Leigha's Little Library

I am a Booktuber and book reviewer! I post my reviews here and on Goodreads. I post bookish videos on Youtube as well. You can find all my links in my profile. I appropriate any followers here and subscribers over on Booktube.

 

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I accept physical and ebooks for review. Contact me here: shiny_mae1984@yahoo.com

My first unsolicited book!

Those that know me, know that I've been going through some stuff in real life, but the book world has been pretty kind to me! I've won several giveaways recently, and today I got a package in the mail and it was a book I wasn't expecting!

 

A while ago, I won a giveaway for Cooking For Ghosts Book 1 in The Secret Spice Cafe trilogy. The author just sent me book 2 out of the blue! It is called Spells & Oregano. I'm loving the titles. I've never been a great cook, but a ghost story with cooking? It sounds really interesting to me.

 

There was no giveaway for book 2, so that would make this my first unsolicited book. That's what you'd call it, right? 

 

She even signed and personalized it, so she did not mail it to me by accident. Thank you very much Patricia V. Davies. I will get to reading and reviewing both books soon in 2018! 

 

I don't have a huge following on any of my social media, so I am honestly not sure why she sent it to me, but it was the kindest gesture. It meant so much to me. It helped brighten my day. I am very thankful!

 

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Source: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29901992-cooking-for-ghosts

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

Pretty Girl-13 - Liz Coley

Trigger Warnings: Some are spoilers, so click if you want to know before reading the book.

Rape, Molestation, Abuse, Incest.

(show spoiler)

 

 

There are a couple things I would change, but overall, this was a good, fast paced read.

 

 

Pretty Girl-13 was fascinating on a morbid level. Dark. Emotional. Gut-wrenching.

 

The segments with 2nd POV threw me for a loop as I did not understand them at first. They seemed weird and out of place. They also made me think there was something supernatural going on. I had no idea who or what was narrating those parts. Once I figured it out, it was an “ah-ha” moment and I enjoyed them. It gave the book a creepier vibe. Unimaginable some of the stuff those scenes showed us.

 

Sadly, I guessed almost all the twists. I was hoping so much that what I guessed was wrong, because it was not fun to know everything, ruining the mystery.

 

You should go into books like this blindly. I’m glad I did. I had no idea what to expect going in, only going by the vague synopsis. Once you know the gist of the plot, it wouldn’t be as engaging. Even knowing the twists, I still enjoyed reading them.

 

We learn about halfway through that something dark happened in Angie’s childhood, unrelated to the main plot, but explaining why Angie is the way she is. I did not like how this was resolved. Another thing that I did not like was how some of her former friends treated her. It is just not decent human behavior. It seemed highly unnecessary and I feel like if the characters were going to be like that, they shouldn’t be needed. I do get it, though. It was an excuse for Angie to take control and be strong, but I still could have done without it.

 

Angie’s friendship with Kate was a healthy one. A good one. I really liked it. There needs to be more girl love in books and not girls hating on girls. I also loved Angie’s relationship with Dr. Grant. Grant cared about Angie on more than a professional level.

 

Another person I liked was Detective Brogan, especially at the end, as they wrap up the case.

 

So much happened to Angie, it was almost too much. The girl never seemed to get a break, even the ending was bitter sweet. On one hand, I get why Angie did what she did, but on the other hand, I do not know if I could do it.

 

I think the ending will be one I’m never sure if I liked it or not.

 

There are also questions left unanswered, that only one person has the answer to and he can’t answer them now.

Kringle by Tony Abbott

I did not finish this book, so this isn't a review per say, but just putting this here as it may or may not be up your alley. I can see how it would be liked by the intended age group, too!

 

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This is a beautiful looking book, no doubt about that. The story could be an amazing one. Who doesn't think it is cool to have a Santa origin story with goblins, elves and pirates? Yes, please. To me it sounds like The Lord of The Rings with Frodo being Santa or something.

The truth is that I could not get past how random the story seemed to be. It was honestly annoying how Kringle talked out loud to himself so much about everything, as if he had an audience listening. It might have been believable if he were thinking some of the stuff to himself, but nope.I know it is realistic that there are some people who have conversations with themselves, but it felt like this aspect of Kringle was just an excuse to do nothing but telling and not showing. I felt bored.


The writing style is fine, there is nothing wrong with it per say. I just don't think it is for me at this time. It might be a mood thing; maybe I am not as into the holiday spirit as I thought. I will try to read this again at a later date.

 

The premise of the story really does make me want to finish it and see how it plays out. I guess only time will tell.

It Nearly Wasn't Christmas & Holiday Books!

Yay, so it is that time of year. I like the holiday spirit (though from inside the comfort of my own room! I love everybody but boy do gatherings stress me out) and I've got some books picked out that are either Christmas/Winter based, or just give me the warm, happy fuzzies. I made a TBR video on my Youtube channel, but I am bad at sticking to those!
 
 
   
On the flip side, I want to watch the Christmas movies (even though I hardly watch movies these days) I'm thinking about all the old ones.
 
 
 
It Nearly Wasn't Christmas which is my favorite cheesy one to watch and I usually watch it every year. It's from 1989, but I think I was a teen when I first saw it. I like the music in it. As far as I remember, there is one song, which is basically the theme song of the movie: "It almost wasn't Christmas this year..." The guy who sings it is really good, in my opinion. I just figured out he was an Osmond. Wayne Osmond; that might explain why he is good.
 
 
 
This movie talks about how people are wanting more and more and getting greedy, and it shows people learning again what the holiday is really about. The main character does her own learning.
 
She does kind of bugs me as an adult. She starts off super selfish and well.. bratty, but I think she grows and learns what Christmas is really about by the end. It might sound super cheesy, but I love how everyone ended up turning over a new leaf, so to speak and just coming together. I even cry at the end of this movie.
 
 
 
This movie might be old, but I think it still rings true. People really do get so busy and caught up with having everything just perfect and wanting too much and they are forgetting what is more important, family, friends, love for others. (This doesn't go just for Christmas, but all holidays!)
 
Favorite characters:
Clumsy elf Philpot, played by Bruce Vilanch. He's so endearing, even though they use the stereotype that big guys are clumsy and not that smart. I feel like Santa learns that his elf is smart and good in his own way. It doesn't hurt that he is funny, too! [He was a favorite as a child, but I still like him.]
 
 
 
The conman Napoleon played by Ted Lange. I like him and his parrot, as strange as it is. I'm a sucker for the ending when he seems to turn over a new leaf, though the whole thing is predictable. [As an adult, I realize this character serves no real purpose. He's hardly in the movie except the jail scene and at the end. The other times, he's just driving on his motor bike. He's only there to cause problems with Santa.]
 
 
All my feels for this could be nostalgic talking. I just watched the movie again and it is even more cheesy than I remembered. I admit as an adult I realize everything is solved too quickly. People are so quick to believe in Santa and the movie wraps up too easily.
 
What are your favorite holiday books and movies? What books/movies do you know are cheesy or even bad, but you still love them because they are nostalgic?

The Broccoli Tapes by Jan Slepian

The Broccoli Tapes - Jan Slepian

I read this when I was a child, most likely between the ages of 10-13. I remember really liking it, as I enjoyed books told in diary format, and this book is told through recordings made on cassette tapes, which as a child I thought was the neatest idea ever.

 

**I'm super vague, but this could be a spoiler**

 

Toward the middle of the book something happens that would make most people cry, then at the end of the book something else happened that make people cry. The first thing is something I think you would be more upset by, but I was more upset by the last thing. I felt depressed, bawled like a baby and needed something to cheer me up after.

(show spoiler)


The thing that happened at the end... I forgot it was coming. How did child me handle it, I wonder?

I love that this book could still make me have such a strong emotional reaction. It held up with time, though obviously dated with usage of tapes. Everything else is still very relatable.

Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton

Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board - Bethany Hamilton, Sheryl Berk, Rick Bundschuh

She is really inspiring. Something major happened to her, but she got back up and continued to do what she loved.

 


I enjoyed the book, but not the writing style as much. I've seen people complain that she did not talk more about the shark and how things were different after, with having one arm, and how she adapted to doing things differently, or how she talked about the making of her movie. But this book isn't meant to dwell just the attack; it's meant to be about her life, and that would include her faith and the movie.

I also want to add, I love sharks. They get a bad rep for this sort of thing. They don't see humans as food, and usually leave after having a nibble (they mistake you as their food.) But that nibble is usually enough to kill or seriously maim someone. They are not evil killing machines or an useless animal as I've seen a lot of people say. It is their world people "invade" for a lack of a better word and they might be curious about you if you are flailing around and seem like a seal in distress.

I can't speak for her personally, but I do feel like she is the type of person who would not blame the shark, and would know it wasn't the sharks fault. I can't remember what she said exactly in the book about this, but I remember in the movie, she was upset when people went after sharks, hunting and killing a bunch. I mean she is a firm believer in God, and sharks are one of his creatures, right?

 

This is a true story, written by someone who is not a professional writer, so I did find some of it choppy and odd. She is amazing and I wish her well. I hope she continues to inspire people.

My True Love Gave To Me Edited by Stephanie Perkins

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories - Rainbow Rowell, Holly Black, Laini Taylor, Myra McEntire, Kiersten White, Stephanie Perkins, Gayle Forman, Matt de la Pena, Jenny Han, Ally Carter, Kelly Link, David Levithan

Here is an old review of mine, perfect for the holiday season!

 

An overall rating is hard to come by, because I feel like it is not fair to everyone. I rated stories for many different reasons. The lower ratings do not come down to bad writing by any means, but to my tastes, and what type of stories I like. I applaud all these writers and thank them for creating this collection of stories. I will give this a score of 4/5, for all the stories I really enjoyed and all the writer's hard work.

1.  Midnights by Rainbow Rowell *****

This is the first thing I have read of Rainbow's and it gave me a really good heartwarming feeling. I wish there was more story for the characters in this short story. 5/5 stars. I read this story on 12/12/15.

2.  The Lady And The Fox by Kelly Link **

2 stars does not mean I disliked it, but that it was okay. It was a bit too odd for my tastes. 2/5 stars. I read this story on 12/13/15

3.  Angels In The Snow by Matt De La Pena ****

I thought this was cute and I loved the parts the cat was in. I did think the romance part felt rushed. 4/5 stars. I read this on 12/14/15

4. Polaris Is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han ***


I like the writing style, but the story fell short for me. I felt like there should have been more to it. 3/5 stars. I read this on 12/16/15

5. It's A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins *****

It is no surprise that I really liked this story. I love her writing style. This had me in all smiles and gave me the warm fuzzies. 5/5 stars. I read this on 12/16/15

6. You're Temporary Santa by David Levithan ****

I liked the story. There was a sadness to it though. 4/5 stars. Read on 12/18/15

7. Krampuslauf by Holly Black ***

I enjoyed it, though not as much as some of the others. 3/5 stars. Read on 12/18/15

8. What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth by Gayle Foreman ***

I liked it, but not the romance. Too rushed. 3/5 stars. I read this on 12/19/15.

9. Beer Buckets And Baby Jesus by Myra Mcentire ***

One year later, I am resuming this book during December/Christmas time. I really enjoyed this story, but I think I am not a super short story sort of person because I really wanted more details and for it to be longer. However, it was cute. 3/5 stars. I read this on 12/02/16

10. Welcome To Christmas, CA by Kiersten White *****

I loved this story. It was cute and sweet, had drama and a happy, romantic ending. 5/5 stars. I read this on 12/02/16

11. Star Of Bethlehem by Ally Carter ***

Interesting concept for a story, though its been done before. I feel with more details, it would be better. 3/5 stars. I read this on 12/03/16

12. The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor ****

I really enjoyed this one and thought Taylor's writing style was wonderful. 4/5 stars. I read this on 12/03/16

Eve: The Awakening by Jenna Moreci

Eve: The Awakening - Jenna Moreci

This was a self published book. I admit, that I have not read many self pub books, mainly because I have had bad experiences and funds are low, so if I get a book, I want to be sure I will really like it.

 

I picked up this book through Amazon Unlimited, and really could not put it down. It changed my whole view on self pub books. There are good books out there, you just have to know where to look!

 

The reason I picked this one up because I stumbled across the author's YouTube page, looking for writing related videos. Jenna Moreci is very fun to watch and most of her info is very useful. I got her book, hoping so bad that the book would be good.

It was! I read it almost in one sitting, staying up all night. I had to finally put it down and finish the last 10% later because I was really sleep deprived.

Want a good book? Pick this one. Trust me. This is supposed to be a series, but the first book ended in a way where it could also be read as a stand-alone, in my opinion. I really want more though!

 

Now I am very willing to read self published books when I find ones I think sound good.

My newest video for Fiction Friday a series I am doing on my Booktube page. For those who are unaware Booktube is just Youtube for book nerds. Lots of us also post stuff about writing, too.

 

Fiction Friday is just where I read short bits of my own personal fiction, every first Friday of the month, except of course when inspiration is lacking.

 

I'm still so awkward reading to a camera. I wish I had this amazing memory and I could just remember the whole story, instead of looking and sounding like a fool. Ha ha. I'm also a total newbie when it comes to editing. I use my phone to record and edit, so please bear with me. I hope the quality gets better as I learn. Any tips welcome.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot

I've got a little review for you today, though the review is small, I have a large love of this book! There are just some books where I can't exactly put my thoughts properly on paper.

 

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I am forever changed from reading this book. It is beyond a doubt one of the most fascinating book I have ever read. I found this to be heartbreaking, I cried during several parts.

 

This is something that I never knew about before I read this and I am so shocked I did not even have vague knowledge of Henrietta Lacks and what her cells (HeLa) have done.

 

I believe this book should be required reading in schools and for anyone who is even remotely connected to the science or medical field. Even if you are not connected to those fields, this is a must read book.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither - Lauren DeStefano

Before and after reading this book, I've seen a lot of mixed reviews, calling this book inappropriate for Young Adult. First off, I want to point out that the author does not get to pick where her book is marketed to, that is up to the publisher, so do not get mad at Lauren. Second of all. though there are some mature content, it never goes into graphic details. If you're 13 and over, I'm sure you've seen worse at school. (Also if you think this book is inappropriate for YA, you haven't read many YA!)

Of course, I always encourage parents to read books first if you are unsure if your child should read them. I personally think we don't give younger people enough credit.

Now onto the review. I did like this book. I liked it quite a bit, but I could not put myself in the main character's shoes, so that might have took some of my enjoyment away. I felt like the plot was unique at the time of reading it; I had not read many books similar to that. I felt like the writing style pretty great. It flowed well. I was able to read the book fast and without any trouble.

I've noticed some authors dumb down a lot of things, especially in YA (and middle grade) I felt like there was none of that in this book. I think it is clear Lauren most likely wrote this for herself because it was a story she needed to get out of her head.

There was a character that was too young to be a wife, but in this world girls got no choice in the matter if they were of child barring age, and at 13 Cecily sadly could have children. It is hard to read about a child bride. I know that it was more normal a long time ago, and in some countries and religions, there are still child brides.

That all being said, I would not call the husband in this story a pedophile; it is just the world he finds himself in. He did seem like a decent person, despite everything. He really did seem to love his former wife and seemed like he was growing fond of some of his new wives.

I have nothing against polygamy when everyone is of a consensual age. It doesn't hurt me if you want to be in love and married to a bunch of people! The more power to you.

It was just hard to read about it in a setting like this, where the girls are forced and most at such a young age.

Hey everybody! I have got a few new followers thanks to the interview I did on the Booklikes blog. Thanks for having me Kate, and thanks everyone who followed me and commented on the blog post.

 

I thought I would share with everyone my reading wrap up for November. I read a lot, so the video is long. Feel free to put me on double speed. I do that all the time to be honest, because there are so many great videos and so little time.

 

What have you read in November? Do you Booktube? Let me know. :)

 

P.S. Not mentioned in this video is a book I DNF'd yesterday, which was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Sadly, it ended up not being for me, at least in this present moment.

 

~Leigha

 

 

DNFing a Buddy Read?

I'm currently reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

 

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It is a buddy read I am doing with a friend I met through Booktube. We now chat over at Goodreads and do buddy reads often.

 

Our last buddy read was The Walled City by Ryan Graudin. We mutually decided to DNF that book, because we were both not liking it for various reason!

 

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So... She LOVES The Night Circus. She's read it like 2 times already. I know we all have different tastes and opinions and that is completely fine. I just feel bad DNFing a buddy read, especially when it is a book my buddy loves.

 

I feel all alone in a sea of people who are gushing about this book. I'm 150 pages into it and not enjoying myself. I love the setting and the first couple chapters were really interesting. The first bad experience I got which put a bad taste in my mouth is how Celia is treated by her father.

 

Also, I guess... I'm bored.

 

Do you buddy read? Do you DNF? Will you DNF a buddy read?

 

Maybe I should set the book aside and try it another day or maybe this one is truly not for me.

Miss Kane's Christmas by Caroline Mickelson

Miss Kane's Christmas - Caroline Mickelson

 

I was in the mood for some Christmas spirit, so I downloaded a bunch of free books off Amazon. We all know that can be a huge hit or miss. I found this novella cute, and a quick little read. There were some things that didn't sit well with me, as I am not a fan of insta love and that is exactly what this story is.

This story is totally cheesy, and I mean no disrespect to the author. There is good cheesy and then there is bad cheesy. This one is good "Hallmark" type of cheesy. Perfect for this season when you want to get lost in a feel good story.

A family story that is appropriate for young and old. Freebies usually end up being erotica, nothing against it, but I was happy this was just some good, clean fun. I do think this would have been better as a longer length novel, with the characters more fleshed out and the love being more realistic. Sure, there is magic involved and maybe destiny, but insta love is still not my cup of tea in most cases.

I liked the idea behind the naughty elf who brought some mischief to the story. I would have liked to see that part more in detail.

Overall, I think it is written well and it flows decently, but it does feel like chunks of the story is missing.

 

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Night Film - Marisha Pessl

 

Night Film gripped me. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book, reading the book in large chunks, taking breaks and taking my time, because of dark and disturbing content, and also to just think. This book made me think a lot. The story isn't what I would call scary, but thrilling or suspenseful are good words for it. There was one scene where the main character is on a movie set and something happens that made my heart race a little bit. Yes, that bit did scare me. It was done very well in my opinion. I liked how we are not quite sure what happened.

The writing style was really good and easy to read. It flowed well. However, I did find a lot of the story repetitive. Some of the phrases were repeated so much, for example, the main character said "thank Christ" so much that I felt annoyed each time he said it.

I enjoyed the supplemented material. They added to the book to give it more of a creepy, real vibe.

There was mention of a past romance with the main character's ex, but other than that no romance, except for one small part. I liked that there was no secondary plot of romance, taking from the main plot.

I loved how when Nora came onto Scott, he turned her down and was a gentleman about it. She was over 18, of course, and there would have been nothing legally wrong for them hooking up, but I think this part in the book was handled so well, and I am happy Nora accepted this and in the end, Scott is more of a father figure to her.

(show spoiler)


I liked and disliked the way the book ended. It ended in a similar way one of Cordova's films would end, so that was pretty neat, but on the other hand frustrating for the reader. You might know what I mean when you get to that point.

Over all, it was an enjoyable read and one that will have me wondering for a long time.

This whole thing with Cordava's films really made me want to see his movies, as if they were real. Even with the disturbing background of the films, a morbid curiosity had me dying to see what the big deal was with this director and his films. Would I become one of his fans? Would I spend my days on the blackboards talking about theories?

 

Kiss me in New York by Catherine Rider

Kiss Me in New York - Catherine Rider

This book is cute, very fluffy story about two people who got their hearts broke around Christmas time. They end up going through a program to get over an ex together. It was obvious how this would turn out, but I had fun reading it, though I would say some of the predictability got boring at times.

I did like the two main characters for the most part.

I really liked the part where she just buys a puppy. It made me have a little laugh. Like here is a girl that is going back to England less than a day, but she decides to buy a puppy? I'm happy she rescued it, or she assumes so, since she got it from a con man, who probably didn't care about the puppy.

(show spoiler)


Listen, most of this story is unrealistic, but it is a cute, cozy holiday read. I liked it. Tis the season.