Thoughts|| Dear Evan Hansen.

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Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich
4 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Description: When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family’s grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend. Suddenly, Evan isn’t invisible anymore–even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy’s parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he’s doing can’t be right, but if he’s helping people, how wrong can it be? No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He’s confident. He’s a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself. A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation.


I was sent an ARC copy of Dear Evan Hansen from The Novl in exchange for an honest review. It was released earlier this month, so it is currently out now. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Dear Evan Hansen, because I never seen the musical or really heard much about it until I seen the book floating around the blogosphere and bookstagram. I am really glad I picked it up, because I actually enjoyed it a lot. It would be interesting to see the musical now that I have read it in book form.

Dear Evan Hansen is a really relatable story and deals with a lot of heavy things that a lot of people are experiencing every day; anxiety, depression, suicide. After Connor Murphy’s death, Evan gets mixed up in a lie that he never meant to tell. As events unfold, it’s harder and harder for him to get out of it or come clean. I really liked that the characters themselves were really relatable as well. It was easy for me to connect with Evan in particular, because I struggle with social anxiety myself. I really liked the characters in this book and I felt like they really made the story. I also liked that there are parts in the book where you get Connor’s point of view as well. His story was just as important as what was happening to Evan.

I loved the writing style and the communication between characters. While this book deals with some pretty important and heavy things, there were still happy moments and laugh out loud moments. Some of the interaction with Evan and Jared in particular were pretty laugh out loud. There were also times where I felt so much anxiety for Evan. The feels are real with this book. I think a lot of people will relate to it and the characters. I can see why so many people love the musical so much.

Even though I haven’t seen the musical or listened to the soundtrack, I am happy that I was still able to experience the Dear Evan Hansen story in novel form. Overall, I really loved the book and the characters. I found myself sucked right into the story from the beginning. There were a few times where it did slow down for me, but it didn’t take away from the story or my enjoyment of it. I highly recommend reading this book whether you seen the musical or not. It’s out now, so you should definitely go check it out!

In case you missed it;
Photo A Day|| October 11-17.
Random|| Picture Update.
Blog Tour/Thoughts|| The No-Good Nine.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyhalloween

Blog Tour/Thoughts|| The No-Good Nine.

NoGoodNine_BlogBanner

Hey!

Welcome to my stop on the No-Good Nine blog tour! I am super stoked to be a part of this blog tour. I love a good middle grade book and one about Christmas at that! 😛 Continue reading to see my review for this book, more about the book, and a little about the author.

The No-Good Nine

The No-Good Nine by John Bemelmans Marciano
4 out of 5 stars.

They’re mad, they’re bad, and they’re about to ruin Christmas!”

Book Description: No kids get coal in their stocking these days. Do you know why? It’s thanks to The No-Good Nine! Pittsburgh, 1931. When Peter awakens on Christmas morning to find his stocking full of coal, he is outraged. After he finds the Naughty List, which contains the names of some other children who received no gifts, he decides they should band together and journey to Santa’s workshop to plead their case, as well as play with the toys intended for the Nice children. The ragtag band of misfits sets out on a series of wild misadventures as they travel by train, truck, dog sled, and boat, encountering thieves and bootleggers, in order to reach the renowned Toy Factory only to accidentally burn it down. More slapstick capers follow before the No-Good Nine extricate themselves and set out to find their next great adventure.


I was sent a copy of The No-Good Nine by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Release date: October 16, 2018.

I had a lot of fun reading The No-Good Nine. It’s a middle grade book, but it was still a lot of fun to read even as an adult. There was a funny cast of characters like the Liar, the Brat, the Cruel, and so many more! The No-Good Nine go on a crazy adventure to get to the North Pole to confront Santa about being on the naughty list and receiving coal for Christmas and to play with all the toys that are meant for the nice kids.

There so are many crazy things that happen along the way, which make it all the more fun to read. There were a few things that happened that I questioned, but would most likely be overlooked by a middle grader, since this book is mostly intended for that audience. They didn’t take away from the story or anything, so it was still pretty great. There were so many laugh out loud moments and I flew through it pretty quickly. It’s perfect to read around Christmas time.

Overall, I really enjoyed The No-Good Nine. I thought the adventure aspect was a lot of fun even with some things being a little out there. For a kid though, I think they’ll get a kick out of it. I liked that there were a lot of funny moments and the cast of characters made the story even better. I plan to pass this book along to my nephew, because I think he would really get like it. It’s releasing on October 16th (next week), so be on the look out for it!


john bemelmans

 

About the Author:

John Bemelmans Marciano collaborated with Sophie Blackall on the middle-grade novel The Nine Lives of Alexander Baddenfield as well as on the Witches of Benevento series. Continuing his grandfather’s legacy, John wrote and illustrated Madeline at the White House, Madeline and the Old House in ParisMadeline and the Cats of Rome, and Madeline Says Merci.

 

 

In case you  missed it;
WWW Wednesday #55.
Thoughts|| I Will Find You.
Photo A Day|| October 1-5.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

 

 

 

Thoughts|| I Will Find You.

iwillfindyou

I Will Find You: Solving Killer Cases from My Life Fighting Crime by Joe Kenda
5 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Description: Detective Lt. Joe Kenda, star of Homicide Hunter, shares his deepest, darkest, and never before revealed case files from his 19 years as a homicide detective. Are you horrified yet fascinated by abhorrent murders? Do you crave to know the gory details of these crimes, and do you seek comfort in the solving of the most gruesome? In I WILL FIND YOU, the star of Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda shares his deepest, darkest, and never-before-revealed case files from his two decades as a homicide detective and reminds us that crimes like these are very real and can happen even in our own backyards. Gruesome, macabre, and complex cases. Joe Kenda investigated 387 murder cases during his 23 years with the Colorado Springs Police Department and solved almost all of them. And he is ready to detail the cases that are too gruesome to air on television, cases that still haunt him, and the few cases where the killer got away. These cases are horrifyingly real, and the detail is so mesmerizing you won’t be able to look away. The tales in I WILL FIND YOU will shock you like the best horror stories-divulging insights into the actions, motivations, and proclivities of nature’s most dangerous species. Don’t mind the blood.


I received I Will Find You from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It’s out in stores now. 

Well my, my, my…it’s not a surprise that I am a sucker for true crime. I love reading true crime stories and books. I love watching true crime TV shows and documentaries on TV/Netflix. I love listening to true crime podcasts. Detective Lt. Joe Kenda happens to be one of my favorites and I love watching his show “Homicide Hunter” on the Investigation Discovery channel. When I seen I Will Find You up on Netgalley, there was no way I was going to pass it up.

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On Joe Kenda’s TV show he talks about all the different cases he’s worked on during his career as a homicide detective. In his book I Will Find You, he talks about the cases that are too gruesome to even air on TV. In his book, Joe Kenda also talks about crime scenes and what he does to determine the who, what, where, when, and how the victim died along with the motive and find out who the killer is. He also talks about life as a homicide hunter and how he became one. I also love that he talkes about himself and his family. I loved learning about other sides to him aside from just his homicide hunter days. Even his family members pop in from time to time to recount a story.

I Will Find You is creepy, scary, and it’s one of the most realist books that you’ll ever read.  If you love true crime, this book is definitely for you. The world is a scary place (it seems so even more these days) and humans are the scariest of all. Joe Kenda talks about how animals kill each other for need (hunger & danger, basically to survive), but some humans kill just to kill. That’s really terrifying to think about and it’s true. In this book you’ll see different reasons and scenarios why humans kill, which none of them are ever justifiable. Then there are some humans that kill just because they like killing.

“Even today, humans are the most ruthless, aggressive, and dangerous of species.”

There’s a lot of triggers and gory things in this book, so proceed with caution. There were even a few things that freaked me out and I don’t get freaked out by these things easily. I mean, I can watch a TV show about a murder, see the reenactments, bloody bodies, and still eat my dinner like I was just watching a normal TV show. 😛 Even though this book is quite serious, I like that Joe Kenda throws in a little humor too. You kind of have to have a dark sense of humor though. I love Joe Kenda’s personality on TV and as he comes across in his book and because of that, this book was easy to read and hard to put down in a writing stand point. The subject matter isn’t always easy to read, but it’s written in a way that it’s hard to put down.

Like I said earlier, it is the realist book you will ever read. It has it’s good moments and a couple happy stories, but a lot of it is not. This isn’t like the TV show “CSI”, this is real life. It’s terrifying and shocking. As dark as I Will Find You is, I thought it was a very good book and really eye opening. I think after having read this book, I will be looking over my shoulder a hell of a lot more than I already do. I will leave you with this quote from the very beginning of the book, because it’s 100% true about this book and you should be prepared if you plan to pick this one up.

“If you have an interest in the truth, you are reading the right book. If you don’t think you can handle the darkest aspects of human nature, then you might want to put this book down, because it will get real in a hurry.”

In case you missed it;
Photo A Day|| October 1-5.
Book Haul|| September.
Unofficial Halloweenie TBR.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyhalloween

 

Thoughts|| Shadow of the Fox.

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Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
5 out of 5 stars.

“The spider does not spin its web in a heartbeat, nor does the albatross fly across oceans with a few flaps of its wings. Many would consider what they do impossible, and yet, they still complete their tasks without fail, because they simply…start. One step at a time.”

Goodreads Description: One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos. Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn. Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll. There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart. With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.


I received Shadow of the Fox from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Release date October 2, 2018. 

Words….what are words? I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to writing about what I thought of Shadow of the Fox. My thoughts and my love for this book are everywhere right now. I was pretty hooked right from the start and by page 88 I was already feeling all the feels and even shed some tears. I knew from that point on this book was going to mean the world to me.

The world building was spot on and so detailed. I loved all the Japanese legends and culture so much. I was instantly filled with so much excitement while reading Shadow of the Fox. I thought it had a fairly fast pace and so much was going on. The cast of characters was amazing and I loved every single one of them. They all had their own little quirks and reasons why I loved them. I won’t go into too much detail about who they are, because they play parts in the bigger story and I don’t want to risk spoilers.

Yumeko is a Kitsune shapeshifter (half human, half fox) which is totally awesome! One of my favorite things about her is that she never left her temple before, so she knew nothing about the outside world, so she was curious about everything. She asked so many questions and it was funny at times, especially when she would fall for everyone’s sarcasm because she truly didn’t understand or know. Tatsumi and Yumeko are on this journey together and they meet some interesting people along the way (one of them becoming my favorite character) and run into so many crazy things and obstacles.

Overall, I loved everything about Shadow of the Fox. There’s lots of trickery, magic, secrets, and a few twists. There’s demons, witches, ghosts, spirits, samurai, and so many more things in this book. It’s quite the adventure and I had so much fun reading it. It had everything I need and love in a fantasy novel. Beautifully written and well executed to the end. The wait for the sequel is going to be so hard. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for everyone. There’s a couple characters that I feel are going to play an even bigger role in the coming books and I am curious to see if I’m right. I highly recommend reading!

“It is very hard to be human, little fox. Even the humans themselves don’t do a great job of it.”

In case you missed it;
Thoughts|| Not Even Bones.
Travel || Road Trip to Illinois.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Thoughts|| Not Even Bones.

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Not Even Bones by Rebecca Shaeffer
5 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Description: Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far. But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again. Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.


I received Not Even Bones from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Released September 4th, 2018.

Part of the description of Not Even Bones over on Goodreads is “Dexter meets This Savage Song” and I was so down for that. I don’t even know where to start with this, because I just want to fangirl like crazy with how freaking amazing it was. I finally found a book that blew me away! It’s been way too long. Not Even Bones was dark, it was creepy, it was face-paced. I had so much fun reading this book and it me on the edge of my seat quite a bit. I loved the writing style and it was so easy to read and so hard to put down.

I enjoyed the main character Nita so much and was rooting for her the entire time. There were characters you wanted to hate, but couldn’t help but to love. All the different types of “monsters” and special powers they have was really interesting. There were a lot of gory aspects to it as well, but I love that kind of stuff. So if you like that kind of thing, this book is for you! There was no insta-love, which I especially loved. It didn’t focus on a romance much at all. It left it open for something in future books though and I am actually happy with the possibility.

Overall, Not Even Bones was a perfect read. It was so exciting and so many things are happening. There’s a few twists and it’s so fast-paced and action packed. I love dark and creepy books and that’s exactly what this one was. You’ll be sucked in right from the very first page. I am so stoked that I was able to get the chance to read this book and I can’t wait for the sequel. The ending, holy crap! It’s perfect if you want to add it to your Halloweenie TBRs. 😛 Not Even Bones is out now, so I highly recommend picking up a copy! I plan to go buy my copy as soon as I post this review.

Not related to review above: Two posts in one day? Who am I? Haha. 😛 Lately I’ve been lucky if I even get one or two a week. I need to find some new inspiration for blog posts. I’ve been lacking as far as figuring out what new content I want to post on here and even on Bookstagram, sigh. Earlier today I posted a reading update (linked below), so feel free to check it out!

In case you missed it;
WWW Wednesday #54.
Travel || Road Trip to Illinois.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Thoughts|| #MurderTrending.

murdertrending

#MurderTrending by Gretchen McNeil
4 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Description: WELCOME TO THE NEAR FUTURE, where good and honest 8/18 citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the suburbanized prison island Alcatraz 2.0. When eighteen-year-old Dee Guerrera wakes up in a haze, lying on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse, she realizes she’s about to be the next victim of the app. Knowing hardened criminals are getting a taste of their own medicine in this place is one thing, but Dee refuses to roll over and die for a heinous crime she didn’t commit. Can Dee and her newly formed posse, the Death Row Breakfast Club, prove she’s innocent before she ends up wrongfully murdered for the world to see? Or will The Postman’s cast of executioners kill them off one by one? 


I received #MurderTrending from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Released August 7th, 2018.

I am going to do a quick review of this book, because it’s better to know very little when going into it.

#MurderTrending was so dang good! I was sucked in fairly quickly. It felt really fast paced, which I love. Lots of different things going on and a lot of mystery behind it. Some things I did figure out, but it was exciting saying “I knew it!!”. It also kept me guessing a lot too and that was fun. I loved the characters and was rooting for them the entire time. It gets pretty gory at times, but I actually like that kind of thing. #MurderTrending was right up my alley.

Overall, I had a lot of fun reading this one. I loved that it was fast pace, kept you guessing, and had great characters AKA the Death Row Breakfast Club. 😛 It was hard to put down and I would #HighlyRecommend reading this one.

In case you missed it;
WWW Wednesday #52.
Travel|| Lake Placid, FL.
Book Tag|| Meme Book Tag.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Thoughts|| Be Prepared.

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Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
4 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Description: All Vera wants to do is fit in—but that’s not easy for a Russian girl in the suburbs. Her friends live in fancy houses and their parents can afford to send them to the best summer camps. Vera’s single mother can’t afford that sort of luxury, but there’s one summer camp in her price range—Russian summer camp. Vera is sure she’s found the one place she can fit in, but camp is far from what she imagined. And nothing could prepare her for all the “cool girl” drama, endless Russian history lessons, and outhouses straight out of nightmares!


I was sent a copy of Be Prepared from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Release date was April of this year (2018).

Be Prepared is a middle grade graphic novel. For it being middle grade, I really enjoyed it a lot. I’ve always wanted to go to summer camp as a kid, but never had the chance to experience it. Vera gets the chance to finally go to a summer camp like all her friends get to do every year. She’s already having a hard time fitting in at home, so when she gets the chance to go to a Russian summer camp she is really stoked about it, but it ends up not being like she expected it to be.

Be Prepared is sort of like a true story, because it’s about the author’s time at summer camp from the bits and pieces that she can remember and piece together. I thought that was really cool. She even included real letters from her and her brother’s time at camp. The story itself was great. I really enjoyed the characters and there were a lot of funny moments. In a way it was also a bit sad, because Vera is trying to find her place at camp and it’s not that easy at the beginning. She doesn’t have the easiest time as her brother did.

Overall, I really liked this story and the characters. I loved the illustrations. It was fun and even some life lessons mixed into it. It’s a great summer read, especially for the younger crowd. I’m way past middle grade years, but it was still enjoyable as an adult as well. I would definitely recommend checking it out, especially if you have little ones. I think they would enjoy it. My nephew is perfect age for this one, so I will be passing this one along to him.

In case you missed it;
Thoughts|| All Summer Long.
Photo A Day|| June 1-5.
June TBR {Maybe}.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack