Book Review: KA-E-RO-U Time to Go Home by B. Jeanne Shibahara

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Book Title: KA-E-RO-U Time to Go Home
Author: B. Jeanne Shibahara
Publisher: B. Jeanne Shibahara (Self-Published)
Publication Date: October 13th 2018
Genres: Humor, General, Historical Fiction
Trigger Warning/s: war, blood, death

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In Japan…everywhere…red strings tie all people we meet together. Some strings are weak. Some have tangles. Some strong.

Meryl—Vietnam War widow—misses her grown son, feels left out after her father’s recent marriage. A WWII Japanese flag falls into her hands. The gentle push of a love-struck professor starts her adventure—take the flag home. From the neon of Osaka, to the ancient capital Nara, to the forests of Akita, the trail follows a newspaper reporter, factory manager, ikebana teacher, a Matagi hunter and winds through Japanese culture, past and present. A story of shared humanity and love “in the simplest things.


I received an eARC of this book from the author (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions in any way.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This review is long overdue as I have planned to read this book ages ago, but never really came around to doing it as life always gets in the way. Fast forward many months later, here I am, wishing I’ve picked this one up sooner.

KA-E-RO-U Time to Go Home follows Meryl Quist, a Vietnam war widow, as she acquires a flag belonging to a fallen WWII Japanese soldier. With a helpful nudge from her cousin, father and (mostly) her son’s professor, Meryl sets out for a life-changing adventure to take the flag home to Japan.

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Book Review: Cold Day in the Sun by Sara Biren

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Book Title: Cold Day in the Sun
Author: Sara Biren
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: March 12th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

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Holland Delviss wants to be known for her talent as a hockey player, not a hockey player who happens to be a girl. But when her school team is selected to be featured and televised as part of HockeyFest, her status as the only girl on the boys’ team makes her the lead story. Not everyone is thrilled with Holland’s new fame, but there’s one person who fiercely supports her, and it’s the last person she expects (and definitely the last person she should be falling for): her bossy team captain, Wes.


Rating: 3 out of 5.

With the summer season just around the corner, a book about ice hockey and perpetual snow probably doesn’t seem all that appealing to most of you. I understand there are tons of other YA contemporary reads which are all summer-y and more appropriate for the season, but I ain’t about that right now. I personally prefer cold weather rather than hot, and this is a great book for escaping this heat that I dislike so much.

Set in a small town in Minnesota, Holland grew up with a special love (and skill!) for hockey. Growing up with three brothers who all share the same passion for the sport, she grew accustomed to playing with the boys. So this ultimately led to her decision to play for the boys’ hockey team of her school, instead of the girls’. Of course that doesn’t come easy as Holland constantly gets criticized and belittled because of her decision. So, she always has to try extra hard to prove them wrong and to “earn her spot” in the team. Regardless of the people who don’t believe in her and try to bring her down, what Holland doesn’t expect is that she has a passionate supporter in the form of their awfully crabby team captain, Wes. Now she’s not sure if that would complicate things, especially when feelings get involved.

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Book Review: The Secret of Dinswood

42051408Book Title: The Secret of Dinswood
Author: Ellen Alexander
Series: N/A (Standalone)
Publisher: BHC Press
Publication Date: February 26th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Middle Grade
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Desperate to get away from a home where she no longer feels wanted, twelve-year-old Emma Higsby is elated when she wins a scholarship to the prestigious Dinswood Academy boarding school.

Emma quickly falls in love with the renovated castle nestled in the heart of the mountains. But when rumors surface that her new school is having financial problems and may have to close, she begins to search for a way to save her new home.

When she discovers a riddle of buried treasure left by the eccentric school’s founder, Lord Dinswood, she and her friends must use their courage and intelligence to solve each clue.

But someone else is searching for the treasure as well. Emma and her friends will have to race against time and discover the secret of Dinswood first!


I received a copy of this book from Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my thoughts in any way.

MY THOUGHTS

The book in a few words: Boarding school. Pirate treasure. Mysterious hunt. Beautiful friendships. If that does not intrigue you at least a tiny bit, then I’m not sure this book’s for you.

The Secret of Dinswood follows a group of students from Dinswood Academy in their quest to save their school from financial troubles by hunting for Lord Dinswood’s hidden treasure. For a school that’s been struggling financially, Dinswood Academy is so freaking extravagant! This is exactly the kind of school I would’ve dreamed of attending during my childhood.

Emma and her friends only went on this hunt to save their school from crippling financial troubles. They go on and on about how they must save the school because it means everything to them despite only being there for, what, a few months? Granted, they did meet their best friends there but is going to separate schools really that awful to risk their lives on the hunt?

The main character here is so well-developed; I love her so much! At the start of the book, I could really feel Emma’s insecurities and anxiousness of being out of place in Dinswood Academy. Since it’s a prestigious boarding school, only accepting the richest of the rich, Emma could only afford to go there because of her scholarship. Despite the best efforts of her friends, she can’t deny that sometimes, she feel alienated among the wealthy crowd of students. I absolutely sympathize for her because I, personally, know that feeling which made me love and understand her better.

With that, I’d like to mention that Martha, Emma’s best friend, is the epitome of a great friend. She has always been there for Emma from the beginning, and she has never let the superficial things like financial status get in the way of their friendship. However, although Martha has been a wonderful buddy to Emma, she hasn’t been much help in the treasure hunt and frankly, she’s a bit repetitive too. In another time, and in another story, I really would have loved her more.

The pacing was a bit slow at first, which allowed readers to fully get to know the main characters and get accustomed to the school. Unfortunately, I think the book could have done with a little bit of a faster pace in terms of the mystery since they only discovered a substantial piece of clue at around 72% of the book, and they were still clueless up to that point.

This is a great book and I would really recommend it if you don’t mind a slower pace in mystery and if you love stories in boarding schools as much as I do!

 

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Blog Tour: That’s Not What I Heard by Stephanie Kate Strohm [BOOK REVIEW + MOODBOARD]

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Book Title: That’s Not What I Heard
Author: Stephanie Kate Strohm
Series: N/A (Standalone)
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: January 29th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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What did you hear?

Kimberly Landis-Lilley and Teddy Lin are over. Yes, the Kim and Teddy broke up.

At least that’s what Phil Spooner thinks he overheard and then told Jess Howard, Kim’s best friend. Something about Teddy not liking Kim’s Instas? Or was it that Teddy is moving to Italy and didn’t want to do long distance? Or that Kim slid into someone else’s DMs?

Jess told her boyfriend, Elvis, that he needs to be on Kim’s side. Especially if he wants to keep her as his girlfriend. But Elvis is also Teddy’s best friend.

Now, Kim’s run out of school for the day. Jess is furious. Elvis is confused. And half the lunch period won’t talk to Teddy. Even the teachers have taken sides.

William Henry Harrison High will never be the same again!


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour hosted by Fantastic Flying Book Club.

MY THOUGHTS

That’s Not What I Heard has been on my radar recently since I saw it from a fellow blogger’s post/tweet. I thought the premise quite interesting and fun, but I didn’t expect the book to be this entertaining!

The book started off by introducing the most important thing (apparently) in William Henry Harrison High, Kim and Teddy. Their relationship, albeit only been briefly explored, was enough to make me wish for my own. I’ve always been such a hopeless romantic so a bit of romance impacts me a ton! Then the story continues on to the breakup of the said couple. A random student, who happened to be just buying chips from the vending machine, overheard the breakup and told someone who told someone who told someone… You get the idea. From then on, the rumors started getting more and more ludicrous that it ultimately led to their school’s chaos.

That’s Not What I Heard is told in the multiple perspectives of the characters. It was so interesting to read about since each of their thoughts were so different from one another, and the gravity of the situation can really be felt through this.

The story was really entertaining, I enjoyed every single page of this. Its flair for the dramatic got me laughing so damn hard at times! The different characters were fairly likeable and I love that each of them has their own quirks and personalities.

Also, I’m not sure if it’s just my deep, dramatic side that wants to take a lesson out of everything, but the message of the book was pretty good! Rumors are like wildfire; once lit, they destroy everything in their way, causing social structures and order to come tumbling down.

Overall, That’s Not What I Heard was absolutely worth the read. If you’re looking for a quirky and obnoxiously fun read, I really think think that this one’s for you!


✨ MOODBOARD BY YOURS TRULY ✨

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephanie Kate Strohm is the author of The Taming of the DrewPilgrims Don’t Wear PinkConfederates Don’t Wear CoutureIt’s Not Me, It’s You and Prince in Disguise. She grew up in Connecticut and attended Middlebury College in Vermont, where she was voted Winter Carnival Queen. Currently she lives in Chicago with her fiance and a little white dog named Lorelei Lee.

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Book Review: Secrets, Lies, and Scandals by Amanda K. Morgan

32333303Book Title: Secrets, Lies, and Scandals
Author: Amanda K. Morgan
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: July 5th 2016
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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In the tradition of I Know What You Did Last Summer and How to Get Away with Murder, five teens must overcome their paranoia in order to keep their teacher’s death a secret in this fast-paced suspense thriller.

Nothing ruins summer vacation like a secret…especially when it involves a dead teacher.

Ivy used to be on top of the social ladder, until her ex made that all go away. She has a chance to be Queen Bee again, but only if the rest of the group can keep quiet.

Tyler has always been a bad boy, but lately he’s been running low on second chances. There’s no way he’s going to lose everything because someone couldn’t keep their mouth shut.

Kinley wouldn’t describe herself as perfect, though everyone else would. But perfection comes at a price, and there is nothing she wouldn’t do to keep her perfect record—one that doesn’t include murder charges.

Mattie is only in town for the summer. He wasn’t looking to make friends, and he definitely wasn’t looking to be involved in a murder. He’s also not looking to be riddled with guilt for the rest of his life…but to prevent that he’ll have to turn them all in.

Cade couldn’t care less about the body, or about the pact to keep the secret. The only way to be innocent is for someone else to be found guilty. Now he just has to decide who that someone will be.

With the police hot on the case, they don’t have much time to figure out how to trust each other. But in order to take the lead, you have to be first in line…and that’s the quickest way to get stabbed in the back.


MY THOUGHTS

I’ve been wanting to pick up this book for a while now. Ever since I saw it on Book Outlet, blurbed as perfect for fans of the TV show How to Get Away with Murder, I knew I had to read it. Fast forward a several months and a Kindle deal later, I finally got to read it.

Secrets, Lies, and Scandals is a fast-paced thriller that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. At least, it had that impact on me. I was reading this non-stop because I just HAD to know what happens next.

The book is told in alternating perspectives of the five main characters: Ivy, Mattie, Kinley, Tyler and Cade. In my opinion, the most well-written character is Tyler. I found that among the five, he was the one I truly felt for. I sympathized with him especially with everything that’s been going on.

Other than that, I loved how each one of them has their own tricks up their sleeves which made their actions quite unpredictable. They were clever and independent on their own, but they couldn’t act brashly because they could all come crashing down. They were all good at manipulating other people and each other.

Also, I can’t resist not sharing the first sentence of the book:

“There should be more blood.”

The moment I read that, I got the feeling that this would be a gripping read. Besides, the promise of having a similar vibe to the hit TV show How to Get Away with Murder delivered, in retrospect. (Well, at least the part where a bunch of students killed someone.) Although I have to say, the means of killing the teacher in the book was a bit underwhelming for me. They could have done with something a bit more gruesome for the drama or maybe that’s just my evil side talking. And lastly, I would just like to say that however forced and instant the romance in this book was, I truly believe that it wasn’t completely unnecessary. 

Honestly, I had a hard time rating this book. I changed my star rating on Goodreads, like, three times, debating whether it was a 3- or 4-star read. But in the end, I really think this one deserves its 4 stars. This book is jam-packed with secrets, lies and scandals (see what I did there?) that indeed made it such an enthralling story. I recommend this one if you’re looking for a quick thrilling read.

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