Book Review: STAGS

S.T.A.G.S.

Seventeen-year-old Greer, a scholarship girl at a prestigious private school, St Aidan the Great School (known as STAGS), soon realizes that the school is full of snobs and spoilt rich brats, many of whom come from aristocratic families who have attended the institute throughout the centuries. She’s immediately ignored by her classmates. All the teachers are referred to as Friars (even the female ones), but the real driving force behind the school is a group of prefects known as the Medievals, whose leader, Henry de Warlencourt, Greer finds both strangely intriguing as well as attractive. The Medievals are all good-looking, clever and everyone wants to be among their circle of friends. Greer is therefore surprised when she receives an invitation from Henry to spend a long weekend with him and his friends at his family house in the Lake District, especially when she learns that two other “outsiders” have also been invited: Shafeen and Chanel. As the weekend unfolds, Greer comes to the chilling realization that she and two other “losers” were invited only because they were chosen to become prey in a mad game of manhunt.


I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.


3.5 stars

I enjoyed this book. It reminds me of A Dangerous Game and stuff like that. I liked the characters, and the MC was pretty intelligent. Its different from a lot of thriller and private school stories, though the pacing was a little slow, I overall enjoyed it. The cover is SUPER nice, especially in person.  If it sounds like something you’d like, you probably will.

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Book Review: Tasty Latest and Greatest

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Tasty Latest and Greatest

Everything You Want to Cook Right Now (An Official Tasty Cookbook)

by Tasty

Tasty, Buzzfeed’s popular cooking brand, delivers both comforting and healthy weeknight dinners for meat-lovers, vegetarians, and vegans alike, plus treats like ice cream, chocolate desserts, and rainbow recipes galore. You’ve been mesmerized by their top down recipe videos, but there’s still something about having a tangible album of edible deliciousness at your fingertips. Enter: TASTY LATEST & GREATEST. This cookbook is just that: 80+ winning recipes, anointed by fans like you, that have risen to the top of the heap, powered by likes and comments and shares and smiles and full bellies. They represent how you’re cooking today. Whether it’s a trend-driven dish like a pastel glitter-bombed unicorn cake or a classic like lasagna, every recipe has staying power. Now you can deliver on the promise of a great dish whenever the urge strikes. Get ready—your cooking is about to go viral.


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


3.5/4 Stars


I love the Tasty videos ad gif recipes on Buzzed. They are always super easy and delicious, so I wanted to check out the official cookbook of fan favorites.

The recipes all have their own videos, but I find it easier to follow written instructions. The instructions are all written clearly, which is good for a cookbook.

I found the organization lacking, rather than grouping by meal – entree, dessert etc. recipes are categorized as classics,etc. Its fine once you make sense of it, just a little odd if your looking for something.

The pictures are all great, but I wish there were more of them. Some recipes don’t have any pictures, and several pages are just white with black text and nothing more.

Overall though, I think this is a solid cookbook, especially if you like Tasty.

Book Review: The Chalk Man

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In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown and thinks he’s put his past behind him, but then he gets a letter in the mail containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank–until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Hardcover, 280 pages
Published January 9th 2018 by Crown Publishing Group (NY)

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for ann honest review!


4 Stars


This book is great for fans of creepy, mystery character driven stories – it reminds me a lot of shows like Stranger Things.

I love the dual narrative – present day and the 1980s. And the characters are all realistic – even if I couldn’t really relate to most of them (narrator is in turns a 12 year old boy and a middle aged man).

Its a good thriller, even if its a little slow or unclear in some parts. The writing style is really nice. I enjoyed it a lot overall.

TW: there is a rape, so beware of that if you pick this up.

Book Review: Fliers

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Official Summary:

The perfect present for buds and dormroom inhabitors, this collection of viral fake fliers is at once strange, thought-provoking, and hilarious. Printed on heavy, cardstock-like paper, these 20 “fake” fliers both celebrate and embody surreal posters–like the kind plastered all over college campuses, only taken to the next level. As a bonus feature, the sturdy paperback comes with a french-fold jacket that, when removed, opens up to reveal a larger poster. Images include a photo of a found duck mistaken for a dog that the poster is now keeping and an anonymous group posting about a quiet universe. There is something in this collection for everyone who ever looked at a postered telephone pole or coffee house bulletin board and wondered “is there more out there?”

Hardcover
Published October 3rd 2017 by Clarkson Potter Publishers
I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review!
Star Rating: 4 Stars

Review:

This is less a book and more an…I’m not even sure what to call it. There isn’t much to read, it is exactly what it sounds like. A bunch of college-bulletin-board-esque fakes fliers and posters. Its more like an art project. I will say the art is pretty nice, and its well put together, with nice thick paper and the ability to easily tear out posters to put them elsewhere. Its pretty funny, but odd. If it sounds like something you’ll like, than you probably will, but don’t go in thinking its a proper book or for any explanation behind each flier.

Book Review: Comic Book Story Of Video Games

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I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

October 3rd 2017

My Star Rating:

5 Stars

Official Summary:

A complete, illustrated history of video games–highlighting the machines, games, and people who have made gaming a worldwide, billion dollar industry/artform–told in a graphic novel format.
Author Jonathan Hennessey and illustrator Jack McGowan present the first full-color, chronological origin story for this hugely successful, omnipresent artform and business. Hennessey provides readers with everything they need to know about video games–from their early beginnings during World War II to the emergence of arcade games in the 1970s to the rise of Nintendo to today’s app-based games like Angry Birds and Pokemon Go. Hennessey and McGowan also analyze the evolution of gaming as an artform and its impact on society. Each chapter features spotlights on major players in the development of games and gaming that contains everything that gamers and non-gamers alike need to understand and appreciate this incredible phenomenon.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

I am a big fan of video games, ever since I was three years old and my dad bought a Nintendo 64 and a Gameboy. The first games I played were Pokemon Snap and Leafgreen (this is what motivated me to learn to read).

I am also a big fan of comics and graphic novels. Normally, I stick to Marvel/DC type comics, but this was on Blogging for Books, and I thought it looked too cool to not request.

And I was not disappointed. The artwork is supercool. The art is really well done, with the panels easy to follow, and the artwork of various games really well depicted.

Despite being nonfiction, the format made it so it didn’t get bogged down in details and thus never got to the point of some nonfiction books where they get boring no matter how interesting the subject is. Everything is well explained, and I thought it was super interesting. You don’t need a vast knowledge of video games to enjoy it (I certainly don’t know much beyond Nintendo) but its certainly nice to recognize events/people/games in the book.

If you have an interest in video games on the meta level, this is a really great read.

Book Review: 10 Things I Can See From Here

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Official Summary:

Think positive. Don’t worry; be happy. Keep calm and carry on.

Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.

Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves?

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review!


3.5 stars

I enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t my favorite. I haven’t read many books with a lesbian MC, so that was interesting. And I thought Maeve’s anxiety was accurately portrayed to the best of my knowledge, but it did ratchet up my own. The entire premise is a little over dramatic for my taste, and while the plot was slow at times, I thought it was pretty well done. Overall, I liked it.

AudioBook Review: Batgirl At Superhero High

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ABOUT
BATGIRL AT SUPER HERO HIGH
(DC SUPER HERO GIRLS)

Get your cape on with the DC Super Hero Girls™— the unprecedented new Super Hero universe especially for girls! Readers of all ages can fly high with the all-new adventures of Wonder Woman™, Supergirl™, Batgirl™, and some of the world’s most iconic female super heroes as high schoolers!

Batgirl has always hidden in the shadows—but does she have what it takes to stand in the spotlight at Super Hero High?

Barbara Gordon has always been an off-the-charts, just-forget-about-the-test super-genius and tech whiz, and then she gets the offer of a lifetime when Supergirl recognizes that Barbara’s talents make her an ideal candidate for Super Hero High. Donning the cape and cowl, Barbara Gordon becomes Batgirl, ready to train at the most elite school on the planet, next to some of the most powerful teenagers in the galaxy. She’s always had the heart of a hero . . . but now she’ll have to prove that she can be one. Good thing she loves a challenge!

Award-winning author Lisa Yee brings mystery, thrills, and laughs to this groundbreaking series that follows DC Comics most iconic female Super Heroes and Super-Villains. Move over Batman™ and Superman™—the DC Super Hero Girls are ready to save the day and have fun doing it!


Chronology:
Companion/third in series (but can standalone)

Release Date:
January 3rd 2017

Age Range:
Definitely older children, lower middle grade. Maybe ages 8-12, ideally.


Star Rating:

4 Stars


Review:

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ll know two things. I rarely read middle grade, and I loathe audiobooks. Actually, when I requested this book I didn’t realize it was an audiobook. But I went with it. My sister was watching the show, and it made me want to request this.

I like the idea of these books, making superheroes for girls too, not just books. Encouraging reading with the books etc. Its pretty cheesy and dumbed down, but it is a lower middle grade book, so I expected as much. I do think pretween girls, which its intended for, will enjoy it if they enjoy superhero stories at all.

In the beginning, it was pretty clear this was a sequel/companion, as previous events are recapped, but it didn’t impair the story at all past the initial “wait what” moment. At certain times, the characters seemed to act a bit older than their supposed ages, and it through me off when hearing a familiar DC comic name that was characterized differently, so get used to the idea of “alternate DC universe with every hero and villain a 12 year old in superhero boarding school”.

I did think it was well written, and I like Mae Whitman’s narrating, even if I cannot get into it as much as I’d’ve liked because the audiobook took about 5x as long to listen to as it would have been to read.

Overall, I thought it was a cute story. If you fall into the target audience (or enjoy books for that target audience) I’d recommend it.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Yee’s debut novel, Millicent Min, Girl Genius, won the prestigious Sid Fleischman Humor Award. Her other novels for young people, with nearly two million copies in print, include Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time, So Totally Emily Ebers, Absolutely Maybe, and two books about a fourth grader, Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) and Bobby the Brave (Sometimes). Lisa is also the author of American Girl’s Kanani books and Good Luck, Ivy. Her recent novel, Warp Speed, is about a Star Trek geek who gets beat up every day at school.Lisa is a former Thurber House Children’s Writer-in-Residence whose books have been chosen as an NPR Best Summer Read, a Sports Illustrated Kids Hot Summer Read, and a USA Today Critics’ Top Pick.

Visit Lisa at lisayee.com or check out her blog at lisayee.livejournal.com.


 I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review. This is my honest opinion.

Book Review: Alexander Hamilton’s Guide To Life

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Original Release Date:

September 20th, 2016

Date I Read The Book:

October 2016

My Star Rating:

4 stars

Official Summary:

The life and lessons of the Founding Father who mastered the arts of wit, war, and wealth, longbefore becomingthe subject of Broadway sHamilton: An American Musical

Two centuries after his death, Alexander Hamilton is shining once more under the world s spotlight and we need him now more than ever.
Hamilton was a self-starter. Scrappy. Orphaned as a child, he came to America with nothing but a code of honor and a hunger to work. He then went on to help win the Revolutionary War and ratify the Constitution, create the country s financial system, charm New York s most eligible ladies, and land his face on our $10 bill.The ultimate underdog, he combined a fearless, independent spirit with a much-needed dose of American optimism.
Hamilton died before he could teach us the lessons he learned, but Alexander Hamilton s Guide to Life unlocks his core principles intended for anyone interested in success, romance, money, or dueling. They include:
.Speak with Authority Even If You Have None (Career)
.Seduce with Your Strengths (Romance)
.Find Time for the Quills and the Bills (Money)
.Put the Father in Founding Father (Friends & Family)
.Being Right Trumps Being Popular (Leadership)
For history buffs and pop-culture addicts alike, this mix of biography, humor, and advice offers a fresh take on a nearly forgotten Founding Father, and will spark a revolution in your own life.”

Author Bio:

JEFF WILSER is the author of four books, including The Good News About What’s Bad for You…The Bad News About What’s Good for You, named by Amazon as one of the Best Books of the Month in both Nonfiction and Humor. His work has appeared in print or online at GQ, Esquire, New York magazine, Glamour, Cosmo, Mental Floss, MTV, and The Huffington Post. His TV appearances have ranged from BBC News to The View. He lives in New York.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

As both a lover of the Hamilton Musical and an APUSH student, I thought this book was great!

It was entertaining, in a way biographies usually aren’t. Witty and full of pop-culture references, even if a lot went over my head, I didn’t get bored and have to put it down.

The book is told in a very narrative style, with little references to Miranda’s musical and other pop culture sprinkled throughout. Its well written, and requires no prior historical knowledge. As far as I can tell, it is historically accurate. Its also pretty funny, and reading the book did help supplement my APUSH reading (because wow our textbook is dry).

If you’re a fan of history or the Hamilton musical, and want to know more, I’d recommend this book.

Also, you can claim to be studying.

Read If You Like:

The Hamilton musical!

Historical nonfiction with pop culture references.

Or you are taking American history, this is much more entertaining than the textbook.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review!

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My Current Review Copy TBR

I just wrote a discussion on how I keep track of my review copies and how to request arcs, and I thought I show you my current list.

I keep a word document on my computer with where I got it from, the format its in, and when the review is due. If I’m not given a date for the review (as is the case with netgalley) I just use the release date, or as close to the release date as I can get.

The italics signifies the review is due SOON. (I usually highlight, but I don’t know how to do that here…).

Though, I want to read, and schedule the reviews for all these books by the end of the year. That is my 2016 goal.

Color Coding:

  • Orange: Non-fiction (Any kind)
  • Red: Adult or New Adult Fiction
  • Pink: YA or MG Fiction

Blogging For Books:(1)
(Hardcover) Alexander Hamilton’s Guide To Life by Jeff Wilser  – End Of November 

NetGalley: (All e-books/e-arcs)(20)
The Nerdy And The Dirty by BT Gottfred – 15/11/16
The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles – 31/1/17
The United States of Absurdity by Dave Anthony and Garth Reynolds – 9/5/17 
There I Go Again by William Daniels – 1/3/17 
Grave Predictions by Stephen King and others – 21/9/16 
Alterations by Stephanie Scott – 6/12/16 
Miniatures by John Scalzi – 31/12/16 
The Hundred Lies Of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti – 1/3/17 
Hidden Universe Travel Guide: The Complete Marvel Cosmos by Marc Sumerak – 25/10/16 
Superman Science by Agniezka Biskup and Tammy Enz – 1/3/17 
Bring Back The King by Helen Pilcher – 10/1/17 
Doctor Who (The American Adventures) by Justin Richards – 25/10/16
Dreadnought by April Daniels – 24/1/17

Boy To The World by Eileen Walls – 26/7/16
Butterfly Bones by Rebecca Carpenter – 28/11/16
Piper Perish by Kayla Cagan – 7/3/17 

The Traveler’s Guide To Space by Neil F. Comins – 21/2/17 
Climate Change And The Health Of Nations by Anthony McMichael – 1/2/17 
Patient HM by Luke Dittrich – 9/8/16 
A Fabrication of the Truth by Katie Kaleski – 20/9/16

From Author: (1)
Unfathomable Chance by KT Munson (PDF) – End of November 

From Publisher: (1)
Bloomsbury (Paperback Arc) – Nowhere Near You by Leah Thomas – 7/2/17 – Soon as I can

Other: (3)
(Blog Tour/ Email) The Untold Tale and The Forgotten Tale by JM Frey (PDFs) –On Nov. 30th
Blog Tour – Hero High: Figure In The Flames by Mina Chara (PDF) – December 16th


So, what do you think? Do you like my system? Do you have your own system? What review copies do you have? Have you read/liked/disliked/want to read any of these books? Let me know!

Also, you you want to request a review of a book, you can see my policy here: Review Policy

And contact me here:  rivermoosevlogs@gmail.com

Discussion: Review Copies/ARCs

Review copies are the holy grail of book blogging.

And while I might not be the best source of information on how to get them, as I’m rejected more often then not, I have received a fair amount of them, so I thought I’d give my two cents.


First things first: Before you go requesting books, make sure you can handle it.

Have a system in place to keep track of everything, or you are going to lose your mind.

  • My preferred way of keeping track is a word document.
  • Every book sent to be is written in, along with who sent it/where I got it from, the format, the release date, the date the review is needed by, the title and author, and any requests by the person who sent it to me for the review.
  • Then, anything due in the next month is highlighted for urgency.
  • Physical copies do not leave my desk if I’m not reading them to make sure they stay in my mind.
  • Review copies take precedence over my own books.

Its how I do things.

Find something that works for you.


Before Requesting:

Before requesting books, make sure your blog is running smoothly. You don’t blog to get free books, you get books because you blog well. Remember that.

If you barely post, no one will send you anything. If your content/reviews or terrible (I don’t mean negative, I mean terribly written), you won’t get anything.

  • Post consistently (once a day, once a week, doesn’t matter).
  • Post good content.
  • Make sure your blog is easy to navigate.
  • Have a contact page/email somewhere it can be found. If, like me, you don’t want your personal email online, make an email just for blog contacts like I did.
  • HAVE A REVIEW POLICY. You can see mine here.

 


Where To Get Review Copies:

There are a couple different ways to get review copies.

You can:

  • Go to book fairs and conventions.
  • Wait for a publisher/author to contact you.
  • Email a publisher with a request.
  • Join a blog tour.
  • Join an ARC site like Netgalley, Blogging for Books or Edelweiss.

Book fairs and conventions are great, but if your like me, you have no means to get to them because they are far way/expensive.

Next option: wait. I have been contacted by a few authors (generally self published) to review their books, so it does happen. This is why its important to have contact information and a review policy page. But if this is the only thing you do, your not going to get many books.

Emailing:
The next section is all about this.

Blog tours:
Blog tours are GREAT. You get your blog acknowledged by other bloggers, and you all get to share in the excitement over the same book. I’ve joined two blog tour sites:

I like them both, and have joined blog tours and book blitzes on both. You can always do some research to find tour sites that fit your tastes. But if you want in on the big name book tours (which I have no experience in), I’d say your going to need some groveling and patience.

ARC Sites:
I don’t know what else to call these, but you know what I’m talking about.

This is where I get most of my review copies.

My personal favorite is Netgalley.

Netgalley is a site where any book blogger can sign up. They have both READ NOW and Requestable titles, most prerelease, some old, of all genres. The better your review ratio, the more likely you are to be approved by a publisher, so you are encouraged to actually post your reviews. All books are e-books though, so you either need an Ebook reader or a computer with Adobe Digital Editions installed.

Blogging For Books is also good. This site has both print and ebooks, but you can’t request another book until the review of the last one is posted. Selection is pretty limited, but they have some good ones every once in a while.

The other one I mentioned is Edelweiss, which a lot of people like but I don’t really enjoy using. Its frustrating and not easy to navigate, but go try it out if you’d like.

 


Emailing Publishers:

If you have the guts, you can always email a publisher asking for an ARC. I’ve done this twice. Once, I was ignored. The second time, I got the book. Really, it depends on the publisher, the book you’re requesting, and whether you have enough followers to make it worth the money to ship you the ARC. Don’t get discouraged, your not going to get every book, but try, eventually, you’ll get one (or a lot!).

Just make sure to thank the publisher when you do get a book, post your review on time, send them links, and NEVER be rude about not getting approved. You want to build relationships, not end them.

You are never entitled to an ARC. Don’t act like it.

Here’s a sample email of what I use when emailing publishers. If it helps you., let me know!

Sample Email:

Hello,
My name is Sam, I’m a book blogger and I’d like to request a review copy of:
Book Title
ISBN:
Expected Publication Date:

You can see my blog here: Link
My blog has X followers, and that number seems to be increasing steadily.
I get, on average, between X views a month, and an average of about X unique visitors a month.
I also share my reviews on Goodreads, Tumblr (where I have X followers), and Twitter.
(Info about me/my blog/why I blog)
I want to review BOOK TITLE because ………..
If you want to see some of my other reviews, here are some that I am quite proud of:
  • Links
I also have a review policy page: Link 
This page will give you more in depth information for what you can expect of my reviews.
I also have a directory of my reviews, if needed: Link
I understand you get many requests for Arcs, and that all cannot be answered. But, if you are interested here is my information:
Name 
Shipping Address
My email is X and if it is more convenient for you, I also accept e-arcs.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding my request.
I thank you for your time and your consideration.
Best,
Sam

Other Helpful Resources:

 


So, thats all I have for you today.

If there’s anything I didn’t cover you’d like me to cover, let me know!

Any discussions or topics you’d like me to talk about, any questions you have, shoot them over to me, I’m happy to help/answer in any way I can!

Did this help you? Do you have any thing to add/share? Let me know!