Book Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

Title: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
Author: Stephanie Oakes
Publisher: Dial/Penguin
Publish Date: June 9, 2015
400 pages, ebook


This book was so wonderful and so horrifying all at the same time. I would get going with the movie playing in my head, but reach a point that was so graphic, so terrifying that it would screech to a halt and I would want to put the book down, BUT I COULDN'T! This book was soooooo amazingly good. But it covered so many aspects of life that threaten the very nature of our being.

I have always been fascinated with religions, cultures and those far off people and places that do not see the light of cities. So the moment I heard about this, I knew I wanted to read it. I was so not disappointed. I felt every single emotion one can experience while reading this book. I cannot get over this is Stephanie Oakes' breakout novel. I am so excited to see what else she writes. (no pressure)

Minnow is a brought into this religious cult at the age of five, so she doesn't have a lot to do with the decision. As she grows older she gets caught between the knowing things are not right and not wanting to disappoint the people who have taken care of her. Her father being a big part of her life and the reason they are in the cult in the first place. Minnow makes decisions to save others at her own detriment, but while all of this is being revealed, Minnow struggles with learning how to be in the real world. Will she have learned her lesson to think for herself or will she continue to be guided by those around her?

Goodreads Description: 
With a harrowing poetic voice, this contemporary page-turner is perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, Julie Berry's All The Truth That's in Me, and the works of Ellen Hopkins.

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it's clear that Minnow knows something—but she's not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself.

Book Review: Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand

Title: Imitation
Clone Chronicles #1
Author: Heather Hildenbrand
Publisher: Accendo Press
Publish Date: March 12, 2013
ebook, 272 pages


It is funny how there are so many times during life that I feel like everyone is exaclty like me and I am like no one. We all struggle to fit in and then one day, we struggle to be unique. At what point does this change? Imagine being made to to the replacement of your true self, but when you are finally called forward, it will be your death.

This is the life of Ven in Imitation. She is happy and content in her current life being the product of a real person. But she is called forth to do her duty. When this happens, her entire world falls apart.

it is exactly like she never knew it would be. There is a tyrant controlling her every move with motives she may never know. She meets true friends and those friends who are really enemies. She begins to learn who she really is and can be, by becoming another person. Her imitation.

Looking forward to the next book in the series, Deviation.

Goodreads Description:
Everyone is exactly like me. There is no one like me.

Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face.

Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven . . . until now.

When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?

Book Review: Alive by Scott Sigler

Title: Alive
The Generations Trilogy
Author: Scott Sigler
Publisher: Del Ray
Publish Date:
368 pages, ebook


I am not sure I really know what I was getting in to with this book. I saw the cover, read the description, maybe just skimmed it and bought it. Each and every chapter I wondered where this was going and occasionally even wondered why I was reading it.

Do not get me wrong. It isn't that I didn't like the book. But I was confused about the point of the story. Is it about human conflict and human decisions and human emotions? But then again, the characters we deal with are not real, are they? Each time a new subject was introduced, I lost more focus of the book.

It was well written as the characters developed nicely and the plot kept going, but where and how I am still unsure.

I really thought the parts where Em wondered about her being the leader and whether or not she was making the right decisions for the group were right on with human questions. She was so lost through this book, but continued to self reflect and consider, what I felt were good questions. I really thought the characters were awesome as there was a person for each one of us to relate to. They each had their own conundrum to work through and then continue with the group. This was my favorite part of this book. 

I will be looking up other Scott Sigler books as I said, his writing was well done. I look forward to finding a book I truly enjoy from the beginning to end.

Goodreads Description:
From New York Times bestselling author Scott Sigler comes something utterly new: a gripping sci-fi adventure trilogy in the vein of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner. A group of young adults awake in a mysterious enclosed space with no knowledge of who they are or how they got there…and an indomitable young woman must lead them not only to answers but to survival.

A young woman awakes trapped in an enclosed space. She has no idea who she is or how she got there. With only her instincts to guide her, she escapes her own confinement—and finds she’s not alone. She frees the others in the room and leads them into a corridor filled with the remains of a war long past. The farther these survivors travel, the worse are the horrors they confront. And as they slowly come to understand what this prison is, they realize that the worst and strangest possibilities they could have imagined don’t even come close to the truth.

Author Giveaway: Shawn McGuire

Back Cover Blurb

Everyone deserves happiness. Is Robin the exception?
A cross-country move to a new state offers Robin Westmore the chance to get away from the relentless bullies and reinvent himself. But on the first day at his new high school Robin finds himself in front of Zane, the school’s star pitcher and chief tormentor, at the exact wrong moment and right back into the role of victim. Hopeless, he wishes for it all to stop.

When Desiree, the new leader of the genies, grants Robin’s wish he’s sure things are finally going his way. But problems in the magical realm have made Desiree equally hopeless and too distracted to give Robin the attention he needs.

As Desiree hides from her responsibilities, Robin disappears into the video game he’s created. There he finds excitement, adventure, and control. When the game presents him with a real escape from his tortured life, will he take it?

Mom stood by the door and watched as Dad drove off. Then she turned to me and gave me the look that said a discussion was coming.
“I assume you’ll tell me if anything is wrong, but I know how shut-mouthed teenagers can be, especially boys, so I’m checking to be sure.” She paused, steeling herself. “How have things been?”
Her eyes were bright and shining. Tears were ready to fall, but whether happy or sad depended on how I responded.
“Oh, you know.” I took a big bite of my sprouted wheat toast with huckleberry jam, samples from one of Mom’s clients, and gave her a closed-mouth smile and a thumbs-up.
She exhaled like she won the lottery. “I knew this move would be good for you.”
A little spot in my chest warmed at that sigh and then immediately fizzled. The nutty-buttery-sweet flavor that filled my mouth turned to cardboard. How could I possibly tell her that after all we’d gone through, things were only different, not better?
I’d get through this. I made it through my first nine years of school, I could make it through the last three. I needed a person. There had to be one person in this school I could consider a friend. Sitting alone in the lunch room every day, too afraid to risk further harassment, was only enhancing the loner nerd reputation I just couldn’t shake.
While Mom studied her calendar, I finished my breakfast and put my dishes in the dishwasher.
“Hope you have a good day, sweetie,” Mom said. “I’d wish you good luck on your test but I know you don’t need it.” She glanced at the microwave clock and jumped. “I’ve got a video conference in an hour.” She looked down at her pink bathrobe with the tea stain down the front. “I should probably put some clothes on.”
She gave me a quick hug and shuffled off to get ready.
“Good luck,” I called, but she was already half-way up the stairs.
I hitched my messenger bag over my head and tugged on a stocking cap. It was chilly enough this morning for a hoodie, but it would warm up in no time. The hat would be good enough.
As I started the six block walk to the bus stop, I remembered that I never checked the results of my ‘popular music software’ request. I pulled out my phone and found a lot of options. I studied them as I walked, glancing up every few feet so I didn’t do something stupid like step into the pathway of a bicyclist. I’d only needed to do that once to learn my lesson. No, today my mistake was that I didn’t look behind me.
“Morning, Tweety.”
I stopped breathing and my gut tightened. I knew who it was without looking: Zane Zimmerman.
Zane was the school’s star athlete. I didn’t pay attention to sports, but even I knew Zane killed it on the pitching mound. He was about five-seven, an inch taller than me, and a good twenty pounds heavier. All muscle.
I was about to put my phone back in my pocket when I got bull rushed. He didn’t actually tackle me, this time, but did hit me hard enough to knock what little breath was in my lungs out of them and send my phone flying. It landed six feet away and slid down the sidewalk another two or three feet before coming to a rest, teetering on the curb like a jumper about to leap from a bridge.
“Careful, Tweety.” Zane said. “You should watch where you’re going.”
My breath returned as a gasp and I rushed to retrieve my phone—bent at the waist, duck-walking with my hands stretched out, dorky as hell—before someone stepped on it or kicked it out into the street. The screen had cracked. Great. Maybe I could convince my parents to upgrade to a phone with gorilla glass instead of just replacing the screen. Again.
“Oh, snap,” Zane said, making a dramatic aw-shucks motion. “Tough luck there, dude.”
Zane wasn’t just a bully. He was the really dangerous kind, in my opinion, because he was smart. Not just book smart but street smart, too. He knew when he could get away with stuff and when he had to wait to dole out his attacks. As far as the teachers and any other adult were concerned, Zane was a dream kid.
“Yeah,” I said. “Tough luck.”

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Shawn McGuire is the author of young adult novels that blend contemporary settings and issues with a touch of fantasy and magic. She started writing after seeing the first Star Wars movie (that's episode IV) as a kid. She couldn't wait for the next movie to come out so wrote her own episodes. Sadly, those notebooks are long lost, but her desire to write is as strong now as it was then.
Her books deal with harder topics (death of a sibling, divorce, dating violence, bullying, and teen suicide) because she believes it is important to talk about these things. Those kinds of topics can be hard to handle and a bit overwhelming, so she infuses a bit of humor in her work as well because she also believes that a sense of humor can help you get through just about anything.

Shawn lives in Colorado with her family where she spends her time reading, cooking and baking, practicing yoga and meditation, and hiking and camping in the spectacular Rocky Mountains.

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Author’s Other Works
The Wish Makers Series
Sticks and Stones
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Break My Bones
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Never Hurt Me

Book Review: Queen of Somday by Sherry Ficklin

Title: Queen of Someday
Stolen Empire Book One
Author: Sherry Ficklin
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Publish Date: October 7, 2014
262 pages, ebook



I have been very lucky to enjoy the books I have been reading lately, but this book is awesome. It is so well written that if I could, I would take sick days, burrow in my covers and read til I couldn't any longer. This book is that good!!! No joke. I am so sad I have other books to read and cannot stop to read the second one, but it has moved up the list of books I want to read, very fast.

It is based loosely on the formative years of Queen Elizabeth and what it takes to become a truly tyrannical queen. I can see how the princess, queen to be, could easily transform from a sweet, innocent girl to a merciless queen in Book One.

Sophie is instantly a great character because she is strong, smart and not afraid to take on the world to save those she loves. She is pushed into a life she is not sure she wants, but must go after to help her family. She is beautiful and skillful with weapons. She is also very kind so she makes friends fast, yet she also creates animosity because she is liked so fast. Kindness can be a weakness too. Sophie learns real fast to keep her secrets to herself. Unfortunately for her, she falls head over heels in love.

The prince is a man who she knew growing up as a child, so going to possibly marry him, may be easier than she thinks. He is however, a king, so he is spoiled and uses women to his liking.

Sophie has so many wonderful experiences at court from learning Russian to private "woman" lessons where she learns to use her wiles to seduce and conquer. She builds a trustworthy circle of friends, but this can become precarious as court is deadly because the queen will do anything to know everything that is happening.

I cannot believe how good this book was. I could see it happening while I read it and then continued to read the information left by Sherry Ficklin. Just way cool. So excited to read the second book in the series!!


Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia—at any cost.

Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family—and herself—Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.

Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.

In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme?