Scythe

Scythe by Neal Shusterman, Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Rating: 5 stars

I started listening to this book in 2018, however, it took me a while to get into. But! I have finished it, and it was well worth it.

This story is post apocalyptic where people, called Scythes, similar to grim reapers, “glean” individuals randomly to help with population control, disease, and crime. Two teens are selected by a Scythe to become his apprentices. When the conclave found out he took on two, without permission, they decided at the final test for the scythedom, only one would be chosen and their first task would be to glean the other. This made their apprenticeship even more difficult knowing that at the end one would have to end the other’s life. During the course of their apprenticeship, their mentor committed suicide and they were split up to continue their apprenticeship with other scythes, separately.  Further, it was indicated, that the edict of one gleaning the other would still stand.

For the sake of spoiling, I won’t go any further in the synopsis. The rest of the story followed them individually with their new mentors. I really appreciated how the book ended and I was not expecting it. It makes me very excited to listen to the next book because I need to know what happens next.

I enjoyed Greg Tremblay as the narrator. I thought he did well for the voices and giving the story life. I am happy he is the narrator for Thunderhead (book 2 in the series). In fact, now that I am finished, I went ahead and got Thunderhead from Audible so I can give it a start soon!

If you read this book and get stuck, please keep going, because it is worth it! Normally a book that is slow for me and takes me a while to get into, gets a lower rating, even if the ending is great, but this book is different. I really enjoy Shusterman’s books, and when I started this book, I had a lot going on and I take that into account of why it took me a while to connect with the story.

Bite Me

Bite Me by Louise Cypress. Narrated by Reba Buhr and Alexander Cendese

Rating: 5 Stars

 

I received a copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Bite Me is about a high school senior named Morgan. Her mother is dating a classmate’s father and one night while she was at their home for a family dinner together, she was bitten by a young child who was being tended to by a nun. Turns out, this young child was a vampire and passed on vampiritis to Morgan. The classmate, whose name is Esma, and her father, Lucas, are called Puritans, meaning they do not feast on human blood and therefore age like a normal human and do not have the same kind of powers as vampires.

Van Xander is a descendant of Van Helsing. His family works for a council that slays vampires. His family was sent to the community where Morgan lived, but to monitor the local puritan coven when he discovers that Morgan is a vampire and she does not know it. As time goes on, he really begins to care for Morgan.

I really enjoyed listening to this book. I had been eyeballing reading it for a while, but with last year being so hectic for me, I just never picked it up to do so. When the opportunity to listen to it came about, I was very excited and jumped on it very quickly. I listened to this book in one day. That is right. I finished all 8 hours of it. I listened all day in every activity….working on the computer, doing chores around the house, feeding my son…I could not stop. The narrators really brought this story to life. I always feel narrators can make or break a story, and these narrators were fantastic.

I like the interesting twist to vampire lore that is out there. Cypress introduces that vampirism is like an illness and if you get treatment, you can live a normal life. In this case, if the infected person feasted on human blood, the disease took over and the person stopped aging and began having other vampiric superpowers. If a person did not feast on human blood, and stuck to a more paleo diet, then they lived a pretty normal, healthy, and happy life (they are known as Puritans). Having said that, they would still have the urge to feast on human blood. Morgan had a jump start to this though. Her stop mom, who is also one of these Puritan vampires, learned that something may happen to Morgan one day and began putting drops of medicine sort of like methadone, only it tones down the vampiric desires to feast on humans.

Overall, the story line was enjoyable. I am looking forward to the next book and am patiently waiting for its release on Audible. I have high hopes for the continuation of the series. If you want to listen to something with a fresh take on the same old vampire/human love story, this is a good one to go with!

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to review this audiobook for her! It was my pleasure and I greatly enjoyed listening!

Christmas Chimney Challenge

Christmas Chimney Challenge: A Wild Imagination of Willy Nilly book by Chris Stead

Rating: 5 Stars

 

I was provided a copy of Christmas Chimney Challenge by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

In this 4th book on Willy Nilly’s adventures, Willy is writing a Christmas list for Santa along with his sister, Suzie.  After a trip to town to see all the lights, Willy becomes upset that he does not have a chimney and fears Santa will not be able to get to them and give them their gifts. Suzie tells him that Santa would use the back door, but this is not good enough for Willy. While in town, an elf had given Willy a satchel of magic glitter. The next day, Willy decides he is going to make a chimney for his house, only he made several chimneys with a bunch of rubbish from the junkyard. Willy felt that if he made several chimneys then they would get MORE presents. After the chimneys were built, Willy dumped the magic glitter into the chimneys. On Christmas Eve, Willy checked on the chimneys and noticed they were glowing. Him and his dog were sucked into the chimneys and landed in a cold, snowy area. Willy and his dog ended up rolling down the mountain in the North Pole as a giant snowball and landing next to a toy factory where he found a very sad elf. Willy couldn’t believe why the elf was so sad when he got to work with toys all day, but he learned that it is because suddenly a bunch of chimneys popped up and the elves would have to make even more toys and may not be done in time for Christmas. Willy felt very bad and indicated he could take them down. In order to get home in time to do so, the elf had a reindeer fly Willy and his dog back home. Once he got home, he noticed that the storm they flew through had knocked down all the chimneys. Though Willy was happy to have helped the elves, he was still sad that he may not get any gifts from Santa because he did not have a chimney. He learned Christmas morning that this was not the case and went into the living room and found many presents under the tree.

As always, this story was really cute, well written, and wonderfully illustrated. This is the 3rd Willy Nilly book I have had the opportunity to review. I am looking forward to purchasing paperback copies to go into my son’s library so we can read them together. I like that Willy goes on adventures but that he always learns something in the process. The illustrations marry the story perfectly and it is easy to see how any child would love it.  I look forward to reading more of Willy Nilly’s adventures and sharing them with my son! As always, Chris Stead has delivered another wonderful adventure.

I always enjoy reviewing for Old Mate Media, I am happy they reached out. Christmas is my favorite holiday and I love Christmas stories very much.

A Girl Walks Into a Bar

A Girl Walks Into a Bar by Helena S. Paige

Rating: 3 Stars

 

A Girl Walks Into a Bar is a choose your own adventure for adults. I found this book when searching for something for the prompt “choose your own adventure” in the 2019 PopSugar Reading Challenge.

My only real experience with choose your own adventure books was when I was younger with some of the Goosebumps books. I never was really into them, because what if I chose wrong? This book kind of felt like that. You can select what the character does. Sometimes when you select, the book basically tells you no and sends you back to select something else. I would skim through some of the different scenarios, but ended up seeing one fully through, and it was weird.

The book itself wasn’t horrible, it just didn’t blow me away either. I could go back and see through some of the other scenarios the rest of the way, but they seemed to lead to a disappointing night, at least in the one I went with, my character got laid by a rock star with drawn on fake tattoos who wanted her to pee on him (don’t worry, the book basically makes the character ghost the rocker after that). It could be worse. One scenario had her teaching a hot, young bartender all about the birds and the bees with his own private lesson and him failing miserably. There was also a scenario where she was invited to a photo exhibit that was vaginas that looked like flowers. So…up to you really and what you are in the mood for.

This book has adult content, so if that is not what you want, I wouldn’t suggest it. But if you are looking to rekindle your childhood nostalgia and give a choose your own adventure a try as an adult, this one isn’t horrible, depending on which adventure you want to go on.

Sun Kisses

Sun Kisses by Lynda Beaver, Illustrated by Jolie Beaver

Rating: 5 stars

 

I received this book by the author in exchange for my honest review. 

 

This is a cute little story about little Emily who was picked on at school for all of her freckles. Her mother sat with her and told her the story of how the Sun fell in love with her as a young child and would kiss her often. Mom explained that every time the sun kissed her, a new freckle/spot would appear. Mom explains that she had to have a chat with the Sun and explain if the Sun continued to kiss her, that Emily would be covered. Mom knows that the Sun loved Emily also, but it was decided that the Sun would not kiss her so often anymore.

This story was very sweet and beautifully illustrated. I am going to have to get my hands on a physical copy of this book.  It is a very short story of only 13 pages making it a quick and easy read. It is a great story, especially, to help a child with many freckles who might get teased often. I recommend this sweet book.

Earl of Sunderland

Earl of Sunderland by Aubrey Wynne.

Rating: 5 stars

I received a copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review.

Earl of Sunderland is book 4 in the Wicked Earls Club series. It is not necessary to have read any of the other books to read this one. Each book is written by a different author. At the moment there appear to be 12 books in the series.

This story is initially about Carson, the heir to the Falsbury estate. He does not wish to be the Earl and tries to get his twin brother to trade him places on his own wedding day. Carson did not want to be married and felt he was not fit to be Earl, but that his brother Christopher “Kit” was. Carson married Eliza, cousin of Grace. The story takes place between the perspectives of Kit and Grace.

During a night of debauchery, Carson is killed in an accident, leaving Eliza to be sent back to her abusive father. During the decision of sending her back, it was discovered she was pregnant with Carson’s child, deciding that Eliza would stay with the Falsbury family, who loved her as their own daughter. Kit was now the new heir until the gender of the child was known.

Grace had met Kit at Eliza’s wedding but had not seen him for many months since that time. Eliza wrote to Grace in need of family to visit, and Grace uprooted the estate she was caring for since her mother’s death to be there for her. At the Falsbury estate, she was reintroduced to Kit, and the magic kept the story going.

Earl of Sunderland is a sweet, historical romance to brighten any heart. By the end, I was teary-eyed and touched by the story. I look forward to the next installment and am happy there will be another featuring this family. It makes me interested in reading about the other Earls in the series as well.

The pace starts out a little slow, but once Grace, her father, and her brother arrived at the Falsbury’s it picks up. I have hopes maybe Lord Boldon will have a story with the Lady Rafferton, as there seemed to be a hint of possibility there.

I did not take stars away for this next part, because it did not take away from the story, but there were a couple of typos in the book.

I highly suggest giving this book a read. I don’t read sweet romances very often so it was a nice little break. I read 70% of the book in one sitting because I simply could not put it down. All of the characters were great. I loved little Sammy especially. His antics always made me laugh.

Fighting Fate

 

Fighting Fate by Shaila Patel, Book 2 in the Soulmated Series

Rating: 5 stars

 

I received a copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review. I have not been paid for my opinions, these opinions are my own. This review may contain minor spoilers

 

Every now and then, a series pops into my life and leaves me wrecked. Soulmated is such a fantastic series. The first book, Soulmated (you can check out my review here) left me in need for book 2 immediately. Alas, I had to wait AN ENTIRE YEAR before Fighting Fate arrived in my email. Just like in Soulmated, I am left with this high from the unique and original story line, and now I am dropping, and the crash is going to hurt knowing I have to wait another year to read book 3.

In Fighting Fate, we pick up where Soulmated left off. The joining that did not quite happen because of Liam’s fear of injuring Lucky, which resulted in Liam breaking up with her while he tried to figure out how to join without killing her, and left them both catastrophically wrecked for weeks. Their waves of emotions were so savage they barely slept, they could not breathe while away from each other, Lucky lost weight because she could not eat. As a reader, you feel their pain. You have been there, you have experienced that loss at some point in your life that leaves a hole in your soul that you cannot figure out how to fill back in. In some cases, we get better, use some duct tape to close the wound, and move forward with our lives. In other cases, the hole gets bigger, and consumes us more until we can no longer breathe. We have to decide if we will drown, or find that strength to keep fighting the waves before they take you under. This is what Liam and Lucky had to decide. They decided to keep fighting, to fill that hole together. They were faced with many adversaries, and many challenges are faced that will either make them stronger, or break them apart.

This book had so many twists. At one point, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. My chest began hurting, I felt physically ill. Shaila Patel has a way to keep you hooked from the first page, all the way until the end, and then leaves you full and empty all at the same time. It has been a long time since I have been so hooked into what I was reading that I could barely breathe. I caught myself several times holding my breath, trying to get through. Trying to ride this ride with Liam and Lucky.

This is such a wonderful series, that I highly recommend. If you would listen to at least ONE book recommendation from me, this series would be the one you should pick up next. This series is so original and a breath of fresh air to the YA genre. You will not be disappointed. I can promise you that.

The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Rating: 5 stars

 

First let me say, I love Holly Black. She is absolutely, a wonderful writer. I can never get enough Holly Black. She is one of the few authors that I do not have to read the description of the book, I will just read it and know I will like it. No matter what. The Cruel Prince is no different.

I received the OwlCrate special edition, which is why my book looks different than the originals that came out.

The Cruel Prince is about Jude, a human, whose mother and father were  murdered and she was drug back to Faeire by her half-sister’s Fae father, General Madoc. There he raised Jude, her twin sister Taryn, and her half-Sister Vivienne.

Because General Madoc was Gentry, Jude was taught in school with other Gentry Fae kids. They did not like Jude and Taryn. Jude would not take it, though Taryn would be submissive because she wanted to be a wife. Jude wanted to be a knight, and trained heavily with General Madoc, who would not permit her to try out for knighthood. Prince Cardan, who is the cruel prince, is very mean to Jude. He torments her, and she fights and pushes back. His torment pushes Jude to began scheming, and making her own plans for her future, not caring if she dies, as she lost her fear along time ago. This makes her almost reckless, but as she goes with the flow, she grows.

There is so much intrigue, betrayal, and attitude in this book. I sucked it down whole and could not get enough. I found myself unable to breathe at times because of what was happening. This book captivated me around chapter 4 or 5 and sucked me in that I read into the wee hours of the night, devouring over half of the book. It was bittersweet to let go of at the end, I do not want to wait a year for the sequel to come out.

Do read this book. It is high fantasy at its finest. Black’s writing style is so fluid and easy to follow. My chest was pounding throughout the story. Go read it!

Fox and Raccoon

Fox and Raccoon by Lesley-Anne Green

Rating: 5 stars

 

Fox and Raccoon was provided to me free in exchange for my honest review through Netgalley. This review is composed of my own thoughts. 

Fox and Raccoon is the cute tale of a Fox and a Raccoon who are friends. Fox and Raccoon played almost every day, and enjoyed each other’s company. Raccoon went to Fox’s house one morning, however, Fox was way too busy to play. Raccoon decided he would help Fox with doing her chores and began completing them. After each chore, Raccoon would return to Fox’s home to see if she could play. But each time, Fox still had something to be done and was to busy to play. So Raccoon would start off with the next task. Finally, at the end of the day, after the last chore complete, and Raccoon returned to Fox’s house, there was a surprise birthday party waiting for him. Raccoon forgot it was his birthday, and each task he aided Fox with, actually was apart of getting the party together.

The illustrations were cute, and I liked the 3Dness to them. I bet the physical copy of this book is gorgeous as the illustrations followed along with the story. I loved the ending and how selfless little Raccoon was that he did not know he was helping set up for his own birthday surprise party, and that he forgot it was even his birthday. This is a great book for parents to share with their kids, and I believe their children can get a lot out of this story and the underlying lesson that is there.

If A Horse Had Words

If A Horse Had Words by Kelly Cooper and Lucy Eldridge

Rating: 5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review through Netgalley. This review is of my own thoughts.

 

This is the story about a foal that was born on a spring morning and her feelings as she grew. From the time she learned how to stand, the bond she made with “the boy” to being sold of for cowboys to ride in shows, it follows how she feels through each stage and words she would use to describe that feeling. This story actually did make me tear up a bit when the horse bucked the boy off and ended up being sold at an auction. I loved that it came full circle, and after no cowboy could ride her, this boy, now more grown, came to soothe her.

The illustrations were beautifully done and were appropriate for the story. Overall, this story is sweet and I hope to get my hands on a physical copy one day for my own future little ones to read.