White Fang by Jack London, adapted by Malvina G. Vogel

White Fang by Jack London, adapted by Malvina G. Vogel

Publisher/Year: Baronet Books, 1994

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 240

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐



The Frozen North

Part wolf, part dog, with the strength and courage of both in his blood, White Fang is an orphan cub in the frozen frontier of the Yukon. His is a world of enemies, animal and human. His inborn instincts and acquired ways teach him to hunt…to fight…to win! Nothing else matters.

Men exploit and abuse him until one man teaches the noble animal to recognize his own greatest attribute–his loyalty.

Only then can White Fang face the most dangerous challenge of all!

What I thought

I loved these Great Illustrated Classics when I was a kid! Honestly, I think between these and Wishbone, it’s no surprise that I grew up to be a fan of classic literature. This book was actually my husband’s from childhood, but it’s one that I hadn’t read.

And I’ll be honest–as an adult, this isn’t the most riveting writing. It is a good story though, and Vogel made it very accessible for young readers. That’s why I think these stories are so important. On one hand, they expose readers to these classic stories and on the other hand, they can spark an interest in classic literature by presenting worthwhile stories in a format that is less daunting.

Now I’m rambling. White Fang is a great story–both the original and this adaptation. I wouldn’t call this a must-read for adults, but this would be a good read for children. Hey, it would be a good contender for some parent-child reading, too–whether reading aloud or reading in tandem with the original. Just a thought!

Blink / Safe with Me by K. L. Slater

Blink / Safe with Me by K. L. Slater
Publisher/Year: Grand Central Publishing, 2019
Format: Mass paperback
Pages: 723
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


What if the person you love most in the world was in terrible danger…because of you?

Three years after her then five-year-old daughter Evie disappeared on her way home from school, desperate mother Toni refuses to believe her daughter is gone. As she begins to piece together her blurred memories from that tragic time, she comes to the devastating realization that Evie’s disappearance might not be random.

Trapped in a world that is constantly trying to silence her, Toni knows that the only way to save her daughter is to do the impossible. She must find a way to make herself heard.

Blink is a compelling, gripping thriller with a breathtaking twist that will keep you awake until the early hours.

Includes the bonus novel Safe with Me: Thirteen years ago, someone did something very bad to Anna. Now it’s her turn to get even.

What I thought


My copy of Blink also includes Safe with Me, but as I’ve just finished with Blink, I wanted to jot down a few quick thoughts. For starters, I enjoyed this one! Even though I took forever to read it (haven’t been doing too much reading), this was a quick, suspenseful read that kept me guessing. It was enjoyable enough, but nothing spectacular. I have nothing against the use of unreliable or unlikeable narrators, I just really didn’t care for Toni and had a hard time getting past that. And for as high as tensions ran throughout the story, the ending was a little disappointing. But overall, I did enjoy my time spent reading this one and would recommend this to thriller fans. I’m looking forward to reading Safe with Me next!

Safe with Me

Looking back at my review of Blink, I have to admit, I’m actually a tad bit surprised–my thoughts about Safe with Me are almost identical. This was an enjoyable read that didn’t wow me, even though I did like it enough to keep reading. For me, the two weakest spots were the same: an intensely unlikeable narrator and an ending out of left field that felt somewhat rushed. I have absolutely nothing against characters–when done well, they are a testament to deeply flawed humanity. But for as much as I didn’t like Toni in Blink, I didn’t like Anna here either, and it made it difficult for me to want to pick this up and read it. One thing I have to give props to the author for, now having read two of her novels, is that she is extremely talented at building tension through her writing. Both of these books had me feeling so uncomfortable at times, which is just what you want from a good thriller. Overall, I did enjoy this one, even though it wasn’t a favorite, and I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a psychological thriller!

The Court of the Air (Jackelian #1) by Stephen Hunt

The Court of the Air (Jackelian #1) by Stephen Hunt
Publisher/Year: Harper Voyager, 2007
Format: UK paperback
Pages: 582
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


Two orphans on the run, each with the power to save the world…

When streetwise Molly Templar witnesses a brutal murder at the brothel she has recently been apprenticed to, her first instinct is to scurry back to the poorhouse where she grew up. But there she finds her fellow orphans butchered, and it slowly dawns on her that she was the real target of the attack.

Oliver Brooks has led a sheltered existence in the backwater home of his merchant uncle. But when he is framed for his only relative’s murder he is forced to flee for his life, accompanied by an agent of the mysterious Court of the Air.

Molly and Oliver each carry secrets in their blood–secrets that will either get them killed or save the world from an ancient terror. Thrown into the company of outlaws, thieves and spies as they flee their ruthless enemies, the two orphans are also aided by indomitable friends in this endlessly inventive tale full of drama, intrigue and adventure.

What I thought

My thoughts on this book are a lot like this book in itself–all over the place. On one hand, I struggled with it, and on the other hand, I loved it. So meanwhile, I’m also kinda wondering: what the hell did I just read?

This wasn’t my first rodeo–I’ve read high fantasy before. Even steampunk fantasy. But honestly? I feel like most of my struggles with this book could have been resolved with two things: a map and a glossary. Don’t mistake me, I’m certainly not one to complain when an author makes a reader do a little work when it comes to world building. But c’mon, throw a dog a bone, man. I finished this book feeling like I didn’t grasp a good portion of it, but also still kind of loving it.

Because for as confusing as this book could be, I tried to just ride the waves because I loved how unique and imaginative and different this was. I was totally sucked into this world as I read, even though I couldn’t even begin to try and describe it.

Overall, this has to be one of the strangest books I’ve ever read and one of of the strangest reading experiences I’ve ever had. I really don’t know if I’d recommend this to everyone, unless you’re in the mood for a challenge. As for me, I think I’d certainly like to continue this series–I’m not ready to be done with this world just yet.

Winter’s Tales by Isak Dinesen

Winter’s Tales by Isak Dinesen
Publisher/Year: Vintage, 2011
Format: E-book (Libby)
Pages: 400
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


In Isak Dinesen’s universe, the magical enchantment of the fairy tale and the moral resonance of myth coexist with an unflinching grasp of the most obscure human strengths and weaknesses. A despairing author abandons his wife, but in the course of a long night’s wandering, he learns love’s true value and returns to her, only to find her a different woman than the one he left. A landowner, seeking to prove a principle, inadvertently exposes the ferocity of a mother’s love. A wealthy young traveler melts the hauteur of a lovely woman by masquerading as her aged and loyal servant.

Shimmering and haunting, Dinesen’s Winter’s Tales transport us, through their author’s deft guidance of our desire to imagine, to the mysterious place where all stories are born.

What I thought

  • “The Young Man With The Carnation” ⭐⭐
  • “Sorrow-Acre” ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • “The Heroine” ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • “The Sailor-Boy’s Tale” ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • “The Pearls” ⭐⭐⭐
  • “The Invincible Slave-Owners” ⭐⭐
  • “The Dreaming Child” ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • “Alkmene” ⭐⭐⭐
  • “The Fish” ⭐⭐⭐
  • “Peter and Rosa” ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • “A Consolatory Tale” ⭐⭐

This book is easily the most frustrating book I have ever read. I knew going into it that short story collections can be a bit of a mixed bag, as it is. But while I enjoyed the writing style immensely, I couldn’t help but feel exasperated with these stories, as a whole.

Isak Dinesen writes beautifully, simply put. I can’t begin to tell you how many passages and turns of phrase there were that absolutely took my breath away. The writing itself is why I gave this three stars. I liked what I read, I just didn’t get it.

I like to think that between being a lifelong reader and having taken my share of literature courses that my literary comprehension and analysis skills are, at the very least, decent. So, it was very discouraging to me when, upon completing (what felt like) every story here, I was left thinking “huh?” Especially after reading one glowing review of this after another. Maybe I was just thinking about it too hard, or maybe I’m not as smart as I thought.

Ultimately, I finished this book feeling frustrated because I had hoped to enjoy it so much more than I did. Maybe I’d revisit this if I had the chance to read this with a book club or a class, but for now, I’m glad I borrowed it from the library.

Undead by John Russo

Undead by John Russo
Publisher/Year: Kensington Books, 2010
Format: Paperback
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐



George A. Romero’s classic 1968 film, Night of the Living Dead, launched a new era of gut-munching mayhem, relentlessly terrorizing the hearts of moviegoers and launching the zombie movie phenomenon. Screenwriter John A. Russo turned the flesh-eating frenzy into two horrific, blood-drenched novels…


A cemetery in rural Pennsylvania. A brother and sister putting flowers on their father’s grave. A strange figure shambling toward them–eyes dead and teeth gnashing. So begins a night of endless terror that would live on in infamy. Seven strangers locked inside a small farmhouse fight off an army of walking corpses. Who will survive? And who will have their flesh devoured…?


Not long after the first zombie outbreak, a bus crashes in a small American town. Local churchgoers rush to the scene to save the living–and destroy the dead. But they’re too late. A terrifying new plague of undead has been unleashed. A new horde of victims has been infected. And this time, they are ravenous…


What I thought

I’ll admit–I originally picked this one up because THAT COVER! And once I saw that there were two classic zombie stories inside, I was sold. I’m glad I picked it up because I did enjoy it. I will throw a disclaimer out there–if you’re looking for a truly frightening read or something with outstanding writing, this ain’t it. Night of the Living Dead is a novelization of the movie, and Return of the Living Dead is a novelization of a screenplay for a sequel idea (not the movie most are familiar with). So, that translates into a lot of tell vs. show writing and a lot of campy horror. If you can go into this with your expectations in check, you’ll enjoy two fun zombie tales for what they are–groundbreaking tales for their time. I dunno, I thought this was a fun, easy read. It would be good to read around a campfire!

Salvation Station by Kathryn Schleich

Salvation Station by Kathryn Schleich
Publisher/Year: She Writes Press, 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 313
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


Despite her years of experience investigating homicides for the force, Captain Linda Turner is haunted by the murders of the Hansen family. The two small children, clothed in tattered Disney pajamas, were buried with their father, a pastor, in the flower garden behind a church parsonage in Lincoln, Nebraska. But Mrs. Hansen is nowhere to be found–and neither is the killer.

In St. Louis, the televangelist Ray Williams is about to lose his show–until one of his regular attendees approaches him with an idea that can save it. Despite his initial misgivings, Ray agrees to give it a try. He can’t deny his attraction to this woman, and besides, she’s assured him the plan is just–God gave her the instructions in a dream.

Multiple storylines entwine throughout this compelling mystery, delving into the topics of murder, religious faith, and the inherent dangers in blindly accepting that faith as truth. While Reverend Williams is swept up in his newfound success and plans for his wedding, Captain Turner can only hope that she and her team will catch the Hansens’ cunning killer–before more bodies surface.

What I thought

Thank you to She Writes Press and Book Publicity Services for a free finished copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

This was a good, solid debut, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to read this one! The first thing that caught my attention with this book was its cover–how deliciously creepy! I was also drawn in because in a world of thrillers, Salvation Station certainly stands out with its unique premise. This turned out to be an easy read with writing that flowed well and an interesting plot that kept the story moving forward. One thing that I do want to note is that rather than being described as a murder mystery, this is more of a suspense novel. You find out almost immediately “who did it,” and the question shifts to “will they catch the culprit before it happens again?” Still, I enjoyed the multiple perspectives employed to tell the story. I will say that I much preferred Linda’s section about solving the crime. I found that the heavy religious tones, although not necessarily preachy were a bit much for me.

Overall, I’m glad I had the chance to read this one and it was a good debut entry into the suspense genre!

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Publisher/Year: St. Martin’s Press, 2020
Format: ARC – paperback
Pages: 392
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


You probably know someone like Shay Miller.

She wants to find love, but it eludes her. She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end. She wants to belong, but her life is so isolated.

You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters.

They have an unbreakable circle of friends. They live the most glamorous life. They always get what they desire.

Shay thinks she wants their life. But what they really want is HERS.

What I thought

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

You guys, this book just did NOT do it for me, and I’m so bummed about it. So, I’m going to keep this short because it seems like a lot of people really enjoy this one, and this might be a case of “it’s me, not you.”

I get that the thriller genre, in general, requires its readers to suspend their disbelief. Usually, I’m pretty good with that, but with this book, I just seriously struggled, and I’m not sure why. And I think it kept me from really connecting with Shay and this story. Don’t get me wrong, I did like this book–it certainly had a completely unique plot. The short chapters and the writing style kept me wanting to see how it would all turn out. But once I got to the end and put it down, the only thing I could think was “Meh.”

Please don’t take only my word for it. I can’t even begin to describe how bummed I am–I had heard so many great things about this author duo’s first two books. I still plan on reading them. I just think this one wasn’t for me.

Black Leviathan by Bernd Perplies

Black Leviathan by Bernd Perlies, translated by Lucy Van Cleef
Publisher/Year: Tor, 2020
Format: ARC – paperback
Pages: 331
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


Moby-Dick unfolds in a world of dragon hunters in this epic revenge fantasy

A shadow will cover you, larger than that cast by any other dragon of this world. Black as the lightless chasm from whence it was born at the beginning of time.

In the city of Skargakar, residents make a living from hunting dragons and use them for everything from clothing to food.

Lian does his part, carving the kyrillian crystals that power the hunting ships through the cloud sea, but when he makes an enemy of a dangerous man, Lian ships out on the next vessel available as a dragon hunter.

But his new captain hunts more than just any dragon. His goal is the Firstboarn Gargantuan–and Adaraon is prepared to sacrifice everything for revenge.

What I thought

Thank you to Tor and Tor Teen for the free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

This is my absolute least favorite type of review to write, so I’m going to keep it short, sweet, and to the point.

I wanted to love this book so much more than what I did. What I DID love, though, was the idea behind this story and the worldbuilding. I mean, Moby Dick but with dragons is easily one of the most unique fantasy premises that I have read in some time. And I loved how it was done! The world here was seriously SO cool, and the world building was so on point that I had this perfect picture in my mind as I read, which is one of my favorite parts of reading good fantasy.

Honestly, I can’t quite pinpoint what it was about this book that didn’t do it for me. I didn’t feel close to any of the characters, and I wasn’t riveted by the plot–but as to why I felt both of those things, I’m not sure. The only thing I can figure is the translation. I thought the translator did a great job, don’t get me wrong. I think maybe the story itself just didn’t translate well.

This really was a good book, I just didn’t love it like I had hoped. If you are looking for a good twist on a classic tale, or if you’re looking for a good old rollicking epic adventure story, I would definitely recommend this one. Even though I didn’t LOVE it, it was still a solid entertaining addition to the genre.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
Publisher/Year: Canongate, 2015
Format: E-book (Nook)
Pages: 179
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


Aged 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.

A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.

“I wrote this book because the oldest clichés remain the truest. Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have light at the end of it, even if we haven’t been able to see it…Words, just sometimes, really can set you free.”

What I thought

What an important and thought-provoking book! I wish I could put this book into everyone’s hands.

This wasn’t necessarily my favorite book (I couldn’t always relate–although I will say I do empathize), but that isn’t the point here. What Matt Haig attempts (and succeeds) to do is simply open the conversation to mental health. It’s something we desperately need to become more aware of in this country (especially now). I think one of my favorite things about this book was that he gives readers hope for a better tomorrow, but he doesn’t sugarcoat it–mental illness is a bitch.

I don’t personally have depression, so I really don’t feel right weighing in on that aspect of the book, but as someone with anxiety, I will tell you that it feels good to be seen. There is A LOT we don’t understand about the mind and Haig makes no pretense about that. He simply relates his own story and lets you know that even though this might look different for everyone, you are not alone.

*I do want to add that I read this book in little chunks because, as with everyone, I’m having good and bad mental health days (hell, hours and minutes, too) and this topic can be a bit triggering if you’re not in the right headspace.

Anyway, I thought this was well-worth the read!

Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon

Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy #1) by Sandhya Menon
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse, 2020
Format: ARC – paperback
Pages: 361
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


Will the princess save the beast?

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: make Grey fall in love with her and then break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…Right?

His Lordship, Grey Emerson, is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated experience–until Jaya Rao bursts into his life. Sparkling and elegant, Jaya’s unlike anyone Grey has ever met. Still, he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…

As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.

What I thought

Thank you to Goodreads and Simon Pulse for the free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Reader friends, the type of review I’m about to write is my absolute least favorite to write. The “it’s not you, it’s me” review.

I want to stress–this was a good book, and I think many young adult readers will enjoy this. And I did like it, I just didn’t love it like I had hoped. I appreciated the nods to Beauty and the Beast, and my favorite part of this story was Grey. I am all about angsty male leads, and he had my heart melting more than once! I do love a good slow burn romance.

It’s just…I think I am too big a fan of Beauty and the Beast to view this even remotely objectively. I went into this with BIG expectations. And it truly was a fresh take on the original tale, unlike many that I’ve read. I loved the boarding school setting, I guess I was just expecting it to be a bit more magical and a bit less contemporary. Again, I think this just comes down to my own personal bias.

Like I said before, I think plenty of readers will enjoy this one. And while I didn’t love this one, I did like it enough to want to continue with the series. I am genuinely curious to see where Sandhya Menon takes these characters next, I think I will just need to adjust my expectations.

Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie

Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie
Publisher/Year: St. Martin’s Press, 2020
Format: ARC – paperback
Pages: 324
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


Agnes Murphy Nash is the perfect Hollywood wife–she has the right clothes, the right career, the right friends, but the wrong hot-shot movie producer husband.

Surrounded by menopausal adolescent moms, TMZ videos gone wild, and a tween with DOATM (Disgust of All Things Mom), Agnes is riding the escalator down to the bowels of divorce hell. Her only way out is to throw a grenade the size of a Beverly Hills diamond onto anyone that gets in the way of taking back her life.

A fabulously fierce and hilarious romp, Been There, Married That delivers an irresistibly outrageous blend of Crazy Rich Asians meets Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce.

What I thought

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

I seem to be in the minority here. While this book was not at all what I was expecting, I did think it was a wickedly funny satire of a Hollywood divorce, which made for an excellent escapist read for the moment.

I won’t lie, I found this rough-going at the start. It took me a while to get used to Levangie’s choppy, almost stream-of-consciousness style. But her little quips and asides and one-liners were so damn funny to me that I felt like I had to keep going.

Once I did get into the story, it really did feel like escapism at its finest. This book 100% read like a trashy Hollywood TV drama, if you’re into those. There weren’t really any likeable characters, although I did root for Agnes, flaws and all, and I did really like Fin. The Hollywood lifestyle here is so over-the-top ridiculous as to be completely unrelatable, but it truly was like a TV show, so ridiculous and cringeworthy that you couldn’t turn away. Side note, I totally pictured Agnes as Kristen Wiig–which probably had to do with Agnes being SO HILARIOUS to me.

All in all, I had mixed feelings about this one. I liked it for its entertainment value, but it really was all over the place. So, if you need something right now that reads like The Kardashians, then yes, I recommend it. But if you, like I did, go into this expecting a heartwarming, redemption story of a rom-com, you might look elsewhere.

The Eye of Zeus (Legends of Olympus #1) by Alane Adams

The Eye of Zeus (Legends of Olympus #1) by Alane Adams
Publisher/Year: SparkPress, 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 301
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


Meet Phoebe Katz, a twelve-year-old foster kid from New York City who’s been bounced around the system her entire life. Things happen around Phoebe, but it’s not like they’re her fault! But when a statue of Athena comes to life, Phoebe gets the stunning news: she’s the daughter of Zeus and was sent away from ancient Greece as a baby to stop a terrible prophecy that predicted she would one day destroy Olympus.

Athena warns Phoebe to stay in hiding, but when the vengeful god Ares kidnaps her beloved social worker, Phoebe has no choice–she has to travel back to Ancient Greece and rescue him. There, she and her friends Angie and Damian discover a new prophecy, one that may fix everything. The catch: Phoebe has to collect talismans from six Greek monsters, including the fan from a nine-headed hydra, a talon from the Nemean lion, and a feather from the Sphinx. No problem for a girl with the power to call up lightning bolts and change the weather–but can Phoebe collect them all and stop the prophecy before she destroys Olympus?

What I thought

Thank you to BookSparks and Alane Adams for the free finished copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

When in times of stress, sometimes you just need a good, old-fashioned adventure story, and The Eye of Zeus definitely fits the bill!

Alane Adams’ writing skill shines through this story, as she takes readers to ancient Greece alongside Phoebe and her friends, Damian and Angie. The plot moves continuously forward in a way that will draw even the most reluctant reader, and Adams uses description in a way that’s light so as not to bog down the story while still bringing the adventure vividly to life. Phoebe is a spunky and funny protagonist, and the reader will find it easy to relate to her while still being amused by the antics of Phoebe and her friends.

I haven’t read Percy Jackson, so I can’t really speak as to how these two stories compare, however I think it’s safe to say that if you have a reader itching for another book involving Greek mythology, The Eye of Zeus is a solid and accessible tale of ancient Greece. Told with tons of heart and humor, this book was a fun way to spend a weekend!