Melissa’s Review: Worst. Book. Ever. The Awesome Adventures of Max Power. by Wayne Basta

Worst. Book. Ever. The Awesome Adventures of Max Power.Worst. Book. Ever. The Awesome Adventures of Max Power.
written by Wayne Basta
published by Wayne Basta, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book? 
It’s so bad it’s good. If Gilmore Girls was a book, it would be this. The sheer number of pop-culture references is in itself amazing, and I’m in awe of Mr. Basta’s ability to write an entire storyline–complete with vampires, raptors, robots, time travel, and pirates–that builds up to what’s essentially a “your mom” joke. It’s epic. Aluminum falcon-Gandalmore-side-trip-just-to-make-an-Archer-joke epic. Read this book. Read. This. Book.



“Inside a large stone room, we came face-to-face with a mighty black dragon. Its eyes glowed a deep red, and smoke billowed from the giant creature’s nostrils. A metallic groan sounded as it moved, scraping its mighty claws on the stone floor. I must admit, even I was awed by the size of the creature. I held up a banana as I stood there, taking in the sight of the mighty beast. Beside me, Zink leaned in close. ‘Why do you have a banana?’

‘For scale.'”



Would I recommend it? Absolutely. You’ll LOL IRL. For realz.


About the book – from Goodreads: 
Max Power, secret agent, Nobel Laureate, private eye, is a big damn hero. But when Femfa Tall, a rising starlet with a big problem, comes to him for help, he finds himself up against his arch-nemesis the evil Doctor Guy… again. No worries—ninjas, time travel, rebels with their own flags, robots, evil clones, Double Entendre, and pirates can’t make a dent in Max Power’s awesomeness—or can they?


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Melissa’s Review: Scythe of Darkness by Dawn Husted

Scythe of DarknessScythe of Darkness
written by Dawn Husted
published by Dawn Husted, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) AmazonGoodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book? 
I’m struggling to answer this question. You know how sometimes you watch a show you’re not really that excited about because it’s the only thing on? This book was kind of like that for me. I read the ARC, so I’m hoping editors will catch the usage errors (peddle vs pedal, for example) and, you know, the fact that Mia wears glasses in the book but apparently doesn’t need them on the cover. Plot-wise I’d say this book is basically Twilight with a few tweaks–a little bit creepier, certainly, but a little bit watered-down as well. I’m placing it firmly in the “decent, but not worth reading again” pile.


Would I recommend it? Nah.



About the book – from Goodreads: 
For Mia Hieskety, surviving high school meant focusing on exams and avoiding stupid parties. After breaking up with the only boyfriend she ever had, dating was off the agenda. That is, until Thanatos came along.

Inexplicably drawn to Thanatos, she’s determined to find out who he is and why he insists on wearing gloves to school. Something is off about him. And it’s as if she can feel him when he’s near.

Without warning, she’s thrust into a sinister world and discovers a truth that she never expected. When a supernatural connection puts Mia’s life at risk, she doesn’t know who to trust—especially Thanatos. But what if she’s in love with him?

Bold, irresistible, and beautifully written, Scythe of Darknessexplores a star-crossed destiny in a whole new way. Don’t miss this hot YA urban fantasy!


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Jaclyn’s Review: A Pinch of Ooh La La by Renee Swindle

A Pinch of Ooh La LaA Pinch of Ooh La La
written by Renee Swindle
published by NAL, 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book? 
I liked this book. It had a cute plot and kept things moving at a good pace. As a music lover, I enjoyed all of the jazz references. There were a number of times I got pretty upset with the main character, Abbey–it was obvious she was entering into an unhealthy relationship and I wanted to slap some sense into her! I guess the fact that I was so concerned about her is a sign that the character is well written! I liked that this had a happy ending, yet left things open ended.



Would I recommend it? Sure, this was a fun, quick read. There wasn’t much here that would turn off a general audience. The characters were well written, and the story moved at a good pace.



Have you read A Pinch of Ooh La La?


About the book – from Goodreads: To get to happily ever after, sometimes you need to start from scratch….

Abbey Ross, who runs her own bakery in Oakland, California, is known for her visually stunning wedding cakes. But lately, Abbey’s own love life has become stale. According to her best friend, Bendrix, Abbey’s not the spontaneous young woman she was when they were teenagers listening to the Cure and creating attention-grabbing graffiti. Of course, her failed relationship with a womanizing art forger might have something to do with that. Nevertheless, it’s time for Abbey to step out of the kitchen—and her comfort zone—and Bendrix has even handpicked a man for her to date.

Samuel Howard is everything Abbey’s dreamed of: handsome, successful, and looking to raise a family. But a creamy icing might be needed to hide a problem or two. When Samuel complains about disrespect for the institution of marriage, Abbey’s reminded of her nontraditional family, with thirteen children from various mothers. And when Samuel rails about kids having kids, Abbey thinks of her twenty-year-old sister who’s recently revealed her pregnancy.

Soon Abbey is facing one disaster after another and struggling to make sense of it all. Her search for love has led her down a bitter path, but with the help of her unique family and unwavering friends, she just might find the ooh la la that makes life sweet.


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Melissa’s Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts, #1)Gilded Cage
written by Vic James
published by Del Rey Books, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & NobleAmazoniBooks, Target, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book? 
Gilded Cage is, without a doubt, the best book I’ve read this year. I loved it. It’s like a mix of Divergent and The Hunger Games, but with magic! Sweet! I’m on tenterhooks waiting for the next installment. I didn’t think the world was big enough for yet another dystopian trilogy, but I was so, so wrong. Read this book. Do it!


Golden Lines

“Always look at the people, not at the mass. A face, not the crowd. Look at the world, not at the ground. Every little detail you see is a victory.”



Would I recommend it? Absofreakinglutely.




Have you read Gilded Cage? Will you be adding it to your TBR?


About the book – from Goodreads: In modern-day Britain, magic users control everything: wealth, politics, power—and you. If you’re not one of the ultimate one-percenters—the magical elite—you owe them ten years of service. Do those years when you’re old, and you’ll never get through them. Do them young, and you’ll never get over them.

This is the darkly decadent world of Gilded Cage. In its glittering milieu move the all-powerful Jardines and the everyday Hadleys. The families have only one thing in common: Each has three children. But their destinies entwine when one family enters the service of the other. They will all discover whether any magic is more powerful than the human spirit.

Have a quick ten years. . . .


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Summer Reading Challenge 2017: Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave (Chrissy’s review)


Hello, Sunshine 
written byLaura Dave
published by Simon Schuster, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Target, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book? 
I did enjoy this read. It wasn’t quite what I expected, and I’m happy about that.

Hello, Sunshine starts off with the leading lady, Sunshine Mackenzie, telling the readers not to like her. And I questioned that from the beginning. And that questioning kept me reading until the end. This book moved. Sunshine’s fall from the top was swift and merciless. And then she had to rebuild her life . . . whether that was the same life or a different life or an old life, she had to come back from the bottom. I liked the road Sunshine took. It wasn’t what I was expecting. The reveal toward the end was a surprise for me. I didn’t see it coming at all. This book had a few other surprises, too. I definitely read it every free chance I had.

Hello, Sunshine was my first Laura Dave book, but it won’t be my last. I have Eight Hundred Grapes sitting on my shelf. I will be reading that soon!


Would I recommend it? Sure! If you like chick lit/women’s fiction, definitely pick up this one!



About the book – from Goodreads: 
From Laura Dave—the author of the “addictive” (Us Weekly), “winning” (Publishers Weekly) and critically acclaimed bestseller Eight Hundred Grapes—comes a new novel about the secrets we keep…even from ourselves.

Sunshine Mackenzie has it all…until her secrets come to light.

Sunshine Mackenzie is living the dream—she’s a culinary star with millions of fans, a line of #1 bestselling cookbooks, and a devoted husband happy to support her every endeavor.

And then she gets hacked.

When Sunshine’s secrets are revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. She loses the husband, her show, the fans, and her apartment. She’s forced to return to the childhood home—and the estranged sister—she’s tried hard to forget. But what Sunshine does amid the ashes of her own destruction may well save her life.

In a world where celebrity is a careful construct, Hello, Sunshine is a compelling, funny, and evocative novel about what it means to live an authentic life in an inauthentic age.



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Jaclyn’s Review: The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

The Madwoman Upstairs
written by Catherine Lowell
published by Touchstone, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & NobleAmazon, iBooks, Target, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy it? Oh my goodness, I love this book! Let’s ignore the plot for a minute–this book is just written WELL. I enjoyed reading it. It’s clear the author is intelligent and highly educated. Sentences, paragraphs, and chapters were well thought out. I’ve read books where it sounds like the author just figured out how to use the thesaurus function in the word processor–big words that don’t make a whole lot of sense with the book. This isn’t the case here.

Now let’s talk about the plot. This is painful to admit, but I’ve never read a single Brontë book. Not one. I was a little hesitant to read a book about the Brontës. Would I need to understand the books to understand this one? Nope! You get sucked into these characters and the plot pretty quickly. Throughout the entire book you are left to wonder what on earth Samantha’s inheritance might be. The plot starts to slow down in the middle of the book, but it picked back up and raced until the end. The ending tied in perfectly with the beginning. I’m not sure there has ever been a more well thought-out book. Perhaps one by the Brontës? 😉


Would I recommend it? Absolutely! I love this book! I didn’t think that there was any part of the plot that was questionable for a specific age group. However, the writing is quite advanced. I have already recommended this book to others and will continue to do so. Read this book!



About the book – from Goodreads: In this smart and enthralling debut in the spirit of The Weird Sisters and Special Topics in Calamity Physics, the only remaining descendant of the Brontë family embarks on a modern-day literary scavenger hunt to find the family’s long-rumored secret estate, using clues her eccentric father left behind.

Samantha Whipple is used to stirring up speculation wherever she goes. As the last remaining descendant of the Brontë family, she’s rumored to have inherited a vital, mysterious portion of the Brontë’s literary estate; diaries, paintings, letters, and early novel drafts; a hidden fortune that’s never been shown outside of the family.

But Samantha has never seen this rumored estate, and as far as she knows, it doesn’t exist. She has no interest in acknowledging what the rest of the world has come to find so irresistible; namely, the sudden and untimely death of her eccentric father, or the cryptic estate he has bequeathed to her.

But everything changes when Samantha enrolls at Oxford University and bits and pieces of her past start mysteriously arriving at her doorstep, beginning with an old novel annotated in her father’s handwriting. As more and more bizarre clues arrive, Samantha soon realizes that her father has left her an elaborate scavenger hunt using the world’s greatest literature. With the aid of a handsome and elusive Oxford professor, Samantha must plunge into a vast literary mystery and an untold family legacy, one that can only be solved by decoding the clues hidden within the Brontë’s own writing.

A fast-paced adventure from start to finish, this vibrant and original novel is a moving exploration of what it means when the greatest truth is, in fact, fiction.


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Chrissy’s Review: Geekerella by Ashley Poston

written by Ashley Poston
published by Quirk Books, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Target, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book? 
I really did enjoy this book. It had me reading every free chance I had.

Geekerella is a modern retelling of . . . you guessed it, Cinderella. I love so many things about this book. I love that Elle is a Starfield geek. I love that Darien is a geek, too. I love that Elle works for a food truck called The Magic Pumpkin. Her coworker, Sage, is great, too. I wasn’t sure I was going to like her, but I really did. She was a wonderful friend to Elle, even when she was reluctant to make friends. You have to feel bad for Elle and her situation. It would be hard to lose both of your parents and to be raised by a stepparent that doesn’t like you. The stepsisters were interesting, too. They weren’t exactly what I expected.

This is a retelling I’d love to see as a movie, especially the contest and the ball at the convention.

I have to say that I really loved this book. It was such a fun read.


Would I recommend it? Definitely.


About the book – from Goodreads: 
Anything can happen once upon a con…

When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.

Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.



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Blog Tour: This Is Not The End by Chandler Baker (Chrissy’s review)

This Is Not The End
written by Chandler Baker
published by Disney-Hyperion, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book? 
I really did. I read this book every free chance I had and finished it in a few hours. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that fast.

This Is Not The End is a future-ish story (the timeframe isn’t specified, but it fits in today’s world) where scientists have developed the ability to resurrect someone who has died. You can only resurrect one person on your 18th birthday, though. So, there are a lot of decisions and ethics and other factors that come into play.

Lake Devereaux tells us her story from the perspective of how many days until her 18th birthday . . . the day she must choose whether to resurrect someone and, if she chooses to do so, whom to resurrect. After surviving a horrific car accident, Lake has to decide between her best friend, her boyfriend, and one other person. Can you imagine? She learns a lot about those closest to her. I liked Lake. She wasn’t weak, but she had a lot to learn, and at times she was a bit naive, but I thought she was a great character. I didn’t like her parents throughout most of the book, but I could kind of understand what they were going through. I understood even more as Lake learned more. I really didn’t like her brother Matt for most of the story. He had some great moments, though. All the characters played their roles well.

I don’t want to give away too much of this great story, so I will just say that this book grabbed from the first page and didn’t let me go until the end.



Would I recommend it? Yes!


About the book – from Goodreads: 
I wonder if for the rest of my life, I’ll be haunted by beautiful days.

On one cloudless, radiant summer afternoon, Lake Devereaux lost everything. The car crash claimed the lives of her best friend and boyfriend, the people who had become her family after her own fell apart. But she doesn’t have to lose them both.

The development of resurrection technology has changed the world. Under the new laws regulating the process, each person gets one resurrection to be used or forfeited on their eighteenth birthday. Mere weeks away from turning eighteen, Lake faces an impossible choice.

Envisioning life without one of the people she loves most is shattering enough, but Lake carries an additional burden: years ago, under family pressure, Lake secretly—and illegally—promised her resurrection to someone who isn’t even dead yet.

The search for answers about her future draws Lake more deeply into the secrets of her past until she begins to question everything about those closest to her. Betrayals and hurts both new and old threaten to eclipse the memories she once cherished.

Then Lake meets a boy unlike anyone she’s encountered before, who unflinchingly embraces the darkest parts of her life . . . and who believes that all resurrections are wrong.

Which path is the right one? And how can Lake start to heal when she can’t move on?




About the author: Chandler Baker grew up in Florida, went to college at the University of Pennsylvania, and studied law at the University of Texas. She now lives in Austin with her husband, though her heart remains at the beach. She strongly believes that writing quality improves vastly if done while staring out at a large body of water and daydreaming. Chandler is the author of the young adult thriller Alive, as well as the High School Horror series.

Find Ms. Baker here: web, Twitter, Goodreads


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Chrissy’s Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

By Your Side
written by Kasie West
published by Harper Teen, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Target, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book? I did enjoy By Your Side. It was a sweet read that had me reading every free chance I had.

First, how awesome would it be to be stuck in a LIBRARY with a cute boy?? What a premise! I liked where the story went after they got out of the library, too. This book also deals with a heavier subject . . . anxiety disorder. I understand why she didn’t tell her friends about it, but because it was so severe, I would have thought she would have at least told her closest friends so they could help her if the need would arise. So, while I understand her keeping it a secret, I wish she would have been open about it with her close friends. Also, With that said, there were a few things I had to overlook . . . Why couldn’t she get out of the library from the inside? And why weren’t there phones? I would think a business would have a phone. However, it was easy to overlook those circumstances and just go with the story.

All in all, this was another fun read from Ms. West. I can’t wait to read more from her.


Would I recommend it? Sure! It’s a good YA contemporary read.



About the book – from Goodreads: 
In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?



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Jaclyn’s Review: The Perfect Game by Stephen Paul

The Perfect Game

The Perfect Game
written by Stephen Paul
published by Telemachus Press, LLC, 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & NobleAmazoniBooks, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I really enjoyed reading this book. The premise is pretty weird, if I’m being completely honest. It’s a murder mystery where the murders are committed by transferring the victim’s energy to another person–supposedly timed with specific baseball games. It sounds weird when you say it like that. I promise you–this is a good read. It was compelling to read. I really wanted to know who was committing the murders and if the hero would be able to stop whoever it was. This book won major points with me for originality–I’ve never read anything like this before.


Would I recommend it: Absolutely! I’ve actually already tried to recommend this book to people. I get blank stares when I try to explain what the book is about–it just sounds weird. You have to go out on a limb for this one, but I promise you that it is worth it!  Read this book . . . you’ll be glad you did!



About the book – from Goodreads: In a dark Manhattan alley, a young woman suddenly collapses from a brain hemorrhage. The statistics say it’s rare to have happened to someone so young and healthy, yet all signs point to natural causes. But when Kyle Vine, the man she was supposed to meet that night, learns she wasn’t the only victim, he knows there’s something more going on and soon discovers a mysterious link to the sudden success of a journeyman pitcher for the New York Yankees.

As the lethal brain bleeds continue to strike, Kyle and the woman’s eccentric uncle work together to unravel a mystery unlike any the world has ever seen in order to stop a ruthless killer from striking again.

Stephen Paul’s debut supernatural suspense thriller, The Perfect Game, is a fast-paced gripping ride that will continue to keep readers on the edge of their seats while trying to figure out who’s behind the deadly episodes, how they’re doing it and, perhaps most shocking of all, why.


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