Serafina and the Black Cloak (Serafina, #1) by Robert Beatty | Book Review

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Title: Serafina and the Black Cloak

Author: Robert Beatty

How did I get it? I borrowed it from the library via the Libby app

What’s it about? 

“NEVER GO INTO the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul.”

Serafina’s father had two rules; never go into the forest and never let the people of the house see her.  Serafina had complete freedom to roam and explore the grounds of the estate as long as she remained unseen. She’s never had a reason to disobey her father. That is until one night she witnessed a man in a black cloak chasing after a girl through the lower levels of the estate. After narrowly escaping the clutches of the mysterious villain, Serafina joined Braeden Vanderbilt, the nephew of the owner’s of the estate, into the investigation of the identity of the man in the black cloak. Tension builds as more of the children at the estate turned up missing. Serafina’s hunt leads her to the forest her father had always warned her away from and a discovery of her true identity.

Thoughts: I had so much fun reading Serafina. It’s a suspenseful mystery wrapped up in a creepy yet magical world. There was never a dull moment. Serafina managed to get herself out of one sticky situation and then found herself knee deep into the next one. I did find the plot a bit predictable at times, but seeing as this is a middle-grade series I sort of expected it. There was a bit of a supernatural twist to the story that made it more sinister than I expected given the intended audience. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and jumped right into book two shortly after finishing it.

My Rating:

★★★★☆

As always keep on reading and stay book nerdy my friends!

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Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger | Book Review

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How did I get it? I borrowed this as an audiobook from my library via my Libby app.

Narrated by: Molly Pope.

What’s it about?

Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger is the third installment in her suspense thriller The Hollows, Elisa Montgomery series. Finley Montgomery has been able to see into the future for as far back as she can remember. Finley’s premonitions manifest in the form of dreams and she can see beyond the physical world. Unfortunately, Finley still struggles with controlling her powers so she turns to her grandmother for guidance. Before she knows it, Finley finds herself in the middle of a dangerous investigation into the disappearance of a little girl. Time is running out and the pressure is on to find the missing girl before it is too late.

“There were 9,780 living souls populating The Hollows. There were good people and bad ones, people with secrets and dark appetites, happy people, and people buckling under the weight of grief and sorrow. There were people who were looking for things and loved ones they had lost, and people hiding. There were lost people, trying to find their way home. Each of them was connected to the others in ways that were obvious or as hidden as the abandoned mine tunnels beneath the ground. Each had his purpose and his place in The Hollows, whether he knew it or not. Everything here had its time and its season.”

Thoughts:

This was a quick and easy read. I loved the storyline that centered around Finley and her journey of learning to figure her life out. I found her backstory to be very compelling. I really connected with her character. I wanted to love the actual mystery thriller plot just as much, but it was entirely too predictable for me to get sucked in. I also wish the epilogue had been left out, as I don’t think it really added anything substantial to the story.

Overall, there were parts that I really enjoyed and parts that I felt like needed a bit more development. I’m not sure if the fact that I started this series on the third book affected my reading experience. This has been my first time reading anything by this author as well. Keep that in mind if you are still on the fence about picking this one up. I think it had quite a bit of potential though so I’m going to try picking up the other books in the series to see how I like them.

Rating: 3 stars!

As always keep on reading and stay book nerdy my friends!

 

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Something Like Happy by Eva Woods | Book Review

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How did I get it? I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

Other books reviewed by the same author: N/A

Key Words: Mental illness, terminal illness, friendship, romance, contemporary fiction

Thoughts:

Something Like Happy by Eva Woods was an emotional rollercoaster of a read. It followed Annie Hebden, a thirty-five-year-old woman who had been stuck in a rut after she suffered a terrible loss. She doesn’t enjoy her job, her roommate was irritating and she wallowed in her self-pity. Then she met Polly Leonard. Polly, the friendly and lively woman that inserts herself into Annie’s life, determined to be friends. Despite Annie’s multiple attempts at giving Polly the cold-shoulder, Polly persisted and eventually gets Annie to agree to be friends. Polly proposes that Annie joins her in a 100 days of happiness project where they will do things, big or small, that will bring joy into their lives for 100 days. Annie was convinced this could not work but finally agreed to play along. The two women go on an emotional journey celebrating their accomplishments, learning to live in the moment and gain strength from one another. This was a story about love, friendship, grief, and learning to find joy in simplicity.

“I think we should all live as if we are dying too – because we are, make no mistake. We should live as if we’re dying at some unspecified but possibly quite soon time. We can’t expect every day to be happy, and there’ll always be sickness and heartache and sadness, but we should never put up with a sad or a boring or a depressing day, just for the sake of it. None of us have time for that, whether we have a hundred days left or a hundred thousand.”

I really enjoyed the friendship between Annie and Polly in this book. The two women developed a bond that was stronger than friendship, and through their bond, they gave each other motivation and strength. This benefited both women since Annie struggled with depression after a terrible loss and Polly had to come to terms with her diagnosis of terminal cancer.

I was not a fan of the romantic subplot centered around Annie’s relationship with Dr. Max. It felt forced and unrealistic. The chemistry just was not there in my opinion. Also, the plot was a bit too predictable which took away from my overall reading experience.

All in all, Something Like Happy was a heartfelt, and enjoyable read. A bit on the sappy side and somewhat unsurprising. There were some things that could have been improved as far as the writing goes, but it is a story that is filled with potential.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

As always keep on reading and stay book nerdy my friends!

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The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo |Audiobook Review

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How did I get it? I borrowed it from my library via my Hoopla app

Genre: YA Contemporary, Poetry

Release Date/Publisher: 3/6/18 by HarperCollins

Narrator: Elizabeth Acevedo

Rating: 5 stars!

Recommend it? I cannot recommend it enough! Everyone should read it.


My Thoughts:

The Poet X is a story told in verse about Xiomara Batista. Xiomara is 16 years old and feels silenced in her own home by her mother’s strict religious beliefs and her father’s dismissive demeanor. Xiomara finds her release in the words that she uses to fill up her journal. She has so much to say, so many frustrations to let out and her words come out in the form of poetry.

“I am the baby fat that settled into D-cups and swinging hips so that the boys who called me a whale in middle school now ask me to send them pictures of myself in a thong.”

Xiomara poetry is very personal and deals with all the social issues she is confronted with on a daily basis. She talks about body acceptance, rape culture, love, self-love, abuse, religion, how women are portrayed in the bible, sexism, and bigotry. She is struggling to understand her place in the world and who she wants to be.

“When I’m told to have faith in the father, the son, in men – and men are the first ones to make me feel so small.”

I could keep pulling quotes from this for days but I won’t spoil it for you. I would recommend you listen to the audio book version. There is something so powerful about hearing Xiomara’s story in audio format. The performance was beautiful, empowering, and heartfelt. I think everyone should read it. It is undoubtedly my favorite book that I’ve read so far this year.

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The Deep by Nick Cutter

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In Nick Cutter’s The Deep a plague called the ‘Gets is on the verge of wiping out the human race. The infected start out by forgetting the small things, and then the bigger things until one day their body just forgets how to function. It’s a disease that eats away at a person’s mind and body. It is untreatable and there is no cure. Then a mysterious substance, called Ambrosia, is discovered eight miles below the ocean’s surface in the Mariana Trench. It seems like an answer to humanity’s prayers, or is it?

In record time an underwater research station called the Trieste is set up and three scientists are sent to study the Ambrosia and hopefully cultivate it. Things go amiss when the Trieste stops responding to attempts of communication. The last response was from one of the scientists, Clayton, asking for his brother Luke.

Luke travels to the Trieste along with a pilot to discover what has happened to the scientists on the Trieste. They quickly figure out that things are not what they seem and find themselves trapped at the bottom of the ocean. Isolated yet not entirely alone. There are things in the dark. Creepy, crawly, hungry things.

Cutter’s story is not entirely original. It’s a story about madness and things that lurk in the dark waiting to eat you. We’ve seen this premise before in books like The Shining and movies like Alien. However, just because it isn’t original doesn’t mean it isn’t a thrilling and terrifying read. The Deep is one of those stories that slowly creeps into your subconscious and makes your skin crawl. It will leave you wanting to banish all traces of darkness in your home and check under your bed for monsters. It’s suspenseful, dark, and twisted horrific things are happening all over the place. It scared the crap out of me and I loved it. Also, I will never look at bees the same way again.

On Point (Out of Uniform #3) by Annabeth Albert

Imagine having someone you trust to have your back whether you are at home or out on a mission. Imagine developing a bond so strong with that someone that they become your best friend. Now imagine falling in love with that person. Would you risk that friendship for a chance to have it all? On Point is a friends to lovers story that follows navy SEALS, Maddox and Ben. This is book three in the Out of Uniform series by Annabeth Albert. I have not read the previous books, but I had no problem following this one since each book in the series follows a separate couple.

Maddox and Ben are on a mission to rescue the kidnapped sons of two senators. Things don’t go as planned and the two men are separated from their team deep in the middle of enemy territory. Both men are injured, but through Ben’s sheer stubborn determination they both manage to survive. Once back home on medical leave the tension builds between them as Maddox and Ben are forced to deal with the feelings that have developed between them.

I really enjoyed this slow burning romance. The chemistry between Maddox and Ben is off the charts hot. Their solid foundation of friendship and shared history make the transition from friends to lovers feel natural. Witnessing Maddox and Ben discovering how to navigate the changes and obstacles that they have to face while trying to maintain their relationship was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. This book will cause some major FEELS.

This was a great friends to lovers romance. I absolutely loved it. Albert’s characters are complex and beautifully flawed. The action scenes at the beginning of the book were fast paced and suspenseful. This has some heart wrenching moments so be prepared to break out the tissues. I would recommend this one to anyone that is looking for a romantic read with a military theme or a friends-to-lovers love story.

*Review Copy provided by Carina Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.