Dreamy Box April Review – The Lunar Chronicles

This contains spoilers! So if you don’t want to know what was in it then stop reading!

It has been a long while since I’ve done a box review and since this is my first Dreamybox, it’s the perfect opportunity!

I’m giving it 5 stars!

Here’s the goods:

I loved all of the purple! Basically all of the designs match the book covers and I love that! It makes for more put together photos.

The print of the leading ladies of the series is by Taratjah (link takes you to her Instagram where she has all of her links to buy her art).

The pinback buttons of the four leading guys is by Monolimeart (Instagram link).

Rampion Crew wax melts by Flick the Wick – Scent: Citrus, Vanilla, Sugar, Pineapple – And y’all someone should make a cocktail like this because I want to drink it.

Drawstring Bag by Dreamy and Co.

The long sturdy bookmark is by Dreamy and Co.

Wooden bookmark by Dreamy and Co.

“Even in the future the story begins with once upon a time” Enamel pin by Dreamy and Co.

The other side of the character art print by Dreamy and Co.

I was very impressed with this box! If you want to check them out, their link is HERE.

Do you get boxes? What items do you like?

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: April 15, 2014

Genre: Contemporary, YA, Romance

Adventure Rating: 3 Stars

| Amazon

” To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.”

I don’t normally read contemporaries, but I’m glad I picked this up! I had just read a heavier book and was in a bit of a funk over it, so this was the perfect fun, fast, cute read! It was sort of a pallet cleanser for me. And even though I had a couple of issues with it, I am still interested in reading the other books in the series!

The thing I did really like was the plot! I’m a sucker for a fake dating plot! I think they are so funny and cute and how could it not create a little va-va-voom between the characters?!

Okay the issues I have are a little sporadic. I liked all of the characters but they all had some major flaws. Maybe it’s my age (27), so I couldn’t relate anymore, I don’t know. Also, let me say, that I have had quite a few people tell me I reminded them of Lara Jean when I was in high school.

Lara Jean. She was so cute and naive. But I hated that she had a crush on her sister’s ex, Josh. Not that she did in the first place, but that she did after they broke up. Now, I don’t have sisters, only brothers, so maybe I don’t understand how she could do that. It just seemed kind of icky.

Josh. I know a lot of people liked him, but he was my least favorite character. He was kind of a schmuck, but acted like the nicest guy. Maybe he was both?

Peter. He was kind of the opposite of Josh. He was a sarcastic meanie some of the times, but he was actually really nice.

Also, I’ve got to say Margot was kind of annoying. She dumps her boyfriend so she can have fun in college. Wow. So mature…

Do y’all read contemporaries? What do you like?

*Disclaimer for CONTENT WARNING. This is so parents can make a decision. It does not necessarily reflect my personal views.

CONTENT WARNING: They are in high school so lots of sex talk and some bullying. Kissing scenes. Minor swearing.

OTHER CONTENT: Strong friendships, family bonds, forgiveness, how to navigate bullying.

*Gorgeous sign by Bookish Signs! I have a code too! Lauren20 to save on two or more items!*

Gray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: October 10, 2017

Genre: YA, Mystery, Magical Realism

Adventure Rating: 4 Stars

| Amazon

” Right before Sadie died, she begged her sister, Ruby, to do the one thing she could never do herself: Find the treasure on Gray Wolf Island.

With just a mysterious treasure map as a guide, Ruby reluctantly allows some friends to join her on the hunt, each of whom is touched by magic: a boy allegedly born to a virgin, a girl who never sleeps, a boy who can foresee his own death, and a boy with deep ties to the island. Each of them is also keeping a secret—something they’ll have to reveal in order to reach the treasure.

As the secrets come to light, Ruby will have to decide: Can she make peace with her friends’ troubled pasts and continue to trust them? Can she forgive herself for doing the unspeakable? Deep in the wilderness of Gray Wolf Island, Ruby’s choices will determine if they make it out with the treasure—or merely with their lives.

From debut author Tracey Neithercott comes a darkly compelling tale of profound friendship, adventure, and finding the strength to tell the truth. “

This was a weird book. But in a good way. I don’t normally like Magical Realism. But I actually enjoyed this one! It was a tad bit more on the magical side than real, which helped. I found the mystery extremely compelling and interesting.

I loved how the relationships in this book played out. Even though it was only over a week, they went through really traumatic experiences individually and together. I think going through something with someone no matter how long you’ve known them, creates a connection.

Character growth was done really well too. Especially for a 300 page book. Everyone confessed something and grew from it.

I really enjoyed the writing style! It was very beautiful but also straightforward. If that makes sense. She did a really good job of having the main character likable despite her awful secret. It’s a hard thing to do! I liked that it was from two different points of view! There is Ruby, and then there is this mystery character. Very well done.

The only thing a slightly disliked was that it took awhile to get into. The first half was really slow. But the last half I couldn’t put it down. I had to know the secret of the treasure and Island.

And the ending broke my heart and I wasn’t expecting that. I actually like when books do that though, because it’s surprising.

So, if you think a weird, magical realism, mystery about treasure and an Island sounds good to you, then you should read this. I really don’t have anything to compare it to. It was very different.

*I have read a lot of reviews that compare this to The Raven Boys. I am not sure why. I have read that book and didn’t think it was that similar. Her writing style DOES remind me of Maggie Stiefvater’s though!

Do you like Magical Realism?

*Usual disclaimer about the content warning, I just put these here for YA books for parents who want to make the decision to let their kids read or not to read a book. This does not necessarily reflect my own person opinions.

CONTENT WARNING: Swearing, mention of rape but not following through with it, sexual talk, kissing, murder, death, depression, lying, trauma, assisted suicide, bullying

OTHER CONTENT: How to handle a traumatic event, healing, friendship, healthy relationships, telling the truth, dealing with bullies

Top Ten Tuesday – First Ten Books I Reviewed

This is my current favorite blog meme! It is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, so check it out! I love her blog!

Today’s top ten is: First Ten Books I Reviewed! Which are all on Goodreads. BUT I am going to do the first 5 books I ever reviewed on Goodreads then the first 5 books I ever reviewed on my blog!

Goodreads book reviews (ones I actually said something and not just rated):

  1. Stuff Christians Like – I remember this being funny. But other than that I don’t remember this book at all. I reviewed it in 2014
  2. The Help – I read this for my book club and I loved this book! Hmm I might need to reread this.
  3. Gone Girl – I remember liking it okay!
  4. The Shack – Ah. One of the few books I have ever one starred. I hated this book.
  5. Belle: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast – I love Cameron Dokey!

Blog book reviews:

  1. The Gone World – I liked this one but it was kind of a creepy Sci-fi! It was weird for sure! But cool!
  2. A Curious Beginning – I LOVE this series!
  3. A Perilous Undertaking – The second book to A Curious Beginning! I read the first three right in a row!
  4. Meldoy’s Key – An indie contemporary that I liked!
  5. Blood and Sand – I really like this book! I really want the second book to hurry and come out!

Whew! Have y’all read any of these?

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman – Review

Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company 

Publication Date: August 18, 20015

Genre: Non- Fiction, Christian

Adventure Rating: 5 Stars

| Amazon


“Our obsession with bigger and faster is spinning us out of control. We move through the week breathless and bustling, just trying to keep up while longing to slow down. But real life happens in the small moments, the kind we find on Tuesday, the most ordinary day of the week. Tuesday carries moments we want to hold onto–as well as ones we’d rather leave behind. It hold secrets we can’t see in a hurry–secrets not just for our schedules but for our souls. It offers us a simple bench on which to sit, observe, and share our stories.
For those being pulled under by the strong current of expectation, comparison, and hurry, relief is found more in our small moments than in our fast movements. In “Simply Tuesday,” Emily P. Freeman helps readers 
– stop dreading small beginnings and embrace today’s work
– find contentment in the now–even when the now is frustrating or discouraging
– replace competition with compassion
– learn to breathe in a breathless world 
Jesus lived small moments well, slow moments fully, and all moments free. He lives with us still, on all our ordinary days, creating and redeeming the world both in us and through us, one small moment at a time. It’s time to take back Tuesday, to release our obsession with building a life, and believe in the life Christ is building in us–every day.”

What’s Christian Non-Fiction doing here? Well, I decided to really review every book I read. Non-Fiction takes me the longest to read, over 3-4 months, so I don’t read very many books like this. I am always glad I do though! Especially because I went through a traumatic experience while I was reading this book and it absolutely helped me with the anxiety that I have because of my experience. I used so, SO many page markers for this book. I want to make sure I remember the things that really stuck with me while reading.

This book helped me to just live today. Not tomorrow, not yesterday. Today. This hour. This minute. This second. This breath. I truly cling to that. I love that in today’s culture, which is fast moving and you always have to do more, more, MORE, someone wrote a book that just says, stop and breath. God has you where you are for a reason. Stop and listen, there you will find contentment. You CAN be happy where you are. You can find joy in every life circumstance. I have/ am learning to love this small moment. This in- between waiting time.

I loved her ideas of just finding a bench somewhere and sitting and talking with God, or your neighbors, or just breathing. I love that she says that it’s more than okay to dream and ask God for those dreams, but to just know He has something better for you than you could ever imagine. I’m not just talking about Heaven, I’m talking about right now in this lifetime. I have tried to apply some of the ways Freeman walks out her life. From her journaling suggestions to how she sees a situation. I really loved this book y’all! I plan on reading all of her books now!

Yeah, yeah, I know, what a mushy gushy post. Don’t worry, I will be back to posting regular nerdy reviews on my next one. This book was just really important to me not to share!

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Raven Books

Publication Date: February 8, 2018

Genre: Historical Mystery with a Sci-fi element

Adventure Rating: 5 Stars (Or a million)

| Amazon


“At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (The American title) is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.”

I 100% recommend this book to anyone who loves smart, clever mysteries. I reminded me a bit of Inception or Shutter Island! Inception because of the plots within plots within plots, and Shutter Island because you have no idea what is going on at all until the end! I want Leonardo DiCaprio to direct this movie (if it becomes a movie). I literally cannot say enough good things about this book.

Aiden is a smart, witty character in a situation that he doesn’t understand. The reader figures it out along with him, as time goes on. It’s amazing to see what he conquers and what he doesn’t! Each time Aiden repeats a day he loses a bit of himself and you fear it might be too late for him. I mean, he doesn’t even know who he is! It’s a really crazy ride that I didn’t want to get off of. I really can’t say much more because any little thing would be a spoiler.

I’ll just leave off with, THAT ENDING BLEW MY MIND!!!!

If you’ve read this, I would love to talk about it with someone!! I also highly suggest reading this for a book club. It has soooooo many discussion points that would keep you talking for a long time!

This Splintered Silence by Kayla Olson – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication Date: November 13, 2018

Genre: YA, Sci-fi, Thriller

Adventure Rating: 4.5 Stars

| Amazon

” Lindley Hamilton has been the leader of the space station Lusca since every first-generation crew member on board, including her mother, the commander, were killed by a deadly virus.

Lindley always assumed she’d captain the Lusca one day, but she never thought that day would come so soon. And she never thought it would be like this—struggling to survive every day, learning how to keep the Lusca running, figuring out how to communicate with Earth, making sure they don’t run out of food.

When a member of the surviving second generation dies from symptoms that look just like the deadly virus, though, Lindley feels her world shrinking even smaller. The disease was supposed to be over; the second generation was supposed to be immune. But as more people die, Lindley must face the terrifying reality that either the virus has mutated or something worse is happening: one of their own is a killer.”

Kayla Olson is a traditional story teller. It gives me a nostalgic feel whenever I read one of her books. It just feels old fashioned, in a good way. She is also a plot driven, not character driven, writer. Here’s the thing, USUALLY I am a character driven reader, BUT I love her writing and story telling so much AND her plots are suuuuuper well thought out, that I get sucked into the books right away. Her books are a go-to when I need a readers palette cleanse! She has a really unique writing style that sets her apart from other authors.

I didn’t dislike any of her characters by any means, it’s just that you don’t get their full thought processes, you just get snippets of who they are. And in this case, I am okay with that. Lindley was still a well rounded character. The reader still understands why she made the decisions she made. As long as I can understand WHY the character did the things they did, then I don’t complain! The five other side characters rounded out nicely as well. Even though you don’t get their POV, you still SEE them. And understand their choices, even if you don’t agree with them. And boy did they have a lot of really hard choices!

Literally, everything goes wrong. I started getting anxiety every time because it just seemed like they were all going to die at any given moment. And I mean, some did. I kept trying to figure out, who the killer was, AND how they were going to fix their many problems. I never got it right. It was intense. Plus, my knowledge of space stations is next to zero, so, there’s that.

The tiniest bit a didn’t like, and I mean really tiny, half a star tiny, is that the ending seemed a bit rushed. Everything resolved itself, it just seemed really fast.

So, Kayla Olson is one of my favorite authors. She is an autobuy and I’ve never rated one of her books under 4 stars. I am so excited to see what she comes up with next!

*I got positive feedback on my new content addition to my reviews. Again, I am putting the disclaimer of this is for parents who want to know the content of the book without having to read it, to see if it is something they want their kids to read. I LIKE YA! These are NOT my personal views on whether or not a book should or should not have specific content!

CONTENT WARNING: Violence, death, murder, dead bodies, blood, a couple of kiss scenes.

OTHER CONTENT: Courage, dealing with fear, healthy grief, perseverance, how to deal with tragedy, how to be a leader, how to deal with people, friendships, overcoming pride.