The Blonde Bookworm

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton -- Review

Monday, October 8, 2018

Title: Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe
Author: Preston Norton
Pages: 410
Publishing: May 22nd 2018 by Disney-Hyperion


Cliff Hubbard is a huge loser. Literally. His nickname at Happy Valley High School is Neanderthal because he's so enormous-6'6" and 250 pounds to be exact. He has no one at school and life in his trailer park home has gone from bad to worse ever since his older brother's suicide.

There's no one Cliff hates more than the nauseatingly cool quarterback, Aaron Zimmerman. Then Aaron returns to school after a near-death experience with a bizarre claim: while he was unconscious he saw God, who gave him a list of things to do to make Happy Valley High suck less. And God said there's only one person who can help: Neanderthal.

To his own surprise, Cliff says he's in. As he and Aaron make their way through the List, which involves a vindictive English teacher, a mysterious computer hacker, a decidedly unchristian cult of Jesus Teens, the local drug dealers, and the meanest bully at HVHS--Cliff feels like he's part of something for the first time since losing his brother. But fixing a broken school isn't as simple as it seems, and just when Cliff thinks they've completed the List, he realizes their mission hits closer to home than he ever imagined.


I really had no idea what I was getting into when I started this novel, but I'm so glad I picked it up. It seemed like modern day Breakfast Club with a twist and I loved it. It was quirky, fun, and it hit on a lot of delicate topics. Norton handled those topics well and I really enjoyed the strength that each of his characters showed. 

I think the characters wee what really made this novel stand out. Cliff was an incredibly memorable character and I found myself relating to him and being truly heartbroken by his circumstances. I kept feeling like I just wanted to reach inside the book and give him a hug. I was moved by this novel and it will be one that sticks with me for quiet some time. I would highly recommend this novel if you are a fan of contemporary YA reads. Thank you to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 4/5 

Light Years by Kass Morgan -- Review

Friday, September 28, 2018

Title: Light Years 
Author: Kass Morgan 
Pages: 384
Publishing: October 9th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


Reeling from the latest attack by a mysterious enemy, the Quatra Fleet Academy is finally admitting students from every planet in the solar system after centuries of exclusivity.

Hotshot pilot Vesper, an ambitious Tridian citizen, dreams of becoming a captain - but when she loses her spot to a brilliant, wisecracking boy from the wrong side of the asteroid belt, it makes her question everything she thought she knew. Growing up on the toxic planet Deva, Cormak will take any chance he can get to escape his dead-end life and join the Academy - even if he has to steal someone's identity to do it. Arran was always considered an outsider on icy Chetire, always dreaming of something more than a life working in the mines. Now an incoming cadet, Arran is looking for a place to belong - he just never thought that place would be in the arms of a Tridian boy. And Orelia is hiding a dark secret - she's infiltrated the Academy to complete a mission, one that threatens the security of everyone there. But if anyone finds out who she really is, it'll be her life on the line.

These cadets will have to put their differences aside and become a team to defend their world from a cunning enemy - but the danger might be lurking closer to home than they think...


Light Years has been on my radar for a little while and I was so happy to receive a review copy from The NOVL for review! I loved reading Morgan's previous novels, and I was hoping her newest novel would be equally as addicting. I most certainly wasn't let down with Light Years! It was fast paced and fun, and the characters were really entertaining! There wasn't really too much that made this novel special or stand out, but it was entertaining and held my attention from start to finish.

The world building and characters in this novel were probably my favorite two features. I thought Kass did a really great job of incorporating diverse characters in a natural way. Sometimes I think authors are so interested in making sure they have diverse characters that it almost feels forced. I never felt that way with the characters in this novel and I thought they all flowed together really nicely. All in all, Light Years was a really fun and quick read and I would highly recommend it to readers who enjoy Sci-Fi YA novels. Thank you to The NOVL for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Rating 3.5/5

In Her Bones by Kate Moretti

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Title: In Her Bones 
Author: Kate Moretti 
Publishing: September 4th 2018 by Atria Books
Pages: 320


Fifteen years ago, Lilith Wade was arrested for the brutal murder of six women. After a death row conviction, media frenzy, and the release of an unauthorized biography, her thirty-year-old daughter Edie Beckett is just trying to survive out of the spotlight. She’s a recovering alcoholic with a dead-end city job and an unhealthy codependent relationship with her brother.

Edie also has a disturbing secret: a growing obsession with the families of Lilith’s victims. She’s desperate to see how they’ve managed—or failed—to move on. While her escalating fixation is a problem, she’s careful to keep her distance. That is, until she crosses a line and a man is found murdered.

Edie quickly becomes the prime suspect—and while she can’t remember everything that happened the night of the murder, she’d surely remember killing someone. With the detective who arrested her mother hot on her trail, Edie goes into hiding. She’s must get to the truth of what happened that night before the police—or the real killer—find her.

Unless, of course, she has more in common with her mother than she’s willing to admit…

Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware, In Her Bones features Moretti’s “riveting and insightful” (Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author) prose and “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists, and will leave you questioning the nature of guilt, obsession, and the toxicity of familial ties.


In Her Bones begins with a bang and the action and mystery don't let up until the very end. This novel was so different from most suspense/mystery novels because the main narrator is the suspect of the crime. I loved that the main character wasn't the detective. Edie was such an interesting character and I enjoyed following her logic and seeing how her brain worked. 

This novel is a little darker than Moretti's previous works, but I really enjoyed the pace and the overall feel of the novel. It kept me on my toes and had me constantly guessing until the end. I definitely had some ideas of how I thought it would end, but I never felt it to be too predictable. 

All in all, In her Bones was a fast paced and entertaining suspense read and it had me captivated from the first page to the very last. I would highly recommend it to readers who enjoy Ruth Ware novels or other suspense novels with leading female characters. Thank you to NetGalley and Atria for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 3.5/5

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang -- Review

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Title: The Kiss Quotient
Author: Helen Hoang
Pages: 336
Publishing: June 5th 2018 by Berkley


A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...


What an amazing read! I heard a good bit of hype about this book, so I went into it with an open mind. It was such a heartwarming and fun read and I'm so glad I picked it up. Stella's character is so refreshing and honest and I loved that she wasn't just another typical character. Her internal dialogue was probably my favorite part of the whole novel! She is such an intriguing character and I loved how Hoang really made Stella and Michael's story come to life on the pages. 

The Kiss Quotient was an unexpectedly refreshing read and cannot recommend it enough. The characters were fun, the plot was unique, and the writing style was light and easy to read. I would highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy Christina Lauren novels! Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 4/5

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager -- Review

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Title: The Last Time I Lied
Author: Riley Sager
Pages: 384
Publishing: July 3rd 2018 by Dutton


Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she--or anyone--saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings--massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it's immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp's twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.


I read Sager's first novel, Final Girls last summer and I absolutely loved it. So I was really excited to pick up The Last Time I Lied when it came out this year. This novel was a little different and not quite as gory, which I appreciated. It was filled with constant suspense and I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish. The story switched between past and present throughout the novel and I loved that change in pace because it added even more suspense. The characters were complex and I totally didn't see that ending coming! 

The Last Time I Lied was an entertained suspense novel filled with twists from the first page to the last. I read this book in about two days and couldn't force myself to put it down! If you are of fan of Sager's work or you love suspense novels, this one is for you! I would highly recommend it! Thank you to Dutton and NetGalley for sending a copy in exchange for and honest review. 

Rating 4/5 

Storm of the Gods by Amy Braun -- Review

Monday, September 10, 2018

Title: Storm of the Gods 
Author: Amy Braun 


Thirty years ago, the gods of Greek legend returned to the world. Their return restored their powers, which had been spent in a cataclysmic battle with the Titans. With the ancient deities imprisoned in Tartarus, the Olympians now reside in Néo Vasíleio, formerly known as California.

Twenty-four-year-old Derek Aerios is a war scion, a descendent of Ares, the God of War. He and his brother, eighteen-year-old Liam, capture mythological creatures and rogue scions as part of Ares's elite military force. As he struggles to cope with his violent powers and the scars of a traumatic childhood, Derek tries to keep the two vows he has made: protect his brother, and never kill a human again.

But when Ares forces him to hunt and kill four rogue scions under Athena's control—by threatening Liam's life—Derek chooses to go after the scions in order to save his brother and keep his promise to himself.

Yet the closer Derek gets to the scions, the more he realizes that his orders are part of a deeper conspiracy that put him at odds with his mission and his conscience. Athena may not be the enemy, a traitor could be in their midst, and the Titans could be closer to freedom than ever before.


I've been a huge fan of Braun's work for a while now, so when I heard she had a new novel coming out I was extremely excited! Plus, I'm a huge fan of novels about Greek Gods and heroes, so this sounded like a win/win. I started the novel early one morning and it was all I could think about throughout the day. It was fast paced, action packed and full of engaging characters. I was immediately invested in the Aerios duo and I couldn't put this novel down! 

Braun does such a fantastic job with the world building in Storm of the Gods and I could picture each scene perfectly. I loved what each of the characters brought to the novel and I thought it was an all around great read. I would highly recommend this novel if you're a fan of Percy Jackson or other novels about Greek legends. Thank you Amy for sending a copy in exchange for an honest review! I can't wait to read book two! 

Rating 3.5/5

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker -- Review

Friday, September 7, 2018

Title: The Simple Wild 
Author: K.A. Tucker
Pages: 388
Publishing: August 7th 2018 by Atria Books
ISBN: 1501133438 


Calla Fletcher wasn't even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.


Oh. My. Gosh. Hands down, this was my favorite read of the year! I am obsessed with Tucker's writing and I think The Simple Wild was her best yet. I laughed and I cried. My heart hurt and my heart was happy so many times I lost count. Tucker really pulled at all of my emotions in this novel and I cannot stop gushing about it to everyone I know. The characters were complex and entertaining, the setting was amazing and adventurous, and the plot was fast paced and unique. Can I add any more adjectives about this novel? Yep, I probably could... but I'm afraid yall would get a little tired of that! 

I wasn't surprised that I fell in love with The Simple Wild, but I was surprised at how attached I became to the characters. Tucker's recent novels have all been stand alone novels, but I'm crossing my fingers and praying that she somehow creates another novel with these lovely people in it. Hint hint, wink wink! Ok, done gushing! Thank you to Atria and NetGalley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. If you can't tell already, I would HIGHLY recommend this book! I guarantee readers will fall head over heels in love with The Simple Wild! 

Rating 5/5 

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