Review: The Girl Who Watched Over Dreams by Jeff Russell

– SPOILER FREE REVIEW –

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Girl Who Watched Over Dreams
Author: Jeff Russell
Genre: Thriller
Release date: September 30th, 2015

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Description:

What if a person could live in their dreams? What if the power of imagination could erase the inequities of life? The staff at Eden Perpetual Life Care makes that possible and Katrina Hammond turns to them when nothing else can ease the pain of her mother’s progressive illness. The residents of Eden live in a medically-induced dream state, a fantasy world based on their secret desires. They are freed from the torments of their physical existence but at a terrible price, for where her mother goes Kat cannot follow. When Eden offers Kat the position of in-house neurologist, letting her pursue her vocation while watching over her mother’s dreams, she reluctantly agrees. And when investigative reporter Morgan Brewer shows Kat what it means to be young and alive her own dreams start coming true.

But dreams are not always what they seem. An anomaly in the brainwave patterns of some residents suggests subconscious distress, and when Kat defies management’s order not to probe deeper she discovers something sinister taking place behind the pristine walls of Eden. Unsure of what to believe or who to trust she must now find a way to rescue her mother and the other residents before she herself becomes trapped in their perpetual nightmare.


The Girl Who Watched Over Dreams holds an interesting premise: What if we can live on in our dreams? An idea that reminded me a bit of Black Mirror’s San Junipero. Though I loved that concept and appreciated how realistic the author made it sound, the novel failed to develop all the other aspects I was interested in.

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ARC Review: Fallen to Grace by A.J. Flowers

– SPOILER FREE REVIEW –

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this ARC from the author for an honest review.

Title: Fallen to Grace (Celestial Downfall #1)
Author: A.J. Flowers
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Release date: December 2nd, 2016

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Description:

Azrael’s a wingless angel, and if that wasn’t bad enough, she’s the only one with a functioning conscience. Her bi-color eyes mark her as a moral hybrid, and when she breaks her enslavement to Manor Saffron by making a deal with a demon, she doesn’t expect to become Queen. She’ll have to survive her new royal magic, convince a legion of angels she’s worth fighting for, and find the breach in her Faustian deal, or risk a new master with horns.


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ARC Review: A Deadly Affection by Cuyler Overholt

– SPOILER FREE REVIEW –

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: A Deadly Affection (Dr. Genevieve Summerford Mystery #1)
Author: Cuyler Overholt
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Release date: September 6th, 2016

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Description:

In 1907 New York, a psychiatrist must prove her patient’s innocence…or risk being implicated in a shocking murder

As one of the first women practicing in an advanced new field of psychology, Dr. Genevieve Summerford is used to forging her own path. But when one of her patients is arrested for murder-a murder Genevieve fears she may have unwittingly provoked-she is forced to seek help from an old acquaintance.

Desperate to clear her patient’s name and relieve her own guilty conscience, Genevieve finds herself breaking all the rules she’s tried so hard to live by. In her search for answers, Genevieve uncovers an astonishing secret that, should she reveal it, could spell disaster for those she cares about most. But if she lets her discovery remain hidden, she will almost certainly condemn her patient to the electric chair.


This book introduces a slow paced mystery with an array of complex characters set in the fascinating New York of 1907. Sadly, despite the characters being quite realistic, I never really warmed up to any of them and I felt like the mystery was unremarkable. I did enjoy the writing and I was impressed with how fleshed out the characters got to be, but in the end, there was something missing for me. I would recommend it to anyone interested in mysteries with character development and with a medical focus.

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Review: The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín

– SPOILER FREE REVIEW –

Title: The Call
Author:
Peadar Ó Guilín
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror
Release date: 30th August, 2016

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Description:

Thousands of years ago, humans banished the Sidhe fairy race to another dimension. The beautiful, terrible Sidhe have stewed in a land of horrors ever since, plotting their revenge . . . and now their day has come.

Fourteen-year-old Nessa lives in a world where every teen will be “Called.” It could come in the middle of the day, it could come deep in the night. But one instant she will be here, and the next she will wake up naked and alone in the Sidhe land. She will be spotted, hunted down, and brutally murdered. And she will be sent back in pieces by the Sidhe to the human world . . . unless she joins the rare few who survive for twenty-four hours and escape unscathed.

Nessa trains with her friends at an academy designed to maximize her chances at survival. But as the days tick by and her classmates go one by one, the threat of her Call lurks ever closer . . . and with it the threat of an even more insidious danger closer to home.


The Call is a pretty grim novel with a unique, twisted and nerve-racking concept that hooked me from page one. It introduces Nessa, a kick-ass main character that can’t walk quite well as the result of contracting polio as a child. Having a disabled character in an action-packed story such as this one is something we hardly see and I really enjoyed how the author did it.

I thought the concept had a lot of potential, but, by being so fast-paced and having so many points of view, there was hardly any time to explore all the themes or characters I would have wanted. Still, it was a very entertaining read that I’ve seen people describing as gruesome and not for the faint of heart, although I didn’t find it that graphic or gory (that might be my seemingly heart of stone talking).

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Review: The Key by Sara B. Elfgren & Mats Strandberg

– SPOILER FREE REVIEW –

Title: The Key (The Engelsfors Trilogy #3)
Authors: Sara Bergmark Elfgren & Mats Strandberg
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Release date: November, 2013

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Description:

The final installment of the Engelsfors Trilogy—an international sensation with rights sold in 29 countries—The Key combines thrilling action and dark magic with all the passion and drama of teen life. The result is nothing less than explosive.

By the end of the second book, Fire, the remaining Chosen Ones know they are the last defense against the mysterious, demonic forces that have been plaguing Engelsfors.

The Chosen Ones are still coming to terms with their loss when evil strikes again, barely a month after the showdown in the school gym. They have no chance to recover, and no choice but to rally together to try to prevent the apocalypse—even while their personal dramas threaten to tear them apart.

Time is running out for the Chosen Ones to fulfil the prophecy and save the world, but whether they succeed or not, one thing is certain: Everything will change.


– REVIEW FOR THE CIRCLE (#1) AND FIRE (#2) –

A fantastic ending for a great trilogy. The writing, the plot, and the characters all got stronger with each book, resulting in a story that I never wanted to end. Was this book perfect? No, not really. It started of slow, it was probably longer than necessary, and there were unecessary moments here and there, but I was so involved in the plot and the girls’s lives that I didn’t mind. So I’m giving it all 5 stars and know that I’ll carry the characters with me for a long time.

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Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

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Title: Poison Study (Study #1)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release date: October 1st, 2005

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Description:

Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…


This book was. So. Much. Fun. The perfect start for a fantasy series. It’s fast-paced, with great characters, and with an interesting world that the author brings to life little by little throughout the novel. I can see it becoming one of those comfort books I turn to when others have disappointed me.

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ARC Review: The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

– SPOILER FREE REVIEW –

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Other Einstein
Author: Marie Benedict
Genre: Historical Fiction, Adult Fiction
Release date: October 18th, 2016

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Description:

A vivid and mesmerizing novel about the extraordinary woman who married and worked with one of the greatest scientists in history.

What secrets may have lurked in the shadows of Albert Einstein’s fame? His first wife, Mileva “Mitza” Marić, was more than the devoted mother of their three children—she was also a brilliant physicist in her own right, and her contributions to the special theory of relativity have been hotly debated for more than a century.

In 1896, the extraordinarily gifted Mileva is the only woman studying physics at an elite school in Zürich. There, she falls for charismatic fellow student Albert Einstein, who promises to treat her as an equal in both love and science. But as Albert’s fame grows, so too does Mileva’s worry that her light will be lost in her husband’s shadow forever.

A literary historical in the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe,The Other Einstein reveals a complicated partnership that is as fascinating as it is troubling.


I’m grateful for this book because it introduced me to Mileva Marić, Albert Einstein’s first wife, who I didn’t know about before. This novel is a fictionalized account of Mileva’s struggles in life as a woman of science in a time when it was pretty much impossible for a woman to attend university and much less to persuit science. I think my expectations for this book let me enjoy it, as it is more a character study than a tale of scientific discoveries.

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Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

Title: You
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Genre: Thriller, Contemporary
Release date: September 25th, 2014

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Description:

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.


You is a book that creeps up on you. You don’t want to have fun reading a stalker’s story, but you do. You don’t want to side with him or agree with him, but sometimes you find yourself doing just that. This novel is creepy, funny and psychological. The narration in second person is perfect for such a unique novel and the flawed complex characters will make you think twice about what you do on social media and  what people are hiding underneath the surface.

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Review: Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember

– SPOILER FREE REVIEW –

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Unicorn Tracks
Author: Julia Ember
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQIA+
Release date: April 21st, 2016

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Description:

After a savage attack drives her from her home, sixteen-year-old Mnemba finds a place in her cousin Tumelo’s successful safari business, where she quickly excels as a guide. Surrounding herself with nature and the mystical animals inhabiting the savannah not only allows Mnemba’s tracking skills to shine, it helps her to hide from the terrible memories that haunt her.

Mnemba is employed to guide Mr. Harving and his daughter, Kara, through the wilderness as they study unicorns. The young women are drawn to each other, despite that fact that Kara is betrothed. During their research, they discover a conspiracy by a group of poachers to capture the Unicorns and exploit their supernatural strength to build a railway. Together, they must find a way to protect the creatures Kara adores while resisting the love they know they can never indulge.


Unicorn Tracks was a very enjoyable read that left me wanting for more. I found the concept of a 19th century safari with real and fantastical creatures very unique and I loved the representation that this book offered. Not only does this feature a positive lesbian relationship, but the couple is also interracial, which is not something we get to see in romance very often. When I finished this short novel, I hesitated between 3 and 4 stars because I thought there was a lot of potential still left to be explored, but I ultimately decided to go with 4 because it was a positive, fun, and creative read that made me smile.

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Review: Fire by Sara B. Elfgren & Mats Strandberg

– SPOILER FREE REVIEW –

Title: Fire (The Engelsfors Trilogy #2)
Authors: Sara Bergmark Elfgren & Mats Strandberg
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Release date: January 1st, 2012

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Description:

The Circle, the first book in the internationally bestselling Engelsfors Trilogy, introduced a group of high school girls with special powers who became the Chosen Ones. As book two, Fire, begins, Minoo, Vanessa, Linnéa, Anna-Karin and Ida have been struggling with their own demons all summer long. Now school is back in session, and whether they like it or not, the five Chosen Ones must stick together stronger than ever before.

Evil is back in Engelsfors and it threatens to engulf everyone and everything—and only if the five girls accept their strengths and trust each other unconditionally will they have any chance of defeating it.

The second installment of the Engelsfors Trilogy—an international sensation with rights sold in 26 countries—Firesees the past woven together with the present, the living with the dead, our human world with demonic forces. This spellbinding novel takes the reader on a wild journey in a world where the stakes are higher than life-and-death.


– REVIEW FOR THE CIRCLE (#1) –

All the issues I had with the first installment were fixed and improved in this one and I couldn’t be happier! There was plenty of magic, the friendships grew beautifully along with the characters, and the plot was very engaging. The first part did drag a little and I felt it was longer than it needed to be, but besides that, I enjoyed it immensely and I can’t wait to read the last book!

Continue reading “Review: Fire by Sara B. Elfgren & Mats Strandberg”