Book Review: Road Trip with a Nerd

It was the book I didn’t know I needed to read. It’s short and sweet, but it filled my heart with that warm and fuzzy feeling I needed. It even sparked my interest in my own YA Romance series again.

Road Trip with a Nerd by Stephanie Street. It’s exactly what it promises to be… it’s a road trip… with a nerd… only he’s not so nerdy and she’s in for a big surprise. I adored the characters even if they were a little clueless sometimes (FYI, I actually adore clueless characters because… why wouldn’t you love them?)

After writing epic fantasy and diving into some deep worldbuilding, I needed a break. This book gave me that. So, if you’re stressed and just want a little sweetness (seriously, even the drama is sweet in its own way) then this is the book for you… and it’s only $0.99 on Amazon!

Here’s the blurb from Amazon…

Fifteen hundred miles from home my whole world fell apart. I’d been betrayed and all I wanted was to go home and confront two people who were supposed to love me. The only problem? I was stuck with no way back for over two weeks. That was just too long to wait.

And then he walked in.

What was she doing there? Why hadn’t she gone home with everyone else? And most importantly, why was she crying? Mallory Knight, the girl of my every fantasy.

And she needed my help.

By the time it was all over, I knew I’d be the one begging to be saved.

Grant wasn’t at all what Mallory expected. Thirty-six hours in the passenger’s seat of his rusty old truck and she knew she’d never be the same again.

Road Trip with a Nerd is a 33,000-word novella by Stephanie Street. You’ll love this heartwarming, swoon-worthy tale of two people who unexpectedly find exactly what they didn’t know they were looking for.

The Stars Wait Not Book Review

Ryllis Camden has a secret—she can talk to nature, and it speaks to her in return. But her gift is forbidden by the Vilarian Star Realm who controls her planet, and the penalty is death. When she’s falsely accused of treason and exiled to the Vilarian home world, hiding her power becomes even more critical. But how can she hide anything when she’s forced to toil in the home of the emperor’s youngest son?

Kresten Westermark might be a prince, but long ago he shunned a life of luxury to work as a telepath in the Vilarian Imperial Fleet. His job demands he treat his new prisoner as a slave and test his deteriorating telepathic powers on her, but the only thing on his mind is the growing attraction he feels toward the earnest young woman tending his gardens.

As the mountain winter fades, a reluctant respect between the two becomes trust, and trust soon blossoms into affection. But when the Fleet arrives to arrest Kresten for treason, Ryllis must make an impossible decision.

Save Kresten’s life—or hers.

Sometimes you want a book filled to the brim with action and adventure, high-stakes and intense relationships, and a plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Other times, you want something immersive that lets you develop a relationship with the characters while they are on their own journey. It’s slow and steady, building to a conclusion that gives you peace.

For me, The Stars Wait Not by Anne Wheeler was a breath of fresh air. It was a little infusion of science fiction, a touch of sweet romance, and a storyline that kept me involved to the end. I read the book in about three days, which is a record for me since my schedule is usually packed! I loved the characters, their interactions, and how the story progresses at a pace that is reasonable while still offering little bits of surprise here and there.

An added special touch are the illustrations. How many adult books can you find with illustrations? It’s a thoughtful gesture by the author that helps draw the reader further into the story while not being so intrusive they distract from the story. While not necessarily filled with high-stakes adventure, the book is, in fact, a more realistic depiction of a prisoner’s life on an alternate world, and that is enough to make you feel genuinely connected to the protagonist.

And the cover? I love the constellations mixed with the leaves, and after reading the book, it makes so much sense. It’s simple yet beautiful.

I can’t wait for the next book in this series! If you’d like to purchase the book, you can find it here!

Book Review – The Last Necromancer by C. J. Archer

From Amazon:

A waif, her abductor and a twist you won’t see coming.

For five years, Charlotte (Charlie) Holloway has lived as a boy in the slums. But when one theft too many gets her arrested, her only means of escape lies with a dead man. Charlie hasn’t raised a spirit since she first discovered she could do so five years ago. That time, her father banished her. This time, she brings even more trouble upon herself.

People are now hunting Charlie all over London, but only one man succeeds in capturing her.

Lincoln Fitzroy is the mysterious head of a secret organization on the trail of a madman who needs a necromancer to control his newly “made” creatures. There was only one known necromancer in the world – Charlotte – but now there appears to be two. Lincoln captures the willful Charlie in the hopes the boy will lead him to Charlotte. But what happens when he discovers the boy is in fact the young woman he’s been searching for all along? And will she agree to work for the man who held her against her will, and for an organization she doesn’t trust?Because Lincoln and his ministry might be just as dangerous as the madman they’re hunting.

Fair warning, this review DOES contain spoilers!

This one was a pickle for me. I adore Archer’s Glass and Steele series, so I thought I would like this one as well despite my aversion for books about necromancy. Her writing kept me involved as usual, and I did grow an affection for the main character, Charlie, a rough and tumble girl of eighteen who spent five years living as a boy on the streets of Victorian Era London.

At the start, Charlie was strong-willed and brave, leaving me with the impression she will be the heroine of the story. In many ways, she was, but in more, she was not. I was surprised to find this was a sort of Frankenstein adaptation, especially since that didn’t pop up until more than halfway through the novel, but I was able to adapt to that shift.

What bothered me was Charlie’s out-of-character response to most everything once she was “found out” as a woman. She went from an independent, focused “boy” to a swooning, incapable young girl. Her defiance remained unless she was captivated by Lincoln, her love interest/captor. Yes, captor. He kidnapped her right off the street for her protection.

That said, I understand that historical fiction (primarily Victorian Era England) would portray women as soft and weak, needing constant supervision and chaperoning. I also don’t have a problem with a female lead sharing the spotlight with a male, nor do I have an issue with a male saving a female. To me, it does not show weakness just because you need help. What I did have an issue with was Charlie’s sudden inability to take care of herself. One does not go from living on the streets of London to a helpless child in one day, yet that seemed to be what happened.

However, my absolute biggest issue with this book was the near-rape scene. I realize rape happens, and it often happened at that time, but when Lincoln PAID a man to “scare” Charlie by attempting to rape her, that crossed a line for me. He was no longer a potential “rough around the edges” love interest, but a full-on horrible human being. He set up this incident to scare Charlie into believing she needed him to protect her, then killed the man for doing what he’d paid him to do because he “went too far.”

Honestly, I was shocked when I read this scene because, until then, I had never seen such a thing in Archer’s books. I’m not a faint-hearted person, and I wholeheartedly believe even bad people can be reformed and deserve another chance, but… not like that. He got off with hardly a smack to the face, and Charlie was swooning over him again. It turned me off from reading the rest of the series altogether.

But, of course, my opinion is not the hard and fast truth—it’s my opinion. I still encourage readers to choose for themselves, because what’s not for me might be right up someone else’s ally. As for me, I’ll stick with the Glass and Steele series.

You can find C. J. Archer’s books here.

Book Review – Finding Madeline by Emily Fertic

Hi all! I haven’t done a book review in a while, so I thought I would dive back in with one I was lucky enough to beta read! First, here’s a look at the summary and where you can find the book!

Madeline Morgan is counting down the days until middle school is over. After three years of putting up with the digs and jabs that come from the school’s reigning Queen Bee, Zoe McAdams, Madeline only has three months of middle school left, and then she’s on to high school, ready to leave the bullies and drama behind. She’s decided to lie low and stay off of Zoe’s radar until the end of the school year. At least, that was her plan.

Madeline soon catches the attention of the already popular August Carter and the new-to-school basketball star, Jack Gray. August and Jack show Madeline that they don’t care what Zoe says and quickly win her over. But when these new friendships only put Madeline more in the line of fire from Zoe and her crew, Madeline can’t help but wonder if she— and her new friendships— will make it out of middle school intact.

Written by an author who has lived through bullying herself, this novel takes readers on a heart-wrenching, powerful journey of one girl’s attempts to navigate the complex social landscape of adolescence. But for Madeline to succeed, she must do more than simply survive middle school; she must decide who she is and who she wants to be.

The book is available for pre-order at Amazon and will release on August 11!

First, I want to congratulate Emily on her first independent novel! Emily has written collaborative works with Class Source (you can find those here) and is quite talented. This young woman knows how to take you all the way back to middle school (cringe) and puts you right in the middle of the drama. With every chapter, I found myself sitting beside middle-school me reminding myself it would all get better, that people wouldn’t be awful forever, and one day I would find my passion in life.

Emily tackles the all-too-real subject of bullying in her novel, but she relays the story in a way that anyone can relate to no matter their age. Madeline is a fully fleshed-out character whose pain you can feel tug at your heart every time the dreaded bully walks into the picture.

Finding Madeline also has betrayal and that horrific moment when you realize even the people you trust most can hurt you. But that’s not all. It also shows that perseverance, determination, and a kind heart are the keys to surviving almost any difficult situation. As an added bonus, there is plenty of the “will they/won’t they” tension between Madeline and a special someone who sticks by her side through it all, proving that some friendships are meant to be.

If you love sweet, clean stories with a lot of heart, this is for you. It’s appropriate for middle-grade all the way through adulthood (and believe me, it will take you back to those younger days!) Don’t forget to pre-order today and dive in on August 11!

Keep up-to-date with Emily’s work on her Facebook Author Page!