Sunday, March 29, 2020

Book Review: Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

Goodreads Overview:

When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.

Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…

Jacque's Review:

Scavenge the Stars was the book selected for OwlCrate's January YA box. Below is a photo of everything that came in the January box. I am using the Hobbit banner to display my OwlCrate pins, I have already burned the entire candle while reading, and have definitely been enjoying the Crooked Kingdom socks and Harry Potter mug. I haven't had a chance to use the little mirrored pill box yet, which was inspired by Nevernight, but I think it will come in handy when traveling. 

Scavenge the Stars is a gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo.  I am not familiar with the original story, but after reading this book, I am interested in reading it to see where the stories overlap.

At the beginning of the story we are introduced to Amaya, who has been working on a debtor ship for 7 years and has almost worked off her family's debt. She is excited to be reunited with her mother and will be released just in time to surprise her on her birthday. As she is planning her departure, she rescues a man (Boon) who was drowning. The captain isn't happy about it because he is nothing more than another mouth to feed, but Amaya is intrigued by him. They both manage to escape the ship and discover they have a common enemy. Boon prepares Amaya to return to Moray, where she grew up, to impersonate a Countess and lure in the son of the man they both want to take down. Cayo has a bit of a reputation as a party boy, but he has actually changed his ways. He is nothing like Amaya expected and they begin to develop a friendship.

Cayo is caught in a difficult situation. His sister is ill and needs an expensive medicine or there is virtually no hope for survival. He has grown up in a wealthy merchant family, but for some unknown reason they have fallen on hard times and can't afford the medicine. He searches out the Countess in hopes of playing her to get the medicine. The Countess is nothing like he imagined and he decides he can't go through this his plan. He will have to find another way to get the money.

This was a very entertaining story. I absolutely loved seeing how Cayo and Amaya worked through their layers of deception and are now working together to achieve their goals. They now have a better understanding of the truth and know who the true enemies are. Things ended a little shaky for them, but I am hopeful they can forgive each other and start over now that everything is in the open. They seemed to have a genuine connection that I can only hope will continue to flourish throughout the series.    

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Book Review: Hot Six by Janet Evanovich

Jacque's Review:

This is the sixth book in the Stephanie Plum series. Stephanie works for her cousin Vinnie as a bounty hunter, but is more luck than skill. This time around Ranger is wanted for questioning in the murder of a known arms dealer, but has gone missing. He is out on bail and Vinnie wants Stephanie to find him, but she knows there is no way anyone will find Ranger if he doesn't want to be found. She turns the job down and lets her enemy, Joyce Barnhardt, work the hopeless case. 

Ranger does make several appearances and Stephanie helps him try to uncover the truth behind the murder, which he says he was not involved in. She is being tailed by a couple of thugs who have been hired to locate Ranger for a different kind of questioning than the police are interested in, but Stephanie manages to dodge them in a number of humorous ways.

Stephanie also has some additional car trouble in this book, which is an ongoing joke in the series. She can't seem to keep a half way decent car without something happening to it. Fire, bomb, etc. She always ends up driving the family's old Buick, which is an indestructible tank. In addition, trouble is brewing at her parents house and Grandma Mazur decides to live with Stephanie for a while. She wants her independence and even starts taking driving lessons, looks for her own apartment, and tries to get a job. Things become a bit crowded at the apartment and Stephanie can't get any sleep. 

Joe Morelli is Stephanie's long time on-and-off love interest that dates back to elementary school. It appears things are heating up and may eventually become more serious in the future, but Ranger is still a mystery that I think Stephanie is still interested in exploring. I'm sure she would like the stability and a family with Joe, but there is definitely some undeniable attraction between her and Ranger that I'm sure will continue in the series.

Overall, this was another great murder mystery. As always, there were a number of laughs and I was hooked from the very beginning. It was a very quick read that I flew through in only a few days. If you are looking for a light and entertaining mystery series, I have really enjoyed this one so far. It is nothing like some of the more dark and detailed crime series such as the Kay Scarpetta or even the Women's Murder Club books, which I also enjoy reading.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Book Review: Get Dirty by Gretchen McNeil

Goodreads Overview:

The members of Don’t Get Mad (DGM) aren’t just mad anymore . . . they’re afraid. And with Margot in a coma and Bree stuck in juvie, it’s up to Olivia and Kitty to try to catch their deadly tormentor. But just as the girls are about to go on the offensive, Ed the Head reveals a shocking secret that turns all their theories upside down. The killer could be anyone, and this time he—or she—is out for more than just revenge.

The girls desperately try to discover the killer’s identity as their personal lives are falling apart: Donté is pulling away from Kitty and seems to be hiding a secret of his own, Bree is under house arrest, and Olivia’s mother is on an emotional downward spiral. The killer is closing in, the threats are becoming more personal, and when the police refuse to listen, the girls have no choice but to confront their anonymous friend . . . or die trying.

Jacque's Review:

I have read several murder mystery series and they are usually independent stories.  You could pick up any book in the series and follow the mystery from beginning to end without any difficulty. That certainly is not the case with this series.  Get Dirty is a continuation of the story that began in Get Even. We were left completely hanging at the end of the first book with multiple dead bodies, no suspect, and a main character on the brink of death. 

This book picks up pretty much where Get Even left off. Bree is in juvie/house arrest and Margot is in a coma for most of the book. With the loss of Bree and Margot's skill sets, Olivia and Kitty decide to recruit some additional DGM members to help solve the cases. Nobody knows who to trust and it appears the school and the police don't want to look any further than pinning the murders on the members of DGM. They just don't know who the members of DGM are. Their only hope is to solve the murders before the evidence stacking up against them becomes insurmountable.

I really enjoyed the characters and the story, but I didn't feel like it gave readers a realistic opportunity to solve the mystery. There were some crazy revelations at the end that pulled everything together, but I honestly can't think of many clues along the way that I should have picked up on that would have shed much light on the situation. 

Overall, I gave both books 4 stars and was entertained by the story, but it would have been better if it had been condensed into one book. Some of the events in the second book were a bit far fetched and in my opinion could have been eliminated. In contrast, the first book had me sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation.  I stayed up late to read the final few chapters because I simply HAD to know who the perpetrator was. This could have been a 5 star mystery if everything had concluded there. As it was, I felt like the additional time invested in reading a second book to solve one mystery was a bit more than I had originally bargained for and detracted from the overall enjoyment of the story.

Blog Tour & GIVEAWAY: We Are the Wildcats by Siobhan Vivia

Poignant, timely and thrillingWe Are the Wildcats is the perfect read for all of us who are ready to bite back.”
— Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’

We are the Wildcats is a tour-de-force. By the novel’s end, I was devastated to leave these characters behind. This is a powerful story that will stay with you long after the last page is turned." 
—Morgan Matson, author of the New York Times bestseller Save the Date

Tomorrow, the Wildcat varsity field hockey squad will play the first game of their new season. But at tonight’s team sleepover, the girls are all about forging the bonds of trust, loyalty, and friendship necessary to win.

Everything hinges on the midnight initiation ceremony—a beloved tradition and the only facet of being a Wildcat that the girls control. Until now.

Coach—a handsome former college player revered and feared in equal measure—changes the plan and spins his team on a new adventure. One where they take a rival team’s mascot for a joyride, crash a party in their pajamas, break into the high school for the perfect picture.

But as the girls slip out of their comfort zone, so do some long-held secrets. And just how far they’re willing to go for their team takes them all—especially Coach—by surprise.

Siobhan Vivian is the author of the young adult novel We Are the Wildcats, as well as Stay SweetThe Last Boy and Girl in the WorldThe ListNot That Kind of Girl, Same DifferenceA Little Friendly Advice, and the Burn for Burn trilogy, cowritten with Jenny Han. A former editor for Alloy Entertainment, she received her MFA in creative writing at the New School. She teaches creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh. Visit her at

I adored The Last Boy and Girl in the World and am ecstatic that I get to give away a copy of Siobhan's latest! I do have to make this U.S. only (shipping, ya know?). Enter via the Rafflecopter, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Happy book birthday to Harley in the Sky!

Happiest of birthdays to Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman! Let us know if you pick up a copy!

Book Summary
Harley Milano has dreamed of being a trapeze artist for as long as she can remember. With parents who run a famous circus in Las Vegas, she spends almost every night in the big top watching their lead aerialist perform, wishing with all her soul that she could be up there herself one day.

After a huge fight with her parents, who continue to insist she go to school instead, Harley leaves home, betrays her family and joins the rival traveling circus Maison du Mystère. There, she is thrust into a world that is both brutal and beautiful, where she learns the value of hard work, passion and collaboration. But at the same time, Harley must come to terms with the truth of her family and her past—and reckon with the sacrifices she made and the people she hurt in order to follow her dreams.