Tag Archives: book review

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Book Reviews: Abi and the Boy Next Door and Binti

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Book Reviews Week 6!

Guys, I can’t believe I’ve read twelve book in the last month and a half. It’s seriously been invigorating. I’ll keep reading and putting up reviews through June. By then you guys might be bored of the reviews. 🙂 I try not to bore people.

Romance book of the week: Abi and the Boy Next Door by Kelsie Stelting. This is another YA romance that I’d downloaded a while ago, and thought I would give it a try.

Science Fiction book of the week: Binti by Nneid Okorafor. No, I don’t even try to pronounce the author’s name, I’m certain I would slaughter it. I’ve seen this cover all over the place, and the ebook was on sale, so I picked it up.

Abi and the Boy Next Door

All in all this book was a fun read. I have some personal, nit-picky issues with it, but I’ll start out by saying the story is solid.

I didn’t realize this is the first of three books about this couple, which is a bit out of the norm. I probably won’t read either of the others, but if you’re looking for a YA romance series, this one might be for you.

Okay, now for my nit-picking. Abi, the point of view character and our heroine, has moved in with her grandma because her parents are abusive drug addicts and Abi finally got them thrown in jail. She’s broken. She’s also overweight. Both hard things.

The author tries very hard to give Abi a good character arc, but the only thing she does to change is eat right and exercise. Oh, and pine for the boy next door. That’s it. She’s kind of bland to her new friends. It’s the other people in the story that tell her how special she is. I’m not sure she ever sees it, and that was annoying. I like to feel that moment of release when the character understands who she really is. I didn’t feel it.

The love interest is the boy-next-door who is, well, practically perfect in every way. He’s so painfully perfect that even with a forced character arc, he’s very nice and very flat.

My other beef is that the author decided to use a size 3 model on the cover. Yes, Abi loses a lot of weight in the book, but as a chubby girl myself, it rubbed me the wrong way that they wouldn’t represent this girl properly.

I’ll give this one 3 1/2 stars.

It’s the first day at my new school and I already have a wide load sticker on my back.

But this is still better than life was before. Before I was taken away from my parents. Before I moved in with my grandma.

Before I met Jon Scoller.

He’s cute, he lives down the street, but the guy asks way too many questions. Questions about a past I’d rather forget.

And I am not his type. He needs to be with a cheerleader. A perfect girl. Someone who doesn’t look like the before picture for a weight loss shake.

Jon makes me feel like I’m more than a number on the scale, but I’m starting to wonder: does he feel the same way or does he just feel sorry for me?


This is a novella, not a full-length novel. Since there isn’t much in the way of YA sci-fi that isn’t dystopian, I thought I would check it out.

This book won some fancy awards, which I don’t usually put any credence in these days, but I have to admit this was a very different, very cool book.

The world the author creates is interesting, to say the least. There wasn’t a lot of explanation—no time in a novella—but there was enough to keep me grounded in what was going on.

I had to laugh at this review quote from an award-winning film director: “Binti is a supreme read about a sexy, edgy Afropolitan in space!”

Sexy? Uh, no. The girl was terrified most of the time (rightfully so) and was afraid to talk to the one boy she liked. She was a weak character that forced herself to become strong, but she was still scared.

Edgy? Uh, not really. No idea what this guy is talking about. The world is interesting. The aliens are everywhere and some are scary. The main character leaves her family and her life to fulfill her dream. What’s edgy about that?

Afropolitan. Not going to lie, I had to look that up to make sure I was right about the definition. This is true. She was from Africa and wanted to stay connected to her home and people. The story takes place far in the future, so it’s not Africa as we know it, but still fun.

The scant length of the story made it feel like the author had cut a lot out to shove it into a word count, which makes me sad. It could have made a great novel as well.

Four stars.

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself — but first she has to make it there, alive.

That concludes Book Reviews Week 6!

Tune in next week for more reviews!

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Book Reviews: Nantucket Inn and Rika Outcast

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Book Reviews Week 5!

Romance book of the week: Nantucket Inn by Pamela M. Kelley. This one has been lurking near the top of several romance categories since it came out a year ago, so I thought I would check it out.

Science Fiction book of the week: Rika Outcast by M.D. Cooper. I’ve met Mal Cooper, and I’ve been looking for something not strictly military sci-fi to read. This one has a lot of military components in it, so plenty of action, but without the strict structure. Sort of.

Nantucket Inn

This book is about a widow and her four adult children. The series lends itself to continued use of the same characters. There are two “happy for now” endings at the conclusion of this book, but no real “happily ever after.”

Instead of a romance novel, this one is really a romance series where your favorite character may or may not find true love, or they might go back to their loser boyfriend instead. Read the next book to find out what happens.

These books are still doing really well, so it’s a style a lot of people must like. I prefer a solid resolution and a “happily ever after” for the characters in my romance books.

My author brain twitched at the writing. There was a lot more outlining what was going on rather than having me see it through a character’s point of view, so that bugged me.

Three-and-a-half stars

Lisa Hodges needs to make a decision fast. Thanks to her dead husband’s gambling addiction, their savings is almost gone. In her early fifties with a large, waterfront home on Nantucket to support, Lisa hasn’t worked in over thirty years, has no in-demand skills and is virtually unemployable.

Her only options are to sell the house and move off-island, or, she could use her cooking and entertaining skills and turn her home into a bed and breakfast. She desperately needs it to succeed because she has four grown children with problems of their own and wants to stay close to them. 

Her oldest daughter, Kate, has a fabulous career in Boston–working as a writer for a popular fashion magazine and engaged to a dangerously handsome, photographer, who none of them have met.

Kate’s twin, local artist, Kristen, has been reasonably content with her on-again off-again relationship with an older, separated businessman. 

Her son, Chase, runs his own construction business and is carefree, happily dating here and there but nothing serious. 

Youngest daughter, Abby, is happily married to her high school sweetheart, and they’ve been trying to have a baby. But it hasn’t happened yet, and Abby wonders if it’s a sign that maybe their marriage isn’t as perfect as everyone thinks.

Come visit Nantucket and see how Lisa’s new bed and breakfast has an impact on almost everyone in her family. It’s the first book in a new series that will follow the Hodges family, friends, and visitors to Nantucket’s Beach Plum Cove Inn.

Rika Outcast

This book promised a kick butt female character and lots of action. It delivered.

There’s a prologue sort of thing at the beginning that isn’t really needed unless you want the gruesome details of how Rika gets made into a mech soldier, but the author does a good enough job in the rest of the book that you don’t need it.

Rika’s character arch is good, but loses its own way a few times in the story. A couple of the women were too sweet/tender to me, which is strange, but there you go. The guys crack me up.

The story could have used another 10k words to flesh it out a bit, and the story seems to end at one point, then goes on. A better bridge between the sections would have helped.

All in all this was a fun read. A bit more swearing than I prefer, but I’m sensitive about that and won’t hold it against the author.

Four stars

A cyborg killing machine, created by the Genevian military and cast aside when the war was lost.

Now she slings cargo on Dekar Station, falling deeper in debt as she struggles to make enough money to keep her cybernetic body functioning. The local gangs would love to have her join their ranks, and the takings would pay her bills, but the only thing Rika hates more than what she’s become, is killing for others.

But morals don’t buy repairs and she’s at the point of utter desperation when her loan holder cashes in her debt and sells her to the highest bidder.

When Rika wakes, she’s in a warehouse on a planet she’s never heard of, and a trio of mercenaries are reassembling her body. Their mission is to kill the world’s president, and her mods and abilities are just what they need to get the job done.

Whether she likes it or not, Rika is in the business of killing once more as she joins the ranks of the Marauders.

There you go! Book Reviews Week 5!
Tune in next week for more reviews.

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Book Reviews: Her Bodyguard Swap and Constitution

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Book Reviews Week 4!

Romance book of the week: Her Bodyguard Swap by Laura Ann. I picked this one because she’s pretty popular in clean romance, and I haven’t ever read anything by her before.

Science Fiction book of the week: Constitution. I chose this one because this series is often lurking in the top 50 of Amazon’s many science fiction lists.

Her Bodyguard Swap

I really liked the premise of this one. Three brothers—triplets—all ex-military come together to start a security company. There are several other characters involved with the company, and I’m certain if you continued reading the series that you’d find romances for them all.

This story was cute and fun. The guy, Ridge, does one too many stupid things for my taste, but his poor decisions (all in the name of love) did drive the story forward. The girl is okay.

He’s admired her for a while, and her side of the romance is completely dependent on the spark that she feels the first time she sees him. I’m not a huge fan of love at first sight, so this felt flat to me.

The reveal of who the internet troll is was totally forced. Mysteries should have clues, not just whack you in the face at the end of the story.

That being said, this one is cute and clean and easy to read. I’d say four stars.

She’s falling in love with her bodyguard,
now if she could just figure out who he is!

Everly Madison loves life as an online music sensation. But it turns ugly when an internet troll posts threatening comments on her videos. When she hires a bodyguard to keep her safe, her hunky new protector makes her soul sing.

Ridge Lockwood gave up the military to help his two identical triplet brothers establish a security firm. But when one of their first clients is the online singer-songwriter he’s admired for months, Ridge is devastated when one of his brothers is assigned the case instead of himself. Determined to spend time with her, he takes matters into his own hands and pulls out the old, ‘switcheroo’.

As Everly becomes confused about exactly who she’s falling for, the predator’s actions begin to escalate. Can Ridge defend her while still hiding his secret? Or will he come clean, risking not only his company’s reputation, but the woman he’s fallen desperately in love with?


This book is a cross between Independence Day and the more recent Battlestar Galactica. It reads like a movie, relying on jumping from scene to scene and character to character to keep the reader engaged.

I like that style, and mostly enjoyed the book.

I was surprised how short it was. There is a trend in Indie publishing to keep books shorter so readers don’t get bored, and so the author can divide their story into more books, which will make them more money.

Neither of these things is bad, but the characters suffered in this story due to the short(ish) length. The character are mostly stereotypes with little to no character arcs. There was just enough to keep me interested.

All in all this one tells you about the action instead of letting you feel it through the characters. Not my style, but considering the book has over 3,000 positive reviews, it’s a style a lot of people like.

I’d give it four stars.

The year is 2650

75 years ago, an alien fleet attacked Earth.

Without warning. Without mercy.

We were not prepared.

Hundreds of millions perished. Dozens of cities burned.

We nearly lost everything.

Then, the aliens abruptly left.

We rebuilt. We armed ourselves. We swore: never again.

But the aliens never came back.

Until now.

There you go! Book reviews Week 3!

Tune in next week for more reviews.

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Book Reviews: Never Have I Ever Kissed My Brother’s Best Friend and Star Fire

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Book Reviews: Week 3!

More books that have been lurking on my Kindle waiting to be read!

This week’s romance is a Young Adult romance called “Never Have I Ever Kissed My Brother’s Best Friend” by Juliet Bardsley. I picked it up because I’ve been toying with the idea of writing YA sweet and clean romance, and this series has been fairly popular.

This week’s science fiction novel is “Star Fire” by M.R. Fobes. I chose this book because at the end of last year, when I started poking into the science fiction world, it was in the top fifty of several categories on Amazon, and I decided to check it out.

Never Have I Ever Kissed My Brother’s Best Friend

Like I said, this series has been fairly popular, and I wanted to check it out.

First off, it’s short. Like, really short. Even shorter than my Academy books, which are about 25k words.

Because of the length, the story is painfully basic. It was fun to read, but the conflict never felt real to me, and because we all know what’s going to happen in the end of a sweet romance, the lack of convincing danger toward the love story crippled this one a bit.

If you want a really fast, very basic read that might remind you a bit of high school, then this is your book.

Just three stars for this one. I like more than just cute in my stories.

She’s crushed on him for the past six years.
He’s always seen her as his best friend’s little sister.
What happens when they’re forced together?

Gavin Mitchell is a star soccer player, the best looking senior at Cedar Oaks High, and a potential recruit for the college of his dreams. But if Gavin doesn’t raise his English grade, all his plans of playing soccer for his dream school will be crushed. Enter Kenzie Fair, his best friend’s smart little sister.

Mackenzie (Kenzie) Fair has the best friend in the world, an enviable collection of books, and the highest grades in the junior class. But there’s one thing she doesn’t have–Gavin Mitchell–the guy she’s crushed on for forever. The guy she acts like a total spaz around. The guy who also happens to be her brother’s best friend.

When the two are forced to spend time together studying Shakespeare, it’s only a matter of time before Gavin sees Kenzie as more than his best friend’s little sister.

The problem is, she still is. Is it worth risking his lifelong friendship for the chance to date Kenzie?

Star Fire

This is another book that I started and put down a few months ago. I picked it back up this week to finish it.

This is the second military sci-fi book that I’ve picked up that’s not really about space, which continues to surprise me. The story starts out as a space battle, but then everyone crashes and the rest of it takes place on the surface of a planet.

It took a bit for this one to get going, but once it did, and I was invested in the main character, then I was in for the long haul. Good conflicts, good characters, and while I hated the fact that I was right about one of them, I take a sick sort of pleasure in it.

That being said, the last chapter is a horrible cliff hanger, which made me a little grouchy.  The rest of the series is out, but I’m on to a different book and I may or may not get back to this one.

Four stars for this one, although I’m still cranky about the end.

New from million-copy bestseller M.R. Forbes. One man’s epic story of loyalty, perseverance, and hope in a galaxy at war.

Alliance Navy Commander Grayson Stone is patrolling a nearby space station when a mysterious starship appears. It emerges from a storm of fire, its shields impenetrable, its weapons overwhelming, attacking without provocation and annihilating everything in its path.

While his ship is badly damaged in the assault, Grayson manages to survive. Suddenly trapped behind the front line of the invasion, faced with gut-wrenching choices and near-impossible odds, he’ll do whatever it takes to escape the grasp of the terrifying new enemy.

Because if he fails, humankind will fall.

There you go! Book reviews Week 3!
Tune in next week for more reviews.

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