Posted on

Book Review: Uncharted by Erin Cashman

Seventeen-year-old Annabeth prefers the fantasy of her books and paintings to reality—because in reality, her mom is dead, and it was all her fault. When she accompanies her father to the funeral of some family friends who drowned, she’s surprised to find her grief reflected in the face of Griffin Bradford, the son of the couple who died. Griffin is nothing like the carefree boy she once knew. Now he’s irritable, removed, and he’s under police investigation for his parents’ deaths.

One night following the memorial service, Annabeth’s dad goes missing in the woods, and she suspects Griffin knows more about the disappearance than he’s letting on. He refuses to answer her questions, particularly those related to the mysterious “expedition” his parents took to Ireland, where they went missing for seven months.

Annabeth fears her father isn’t lost, but rather a victim of something sinister. She launches her own investigation, tracing clues that whisper of myth and legend and death, until she stumbles upon a secret. One that some would die to protect, others would kill to expose—and which twists Annabeth’s fantasy and reality together in deadly new ways.

Release Date: September 2018
Age Group: YA, Mystery, Folklore
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Reviewed By: Nat

I loved Uncharted right from the prologue! It was a unique storyline that did a great job of blending several genres, I actually had a hard time deciding where to "shelve" it. 

The Mystery.
Right from the start my mind was coming up with all sorts of theories, all of which were wrong. I've read enough dystopian and paranormal books that it takes all of 5 seconds for me to turn any character suspicious. Sometimes I feel like I'm re-reading a story plot, like running in a circle, but Uncharted was fresh and new. I kept thinking of mystery islands, every TV show I'd ever watched as a kid that had a treasure map and referenced my crime show toolbox too (I'll always have a little Nancy Drew in me)!

Character Development.
It's rare in a standalone book that I feel like I was adequately introduced to all the characters. But Cashman doesn't waste time and lets you know enough about each person to leave you feeling something-- suspicion, regret, loss, sadness, hope. 

Annabeth was raw and real. I felt for her, was sad for her, cheered for her bravery and was hopeful for her. That's a lot of emotions for one character in 400 pages! I really enjoyed her growth and development; she wasn't perfect and she knew it.

Griffin. He will be a book boyfriend of every teen girl that picks up Uncharted. He was good looking, broody with a tender side and tortured. Just how we like them, right girls?! I would love to read a novella of his back story. *cough, cough hint to Cashman*

You know I need a little love interest, always. I'm happy to report there was no love triangle or instalove. It was subtle and obvious from the outside looking in but it didn't take away from all the mystery or thrill.

I LOVE that this book had two sets of parents that loved their children. They weren't absent or totally aloof to what their kids were doing. There was a protectiveness that I related to with almost all the adults attached to Griffin and Annabeth.

More Please.
So the big question... will there be a book two... or three?! I'm intrigued. I'm invested. I hope it gets weird(er). I want to experience the mystery.

This article originally appeared on I'd So Rather Be Reading

Posted on

Movie Review: Hallmark’s A Novel Romance

image source: Hallmark Channel
Summary: Romance novelist Liam Bradley (Dylan Bruce) has already found massive success with three books written under the pen name Gabriel August, but he's mysteriously unknown to his legions of readers. With his first book written as a way to heal after a broken relationship, Liam has slowly become disheartened with writing strictly for romantic fantasy, something evident to a sweet, but honest, journalist who reviews books, Sophie Atkinson (Amy Acker), whom he meets by chance on a plane. The two begin a tentative relationship in Sophie’s home town of Portland, Maine, where Liam has come to find inspiration for his newest entry.

Liam’s agent puts him on the spot with a long-planned reveal of Gabriel August’s true identity, but Sophie doesn’t know of his public persona. The longer Liam avoids telling her the truth, the deeper a hole he digs for himself. Will their romance survive once his true identity comes to light?

Release Date: 2015
Age Group: Family
Reviewed By: Nat

I know you are asking yourself "Is she sponsored by Hallmark?" And the short answer is NOPE. But clearly they should consider it. Could you imagine getting to preview these gems early?! Seriously, I just got the chills. 😂

Now, why is this Hallmark movie one of my favorites? And why should it be one of yours? Isn't it obvious? It's about an author and reader, turned book blogger, which obviously equals all #thefeels.

Listen, they wrote this for us! 🎉🎉🎉 We are loved. We are appreciated. We are readers, (maybe) bloggers, lovers of HEA. And now we have our own movie. We have it all.

The plot is so relatable for any book connoisseur. It was clever and both funny & embarrassing. I couldn't imagine critiquing an authors work straight to their face. I think I'd choose death. Could you imagine looking Tahereh Mafi in the face and telling her that you didn't like how the last Shatter Me book ended? Her freaking stylish outfit and all that talent that oozes off of her would cause me to put my tail between my legs and say "Whatever you say Queen". And I might even bow. Maybe.

and that's why we blog! We get to type our honest (and hopefully tasteful) opinions. We know when an author is struggling. Work reflects like right?

I loved how Sophie evolved into the role of a book blogger. I was cheering for her and secretly coveting how freaking organized she made the whole process look. Seriously, her office assured that I'd never share my "where the magic happens" space. 

Now, does it portray publishing houses correctly? No clue, but I like to think when you walk the halls of my favorite publishing groups that there are butterflies and twinkling lights in the halls with books stacked everywhere and free for the taking.Yea, kind of like the Holy Grail.

A Novel Romance is scheduled to air in a few days so go record it and enjoy!

Visit the Hallmark Channel {HERE} for more moviedetails & times.

This article originally appeared on I'd So Rather Be Reading

Posted on

Review: Black Klansman: A Memoir

Black Klansman By Ron Stallworth
Available now from Flatiron Books
Purchased copy

One day, a nineteen-year-old guy who wanted to be a PE teacher applied to be a police cadet so that he could get his education paid for. Little did young Ron Stallworth know he would become the first black detective in the Colorado Springs police department, lead a successful intelligence investigation against the Ku Klux Klan, and go on to have a storied career.

BLACK KLANSMAN is the story of Stallworth's investigation into the KKK and various organizations that counterprotested them, especially the local Communist group. Stallworth has an interesting perspective on race relations as a peace officer. He is well aware of racism and other issues within the police. He reports things said to his face that white officers didn't even realize were offensive, and describes what happened when one of his colleagues shot an unarmed kid. At the same time, he believes in the duties of a police officer and in making a difference from the inside.

While the KKK are the villains of the story, Stallworth does not approve of terrorist action against the KKK. His goal in his intelligence investigation is to keep the peace within the community and protect the innocent. This is not a police story where a bunch of people go to jail in the end; however, it is one where no crosses are burned and no gay bars are bombed because of the police who infiltrated the KKK.

It's a compulsively readable story. Stallworth is not an expert writer (he thanks his English teacher at the end for helping him polish his memoir), but he tells what happened in a straightforward fashion. The simplicity helps keep the pages turning. There's suspense, such as the mounting tension in anticipation of David Duke coming to town. There's humor, as KKK members speak to Stallworth on the phone and make it obvious just how clueless they are. There's the horror of how David Duke in his suit and with his good manners made the hate of the KKK more palatable to the masses. The resurgence of the KKK under Duke, during the time period of BLACK KLANSMAN, has a direct line to the explosion of racism and fascist ideals in the US today.

In 2014, BLACK KLANSMAN was released without much fanfare from the small publisher Police and Fire Publishing. In 2018, it has been re-released from a Big Six publisher to coincide with one of the movies of the summer, BlacKkKlansman. I am thankful to Jordan Peele and the other filmmakers who saw the potential in the story of this once buried investigation and brought it to the forefront of the public consciousness. It's a fascinating story, and a reminder that all of us can act against hate.

This article originally appeared on In Bed With Books