E-Arc Review: Heart Sister by Michael F. Stewart

51349135Title: Heart Sister
Author: Michael F. Stewart
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2020
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this e-copy to review. All opinions are my own.

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“After Emmitt’s twin sister, Minnie, dies in an accident, his world goes sideways. He’s lost his best friend and it feels like his family is falling apart without her. But Minnie was an organ donor and Emmitt soon receives an anonymous thank you letter from one of the transplant recipients. Inspiration strikes, and he decides to try and put his sister back together, in spirit. He’s going to track down each organ recipient and film them to show his parents Minnie’s selfless act and help them move on. But when each recipient falls short of his expectations and the star of his film, the girl who received his sister’s heart, refuses to meet him, Emmitt has to turn to extreme measures to find her. What he doesn’t know is that his “heart sister” is hiding an agonizing secret, one that could push Emmitt to the breaking point.” (Goodreads)

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One thing I love about books from this publishing company is that usually the topic of the book is one that isn’t usually discussed. For this book, the subject is about being an organ donor and what that’s like as someone who lost a person who was a organ donor and someone who received an organ.

Emmitt is trying to hold on to his sister in any way he can. His mother cannot cope with what happened to her daugher. His father stays busy working and doesn’t want to talk about what happened. Every person deals with grief in a different way and this book does a great job of showing that.

This book is written in first-person and it comes from Emmitt. The way he finds his sister’s organs is quite questionable but it’s understandable to want to hold onto something. I did like the interactions between him and the receivers. There was definitely some good moments about alcoholism, changing/growing, and just getting a second chance at life. We don’t realize how lucky we are until our life is in jeopardy.\

I’m not going to lie, this book was a very emotional read. I had tears every now and then. I have never had to lose someone in this way but I have lost someone close to me and its easy to understand grief. This book will definitely punch you in the feels.

Overall, if you want an emotional read or just one that talks about organ donors then I’d recommend this book. It’s an important topic and one that isn’t talked about enough.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall 2020 TBR

Hello, Lovely Bookworms!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

Today’s prompt is Books On My Fall 2020 TBR. This is just going to be a lot of arcs because I need to get through them! Haha.

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1.) The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis

2.) The Castle School (for Troubled Girls) by Alyssa Sheinmel

3.) The Bright & the Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski

4.) Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price

5.) Hot British Boyfriend by Kristy Boyce

6.) Cathedral of Bones by A.J. Steiger

7.) The Project by Courtney Summers

8.) Daughter of the Serpentine by E.E. Knight

9.) These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

10.) Muse by Brittany Cavallaro

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I am looking forward to all of these! Some are mystery/thrillers and I love those during this season.

 What’s a book you want to read this fall?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

E-Arc Review: Well Played (Well Met #2) by Jen DeLuca

 

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Title: Well Played (Well Met #2)
Author: Jen DeLuca
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2020
Publisher: Berkley

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an e-copy to review. All opinions are my own.

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Another laugh-out-loud romantic comedy featuring kilted musicians, Renaissance Faire tavern wenches, and an unlikely love story.

Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it’s been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she’ll even find The One.

When Stacey imagined “The One,” it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she’s not sure what to make of it.

Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey’s shock, it isn’t Dex—she’s been falling in love with a man she barely knows.” (Goodreads)

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Alas, we are once again welcomed at the Ren Faire!

And let me tell you, I had a great time.

Last year I loved Well Met and was excited to know that we would get more from those characters. Like many romance books, this book covers a romance for two other characters than the couple from book one but they are still present. It just wouldn’t be the WCRF without Simon, am I right? Haha.

Stacey hasn’t had much change in her life for quite some time. At 27 she is seeing all her college friends get married and have kids. They are living their life while she seems to be alone, minus her cat. He is great company. Realizing that 30 is coming for her isn’t easy.

I definitely resonate with the getting close to 30 thing. I may have married young and had a child all before 27 but as you get closer to 30 it just feels like life is slipping away. I totally get it. It’s just a bit different.

She also talks a lot about her body and trying to be comfortable in the skin she is in when she is on the bigger side. I always enjoy seeing this in books. I definitely understand the feeling of dread when trying on clothes.

Stacey goes through a lot of growth in many areas of her life. Sometimes its hard to make changes especially when you are concerned about your loved ones. You always want to be there for them even if it is holding you back.

Now onto the romance.

When the alcohol hits a bit too much one night, she does something drastic and sends a message to the band account of someone who she has had a fling with.

I’ve enjoyed many books where the relationship has taken place over notes. emails, texts, etc. It makes the relationship more exciting and I can relate. I met my husband on Myspace and living states away, messages and phone calls are all we had. It just hits me with all the feels!

From the beginning, you can see where the relationship is going and guess who is behind the screen. Even though it was obvious, I didn’t mind it. There were still a plot twist or two I didn’t see coming.

I did like this one just a tad less than the first and I really think the only reason for that is because the first was basically enemies-to-lovers and that’s my jam.

As for the side characters, I can never get enough of them! Simon and Emily are the cutest couple. There were definitely some vibes from April and Mitch and I happened to notice the next book will be about them. I am so curious and looking forward to that!

Overall, this gave me all the feelings I wanted. It was sweet and the ending was the cherry on the top. Now it’s time to wait for the next book because I adore these characters and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

Goodreads Monday (9/21/20)

Hello Readers!

Goodreads Monday is hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off.

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Title: Cathedral of Bones
Author: A.J. Steiger
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publication Date: February 16th, 2021
Publisher: HarperCollins

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A stunningly imagined world, page-turning thrills, and a pair of unlikely heroes on an epic quest make this unique and immersive dark fantasy—from acclaimed author A. J. Steiger—perfect for fans of Holly Black and Kelly Barnhill.

Simon Frost lives in a curious place, where magic is used by the very best Animists to do wondrous things—like call upon imps, wraiths, and all manner of monsters to right wrongs, deliver justice, and accomplish feats no human could achieve.

Simon Frost is not one of those Animists, though he’s been trying to become one for years. 

When a plea arrives from a distant hamlet, preyed upon by an abominable monster, Simon sees the opportunity to finally prove his worth.

But upon arriving in the tiny village, Simon finds not just a monster but a key to his past—and a pathway into an unbelievable future.” (Goodreads)

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I saw this cover on Netgalley and immediately requested. It just looks so good! I hope it is at least, haha.

Does this one sound like something you would read?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Book Review: Sting Magic by Sarah K.L. Wilson

Title: Sting Magic
Author: Sarah K.L. Wilson
Genre: Fantasy
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2020
Publisher: Sparkflight Books




“She has the wrong kind of magic but the right kind of heart.

In the Winged Empire, magic comes on swift wings.

Literally.

It manifests from its bearers as a bird, granting its skills to those who wield it.

But this year, things are different.

Aella is the fiercely determined daughter of settlers on the far edge of the Winged Empire. Her huge family means everything to her and when the Empire strips them of their weapons, leaving them defenseless against the deadly magic that surrounds their settlement, she feels powerless to help.

Unfortunately, her frustration comes out in the worst way possible – as aberrant magic.

When Aella’s magic manifests, it doesn’t come as a bird. It comes as an angry swarm of bees.

And that aberration will threaten her life and everything she loves.

Can Aella keep her family safe by learning to control a magic born of frustration and fear before it masters her instead?” (Goodreads)

This author is one of my favorite indie authors. I have read a few of her series (haven’t finished them all yet and slowly working through) but when I saw that she was writing one about bird magic, I was super intrigued!

One thing I didn’t realize before jumping into this book was how dark it was going to be. Oh my! Le Majest/ Juste Montpetit is just insane but yet somehow I am drawn to him and wonder what he has planned next.

Aella’s magic is not like any other. Instead of a bird, she gets bees. At least it starts with a b, am I right? 😂 (corny joke, I know.) I’m very intrigued by her ability and I like that from the beginning you get to see her magic manifest and the struggles that come along with it. It’s never easy being different on top of learning something new.

Although her magic is unique, that isn’t everything she is. She is loyal to her family and will do anything to protect them, which includes not making the the best choices. There is good in her where the world seems to be falling apart from the forbidding and the empire. She is also filled with hope and determination.

There are other characters that I have also enjoyed so far like Ivo and Osprey. Both of them have something up their sleeve but not much is explained besides a prophecy and that they would like to see a change. Osprey does have a bit more to the story in regards to Aella. He obviously needs her but his hands are tied due to a bond. I can kind of see where things will go between them but there will definitely be plot twists to keep them apart. Aella also isn’t too sure about him and so who knows! I’m sure I’ll be surprised, ha.

The plot is a bit slow at first and it does take a bit to get into but once the world-building starts flowing it’s hard to put down. The magic system is intriguing and I have only read one other book about birds but they are quite different! There are quite a few plot twists and I didn’t see them coming. The last one was intense and I’m not even sure what’s going to happen in book two. Hopefully Aella can handle what’s to come.

Overall, I really liked the start to this new series and am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Life Update!

Hey guys!

I wanted to make a quick post about my absence. Life has just been life and besides book reviews that have been written, I haven’t been posting much the last few weeks. Maybe it’s just that I have needed a bit of a break and whenever I fall off track it’s hard to get back into it.

Life lately has been filled with meh times. Doctor visits aren’t fun especially when it’s not the outcome you wanted but you thought was going to happen anyways. I’m fine, don’t worry! It’s just been hard to process still.

I’m slowly making my way back here and am trying to blog hop as much as my life allows at the moment.

Thank you all for the continued support. 💕

Manga Review: A Sign of Affection Vol. 1 by Suu Morishita

50514218._SY475_Title: A Sign of Affection Vol. 1
Author: Suu Morishita
Genre: Manga / Romance
Publication Date: March 31st, 2020
Publisher: Kodansha Comics

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“Yuki is a typical college student, whose world revolves around her friends, social media, and the latest sales. But when a chance encounter on a train leads to her meeting friend-of-a-friend and fellow student Itsuomi-san, her world starts to widen. But even though Itsuomi-kun can speak three languages, sign language isn’t one of them. Can the two learn to communicate the budding feelings between them?” (Goodreads)

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Before even reading what this manga was about, I was drawn in by the cover. It is adorable! The characters and the flowers!

This is a unique storyline in that Yuki is deaf. You learn about some of the struggles that come with being deaf. She uses reading lips, typing/writing out, or sign language (if the other person knows it). There is also a page inside where the author talks about the sign language that is used in Japan. I really enjoyed the extra information and how he learned to use one from his collaborator who uses it everyday.

Itsuomi travels around the world and knows many language but becomes intrigued by sign language when he meets Yuki. There isn’t much about him yet but you can see their relationship blossoming.

The interest in each other seems pretty instant from their first encounter. It’s not my favorite but I am okay with it at the moment, ha.

Overall, I am curious to see where this will go when it comes to their relationship and maybe the struggles they will face. One of her older friends seems to be concerned and maybe he likes her? It’s possible! Either way, hopefully my library gets the next one or I’ll just have to buy it.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Book Review: Shadows Rising (World of Warcraft #17) by Madeleine Roux

51068649Title: Shadows Rising (World of Warcraft #17)
Author: Madeleine Roux
Genre: Fantasy / MMORPG
Publication Date: July 14th, 2020
Publisher: Del Rey

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An all-new official prequel novel to Shadowlands, the next expansion for Blizzard Entertainment’s legendary online game World of Warcraft

“The Horde is nothing!” With those infamous words, Sylvanas Windrunner betrayed and abandoned the Horde she vowed to serve. The Dark Lady and her forces now work in the shadows as both the Horde and Alliance, including her own sister, Alleria, race to uncover her next move. Struggling to shoulder the crushing weight of leadership, King Anduin entrusts the void elf and High Exarch Turalyon to uncover Sylvanas’s whereabouts.

The Horde now stands at a crossroads. The various factions form a council, leaving the mantle of warchief to rest. Thrall, Lor’themar Theron, Baine Bloodhoof, First Arcanist Thalyssra, and many other familiar faces rise to this new challenge. But the threats are numerous, and the distrust runs too deep.

When the council is derailed by a failed assassination attempt on Talanji—the Zandalari queen and a key ally—Thrall and the rest of the Horde leaders are forced into action. They empower the young troll shaman Zekhan, still grieving the loss of Varok Saurfang, with a critical mission to aid Talanji and help uncover the rising threat against her.

Meanwhile, Nathanos Blightcaller and Sira Moonwarden have been tasked by the Dark Lady with a terrifying gambit: to kill the troll loa of death himself, Bwonsamdi.

As Zekhan and Talanji work to save Bwonsamdi, their journey will be a key turning point in bolstering the Horde against the coming darkness and finding themselves along the way. Failure to save their allies and the trickster god will surely doom them—but through success, they may rediscover what makes the Horde strong.” (Goodreads)

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As someone who has played this game from the beginning and have loved the lore surrounding this game, this book was a big letdown to say the least.

I was expecting to learn more about anything when it came to the next expansion or again just anything at all but this book did not keep my attention. It’s taken me around 5 days just to finish it. I just ended up skimming through most of the last half.

There was little to none character development, with some getting more than others. This probably has to do with the shortness of the book and the multiple point-of-views. Relationships seem to be blossoming but that was also lacking. Although, I’m not a fan of the relationships in the first place. They feel pushed and read like fan-fic.

Many of the characters seemed out of character as well and did not correlate with who they are/have been in game.

A part of me really isn’t surprised by my not liking of this book because it seems most of the time Blizzard tries to ruin their own lore anyways. 🤷‍♀️

Overall, I liked a few parts but not enough to say I even liked the book or thought it was fine. It’s definitely not necessary to read before the next expansion as you won’t learn much.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Book Review: Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar

Title: Star Daughter
Author: Shveta Thakrar
Genre: YA Fantasy / Magical Realism / Mythology
Publication Date: August 11th, 2020
Publisher: HarperTeen


“This gorgeously imagined YA debut blends shades of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and a breathtaking landscape of Hindu mythology into a radiant contemporary fantasy.

The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. Pretending to be “normal.” But when an accidental flare of her starfire puts her human father in the hospital, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.

Sheetal’s quest to save her father will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must take the stage as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens–and win, or risk never returning to Earth at all.

Brimming with celestial intrigue, this sparkling YA debut is perfect for fans of Roshani Chokshi and Laini Taylor. (Goodreads)

The writing for this one is beautifully written and I can see why it’s being compared to Laini Taylor. The author does a great job of creating a unique world with stars.

I will say that I’m not a huge fan of that style of writing but I can appreciate it for what it is.

Sheetal is trying to find her place in this world. She has been raised by her aunt and father but you can tell she dreams about her mother and even goes out at night to read under the stars.

The plot focuses more on her journey of soul searching/finding out who she really is than the adventurous quest I thought this book would contain. There is nothing wrong with this and it was nicely done. It just didn’t give me the adventure I was expecting and it was hard to fully immerse myself in the story.

There is a bit of romance between Sheetal and another character and there is a plot twist that involves them. I didn’t like the character she found herself liking because him and the relationship as a whole just lacked the development I needed. He also was kind of a dillweed and kept things from her.

There are different formats included in the book and one of them is a few journal entries from Sheetal.

Overall, it’s a case of it’s not you, it’s me. This author writes beautifully and the mythology parts of the book were great. It’s just a style of writing I have a hard time with and I wasn’t fully immersed in the story at times. Even if that’s the case for me, I can see this book being a hit with many readers and I wouldn’t let my review steer you away from picking it up.

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall Colors on the Covers of Books I Want to Read(Cover Freebie)

Hello, Lovely Bookworms!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

Today’s prompt is Cover Freebie. What am I going to do with this freebie? Honestly, I have no idea. I guess I will go with Fall Colors on the Covers of Books I Want to Read! It’ll get me in the mood for fall (which I already am so ready for!)

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1.) When Life Gives You Lemons Instead Of Lattes by Rayna York

2.) The Ship of Shadows by Maria Kuznair

3.) Once Upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira

4.) Waking Beauty by Sarah E. Morin

5.) Gilded Serpent by Danielle L. Jensen

6.) The Forest of Stars by Heather Kassner

7.) Gilded Rose by Emma Hamm

8.) Empress of Flames by Mimi Yu

9.) Containment by Caryn Lix

10.) Red Tigress by Amelie Wen Zhao

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I am looking forward to all of these! I just love orange/yellow on covers. It’s really eye-catching.

 What’s a book with fall colors on the cover that you want to read? Any of these catch your eye?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)