Title: The Infinity of You & Me
Author: J.Q. Coyle
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: November 8th 2016
Genre: Fantasy,Fiction, YA
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Links: GoodReads . Amazon
What if every life-altering choice you made could split your world into infinite worlds?
Almost fifteen, Alicia is smart and funny with a deep connection to the poet Sylvia Plath, but she’s ultimately failing at life. With a laundry list of diagnoses, she hallucinates different worlds—strange, decaying, otherworldly yet undeniably real worlds that are completely unlike her own with her single mom and one true friend. In one particularly vivid hallucination, Alicia is drawn to a boy her own age named Jax who’s trapped in a dying universe. Days later, her long-lost father shows up at her birthday party, telling her that the hallucinations aren’t hallucinations, but real worlds; she and Jax are bound by a strange past and intertwining present. This leads her on a journey to find out who she is while trying to save the people and worlds she loves. J.Q. Coyle’s The Infinity of You & Me is a wild ride through unruly hearts and vivid worlds guaranteed to captivate.
I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange with an honest review.
A Great concept, with beautiful lines that are 101% quotable.
I absolutely loved the idea behind this book. Alicia is misdiagnosed with many mental illnesses, where she tends hallucinate a lot. Her hallucinations keep her jumping from one world to the next, each of which has a different versions of the main characters.
I want to talk about one of the main characters, Hafiz, who is actually Alicia's best friend. I was really happy to see a Muslim character with an Arabic name in the book, yet I was disappointed. The only scene present in this book was when he was bullied in school and called a terrorist. Now, I am glad to see that author is trying to fight the wrong Stigma that is always thrown at muslims, but that was the only scene that showed me that Hafiz is a muslim.
I am really disappointed because this scene is always present whenever a secondary main muslim character is introduced in a book. I believe that it makes people think of terrorism whenever they hear the words: Muslim/Islam.
I also didn't like how certain things were explained in this book. I have already talked to the author privately about it, and it is a thing that not everyone would sense while reading it. She listened and acknowledged what I had to say, which was great. But I hope that in the future, books with diverse characters would be beta read by at least 5 beta readers who are a part of that diverse characterization.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It will take you places that you will be thrilled to see. I will definitely pick up more books written by J.Q. Coyle.
I give it 3.5/5 stars.
About the Author
Growing up, J.Q. COYLE was a fan of stories. But more than that, a fan of possibilities. So, it only seemed only natural to write a story in which the possibilities are limitless.
Author: Pauline C. Harris
Publisher: Patchwork Press
Publication Date: October 24, 2014
My Rating: 4/5 stars ( B)
Penelope lives in a world of advanced technology but many claim society has yet to catch up. Marionettes have advanced in the form of robots; lifelike creations remote controlled to perform super human tasks.
When Penelope makes a deal with Jed, a marionette-obsessed scientist, she doesn’t fully realize what she’s getting herself into. In order for Jed to take her away from the orphanage she lives in, she must first agree to undergo his experiments and tests, ultimately creating something no one ever dreamed possible; the first living marionette.
I received an e ARC copy of puppet from Patchwork press via Netgalley in exchange with an honest review.
Puppet is a retelling of the classic Pinocchio.
The author finds such an exquisite and unique plot filled with advanced technology & action and weavers it perfectly with many Pinocchio aspects.
It took me a bit to see the Pinocchio resemblance,but once i saw it, there was no going back. It is magnificent !
I loved how the author kept going back and forth between the life she gave away, and was what she signed up for really worth it.
The Self discovery journey is mind blowing,especially when everyone seems to control you , except for you.
I think the romance element was a bit rushed. There were literally no signs to show that those two certain characters both had feelings for each other.
Also, there was that one description that was repeated way more than it needed to convey the message.
However, this was definitely an enjoyable read, a perfect retelling, and a great self discovery story.
I gave Puppet 4/5 stars and a B according to my own rating scale.
Olivia, time is almost over due."
I open my eyes to see how gloomy this place is. Hearing a voice no matter how serine, without seeing a figure frightens me. My right arm starts throbbing and the walls of darkness start spinning around me. I hold my right arm closer to my chest and my fingers run over a scar on my wrist.
A shadow suddenly appears right in front of me. The face is covered , but from the unusual hair style hanging outside the hood I can tell that she is a woman. She reached for my right hand and electricity sparks in every inch of my body. I feel like I have zero gravity and suddenly I can't feel the ground holding my legs. I was flying, no, levitating ! The wind suddenly starts blowing, as if it was generated from this supernatural electric spark.
The hood covering the Shadows face is slightly moved to uncover half of her face. Her eyes are purple , and her black lips reveal the following words
"Remember Olivia, the past is not what it seems to be" She let goes of my hand and the city of nothing I was in starts being sucked into this gigantic black hole.
Gravity pulls my numb body along and I am entrapped between screaming out of terror and shouting out my questions .
I decided to give it a shot and shout " Who are you ,why do you look oddly familiar , and what do you mean by vague past" . I feel like I have been thrown out as the black hole sucks me in , and I end up falling on my bed.
I sit up straight and look through the window to spot the moon ruling the sky. I wipe the sweat droplets on my forehead and try to make sense of the dream I just had. The door slams open and I see the worried look on my mother's face as she runs toward me to hold me in her arms.
"Did you have another bad dream, Olivia?" she asks.
"I guess so, but I can't remember anything" I had to lie to her.
My mother goes mad when I bring up anything mystical. I always seem to let my imagination get the best of me, in other words, I get lost in the fairy tale stories and end up thinking it was real. My dreams always give me a reason to do so.The frown on my mother's face is still there, so I draw a smile and reassure her that I am okay. She finally sighs , kisses me goodnight, and leaves my room.
As soon as the door is shut, I tip toe to my door and wait until I hear my mom shutting her bedroom's door. I run back to my bed , sit on the cold porcelain floor, and roll under my bed. I start exploring the edge of my bed which is almost glued to the wall with my hands, knocking every second until I reach it. An area that feels hollow . My fingers runs over a small hole. I whisper Got you as I pull the wooden piece and uncover a small note book and a small pen. I have been keeping track of my strange dreams ever since I learned how to write, and before that, I used to draw anything I could remember from my dreams. However, during that time I did not have a place to hide all of these things. My mother used to burn them in the fireplace and tell me that I should never think or be fascinated by the magical Realm. She finds magic stupid and vague, but the only thing that I have towards it is curiosity .
I start recording what I saw in my dream, and then start going through my previous entries. I have been having a theory, and I have awaited this day to prove it. On the first of July, I always get to see an extra feature of the Shadow. The creepy thing is ,the first of July is actually my birthday. This year, I saw her Purple eyes, which is such an exquisite feature. I have never seen a person with purple eyes before. At least, not a regular human being . Last year, I saw her blue bangs. There must be some kind of a logical explanation that links between my birthday date and the revealing of a new feature of the shadow. I return my note back to its secret place and go back to bed. The sun will rise soon and I want to be ready for my 15th birthday party.
I wake up to the sound of my singing mother and my 2 years old sister. I smile as they approach me and I try to fix my hair because I know that my mother will suddenly take a picture of me, and she does. I blow the candles on my birthday cake and give each of them a huge kiss. I wish dad was here today; He passed away last year after giving me the best present ever. My very own Horse; he named her Fidel. I still remember the day he was gone. I was sitting beside him while the doctor took my mother outside their room to tell her that there is nothing to do to save him from the plague. Dad's last words were the most bizarre thing that I have ever heard.
" Olivia , Fidel is no ordinary horse. She is bound to you in ways you could never imagine. She is and always will be loyal to you. Take her with you wherever you go, and she will always guard you. Do not tell your mother that I read you fairy tales; she gets very upset when such subject is brought up."
I started sobbing in a low voice because I don't want to upset him. I just want him here with me as much longer as possible.
"Don't cry dear child, you have such a great future ahead of you. Take this" He hands me a necklace with the a strange looking pendant.
It looked like a sailing hook where one half was wrapped with spines, and the other was coated with eye-catching violet color.
"Wow, these look expensive dad. It is lovely, thanks .You did not have to get them." Tears are now raining down my cheeks.
"Only the best for my daughter, I know that I won't be here next year, but I wanted to give you an early 15th birthday gift. Remember, with time the truth will be revealed, and no matter what happen, promise me that you face what you may have always feared."
He stops talking, stops breathing, and his eyes shut down. I remember crying for weeks after his death. I remember trying to analyze what he told me. I wrote it down , read it, and still I could not understand anything.
"Olivia, you can't be serious. It is your 15th birthday and you are still in bed" Selena shouts outside my window room.
My mom heads towards our porch door, and welcomes Selena with a warm hug. Selena marches to my room, grabs my cake plate, and finishes it up herself.
"Um, hello, birthday girl here. Should not I be the one eating the entire cake" I say with a laugh. She places a hand on her hips while scanning my closet , then grabs my old ripped jeans with a pick blouse to go with it.
"That is because you are slow like hell. Now got get ready, you and I will pick up Patrick , then go to the Carnival"
I start stuttering."The Ca-ca –r, sorry did you just say the Carnival ?"
The Carnival tickets are so expensive and none of us can actually afford it.
"Yes , is not that amazing. We have been all saving for this for a while now. Patrick, your mother, even your father and I have been planning for this day for two years now".
I can't believe they have done all of this for me, and ,my sweet father, he did not just give me an expensive necklace and a unique horse, but also a day to remember at the Carnival.
"Can I go too", my sister Rosie is pulling my mother's dress.
"Sorry dear, you are too young to attend. But do not worry , I have planned a couple of fun activities for you and me to do today" mother says as she reaches out and carry her.
After I get dressed, we ride Fidel, go to Patrick's house, and from there we head to the Carnival. A giant guy stamps our right wrists, and let us enter. He looks so weird; I don't think that it is normal for a person to be that huge. His beard is braided and his head is shaved and tattooed . Apparently , no one else notices anything weird about him, so I just keep my superficial comments to myself. We start admiring all of what is around us, from acrobatic to magic "Trick" shows. I must be hallucinating, cause every time I look a person in the eye, that person appears to have purple eyes for just a second. I stop and take a deep breath; I should not let my imagination affect my reality. Patrick and Selena walk towards me with concern.
"Are you okay," Selena asks.
"Yea, I am fine. It must be my Asthma acting out "
"Oh, that must be from all of the people smoking and grilling out here. Let us climb that hill. Its peak touches the skies, so the breeze must be refreshing."
"Sounds great " I say and we all start walking towards the hill.
I prevent making any eye contact with anyone and try to focus. There is a fine line between my imagination and reality, and today is not a good time to cross it!
As we reach the peak, I forget about everything and just enjoy my time with my best friends. But being me, happiness only lasts for so long. I suddenly trip over a small rock , and I start rolling down the hill. The weird thing is that I can hear my screams, but I don't hear anyone holler behind me. I finally reach the flat ground, but I am still rolling quickly from the speed I was falling from. Nausea overwhelms me and there is nothing that I can do to stop myself rather than wishing to bump into something. Prayer answered, I let out a groan as I crash into one of the wooden sticks holding a small tent. Luckily for its owner, the tent does not collapse, but for me, my right arm hurts a lot. I am unable to stand up because the sky and the ground seem to be collaging into one thing. My head is till spinning and having a throbbing arm does not help.
A tall woman emerges out of the tent, and I catch her staring at my chest. I look down to see that the necklace my dad has given is exposed. I was wearing it under my blouse; it must have jumped out when I was falling.
"What a lovely pendant, where did you get it from" she asks.
"It was a gift from my father. Sorry for bothering you ,I just fell from up there and my friends must be on their way to help me."
"I do not see anyone, why do not you come in and I will help you with your arm".
I look behind me, and I see that they are no longer standing on the hill. Where did they go and why did they leave me. This lady seem nice, but by how she dress, I think she is a seer.
She is wearing shades to cover her eyes. I heard they have funny looking eyes. Her aquatic hair rolls down until her hips with perfect waved ends. I hesitate before asking, but then I go for it.
"Are you a Seer?"
A genuine smile forms on her lips, she gives me her hand to help me up and says
" Yes, now come in, I have a lot to tell you Olivia."
I know that I kind of guessed that she was a seer, but still, hearing a name from here startled me. This is either a dream, or a concussion effect cause last time I checked, seers exist only in stories. The inside of the tent is huge, and I see her noticing my astonishment of what I see. She answers me before I even ask her.
"A wizard once owned me a favor, and I cashed it out on this. An infinite protected space on a small piece of real land."
She walks toward me holding a piece of metal that looks just like my pendant.
"This looks just like my pendant; is this some kind of a symbol or something ?"
She does not answer me. She walks to the counter, sterilizes the metal, and asks me to give her my wrist. I give it to her out of curiosity , and watched her place it on my right wrist. As soon as it touches my skin, electricity flows into my entire body and I get this sensation that feels so familiar . The room is suddenly so dark and my body goes cold. I hold my right arm and fingers runs over a scar. How could this be possible? She suddenly approaches me and I take off her shades. Oh shit, she has purple eyes. This could mean that I have either lost my mind, or aged a year overnight. I do not make the same mistake of wasting time , I say what is in my mind directly .
"I think I have seen you in my dreams before, but you look kind of different."
She releases a smile that I think she has been holding for a while."Because it is not me. She is a seer, but not me" My wrist has a tingling feeling. I look at my it and I see the symbol engraved on it.
" Your dreams have a meaning, and their messenger is someone that you know very well. You are no ordinary child, dear. You are supposed to bring back the light. There is a reason why you have skipped that last few fights. You were left here to be our guide."
I take a moment to admire the poetic music, then burst in laughter.
"I am sorry, but this sounds like bullshit to me. I know that what is going on with me is not normal, but I am definitely not a guide to anyone. My horse Fidel is actually the person who brought me here. She knows the streets better than I do."
" You have no clue of what you are, come with me I want to show you something."
She guides me into a corridor that seems to be endless, each side having an infinite number of doors.
She stands in front of one and opens it. I suddenly see the woman from my dreams, holding a beautiful baby, and crying in her husband's arm. I stand gaping, this cannot be real, this man looks just like my dad. But instead of a bald head, his hair was brown like mine. He also wore a crown. The seer closes the door and takes me into her arms. I am sobbing and I do not know why; remembering my dad always make me cry, but who is that woman with him, and where is that baby.
"You are a daughter of a royal wizard and the highest Seer of all time, who is also my teacher. All seers have purple eyes and aquatic hair, this is why I looked oddly familiar to her"
I am still speechless, so she carries on explaining.
"A few of us know about this earth, even though we co exist together, any excess from either worlds should happen through a portal. Each door represents a different timeline or dimension, which is guarded by yours truly. 14 years ago, an wicked witch took our beautiful land and destroyed it. She was so powerful that no one could stop her. As a seer , your mother knew that was going to happen a couple of years before this happened and the only one to stop her was going to be an offspring of a Seer and a wizard. She went to the king, your father, and they decided to get married for the sake of our land. "
"So I was brought here to live away from the chaos in the name of fixing everything later" I ask as Fidel suddenly merges into the tent and stands beside the Seer
"Olivia, I am sorry , but we are running out of time . I will send you to our Physic, he has the knowledge of almost everything . He will be training and preparing you. "
"What, no I still have a lot to ask. Where is my real mother, whom was I staying with all this time? I bet she is worried right now" I do my best to get answers.
" Just like we inhabit this world, we can also inhabit bodies. The reason no one came after you is because you never left that place. The real Olivia is back in control of her body, and you now look like a child of a wizard and a seer."
I stare at the mirror to see my long wavy brown hair and my purple eyes. I ride my horse and we enter the portal. This might all be a dream, but I ride Fidel, and into the portal we walk. I may not be a hero , but I am curious !
Title: The Night Garden
Author: Lisa Van Allen
Publisher:Random House, Ballantine Books
Publication Date: October 7th, 2014
Genre: Women's Fiction, Magical Realism
My Rating: 5/5 stars ( A- )
For fans of Sarah Addison Allen, Aimee Bender, and Alice Hoffman, The Night Garden is a luminous novel of love, forgiveness, and the possibilities that arise when you open your heart.
Nestled in the bucolic town of Green Valley in upstate New York, the Pennywort farm appears ordinary, yet at its center lies something remarkable: a wild maze of colorful gardens that reaches beyond the imagination. Local legend says that a visitor can gain answers to life’s most difficult problems simply by walking through its lush corridors.
Yet the labyrinth has never helped Olivia Pennywort, the garden’s beautiful and enigmatic caretaker. She has spent her entire life on her family’s land, harboring a secret that forces her to keep everyone at arm’s length. But when her childhood best friend, Sam Van Winkle, returns to the valley, Olivia begins to question her safe, isolated world and wonders if she at last has the courage to let someone in. As she and Sam reconnect, Olivia faces a difficult question: Is the garden maze that she has nurtured all of her life a safe haven or a prison?
I received an eARC of The Night House from Random House via edelweiss in exchange with an honest review.
This book is a great collision of Shatter Me's Juliette and the beauty of The Secret Garden , two of my favorite reads.
Lisa Van Allen has such an exquisite way of painting such a creative magical realem, then bringing to to life with her amazing description. Her writing is not only limited to this, but also the beauty of portraying a person's state of mind and the credibility of storytelling.
It took me a while to be absolutely into this book, but once I did, I couldn't but it down.This book gave me butterflies in my stomach and a few tears rolling down my face. You learn lots of important lessons about life, like how you may not fit in like anyone else and still be happy and like sometimes people do stupid things with intentions to protect you, then end up hurting you.That life can take something very important from you, yet you should keep looking for a way to cope with it and make the best of it.
It was told mainly from three different perspectives, where you got more up close and personal, and you get to learn about the character's past memories before any of the other characters, making you feel like a secret keeper.
Sometimes I got lost to if a certain character was dead or not. There was also that one sentence that I found to be a bit creepy, in an awkward way, but that did not effect my overview of this book.
I am looking forward to read more from this outstanding author with her beautiful descriptions, down to earth characters, and finally but not least, the captivating story.
I gave this book a 5/5 stars and an A- according to my own rating scale.
Title: War Kids
Author: Hayley J Lawson
Publication Date: August 20, 2014
Genre: War, Fiction
My Rating: 3/5 stars (C+)
When fourteen-year-old Jada wakes up in a hospital, the last thing she
thinks is that her life has completely changed forever. But when the very real
civil war forces her to flee from every open space, she must use the firearm
skills her father taught her to reunite with him and protect herself.
Armed with a single gun and a key to an unknown locker, Jada
crosses Syria on a journey with a group of children called the Fearless Freedom
With the leader, Zak, they mount a plan to rescue their fathers while they
try to cope with the merciless murders of their families. As Jada and Zak lead the group
together, love blossoms, but with soldiers hot on their tail, they need to
stay vigilant in the face of war.
I received an eARC copy of this book directly from the author in return of an honest review .
This book is a great magnifying glass on what children in war witness and go through. When one of them loses a family
member and shed a tear, I also shed a tear. This is great to raise awareness on what kids are going through in countries with wars. A lot of people would not consider researching what injustice is
happening outside their own country
I loved how the author has showed how children, no matter what they go through, try to be happy even if it is after a great loss, even if it lasts only for a few moments.
The book is told from different point of views and sometimes we get an old memory of one of those characters;however, Jada dominates the story , as in, it basically revolves around her.
I believe that this is a work of fiction, as only few would go and do all of these things. I think that there should be at least on group of people who are willing to find the bad guy. Perhaps the freedom fighters could be this group, but I was looking for people who were not seeking a safe place. Someone to fight the bad guy, even if they are few, or if they end up dead .
The start of the story was the strongest part in this book. In my opinion, it was more important to show the world the concepts of tragic loss.
I am not sure if the book has a sequel, but it would be great if it did. The
ending was very interesting and I would be looking forward to read it
if it did.
The profit of this book will go to helping kids in Syria, so buy purchasing this book, you enjoy a great read and support a huge
I gave this book 3/5 stars, and C+ according to my rating scale.