2 Book Reviews: The Bone Sparrow & And I Darken



I read two books this week and unfortunately I didn’t love either one of them.  They both started with great potential but I just couldn’t get into them.  Maybe it was because I had a crazy week and I couldn’t focus. I guess you can’t love every book.


The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

3.5 stars out of 5

This book was an interesting read. I enjoyed reading the different perspectives from the two main characters. Subhi, is ten years old and is living in a refugee camp. In fact, Subhi, was born in the refugee camp so it is all he has ever known. He is in there with his mom and sister while they wait for his dad. Subhi describes the horrible living conditions in the camp such as the lack of food and water, toilets, and the overcrowding. Jimmie lives in a nearby town and one night comes down to the camp and meets Subhi. Her mother is dead but left a book of handwritten stories that she can’t read so Subhi reads them to her. They become fast friends and Jimmie tries to convince Subhi to escape from the camp. A couple of complaints about this book is that the main characters are so young but talk and act way older. I didn’t think it made sense that Subhi could read but Jimmie couldn’t.  After all, Subhi hasn’t had much of an education. Also, this book is marketed to middle grade and YA but I don’t think middle grade readers would find this interesting. Some parts of it were violent (there is a riot and people are killed) and there was talk of refugees getting depressed and killing themselves. I am not sure the younger middle grade students would even know what a refugee camp is. There were some magical aspects of this story that I just couldn’t follow or understand.


And I Darken by Kiersten White

3.5 stars out of 5

I would give this book 3.5 stars. The author did a great job creating a detailed world and interesting characters. The first third of the book kept me engaged but the second third of the book seemed to drag and I just really lost interest. The last third of the book picked up and had a great ending. I did love the main character, Lada. She was such a strong female character but I am not sure in the 14oo’s, when the story takes place, she would have lasted long in a world dominated by men. I think if you like stories about countries fighting for control over each other and political games, then I recommend this book. It just wasn’t for me.

Goodreads summary of the book below.

Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.



Book to Movie blog and more!

Tell Me Tuesday!

TMT is a weekly post hosted by LaLa in the Library! It is where we talk about what we are reading, what we have read, and what we are reading next. Please check her blog out at La La in the Library


Book Review: 4 out of 5 stars

I just finished The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight! What a suspenseful and fast pace book.  From chapter one it takes off.  The author does a great job filling in the story line along the way through flashbacks.  Each character introduced to the story makes you suspicious and in the end you realize no one can be trusted! I haven’t read a thriller in a long time but I enjoyed it very much and look forward to more in this series.

Goodreads summary of The Outliers below.

Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice: she has to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?


Review: Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

4 0ut of 5 stars

I saw the trailer for this movie and said to myself “I HAVE to read the book first!” It also helped that a couple actors from my favorite fandoms are in it too.  I thoroughly  enjoyed this book. It is about a young woman who needs money so she answers an ad for a job as a caretaker for a quadriplegic man.  She, Louisa, has no experience but gets the job.  The man, Will, was an active, adventurous man before the accident and has decided that in six months he wants to go to a special facility that will end his life.  When Louisa discovers his plan, she makes it her mission to show him that life is worth living for. One of the reasons I like to read is that I learn something I didn’t already know and in the case of this book, I learned that even though a person may be paralyzed, they still feel extreme pain in their muscles, suffer from bed sores and depression, and are at high risk for infections that could kill them. This book makes you think about a person’s right to quality of life and their right to a dignified death.  Below is the link to the trailer. Th movie comes out June 3.

Me Before You Movie Trailer


Are you a fan of Alice in Wonderland? If so, then like me you are looking forward to the new movie with Johnny Depp coming out May 27, “Alice, Through the Looking Glass.” There is a great book series (the Splintered series) by A.G. Howard that explores what happened to Alice’s ancestors.  Her granddaughter, Alyssa, through a series of events, ends up in Wonderland and must past some tests to fix the mistakes that Alice left when she returned from Wonderland.  This is a great re-envisioning of a classic story.


The other book I read this week was A Good Dog: The Story of Orson who Changed My Life by Jon Katz (not kidding).  Sometimes I need a break from fiction and grab a non-fiction book, usually about dogs.  I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.  The book was about Orson, a rescue border collie and his owner who tried to “fix” him with sheep herding lessons.  There were some funny moments but too much information on sheep herding techniques.  Overall, this was a great book about how challenging it can be to rescue a dog with a bad past but not to give up on each other.


Last but not least, Derek Anderson!!!

IMG_6785One of my favorite children’s book authors is Derek Anderson. He came to my town to do a book talk and so of course I went! He started out as an illustrator but now writes and illustrates his books.  His latest book, Ten Hungry Pigs, is cute and hilarious.  I love how Mr. Anderson hides pictures in his drawings of himself and the campanile of our mutual Alma mater Iowa State University. So if you have little ones or grand kids I HIGHLY recommend his books.





Two Book Reviews and Book Con Chicago!!!


This is a floating feature put on weekly by LaLaToadstone where you tell us what you read last, what you are reading now, what you will be reading in the future from your tbr pile, and why. Click the link to see her blog!  La La in the Library


Book Review: Highly Illogical Behavior 4 out of 5 stars

On my way home from Chicago Book Con I started and finished the book Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley.  This YA book about mental illness, specifically anxiety, was very eye opening to me.  A lot of times we tend to believe that anyone, especially teens, are just being dramatic and aren’t really suffering from anything whether it be depression, anxiety, etc.  The two main characters in this book are Lisa and Solomon.  Solomon suffers from severe anxiety and hasn’t left his house in 3 years. Lisa believes she can fix him and use her success to get a full ride scholarship to a college where she can study to be a psychiatrist.  Solomon agrees to meet Lisa and they become fast friends which causes Lisa to rethink her
plan of using Solomon as a means to get into college for free. This book is beautifully written. I met the author in Chicago and he is a funny and kind person.  His previous book Where Things Come Back  won the Prinz award so I may have to add another book to my TBR list!


Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury 5 out of 5 stars

If you read last week’s blog then you remember I was trying to get through the ginormous book A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas.  It was 64o pages! I haven’t read a book that long since Harry Potter.  It was worth it though!  This is the second book in a series.  I was told while waiting in a very long line at Book Con to get my book signed that the series is to be a trilogy but I have no confirmation on that. This book was action packed from start to finish.  The author has created such a detailed and wonderful world full of characters that you either love or hate and then she makes you change your mind! The story continues where the first book, A Court of Thorns and Roses, left off.  The war between the Fairies and the humans is still taking place but now the main character, Feyre, is being forced to watch from the sidelines and not help her family.  She escapes from her “prison” and that is when everything changes.  I know I am being vague but I don’t want to ruin anything for those of you who haven’t read the first book yet.  I enjoy fantasy but it is not my favorite however, this series is so well written that you forget it is fantasy.  My only disclaimer is that I feel that this book is marketed as YA but should only be for older YA and up.  There are some steamy love scenes that made me even blush!

Chicago Book Con

I attended my first ever Book Con this last weekend.  It was a lot of fun and I met a lot of my favorite authors but it was crazy! There were tons of people and long lines but I got lots of ARCs to read and review.  I met lots of fun people while waiting in line and got some great advice on blogging.  It is always hard going to something for the first time because you don’t know what to expect.  There were definitely things I would have done different but overall it was an enjoyable experience.  Be sure to check out my pics below.


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Sarah J. Maas signing my book.  She was soooo pretty and nice!

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David Arnold (one of my faves) and Jennifer Niven and Sabaa Tahir.


Lauren Oliver


Weekly Blog Review


It has been a busy week, so I only had the chance to read ONE book this week.
I did start A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas but that book is huge! I am only on page 250 out of 625+ pages!!! Hopefully I can finish it this week. Below is the review of the book I did read this week.


One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

4 stars out of 5

This was such a fun book to read! I adore Paris (I have been there 3 times) and so I am always excited to read a book set in Paris because it is fun to read about places I recognize. For example, the Louvre, Rodin Museum, and of course the Eiffel Tower.  The book had your typical teen drama, boyfriend problems, parent problems, etc. but the author did a great job of not making it cliche. The main character, Sophie, starts out being afraid of everything (which is mildly annoying) and having very little self-confidence, but through her trials in Paris becomes a strong, confident character. I believe this is important for teen girls to read about because it shows how they can conquer their fears on their own AND with help from family and friends. I recommend this book for anyone wanting a fun and easy read to have sitting by the pool or on the beach this summer. This book comes out June 10, 2016. I received an advanced copy in return for an honest review.

I have some books on my TBR list that I am excited about.  I was approved for the ARCs of Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow and And I Darken by Kiersten White.

I am headed to Chicago next weekend for Book Con Expo.  I am very excited and nervous for this event because I hope to meet some of my favorite authors and bloggers. Pictures and an update will be on my blog next week. Stay tuned!


Book Review


Back in March I went to SE-YA (South Eastern Young Adult) Book fest in Murfreesboro, TN.  While I was there I met many authors for the first and second time.  After, going to a panel of four authors talking about their books, I was intrigued by one author in particular.  Her name was M.G. Buehrlen and she had talked about her book, The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare.  I talked to her after the panel for about 10 minutes but not about her book.  Instead we talked about growing up in small towns, the problem of getting teens to read these days, and our love for Laura Ingalls Wilder.   I bought her book and she signed it for me.  I read it straight through on the the 12 hour drive home.  It was amazing! I am usually not a fan of time travel books because I get confused easily. But this one was easy to follow and a unique way to tell a story about time travel. The main character, Alex, has had 57 different lives and can travel back to any of them at any time. This book was fast paced and kept me engaged. Thank goodness I don’t get sick reading in the car.


The sequel, The Untimely Deaths of Alex Wayfare, came out Tuesday.  It did not disappoint.  This book too started off action packed and didn’t stop until the end.  The author does such a great job sucking you into the story.  I think my favorite thing about these books is Alex looking for her soulmate, Blue, in each life because he is a time traveler also.  It is so romantic!  I highly recommend these two books.  They are fun and fast reads.  The author’s writing is excellent and I can tell you from experience an excellent person in real life.