Book Review: Midnight Sun

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

Midnight Sun (The Twilight Saga, #5)
by Stephenie Meyer

4 out of 5 stars

Midnight Sun is a retelling of Twilight, but from Edward’s perspective, instead of Bella’s. I really liked that the dialogue and main plot remain the same, but we get all these insights into what was happening with the Cullen family when Bella was not around. We get to hear Edward’s inner thoughts and feelings, and his reactions to everything that happens.

I really enjoyed the scenes of the Cullen family, and all of Edward’s flashback memories of his earlier days as a vampire. It was so cool to get this background and more depth to the story. All these extra facets made it almost feel like a whole new story!

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Book Review: Roswell High The Outsider

The Outsider by Melinda Metz

The Outsider (Roswell High, #1)
by Melinda Metz (Goodreads Author)

3 out of 5 stars

When Liz gets shot and is bleeding out, only Max can heal her with his alien powers. He puts himself and his friends in danger, and now Sheriff Valenti is hunting for an alien in Roswell. Can Liz and Max learn to trust each other before it is too late?

I loved the Roswell TV show when I was a teenager, and it was so fun to rediscover this story through the books! I don’t think I would have enjoyed the books nearly as much now as an adult if I didn’t already have the nostalgia of the TV show.

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Book Review: The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass

The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass by Anna Priemaza

The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass
by Anna Priemaza (Goodreads Author)
5 out of 5 stars

Vera has this strange empty feeling inside her, as if something is missing from her life, but she can’t remember what is missing. She finds herself crying at odd things. She seems to half-remember random objects, but can’t remember why they are important. When Vera realizes that her family and some of her classmates are also experiencing that same empty feeling, she begins to investigate what she can’t remember.

This plot completely broke my brain! It was so exciting and masterfully constructed. It was amazing to see how the plot unfolded, since the reader CAN remember all the people and things that Vera is gradually forgetting. The reader has so much more information than Vera does, and that made it really interesting to see how Vera tries to reconstruct the facts from what is left over after a memory is gone.

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Book Review: How Do You Live?

How Do You Live? by Genzaburo Yoshino

How Do You Live?
by Genzaburo YoshinoBruno Navasky (Translator)
4 out of 5 stars

Copper reflects on the meaning of life as he faces challenges at his school. He befriends a poor classmate who is being teased and bullied, but that puts him in crosshairs as well. Somehow he must find the courage to stand with his friends, and find out what kind of person he really wants to be. Copper’s uncle and mother give him good advice, but ultimately it is up to Copper to make his own decisions.

This book is told in two parts; the first is Copper’s experiences at school and the second is his uncle’s notes to him about philosophy and the underlying meaning behind everyday things. These two perspectives overlap in alternate chapters. First we read about something that happened to Copper and then his uncle writes to Copper about it, expounding on different moral and social ideas of why that particular experience was important and how it can help to shape Copper into a good person.

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Book Review: War of Kings and Monsters

War of Kings and Monsters by Christopher Keene

War of Kings and Monsters
by Christopher Keene (Goodreads Author)
3 out of 5 stars

Nathan has no idea who he is. He is an apprentice Caller in the king’s home and best friends with Prince Michael, but he has no memory of his family and assumes he is an orphan. He studies under the Master Callers to summon Melkai monsters from another world. Some of the monsters are massive, and others are miniscule, like Nathan’s own little Melkai, a small lizard. The barrier between the world of humans and the world of the Melkai is weakening. Nathan is sent on a quest to find the other half of the magical key that can seal the barriers between worlds before the destructive Melkai are unleashed to roam freely across the land.

I enjoyed the plot of this book, because there are some clever twists and turns. There are several times when some particular character or object or connection is revealed and it was just so satisfying. The plot is full of fantasy tropes, but I didn’t really mind that because I like tropes. Some of the plot devices were obvious, but again, I don’t mind that as long as it is set up in an interesting way.

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Book Review: Matched

Matched by Ally Condie

Matched (Matched, #1)
by Ally Condie (Goodreads Author)
3 out of 5 stars

Cassia follows the rules. She is excited for the benevolent government officials to choose her Match for her, the man she will one day marry. She is matched with her childhood friend, but briefly sees another boy in her match information. She is told that it was only a mistake, but she’s curious about the other match, and begins to bend the rules and then break them.

I really loved the dystopian setup in this book! The seemingly benevolent government who watches your every move, and makes all your life decisions for you based on data and predictions and genetic compatibility. It was such a cool and interesting setting!

I really loved Cassia’s character development. I loved her internal struggle, and how she begins to question her world. She is torn between two boys, two lives, and two selves. Does she choose to play it safe and have a good life with her match? Or does she choose to rebel and live free, but risk losing everything? I was fascinated by the intricate details of her emotions and thoughts.

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Book Review: The Boatman’s Daughter

The Illustrated Boatman's Daughter by Tom Durwood

The Illustrated Boatman’s Daughter
by Tom Durwood (Goodreads Author)
2 out of 5 stars
In 1860s Egypt, Salima helps her father with his ferryboat business, but she longs for more education and wants to travel and see the world. Hoping to make some money to pay for school, she applies for a clerk position with a company overseeing the construction of the Suez Canal. She becomes entangled with the corruption and danger surrounding the various European and Egyptian powers struggling for control of the new canal.

The writing style is really excellent, and made me care deeply about the characters. However, it could use a copy editor for little things like punctuation.

The plot was exciting, and the adventure was interesting. However, there were times when I couldn’t understand why the plot took the direction it did in some scenes. It wasn’t clear why the characters chose to do what they did, or how they got to a certain point, or how they gained particular knowledge. It was just some little things that didn’t quite add up, but it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the overall story.

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YA Book Review: Lycanthropy and Other Illnesses

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O'Neal

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses
by Kristen O’Neal 
1 out of 5 stars and Did Not Finish
Priya has Lyme disease, and wakes up every morning with pain and fatigue. She joins a support group online with other people who have chronic illnesses, and discovers that her best friend might be a werewolf.

In the first 50 pages of this book, nothing happens at all. Well, we get to see some sweet character introductions of Priya and her siblings for about 3 pages. And Priya joins the support group. That’s it. The entire first 50 pages could have been condensed into 5 pages.

And that’s when I got bored and stopped reading. I have a rule that I have to read at least to page 50 before I will let myself DNF a book, knowing that I gave it a fair chance.

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Non Fiction Review: The Mindfulness Journal for Teens

The Mindfulness Journal for Teens by Jennie Marie Battistin, MA,...
The Mindfulness Journal for Teens: Prompts and Practices to Help You Stay Cool, Calm, and Present
by Jennie Marie Battistin, MA, LMFT

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This beautiful guided journal prompts the reader/writer to answer questions, contemplate quotes about peace and mindfulness, practice meditations, focus on the breath, embrace personal affirmations, and write down their thoughts.

The best thing about this book is the beautiful design and calming colors on each page. It makes me want to open the book and notice every little leaf and fruit design around the edges while I do the meditations.

The prompts begin with a simple noticing of your emotions, your body, and surroundings, and then move into more deep contemplations and journal instructions about your insecurities, your strengths and fears. Continue reading

Book Review: The Lantern’s Ember

The Lantern's Ember by Colleen Houck
The Lantern’s Ember
by Colleen Houck 

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Ember is a young witch with a great deal of untapped power. Jack is a supernatural being, who keeps his soul in a pumpkin lantern and guards the crossroads to a magical realm. Jack is determined to stop Ember from crossing to the OtherWorld where her power could be stolen from her, but he has a hard time guarding his heart against her sweet charms.

There were so many things that I loved about this book, and a few things that annoyed me.

First, the world-building and magic systems are wonderfully imaginative and interesting. I was entranced with the magical setting and the witches, warlocks, vampires, werewolves, goblins, and succubi that populate the OtherWorld. They each have particular powers and traits that were fascinating to discover as they are explained through the plot. I also really loved the steampunk feeling of the world, and how automatons and clockworks are integrated with magic power. Continue reading