the words the author put onto paper, was beautiful. It was almost like the author wrote the stories onto the skin of the Paper Girls themselves and allowed them to tell their own stories to the reader and I cannot wait to see where the girls take us in the next book!

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

REVIEW: Song of the Dead by Sarah Glenn Marsh - Paige

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments

Disclaimer: I received this book from Razorbill and Rockstar Book Tours. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Genre: YA Fantasy
Recommended Age: 15+ (violence, death, disease, slight gore, addiction)
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 416

The Dead must stay buried.
Karthia is nothing like it used to be. The kingdom’s borders are open for the first time in nearly three hundred years, and raising the dead has been outlawed. Odessa is determined to explore the world beyond Karthia’s waters, hoping to heal a heart broken in more ways than she can count. But with Meredy joining the ocean voyage, vanquishing her sorrow will be a difficult task.
Despite the daily reminder of the history they share, Odessa and Meredy are fascinated when their journey takes them to a land where the Dead rule the night and dragons roam the streets. Odessa can’t help being mesmerized by the new magic–and by the girl at her side. But just as she and Meredy are beginning to explore the new world, a terrifying development in Karthia summons them home at once.
Growing political unrest on top of threats from foreign invaders means Odessa and Meredy are thrust back into the lives they tried to leave behind while specters from their past haunt their tenuous relationship. Gathering a force big enough to ward off enemies seems impossible, until one of Queen Valoria’s mages creates a weapon that could make them invincible. As danger continues to mount inside the palace, Odessa fears that without the Dead, even the greatest invention won’t be enough to save their fates.
In this enthralling, heartrending sequel to Reign of the Fallen, Odessa faces the fight of her life as the boundaries between the Dead and the living are challenged in a way more gruesome than ever before.

For the most part, I really liked this book. It was an excellent end to the series and I liked how Odessa and Meredy didn’t have that fairytale romance ending. I liked the writing and I felt that it was easy to follow along. Finally, I like how the author kept some consistences from the first book. Odessa was still dealing with her addiction and they both continually dealt with their partner's deaths. While a lot of readers would say that this was prolonged, I disagree on the principle that it is realistic and needs to be written that way. It’s not realistic to think that you’ll be over a breakup or death in a matter of days. Weeks, months, and sometimes years later the sadness still lingers. I loved that the author didn’t write this any other way.
However, I do think that the pacing was off and I didn’t like how slow it got in spots. I feel that the book had a lot of weird character developments and it didn’t feel natural like it did in the first book. I also feel that the characters weren’t as connected as they were in the first book. I don’t know, something just felt off about the whole thing. I also feel that Azelie and Karston weren’t given the attention they deserved as characters, and in the end, I felt that Karston was given the middle finger as he wasn’t even mentioned in the end when Odessa was remembering everything that happened and such.
Verdict: An good ending to a great duology.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

REVIEW: Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh - Paige

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Disclaimer: I bought this on my birthday last year! No disclaimer, just bragging.
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy
Recommended Age: 15+ (violence, undead, death, and facing one’s fears).
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 375
Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.
A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

So I bought this book originally because it had a skull on it and mentioned necromancy. I’ve been in love with necromancy since I read Sabriel by Garth Nix and I’ll say that while both concepts are totally different, I’m in love with both books. This book was well written and the plot was intriguing. I was intrigued by the book throughout its entirety. The characters were all complex and I loved that the book wasn’t predictable and the book didn’t have such a simple ending. The book also introduced a terrifying concept in which by burning all books and halting the advancement of technology they were literally stuck in their past… the point is kinda driven home with all the undead lol. Also, amazing LGBT representation in this book!
The only issue I had was that I wanted Odessa to have a happy ending and I wanted so much for her. But that’s what the second book is for!
Verdict: Undead rocks!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Blog Tour: The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr with Q+A

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 8:00 AM 0 comments

I started out working as a journalist in London, but always hankered after a quiet room and a book to write. I managed, somehow, to get commissioned to go traveling for a year, and came home with the beginnings of a novel set in the world of backpackers in Asia. This became Backpack, a thriller which won the WH Smith New Talent Award, and I have since written eleven more novels published in the UK and around the world. I live in Cornwall with my partner Craig and our children. To learn more about Emily and her work you can visit her website here.

Title: The Truth and Lies of Ella Black
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary - Mental Health
Author: Emily Barr
Publisher: Philomel Books
Publication: February 12th 2019
Cover Rating: 3/5
Reading Format: Provided ARC(thank you)

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr is a book about a girl who has two sides of herself. She has her normal, everyday personality and then she has this darker side the yearns to be let out. The older Ella gets the more this side rears its ugly head. We get to see how Ella and her alter ego, Bella, progress through life while reading this story.

Ella is one of those meek, quiet girls that people tend to pick on because she doesn't have the true ability to stick up for herself. I found that trait to be rather annoying but that is just my personal feelings on the matter. Aside from her meek personality, she seems to be a rather interesting girl. She is an artist and aspires to go to art school, she has two best friends and she seems to have a fairly normal home life. So what is so great about Ella that she gets her own book? Well, you see, Ella has Bella. Who is Bella? She is Ella's dark side that pushes its way to the surface and makes Ella so really horrible, unspeakable things. We all have a darker side, but Ella can't control hers.

One of Ella's big dreams is to be able to go to Rio. One day, while she is at school, her mother just shows up to take her away. Ella is told they are going to Rio because her father has a business trip but it is very quickly revealed that that is hogwash and they are going away because of Ella. It is not made abruptly clear WHY Ella is the cause of this sudden departure and we are pretty much left to make guesses for a little while.

The further I got into this book the more I started to realize that this wasn't what I was expecting AT ALL. It was so much more and so much better than anything I was imagining would happen with this plot. Every time I would turn the page I was thinking something would happen but instead of what I was thinking it would be something entirely different and I really enjoyed that. I know I am being vague but this is the kind of book where I could spoil it just by saying one wrong thing.

Having read and fairly enjoyed the authors previous book, The One Memory of Flora Banks, I knew that I was going to be in for some form of mental health plot but this one was a bit different from Flora Banks because we get to know right away that Ella has a problem and she is very vocal about it but that isn't the only thing that is different. As I said, I knew I was going to get some form of mental health issue but I was NOT expecting a psychological thriller and that made this book even better for me. We also got A LOT of stuff ranging from family, romance, and finding your true identity in both the dark and the light. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book enough but some of the parts did drag on. Some of the book was also confusing but that only happened a few times and it was resolved quickly. I did find myself getting frustrated at the beginning with how secretive her parents were being but these are all small things and they really didn't take away from the heart of the story. Just little things for me to nitpick over. Either way, this book was really unexpected, but in a good way. I never know what was going to happen and I had no idea where the author was going with the end and I love that aspect of the story. This is such a strong book and I think everyone should pick it up!

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.

Hello, all of my lovely readers. Please help me give a warm welcome to Emily Barr, author of The One Memory of Flora Banks and of course the book this post is for, The Truth and Lies of Ella Black. 

Thank you so much, Emily for joining us for a fun little Q&A.

What is the hardest part about being an author? The easiest part?
The hardest part is writing the middle section of a book, in my experience. Writing the beginning is super exciting, and tying a story up at the end is wonderful, but the middle is often really difficult.

The easiest part: maybe when writing is flowing so well you just want to do nothing but write for ever. Also, when you actually get a copy of a book with your name on it! That part is amazing.

What are some of your favorite books and what makes them your favorites?
Some of my favorite books - that’s a lovely question! I love the books of Margaret Atwood: she has such a sharp eye for the best and worst of humans, and I love her writing and her storytelling. I also love Sarah Waters: her novel Fingersmith has the best twist I’ve ever read and I am in awe of her for being able to pull it off. Possibly my favourite book is The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber. It’s a book about a priest who is sent to a planet that humans are starting to colonise, to preach to the aliens (who have asked for a priest). Meanwhile, his wife is at home, where civilisation is crumbling. It’s the most incredible, life affirming book in ways that are almost impossible to describe. Absolutely magical.

If you won the lottery and it was a very large sum of money but one stipulation of collecting the prize is you could never write again, would you take the money?
No I wouldn’t! I would try to be SO successful that I made that much money from my writing (a girl can dream).

I know it’s like asking which child you like best but, which book did you enjoy writing more, Ella Black or Flora Banks?
That’s an interesting question because they were so different. I wrote Flora Banks with no idea of whether anyone would ever publish it. I was multitasking with several jobs to pay the bills, and I was very stressed when I wasn’t writing! With Ella Black, that pressure wasn’t there. However, it is really difficult to answer, because although writing Flora was difficult, it changed my life. So can I answer by saying, both in different ways? (Just as I wouldn’t be able to give an answer about which of my children I like best!)

How do you personally feel about book reviewers/bloggers?
I think they’re great. When I started out, I was writing for adults in the UK, and book blogging didn’t really exist. Writers would just hope to have their books reviewed in the physical press. Now the whole process has been opened up and it’s an amazing transformation and democratisation. It’s wonderful to see so many talented, passionate people out there reading and writing. I absolutely love it. However, if I stumble on a bad review of one of my books I find it really upsetting so I tend to look away quickly!

And our last question for this little Q&A is... Are you currently working on any new books? If so, can you tell us anything about it?
Yes: my third YA book, The Girl Who Came Out of the Woods, is finished and it’s going to be published in the UK in May of this year. It’s about a girl called Arty growing up in a tiny community in India that was set up by backpackers from all over the world in the nineties. A deadly disease hits her little village and she has to go for help. She’s never left her corner of the forest before, never seen electricity, never seen a car. And suddenly she’s trending on social media…

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