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Book Reviews

Here you will find my personal reviews of books I've read. Remember, reading is a family activity and while I read a TON of young adult literature, I do read material that may not be suitable for some students. A review is not an endorsement nor a command to read a certain title. It is my hope that these reviews will help students (in our school, in our Reading for Pleasure course, and in my English III classes) find a title that might interest them. 

Sleeper by Mackenzie Cadenhead

posted Jul 3, 2017, 4:06 PM by Nikki Cruse

*Young Adult*
Thanks to Sourcebooks for my ARC. Sleeper features Sarah Reyes who suffers from being a high school girl and a REM sleep disorder. Because of this disorder, she acts out her dreams--which can lead to embarrassing, dangerous, and even fatal results. She navigates her way through clinical trials, high school, sleeping in restraints and the assault (by her) of someone she cares about. After the assault, she is prompted to enter a new clinical trial and meets a new boy, Wes. What they find together is a drug with mind-bending effects. The temptation Wes presents leads her down some frightening paths that force her to examine her own bias and moral compass. Will she make her decision before it is too late?

I enjoyed this read. It strikes me at written very "young", as in the language and social presentation might be suitable for the lower ages of YA, but it didn't disappoint. Fast enough to keep you moving toward and ending that leaves you feeling uneasy, Sleeper is worthy of a read.

Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night - Non-Fiction

posted Jul 2, 2017, 9:45 AM by Nikki Cruse

A great peek into the late-night host's mind and a reminder that there is always a machine behind something so big. This details his doubts, demons, and flaws as well some of his redeeming qualities.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

posted Jul 2, 2017, 9:42 AM by Nikki Cruse

I really enjoyed this book. A refreshing take on some supernatural/enchanted people with a more realistic feel. Absolutely great premise that seems to pull from various fairy tales with its own special twist. There are three Queens who are each blessed with certain powers (in this case, an ability to call the elements(fire, water, wind), and ability to encourage nature to bend to your will (grow crops, lure animals), and an ability to withstand and create the most dangerous of poisons. These three queens (sisters separated at  a young age) are destined to battle each other for the ONE throne when they turn sixteen. But what happens with people intervene while vying for power? What happens if a Queen misses her destiny? Catch the sequel: ONE DARK THRONE.

Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

posted Jul 2, 2017, 9:38 AM by Nikki Cruse

Kara Thomas writes for Warner Brothers and she is also the author of PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL, so to me this seems like a drastic change from her normal writing. 

This book is a well-written, suspenseful thriller that checks all of the boxes. If you like all the "Girl" books, you'll love this-it's as well written as Pretty Baby & The Girl on the Train, but avoids the pitfalls and stiltedness of Gone Girl. Tessa is a girl who has lost everything but her Gram. With her dying father, AWOL mother, and a sister who left her, she comes back to her hometown and finds herself trying to piece together the years before a girl went missing-the victim of the ORM (Ohio River Monster). As she struggles to make connections that don't come easily, she stumbles into a web of depravity that will change her life forever.

Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents: Strange Stories and Shocking Trivia from Inside the White House by Cormac O'Brien - Non-Fiction

posted Jul 2, 2017, 9:34 AM by Nikki Cruse

This is a concise peek into every presidential reign. From quirks to quotes, the reader seems to get an unbiased yet snarky windows through which to learn about the presidents. He has other books in similar veins about presidents and first ladies as well. 

Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica

posted Jul 2, 2017, 9:32 AM by Nikki Cruse

 She is also the author of THE GOOD GIRL & PRETTY BABY. Truly had no idea of the ending until the last several pages. Actual page turner. This book does use alternating narrators, but not to the point it makes you dizzy. Quinn discovers her roommate missing and through her search finds the makings of a murder mystery. Where is Esther? Who is Kelsey? This title will keep you on your toes, but left me wishing for 30 more pages.

Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses by Paula McLain

posted Jul 2, 2017, 9:26 AM by Nikki Cruse

Follow Paula, Penny, and Teresa on their journey from Granny's to various foster homes. Left by what most would call deadbeat parents, these girls bounded from family to family. Paula gives us a peek into their lives, to the uncertainty foster children face even today. With what seems like a very honest reflection of her experiences, she shares both pleasant and gut-wrenching stories about her childhood. I appreciated her honest reflection of her final foster family and of her mother. Do we ever really know what someone keeps inside? How hard is it to separate yourself from a situation and look at it objectively. She explores those issues in this memoir.

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