#BookReview Aftermath by Clara Kensie

Aftermath by Clara Kensie is a Young Adult novel following the “aftermath” of a teenage girl’s abduction.

This book was a hard read – it’s emotional, raw and enraging (at times). Clara Kensie has written one magnificent story in the form of a young adult novel. Honestly, it was written beautifully but the subject matter was so tough, serious and so full of pain.

The plot of the story is as followed: Charlotte was abducted by her “Keeper” about four years ago. Somehow, she gets lucky and gets her escape through some paramedics who found her in the “Keeper’s” attic. Suddenly, she’s thrown back into society and to a life that has changed. Her parents are divorced, her sister didn’t follow their “Dream Book” and her friends have all moved on. Her Mother wants her to go into hiding and never leave the house again while her Father wants her to become an international, superstar ambassador. All the while, Charlotte is trying to grasp how to be normal again once a man destroys your safety and sanity.

This novel is a YA. At first I struggled to figure out if it was, but it only hints and briefly talks about how painful Charlotte’s journey was. The R rated comments are very rare, and only said once or twice so the reader gets the point of what happens. I’d say this is on the higher end of YA though, because Charlotte was raped (and some more spoiler-y things happen that are some really tough pieces of content for potential thirteen year olds).

Clara made me really feel for Charlotte the entire time. I watched her journey and felt her pain. Somehow, she made me really connect with this family and understand why she did and said what she did. She made it believable, which can be very tough to do!

While the story is sad, Clara also brings hope into the story. It hides in the back like a shadow, but it’s still there. All around, this book is very powerful and a really good story to tell. It started out so rough for me and I wasn’t sure if I’d actually like it, but I did! Clara left so many bits and pieces that turned out to be clues to some of the story’s bigger plot twists. I didn’t see half of them, which is a feat all on it’s own. But it’s all there for the reader to unwind!

Overall, this book is utterly amazing! I’m impressed by Clara’s writing and by this story. It was emotional and gripping, but it is totally worth your time if you find this book. Seriously, it’s an amazing story and it’s important to hear.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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If you enjoyed this review, check out some other books you might enjoy:
#BookReview If We Had Known by Elise Juska
#BookReview Someone You Love Is Gone by Gurjinder Basran
#BookReview My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh

 

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#BookReview Seizure by Kathy Reichs

I was absolutely thrilled that I bought the first two books in this series together, because I NEEDED to continue this series. The first book, Virals, was an absolute hit for me and Seizure continued the insanity!

This time around Tory, Ben, Shelton, Hi and Cooper are off on another adventure…. except… get this… PIRATES. The loss of LIRI absolutely sucked because the loss of potential science plots devastated me. So I was reading it, hoping that somehow these authors had some cool science-y plot to follow and NOPE! But they got the next best thing – pirates and treasure!

LIRI is going to be shut down, so the Virals need to acquire some funds to try to help their parents keep their jobs. Otherwise, all of them will be moved around the continents and might never see each other again. This is a big problem since they are Virals with their crazy powers. In walks a famous myth about a female pirate and her treasure. And, of course, she buried it near the home of our lead characters! Our Virals decide to go on a treasure hunt, and get in LOTS of trouble along the way. And I mean A LOT.

I loved the sense of adventure in this book! I was hooked to every word and it was really difficult to put the book down. There’s a good mix of 75% action and 25% goofy, high school drama. Tori takes on Madison in this book and the drama is hilarious. I’ve never considered these books to be “serious” or “realistic” books (come on… Tori’s eyes turn yellow and she has magical powers), so I absolutely loved the angst that was added in this book. Also, cue in potential love triangle? Or square… Either way, I see one coming. It’s a YA book, you KNOW the romance is gonna be thrown in there eventually.

So, what are my cons?
1. Kit seems mighty dumb in this book. Did he really not notice Tori sneaking away so much? I know he works a lot and is busy… but dude. Kit is related to Tempe and he’s this dumb?

2. The bad guys were predictable and also dumb. I’m honestly not sure how Kathy could change this (I don’t have any constructive criticism about this, to be honest) but I have to say it. It was one of my cons.

But along with the cons, I have some mighty pros:
1. This series isn’t focused on romance like most YAs. There is a pinch (and I mean a PINCH, like a pinch of salt. Very little) but the story mostly focuses on friendship and adventure. That makes this book way more fun when you’re not worried about who’s gonna kiss who.

2. Riddles, myths and legends make everything more interesting. Some of the riddles are easy to solve, but some of them were a little more difficult.

3. This book has comedy in it! There’s some seriously funny quotes lined in this book that made the action and adventure just feel more fun. I’m tired of mopey YA books, we need more positivity in this world!

4. This book is super knowledgeable. Various animals species, the Gaelic language and more science-y info is shared with the reader. Kathy Reich’s books are always smart! It’s just another reason to love this series.

Overall, this book was AWESOME! It was a fun read for me and I really want to continue this series. It’s closer to PG-13 mainly because of the language (a couple swears) but the fun could easily be read by middle grade.

Five out of five stars!!

 

Check out this book on:
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Check out the first book, Virals, by clicking the links below:
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Looking for something else to read? Here’s some other books I’ve reviewed that you might enjoy:
#BookReview Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
#BookReview Virals by Kathy Reichs & Brendan Reichs
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller

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#BookReview Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

Christmas time is here! Holidays are so much fun: snow, Christmas songs, Hallmark movies, and lots of lovely books to read all curled up in a blanket with some tea and my animals. To celebrate, here’s a review of a holiday inspired book!

 

I bought this book WAY back in 2012 when it came out. WAY back meaning I can’t believe it sat on my shelf for this long with me staring at it and debating whether I should read it or not. I finally decided to pick it up for two main reasons:

A) It’s almost Christmas time and I wanted some holiday cheer.

B) Apparently there’s a movie adaption? And, I kinda want to see it. It’s important to read the books first so I can thoroughly ruin the movie for myself and anyone I attend it with.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book: I have read most of John Green’s novels so I knew what I was in for with his reading but I had never read anything by Maureen Johnson or Lauren Myracle. And, let me say, I will definitely be reading more by Maureen Johnson in the future. Her story was the absolute best in this little trio of stories. John Green’s was okay (it was definitely not TFIOS, but who was expecting it to be?) and Lauren Myracle’s was a little weaker than Ringo Blue’s (clap and a half for those who understand the reference).

Maureen’s was a beautifully crafted little love story that made my heart warm and grow like the Grinch’s. John’s story was a continuation that felt like the weaker sequel and Lauren’s felt like a middle grade addition to a YA series. All of the stories were beautifully written, but Maureen’s was for my type of reader. My friend was absolutely obsessed with Lauren’s, so it’s definitely a personal choice on which story you’ll like more. It’s another one of those anthologies you come for one author and you discover another.

The Jubilee Express is Mauren’s lovely addition. Jubilee (who some people call Julie, but Jubilee is way cooler and yes it’s a type of party) gets stuck on a train when her parents are arrested for fighting over a Christmas village (is Jubilee my own child? This sounds like something I am going to do in my adult future, just saying). She meets a man on the train who she befriends (who will later be featured in story #3) and then finds her way through the city. She meets a boy (because it’s a romance novel, so obviously she’s gotta have a love interest) and they fall into a pond and almost freeze to death (drama alert!). She stays at the boy’s home (said boy’s name is Stuart, why am I still calling him the boy?) and meets his Mother and little sister. The boy (I’ve committed, no turning back now) has an ex and it ended badly, all the while Jubilee has an dumb-face boyfriend who deserves a good dumping. The two then kiss and it’s romantic and ooey gooey. It’s a YA romance gallore!

A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle by Paul Orange (again, I’ve committed to this pun so it’s time to rock and roll) continues the previous story with different characters. 3 previously unknown characters are watching James Bond movies. Introduce our two key characters: Tobin and Angie (also known as The Duke). Turns out these two kinda have crushes on each other, and as the three characters try to make it to a breakfast joint to meet cheerleaders, they realize this. It was cute, but not as addicting as the first novel. It was almost… predictable. I wasn’t entirely sure where Maureen’s was headed, but John’s story screamed FRIENDZONE ALERT all over the place.

The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle is what took me the longest to get through. In one day I flew through the first two stories, but then along came this story. Another continuation, but… different. It had a different tone than the previous two. I did not enjoy the lead character, I did love the pig and I felt bad for Jeb because he deserves someone who’s more considerate than his current girl, Addie. Like… dude, you almost lost your friend’s pig. That’s cruel. This book was packed full of the middle grade drama I don’t miss from back in the day. Lauren’s writing was still absolutely beautiful, but this story was not for me. I was kinda sad this book ended on this specific story because it felt like the weakest for me.

Overall, I did enjoy this book and I would love to read some more Christmas-y YA love stories. I also highly recommend Maureen now because OMG she’s good.

Four out of five stars!!

Check out this book on:
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Christmas themed books are AMAZING. Here’s some holiday books I’ve read, check them out – you might like them too:
Book Review: Happy Ever After in Christmas by Debbie Mason
#BookReview Schmuck the Buck: Santa’s Jewish Reindeer by EXO Books

 

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#BookReview White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Many, many years ago I saw this book at a local Wal-Mart and had one of those “OMG I NEED IT” moments. I bought this book, put it on a bookshelf, buried it in said bookshelf, and then lost it until I reorganized my entire house. When I reorganized all of my books I decided to put this book on the “Read Next” physical shelf. WHY DIDN’T I DO THIS SOONER?!

Seriously, this book is an absolute GEM and I’m hitting myself (figuratively speaking) for not reading it sooner. It’s everything I love in a YA – potential love triangle, crazy fantasy, typical friend and families woes – and it has an epic cover! It was a home run! It hit it out of the park! It was the best YA book I’ve read in a good while! I loved every second of it! And gosh darnit I need the next book and I don’t have it!

On top of all of that, my friends have been telling me for years to read books by Jennifer L. Armentrout and THEY WERE RIGHT!

So, let’s get down to business….

The positives:
Gargoyles. Yes, you heard me right. FREAKING GARGOYLES. If there’s one set of monsters I haven’t read about in my reading life, it’s them! We have people who turn into gargoyles – so right off the bat I’m impressed because it’s something different. Then you have to throw in the demons who are the greatest foes of said gargoyle people. Now, before you get all excited over this, the gargoyles change forms like a shapeshifter so they do survive out in public. But, the public also know about gargoyles? It’s kind of confusing for me, but she makes it work.

I liked that this book had lots of romance and flirting it in. I love a good romance story! There’s just enough action and adventure to keep the plot going – so it felt like a good mix.

On an even brighter note, Jennifer has an amazing writing style and tone. I got addicted to this book SO FAST that it was unbelievable. I couldn’t put it down and it was almost making me mad! It’s a great story to binge! I absolutely want to read the rest of this series and whatever else Jennifer spits out of that brilliant mind of hers.

And then there’s Roth. He’s super hot, he’s funny, he’s slightly inappropriately and I love him. Zayne kinda bores me but whatever. We’ve got two hot guys and I have already picked my side! Also… Bambi. A giant snake tattoo demon creature. Yup, this book is that cool.

The negatives:
In typical YA fashion, the heroine is the master of the universe. She’s the special one everyone’s been waiting for. Am I tired of this trope? Yup. Did the story suffer because of it? Nope! So, essentially, it doesn’t really affect the story at all but I did get a little judgey because OF COURSE she’s the answer to everyone’s problem.

The virgin side of the story had me feeling cringy and icky. When your adoption/step father like figure starts talking about your sex life and not in a “Birds and the Bees” or “Stay Safe” kind of way, I always get creeped out. I get that’s apart of the prophecy in this story but… EW!

Additionally… there is a fair bit of slut shaming and women against women vibes. I hope that disappears in the next book but… ya never know.

Overall, I think this was a fun YA ride. I don’t take it to be some seriously, Oscar-winning drama book but I don’t think we’re meant to. It’s a lot of fun and whisked me away from my real world for a few hours.

Five out of five stars!

You can find this book on:
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Amazon.ca
Indigo
Kobo

 

If you enjoy YA books with romance and fantasy, check out these other books you might enjoy:
#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
#BookReview Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Collection 2: #TopTens – Young Adult Part 1

 

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#BookReview Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Steifvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue was an intriguing novel.

It’s my own fault that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I could have. It has been YEARS (and I mean, literally years – probably five?) since I’ve read the first two books in this series (The Raven Boys and The Dream Theives) so I don’t remember much of what this series is all about. But, I really love Maggie Stiefvater so I wanted to continue on with this series! It’s safe to say that I was REALLY lost about what was going on.

What I got out of this book was: witches, fantastic friendships, parental drama, ghosts and death, and a giant cave.

I really enjoy Gansey in this series even though I’m not quite sure about what his character is supposed to be. He’s not the love interest, he’s not the typical best friend side character and he has no typical trope about him. I love that aspect of these characters (Maggie is great at not making a typical trope-filled book) but I’m still just so unsure. I love him, but… I need to know what happens in this last book to see how it all plays out.

Noah the ghost interests me too. What was going on with him and Blue? He’s still her energy but he is also acting very strange. Something is up with these ley lines! I want to know more. I’m too analytical for books like this – I need to know everything now.

The plot itself just confused me. The screaming man, the man they found in the cave, the lady at the end… Don’t stop this series if you intend to keep reading it. That’s my biggest suggestion. Reading other reviewers’ reviews helped a lot but I really should have re-read the series to make sure I knew what was going on. It’s a real shame too, because Maggie has a beautiful writing style and her prose is to die for! She’s fabulous.

I did binge this book in one sitting. Since I forgot most of what happened in the previous books, I knew that if I put it down I would never pick it back up. The binging was okay, but I’d rather have read it in bits and pieces.

My biggest praise is the cover. My gosh, all of the covers for this series fall into the realm of absolutely beautiful!

Overall, this book is marvelous but didn’t hit high with me. Hopefully one day I will be able to jump back into this whole series and mass read the entire set. Maggie is such a good writer but it’s a shame that we had to wait for her books. That’s what really did me in – waiting for books to come out and then not being able to afford them so I had to wait until I could. One day Maggie! One day I will read this excellence in full and understand the whole darn thing!

Three out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

Check out some other reviews you might enjoy:
#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop
#BookReview Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles

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#BookReview I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan

I am Thunder by Muhammad Khan was a pleasant surprise!

I love books that let me inside another person’s life and culture, and I am Thunder met the bill! This book welcomes the reader into a Muslim and Pakistani lifestyle which is something totally new to me. I’ve seen the headlines, I’ve had classmates, but I’ve never been able to learn this much about a culture in one sitting. While this book is only ONE view in a Young Adult (and slightly dramatic) book, it was still truly intriguing. Hats off to Muhammad Khan, seriously.

This book does cause some waves in the reading community though – I’ve seen lots of praises and lots of criticism. So, I’ll just share my thoughts.

I like that this book follows one young woman’s story. Yes, it’s like a soap opera and slightly dramatic at times but isn’t all YA? Muzna’s story gives some fabulous insight into her culture (for example, the difference between a religion and the actual practices someone follows). Her family life, her thoughts, her trouble deciding what to do with her life and the effect it has on everyone felt very REAL. It felt like I was reading a book made for and by a teen – she wants to meet boys, she wants to impress people, she wants to try to have a life but do what’s best for her family too. I could totally relate to her in that aspect. She struggles with being a teenage girl trying to just BE a teenage girl.

Are there parts of this book that were rough and tough? Yes. I don’t fully know what this woman’s culture would be in an accurate depiction, so maybe this is all my views as a reader. Buuuut… her parents are HARSH. It seemed like no matter what this girl did that they weren’t proud of her. It’s no wonder that Muzna “acted out” because there was no way she’d ever please those parents. It was borderline abusive. I don’t think it was a culture thing… honestly, I’m certain it’s not supposed to be a reflection of their culture. Those parents were borderline abusive if not actually abusive. Like, show a little familial love? Or at least, don’t be cruel at all times of the day?

Extreme religion was also apart of this book, so let there be a trigger warning for those who might be bothered by this topic. I found it interesting to read, but at times it felt like everyone were quite extreme with their religious practices. I know there’s only so many pages in a book, but there could have been some “softer” practices or realistic ones. I know many lovely people who study and follow various religions who aren’t as “crazy” or as extreme as some of these characters.

If I had to list the good things about this book, they’d be the following:
1. This book showcases a different religion and a different point of view in a largely read genre. I like that YA has diverse books like this one floating around so readers can learn more about the world. Difficult topics like religion and politics should be brought into books (especially YA) so more people can learn and experience the world.

2. Muzna felt like a real character with real struggles. She didn’t feel out of place or goofy. She made me really feel for her story and want to know more about her.

3. This book can start wonderful discussions. It’s the type of book I wish we read back in high school. I could have picked apart this book and had some really great discussions with my classmates and teachers. Just think of a diverse class discussing their points of views on topics like these! Oh, it’d be an interesting time!

Overall, this book is a really well written book! Muhammad Khan has written a beautiful story that will introduce you to Muzna’s world.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check this book out on Goodreads!

Or check out another book you might enjoy:
#BookReview Gods in Oslo by John Plaski
#BookReview The Fencers by Geza Tatrallyay
#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon

 

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#BookReview Vampireville by Ellen Schreiber

Vampireville, the third book in the amazing Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber, is another excellent addition to my bookshelf!

I love this series and I have a very obvious bias towards it. This series was a big part of my teenage years and it’s hard to not jump back into this series and fall in love all over again. Alexander and Raven’s epic romance is one of the best YA couples around (go ahead and argue that with me) and I can’t help but shout from the hills about them. Jumping back into these books as an adult cemented my love for this series. It’s still just as good!

Vampireville is a young YA book – the maturity of this novel isn’t strong but that’s why I loved it. Lots of YA books take themselves way too seriously, so having a book like this that is so much fun is a real delight. Raven is your stereotypical goth girl (Hot Topic shopping, black lipstick, loves black, black cats, in love with a vampire, etc.) but that makes her so cool. She’s the ideal of every 13 year old girl who wanted to be a goth but her parents wouldn’t let me (haha… me!). She’s sassy, makes mistakes and feels more real than most YA heroines.

Raven and Alexander continue facing a very bumpy ride, but the ride is fun! I highly recommend binging the whole series as soon as possible. I didn’t enjoy these books all on their own: I liked reading the entire series from beginning to end to really get this series. It helps that all the books are relatively short and written in a nice form so you can easily jump from book to book.

Five out of five stars! I love this series and I want more!

 

You can find this book on:
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Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Indigo – Canadian Retailer

Check out Ellen on Goodreads: Ellen Schreiber on Goodreads

Or take a peek at her website: EllenSchreiber.com

Maybe give her a shoutout on Twitter too? @EllenSchreiber

 

If you enjoyed this book, check out another you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Coffin Club by Ellen Schreiber
#BookReviews Girls That Growl by Mari Mancusi
#BookReview The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

 

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