Monday, May 22, 2017

ARC Review: Mean Little People by Paige Dearth

Release Date: April 2, 2017
Publisher: Fiction with Meaning LLC
Format: Kindle
Pages: 504 pages
Genre: Horror/Mystery/Thriller
Buy: Kindle | Paperback


Synopsis:

Seven year old Tony has two choices: to live or to die.

Tony Bruno just wants to fit in, but the bullies at his school are cruel and relentless. At home, he leans on his mother Teresa for strength and comfort, but she’s no match for his father, Carmen. His father, a fighter and bully himself, hates Tony. He is embarrassed by the child for not fighting back and wishes that Tony was never born.
Then as a teen, in one act of blind courage, Tony fights back shifting the balance of power with his peers. Even after Tony sets things straight with the neighborhood boys, his father continues to terrorize him.

At school, Tony is now respected by his classmates. One day he stands up for a bullied kid named, Salvatore, and the boys become friends. One night, Salvatore commits a horrific crime and Tony suffers the consequences of his friends’ actions. Tony’s punishment changes the course of his life.

All alone and nowhere to call home, Tony sets out to find the life he longs for, one filled with love and acceptance. But nothing comes easily for him, and he is forced to draw upon strength from deep within to survive.

From the dark world he lives in, Tony does unimaginable things to leave his unwanted life behind.

Review:


This is a dark book.  Tony is bullied at school, bullied at home by his father, winds up in Juvie where horrible things happen to him, lives on the streets and pretty much raises himself. Just when you think things are in an upswing you get the rug pulled out from under you.  It is an emotional roller coaster of a book.

Paige Dearth really takes you on a ride of survival and pain.  Well written this book sucks you in and keeps your attention as you keep routing for Tony to win at this game of life.  Tony's life is violent, from almost getting lynched by a group of bullies to being kicked out of his house, joining a gang and then ultimately finding a home in the mob. As a Philly girl I loved the setting and Dearth really brings South Philly to life, North Philadelphia has changed a bit from the time this book is set but I remember when it was the gang ridden hell hole she describes.

Its been a few days since I finished this book and its still sitting with me.  Tony is one of those characters who will stay with me for a long time.




Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

ARC Review: The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Disney - Hyperion
Format: Kindle
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: YA Mystery
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover

Enter to win a kindle copy of this book! 

Synopsis: 

Before Verity . . . there was Julie.
When fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in the hospital, she knows the lazy summer break she'd imagined won't be exactly what she anticipated. And once she returns to her grandfather's estate, a bit banged up but alive, she begins to realize that her injury might not have been an accident. One of her family's employees is missing, and he disappeared on the very same day she landed in the hospital.

Desperate to figure out what happened, she befriends Euan McEwen, the Scottish Traveller boy who found her when she was injured, and his standoffish sister, Ellen. As Julie grows closer to this family, she experiences firsthand some of the prejudices they've grown used to-a stark contrast to her own upbringing-and finds herself exploring thrilling new experiences that have nothing to do with a missing-person investigation.

Her memory of that day returns to her in pieces, and when a body is discovered, her new friends are caught in the crosshairs of long-held biases about Travellers. Julie must get to the bottom of the mystery in order to keep them from being framed for the crime.

Review:


Before she was Code Name Verity, she was just Julie, a young carefree girl just turning 16 and home for the summer to enjoy her grandfathers estate one last time before it turns into a school. She gets there a few days ahead of schedule and before letting anyone know she has arrived she decides to go on an adventure. She is attacked from behind and winds up in the hospital with no knowledge of what happened.  She befriends her saviors, two young tinkers whose family has been camping on her grandfathers land for a long time.

This book explores the prejudices surrounding gypsy's, the mystery of Julies attack, missing pearls and an ancient boat wreck that might hold more secrets than anyone knew and the coming of age of a truly adventurous woman. Julies new friends are constantly under suspicion from people around her other than her family.  If something goes missing or wrong they are the first ones people blame.  So when a body is found the police look to Julies new friends.

Wonderfully written, keeps you guessing with all the moving parts and different layers. I loved Julie from Code Name Verity and it is wonderful to connect with her again and see how she became a British Spy during WWII. I can't say enough about this book I was so thrilled to receive an advance copy and was bummed that I only got to it recently. Fabulous book.



Disclaimer: I received an advanced e-galley of this book from the publisher from netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

ARC Review: Rise & Shine Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick

Release Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: MIRA
Format: Kindle
Pages: 368 Pages
Genre: Fiction
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover |


Synopsis:

Moonstone for empathy. Azurite for memories. Lapis lazuli for truth… In the quiet village of Noon Sun, Benedict Stone has settled into a complacent and predictable routine. Business at his jewelry shop has dried up; his marriage is on the rocks. His life is in desperate need of a jump start…

And then a surprise arrives at his door.

Gemma is Benedict's audacious teenage niece—the daughter of his estranged brother, Charlie. The two Stone brothers had a falling out and haven't spoken in almost two decades, since Charlie left for America. Reckless and stubborn, Gemma invites herself into Benedict's world and turns his orderly life upside down. But she might just be exactly what he needs to get his life back on track…

Review: 

This was a really sweet story about what it means to be a family, secrets and living in the moment. When Gemma shows up at Benedict's door his whole life changes and so does that of so many in the town.  This young girl shows them all how to live again, through gemstones and jewelry Gemma and Benedict change the lives around them including their own.

Well written, this book keeps you interested with an underlying mystery about why Gemma is there and if her father really knows she is there.  I found myself routing for Benedict and all the townspeople in their quests to be happy.  With just a little encouragement and maybe a magic gem or two the town springs back to life.

I couldn't put this book down it was infectious in its joy and I found the information on different gemstones fascinating.  A truly enjoyable book.


Friday, May 5, 2017

ARC Book Review: My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen by David Clawson

Release Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Format: Kindle
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: LGBT/Fantasy/YA
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover


Synopsis:

Chris Bellows is just trying to get through high school and survive being the only stepchild in the social-climbing Fontaine family, whose recently diminished fortune hasn’t dimmed their desire to mingle with Upper East Side society. Chris sometimes feels more like a maid than part of the family. But when Chris’s stepsister Kimberly begins dating golden boy J. J. Kennerly, heir to a political dynasty, everything changes. Because Chris and J. J. fall in love . . . with each other.

With the help of a new friend, Coco Chanel Jones, Chris learns to be comfortable in his own skin, let himself fall in love and be loved, and discovers that maybe he was wrong about his step-family all along. All it takes is one fairy godmother dressed as Diana Ross to change the course of his life.

Review:

Apparently I am on a Cinderella remake ride.  This modern version of the Cinderella story centers around Chris, whose family was down on their luck for a long time, his mother died when he was young and he helped out as his father tried to change their circumstances.  After making a fortune Chris's father meets a new woman and moves them into her brownstone along with her and her two children. After the market crashes taking all of their money and Chris's father, Chris tries to find a place in his new family with his step-mother and siblings.

The rest I'm sure you can guess but either way the addition of Coco Chanel makes this story worth reading.  There is nothing like a snarky drag queen to uplift a story and have you chuckling to yourself.  The dashing prince doesn't find his princesses but rather his prince this time helping bring this story into a modern retelling and makes it accessible to so many lgbt teens who are looking for their dashing prince or princess.

Well written and funny this book holds your attention and is another great retelling of a classic story.


Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 

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