Reading

Zepharius: Volume 1 – Mel Synder | A Book Review

Zepharius - Volume 1 - Mel Synder

Title: Zepharius: Volume 1

Author: Mel Synder

Genre: Science Fiction

About the book: It’s the first in a series following Zepharius who realizes the world she lives in isn’t what it used to be.

I received a free copy of the novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I was intrigued by the premise because I thought it had potential to make for an interesting story. For the most part, the author builds the world in the beginning.

Characters: There aren’t too many characters to keep track of, as the narrative mainly revolves around Zepharius. She’s a likeable and relatable protagonist. The secondary characters are unique, juxtaposing each other well.

Quote:

“I can only look forward to the next days of my expedition and hope for clarity to become my reward in the end.”

Writing: It is an independently published book with some spelling and grammar mistakes. The story’s told in first person from the protagonist’s perspective. The author spends time describing many aspects of the world.

There’s a map and a visual guide of weapsons as well as other objects mentioned in the story. There’s also a much needed glossary with pronounications and translations. The novel isn’t too long or short at around 300 pages.

Final thoughts: The pacing picks up near the end, and it sets the stage for the next novel in the series.

If you like sci-fi about different worlds, you might enjoy Zepharius: Volume 1.


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Reading

The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown | A Book Review

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

Title: The Da Vinci Code

Author: Dan Brown

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s the second novel in a series following Sophie Neveu, a cryptologist, and Robert Langdon, a symbologist. They try to solve codes left behind by the curator of a museum who leaves behind a religious mystery that other people also want to uncover.

First impressions: I finally got around to reading this novel after hearing so much about it over the years. I haven’t read the first book or seen the movie, so I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. The story starts with the curator being murdered and goes from there.

Characters: I liked Sophie and Langdon. They’re different yet dynamic. I enjoyed following them on their journey across Eruope, being chased by the police as well as other characters.

Quote:

“…men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire.”

Writing: It’s written in the third person, and readers get to follow the narrative through several perspectives. I loved the short chapters. Brown was descriptive and included a lot of detail about art as well as religion. In my opinion, the symbols and codes included throughout added to the reading experience.

Final thoughts: The ending tied up loose ends and was satisfying in my opinion. For fans of adventure-based thrillers with historical elements mixed in, check out The Da Vinci Code if you haven’t already.


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Reading

Framed – S.L. McInnis | A Book Review

Framed - S.L. McInnis

Title: Framed

Author: S.L. McInnis

Genre: Thriller

About the book: Beth Montogmery thinks she has the perfect life until her best friend from college, Cassie Ogilvy, asks to stay with Beth and her husband. Little does she know that Cassie is connected to a quadruple homicide following a botched drug deal that left an undercover cop dead.

I received an advanced review copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I love thrillers, so I was excited to read this novel. The cover is clever with an image of a piano, which ties in with the importance of music throughout the story. The quick pacing at the start drew me in.

Characters: The main characters are flawed with many having their own issues. I appreciate the backstories that came out later on in the narrative, as they shed light on why everyone made certain decisions.

Quote:

“In the end, he’s pretty sure nobody knows anything about anyone else.”

Writing: The chapters are short and suspenseful. It’s told in third person and alternates between the perspectives of Beth, Cassie, Beth’s husband named Jay, a police officer, as well as a criminal in Rick.

Final thoughts: I didn’t see the ending coming at all. It was unexpected and different.

I highly recommend Framed if you like suspenseful thrillers with unpredictable twists.


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Reading

We Are Not From Here – Jenny Torres Sanchez | A Book Review

We Are Not From Here - Jenny Torres Sanchez

Title: We Are Not From Here

Author: Jenny Torres Sanchez

Genre: Contemporary (Young Adult)

About the book: It follows 3 kids in Pulga, Pequeña, and Chico who attempt to make the journey from their hometown in Puerto Barrios all the way to the United States.

I received an advanced review copy from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I was looking forward to this novel as the premise sounded interesting and different from other books I’ve read. I like the title as well as the cover, both capture the essence of the story.

Characters: I adored the main protagonists. They are easy to relate to and likeable. I saw parts of myself in many of the characters. They develop so much, changing in such profound ways.

Quote:

“I guess sometimes lying to those we love is the only way to keep them from falling apart.”

Writing: The point of view alternates between Pulga and Pequeña. I loved the short chapters because they helped to build suspense and made me want to keep reading. The whole story is beautifully written but so heartbreaking at the same time. I enjoyed the Spanish words and phrases sprinkled throughout.

Final thoughts: I wasn’t sure what to expect with the ending, but I think Sanchez did a great job overall.

I highly recommend We Are Not From Here. It’s such a timely, relevant read that will have resonance for years to come.


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Reading

Alice By Heart – Steven Sater | A Book Review

Alice by Heart - Steven Sater

Title: Alice by Heart

Author: Steven Sater

Genre: Historical Fiction (Young Adult)

About the book: It’s based on a musical that follows Alice Spencer in London during 1940. She has to take shelter in a tube station because of World War II. Alice reads her favourite book, Alice in Wonderland, to Alfred, who is sick with tuberculosis. But slowly the two worlds begin to blur.

I received an advanced review copy from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: Even though I’ve never read Alice in Wonderland before, I found the premise intriguing. It took me a while to get into the story though.

Characters: I like the relationship between Alice and Alfred; it was very sweet and wholesome. There are a number of other characters as well, and I found them to be quite unique.

Quote:

“Although it breaks my heart, I’ll help you let me go.”

Writing: The author is descriptive, as he includes a lot of imagery. I enjoyed the photos as well as the illustrations interspersed throughout the book. They added to the reading experience, making it easier to visualize some of the scenes described.

Final thoughts: The ending isn’t too unpredictable, but I liked the end nonetheless.

I’d recommend reading Alice in Wonderland before reading Alice by Heart That way, the story is easier to follow and you can understand all the references.


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Reading

The Woman In Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware | A Book Review

Title: The Woman in Cabin 10

Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Mystery

About the book: It follows travel writer, Lo Blacklock, who goes on a voyage for work. One night, Lo wakes when she hears a splash that sounds like someone being thrown overboard. But everyone on the ship remains accounted for, and no one believes her.

First impressions: I read Ware’s debut, so I had an idea of what to expect. I like the title and cover.

Characters: Lo is a complex protagonist who has anxiety and panic attacks. She’s not the most likeable or reliable narrator, which made her story interesting to follow. I didn’t feel a strong connection to many characters however. A lot of them just didn’t resonate with me.

Quote:

“But I still think, in spite of it all, we’re responsible for our own actions.”

Writing: The short chapters help build suspense, but the middle of the narrative is a little slow. Near the end, the pacing picks up.

Final thoughts: I had a hard time predicting some events, but the ending wasn’t too surprising.

I try not to compare books to others, but this novel is similar to The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. If you like that or a thrilling mystery, consider reading The Woman in Cabin 10.


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Reading

Orange Is the New Black – Piper Kerman | A Book Review

Title: Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison

Author: Piper Kerman

Genre: Memoir

About the book: It documents the author’s experience in prison after being charged with a drug-related crime.

First impressions: I’ve never watched the TV series, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but I was curious to check it out.

Content: The book mainly details Kerman’s time in jail. She writes about many of the women she meets there. I would’ve liked to read more about her life before and after her incarceration. That said, I think Kerman learns a lot from the experience.

Quote:

“All I felt was that I had willfully hurt and disappointed everyone I loved most and carelessly thrown my life away.”

Writing: The chapters aren’t long, and there are short chapter breaks within them. It’s well-written, but the memoir wasn’t an easy read for me. Kerman explores different and difficult topics like drug issues that opened my eyes.

Final thoughts: I wish the book could’ve explored what happened to the other women who got released. Still, I feel like this read will stick with me for a while.

Despite the hardships of jail, Kerman shares stories of kindness from her fellow inmates. If you’re looking for a prison memoir from the perspective of a woman, check out Orange Is the New Black.


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Reading

Consider This – Chuck Palahniuk | A Book Review

Title: Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life after Which Everything Was Different

Author: Chuck Palahniuk

Genre: Nonfiction

About the book: It’s part memoir and part writing advice.

First impressions: I love reading about writing, so I was excited to delve into this. I like the title, and the cover is clever.

Content: Palahniuk offers good advice, both his own and from other writers as well. He covers topics like tension, authority, plus much more. I expected the book to focus mainly on the writing process, but I loved the insights into things like doing book tours.

Quote:

“What if world events are unfolding in perfect order to deliver us to a distant joy we can’t conceive of at this time?”

Writing: The chapters are short, and the book itself isn’t very long. I wish it was longer. I appreciated the author giving advice without being preachy or condescending. He shares his mistakes and failures. There are funny, light-hearted moments but also more serious ones too.

Final thoughts: If you’re a writer and/or a fan of Palahniuk, I’d recommend Consider This. It’s a fun, fast read about writing.


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