Review:The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale

Don’t let that gorgeous cover fool you. This a super creepy and crazy book. But in all good ways. After my daughter and I read The Beast is an Animal, we knew that whatever Peternelle wrote we wanted to read it. So when I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of The Cold is in Her Bones I was through the roof with excitement. And to find out it has a Medusa feel, well then SIGN ME UP.

Milla has been raised in a far off house, away from the towns. She’s not allowed to go anywhere and is raised to be a helper of those who are older than her. She always seemed to do the wrong things and upsetting her parents. When a new girl arrives at a neighbors house she finds hope. Hope of a friend and maybe even a sister. But Iris is keeping a secret from Milla, in the hopes that will keep her safe.

But of course that doesn’t last.

The towns that Milla has been forbidden to go to, have been plagued by demons. Demons possess the girls so Iris and Milla were assumed to be safe since they were far. You know what they say about assuming…

When Iris is “infected” and is sent away, Milla is determined to find her and bring her back home. Her journey is one of self discovery. She isn’t as safe from the demon as she hoped, but for the love of her sister of her heart she is willing to travel far and wide and find a way to save them both. Friendship and familial love was a thread woven throughout this story. Milla broke free from what was expected from her in order to find her own way and take charge of her own life. There were trials and struggles but for love you’d go through anything. Even face a demon.

Girls who run from what frightens them don’t get what they want.

As I was reading this, I kept thinking of my own daughter. She’s the strongest girl I know. She won’t let anyone control her or hold her back. She wants to try everything and if mistakes are made, she owns them and learns from them. And since she LOVED The Beast is an Animal, I know she will love this as well. I can’t wait for her to read it!

~Melpomene

Buy The Cold is in Her Bones https://amzn.to/2BMziUv

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Review: The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh

If only all parents could be as open and approachable as Lacey’s…this thought kept running through my head as I read this one.

A teenage mom herself, she’s determined to not have Lacey’s life take the same path. So Lacey’s always been raised in an open household where no issue is off limits. And that includes any and all things related to sex. So it’s just natural that Lacey would become the “expert” at school for sex ed advice.

Except that Lacey’s never even kissed anyone, let alone had sex. But when she sees her school pushing an abstinence-only policy, she’s determined to take a stand. Even if that means trouble.

Unusual for sure, probably not everyone’s cup of tea. And likely more than a few people will disagree with the author’s stance on this issue. But I liked it soooo…

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me

Review: The Reckless Club by Beth Vrabel

First, apologies for not writing this the first week of October when The Reckless Club was first released. You or your kiddos have waited too long already to read this book. Perfect for middle schoolers, The Reckless Club is a tweenage-appropriate glance at The Breakfast Club, with the extra twists and turns you’d expect from kids this age.

Beth Vrabel did a great job writing varied characters who have personal quirks that showed me a little bit of their souls. And better yet, the kids got a glimpse of each other’s souls, what made them tick, what made them hurt, and what made them better people.

In this world of divisiveness, where people say things on social media that they would never say to someone’s face, we need commentary on the benefits of seeing each other as human beings. The Reckless Club takes that stand, shining a light on the real people underneath what other people see as a drama queen, a nerd, an athlete…

This book reminded me not to judge until I’ve walked a mile in the other person’s shoes. It would make a great Christmas gift for any middle schooler you know, or their teacher.

-Calliope

Buy THE RECKLESS CLUB

Review: The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker by Kerry Wilkinson

I seem to be on a roll with these kinds of stories lately. Stories so far outside of the norm that it’s hard to wrap your brain around them. But so good that you can’t pull yourself away…

When seventeen-year-old Eleanor wakes up in the river, she’s not quite sure what happened. A strong sense of choking, water filling her lungs, being held down, all these things soon add up to the realization that she was drowned. And that she died. But, inexplicably, she’s not completely dead. Sure, there are some annoying things she can no longer do. Like eat. Or sleep. Or feel anything. Oh and she’s always cold, even though it’s the middle of the summer. Still, she’s determined to find out what happened to her that night in the river. All the while knowing that not everyone wants her to discover the truth.

I loved this story. It’s much easier to follow than it may seem. It’s very intriguing and twisty, one I couldn’t put down!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker

Review: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

Once upon a time, in a land long since burned to ash, there lived a young princess who loved her kingdom…

Epic, awesome, emotional roller coaster of a book. The end has come and it’s not without heartache and hope.

My emotions were all over the place. I got chills so many times. I could see these scenes playing out like a movie, the battle soundtrack playing in my ear, the characters going through heartache after heartache, it felt real to me. So many times I had step away and collect myself so I could keep going. This book was an experience like none other. In fact, when I finished, I told my family that I haven’t felt this, “What am I supposed to now?” kinda feeling since I first read Hunger Games. I’m at a loss on what to do.

“You do not yield.”

I still have all kinds of feelings flowing through my veins. Sadness is probably at the top, but not the for the reasons you may think. You see, I was late to this series. I discovered it at Heir of Fire and introduced it to my kids at Queen of Shadows. So for the past few years we’ve talked and experienced these books together. Even my son, who’s an anti reader, enjoyed these. But it’s my daughter who I really had fun with. I had to buy an extra copy for her so we could buddy read. In fact, I gave her the day off of school so we could read it on release day. #HomeschoolPerk We laughed and cried and raged together. This is a memory I’ll always have. So the reason I’m sad is that now we don’t have anything else to look forward to. This was her favorite series and now it’s done.

I bet this is how the Harry Potter parents felt when the last book released. The end of an era. Time to move on and grow up. I don’t think I like this.

Because of all the above, this review is a little bit different. A thank you of sorts. Not to spoilery, but I’d wait to continue on until after you finish the book. Just in case.

Aelin, thank you for rising up and taking the world on your shoulders and doing the best you can to make it better. Should this happen again, don’t keep all your ideas to yourself! Let others help you!

Rowan, thank you for loving Aelin and showing her how to the best person she can be. I’m so happy she found you right at the moment she needed you most.

Chaol, thank you for realizing your mistakes and doing everything in your power to fix them. You’re going to be an amazing helpmate with that kind of heart.

Dorian, thank you for reaching down in your soul and discovering the great king we all knew you could be. I hope you have an epic HEA.

Manon, thank you for being so strong when you kept getting knocked down and showing us how to move on from such overwhelming heartbreak. I grew to love so much more than I did when we first met.

Aedion, thank you for being so steadfast in your love for your queen and cousin. Every family needs a member like you. But when your angry, take a deep breath before you say hurtful words. It’ll save you a lot of groveling later. 😉

Lysandra, thank you for being the best friend Aelin could ever ask for. You are strong and have the biggest heart. I am so happy you found them and they found you. I wish for you a very long and happy life.

I wanna say thank you, Sarah, for giving us this most epic of series. Thank you for this roller coaster ride that has lasted for these eight books. Thank you for giving me memories with my children that some parents don’t get. Thank you sharing this world with us. And I look forward to your next series and I’m anxious to read it.

~Melpomene

Read this exciting series!!

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Throne of Glass https://amzn.to/2D7G0HN
Crown of Midnight https://amzn.to/2O9XkNt
Heir of Fire https://amzn.to/2Rl2gkD
Queen of Shadows https://amzn.to/2D75eWW
Empire of Storms https://amzn.to/2EK7jtn
Tower of Dawn https://amzn.to/2CHHTtz
Kingdom of Ash https://amzn.to/2CJqsJr

Review: The Last Wish of Sasha Cade by Cheyanne Young

We should all be so lucky to have a Sasha in our lives. Best friends since elementary school, she and Raquel are inseparable. Even when Sasha is dealing with a cancer diagnosis, Raquel is by her side through it all. She thinks she’s prepared for anything, but really she’s not. When Sasha eventually dies, Raquel is lost. Until the letter arrives.

It seems that, while Sasha was preparing herself for her eventual death, she was also preparing Raquel for life without her. And not just Raquel, but also her brother who she hasn’t seen since they were adopted by different families as very young children. Through a series of letters, Sasha helps them come to terms with her death.

This was such a heartbreaking story while at the same time being so full of hope and optimism. Raquel’s sadness at losing Sasha, her happiness at discovering Sasha’s letters and clues…my emotions were all over the place with this one!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Last Wish of Sasha Cade

Review: Hole in the Middle by Kendra Fortmeyer

I gotta admit, this one made me skeptical at first. The whole (no pun intended) concept seemed so far fetched that I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to play out. But there’s something about this author, something about the way she blends words together to tell one heck of a story.

Morgan has always been different. Born with a hole in her torso, she’s struggled to fit in. Very few people know her secret, but she stills struggles with accepting herself. An absent father and a perfectionist, demanding mother don’t help matters any. Finally, she decides she’s tired of hiding her body under bulky sweaters and sweatshirts. So she bares her secret, slowly at first. As secrets go, though, it snowballs out of control. Wishing she could take it all back but unable to…

And then there’s Howie. He’s her exact opposite. Literally. Where Morgan has a hole in her abdomen, Howie has a protruding lump of flesh. Could their shared abnormalities be the key to curing them both?

This is such a good story. Beyond the medical concerns and insecurities and body image issues, it’s a story of accepting yourself. Not only for Morgan but for those around her. It’s a message we could all use more of in today’s world of staged perfection.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Hole in the Middle