The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker #SciFi #Netgalley

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Title: The Dreamers

Author: Karen Thompson Walker

Expected Publication January 15, 2019 by Random House


In an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a freshman girl stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics who carry her away, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. Then a second girl falls asleep, and then another, and panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. As the number of cases multiplies, classes are canceled, and stores begin to run out of supplies. A quarantine is established. The National Guard is summoned.

Mei, an outsider in the cliquish hierarchy of dorm life, finds herself thrust together with an eccentric, idealistic classmate. Two visiting professors try to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. A father succumbs to the illness, leaving his daughters to fend for themselves. And at the hospital, a new life grows within a college girl, unbeknownst to her—even as she sleeps. A psychiatrist, summoned from Los Angeles, attempts to make sense of the illness as it spreads through the town. Those infected are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, more than has ever been recorded. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?”

My review Winter

“At first, they blame the air.
It’s an old idea, a poison in the ether, a danger carried in by the wind. A strange haze is seen drifting through town on that first night, the night the trouble begins. It arrives like weather, or like smoke, some say later, but no one can locate any fire. Some blame the drought, which has been bleeding away the lake for years, and browning the air with dust.”

The Dreamers is a stunning third person narrative that takes place near Los Angeles, in a fictional town called Santa Lora, California. Mei’s roommate, Kara, falls asleep, then over a few days her breath and heart rate slow, until she dies. After a few students fall into the deep sleep, their dorm is put under quarantine. The illness slips through the cracks and spreads throughout the town. As hundreds of people fall asleep and began to dream, we meet many people affected by the mysterious illness, who are trying their best not to infect the ones they love.

“This is how the sickness travels best: through all the same channels as do fondness and friendship and love.”

I was hooked after the first paragraph. The characters are extremely well-written. They feel like people I could know in real life. The connection to characters, pacing, mystery, description, and writing style work together to create a fantastic work of fiction.

The ending felt abrupt, and left me with unanswered questions.

The Dreamers is a memorable and entertaining read that I recommend to readers who enjoy character-driven, thought-provoking Sci-Fi novels with an open ending.

Setting: 3/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Message: 4/5
Overall: 3.9

Star, Favorite, Orange, Outline, RatingStar, Favorite, Orange, Outline, RatingStar, Favorite, Orange, Outline, RatingStar, Favorite, Orange, Outline, Rating


Thank you to Netgalley and publisher for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

*Quotes taken from an ARC copy and subject to change*

Professional Reader

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Karen Thompson Walker is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Age of Miracles, which has been translated into twenty-seven languages and named one of the best books of the year by People, O: The Oprah Magazine, and Financial Times, among others. Born and raised in San Diego, Walker is a graduate of UCLA and the Columbia MFA program. She lives with her husband, the novelist Casey Walker, and their two daughters in Portland. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Oregon.”

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The Golden Compass #Bookreview #Fantasy

The Golden Compass is the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. I started reading it with my son, but ended up finishing it on my own after realizing it’s a little too mature for a nine-year-old.

“You cannot change what you are, only what you do.”

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Title: The Golden Compass

Author: Philip Pullman

Published April 1996 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published 1995)

Genre: YA Fantasy

Page Count: 399

Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal–including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.

Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want–but what Lyra doesn’t know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other.”

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The Golden Compass is an epic adventure that begins in a parallel universe at Jordan College in Oxford, England. Lyra is a twelve-year-old girl who lives at Jordan College with her daemon Pantalaimon. Every human has a daemon, which is a physical representation of the human soul. The daemons of children can change forms, but once the child becomes an adult the daemon remains in the same form. She was left at Jordan College by her Uncle Lord Asriel, a military leader. Lyra’s best friend is a kitchen boy named Roger Parslow, who goes missing. There are many missing children, and Lyra believes they’ve been taken by The Gobblers. One day a politician named Marisa Coulter comes to Jordan College talking about a trip North. Lyra knows her Uncle Lord Asriel has gone North and wants to find him. She agrees to go with Ms. Coulter and be her assistant. Before she leaves she’s given an alethiometer (the golden compass), and believes it is her mission to give it to her Uncle Lord Asriel.

“It lay heavily in her hands,the crystal face gleaming, the brass body exquisitely machined. It was very much like a clock, or a compass, for there were hands pointing around the dial, but instead of the hours or the points of a compass there were several little pictures with extraordinary precision, as if on ivory with the slenderest sable brush. She turned the dial around to look at them all. There was an anchor; an hourglass surmounted by a skull; a bull, a beehive…..Thirty-six altogether and she couldn’t even guess what they meant.”

With the help of Farder Coram and John Faa, Lyra travels to the North where she meets new friends like an armored bear named Iorek Byrnison, balloonist Lee Scoresby, and my favourite character, witch queen Serafina Pekkala. I wanted more about her, and am hoping the next book gives me more of her back story and life.

“You are so young, Lyra, too young to understand this, but I shall tell you anyway and you’ll understand it later: men pass in front of our eyes like butterflies, creatures of a brief season. We love them; they are brave, proud, beautiful, clever; and they die almost at once. They die so soon that our hearts are continually racked with pain. We bear their children, who are witches if they are female, human if not; and then in the blink of an eye they are gone, felled, slain, lost. Our sons, too. When a little boy is growing, he thinks he is immortal. His mother knows he isn’t. Each time becomes more painful, until finally your heart is broken. Perhaps that is when Yambe-Akka comes for you. She is older than the tundra. Perhaps, for her, witches’ lives are as brief as men’s are to us.”

Although Lyra is brave and smart, she’s also a spoiled brat without manners. The characters felt flat to me, lacking personality, and desires, I just couldn’t connect with them.

“We are all subject to the fates. But we must act as if we are not, or die of despair.”

The writing itself is stunning. The world-building is pretty good, although there are some things left unexplained (such as daemons). The plot is relatively fast-paced, creating an exciting story that had me hooked from the beginning. There’s a lot of debate about the anti-religious themes. A nun in the book does say Christianity is a “powerful mistake”. In interviews Pullman has said things like he is trying to undermine Christianity through his work. The Golden Compass is about the search for Dust, which basically represents sin. Children have no “dust” on them, while adults do. The villains in the book are trying to find a way to prevent Dust. Does this novel have anti-religious concepts, yes, however, I feel like it didn’t add or take away from the narrative. The main problem with this book is that it is too mature for kids, yet immature for young adults.

“Human beings can’t see anything without wanting to destroy it. That’s original sin. And I’m going to destroy it. Death is going to die.”

Imaginative, exciting, whimsical, The Golden Compass is a great fantasy novel about spirituality, morality, the human soul, and science versus religion, that I recommend to anyone fourteen-years-old+ who like a plot-driven story with an unlikable protagonist.

“So Lyra and her daemon turned away from the world they were born in, and looked toward the sun, and walked into the sky.”


Setting: 3.5/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 2.5/5
Writing: 3/5
Message: 2/5
Overall: 3/5

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In 1946, acclaimed author Philip Pullman was born in Norwich, England, into a Protestant family. Although his beloved grandfather was an Anglican priest, Pullman became an atheist in his teenage years. He graduated from Exeter College in Oxford with a degree in English, and spent 23 years as a teacher while working on publishing 13 books and numerous short stories. Pullman has received many awards for his literature, including the prestigious Carnegie Medal for exceptional children’s literature in 1996, and the Carnegie of Carnegies in 2006. He is most famous for his His Dark Materials trilogy, a series of young adult fantasy novels which feature free-thought themes. The novels cast organized religion as the series’ villain. Pullman told The New York Times in 2000: “When you look at what C.S. Lewis is saying, his message is so anti-life, so cruel, so unjust. The view that the Narnia books have for the material world is one of almost undisguised contempt. At one point, the old professor says, ‘It’s all in Plato‘—meaning that the physical world we see around us is the crude, shabby, imperfect, second-rate copy of something much better. I want to emphasize the simple physical truth of things, the absolute primacy of the material life, rather than the spiritual or the afterlife.” He argues for a “republic of heaven” here on Earth.

In 2007, the first novel of the His Dark Materials trilogy was adopted into the motion picture The Golden Compass by New Line Cinema. Many churches and Christian organizations, including the Catholic League, called for a boycott of the film due to the books’ atheist themes. While the film was successful in Europe and moderately received in the United States, the other two books in the trilogy were not be adapted into film, possibly due to pressure from the Catholic Church. When questioned about the anti-church views in His Dark Materials, Pullman explains in an interview for Third Way (UK): “It comes from history. It comes from the record of the Inquisition, persecuting heretics and torturing Jews and all that sort of stuff; and it comes from the other side, too, from the Protestants burning the Catholics. It comes from the insensate pursuit of innocent and crazy old women, and from the Puritans in America burning and hanging the witches—and it comes not only from the Christian church but also from the Taliban. Every single religion that has a monotheistic god ends up by persecuting other people and killing them because they don’t accept him. Wherever you look in history, you find that. It’s still going on” (Feb. 2002). Pullman has received many threats by ardent believers over his choice of subject matter.

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Man Gone Down #Bookreview #literaryfiction #ownvoices

On the eve of his thirty-fifth birthday, the unnamed black narrator of Man Gone Down finds himself broke, estranged from his white wife and three children, and living in the bedroom of a friend’s six-year-old child. He has four days to come up with the money to keep the kids in school and make a down payment on an apartment for them in which to live. As we slip between his childhood in inner city Boston and present-day New York City, we learn of a life marked by abuse, abandonment, raging alcoholism, and the best and worst intentions of a supposedly integrated America. This is a story of the American Dream gone awry, about what it’s like to feel preprogrammed to fail in life and the urge to escape that sentence.”

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Title: Man Gone Down

Author: Michael Thomas

Published December 2006 by Grove Press, Black Cat

Genre: Literary Fiction, Cultural

Page Count: 431

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It took me three starts to finish this book, and the only reason I persevered is because my 2018 New Year’s Resolution was to finish the unfinished.

Man Gone Down takes place in New York. The main character is an educated black man struggling to overcome his past and provide for his wife and children. As a white woman I feel like it’s really important for me to read books like this. This beautifully written novel provides a powerful message about discrimination, dignity, perseverance, marriage, and family. Trigger warnings for child abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, abandonment, and hate crimes.

Although the story is compelling, I had a hard time connecting with the characters. The main character kept making strange decisions, which made it really hard to understand his motivations. The other characters felt one-dimensional. The writing is self-indulgent, confusing and repetitive.

“I wonder if this is what it feels like, falling out of love: feeling yourself fading out of existence – the gray sky, the coffee shop limbo – everything a way station of sorts. Making promises you know you can’t keep. Making promises – period. People in love shouldn’t have to vow or demand, petition or exhort. Nothing. Not even question. No collisions with your surroundings or yourself – you move gently, unknowing, in time.”

I’m not sure who would enjoy Man Gone Down, however, it did win the International DUBLIN Literary Award in 2009. From the Goodreads reviews I get the feeling that people either “love it or hate it”, so I say give it a try because Man Gone Down is an important book.

Setting: 2/5
Plot: 1/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing: 3/5
Message: 3.5/5
Overall: 2.3 rounded down to 2 on Goodreads

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“Thomas was born and raised in Boston.[1][2] He studied for a bachelor’s degree at Hunter College in New York City, where he now teaches, and for a master’s at Warren Wilson College.[3] He currently lives in New York City,[2] claiming to have never had a proper job although he has worked in several areas, including bars, restaurants, construction, pizza delivery, on film sets and driving a taxi.[4] Thomas is married and lives with his wife and three children in Brooklyn.”

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Watching You #BookReview #MysteryThriller #AtriaBooks #Netgalley

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Title: Watching You

Author: Lisa Jewell

Published December 26, 2018 by Atria Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Page Count: 336

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A murder has taken place. A woman is dead. We don’t know who killed her. And we don’t know who was watching.

The stunning cover of Watching You gives the impression that it tells the story of someone watching others through the window, and that’s exactly what this book is about.

“Because that’s the thing with getting what you want: all that yearning and dreaming and fantasizing leaves a great big hole that can only be filled with more yearning and dreaming and fantasizing.”

Joey (Josephine) is a twenty-seven-year-old living with her boyfriend, brother, and brother’s wife in a charming Bristol suburb. Joey becomes infatuated with her neighbour, Tom, a fifty-one-year-old who lives with his wife, Nicola, and teenage son, Freddie. Freddie is socially-awkward, is on the Autism spectrum, and is obsessed with observing people in the neighbourhood. One of Tom’s students, Jenna, lives with her mentally-ill mother who is paranoid and captivated with watching everyone. Jenna is suspicious of Tom’s behaviour and thinks he has an inappropriate relationship with a student.

“Voyeurism was a form of control, like mental abuse, like rape, like bullying. It was nothing to do with the physicality of the action, and all to do with the feeling of power it gave the perpetrator, the balancing out of delicate ids and egos.”

If you don’t like unlikable characters, then this may not be a good choice for you.

Watching You is an intense story with short chapters, and intriguing characters. I was trying to figure out the mystery the entire time, and was mind-blown when everything was revealed. The idea of characters being watched, or watching others gives this thriller a creepy feel. Highly recommend!

Setting: 3/5
Plot: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Message: 2.5/5
Overall: 3.9/5 Rounded to 4/5 on Goodreads

Thank you to Netgalley and publisher for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

*Quotes taken from an ARC copy and subject to change*

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Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.

She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.

She has since written a further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh.

She now lives in an innermost part of north London with her husband Jascha, an IT consultant, her daughters, Amelie and Evie and her silver tabbies, Jack and Milly.”

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The Glovemaker’s Daughter #BookReview #SpoilerFree #Netgalley #SimonSchuster #HistoricalFiction

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Title: The Glovemaker’s Daughter

Author: Leah Fleming

Published November 2018 by Simon Schuster

Genre: Historical Fiction (17th Century)

Page Count: 432

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The Glovemaker’s Daughter begins in Good Hope Township, Pennsylvania, 2014. After seeing a ghost in a three-hundred-year-old Meeting House (Quaker Church), Sam finds a notebook hidden in the walls. He connects with Rachel Moorside, a descendant of the person who wrote the ledger, in order to find out more about the Meeting House and the people who built it. Through mainly journal entries from the 17th century ledger, we are told the story of a young woman named Rejoice (Joy) who embarks on an epic journey from England to the New World.

Fleming creates incredible characters filled with personality, description, and emotions that they feel like real people that I actually know. I found Joy to be annoying, but I appreciated that she always learned from her mistakes, and I admire her perseverance.

Joy’s story grabbed me from the very beginning. I love Fleming’s writing style and definitely want to read more by her.

Some readers have described this as a mystery, but it doesn’t feel like one. The present day part of the book doesn’t really serve a purpose to the plot. I think if there had been more from Rachel and Sam’s perspectives it could have been more exciting. The ending feels incredibly rushed as well.

The Glovemaker’s Daughter is a slow-burn historical tale about a young girl’s epic journey discovering family secrets, peace, and love. I recommend this one to readers sixteen-years-old+ who enjoy slow-paced stories filled with tons of description and history.

Setting: 3/5
Plot: 2.5/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 3/5
Message: 2.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Thank you to Netgalley and publisher for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Leah Fleming was born in Lancashire and is married with three sons and a daughter. She writes from an old farmhouse in the Yorkshire Dales and an olive grove in Crete.”

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Father Christmas and Me #BookReview #SpoilerFree #Netgalley #CanongateBooks #MiddleGrade

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Title: Father Christmas and Me (Christmas #3)

Author: Matt Haig

Illustrated by: Chris Mould

Published October 2018 by Canongate Books

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Page Count: 304

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The end of Matt Haig’s trilogy, Father Christmas and Me is an imaginative story that takes place in a fictional town called Elfhelm. In a previous adventure Amelia helped save Christmas, and now she’s the only human living in an elf town. Feeling like an outcast, Amelia struggles with elf school and feels like she doesn’t belong. She learns that Father Vogol, the elf that used to rule Elfhelm before Father Christmas, wants to get his power back. Amelia also learns that the Easter Bunny feels resentful since the war with the elves hundreds of years ago. With the help of friends Amelia uses her strengths to overcome challenges and remember the true meaning of Christmas.

“An impossibility is just a possibility you don’t understand yet.”

The characters are intriguing, filled with personality and emotions. Amelia is likeable, with strengths and flaws, and a wonderful personal growth arc. While doing a little research to write this review I discovered my favourite character, The Truth Pixie, has her own book! I can’t wait to read it!

“There was a reindeer clock in the living room, which was like a cuckoo clock but instead of a cuckoo popping out it was a reindeer. Oh, and it didn’t tell ordinary human time with boring things like ‘six o’clock’ and ‘twenty past nine’. It told elf time, and elf hours were called things like Very Early Indeed and Way Past Bedtime.”

I’ve read two books by Matt Haig now and I have to say I quite enjoy his writing style. With an exciting pace, Father Christmas and Me is a very fun and festive read for all ages.

“‘Books,’ said Father Christmas, ‘are the greatest gifts of all. Nothing else comes close.'”

Setting: 3.5
Plot: 4
Characters: 4
Writing: 5
Message: 3.5
Overall: 80% 4/5 Stars

Thank you to Netgalley and publisher for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

*Quotes taken from an ARC copy and subject to change*

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Matt Haig was born in Sheffield, England in1975. He writes books for both adults and children, often blending the worlds of domestic reality and outright fantasy, with a quirky twist. His bestselling novels are translated into 28 languages. The Guardian has described his writing as ‘delightfully weird’ and the New York Times has called him ‘a novelist of great talent’ whose writing is ‘funny, riveting and heartbreaking’.

His novels for adults are The Last Family in England, narrated by a labrador and optioned for film by Brad Pitt; The Dead Fathers Club (2006), an update of Hamlet featuring an 11-year-old boy; The Possession of Mr Cave (2008), about a man obsessed with his daughter’s safety, and The Radleys (2010) which won Channel 4’s TV Book Club public vote and was shortlisted for a Galaxy National Book Award (UK). The film rights to all his adult novels have been sold. His next adult novel is The Humans (2013).

His multi-award winning popular first novel for children, Shadow Forest, was published in 2007 and its sequel, The Runaway Troll, in 2009. His most recent children’s novel is To Be A Cat (2012).”

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The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos #BookReview #HistoricalFiction #Netgalley #AtriaBooks

Powerful and inspiring, The Girl They Left Behind is an important, heart-wrenching historical fiction novel based on true events that left me feeling incredibly grateful for my life and children.

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Title: The Girl They Left Behind

Author: Roxanne Veletzos

Publisher: Atria Books

Date of Publication: October 30, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction WWII

Page Count: 368 (e-book)

A sweeping family saga and love story that offers a vivid and unique portrayal of life in war-torn 1941 Bucharest and life behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet Union occupation—perfect for fans of Lilac Girls and Sarah’s Key.

On a freezing night in January 1941, a little Jewish girl is found on the steps of an apartment building in Bucharest. With Romania recently allied with the Nazis, the Jewish population is in grave danger, undergoing increasingly violent persecution. The girl is placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by a wealthy childless couple who name her Natalia. As she assimilates into her new life, she all but forgets the parents who were forced to leave her behind. They are even further from her mind when Romania falls under Soviet occupation.

Yet, as Natalia comes of age in a bleak and hopeless world, traces of her identity pierce the surface of her everyday life, leading gradually to a discovery that will change her destiny. She has a secret crush on Victor, an intense young man who as an impoverished student befriended her family long ago. Years later, when Natalia is in her early twenties and working at a warehouse packing fruit, she and Victor, now an important official in the Communist regime, cross paths again. This time they are fatefully drawn into a passionate affair despite the obstacles swirling around them and Victor’s dark secrets.

When Natalia is suddenly offered a one-time chance at freedom, Victor is determined to help her escape, even if it means losing her. Natalia must make an agonizing decision: remain in Bucharest with her beloved adoptive parents and the man she has come to love, or seize the chance to finally live life on her own terms, and to confront the painful enigma of her past.”

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“In anguish and despair we release this child into the hands of God, with hope and faith that she may be saved.”

Based on true events, The Girl They Left Behind is an emotional story that begins when a concierge finds a four-year-old girl alone in Bucharest, January 1941. I teared up many times while reading this, and enjoyed every single second.

Anton and Despina are a wonderful couple who face many challenges, and even when they don’t agree they find a way to always respect each other. Stefan and Maria are another great couple who adopt Natalia. I didn’t enjoy Victor’s character until later in the story. He just is…just…ugh I don’t want to give anything away. He’s just great.

The beautiful writing tells the story of family, war, heartbreak, loss, grief, resilience, courage, survival, hope, freedom, and peace.

“In his long stare, Natalia saw a trace of sadness and something she had never glimpsed before: fear. Perhaps he had always feared this moment, this exact moment when he would have to reckon with his past and be forced to make amends, excuses. But she would not be the one to give him redemption.”

I liked the pacing of the plot, except that the middle felt a little bogged down. There are some mentions of women “obeying” and being “delicate” without much said to counter the sexism. However, I understand this story takes place in a different time. It didn’t affect the story for me, so it won’t affect my rating either.

Deeply moving, The Girl They Left Behind gave me goosebumps. Highly recommend this to readers thirteen-years-old+.

Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

Thank you to Netgalley and publisher for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

*Quotes taken from an ARC copy and subject to change*

About the Author Xmas

Roxanne Veletzos was born in Bucharest, Romania and moved to California with her family as a young teen. Already fluent in English and French, she began writing short stories about growing up in her native Eastern Europe, at first as a cathartic experience as she transitioned to a new culture. Building on her love of the written language, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has worked as an editor, content writer and marketing manager for a number of Fortune 500 companies. Since 2012, Roxanne has been writing historical and contemporary fiction and is the author of two novels.”

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The Psychology of Time Travel #BookReview #Mystery #TimeTravel #CrookedLaneBooks

Perfect for fans of Naomi Alderman’s The Power and Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures comes The Psychology of Time Travel, a mind-bending, time-travel debut.”

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Title: The Psychology of Time Travel

Author: Kate Mascarenhas

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Date of Publication: February 2019

Genre: Mystery/Sci-Fi/Romance

Page Count: 336

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In Cumbria, England, 1967, Barbara, Margaret, Lucille, and Grace invent time travel without thinking of how it would alter their lives and the world.  The Psychology of Time Travel is an exciting female-driven, murder mystery.

Fifty years after inventing time travel, Barbara receives a notice of a death that will happen on January 6th, 2018. Her granddaughter Ruby agrees to help her grandmother make amends with Margaret in order to gain access to the time travel machines. On January 6th, 2018 Odette, an archaeology student volunteering at a toy museum, finds a dead body that the police aren’t able to identify. Odette becomes overwhelmed by the mysterious death and decides she’ll feel better if she can figure out who the dead woman is. After a strange visit from a younger Grace, Ruby is convinced it is her grandmother Barbara who will die.

The narrative tackles a lot of issues like friendship, marriage, betrayal, bullying, sexuality, loss, aging, and mortality.

The characters have distinct personalities, desires, fears, strengths and flaws. My favorite characters are Grace and Ruby.

The Psychology of Time Travel is one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve ever read. Unique, creative, it questions how time travel would impact mental health, relationships, business, history, and language.

The first time I started reading the novel I felt incredibly lost a third of the way in. I went back to the beginning and took notes on the times mentioned at the beginning of each chapter and names of characters (there are a lot) and that helped wrap my mind around the story so I could enjoy myself. The plot feels a little messy at times, but that’s to be expected when characters are traveling through time (and even interacting with themselves).

If you liked The 7½ Lives of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton or Dark Matter by Blake Crouch then I think you’ll enjoy The Psychology of Time Travel. Some of the concepts are wild, yet when you think about it, they make a lot of sense. Complex, interesting and unique! I recommend this to readers 14-years-old+.

Trigger warnings: self cutting, blood, mental health, addiction, eating disorder

Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Overall: 3.6/5 rounded up to 4 on Goodreads

Thank you to Sarah at Crooked Lane Books for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author Xmas

Kate Mascarenhas is a writer.

Born in 1980, she is of mixed heritage (white Irish father, brown British mother) and has family in Ireland and the Republic of Seychelles.

She studied English at Oxford and Applied Psychology at Derby. Her PhD, in literary studies and psychology, was completed at Worcester.

Since 2017 Kate has been a chartered psychologist. Previously she has been an advertising copywriter, bookbinder, and doll’s house maker. She lives in the English midlands with her partner.

Her new novel, The Psychology of Time Travel, will be published by Head of Zeus in August 2018.”

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Supernova (Amulet #8)…Review


Title: Supernova (Amulet #8)

Author: Kazu Kibuishi

Publisher: Scholastic/Graphix

Date of Publication: September 25, 2018

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Graphic Novel

Page Count: 224

For Goodreads Synopsis click here

Book Trailer:

Last week my son bought Supernova at his school’s Scholastic book fair. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so excited to buy a new book. He’s read each book of the Amulet series at least ten times.

It’s been ten years since the first Amulet book, The Stonekeeper, was released and this newest release, Supernova, is an epic journey into space and a new planet called Typhon. This story has a fast-moving plot with reveals and surprises. There is a big focus on self-acceptance, personal growth, fear, courage, family, and changing tradition.

The artwork is breathtaking. I love the use of colour to portray emotion. The Amulet series is something you can read over, and over, and each time see something new.

The story is fantastic. I love the emotional development the main character Emily experiences.

If you haven’t read the Amulet series, it’s time to pick it up! It’s a very popular series, so it’s easy to find. There’s only one book left to be released! Eeeee! No release date listed on Goodreads yet. These books would make a great Christmas gift for any reader in your life.

About the author

Kazu Kibuishi (born 1978) is an American graphic novel author and illustrator. He is best known for being the creator and editor of the comic anthology Flight and for creating the webcomic Copper. He has also written (drawn) the Amulet series. The webcomic artist and noted critic Scott McCloud has said that some of Kazu Kibuishi’s work is so beautifully drawn that “it hurts my hands when I look at it”.

The Mountain Between US…Book & Movie Review


Title: The Mountain Between Us

Author: Charles Martin

Publisher: Broadway Books

Date of Publication: August 2017 (first published June 2010)

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Adventure (Survival)

Page Count: 336




Goodreads Synopsis click here

The Mountain Between Us is a romantic survival story about hope that takes place in the mountains near Salt Lake City. This is a unique survival story because the stranded people are complete strangers, a journalist named Ashley (in the movie she’s called Alex), and a doctor named Ben.

The crash enables our two main characters, Ashley and Ben, to see their life from a new perspective, enabling them to learn more about themselves. In the book, the Grover’s Charter pilot, Grover, married for almost fifty years, has advice to give Ben, married for fifteen years, and Ashley, engaged. In the movie the pilot is NOT married! This was incredibly annoying because the difference in their marriage experience offered Grover the opportunity to give Ben and Ashley advice.

 “When I wake up in the morning, she’s holding my hand. I make the coffee, and then she sits with her knees touching mine while we drink it.”

In the book Ben comes up with the idea to take the charter plane, while in the movie it was Ashley’s (Alex) idea. Another big difference between the book and movie is Ashley’s injury. In the book her broken femur leaves her immobile, forcing Ben to create a makeshift sled and pull her for the entire journey, while in the movie her injury isn’t as bad and she is able to walk.

There is a big emphasis on Ben’s running career and climbing experience in the book which helps to explain how he could have the stamina and experience to get them off the mountain. He also had his climbing bag with him, which contained many essential items that helped their survival. This is one of the conveniences that makes the book feel inauthentic. The movie leaves out the running, climbing experience, and the backpack – leaving Ben and Ashley (Alex) to “wing it”. It makes the story feel more authentic, however, it does make me wonder how in the world could they have survived without any kind of gear.

There are many flashbacks in the novel written in italics which makes it easy to follow. The writing style has a good description of the environment, and a great sense of humour. The banter between Ben and Ashley is hilarious and I found myself laughing more than once, which I wasn’t expecting from a survival story.

Ashley was grinding her teeth when I shook her. “You ready?”

She nodded, sat up. “Any coffee?”

I handed her a mug of fluid that looked more like weak tea. “Go easy. That’s the last of it.”

“It’s already a bad day, and we haven’t even started yet.”

“Think of it this way… every step away from this place is one step closer to a cappuccino at Starbucks.”

She licked her lips. “I love it when you talk dirty to me.”

In the book we get to see Ben making messages to his wife on his recorder, where in the movie this isn’t really shown. Being able to know his thoughts to his wife enables the reader to really get to know Ben and learn more about his marriage. Throughout the novel the reader is trying to figure out why Ben and his wife separated, and the reveal at the end BLEW ME AWAY. I didn’t see that coming at all, and it made me bawl my eyes out. This big reveal doesn’t exist in the movie.

In the book Ben and Ashley can’t remember Grover’s dog’s name so they just call him Tank. Whereas in the movie he remains unnamed. In the book Tank is a fierce warrior and a key player in their survival, however in the movie he’s often absent and it doesn’t really show the impact of trudging through human knee-deep snow for many days.

The plane crash happens very early on in both the book and movie, which amps up the excitement quickly and jumps right into Ben and Ashley being forced to get to know each other while fighting for their life.

I cried a few times while reading, and I don’t cry while reading very often. However, the movie didn’t have the scenes that made me cry, which was disappointing.

One thing the movie did better than the book is the portrayal of women. The are many sexist remarks and ideas in the book that aren’t present in the movie. In fact, Ashley’s (Alex) change in injury alone made her an active participant in their struggle.

I recommend the book and movie for anyone looking for an exciting, emotional, survival story.


About the author

Charles Martin (born November 3, 1969) is an author from the Southern United States.[1][2]

Martin earned his B.A. in English from Florida State University and went on to receive an M.A. in Journalism and a Ph.D. in Communication from Regent University. He currently lives in Jacksonville, Florida.[3]

He is the author of thirteen novels: Send Down the Rain (2018), Long Way Gone (2017), Water from My Heart (2015), A Life Intercepted (2014), Unwritten (2013),[1] Thunder and Rain (2012),[2] The Mountain Between Us (2010), Where the River Ends (2008), Chasing Fireflies: A Novel of Discovery (2007), Maggie: The Sequel to The Dead Don’t Dance (Awakening Book 2) (2006), When Crickets Cry (2006), Wrapped in Rain (2005) and The Dead Don’t Dance (Awakening Book 1) (2004).

The Mountain Between Us was made into a major motion picture by 20th Century Fox. Starring Kate Winslet and Idris Elba, it was released on October 6, 2017.” (Wikipedia)