BOOK REVIEW: The Teddy Bear Chronicles Vol. II.

It is time to review Volume II. of The Teddy Bear Chronicles, Chloe’s Crusade! I recently posted my review for Volume I. so if you haven’t read that one yet, go and check it out! As far as sequels go, I was immensely impressed! Author Donnalyn Vojta does such a wonderful job of creating a thrilling story.

I did receive an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) from the author, but my thoughts and reviews and are 100% my own. This book will be released later this year in July! 🙂

This series has the surprising narrator of teddy bears. In the first volume of the series, there were three different bears who narrated for us. Those three bears join us for Volume II. as well as two new bears, Tiny and Rocco! Volume II. mainly follows the story of a character named Chloe. We are first introduced to her in Volume I. when she helps Kelly escape from her abusive boyfriend, Mark. The book starts off in Venezuela where Chloe is working on a case with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Chloe has a teddy bear keychain, named Tiny, that she always has clipped onto her, and is how we see what is going on with Chloe. The case that Chloe is working on deals with a drug cartel, whose business travels all the way over to Europe where our other characters live. The story brings in characters from first book: Kelly, her sister Tori, Richard, and Kelly’s husband Sidney. The careers that Kelly and Tori’s husbands have lead them to working on the case with Chloe. While they are working on the case, Kelly and Tori both start to receive flowers and stalkerish notes, bringing back memories from the ordeal with Mark.

I don’t want to get into too many details on the storyline because I don’t want to accidentally give anything away!

Volume I. was Vojta’s debut novel, and just in this sequel, I already see growth in her writing! The one thing I would have wanted to see different in the first book was to have more details in certain scenes, and the second book delivered on that! I was so happy to see that, and it makes me even more excited to see what she has in store for us with her upcoming works!

One of the things that I love in stories is the character development. Not only do we get character development in our human characters, but we also see character development within the teddy bears as well. This was so interesting to me! Not only do we have inanimate objects telling us the story, but we have actual character development in those inanimate objects. These bears have an intelligence that sometimes proves them more observant than the humans that they belong to! However, along with that, they still possess a certain innocence and naivety that we know and love from the first book.

This is a wonderful story that combines elements of a thriller, mystery, and romance. It really does have something in it for everyone to enjoy. There was SUCH a cliffhanger at the end of Volume II. and I cannot wait for the third installment to come out! I highly recommend this series to everyone! With that said, however, this is NOT a children’s book! It deals with adult content, and should be read with discretion.

If you are interested in this series at all, you should DEFINITELY read it! 🙂

XO, Sarah

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BOOK REVIEW: Scythe

Today’s book review is on the amazing novel Scythe by Neal Shusterman! I cannot say enough good things about this story. I was instantly hooked into the story within the first few chapters!

The story takes place in a Utopian Earth where humans have solved every problem that we have in our current Earth. This includes feeling pain and even death itself. These have been cured so everyone is now immortal. The one drawback to this, however, is that there is still a population growth. Without people dying, and with new life being brought into the world, there is a major population issue. Since no one dies from natural causes, there is a group of people called scythes. These people are responsible for “gleaning” (otherwise known as killing) people. This is the way that the people have decided to deal with population control. What I thought was such an interesting aspect of the Scythedom is that the people seem to fear death in this world more so than those of the mortal age (the world that we all know now). One would think that if you are immortal, you would not necessarily fear death. Granted, even though they are immortal, if they are chosen to be gleaned, then they do in fact die. When a scythe walks into any area in the novel, almost everyone there is so frightened of them and worried about accidentally offending the scythe which could potentially turn into their own gleaning.

The novel follows two main characters, Citra and Rowan. They are both living their lives normally until they each run into Scythe Faraday in different circumstances. Scythe Faraday decides to take both Citra and Rowan on as apprentices to become scythes. Neither of them want to be a scythe, which is exactly the reason why Faraday chose them. If he thought they would enjoy gleaning people, they were not meant to be scythes; in order to be a good scythe, you needed to feel remorse for the action of gleaning.

Bringing on two apprentices is not something that had ever been done before, and the other members of the Scythedom were not for it. Even though Scythe Faraday planned on only one of the apprentices becoming a Scythe, there was a problem. It was decided that whoever was chosen to become a Scythe would have to glean the other. In order to get Citra and Rowan out of this, Scythe Faraday self-gleaned so that they would not be bound to this. However, the Scythedom would not let it go, and Citra and Rowan were sent to apprentice two other Scythes. Citra went to apprentice with Scythe Curie and Rowan went to apprentice with Scythe Goddard.

These three Scythes that Citra and Rowan are apprentices to each have their own unique way of deciding who to glean. Scythe Faraday made his decisions based off of statistics of how people naturally died during the mortal age. Scythe Curie chose people who were not living their life to the fullest to glean. Scythe Goddard chose to partake in mass gleanings, and took immense joy in it.

It is extremely interesting to see how Citra and Rowan grow and change in their new apprenticeships. This story also has multiple plot twists that are thrown at you that definitely completely caught me off guard! I love when a story can throw me like that, so I was very happy that this book was able to do so!

Overall I gave this novel a 5 out of 5 stars. I was so enthralled and could not put this book down!

I highly, highly recommend this book! There is a sequel titled Thunderhead that I am currently reading and will have a review of shortly!

XO, Sarah

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BOOK REVIEW: Damned

damnedd

Today’s book review will be discussing the novel Damned by Chuck Palahniuk. Although he is an extremely well known author, this was actually the first book by him that I have read. I know that most of his works are extremely satirical and have social commentary, so I was very excited to read this for those reasons.

This is the story of a thirteen year old girl named Madison who has recently died and finds herself in Hell. She is portrayed as a typical young teenager, and is very sassy, so you can probably imagine the types of things that she says. Some of it is quite funny, whereas some of it is also pretty mature for her to say as well. One thing that I found very interesting in this book is that each chapter starts off with, “Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison”. It then goes into a short little dialogue in which she is speaking to Satan. Even though we never get a response from him, it is intriguing to see her speak to him and want to interact with him. It is almost as if he is a celebrity figure to her, one that she just has to meet. She does not seem to mind at all that she is in Hell. She believes that she died of a Marijuana overdose, and really does not think highly of her self whatsoever. The story starts off in her cell that she is in, but soon after she and some surrounding people are broken out of their cells and are able to wander around Hell.

The way that Palahniuk describes Hell is honestly pretty disturbing and disgusting. There are areas such as the Sea of Insects, the Lake of Wasted Sperm, rivers of steaming blood, and more along those same lines. To see these being described by a thirteen year old also adds to the disturbing factor here.

It is discovered that Madison may have been placed in Hell by accident, and that she should have actually been put in Heaven. She must go through a series of questions by a demon regarding religion. We see her juggling between answers that she knows she should give, and the answers that she actually believes. While she is waiting on the outcome of those questions, she starts to rise up in power in Hell. There are different gangs and cliques with different leaders, and somehow this thirteen year old girl is able to take down these leaders (one of them most notably being Adolf Hitler).

Palahniuk seems to be satirizing three elements in this book: adolescence, religion, and environmentalism. There are many parts of the book where Madison addresses the reader and is almost kind of mockingly saying that yes, she does understand that big word she just used. I think the commentary being made here is that adults underestimate the minds of adolescents. The commentary on religion and environmentalism are very closely related in this book. In Madison’s description of what her parents are like, it is very apparent that they live a very green life and believe that if you are good to the earth then you are doing all that you can do; living a green life is the same as following religion.

Overall, I thought this was an extremely interesting book and a thoroughly enjoyed it. There is a sequel to it titled Doomed and I cannot wait to get my hands on it! Look forward to my review of that one coming as well 🙂

XO, Sarah

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BOOK REVIEW: The Wicked Deep

wicked deep

It is time for another book review! For today’s review I will be discussing The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw. This is a supernatural YA debut novel! I have absolutely nothing but good things to say about this book. I am a lover of any and all books or stories that deal with witches and witchcraft, so of course I immediately picked up this book.

The story takes place in a small town called Sparrow that has a very intriguing history. In the 1800s there were three sisters who came to the town. The townspeople did not trust them, and accused them of being witches. Eventually the people decided to be rid of the sisters and tied stones around their ankles and left them to drown in the deep waters that surround their town. Ever since that summer, the three sisters come back and inhabit the bodies of three girls in town and get their revenge by luring boys into the same waters and drowning them, just like they were drowned.

The main character of the story is named Penny Talbot. She lives on an island just off the coast of the town. In the beginning of the book she meets a character named Bo. Penny believes that he has come to the town to witness the drownings like most tourists do. He claims, however, that he is not here for that and knows nothing about it. The two of them form a relationship, but neither one of them are fully truthful to each other; each one hiding their own secrets. Soon the possessions of the three girls takes place, and the two of them are determined to discover who the inhabited ones are in order to stop any more drownings from happening.

Of course, both of their secrets are soon revealed. They have to decide what to do with their new found information, and learn to work with it. There is a twist towards the end of the story that I did not see coming for the life of me!! I absolutely love when a book can do that. I hate always figuring out the twists before they happen, so I was incredibly pleased when this one took me by total surprise. Another thing that I really enjoyed about this book is that the ending is very bittersweet. It doesn’t have a completely happy ending, but it also doesn’t have a terribly sad ending. I feel like most books are either on one end of that spectrum and that we don’t see a lot of the bitter-sweetness, especially in YA fiction.

Overall I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars. I thought this is absolutely amazing for a debut novel, and I cannot wait to see what Ernshaw comes out with for her next novel. It was also recently announced that Netflix has won the rights to turn this into either a movie or series, which is so exciting! I highly recommend reading the book before that is released!

XO, Sarah

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BOOK REVIEW: The Teddy Bear Chronicles Vol. I

teddy bear

It’s time for another book review! Today’s review is on the first book of a new series! The series is called The Teddy Bear Chronicles and the first volume is currently called Saved in Paris. However, the subtitle and cover if this book is being changed and will be called Hope in Paris.  It will launch 30 days before Vol. II is released and will be sold at a discounted price! I will keep you updated on when it is available!

I recently discovered this book recently on Instagram. I saw a few fellow bookstagrammers had purchased the book and I was instantly drawn in by the cover! The cover consisted of the backs of three teddy bears. Seems pretty normal, right? Wrong! Along with the bears, there are blood spatters across the cover. Teddy bears and blood spatters are not two things that are usually put together, so of course I was intrigued! I looked more into the story and discovered that the whole book is told from the point of view of teddy bears and follows the story of a young women trying to escape her abuser. I immediately went on Amazon and ordered my copy! When I received it in the mail, I posted a picture of it in my Instagram, and what do you know? The author, Donnalyn Vojta, saw my post and sent me a direct message! She said that from the copy of my book, it was one that had some grammatical errors in it and she hoped that those would not distract from my enjoyment of the story itself. I thought this was an extremely kind gesture, and really shows that this is someone who really does take pride in their work.

The book is told from the perspective of three different teddy bears. This is the first book that I have read from the perspective of an inanimate object so I was not sure what to expect. I will admit that the first few chapters were a little hard for me to get into because of the fact that I was not used to a narration quite like this. However, after those first few chapters, I was completely hooked!

We are introduced to our main character Kelly Donovan, and her boyfriend, Mark Flannery. We soon find out that Mark is extremely abusive, both mentally and physically, and that Kelly is working on a plan to escape from him. Her escape takes her overseas to Paris where she reunites with her somewhat estranged sister. Unfortunately, her sister’s new beau is a friend of Mark, and he unknowingly gives Mark information that brings him to Paris for Kelly.

This story is fast-paced and utterly thrilling! There is so much that happens, and it is wonderful to hear the events from such a unique perspective of the teddy bears. There is a sequel to this story that I am extremely excited to read! My overall rating for this book is 4 out of 5 stars. The whole idea for this book is amazing and so enthralling. The reason that I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 is because I felt there were some scenes that could have been a little more flushed out. I do believe that this is Vojta’s debut novel, so that is completely understandable! This is pretty typical with debut novels, and I am so excited to see her future novels and see her development as a writer! It really is one of the best things about discovering an author on their debut 🙂

Be on the lookout for my review of The Teddy Bear Chronicles Vol. II Chloe’s Crusade!

XO, Sarah

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BOOK REVIEW: Stalking Jack the Ripper

jack

It’s time for another book review!

Today’s review is on the mystery YA novel titled Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. As soon as I saw this book I was instantly intrigued. I have always been fascinated by the history of Jack the Ripper, and I love time-period novels. So this was basically a MUST READ for me!

The novel’s main character is Audrey Rose, a young girl who secretly apprentices with her uncle. During this apprenticeship, she is performing autopsy-like surgeries on the victims of Jack the Ripper. This is considered extremely improper for a young woman during this time. Her uncle also has another apprentice, a young man by the name of Thomas.

The bulk of the story takes place after Audrey Rose’s uncle is arrested for the Ripper murders. She and Thomas work together to find out who the Ripper really is, knowing that it could not possibly be her uncle.

I really enjoyed this book, and all of the mystery that it contained. I was completely surprised by who the Ripper actually turned out to be, and I think that is what I loved about this the most. Throughout the whole story I was convinced that the Ripper was one of two people, but I ended up being completely wrong! I love when a book is able to throw me off like that; it makes it that much more exciting!

I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars, and I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mysteries, time-period pieces, and/or YA. There is a sequel to this which is titled Hunting Prince Dracula which I am BEYOND excited to read. Vampire stories are some of my all time favorites, and I can’t wait to see what that one has in store for me!

If you didn’t see my latest blog, I have recently started a BookTube channel on YouTube! I would love for you to go and check it out, and subscribe there as well 🙂 I will be posting a video review of this book on their very shortly, so look forward to that!

Link to my channel can be found HERE!

 

XO, Sarah

 

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BookTube!

New to BookTube Tag

Hello everyone!

I recently started a BookTube channel and I am so excited to share this with you! I have recently discovered the community that is BookTube, and to be honest, I’m surprised it took me this long! For those of you who don’t know, BookTube is a corner of YouTube where people talk about books. Videos range from currently readings, TBRs, wrap-ups, book reviews, book hauls, readathons, and so much more!

The reason why I started this channel is because I want to make more friends in the reading community who I can share my love of books with 🙂

I would love for you to come and check out my channel, and if you like it, please subscribe! 🙂

Link to my channel can be found HERE!

 

XO, Sarah