Mini Reviews: Duology Sequels – Wildcard, by Marie Lu & Evermore, by Sara Holland

Mini Reviews: Duology Sequels

For this set of mini reviews, I want to talk about a couple duology sequels that I listened to the audiobooks for, specifically Wildcard, by Marie Lu and Evermore, by Sarah Holland. I had listened to the first books in both of these series and really enjoyed them, and after waiting to get my hands on these sequels was hoping they’d live up to their predecessors. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as we hope…

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Book Review: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, by Hannah Tinti

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, by Hannah Tinti

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Samuel Tinti

Published by Dial Press on March 28, 2017

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, contemporary

Format & Length: e-book, 416

Source: purchased

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A father protects his daughter from the legacy of his past and the truth about her mother’s death in this thrilling new novel from the prize-winning author of The Good Thief.

After years spent living on the run, Samuel Hawley moves with his teenage daughter, Loo, to Olympus, Massachusetts. There, in his late wife’s hometown, Hawley finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at school and grows curious about her mother’s mysterious death. Haunting them both are twelve scars Hawley carries on his body, from twelve bullets in his criminal past; a past that eventually spills over into his daughter’s present, until together they must face a reckoning yet to come. This father-daughter epic weaves back and forth through time and across America, from Alaska to the Adirondacks.

Both a coming-of-age novel and a literary thriller, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley explores what it means to be a hero, and the cost we pay to protect the people we love most.

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Book Review: Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Published by Penguin Books on July 27, 1959 (originally published September 17, 1954)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, classics

Format & Length: e-book, 189

Source: library

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At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate; this far from civilization the boys can do anything they want. Anything. They attempt to forge their own society, failing, however, in the face of terror, sin and evil. And as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far from reality as the hope of being rescued. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies is perhaps our most memorable tale about “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.”

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Book Review: The Painted Veil, by W. Somerset Maugham

The Painted Veil, by W. Somerset Maugham

The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

Published by Vintage International on February 10, 2004 (originally published April 1925)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, classics, historical fiction

Format & Length: paperback, 246

Source: purchased

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Set in England and Hong Kong in the 1920s, The Painted Veil is the story of the beautiful but love-starved Kitty Fane. When her husband discovers her adulterous affair, he forces her to accompany him to the heart of a cholera epidemic. Stripped of the British society of her youth and the small but effective society she fought so hard to attain in Hong Kong, she is compelled by her awakening conscience to reassess her life and learn how to love.

The Painted Veil is a beautifully written affirmation of the human capacity to grow, to change, and to forgive.

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Audiobook Review: My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante

My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Published by Blackstone Audio, Inc. on April 7, 2015 (originally published October 19, 2011)

Series: The Neapolitan Novels, #1

Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction

Format & Length: audiobook, 12:38:45

Source: library

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A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila, who represent the story of a nation and the nature of friendship.

The story begins in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets, the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow – and as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge – Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists.

With My Brilliant Friend, the first in a series, Ferrante proves herself to be one of Italy’s greatest storytellers. She has given her readers a masterfully plotted pause-resister, abundant and generous in its narrative details and characterizations – a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight her many fans and win new listeners to her work.

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Book Review: Justice Gone, by N. Lombardi Jr.

Justice Gone, by N. Lombardi Jr.

Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr.

Published by  Roundfire Books on Feburary 22, 2019

Series: Dr. Tessa Thorpe, #1

Genre(s): fiction, thriller

Format & Length: e-book, 336

Source: author

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When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down. A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase. Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers get there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture. Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge? Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr Tessa Thorpe, wrapped in the divisive issues of modern American society including police brutality and disenfranchised returning war veterans. N Lombardi Jr. is the author of compelling and heartfelt novel The Plain of Jars.

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Book Review: Elai Nelson and the Storm on the Sand, by Michael Ban

Elai Nelson and the Storm on the Sand, by Michael Ban

Elai nelson and the Storm on the Sand by Michael Ban

Published by  Michael Ban Books on October 28, 2018

Series: Fire on the Clouds Trilogy, #2

Genre(s): fiction, adventure, fantasy, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 426

Source: author

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So, you think you had a bad day? Let me tell you about mine. My parents got murdered. The ones from Earth who’d adopted me as a kid, as well as the ones I was born to, on another planet. I was chased and almost killed by assassins. I crossed an inter-dimensional portal and found myself on a strange new world. I met some dwarves with the worst dress sense I’d ever seen. I found out that it was somehow my job to save the world from some great evil. And I almost got killed by assassins, again. Yes, that was my Monday. How was yours?

It’s hard enough being a teenager. It’s insanely hard for a teenager who spent most of his time with a keyboard and a mouse to suddenly have to handle a sword and fight monsters. While having a crush on a couple of really beautiful girls who are way, way out of my league. And don’t even get me started about the ships. Great big sailing ships, smelly fishing boats, flying ships. Been there, done that, fell off a couple of them. Did I tell you that I was put in command of a small army? Yes, I was, and I promptly messed it all up. Lots of people died because of me. So now you know, teenagers don’t make great army generals.

But, after all that, I’ve been given a chance to redeem myself. To try to fix things. The big horde of monsters that I got my ass kicked by the last time? They’re still around, and meaner than ever. But I’ve been given a second try to stop them, and I’m sure as heck not going to waste it. Deserts, rivers, flying monsters, thieves, assassins, vicious bankers. None of that’s going to stand in my way. I’m going to finish the job, even if it’s just me and my trusty talking sword.

Elai Nelson and the Storm on the Sand is the second book in a young adult fantasy trilogy, charting the hilarious and whimsical journey of a 16-year old city kid, as he journeys through a mystical realm and battles enemies, humans and monsters alike, with his smarts, his courage, and a backpack full of toys. The first book, Elai Nelson and the Prophecy of the Child, is available on Amazon and other merchants.

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Mini Reviews: The Mentalist Series, by Kenechi Udogu

Mini Reviews: The Mentalist Series, by Kenechi Udogu

For this set of mini reviews, I’m going to talk about The Mentalist series, which consists of a trilogy and prequel. This isn’t a direct comparison by any means, but this paranormal YA romance series had vibes that reminded me of Twilight. If that and the blurb below sounds like your thing, read on for my thoughts on each of these books!

*Thanks to the author for providing copies of this editions in exchange for an honest review.

For Gemma Green’s first time, things should have been straightforward. Find your subject, hold their gaze and push a thought into their head to save them from future disaster – Aversion complete. A pretty simple process given that the subject was to have no recollection of the experience. But Russ Tanner doesn’t seem to want to forget. In fact the more she tries to avoid him, the more he pushes to get to know her. Gemma knows she has a problem but is she facing the side effects of a failed Aversion or has the school’s tennis champ really fallen for her?

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Book Review: Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Published by Penguin Classics on November 6, 2008 (first published December 1847)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, classics

Format & Length: hardcover, 353

Source: purchased

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In a house haunted by memories, the past is everywhere … As darkness falls, a man caught in a snowstorm is forced to shelter at the strange, grim house Wuthering Heights. It is a place he will never forget. There he will come to learn the story of Cathy: how she was forced to choose between her well-meaning husband and the dangerous man she had loved since she was young. How her choice led to betrayal and terrible revenge – and continues to torment those in the present. How love can transgress authority, convention, even death.

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Audiobook Review: All We Ever Wanted, by Emily Giffin

All We Ever Wanted, by Emily Giffin

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

Published by Random House Audio on June 26, 2018

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, contemporary, women’s fiction

Format & Length: audiobook, 10:29:57

Source: library

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Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton.

Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.

Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.

Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in–and her overprotective father doesn’t help–but in most ways, she’s a typical teenaged girl, happy and thriving.

Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.

At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together–all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.

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