Mini Review of ‘The Dark Tower I : The Gunslinger’ by Stephen King

The Dark Tower I (MTI): The GunslingerThe Dark Tower I (MTI): The Gunslinger by Stephen King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mini Review Time:

Considering that most of the books I’d read from King has been more or less categorized as horror, this book was completely different from what I’d expected.

There were creepy moments, like Nort the man who ate weed and died with nothing, only to be resurrected by the man in black, resuming his familiar presence in a small-town bar. Or maybe even the Slow Mutants that terrorize the gunslinger and Jake, deep within the dark tunnels that will lead them to the man in black? Yep, just a bit of the creepiness you’d expect from a renowned writer of horror.

But really, though the ideas and the world-building were super interesting, I couldn’t help but feel like this book took a little too long getting anywhere. For example, the gunslinger spent a ridiculous amount of time in the small town of Tull, where he shacks up with a barmaid named Allie, and observes the weird behaviors of the townspeople. Tull is literally the epitome of a redneck town, and even has its own eccentric preacher-woman, who believes herself to be the Bride of God. Craziness abounds, and eventually he does leave the town, though it does involve emptying his guns on the way out.

There’s more world-building, like us learning a bit about the gunslinger’s past, though not much, and we see him eventually meeting the child, Jake, but again, slow-progression, and when the story seems to maybe be getting somewhere, it’s the end of book 1. Yep.

Well, though it took me a bit longer to read this book because of boredom at times, I still found the story interesting enough to read the next in the series, and from what I’ve heard, the series only gets better, so I’m looking forward to that, at least.

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Review of ‘Song of the Current’ by Sarah Tolcser

Song of the Current (Song of the Current #1)Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary provided by publisher:
Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.

Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.

From debut author Sarah Tolcser comes an immersive and romantic fantasy set along the waterways of a magical world with a headstrong heroine determined to make her mark.
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Okay, so when I first started reading this book, I couldn’t help but think of Veronica Roth‘s book Carve the Mark because of it’s constant mention of a ‘current’ that is revered for the individual gifts it bestows upon the people of CtM‘s world. So, when I hear people using the phrase ‘current carry them‘ in a religious context (after the death of a couple the MC knows), my mind couldn’t help but go back to the Roth book and its talk of the current. When I’d read other reviews for this book, no one else mentioned the similarities regarding the use of currents as a basis of power, so am I the only one who thought so after reading both books? I am? Okay, then I’ll move on…

This book didn’t quite draw me in until the MC Caro opens this mysterious box she’s been tasked with transporting from point A to point B – amidst dangers of pirates, and having to deal with some nosy family members – but that’s understandable, since action can breed more excitement and honestly, I still wasn’t too sure about this book (this book came in my Uppercasebox subscription, so who knows how soon I would have even picked up this book otherwise?), so it took the element of surprise to snare me. But once it did, I was hooked!

The story was engaging with all its action and Caro’s cleverness. But I will admit that all the boat (skiff? Not sure, shrug) terms were lost on me, and though I’d watched a video the author did for Uppercase, in which she explains the different terminology and locations of said boat (skiff? Whatever, it’s a boat from now on), I not only forgot everything, but had no idea what was going on when Caro would get into the boat stuff. A diagram or glossary would have helped tremendously for those boat-illiterate like me.

Seriously, though, I did enjoy the plot and would hate if I deterred you from reading this just because I personally was stumped by all the boat terms.

I feel like this review has been all over the place, ha ha, but I can’t forget to mention the characters before I actually finish, so I’ll start off with Caro, who was strong, smart, and very cool. Though her father isn’t able to be there to instruct her, she’s able to captain his boat, as well as deal with Tarquin, the boy who seems to tests her at every opportunity. She’s just a really interesting character, and I can’t wait to read more of her adventures!
I won’t go into Tarquin’s role, because there’s some spoilery mysteries that surround him, so I’d rather not give anything away, but I will say that he was perfect in his role, and I love him to pieces.
Minor characters abound, including Caro’s cousin KentĂ©, who brought an interesting dynamic to the boat. Oh, and could I forget Fee the frogman? If you read the book, you’ll learn more about these peoples, and the loyalty Fee brings to the story.

Well, now that I’ve rambled all over the place, I’ll conclude by saying that I really enjoyed this book and would be more than happy to recommend it!

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Review of ‘The Sunshine Sisters’ by Jane Green

The Sunshine SistersThe Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Contrary to the cover of this book…it did not evoke the feeling of a beach read for me.
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Summary provided by publisher:
Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters.

As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother’s overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother’s fame, while her marriage crumbled around her.

But now the Sunshine Girls are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy are all going through crises of their own, their mother s illness draws them together to confront old jealousies and secret fears and they discover that blood might be thicker than water after all.
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Honestly, it took me a long time to finish reading this one. Though I didn’t exactly hate it…I didn’t quite love it, either.

Let’s go ahead and start with the bad, first.

Ronni Sunshine, epitome of the Hollywood diva (though she never was quite the starlet she likely would have preferred), is also the matriarch of the family. Reading about her life and how she treated her children was painful, and all because of what a narcissistic person she is. God, I just really disliked her. I couldn’t stand reading the details of her tedious life, and could of cared less about her early years trying to become a breakout star, nor what she had to do in her attempt to get there.
Then, if I were to pick another person I didn’t like, it’d have to be Lizzie, the youngest of the Sunshine girls. She’s pretty much had everything handed to her because of her beauty, and the things she actually did earn due to talent? They seem a bit cheap because of her attitude and indifference when it comes to how she would treat others. She was just as despicable as her mother at times, and when she finally realizes how wrong she was about several things in her life, she pretty much thinks she can just take them back, as if she hadn’t abandoned them.

I’m not sure if this is supposed to be some “great family story”, where they lay aside their differences and hug it all out, because if it is, it did not leave me with happy, satisfied feelings. If you couldn’t tell by my last few paragraphs.

By now, you’re probably wondering, ‘why did you rate this three stars if you hated it so much?’

Because I didn’t hate it. Sure, I didn’t love it, but even though it took me forever to get through – and my dislike for Ronni and Lizzie – I was still curious about this family, and I still wanted to know how Meredith was doing in London, or how Nell was doing on her farm.

Oh, and as much as I hate saying it, a certain TMZ-side of me still had to know what was going on with Lizzie and her…”complications”. And yeah, I wanted to find out if there was a chance for redemption with it came to Ronni and the girls. Whatever.

As for recommending this book, if you’re a fan of Danielle Steele, you’ll probably like this, because it kind of reminded me of the few books I’d read of hers in the past.

Thank you to Berkley Books via NetGalley for giving me this copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘When Dimple Met Rishi’ by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met RishiWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was such a cute, adorable, and fun read – can I use any more adjectives? – that I really enjoyed!

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Synopsis taken from publisher:

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
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When Dimple Met Rishi was a book that I had had on my radar for awhile. The fact that this was centered on two Indian-American teens with such different ideals when it comes to their culture?

Gimme Gimme!!

So, being that I am already a sucker for cutesy romances, I was really looking forward to see how Dimple and Rishi’s relationship would end up playing out.

Now, let’s start off by saying that Dimple and Rishi were fantastic characters. I enjoyed them both for their differences. Dimple is super independent, though her mother would love to see her embrace her culture more – mainly the part where she’d find the Ideal Indian Husband, that is. But Dimple’s goals are far different, and a husband is definitely not in the plans.
Then there’s Rishi, who definitely fits the Ideal Indian Husband description to a T. And he is more than happy to do the things that would make his parents proud, including marry the woman his parents have chosen for him. But still, he’s more than just being the ideal Indian guy, and it was cool seeing that he had something he really enjoyed outside of his parent’s expectations. (I won’t go into it, since you should be reading the book anyway.)

Anyway, when these two meet, it’s most definitely not love at first sight…course, it didn’t help that Rishi said, “Hello, future wife…I can’t wait to get started on the rest of our lives!” On some girls, that might work, but on Dimple Shah (and most normal people)? Nope. And so comes into play the scene depicted on the back cover, of Dimple throwing a coffee in to Rishi’s face.

Of course, a moment in which Dimple is very much justified.

Though the first meeting went far from well, I really loved seeing the two characters get closer, as well as seeing them come to understand each other more. There’s definitely growth from both, and that does help make for a more interesting read!

Before I finish my review, I feel I should touch upon the fact that the two happen to be attending a summer program for aspiring web developers – something Dimple is very much interested in – and I think it’s a pretty cool setting that shows just how driven these characters are when it comes to getting what they both want. Though, Rishi’s end goal is a wee bit different than Dimples…

Finally, in conclusion, I really did enjoy this book and would be more than happy to recommend it!

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Mini Review of ‘Wake the Hollow’ by Gaby Triana 

Wake the HollowWake the Hollow by Gaby Triana

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary provided by publisher:

Forget the dead, Mica. It’s real, live people you should fear.


Tragedy has brought Micaela Burgos back to her hometown of Sleepy Hollow. It’s been six years since she chose to live with her father in Miami instead of her eccentric mother. And now her mother is dead.


This town will suck you in and not let go.


Sleepy Hollow may be famous for its fabled headless horseman, but the town is real. So are its prejudices and hatred, targeting Mica’s family as outsiders. But ghostly voices carry on the wind, whispering that her mother’s death was based on hate…not an accident at all. With the help of two very different guys—who pull at her heart in very different ways—Micaela must awaken the hidden secret of Sleepy Hollow…before she meets her mother’s fate.


Find the answers. 


Unless, of course, the answers find you first. 

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I really liked this book, and if not for a few annoying moments (mostly stemming from the fact that Micaela would be talking to either of her confidants — who would each tell her to not trust the other — and she’d basically be like, ‘okay, so I shouldn’t, like, trust him? Only you?’ It seemed to just go back and forth and she only ended up a nervous wreck with no idea what she should do), I probably would have rated this a five.

I loved the whole idea of merging the story of Sleepy Hollow with the life of the actual writer, Washington Irving to make for a creepy, somewhat ghostly, story. It wasn’t really scary, but that could be because I don’t scare easily, though I still liked the way the creepy scenes played out.

Anyway, back to the whole Sleepy Hollow/Irving aspect.
In this book, Irving plays a huge part in the history of Sleepy Hollow, having used it as the setting of one of his most famous works, and having his own personal history with the town itself, so it only makes sense Irving would have some secrets that would end up playing a huge part in the MC’s life, and the craziness of the town, right? Yeah, so there’s the usual things that comes with being in a small town. Everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows who the outcasts are. In this case, that would be Micaela, because she’s the daughter of the ‘town crazy’. I liked how well her role played out, because things made sense! They actually seemed plausible! I can’t really complain about a YA book that is actually pretty well written, can I?

All in all, I really enjoyed this book, and will be glad to recommend it!

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Review of ‘Toward a Secret Sky’ by Heather Maclean

Toward a Secret SkyToward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Even the lush depictions of Scotland couldn’t bring me to fall in love with this book.
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Synopsis from publisher:
Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends.

With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.
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This book had me torn when it came to actually decided whether or mother I liked it. The idea this book is centered on is pretty cool, what with there existing a secret organization to keep us lowly ones safe, as well as the promise of some code-breaking. But the “romance” (I cringe even thinking of it) is so ridiculous to me, that it played a large part in why I disliked this book.

Why don’t I first start with the good?

Call me cheesy, but I loved the idea of the American girl having to start over in a foreign country. Living with family she doesn’t know, maybe she’ll be able to find out more about the father she’d never known, and explore the Scottish countryside as well. And of course, she’ll fall for the handsome some of a Scottish laird, and the two will live happily ever after – once all conflicts and whatnot are cared for, of course.

The whole ‘secret codes and mysterious organization’ thing was an interesting part of the story, too. The former actually ended up playing only a small part unfortunately, but I did feel that it was well done and more clever than I could have been, attempting to crack a riddle-like code.
When it comes to the mysterious organization, we do get an explanation of its existence, as well as learning of some of its members, but again, those moments are seldom, and I wish we could’ve gone deeper into its missions or pretty much anything interesting, really.

So…now on to the bad/annoying.

I usually am the biggest sucker when it comes to romance, typically loving even the super cheesy stuff, but Maren‘s infatuation/instalove when it comes to Gavin is so ridiculous! When she first meets him, she swoons, falling to her knees because he’s so good-looking. Then, whenever she’s in his presence, all she can think about is how hot he is, yadda yadda. This goes on for pretty much the whole book, to the point where I was actually cringing at her excessive descriptions.
Honestly, the “romance” was one of the worst things I had to deal with when reading this book.

Finally, when the book seems close to having a satisfying wrap-up, we’re given more conflict, and something terrible happens in Maren’s life. This terrible thing bothered me because I didn’t really feel it had to have happened, and of course it leads to more terrible things and me hating the last 2o% of this book. I’m guessing that the way this book ended, there’s going to be a book 2, though I hadn’t seen anything listed on Goodreads. Seriously though, if there isn’t a book 2, I’m going to really hate this book even more in the future.

I’ll only recommend this if you can get past the annoying instalove and really would like to read a book that has mentions of secret organizations and codes.

Thank you to the publishers at Blink via NetGalley for giving this copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘The Truth About Happily Ever After’ by Karole Cozzo

The Truth About Happily Ever AfterThe Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pure fluff that involves a princess who simply wants her happy ever after
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Synopsis from publisher:

Chin up, Princess, or the crown will slip.

A theme park princess must put her life back together after her happily ever after falls apart in this contemporary YA romance from Karole Cozzo, author of How to Keep Rolling After a Fall and How to Say I Love You Out Loud.

Everything was supposed to be perfect. Alyssa has a job she loves, working as Cinderella at her favorite theme park; a fantastic group of friends; and a boyfriend who will no longer be long distance. But as the summer progresses, her prince becomes less charming and more distant, and Alyssa’s perfect summer falls apart.

Forced to acknowledge that life is not always a fairy tale, Alyssa starts working to pull her herself back together. Fortunately, she doesn’t have to do it alone. With her friend Miller’s support, she’s determined to prove that she’s more than just a pretty princess. And with his help, maybe she’s finally ready for something better than dreams. Maybe she’s ready for something real.
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I was a bit conflicted when it came to actually rating this book, cause I liked it, but then at the same time, I found aspects of it to be super annoying.

To begin with, Alyssa, the MC, is an theme park princess who is very dedicated to her job. I liked that her dedication wasn’t superficial, but because she genuinely loves her job and takes pride in giving the park visitors a great experience: so, while I can’t fault her in that, I will say that I found her expectations when it came to her prince charming to be pretty ridiculous.

Alyssa’s boyfriend – her prince charming – A.K.A. Jake, pretty much bothered me from the moment he first walked up onto the page. Alyssa is so excited for his arrival after having parted ways the previous summer, but he proves to be indifferent towards her feelings, and there are just so many sketchy moments, that I’m surprised it takes so long for Alyssa to recognize them…but then again, she does believe it’s love with this guy… Still, I just couldn’t get over how she continued to push her suspicions away.

But fortunately, we have Miller.

Miller makes things right.
His role in this book proves that sometimes your prince charming is the one you might least suspect. Cheesy, yes, but it’s so true in this case. He’s a real sweetie, and though his moments are few at first, his role does grow, as well as his friendship with Alyssa.

So, yeah, cute and cheesy.

Moving on…

The story progression was a bit slow at first, which had me bored for a good portion of it, and then the ending itself felt a bit rushed. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a good ending – but considering how slow the pacing was, I was surprised things accelerated so quickly towards the end.

Anyway, weird progression aside – as well as things annoying me in general – I liked this book well enough, and will recommend it if you’re looking for a sweet and cheesy contemporary read.

Thank you to Swoon Reads via Netgalley for giving me this copy in exchange for an honest review.

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