Monday (Book) Madness

This week I read:

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I almost didn’t read this because of a few bad reviews on Goodreads. It got off to a bumpy start, and it wasn’t entirely unpredictable, but it kept my attention and I enjoyed it. By the end it was uplifting.

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I read “Heroine” by this author and loved it so much that I decided to give another of her books a shot. This one was completely different, and not at all what I was expecting. Not bad, just not my ideal cup of tea. There’s no denying that McGinnis is a talented author, and while I didn’t love this book, I did enjoy it.

I just started:

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To join me in bookish fun, click the links to friend me on Litsy or Goodreads

Monday (Book) Madness

Last week I read:

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Great ‘YA book with a purpose’. The MC always knew she’d need a liver transplant… someday. She just didn’t expect someday to arrive her senior year of high school. Mad props to the author – totally didn’t see the ending coming! (On a side note, I met this author once years ago before she was published and she wrote MG fiction, and she was so incredibly nice and friendly! So happy for her success!)

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I’d heard a lot about this book (both good and bad) so I had no idea what to expect when I started it. It’s not my preferred genre, but I’ve been slowly trying to expand my comfort zone – a little dystopian here, a little sci-fi there – and while it wasn’t my favorite book I’ve read so far this year, there’s no denying that I did enjoy it. Some beautiful prose, some vivid (nightmarish) descriptions and an engaging story made this one a win for me.

I just started:

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To join me in bookish fun, click the links to friend me on Litsy or Goodreads

Monday (Book) Madness

Last week, I read:

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The trilogy is over 😭 A satisfying conclusion to a great series! Suspenseful, craftily plotted and insanely well thought out. On the plus side, the blister on my fingertip (from turning pages so fast) will get to heal. But . . . I’m going to miss my fictional book friends.

 

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I”m a sucker for an homage to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None! It wasn’t the best written book, but I enjoyed the plot and the author either hit her groove or I got used to the slightly bumpy prose by the time I was halfway in. Better than the Goodreads rating would suggest.

I just started:

The Arrival of Someday

To join me in bookish fun, click the links to friend me on Litsy or Goodreads

Shannon Hollinger, Author

Transmutation (Because It Sounds Cooler Than Metamorphosis)

2020 is the end of an era. Literally. When I started this blog (almost 10 years ago), I knew that I wanted to write. I just wasn’t sure what.

Looking back through my archives, I see book reviews, hiking adventures, recipes, quotes, memes, writing advice . . . I was all over the place. But the important thing, the only thing, really, is that it got me putting words on the screen.

Behind the blog scenes, there were magazine articles, nonfiction stories, and a ton of short fiction created. And that is where I found my writing home – in the land of make believe.

Fast forward to the present. I’ve written dozens of short stories and have a stack of finished novel manuscripts. I’ve had an editor tell me no one would ever publish the story I submitted to him only to have it accepted the same month by Suspense Magazine. I’ve had agents ignore my queries, request my manuscripts, reject my manuscripts, refer me to a colleague who they felt the manuscript would be perfect for only to never hear from said colleague . . . and still, I write.

I’ve felt my skin thicken from tissue paper to paperboard. I’ve cried my way through the bad writing days, laughed my way through the good, and stopped myself from punching a wall countless times during edits.

It’s been a long, sometimes painful, often frustrating journey. A building an author platform as an adult mystery author, realizing that all of my novels had teenage characters and it was those characters who I most enjoyed writing, expanding my reading list and develoving an ABSOLUTE love affair with YA novels, realizing that at my core I am a YA author and whoops, now I have to start all over again kind of insanity.

So . . . here I am. This is my year, so stay tuned. I hope to have some big news for you coming soon.

Shannon Hollinger, Author

 

 

 

 

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas ~ #YA #Mystery #BookReview

40670509It’s been a while since I’ve read a YA book, and after my love affair with the Pretty Little Liars series, I was read for a ‘little’ something, and monsters turned out to be that thing.

This book deals with the usual teenage angst of family issues, feeling like you don’t belong, not fitting in, and feeling like you have to compromise yourself to satisfy the demands of peer pressure, among other issues, yet it takes it one step further with a murder, which creates a mystery.

The plots seems plausible enough. The writing is good, the characters well-developed, and the suspense keeps the pages turning. There was enough angst to satisfy my YA craving. It was good, but not quite everything I was hoping for. (I think my standards for this one may have been impossibly high.) 4 stars.

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma~ YA Book Review

22859565This book was strange. While the basic premise wasn’t the freshest, what the author did with it kind of was. By just adding a few oddities, the author took an old trope and made it feel new. And fun.

This story has a little bit of everything thrown into the pot. Murder. Mayhem. Ballerinas?????

Add a dash of a girl’s correctional facility and a dollop of the supernatural, and you’ve got yourself (or I’ve got myself) something I’ve never read before. With a base of good writing, pacing, and suspense, that makes this book a tasty dish to this reader. Definitely not going to suit everyone’s pallet, but I enjoyed it. 4.5 stars!

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson ~ YA Book Review

16109340There was something kind of beautiful about this book. There were some things that were pretty silly and hokey, too, but those things didn’t really diminish the beauty. And while the book is probably best described as Young Adult, I feel it speaks to a broader audience.

When you break down through the walls of drama, growing pains, teen angst, grief, and everything else going on in this story, this book is about finding yourself. And how easy it is to lose yourself. And the importance of forgiveness. It’s about the fragile line that we all walk during the course of our day to day lives, and how easily one choice or decision can spiral out of control – or makes things right. It’s both complex and simplistic; therein lies the beauty. 5 stars!

 

 

The Dare by Hannah Jayne ~ Mystery Fiction Book Review

23102014I’ve read a book by author Hannah Jayne before, and after reading a second, I’ve got to say that this author is one to watch! Her twisty, suspenseful mysteries centered around YA characters are big on thrills and chills.

The books may be a bit melodramatic at times, but hey, I remember being a teenager, and most of the time, it works. Ms. Jayne is a master of creating a dark, creepy atmosphere for a reader to escape to for a while. Best of all, while I had suspects and suspicions, I wasn’t completely sure what was real and what wasn’t until the end. There were a couple of loose ends left frayed and unexplained, but the bottom line is that I really enjoyed this book. 4.5 stars!

Paper Towns by John Green ~ YA Fiction Book Review

Paper Towns by [Green, John]John Green can write. I don’t think anyone disputes that. He creates characters that feel authentic and real, but this book left me severely underwhelmed. I’ve never read another book that won the YA Edgar Award, but I can’t help but feel like the bar may be pretty low after reading this ‘winner’.

This book wasn’t a total waste of time, it’s a good coming of age story that held my interest, but it pales in comparison to Green’s other books that I’ve read, and the ‘mystery’ left me wondering about my definition of mystery. I suppose that maybe his other books set my expectations too high. 3.5 stars.

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp ~ Fiction Book Review

25823344This book by Dutch author Marieke Nijkamp got off to a bit of a rocky start. It introduces a lot of characters and scene changes before you have a chance to find your footing (knowing who is who, etc.). But it quickly gains depth and momentum, and by the end I not only knew the characters, but I cared about what happened to them as well.

The book could benefit from another round of editing for consistency (details like the auditorium is either soundproof, or you can hear the gunshots around the school), but nothing major. As far as books about gun violence in schools goes, I would have liked to have seen more insight into the shooter’s motive and choice to turn to violence. A quick and easy young adult read. 4 stars.