Review|| Girls with Sharp Sticks.

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Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young
5 out of 5 stars

“Demonstrate your value to those in attendance by showing how appealing a beautiful, obedient girl can be. Hold your tongue. Bat your eyes. Smile. Be best.”

Goodreads Description: The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.” The girls learn to be the best society has to offer. Absent is the difficult math coursework, or the unnecessary sciences or current events. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears. As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.


I was sent a copy of Girls with Sharp Sticks from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This book is currently out now.

Wow, what a ride! I found Girls with Sharp Sticks to be such an intense and crazy read. It was so hard to put down and left me feeling all the feels! It wasn’t completely what I expected it to be, but it was such a great read. I thought it was going to be a fun and suspenseful read (which it was!!), but there was so much  more meaning to it. It fits so perfectly with things happening in the world today; like society wanting girls to be perfect. It also fits with the Me Too Movement as well, which is so important.

I loved the bond the girls have with each other. They really held each other together with everything that was happening at the school and to them. There were so many twists and turns. A couple things were predictable to me, but that didn’t take away from the story at all. I still loved it so much! There were also some poems included within the story, which was great. This may end up being a pretty short review, because there are so many things that happen and I don’t want to accidentally give anything away.

Overall, I really loved Girls with Sharp Sticks. I loved all the girl power and standing up for yourself. I loved the friendships and how much the girls loved each other. I loved that it was really suspenseful and sometimes you just had no clue what was happening. It was also sad in a lot of ways. It’s such an important book, especially to empower all girls out there. I need that sequel ASAP! I highly recommend checking this one out. Lucky for you, it’s out in the world now.

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In case you missed it;
Review|| Summer of ’69.
Friday Finds #78.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Review|| Summer of ’69.

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Summer of ’69 by Todd Strasser
5 out of 5 stars.

“But what if sometimes there is no one to blame, because no one is at fault? Sometimes things happen that will never truly be resolved or settled, and the best you can do is just get on with it and make your own peace.”

Goodreads Description: Drawing from his teenage years, Todd Strasser’s novel revisits a tumultuous era and takes readers on a psychedelically tinged trip of a lifetime. With his girlfriend, Robin, away in Canada, eighteen-year-old Lucas Baker’s only plans for the summer are to mellow out with his friends, smoke weed, drop a tab or two, and head out in his microbus for a three-day happening called the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. But life veers dramatically off track when he suddenly finds himself in danger of being drafted and sent to fight in Vietnam. If that isn’t heavy enough, there’s also the free-loving (and undeniably alluring) Tinsley, who seems determined to test Lucas’s resolve to stay faithful to Robin; a frighteningly bad trip at a Led Zeppelin concert; a run-in with an angry motorcycle gang; parents who appear headed for a divorce; and a friend on the front lines in ‘Nam who’s in mortal danger of not making it back. As the pressures grow, it’s not long before Lucas finds himself knocked so far down, it’s starting to look like up to him. When tuning in, turning on, and dropping out is no longer enough, what else is there? 


I received an ARC of Summer of ’69 from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It will be released tomorrow (April 9th).

I have always been interested in the 60s and I am especially a fan of the music from that era. One of the reasons I requested this book was because one of my favorite songs is Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams, haha. That song was of course written in the 80s, but it was about a life in the 60s. That time period just seemed so fun from things I’ve read, listened to, and watched. But there were also a lot of heartbreak and bad things happening in the world throughout that time too, which brings me to this book.

Summer of ’69 was without a doubt a fun ride, but it was also a lot deeper than I thought it was going to be. The war in Vietnam was happening and you risked being drafted if you didn’t get into college or have another way out. Throughout the story Lucas had  a lot of fun with his friends, they used a lot of drugs, and basically just had a really good time. There were a lot of mishaps, but it was an adventure whether it was really happening or they were tripping on acid. Aside from that though, Lucas was dealing with a lot between his home life, his girlfriend Robin, and whether he was going to be able to get out of being drafted into the Army. His friends had their own issues and troubles as well.

Overall, I really loved the story. I love this era of time, so this book was right up my alley. I was sucked in from the very first page. It was a mix of happy and sad moments; good and bad moments. It was fun, but also heartbreaking. It left me shocked, in tears, and with goosebumps at times. There were also times where I was laughing out loud. So many great characters and friendships as well. I loved all the hippie vibes. I also loved learning more about that time period, the events happening, and the war. It was a wild ride and full of emotions.

This book was way more than what I originally thought it was going to be, but I am so glad that it was. The author wrote this story based on events in his life during this time, which I thought was really cool. So this is essentially his summer/life with some things/places/times changed up a bit. I would definitely recommend picking this one up.

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In case you missed it;
Friday Finds #78.
WWW Wednesday #58.
Wrap Up|| March.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Review|| Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee.

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner
5 out of 5 stars

“Sometimes small and unspectacular things can be a universe.”

Goodreads Description: Every Friday night, best friends Delia and Josie become Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, hosts of the campy creature feature show Midnite Matinee on the local cable station TV Six. But with the end of senior year quickly approaching, the girls face tough decisions about their futures. Josie has been dreading graduation, as she tries to decide whether to leave for a big university and chase her dream career in mainstream TV. And Lawson, one of the show’s guest performers, a talented MMA fighter with weaknesses for pancakes, fantasy novels, and Josie, is making her tough decision even harder. Scary movies are the last connection Delia has to her dad, who abandoned the family years ago. If Midnite Matinee becomes a hit, maybe he’ll see it and want to be a part of her life again. And maybe Josie will stay with the show instead of leaving her behind, too. As the tug-of-war between growing up and growing apart tests the bonds of their friendship, Josie and Delia start to realize that an uncertain future can be both monstrous…and momentous.


I received an ARC of Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It was released in February of 2019.

A new Jeff Zentner book?! YESSSS! I am so stoked that I was approved for Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee. Jeff always writes books that make me ugly cry and end up loving to pieces. Rayne & Delilah was no exception! I felt all the feels and let me tell you, there are so many! This book was so fun to read….and so easy to cry over.

I loved Josie and Delia’s friendship so much. They were funny and connected so well together. They had a strong bond and connection and it was perfection. They had me laughing almost non-stop and then there were the moments where they had me crying almost non-stop! Throw in new friend Lawson and it was a riot! There were a lot of family aspects to the story that were really sad, but I loved Delia and her mom’s relationship so much. I loved the horror movie aspect of it and all the movie references. I even caught a some Serpent King references in the story, which was fun! I’m sure there were Goodbye Days references that I missed, but it was fun that there were some little connections to Zentner’s other books. 😛

Overall, I loved Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Mantinee so so much! It was everything I hoped it would be. I laughed, I cried, and had so much fun reading it. The characters were great, the story was great, so much friendship and love in one story. It made me so sad and so happy at the same time. I highly recommend reading it. Now I must go find some low quality old horror films to watch. 😛

“Maybe life isn’t about avoiding pain at all costs. Maybe it’s about having one or two people who have signed up for the messy job of being your salvation, who make your life bigger.”

In case you missed it;
Wrap Up|| February.
Review|| The Little Star.
Book Haul|| February.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Review|| The Little Star.

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The Little Star by Randy Richburg
5 out of 5 stars.

Description: The Little Star: A Story of Who and What You Are is an illustrated children’s book about the infinite persistence of a mother’s love. Across an ocean of stars, from one end to the other, a Mother Star’s words of wisdom and love will follow her child from the inception of the Universe all the way to the arrival of life on planet Earth. This book has especially appealed to scientifically enthusiastic young parents, and children alike. It is a must read for scientists of any age who may have a soft spot for touchingly tragic stories about life, death, beginnings, ends, transformations, and unconditional love.


The Little Star is a children’s book, but I thought it was great! It was sad, but it was also happy. I was actually able to meet Richburg back in December and he was such a cool guy and I had no idea at the time that he wrote books, but I am so stoked that I know now and was able to buy a copy. I don’t have kids and I honestly don’t know if I ever will, but I really enjoyed the book even without that experience. I got emotional reading it. I put myself in the child’s point of view and thought about my own mother. It was so easy to read and shows a mother’s love for her child perfectly. I really loved it and I think a lot of people would as well, regardless if you have children or not.

Now onto the illustrations! The illustrations were amazing and so colorful. I also love the space and galaxy vibe of the story and illustrations to match. The author illustrated the book himself, which I think is really cool. Here are a few pages from the book, so that you can see some of the awesome illustrations!

I love that they are so colorful and gorgeous. I am a sucker for science and space, so this book was perfection. The book is linked to Amazon (above) instead of Goodreads, because I didn’t see it on their site yet. I definitely recommend checking it out!

In case you missed it;
Book Haul|| February.
Hello, Central Florida.
Review|| Just for Clicks.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Review|| Just for Clicks.

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Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell
5 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Description: Mommy blogs are great . . . unless the blog happens to belong to your mom. Twin sisters Claire & Poppy are accidental social media stars thanks to Mom going viral when they were babies. Now, as teens, they’re expected to contribute by building their own brand. Attending a NY fashion week and receiving fan mail is a blast. Fending off internet trolls and would-be kidnappers? Not so much. Poppy embraces it. Claire hates it. Will anybody accept her as “just Claire”? And what should Claire do about Mom’s old journals? The handwritten entries definitely don’t sound like Mom’s perfect blog persona. Worse, one of them divulges a secret that leaves Claire wondering what else in her life might be nothing but a sham . . .


I received an ARC of Just for Clicks from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It was just released on February 19th. 

I love books involving social media and the internet world, so I knew I wanted and had to read Just for Clicks. It did not disappoint and I actually ended up loving it so much! It’s so relevant for today with blogs, YouTube, going viral and becoming internet famous happening pretty much daily. I think a lot of people can relate to that. The story itself was fun and cute, but also had some real emotional and important moments as well.

I loved that there was a lot of focus on family and friendship. I really enjoyed Claire’s and Rafael’s friendship so much. There’s a slow burn romance as well, which was great. I liked that it was more focused on friendship. Poppy and Claire both struggle with internet fame in different ways, which I think is so true for so many people that are internet famous today. So many people handle situations differently and I think this is a huge one. I loved that we got to see a bunch of different sides of it between Poppy, Claire, and their mom. They love each other so much, but there are also so many dysfunctional aspects to their family as well, so you get to see all of that too.

Overall, I really loved Just for Clicks. I loved the characters, the relationships, and pretty much everything about it. It was fun and cute, but it also had its moments where things turn and I’m like “WTF IS GOING ON”. I did get emotional at times as well, because I was really invested in the characters and their stories. I personally don’t know if I would ever be able to handle being “internet famous”, but I love that you get to see all the positives and the negatives of that world and that life. I would definitely recommend reading Just for Clicks.


I am moving tomorrow (ahhhh!!!), so I may be a little MIA for a bit until I settle into my new house and new routine. I’ll still try to pop on as much as I can though, but just a little heads up if you don’t see me very often for the next week or two.

In case you missed it;
Friday Finds #75.
Review|| Comics Will Break Your Heart.
Random|| Life Update – New House!

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

 

Review|| Comics Will Break Your Heart.

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Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks
4 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Description: Miriam’s family should be rich. After all, her grandfather was the co-creator of smash-hit comics series The TomorrowMen. But he sold his rights to the series to his co-creator in the 1960s for practically nothing, and now that’s what Miriam has: practically nothing. And practically nothing to look forward to either-how can she afford college when her family can barely keep a roof above their heads? As if she didn’t have enough to worry about, Miriam’s life gets much more complicated when a cute boy shows up in town . . . and turns out to be the grandson of the man who defrauded Miriam’s grandfather, and heir to the TomorrowMen fortune. In her endearing debut novel, cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks pens a sensitive and funny Romeo and Juliet tale about modern romance, geek royalty, and what it takes to heal the long-festering scars of the past (Spoiler Alert: love).


I received an ARC of Comics Will Break Your Heart from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Release date: Today, February 12, 2019.

I don’t read a lot of comics and I’m not really into the whole superhero thing either (I feel like everyone is except me, haha). I weirdly was really into Comics Will Break Your Heart though! There’s a lot of comic story talk because of TomorrowMen and the characters in the book being into the comics/series and also because of the family history with the comic as well. Comics Will Break Your Heart is more than just about superheroes and comics though, which I really liked.

I felt like the characters were really relatable and different aspects of the story itself was as well. Miriam struggled with what to do after high school and Weldon had to deal with two mostly absent parents in his life; his dad obsessed with his business and his mom just seemed really unstable. I liked the friendship that Miriam and Weldon eventually grew into. They weren’t sure if they should be friends or how it would all work out with the family drama between their two families.

Overall, I really liked Comics Will Break Your Heart. There were a couple things that I wasn’t that into though, one being that I felt the ending was left unfinished because there was no real resolution to the whole TomorrowMen situation between the families.  I still had questions regarding that situation. That aspect of the story just didn’t feel resolved to me. Everything else in the story was great though. It was a cute, fun, geeky, and even had it’s emotional moments. I really liked the characters and friendships. Great story and I would recommend.

In case you missed it;
Random|| Life Update – New House!
WWW Wednesday #56.
Wrap Up|| January.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Review|| The Perfect Girlfriend.

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The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton
3 out of 5 stars

“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they’re yours. If they don’t, make them.”

Goodreads Description: Juliette loves Nate. She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him. They are meant to be. The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing. Because Juliette has a plan to win him back. She is the perfect girlfriend. And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants. True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain… Juliette has everything going for her: she’s young, pretty, and driven, and she’s training for an exciting new career as a flight attendant. The darkness in her past doesn’t matter, because she’s moved beyond all that, and she’s building a great new life for herself-one that will impress her ex-boyfriend, Nate, who left her in a foolish moment of commitment-phobia, one that he surely regrets now. But he’ll be so proud of her once he sees how much she’s grown. And he will see her. After all, he’s a pilot at the very same airline where Juliette is training. What kind of man wouldn’t appreciate the effort Juliette has taken to win Nate back? She cleans his apartment when he’s not there, and makes sure to leave all his favorite foods in the fridge. It’s only a matter of time before he leaves his airheaded new girlfriend and realizes Juliette is the only one for him. He will realize it. Juliette will make sure of it. After all, she is the perfect girlfriend.


I received an ARC of The Perfect Girlfriend from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Release date: March 26, 2019.

I’ve never read a Karen Hamilton book, but The Perfect Girlfriend sounded like something I would really like. I like twisty creepy stories and this one sounded like it would be.

There were a ton of twisty creepy things in the story, but I did find it pretty slow to start and not a whole lot going on at the beginning. I was impatiently waiting for crazy things to happen, but it didn’t happen right away. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the way that the book ended, to be honest. I wanted more from the ending, but it just wasn’t there. Juliette definitely had a few screws loose and she made for a good character. Things happened in her past, which made her the way she was, which was actually a little sad.

Overall, I liked The Perfect Girlfriend. It had it’s twists and creepiness to it. I would have liked if more happened, but for the most part it was good and at times hard to put down. Even though I wasn’t happy with the ending, there were a lot of good things to make up for it and I was still invested in the story and wanting to know how it played out. It didn’t blow me away, but I also didn’t hate it; it was still pretty entertaining at times and pretty messed up other times.


In case you missed it, I have a giveaway happening on my blog for my four year blogiversary! You can win a book of your choice and it’s International! 😀 I’ll link it down below if you’re interested in checking it out and entering. It runs until the end of the month.

Four Year Blogiversary Giveaway!
Thoughts|| Famous in a Small Town.
Dr. Von D Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack