Category Archives: Book Reviews

Lady Mechanika: La dama de la muerte: A Review

35541317

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Genre: Comics, Steampunk and Fantasy

Pages: 88

ISBN: 9780996603065

*I received an ARC of this book through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review*

Lady Mechanika arrives into Santa Catrina, a small village, during the Día de los Muertos festival after suffering a loss. The Jinetes, horseback-riders from the world of the dead, come to the village to collect their offerings. Lady Mechanika then decides to act to save the villagers.

By Joe Benitez

 

What struck me first was how gorgeous all the artworks are! In fact, they are jaw-dropping with the flamboyant colours and numerous details in their clothes, build, bodies, and objects. I really enjoyed how all the acts’ titles (even the main title) are in Spanish—now that speaks of culture and experience! Because, if you don’t know, the Día de los Muertos is celebrated in Mexico, where the people speak Spanish. Did I say acts? Yes, I did. Instead of chapters, acts divide the whole book, just like a play, a movie, or most stories for that matter (depending on the technique used, there can be from 3 to 6 or 7 of them in a novel).

Moreover, the characters’ clothes and makeup are sensational. Wow! They even serve the story which is doubly amazing. The panels are dynamic (sometimes we even get a glimpse from Lady Mechanika’s point of view under her big hat). Fun times, I’m telling you! Last note about the graphic aspect of Lady Mechanika is how the panels’ borders are made of pipes and gears which really make for a steampunk feel to it! The background has got scratches like used paper, which feels old too… A subtle but great touch!

Now, what about the story? The beginning is intriguing and jumps right into the subject. It doesn’t wait around. Instead, it sets the tone for the rest of the story and is creepy enough while being stunning. It also sets up the setting and the events quite early on and this comic does it quite nicely. You’d have to be blind to miss the information! The story itself is exciting and starts drastically, mixing folk tales with the Lady Mechanika’s invented story. The use of children as important characters in the story impressed me—it is rare but exquisite and fun when it happens! As for the other characters, they are all different and lovely in their own ways. But most noticeable, they all have their own agendas, stories, thoughts, and everything else that makes them unique. It is enjoyable to see them all mix and react to each other!

It’s hard to feel for Lady Mechanika, the main character, at the beginning, but the more I read the more lovable she became. After all, she’s courageous, a trait I respect. Moreover, we get to see a bit of her backstory, which helps us understand more about where she comes from and why she’s so different. Mostly for people who don’t read Lady Mechanika (like me) and thus don’t know her well over several comics.

On top of that, I found it to be culturally respectful of Mexico and El Día de los Muertos. The author and artist really made La dama de la muerte a pleasure to dive into. I felt like I was there, sucked into these magnificent pages and trying to do good alongside Lady Mechanika. It was insightful, that’s for sure. The emotions are well-portrayed. We can identify them without any problem.  The action is thrilling and nice in terms of visual. I’m not one who likes fight scenes much in comics, but I can say those are entertaining.

The story is intriguing and sometimes misleading (a real treat!) as the plot unfolds. I admit it emotionally destroyed me (I cried, yes), but it was SO good! The ending… Awww, what can I say about the ending? I loved it! It’s such a surprise even I couldn’t see coming (and I usually detect all the major twists in a story).

There is only one negative point and I think it’s somewhat big. Let’s say the villagers’ reaction to the tragedy befalling them is… strange to say the least. I didn’t find it realistic, but it was cute and soothing—if not comforting.

I give this comic a rating of 5 out of 5 despite the negative point because I had such a wonderful time reading it. Seriously, it is well-done and impressive. I have fond memories of this book and I am certain I’ll keep them for a long, long time… Why? Because I will buy and read Lady Mechanika’s other comics! I am a fan now.

If you want to learn more about Joe Benitez, creator and artist of this gorgeous comic as well as the series Lady Mechanika, do head over to his Web site.

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The Meditation Beginner’s Bible: A Review

Meditation

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Genre: Non-fiction – Religion & Spirituality

Pages: 52

I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book, through Reading Deals, so I could give an honest review.

Do you sometimes feel stressed, anxious, lonely and depressed? Are you always up in your head, constantly dwelling on the past and worrying about the future? Do you want to live a more productive, stress-free and happier life? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. With The Meditation Beginner’s Bible, you will embark on an inner journey that will take you back to the state of peace, joy and happiness you were born to inhabit. – Tai Morello

I decided to give this book a try since I do meditate (I have been doing so for a few years now) but I wanted to know more about that specific topic.

For me, the short, straight-to-the-point and informative chapters were a pleasure to read! It is also done in an easy-to-read writing and Mr. Morello uses bullet points to show us lists of facts. He made sure the reader would have no problem reading his book nor would they feel overwhelmed.

It introduces us to meditation by explaining what it is and how we can make it part of our lives and also what are the benefits we can reap from it. I liked how the author categorized the benefits: health, mental and emotional, and spiritual benefits. He includes all aspects of well-being and I think it’s a good idea. Mr. Morello makes use of motivational quotes in most chapters – it’s a nice touch. It is informational on topics such as brain waves and how different areas of the brain are positively affected by the habit of meditating.

Another point I found amusing was how the author debunked myths and misconceptions about meditation such as ‘’it takes too much time’’. Moreover, he goes over the common obstacles (perfectionism, outcome orientation, etc.) encountered by those who want to try to meditate for the first time or to implement it as a habit. Mr. Morello shows us different techniques we can use like mindfulness (one of my favorites!), candle meditation, mantra meditation, and others. There are also tips on how to have a better meditation experience and turn it into a habit.

As for the negative points, there were two major ones I could find, in my opinion. The first one being the lack of numbers and/or percentages or case studies about the effectiveness of meditation. It would greatly help build the credibility of the facts (are they truly facts…?) Mr. Morello gives us. He rarely mentions research (twice, I think?) so it’s as though there are no proofs of what he’s saying. The second thing that bothers me is that there is no author bio – not at the beginning nor at the end of the book! How are we supposed to believe his expertise on the subject? It’s like the author wanted to remain hidden… but such information that comes from research must be presented by someone with credibility. Or at least, it’s the minimum requirements of writing such a book to let us know who you are so we can decide if we will trust you and your work. What book doesn’t have an author bio nowadays?

I give it a rating of 2 out of 5 because of the two negative points that are deal-breakers for me. For all I know, Mr. Morello could have invented half of the ‘’facts’’ in The Meditation Beginner’s Bible. I give it two stars because despite it all, it was a quick and pleasant read and it looks like he did research the topic – he just forgot to prove it to us. I wouldn’t recommend this book though due to the lack of credibility.

Ex Libris: A Review

ExLibris

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Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 384

ISBN: 9781607014898

*I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

This collection of fantasy short stories explores the relationships of readers and librarians, the wonderful work librarians do, the fantastical places that libraries can be… and all of that mixed with lore.

Now, I must say this book really caught my interest when I first saw it! Stories about librarians, libraries, and lore in the same book? Count me in! Also, the Latin title got me. I think it speaks for the theme’s oldness, deep knowledge, and mystical air. The best thing about Ex Libris? It did not disappoint me – in fact, it even surprised me more than once!

Of all the book introductions I’ve read in my life, Paula Guran’s one in Ex Libris is by far the best one out there yet (at least for passionate readers and anyone who loves libraries). She tells us of the different libraries and librarians from all genres in literature while punctuating it with excerpts. Her research must have taken her a long time… but I want to say it was well worth it and beautifully done. It’s an introduction I won’t forget anytime soon. As for the reading itself, it flows – it is engrossing and lovely. It also got me quite emotionally invested in the stories, characters, and life itself (I still haven’t figured out how it managed to do that with the last one, but it’s still a neat feat!). Moreover, I had a magical read! The stories (most of them) were very funny and amusing. It reminded me of the magic libraries hold and how time flies by when I’m reading. It is an enchanting and lovely book!

All the short stories in this collection have a varying degree of importance related to books and/or libraries – you never know what to expect except that these two elements will be there in some way or another. To what extent and use is the surprise of each story. Speaking of stories, they were quite imaginative. They even manage by some mysterious force to be believable (don’t ask me how, I’m still working on understanding it)! The voices of the many narrators are clear, distinct, and strong. I would have thought some stories would lack in voice… but I was shown wrong with this collection! Woven into the texts are amusing references to real books – it’s a nice addition and at the same time a necessity regarding the library theme.

The vocabulary used in these stories is diverse, beautiful, and precise. The short stories aren’t too long – I believe their length has been well measured as it makes for captivating enough without becoming boring. Some stories are drama, others are adventures, but all have a subtle touch of humor and are engaging in their own way. One thing is for sure: together, those short stories are an eclectic mix – although it is sometimes destabilizing, it is also quite pleasant, much like refreshing parts of the same whole. Another thing I particularly enjoyed about Ex Libris is how diverse the situations and characters are! Some are people of color while others have illnesses or handicaps. A much appreciated touch that helps make those weird (it’s a compliment here) stories more realistic! There is something different I noticed about the format of these short stories: they include subtitles related to books or libraries (like the widely used Dewey decimal system), quotes, and other fun things. It’s a great idea to make their format somehow fit their main theme! I also think they were well structured, which helps the reading experience by making it easier on the eye. Finally, I loved learning about the authors in the ‘’About the Authors’’ section at the end. At first, I thought this was a collection of short stories written by emerging authors, but oh no! They are all big names like Holly Black, Ray Bradbury, and many others! It’s imposing and impressive.

You’re probably wondering where are the negative points, aren’t you? I was too, frankly… However, there are only two of those, which I am pretty sure are now fixed since the book has been released. I have found a few typos, additional and unneeded words, and sometimes forgotten conjugations. The other thing that bothered me (only slightly as the rest of the book was well worth my time spent reading it!) was how many repetitions there were. For example, in two close paragraphs the words ‘’soft’’ and ‘’softly’’ were used thrice. It happens here and there and, like in that example, it can pull you out of the story you’re reading. Those points aside, the book is pure entertainment with mysteries written in its pages.

The idea itself of a book about libraries and librarians wins numerous points with me. It hit home and I think it will do the same thing with other bookworms. In fact, it is a good fit for anyone who has a (secret) love of books and libraries and the people who help keep them in order. I give it a rating of 5 out of 5 because of the library theme, the quality of the stories, and also because I always wanted to resume reading it. I’m pretty sure all fantasy fans will find Ex Libris quite entertaining and worth their while since it has varied short stories – in other words, there is a short story for everyone in this amazing collection!

As a bonus, here’s my ranking of my favorite Ex Libris short stories:

1- In the House of the Seven Librarians by Ellen Klages

2- The Last Librarian by Edoardo Albert

3- Death and the Librarian by Esther M. Friesner

4- Special Collections by Norman Partridge

5- In Libres by Elizabeth Bear

Please note that all short stories had something unique to them and the ranking above is simply based on my personal tastes!

If you want to know more about the editor, Paula Guran, and Prime Books, the publisher, click here for the first and here for the latter.

Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Review

Online Marketing for Busy Authors_Fauzia Burke

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*I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

The book Online Marketing for Busy Authors by Fauzia Burke, a leader in online book marketing and consultant for authors, explores essential aspects of marketing such as personal branding, reader profiles, goals, and much more. It offers a plethora of resources, exercises and integrated worksheets.

Fauzia Burke really does the job she set out to do in this short yet immensely helpful book. Since there are several good points to it and very few negative points, I’ll start with the latter: it is indeed too short. That’s it. I loved it so much I craved for more information, examples, explanations, and resources! I was satisfied with the book when I reached the end yet disappointed because I wanted to dive even more in Miss Burke’s experience.

As for the good points, prepare to be overwhelmed (no, really, this book is fantastic for authors like me who have no idea how to market their books!). In the first pages, the author makes it clear what to expect from her book and what its structure is (three sections in order to make the best gradual use of it – a step-by-step approach). I must admit what I loved most about this book is how straightforward it is: Miss Burke’s tone is friendly yet she doesn’t kick around the bush. She gives precise and direct information with just enough detail so as not to bore the reader. Plus, the information shared by the author is highly relevant to the field and does exactly what the title of the book implies. In other words, it makes you think about YOUR own online marketing strategy and find guided solutions for you. Her examples are clear and easy to understand.

This book also includes worksheets, advice, and quotes, which are all useful and well thought to help us. There’s even space for the exercises in her book – it’s close to being interactive! It really feels like the author, Miss Burke, truly wants to help us, starting from the basics and expanding on that newly learned knowledge. Her vocabulary is inspiring and diverse; it is also laced with kindness and even sometimes a pinch of humor. Thus, the writing is quite enjoyable and conveys the intended messages. Do you want to know another fabulous point about this book? It is free of typos and mistakes of any kind! That impressed me, I must say. It made my reading flow like a river (now, don’t you just like my failed attempt at poetry here?).

Miss Burke is always professional! Her twenty years of experience really show in all the information she gives us and how she does it too. She covers a wide range of topics and gives in-depth but short explanations throughout the book. Not only does she tackle what we can get out of each marketing effort, but also the why, which professionals rarely do. There are constant reminders of your goals and marketing strategy in every chapter so you don’t lose your focus. The author also provides tips on how to best use social media and certain platforms, which she deems the best in terms of online marketing.

Her views and guidance on the different marketing efforts are realistic. Miss Burke also makes use of good questions that prepare you and make you think about your own strategy. There are also lists of things to do that cover the steps you need to go through in order to succeed at that particular marketing effort. This book demystifies marketing for authors. It makes me feel more confident about my own online marketing strategy, which I’ll now tweak a bit thanks to Miss Burke! One of the best things about Online Marketing for Busy Authors is the tools (a.k.a websites) it gives us to learn more about our niche and potential bloggers, customers. It also provides the tools for us to find help, tips, and ideas. Lastly, Miss Burke does a recap of everything learned at the end of her book, which is a useful refresher training!

Fauzia Burke, the author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors, hit the bull’s eye with her book. In my opinion, she covers all the essential points and makes it interesting, even for a marketing newbie like me. Because I found it very helpful and true to its blurb and title (and also her own experience as a leader in online book marketing), I give it a rating of 5 out of 5. There were no major bad points, only the fact that I wished her book was longer so I could learn about marketing even more. This book is perfect for fans of Joanna Penn and James Scott Bell for it gives practical tips to achieve your own online marketing with no nonsense explanations of how to do so, a particular manner that reminds me of those two great authors. If you’re an author or an aspiring one who’s lost in all the marketing you need to do, Fauzia Burke’s Online Marketing for Busy Authors simply must be on your shelf. I have the conviction it will make you even like online marketing, just as it did with me.

If you want to learn more about Fauzia Burke and her online book marketing company, you can do so here.

Strawberry Summer: A Review

Strawberry Summer

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*I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Margaret ‘’Maggie’’ Beringer has a troubled past with Courtney Carrington, heiress of Carrington’s retail store. The two were madly in love during their teenage years, yet they parted for a poignant reason. Now, Courtney comes back into Maggie’s little town known as Tanner Peak. Will their love survive the issues of the past or crash once again?

I picked this book on NetGalley as soon as I saw it was a lesbian romance. I had never read one and I think it’s cute; unfortunately, there are not enough of them around without being erotica. Plus, the description of a past love and now they find themselves still in love yet struggling against those past issues is just perfect to me. Of course, I had to request it and I was more than thrilled to see the publisher had granted my request.

There are so many good points about this novel that I don’t know where to start yet I’ll try to do my best! The most prominent one is how much emotional it made me in general and how much I cared about Courtney (mostly) and Maggie. I wanted them to have a happy ending and I could barely put this book down–I yearned to learn what next would happen with them! Another point worth mentioning is how I couldn’t find typos or mistakes of any kind in the writing. That got me quite pleased as many of the ARCs and even some published books are full of them. But not this one so it’s a bonus. The sarcastic and humoristic main character (Maggie) makes for a welcome touch of humour. I have found her humour to be really funny, which made it all the more interesting to read.

I swear this bittersweet romance has got me in for highs and lows (ouch, my poor heart!). I bet it will no doubt do the same to you. The romance is also playful and teasing, which is highly amusing for us. There is a good and cute evolution of Maggie and Courtney’s relationship–it is even adorable, I have to admit. I’d also like to remark that Maggie knows and accepts she’s a lesbian which I love, even though there is a funny scene of her coming out. In fact, I thought this part was plain hilarious! The MC (Maggie) is strong, and the writing is vivid–it comes to life. Some scenes in this novel made me think I was a teenager again with how Maggie was acting in certain flashback chapters. The author, Melissa Brayden, has a knack for making the teens pop and look real on the page. The feelings of high school and popularity were realistic (up to a point where most of the popular kids befriended Maggie) along with a realistic account of life and diverse people in it.

As for characterization, it is present and good but it takes a long while to take effect. I still haven’t figured out if it’s because of Maggie’s personality or the author wrote it that way. I am still struggling with that one… Nevertheless, it was there and mostly brought about by friends and family members towards the end. Do you want to learn something fun? There are some twists in this story! I enjoyed them, actually. There was even one I hadn’t seen coming, which is so rare with me (I always figure out plot twists well in advance). I had to add that the drama is well built-up, a point that I genuinely adored! I’m one for angst in stories (even my own) so I thoroughly enjoyed the drama in this one (I even cried out of sadness AND cuteness overload later on).

The timeline was impeccable and shown to us in a clear manner. I’ll forever be grateful for that. Another point I appreciated is the fun and developed insight into the MC’s thoughts. I just want to say that I loved Courtney Carrington. I know she isn’t the main character, but she is so sweet and caring! I couldn’t help but root for her during all the book. Seriously. Both characters were well-done, of course, but let’s say I prefer Courtney because of her kindness. On another note, there are many events (which reminds me of a good adventure or fantasy book thanks to the action), which is quite surprising in a romance novel (and much appreciated on my part, too). I didn’t find any long, boring parts, which is a relief. Lastly, we get to read about every important character’s life (where they are now and what is their job and relationship status) and the epilogue is a nice follow-up. It is like a neat little bow on top of a present!

Here come the bad points. There were too few descriptions and not enough insight into Maggie’s emotions–it was more telling than showing although one could guess through her humoristic and sarcastic lines. But it was not enough. I wanted to feel what she was experiencing. I could never truly connect with Maggie because of that; I always felt like a nosy neighbor knowing all about her life. It’s sad because I wanted to connect. Also, the popular kids are perhaps too nice to Maggie (most of them, that is)–it’s usually not how it works in high school with popularity (and I experienced it first-hand). Last but not least, I believe the sex scenes are not spaced enough–there were about four of them in less than 60 pages! Fortunately, they are short (just a few pages, if not a few lines sometimes) and sweet in a way. Even though I understand the focus on sex at such a young age, I’d have preferred the emphasis to be put on their feelings and emotions, mostly Maggie’s because she seems to me like lacking in that department.

I would love to tell you what types of fans this book is perfect for but this is the first lesbian romance I ever read. However, I can assure you that if you love a good emotional roller coaster ride and cute but poignant romances, Strawberry Summer by Melissa Brayden is for you!

I give Strawberry Summer a rating of 4 out of 5 because of how emotionally invested I became with this novel and because it made me cry (I love it when I cry because of books, that means they get to me), and the lack of emotions on Maggie’s part – or so it seems. I was delighted to win this ARC and I must say it hit home with me. I recommend it in a heartbeat!

Empress of a Thousand Skies: A Review

A saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.:

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Empress
Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.

Fugitive
Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he’s forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life.

Madman
With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly must confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.

This review is spoiler-free.

Let me say that I loved this book! First of all, I usually dislike anything that has to do with sci-fi (except for Star Trek: TOS), but this novel caught my attention on the shelves and I had to take it home! Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised. I now call it my go-to sci-fi series.

The main characters, Princess Rhiannon and Alyosha, are quite lovable and deeply flawed, which helps greatly in making you want to see what they can do next. There is a lot of action and twists and turns. No kidding: I was panting while reading the last 50 pages! It was so engrossing. Also, I loved the cube technology (it allows living beings to re-live their memories, sensations, and feelings!) and the different alien races. Although there are aliens, the focus is not on their differences, which I particularly liked. It reminded me of Star Trek with how they all know the other races and live with them like it’s no big deal. Of course, there is tension because of different point of views, but overall it was a nice change. A funny fact: the story is happening in another galaxy than ours! I think it’s a good idea, having them live out their lives out in the open (instead of aliens hiding in our galaxy), all civilized and advanced in technology.

The only negative point I could find was how the author, Rhoda Belleza, uses euphemisms and wording that sometimes reminds me of middle grade fiction. I think her job as a children’s book editor showed in this novel… However, it’s not always like that and it’s worth reading for all the fun and adventure it can give you!

Because of all the action that left me panting and how lovable the characters are and the writing that is sometimes a bit too young for the intended readership, I give this awesome novel a rating of 4 stars out of 5. And that’s coming from a woman who dislikes sci-fi in general, remember? So that’s saying a lot, in my opinion.

P.S.: I just can’t wait for the sequel! I want it now.

The Castaways – A Review

TheCastaways1

*I received an advance reader copy on NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.*

Olive Gagmuehler, a bullied teenager, decides to go to the pirate-themed Castaway carnival that’s just come back in Texas. Unfortunately, her bullies gang up on her at the carnival. Left with no other option, Olive runs away into the maze where teenagers have been known to disappear until she lands on a lost island. Two groups of teenagers and kids, the Lions and the Panthers, are at war on that mysterious island, unable to go home. Olive joins them and tries to survive in the wild as well as break the island’s curse keeping them here. But is it really a curse or something much bigger than them that intends to teach them to face their demons?

There are few negative points in that novel, so let’s start with that! The first one is nothing major, only a few typos and mistakes here and there. It was not enough to be annoying, but another round of proofreading would make The Castaways almost perfect. The last point (I told you there were few) is the lack of plot about the mysterious island throughout the book. Sometimes it even seemed as though the kids were not living away from their family and friends, stranded like by magic on that island with no apparent way home. Although I understand the author meant to keep the mystery surrounding the island, I feel like this particular topic could have been tackled more times during the story. Instead, the characters appeared to forget or at least not think a lot about being in an unknown place with perfect strangers. Perhaps their questioning could be present? That’s what I would have loved to read. It would also make for a more realistic situation as I doubt we’d easily go about our business, forgetting how far we are from home and to question ourselves about how we can get home.

Now, how about we talk about the positive points (which are legion)? Let’s go! I found the subtitles to be enticing – it was original and gave a sense of foreboding, which I appreciated. The chapters are generally short, which makes for a fast read. The idea of mixing bullying with a magical island full of warring teenagers and kids is marvellous! Plus, the story’s got quite a lot of action. Just when you think you can start to relax, something unexpected happens and has your blood boiling with excitation! This book contains poignant bullying; it was well-done (unfortunately, I speak from experience so this story particularly moved me) and is laced with a lesson to stand up for oneself, a good surprise! It shows that bullying is eternal, it’s always been there and will keep on being unless we stand up to it. In my opinion, this book managed to show the effects that bullying can have on people, mostly on teenagers. As for the characters, the author made me care about them and more particularly about Olive’s dangerous yet adventurous situation. They’re all different and I could well imagine the teenagers, a feat in itself! The characters seem alive, which was fun to read. As for Olive, the main character, she is a strong heroine (more than she knows) and likeable. I could easily identify with her. Her development as a character was interesting to watch; it was done through highs and lows, just like in real life.

If you’re looking for realistic reactions as well as both inner and external conflict (beautifully conflicted Olive and others), look no more! The Castaways is a gold mine of realism, conflict, and solutions. Not only was this book thrilling, but it was also a pleasure to return to every single time. There were twists and turns I wouldn’t have expected and a pinch of humour that was more than welcomed in the midst of all these emotions. Speaking of emotions, they were well-woven in the tale, which will have you caring for the characters in no time! And they feel real, at least for Olive. By the way, there is a sweet romance in the story and even though I’m not overly fond of romance, I must admit this one was cute in its own right. It didn’t take the space required for the action. Did you know that the main character, Olive Gagmuehler, is somehow ill? She suffers from hyperventilation, which was probably caused by her being bullied. I found the idea of having her suffering from some kind of illness was different and a good move. I connected with her more easily and it makes us want to help her somehow, which only proves my point of the characters being unique and alive in our eyes. The basic needs and survival situations were respected – there was the matter of hygiene, odors, bladder, and else. The descriptive imagery used was great and the vocabulary was diverse. I felt as though I was once again a teenager, stranded on that island with those other kids. Last but not least, the ending wraps up the book quite nicely. It’s like a present with a cute bow on it.

The Castaways is a book I thoroughly enjoyed. It made me experience all kinds of emotions on that roller coaster ride and even managed to make me cry towards the end (and I rarely cry in books nowadays). It is perfect for fans of Peter Pan (yes, the classic story!), Lord of the Flies, and the Red Queen series because of the non-stop action and unexpected twists.

I give The Castaways a rating of 5 out of 5. It was that fun and really got me deep in the emotions, which I loved! I even have a hard time deleting it from my Kindle Fire to make room for other books – but really, I think I’m going to keep it. Who knows, I might just re-read it one day, something I like to do with books that left their mark on me. Honestly, I wanted to read more of it and I still do. While recommending this novel to other readers, I will definitely look forward to Jessika Fleck’s upcoming works.