ARC Review: The Lost Causes by Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz

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I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Lost Causes
Authors: Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): They’re the kids that no one knows — or no one wants to know. The rich depressive, the OCD chick, the hypochondriac, the drug abuser, the athlete with anger management issues. All chosen for intensive group therapy because they’re out of other options. They’re lost causes, the therapist tells them. She promises this support group will help them heal.

There’s only one problem. She’s not a therapist. And that water she offers? It contains a dangerous serum that gives each of the kids a psychic power.

Suddenly, they can think clearly, speak to ghosts, see the past, even move objects with their mind. Their earlier problems have vanished, but their new freedom comes with a price.
Sabrina, Gabby, Z, Justin and Andrew are to help the FBI solve the grisly murder that has rocked their small town. Their new powers will help them uncover clues and follow leads that have eluded the authorities. Their outsider status gives them the perfect cover.

But the same traits that make them top investigators also make them vulnerable. As they close in on the murderer, they expose a much larger conspiracy that puts them directly in harm’s way and makes them wonder who — if anyone — they can trust.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

The Lost Causes is such a unique book! It tells the story of a group of outcasts who gain psychic powers to try and solve a mystery. The characters are all so developed, and watching them become friends is heartwarming. I found the book to be a bit unbelievable at times, but it is still a great thriller.

This book has such an intriguing concept. Basically, the FBI recruits a group of teens who everyone has given up on and gives them mysterious powers. The teens work together with the FBI to solve a murder with their new psychic abilities, and their existing issues disappear. I really enjoyed the many twists and turns throughout the novel and the uncertainty surrounding the FBI agents. This in an entertaining scientific thriller that is sure to leave the reader on the edge of their seat!

There is such a great cast of characters in this story. All the Lost Causes have issues before their meeting with the FBI, such as addiction and anger issues, and I loved how developed each of them are. None of the Lost Causes are even friends before they are recruited, and it is so interesting watching them bond over the case. My favourite character was Gabby, who gets visions from the past when she touches an object. Her power really interested me, and it is not too common. I also enjoyed Andrew’s character, since he basically becomes a genius. His sense of humour is so entertaining, and he has some great comebacks to a nasty teacher.

The only issue I really had with the book is the believability. Just the way the FBI was depicted didn’t seem that logical. Them drugging a bunch of kids to solve a murder doesn’t seem like something that would occur in the first place. Also, Nash’s character doesn’t really behave like an FBI agent would. It’s a bit hard to describe without spoilers, but I definitely would have enjoyed the story more if it was more convincing.

The Lost Causes is the story of a group of teens who try and solve a murder using psychic powers. I loved the mix of characters, especially Gabby and Andrew. However, the concept is a bit hard to believe, so I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I could have.

Waiting on Wednesday #119: Love Songs & Other Lies by Jessica Pennington

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s book:

35034369Title: Love Songs & Other Lies
Author: Jessica Pennington
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: April 24, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads): It’s summer romance and second chances, the songs that stay in your head, and the boy you’ll never forget.

Two years after rock-song-worthy heartbreak, Virginia Miller is looking forward to a fun, carefree summer. Her friends just landed a spot on a battling bands reality show, and Vee is joining them for her dream internship on tour. Three months with future rockstars seems like an epic summer plan. Until she learns she’ll also be sharing the bus with Cam. Her first love, and her first heartbreak. Now Vee has more than just cameras to dodge, and Cam’s determination to win her forgiveness is causing TMZ-worthy problems for both of them. With cameras rolling, she’ll have to decide if her favorite breakup anthem deserves a new ending. And if she’s brave enough to expose her own secrets to keep Cam’s under wraps.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

Thoughts:

I have been loving books about bands and music lately, so I am very excited for Love Songs & Other Lies. I am excited about the battle of the bands reality show and the road trip aspects. What is interesting about this book is the fact that the main character isn’t in the band, but an intern. This story sounds like it’s going to be super cute yet super angsty, and I can’t wait until the spring to give it a read!

ARC Review: Something Like Happy by Eva Woods

Book cover for Something Like Happy by Eva Woods

Title: Something Like Happy
Author: Eva Woods
Publisher: Graydon House
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Stars: 5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): With wry wit and boundless heart, Eva Woods delivers an unforgettable tale of celebrating triumphs great and small, seizing the day, and always remembering to live in the moment.

“It’s simple, really. You’re just meant to do one thing every day that makes you happy. Could be little things. Could be big. In fact, we’re doing one right now…”

Annie Hebden is stuck. Stuck in her boring job, with her irritating roommate, in a life no thirty-five-year-old would want. But deep down, Annie is still mourning the terrible loss that tore a hole through the perfect existence she’d once taken for granted—and hiding away is safer than remembering what used to be. Until she meets the eccentric Polly Leonard.

Bright, bubbly, intrusive Polly is everything Annie doesn’t want in a friend. But Polly is determined to finally wake Annie up to life. Because if recent events have taught Polly anything, it’s that your time is too short to waste a single day—which is why she wants Annie to join her on a mission…

One hundred days. One hundred new ways to be happy. Annie’s convinced it’s impossible, but so is saying no to Polly. And on an unforgettable journey that will force her to open herself to new experiences—and perhaps even new love with the unlikeliest of men—Annie will slowly begin to realize that maybe, just maybe, there’s still joy to be found in the world. But then it becomes clear that Polly’s about to need her new friend more than ever…and Annie will have to decide once and for all whether letting others in is a risk worth taking. Continue reading

ARC Review: Stock the Crock by Phyllis Good

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I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Stock the Crock: 100 Must-Have Slow-Cooker Recipes that Home Cooks Can’t Live Without
Author: Phyllis Good
Publisher: Oxmoor House
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Amazon): The ultimate resource for a new generation of slow-cooker fans from the New York Times bestselling author who has sold 12 million cookbooks!

Stock the Crock brings together the expertise of America’s most popular slow-cooker authority with a fresh collection of 100 essential, innovative, and easy-to-prepare recipes-each with variations allowing readers to customize the dish according to their dietary needs. You’ll find beloved classics, as well as dishes you might be surprised can be done successfully in a slow cooker. (Hello, slow-cooker creme brulee!) Whether you are looking to accommodate gluten-free, paleo, or vegetarian diets, or prefer slow-cooker meals perfectly sized for one or two people, this cookbook provides smart ideas, more than 100 recipe photos, and cooking hacks that will change the way you use your favorite fuss-free cooking appliance. Learn simple make-ahead tricks, convenient baking tips, and how to make two recipes at once using the same cooker, so you can simplify cooking and spend more time enjoying your family and friends around a wonderful, delicious meal.

Goodreads | Amazon

Stock the Crock is the perfect cookbook for anyone new to using a slow-cooker, or for those looking for some different ideas to shake up their routine. The book includes tips for how to choose the right device for a recipe, and how to alter a recipe to make it work for different dietary needs. There are a variety of recipes that range from simple soups to yummy desserts, making this a must-have for fans of the crock pot.

I don’t use my crock pot often, but after reading this recipe book, I am inspired to try using it more often. With a little prep earlier in the day, it is definitely a great way to enjoy a healthy meal after a busy day. I really enjoyed all of the ideas that are included in the book about choosing the right size of crock pot. I never considered that some recipes are better suited to a smaller appliance. Also, each recipe includes a method to make the recipe for vegetarians and picky eaters. I love this because I often see a recipe that looks perfect only to discover that there is an ingredient that doesn’t fit with my tastes.

soup

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Red Onions

I have only tried the Butternut Squash Soup recipe so far and it was super easy and really tasty. I have also bookmarked quite a few others to try. The variety of things that you can pop into a crock pot is actually mind blowing. There is also a recipe to create brownies in a slow-cooker and I am really curious to find out if this actually works!

If you are looking for a way to enjoy homemade meals and don’t have the time to spend preparing them, this cookbook has some great ideas to get you started. I am going to be ordering a copy of this one for my own kitchen, as it is so versatile and practical. I highly recommend Stock the Crock to anyone interested in learning how to make the best use of a slow-cooker.

Friday Reads #21: Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Friday Reads

Book Beginnings is a book meme hosted by Rose City Reader where participants share the first sentence (or so) of the book, along with initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice, and the rules are quite simple: Grab a book, any book, and turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader. Find any non-spoilery sentence(s) and post.

This week’s book:

32991569Summary (from Goodreads): Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

Goodreads | Amazon

I have just started reading this one and I am already enjoying it. I am finding the concept a bit mysterious and I can’t wait to find out what Tu Reviens is all about. I love books like this that have so many layers to them.

Book Beginning:

The house on the cliff looks like a ship disappearing into fog. The spire a mast, the trees whipping against its base, the waves of a ravening sea.

Friday 56:

Before they get into their rooms, he stops at an unusual door Jane hasn’t noticed yet. It’s wooden and arched, with a doormat that reads WELCOME TO MY WORLDS.