Annexed (Review)

Author: Shannon Dogar
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Released: Oct 4th 2010
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: Everyone knows about Anne Frank and her life hidden in the secret annex – but what about the boy who was also trapped there with her?

In this powerful and gripping novel, Sharon Dogar explores what this might have been like from Peter’s point of view. What was it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, first to hate her and
then to find yourself falling in love with her? Especially with your parents and her parents all watching almost everything you do together. To know you’re being written about in Anne’s diary, day after day? What’s it like to start questioning your religion, wondering why simply being Jewish inspires such hatred and persecution? Or to just sit and wait and watch while others die, and wish you were fighting.

As Peter and Anne become closer and closer in their confined quarters, how can they make sense of what they see happening around them? Anne’s diary ends on August 4, 1944, but Peter’s story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps. He details with accuracy, clarity and compassion the reality of day to day survival in Auschwitz – and ultimately the horrific fates of the Annex’s occupants.

It's hard to say that I loved this book, because how can anyone express such a sentiment for relieving such tragedies. What I will say is that I picked up this book with purpose, I don't know what drew me to it, but once I read the back cover, I knew that I had to read it.

The Diary of a Young Girl is something I studied in school, we read the book, did the movie and performed portions of it in Drama. I think stories like these are ultimately important to us because if we do not read and learn from history, then there can be no redemption.

This fictional account, gives readers the opportunity to re-experience the story, but instead from Peter's point of view. The boy whose family was trapped in the annex with The Franks. It gives an alternative perspective to the story, which although as many people have pointed out, unnecessary does not, for me at least make it any less interesting.

What I will agree with is that because the story carried on into the time after their discovery in the annex (if this is a spoiler to you, you should probably brush up on history some more) is also continues into Peter's time and final moments in  Auschwitz and Mauthausen. Part of the raw reality of Anne's diary is how it stops so abruptly because she's been taken away from it. Because this is a fictional account, there isn't the abrupt end. Everything you might have wondered, continues until his death.

What value does this fictional story have in compared to the non-fictional version? Very little, it's relatively similar in its account and considering the fact that it is NOT really Peter's personal account, it's hard to take much more from it than you might have from Anne's story. I will say the author approached this story with sensitivity for the real tragedies and with a edge of a reminder that this happened, that these people were real.

I will say that as I read this story, I was moved by it but I am often moved by any stories of its kind. Number The Stars for example, while a fictional account was also a moving tale. It's interesting to get into the mind of a boy in this situation questioning his very existence, everything he has known and loved now being used as an excuse to hate and torture his people. It's truly heartbreaking.  I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it as I think any reminders of our past are important.


The 5th Wave (Review)

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1)
Author: Rick Yancey
Released: May 7th 2013
Pages: 457
Rating: 3/5

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors.

To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

This was another one of those scenarios where I didn’t know anything about the book until I saw the trailer for the movie. I must be falling behind on my reading game. I haven’t seen the film yet, as I wanted to finish the book first.

Here’s the thing about alien invasion stories, they kind of creep me out, only because, I feel like this could totally happen!

Okay maybe not this exact scenario but still. The story and setting are very bleak and terrifying but I feel as though it makes a really good setting for these characters. You get to work with them through their struggles and watch as they find their strength.

I will say that I have a hard time with multiple POV’s in one story. I think it’s just the way my brain works but often times I find myself getting confused because I’m so used to reading it as one person that I forget that I’ve switched? I don’t know but I didn’t terribly mind it in this story. I like getting to see other people’s POV’s but I feel like once it’s beyond two, I get lost really easily.

The romance in this book wasn’t my favorite. I get that Evan was a childhood crush but hello, you’re about to be wiped out from existence by hostile alien forces and don’t even trust one another and yet you’re crazy in love? It was super weird but I’m not really a fan of ‘instaromance’ in general.  I just wasn’t feeling these two.

Over all I liked this story but I wasn’t my favorite. While I want to continue on in the series and would love to go see the film, I’m not exactly rushing out to purchase the next in the book (and I feel like when I finish a book and don’t immediately REQUIRE the next one, I didn’t LOVE it.)

I do love however when everyone you have grown to like manages to make it to the next book in the series.

This book however, does read with a wider range than most. It feels like the perfect YA Dystopian/Sci-Fi/Fantasy crossover that can also appeal to the adult sci-fi reader.


A Lost Legacy: Awakening (Promo Post)

A Lost Legacy: Awakening (Lost Legacies #1)
Author: C.E Dimond
Released: July 9th, 2015

 Finn Adams thought she knew what her life had in store for her; a mundane existence of day to day life. The arrival of a stranger in town turns her world upside down. When her mother goes missing, Finn soon discovers that she is a witch and she is being hunted for her power.

 Ripped from the only life she’s ever known, Finn is transported across the country to Broadhaven, Maine to discover the secrets she never knew about herself, her heritage, and the tremendous power that's been kept from her for so long. Her loyalties are tested when she learns of her true parentage and discovers she is part of a prophecy, destined to awaken an ancient power that has been lost for centuries.

 As she struggles to learn from her mother’s past, she is faced with the ultimate struggle of good and evil, family or friends, she must learn who she can trust and find the power within herself to stop the prophecy from coming true.

I am an Irish-Canadian Young Adult author who was born in Winnipeg, Canada (yes, it really does exist). I love my city and love even more that it's become Hollywood's running joke (Don't believe me? Just check out Youtube).

I have always been a writer, from poems in my Grade 6 diary (Ode to Hobbits), to short stories in the back of my math's book. I have always loved to create stories and find myself constantly creating new characters. 
I am a dedicated Fangirl of many proportions and I have a knack for getting expressions all wrong and saying incredibly stupid, but often hilarious things (My graduation gift from my friends was a book of my own quotes).

I am a proud alumna of St. Mary’s Academy, an all-girls Catholic prep school and I studied Theatre and Film at the University of Winnipeg. Currently, I am still hanging out in Winnipeg. 

Website - Goodreads  -Twitter - Instagram  - Facebook  -Tumblr

P.A.W.S (Promo Post)

Debbie Manber Kupfer

Synopsis: When Miri's grandmother dies, she takes with her the family secret. Miri finds herself alone and abandoned in a St. Louis boarding school. But she is about to discover the secret isn't dead. Taunted by bullies, Miri is shocked to learn she possesses a secret power. It can save her... but can it save those she loves? After she is befriended by others with the same strange, magical powers, her history comes alive. And with it, Miri's fate becomes more dangerous. Join Miri on a mysterious and supernatural journey with her new friends, members of an underground St. Louis society known as the Partnership for Animagi, Werewolves, and Shapeshifters, better known as P.A.W.S.

About The Author

Debbie grew up in the UK in the East London suburb of Barking. She has lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis, where for the last 14 years she has worked as a freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. She lives with her husband, two children and a very opinionated feline. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!


The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos (Promo Post)

The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos (Enlighten Series, #1)
Author: Kristin D. Van Risseghem
Released: May 20th, 2015

Synopsis: Zoe Jabril could be just another 17-year-old girl attending parties with her friends and checking out cute guys—except her best friend is a Guardian Angel, and the boy she crushes on is a Nephilim, half-angel, both sent to Earth to protect her. A high school classmate happens to be a trendsetting shopaholic fairy. And now there’s a new werewolf in town.

Zoe has to deal with her feelings toward Shay, who spreads a strange electrical current through her body every time he touches her. Now Zoe is under constant attack from demons, trying to kill and stop her from fulfilling the Prophecy: a girl will be born who will unite the Enlightens to battle evil. Then on top of that, between boring homework and drama with girls at school, she has to control new found talents if she’s to prevent the devil from escaping Hell.

In order to do so, Zoe must devise a kick-ass plan ASAP or watch everyone die, because she’s running out of time. She turns eighteen in two months—the date Armageddon kicks off.

About The Author

Kristin D. Van Risseghem grew up in a small river town along the Mississippi River with her parents and older sister. And after receiving a double Bachelor of Science degree from Winona State University in Paralegal and Corrections, she worked as a Paralegal for various law firms around the Twin Cities for 14 years. Then she left the legal field and is now a Senior Buyer for a technology company.

Currently, Kristin lives in Minnesota with her husband and two Calico cats. She also loves attending book clubs, going shopping, and hanging out with friends. She has come to realize that she absolutely has an addiction to purses and shoes. They are her weakness and probably has way too many of both.

In the summer months, Kristin can usually be found lounging on her boat, drinking an ice cold something. Being an avid reader of YA and Women's Literature stories, she still finds time to read a ton of books in-between writing. And in the winter months, her main goal is to stay warm from the Minnesota cold!

Kristin's books are published by Kasian Publishing.


Blood Red Road (Booktube)

Ashlynn's Dreams (Promo Post)

Ashlynn's Dreams (Devya's Children #1) 
Author: Julie C. Gilbert
Released: February 18th 2013

Synopsis: Before she was kidnapped, Jillian Marie Antel Blairington was just an average bright, brave, headstrong child. She was excited for life in a new house with her Momma and new Daddy. Afterward, she's all that ... and so much more. Held in a scientific facility, Jillian discovers her past-a family she never knew and a power she doesn't understand. With her ability now activated, she can enter and even shape a person's dreams. Jillian's been kidnapped, and her Gift has been triggered, so she can locate and save Benjamin Connelly, a brother she never even knew she had. She'd better master this strange ability quickly, though, because her life isn't the only one at stake. Her babysitter, Danielle Matheson, is being held as a hostage to ensure Jillian's full cooperation. Slowly, Jillian begins to learn more about her captor and the other genetically altered children held at the facility.

Join Jillian as she tries to survive the training being forced upon her, find her unknown brother, escape with Danielle, and work her way back to a normal life once more.

About The Author

Julie C. Gilbert teaches high school chemistry and writes Young Adult, science fiction, and Christian stories.


The Truth Spell (Review)

The Truth Spell (Werewolf High #1)
Author: Anita Oh
Publisher: N/A
Release Date: Not Listed
Pages: Not Listed
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis: As soon as I stepped onto the grounds of Amaris High, I knew I'd made a big mistake. I could never fit in at such a snobbish school – I was more IT girl than "it girl". But then I saw him.

Sam Spencer. My childhood best friend. But it couldn't be. Sam Spencer had died three years ago, on the night that changed everything. I need to know what happened, why he's suddenly not dead and is hanging out with a bunch of rich kids.

When the school is hit by a truth spell, it seems like the perfect chance to find out what Sam and his creepy new friends are hiding, but the weirder things get, the less I'm sure I want to know. Even for Sam, even for the free food, Amaris High might be more trouble than it's worth.

 I will start off my saying I liked this book, it was good. It is a fun, fast-paced and modern YA read. Our protagonist is suddenly reunited with her childhood best friend who, get this, died three years earlier...WHAT? This is definitely where I got hooked into the story, because what the heck is even happening?

The truth spell is a really fun aspect to the story because it sort of switches the point of view around, suddenly all these other characters whose minds are off limits to us, will be revealed because they have to spill their secrets. Fun, and definitely a unique twist.

There were however, things that bothered me, things that didn't necessarily take away from the story but that I had to address anyway!

First off the beginning felt really fast. I was a good chunk into the book already and literally knew nothing about the main character which felt weird.

Also, everyone was stereotypically themselves. I get trying to portray a mean spoiled rich kid vibe, but really, not ALL the rich kids can be that awful. I went to a prep school myself and sure there were a group of 'mean girls' (because really what school doesn't have them) but the rest of the people, rich or not, were just... people.

 I don't know. I just don't know, I just felt like the importance of the super ‘important’ students was a little over emphasized. 

Another concern I had was with some of the references in the story and how well they can withstand time. There was a reference earlier on in the book about the man with the ‘hipster beard’. I can picture it of course because currently, the hipster beard, as it were, is everywhere.

5-10 years from now, when undoubtedly this style will pass (as most styles so often do) will a new generation read this and go ‘ah yes, the Hipster beard’? I’m not so sure.

This is why I always say that description is always a writer’s friend. If the beard is important enough to be mentioned, I like to be able to visualize it beyond a reference than may become irrelevant.  There are literally hundreds of styles of beard that could fall under the classification of ‘hipster’ Is it well trimmed? Scraggly? Long? Braided? Is the mustache waxed out like a super villain? You get my point?

Why am I harping on something as bizarre and strange as a beard in a YA novel? Because weird things stick with me okay, deal with it.

All these random weird personal issues aside, I did enjoy the story of Amaris high. It was an easy read and overall fun. I would certainly read the second book in the series.

Recommendation: If you like fun, paranormal reads with a boarding school twist you will like this story!

Henchgirl Release Day! (Promo Post)

Title: Henchgirl
Author: Rita Stradling
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

I had never thought my life was ideal, but it had been manageable.
By day I pretended to be a human, going to a ‘human’s only’ high-school, making human friends and trying to get the attention of Keanu Hale, my school’s quarterback. At night, I worked as a henchman, making sure no one got in the way of my grandfather’s hotel-empire which spanned across the Mabiian island chain. I was my grandfather’s most cherished weapon, I stole and manipulated emotions, I would even drain someone of their ability to feel joy if my grandfather ordered me to.

I won’t apologize for what I did, it kept my sisters fed and my grandfather from finding out that my mother squandered our monthly allowance on shopping and throwing extravagant parties. It kept my family alive. But more importantly, my job kept me from being trained to be a wife and married off to some rich and powerful dracon, a human-dragon hybrid, as all girls with one-eighth dragon blood are.

As I said, my life was just manageable, until Wyvern Manderson vacationed to my island. Wyvern Manderson, the rich, powerful, and famous for something or other, half-dragon jerk, just kept showing up, sabotaging my missions and ordering me around. On top of that, for some reason he was always angry at me.

Pretty soon I was suspended from further missions, facing eminent financial ruin and still had to see the jerk everywhere I went. When my friend Amanda from my human-high-school vanished, Amanda turned out to be Wyvern’s human half-sister he was keeping secret and protecting.

Taking on the mission to find Amanda might have been what I needed to save my family from losing everything, but to do it I would have to spend all day everyday with the jerk. To top that all off, Amanda was not the only girl who disappeared, and when girls started being discovered dead I realized that my sanity wasn’t the biggest thing I would be risking in this investigation; I might very well be the next to die.

Author Bio

Rita Stradling lives with her husband and son in Northern California. Her six year old son wants to be a train when he grows up. She has a BA in Art History and a particular interest in modern and medieval art. Rita has an insatiable novel addiction and mostly reads young adult and adult: paranormal, urban fantasy and high fantasy.


Get the book on Amazon, in eBook and paperback format.

Five Out of the Ashes (Five #3) (Review)

Five Out of the Ashes (Five #3)
By Holli Anderson
Pages 278 |  November 30th 2015 | Curiosity Quills Press
Rating: 4/5

 Their last battle ended with death and despair, but they have no time to mourn. One of their own has been taken and the Quinae Praesidia set out to find and rescue her. In this third and last installment of the FIVE series, the FIVE discover new powers, make a desperate run through the Netherworld, land on an island paradise . . . and find that Brone, always a step ahead of them, is becoming more powerful than ever.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for Honest review. I was drawn in my the cover and the description even though I had not read the other two in the series. I am notorious for doing this however and I find that often times you can differentiate between whether or not it is a good book, or just something people are reading because it's a continuation by how you react as an unknowing reader.

I really loved it. I had no idea who the characters were, or what had just happened and yet I was still able to be drawn into the story and none of that seemed to matter. As the book began I was introduced to the characters, their woes and pains. It didn't matter that I hadn't' read them before cause I was quickly able to pick up on their connections and relationships.

The story takes a significantly darker turn as one of the five gets horribly hurt, but I won't go much beyond that for spoilers! The character consistency throughout the book is awe inspiring I know personally it can be a difficult thing to maintain especially across a series.

One I started, I couldn't stop reading. I always find it interesting to see how teenagers react when placed in such high stake scenarios, especially considering some of the characters are quite young. I definitely will be picking up the first two books in this series so I can get a full understanding of the universe!

If you love an intense fantasy read, definitely check out this book.


Snow Globe (Review)

Snow Globe 
By Jeanne Skartsiaris
Pages 232 | Jan 11th, 2016 | Barclay Publishing
Rating: 4/5

Troubled teen. Juvenile delinquent. Aja Harmon is familiar with the labels. She and her mom live like gypsies, moving every year. Her mom works as a psychic and Aja fights to suppress her own intuitive abilities because the power scares her.

After losing a cool job at Abercrombie & Fitch, the only work Aja can find is as a waitress at an elderly residence home. Slowly she begins to enjoy working with the seniors. Unlikely bonds forge, making their worlds bigger while shrinking the generation gap.

If only a corrupt police officer hadn't set his sights on Aja—a beautiful girl with a sketchy past. An easy target to add to his twisted collection.

Snow Globe is a story about a teen who tries to do the right thing but continues to find trouble with her smart mouth and fearless attitude. Working at the assisted living facility, Aja learns compassion and how important yet fragile life is.

 Loved this story. I had great dynamic characters and a story that drew me in and kept me engaged the entire time. I have never read any work by this author before but will certainly be looking for some now!

The story had me on the edge of my seat. A beautifully flawed and down on her luck character Aja was just he sort of vision you want to root for, the one you keep reading and hoping that things will finally go her way. This is the character I have been waiting for.

The plot was fast paced but not rushed, I didn't feel like I was confused, or annoyed with anything being thrown at me, it all seemed to flow really well.

It was refreshing to read this story, it was its own and didn't read with the familiar pressures of making these flawless characters. We got to read along with a lead who tried to make the right choices but didn't always get to reap the benefits. This is one of the better ARC's that I have read so far, and I'm in love with the story.

The only thing I felt dragged on a little bit was the wrap-up, it almost read like it could have been summarized in fewer words, but I did like getting to see how this character finally gets to come to terms with things and moves forward with life.

 If you love face paced (but not rushed) stories with amazing main characters and lots of action sand suspense, read this!

This arc was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.