**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [272]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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Enregistrer After Hurricane Irma blew through last week, it looks like the next two, Jose and Katia, are headed off the U.S. east coast and well away from the places that are currently still bailing out after Harvey and Irma. That's the good news.

And, as always, there have been more books added to the virtually towering TBR stack. It's important to have plenty of choices of stuff to read in any crisis - or just because. The complete stack is over at Reading Reality, but here are just a few teasers...




Cold Hearted Rake, Marrying Winterborne, Devil in Spring (The Ravenels series) by Lisa Kleypas

I read a spotlight/promo/teaser for the next book in the series, Hello, Stranger, and it just sounded to good that I had to borrow the first three books from the library. I'll have plenty of time (hopefully) to get caught up before the new one comes out in February.


The Lady Travelers Guide to Larceny with a Dashing Stranger by Victoria Alexander

In addition to meriting an award for longest title ever, this is the second book in the series, after The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels & Other Gentlemen, which I read and which was an absolute hoot. So I'm looking forward to this one.

Please link your STS post in the linky below:


Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Space fiction
Hardcover: 403 pages
Publisher: Scholastic
Release date: June 27, 2017

Series:  The Forgetting, #1

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

What isn't written, isn't remembered. Even your crimes. Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories -- of parents, children, love, life, and self -- are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence -- before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

This was such a unique book and idea! While it seems like it could be overwhelming with all of the details at first, it was carefully put together and gave just enough information to keep the reader engaged without being lost. At first, I was trying to see how this civilization might resemble a former Canaan of the Bible, but don't bother. I think the only reason it is referenced this way is that it is another "promised land" of a sort, though any further description means spoilering some awesome revelations at the end.

Nadia is special among the residents of Canaan because she hasn't forgotten. She tries to make plans for her family so that in case they forget again, she will keep them together. Until Gray helps, she is basically running a one-girl band to find out the truth behind the Forgetting. Additionally, Nadia is one of the few that recognizes the emotional trauma of being forgotten and lost and left behind. That's possibly a great metaphor to explore, and one that invokes a sad reminder of the effects of today's dementia and Alzheimer's diseases. It's really wrenching to picture a child or teen going through that!

From the very beginning, I kept expecting Gray or someone to betray her/them. It happens, but not quite the same way I pictured. What is really phenomenal is how you don't really realize that this is science fiction and specifically dystopian space fiction until much later in the book. I would have really wanted to find out more about the details of this, but perhaps that is coming in the sequel The Knowing coming out next month, October 2017. (It should be noted that this sequel does not continue the story of Nadia but has whole new characters since it takes place well after this book.)

The character description and character development were great. They really stick with you, and so many of them do change throughout the course of the novel, including Gray and Nadia. There are a few things that are rather disturbing about the book such as the killings, physical abuse, lost or orphaned children, and torture. Some things may be traumatizing to middle school readers, especially if they couldn't take similar themes in The Hunger Games either.

As a librarian, the idea of the books and the archives was intriguing and fun. I really enjoyed this aspect, especially when Nadia gains a job at the Archives. However, no way would I want my own book collection. I definitely would not want to have to write everything down, have other people potentially read what I've written and take advantage of it, nor to forget my family if my books were lost or destroyed. Again, super personally thought provoking! I enjoyed this one more than Rook but not as much as her two steampunk novels. Still can't wait to see what The Knowing holds!

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [271]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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Enregistrer And it's Christmas! Not really, but my stack is beginning to look a lot like it might be. A few holiday books have already trickled in, but this week I have two from a couple of my favorite authors. The rest of my stack over at Reading Reality is a bit less Christmas-y. At least so far.

I don't know about you, but even the idea of lots of snow is more fun to contemplate than another hurricane. Harvey was awful, and now Irma is on the horizon. It may deal us a glancing blow in Atlanta, but nothing like the folks in Florida are going to get!

Stay safe everyone!


Christmastime Cowboy by Maisey Yates

This is book 10 in Yates' Copper Ridge contemporary western romance series. And although there was one clunker in the series, at least for me, all the others that I have read have been absolutely marvelous. If you like your heroines with a bit of all-too-real angst, this series is a winner.


Hold Her Again by Shannon Stacey

I first discovered Stacey through one of the Carina Press holiday anthologies, way back in 2011 or 2012. She just writes terrific contemporary romance, and her books are always marvelous.

Please link your STS post in the linky below:


Thursday, September 07, 2017

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Release date: May 16, 2017

Series:  Flame in the Mist, #1

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn, comes a sweeping, action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan where Mulan meets Throne of Glass.

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.
     Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and track down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she's within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she's appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she's ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.


I loved her other series of The Wrath and the Dawn so I was keen on reading this one as soon as I could (plus, she's a fellow North Carolinian)! I wanted to like this book just as much as TWATD, but I just...didn't. I listened to this on audiobook, and that made the Japanese accents and names and history come alive, but I might have missed some key details that I otherwise would not have if I had read the book. Maybe at a second reading I'll have a different perspective, but I might just not even try. :(

This was marketed as Mulan meets Throne of Glass. Now, I love Mulan, but I absolutely really dislike Throne of Glass, so that wasn't a sell for me. The Mulan comparison comes from a girl masquerading as a boy and learning to fight, possibly also from Mulan's headstrong tendency to do as she likes rather than what people tell her to do. Unlike Mulan, I didn't feel like we really understood a picture of Mariko's personality and background before she was attacked/left for dead and then insinuates herself with the Black Clan. She seems a bit of a Mary Sue as we find out she's gifted at swordplay, alchemy/chemistry, and designing weaponry. Other than the fact that she is not like other girls and does not pretend to be the perfect ideal noble girl, most of her personality and skills are bland. She also has a typical blind eye towards other's feelings, especially if they are of a lesser station than she is. When she discovers abuses her family has done to their servants, she is shocked. It's rather like she just woke up to seeing the suffering of others since she was attacked. This seemed very...unbelievable.

Another of the things I missed was about Ōkami and Ronmaru, and apparently, Mariko missed it too. It's partially a spoiler, so I won't go into it here, but the last bit of the ending was confusing and didn't make enough sense. Perhaps this is due to the cliffhanger but I think it was simply too farfetched an idea, or due to the fact that our main character is so blind, the reader is too. I enjoyed the descriptions and writing and romance (!) though somehow missed this was actually feudal Japan with a bit of magic thrown in. The magic also is hard to grasp, as there are shadowy figures or animals and a fierce jungle cat that seems like something magical. Ōkami has some weird power too that seems magical, but none of this is explained because Mariko is kept so much in the dark. Without these explanations, I was just frustrated overall and wanted more from this story as I really think it could have been amazing. The romance was quite honestly the best part, so if you want some steamy kisses...

Did anyone else read this? What did you think?

Read an excerpt.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [270]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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Enregistrer Happy Labor Day weekend to everyone in the U.S. I hope that you are able to enjoy this last unofficial weekend of summer, and the Monday holiday.

But wherever you are, I hope you have wonderful things to read! In case you are looking for something to read, here are a couple of teasers. My complete stack is over at Reading Reality.



Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 by S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michele Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green , Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject

This is the second Pets in Space collection. Last year's entry, just titled Pets in Space, had some absolutely lovely science fiction romance short stories and novellas, where the heroes and heroines achieve their HEAs with the help, or sometimes the hindrance of their space-faring pets, everything from cyber-dogs to dragons to robots. I'm really looking forward to the new collection!



Unmapped by Anna Hackett

Unmapped is the latest in Anna Hackett's marvelous action-adventure romance series, Treasure Hunter Security. I finished it last night (review coming this week at Reading Reality) and it's great fun. Antarctica hasn't seen this much action since they discovered the second Stargate!


Please link your STS post in the linky below:


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Historical fiction
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Release date: April 25, 2006

Series:  Temeraire #2

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

When Britain intercepted a French ship and its precious cargo–an unhatched dragon’s egg–Capt. Will Laurence of HMS Reliant unexpectedly became master and commander of the noble dragon he named Temeraire. As new recruits in Britain’s Aerial Corps, man and dragon soon proved their mettle in daring combat against Bonaparte’s invading forces.

Now China has discovered that its rare gift, intended for Napoleon, has fallen into British hands–and an angry Chinese delegation vows to reclaim the remarkable beast. But Laurence refuses to cooperate. Facing the gallows for his defiance, Laurence has no choice but to accompany Temeraire back to the Far East–a long voyage fraught with peril, intrigue, and the untold terrors of the deep. Yet once the pair reaches the court of the Chinese emperor, even more shocking discoveries and darker dangers await.


In this second Temeraire novel, things start off with quite a bit of conflict as a delegation of the Chinese has come to claim Temeraire back. The dragon nor Laurence will have any of it, but some British military leaders persist until Temeraire gets upset and instead attempts to kidnap Laurence to protect him.

After some discussion Laurence and Temeraire are sent together with an English naval ship and the Chinese delegation to return to China to salvage the diplomatic situation, especially before the Chinese decide to support Napoleon, believing the English have insulted them and stolen apurpose the egg housing Temeraire. While on the ship, strange things keep happening, and Laurence suspects the Chinese prince Yongxing will try everything in his power to get Laurence out of the way and keep Temeraire. Why? Because only royalty is supposed to be allowed as companions to Celestials, which they've discovered Temeraire is, and Laurence is absolutely deemed unworthy of the greatest dragon breed in existence. There is a lot of murky diplomacy and politics, action and death, and the tension between the naval officers and airmen doesn't help matters, especially when no one trusts the Chinese. Still, overtures are made to the Chinese to encourage an alliance and goodwill, though these seem to create more issues than help matters.

One of the new debates in this novel is the rights of dragons--are they animals/property or are they individuals? In China, dragons are treated much differently than in the Western European powers that we've been introduced to so far like Britain and France. Especially Celestials like Temeraire, dragons are treated with respect and occasionally like royalty. They can choose their own companions, find a trade, read, write, walk freely about the city and pay their own debts. In seeing China, Temeraire and Laurence confront much of their preconceived notions, and must decide what they believe. Temeraire also finds out about his family, and how much he stands to gain in staying in China. Furthermore, it remains to be seen how the Chinese will even allow Laurence to be with Temeraire, especially when it seems like there is a plot to either be rid of Laurence or instate a prince as his companion. It is a test of their bond, especially since Laurence faces unknown dangers and risks and must return to England to fight in the war, with or without his dragon. I am loving this series, and am reading it as fast as I can borrow the ebook...

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [269]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
——————

Hello all! 

I've been absent from STS for a bit as I've been busy on maternity leave and it's been much harder to read and blog on my current schedule. Since I won't be blogging YA, all of these are adult titles I have wanted to read but that have been harder to find the time for during my normal rapacious appetite of young adult. However, here's some books I've added to my shelves recently:


 Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik (Temeraire, 2)
Recently read. Review coming soon! 
I loved His Majesty's Dragon so it's been hard to keep away from the next few in the series!

  Black Powder War by Naomi Novik (Temeraire, 3)
Recently read. Review coming soon! 

  Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik (Temeraire, 4)
Recently read. Review coming soon! 

Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik (Temeraire, 5)
To be read soon!

I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
Recently completed. 
I have loved Kinsella's books since reading the Shopaholic series as a teen, and I've missed her last few pubs. This one was very cute and I enjoyed it a lot.

 Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
Recently completed. 
I liked I've Got Your Number better than this one since it was a rather horrifying comedy of errors that had the potential to ruin many relationships permanently!

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
Recently completed.
This title is my library's Community Read for 2017, where we nominate a book to read as a community. It wasn't my favorite book, but especially the parent-child relationship was entertaining in this novel.


 Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Recently completed.
Since the tv show's release, I've been trying to read this before watching. I was caught off guard at many points, especially the ending. Still, it was addicting and horrifying at the same time. The tv show acting was phenomenal (with that cast, how could it NOT have been) even if they introduced the affair in a problematic place, IMO. 


 The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes
Recently completed.
I'm working my way through Jojo Moyes's books after reading Me Before You (I LOVED this one, especially the movie too), After You, and One Plus One (hilarious). This one was seemed to go from the darkest of deep holes to a much more positive place, but I loved the ending.


 A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Recently completed.
I still don't know what to make of this book though I loved Lila, and am eagerly anticipating reading the second book, but have to convince my library to get the ebook first...


The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Currently reading.
I loved The Name of the Wind and have been trying to read this second book for awhile, but it is SO LONG, it's been hard to find the time to start this one. 

Hope you enjoy! What have you added to your shelves lately? 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: High Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release date: November 8, 2016

Source: For review

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

The #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestseller that Gregory Maguire (Wicked and After Alicecalls "full of heart."
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.
Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to review this book! I had it read months ago; however, I let a friend borrow it, and it took me awhile to get it back to finish my review. Plus, the review got lost on my phone, and I was so pleased to have discovered it wasn't completely gone! 

Heiress to the march of Rock Turtle Cove, Catherine Pinkerton simply wants to open her own bakery, along with her maid Mary Ann. She loves baking and everyone loves her treats, especially the King, who often asks her for more of her delicacies. Unfortunately, Cath's parents have other plans for their daughter and have intended for her to marry the King, who has been very interested in Catherine. However, on the night the King is going to announce their engagement, Cath meets the new court joker, Jest, whom she's recently seen in a dream and is expectedly curious about him and their connection. Having no intention of being Queen, Cath has Cheshire create a diversion at the ball and she is able to slip out to get some air (since she's wearing the most constrictive dress and was famished) and runs into Jest. Jest makes her laugh, plays a few tricks, and helps her into a carriage to return home. However, she has not avoided the king's proposal as he visits the next day having changed his tune (due to Jest's influence upon learning that Catherine wants nothing to do with queenship) and asks to court her. That night Jest visits and asks her to a real tea party, whereupon she meets Hatta and the Hare (Haigha), the Dormouse and other familiar characters. With this adventure, Catherine finds herself falling for the impossible joker. Still many things stand in the way, including her family, her dreams, the King, and the fearsome attacks of the Jabberwock. With magic, whimsy, and a different adventure through Lewis Carroll's novels, find out how sweet Catherine becomes the terrible Queen of Hearts.

I have never read any of the original Lewis Carroll books because as a child, I despised the animated Alice in Wonderland film from Disney. At least the live version was better, but I suppose I tend to be too sensible a person to appreciate the madness and upside-down reasoning of that world. I also have never read any other YA tales with references to Alice, so this was my first venture into that realm of my own accord (and only because it is Marissa Meyer and the Lunar Chronicles is one of my absolute favorite YA series). At first, I had to get used to the similarities and references to Alice and her acquaintances. It takes a bit to get out of your own version of what this story will be and envisioning the Queen of Hearts before seeing the real Catherine who is actually delightful and endearing. I was absolutely blown away by this retelling, and actually came to love this book! Who knew you could have sympathy and love for the bloodthirsty Queen of Hearts? Truly speaks to the gift of writing that Marissa Meyer has!

Read an excerpt here.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [268]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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EnregistrerI have yet another huge stack over at Reading Reality, but there are two books this week I really, really want to share.


Seven Stones to Stand or Fall by Diana Gabaldon
I've read the whole Outlander series, but have yet to watch the TV show. One of these days I'll get a round tuit. The book series is one of my all-time favorites, but there is always an extremely long time between books. The author does a stunning amount of research, and the books are always huge. So now it's three years and counting between Written in My Own Heart's Blood and the next book, tentatively titled Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone. While we wait, there's this marvelous collection of short fiction set in the Outlander-verse, including two all-new stories to tide us over the long wait.



Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines
And now for something completely different. Jim C. Hines writes fantasy, urban fantasy and now science fiction with more than a touch of humor. His Magic Ex Libris series is marvelous, and it is dear to this librarian's heart, because it's all about the magic in books. But in Hines' first foray into science fiction, it looks like he's turned the humor dial up to eleven, while still telling what looks like a terrific story. Zombie spaceship janitors on a mission to save the universe. You read that right - Zombie Janitors on a Spaceship, out to save everyone and everything - at least as long as they manage to control their appetite for brains.


Please link your STS post in the linky below:


Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Inquisition by Taran Matharu

The Inquisition by Taran Matharu

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: High Fantasy
Hardcover: 350 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release date: May 10, 2016

Series:  The Summoner, #2

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository


A year has passed since the Tournament. Fletcher and Ignatius have been locked away in Pelt's dungeons, but now they must face trial at the hands of the Inquisition, a powerful institution controlled by those who would delight in Fletcher's downfall.
The trial is haunted by ghosts from the past with shocking revelations about Fletcher's origins, but he has little time to dwell on them; the graduating students of Vocans are to be sent deep into the orc jungles to complete a dangerous mission for the king and his council. If they fail, the orcish armies will rise to power beyond anything the Empire has ever seen.
With loyal friends Othello and Sylva by his side, Fletcher must battle his way to the heart of Orcdom and save Hominum from destruction . . . or die trying, in this sequel to The Novice by Taran Matharu.


All our favorite villains are back and they've banded together! However, our beloved heroes are together again too, this time having to work together to accomplish a mission that could mean the end of their world--overrun by orcs and goblins!

Since the cliffhanger at the end of The Novice where Fletcher won the tournament, earning his place at on the king's counsel, Fletcher was also immediately hauled away to await trial for supposedly killing Didric (who's still alive?). Some things get a bit murky or too far-fetched to believe here for the adult reader, but the intended audience probably won't notice. Despite this somewhat muddled beginning with trials and accusations, the real meat of the story comes more than halfway through as Fletcher is back with his team and other summoners along with newcomers and old enemies to journey as four teams to infiltrate the orc stronghold and destroy their horde of goblin eggs.

There are still a lot of underlying tensions other than our heroes/villains. The politics of the day have King Harold mostly powerless against his scheming father and the Triumvirate. There's also the rising potential of a civil war between the men, elves, and dwarves as there have been lots of violence perpetrated by supposed dwarf allies or, as accused, the dwarves themselves. With the infiltration of the orc stronghold, Fletcher's team of elf/dwarf allies carries the added weight of the political tension, especially as each team is led by a strong demon who is broadcasting their efforts to their society (i.e. The Hunger Games). Fletcher and his crew have the potential to make or break alliances for their society as a whole, and this tension plays out between their teams and their relationships within the team itself.

I was totally not prepared for the ending though I had sneaking suspicion there was going to be a pretty nasty twist in the story. (Pssst, I was right!)

Quick! I am anxious to read book 3 after another such shocking cliffhanger! (I realize these keep kids reading and are typical for younger grade books, but I find it torturous. *agonized emoji*) Alas, my library currently has a holds' list, so it'll be some time before I can find out and share a review with you all. Happy reading!