Tag: book thoughts

Book Review: The Leveller by Julia Durango

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Title: The Leveller

Author: Julia Durango

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre: YA, Sci-fi

Format: Physical copy

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Buy it here!


SYNOPSIS:

Nixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids out of virtual reality and back to their parents in the real world. It’s normally easy cash, but Nixy’s latest mission is fraught with real danger, intrigue, and romance.

Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them.

But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?

Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?


MY REVIEW:

I really enjoyed The Leveller! It was one of those books that start out and you are like “oooooo why did I want to read this??” But then it turns around and is super enjoyable!

I have to say the writing is a little young? Like its not a middle grade or anything but at times it felt a little immature. But like I said, I still really enjoyed this one!

Here are 5 reasons you should read this book:
🎮 Its based in a video game virtual world and its fast paced and exciting

💁‍♀️ The main character (Nixy) is so smart and witty, and pretty badass – she is basically a virtual reality bounty hunter

🔪 There is a major betrayal and a couple good plot twists

✨ Fun, light, with a little romance, quite a bit of action, and a lot of imagination

📚 This is a decently short book so definitely could be read in one go! If you like virtual reality and YA books then I’m sure you would enjoy this one!


If you like virtual reality books or books with video game worlds, check out these books!

Ready Player OneBuy it here!

The Eye of MindsBuy it here!

WarcrossBuy it here!


Do you like books with video game settings? I feel like these types of books are becoming bigger now. What is your fav part about a book set in a virtual reality world? Chat with me in the comments!

Middle Grade Books – What’s With the Hype? + My Reading List

What is the deal with middle grade books? Why are there posts all over the internet about these books and WHY are adults other than teachers reading them?? These are the questions I have been asking myself for the last little while. I haven’t thought about these types of books in a very long time and for the most part just labeled them as children’s books and just went right by without a second glance (oops). If you are like me you are probably also thinking – yes, why do adults care about these books? After all, they are for children. So, I did some reading (a lot of reading). I hunted for articles and blogs written about these books and searched for why they are some popular with seemingly all ages. This is what I found out:

The most popular middle grade books are ones we have ALL heard of and probably read! These include Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Narnia… some big name books! However, I have to admit… I didn’t think these were “middle grade” or maybe my problem is I was not understanding WHAT middle grade books really were!

This grouping of books is difficult to understand I think. First off, I found myself just assuming that “middle grade” meant “children’s” like for small children… I don’t know why?? Now I am seeing that really, while they are meant for kids (not little ones by actually 8-12 year olds) they are actually very much like YA books just written in a more simple way!

SO this is where my ultimate confusion comes in… I didn’t realize Harry Potter books were targeting 8-12 year olds? As I remember the books are massive and forgive me if I’m wrong because I did not read them…. BUT the books (based on watching the movies) seem like kind of violent, focus on some really difficult and serious topics, and seem overall kind of inappropriate for an 8 year old? Maybe I’m being crazy. Or maybe the books are not quite like the movies? But I’m sure you can see where I am coming from when I say – when I found out Harry Potter was “middle grade” it changed my whole perspective!

I have been reading so many posts about middle grade books and before I just didn’t bother with them because I thought ‘why would I, and adult, want to read a kids book?’ And now, I am so sad because I’m seeing that there are SO MANY interesting, amazing, and well written middle grade books. I feel like I have to make up for lost time to be honest. I did not really read many (if any?) middle grade books when I was younger. I think I just skipped right over that entire thing which is unfortunate!!

I am realizing something very important about middle grade books which is – they are really meant for everyone. They have some many important themes and topics. They focus on friendship, adventure, and growing up. They are very similar to YA books!!! They just take out the more inappropriate things and keep the fun, action packed, fast paced, exciting parts! They really sound like a lot of fun and based on what I’ve read and reviews I seen, they seem TOTALLY WORTH reading as an adult.

So, hear I am – listing some middle grade books that I have added to my list to read. I am hoping I can get to them sooner than later. I feel like I have just opened up a can on worms here with my forever growing TBR hahah I just entered a whole new world of possibility. Very exciting!!

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

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ARE YOU A GIFTED CHILD Looking for special opportunities?
When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, dear listener, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end just four very special children will succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful
children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.
As our heroes face physical and mental trials beyond their wildest imaginations, they have no choice but to turn to each other for support. But with their newfound friendship at stake, will they be able to pass the most important test of all?
Welcome to the mysterious benedict society.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a perfectly normal boy. Well, he would be perfectly normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the world of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard: the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer; a gravestone entrance to a desert that leads to the city of ghouls; friendship with a witch, and so much more.

But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks, for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod’s family.

Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood

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Chantel would much rather focus on her magic than on curtsying, which is why she often finds herself in trouble at Miss Ellicott’s School for Magical Maidens. But when Miss Ellicott mysteriously disappears along with all the other sorceresses in the city, Chantel’s behavior becomes the least of her problems.

Without any magic protecting the city, it is up to Chantel and her friends to save the Kingdom. On a dangerous mission, Chantel will discover a crossbow-wielding boy, a dragon, and a new, fiery magic that burns inside her—but can she find the sorceresses and transform Lightning Pass into the city it was meant to be?

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

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After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price. 

Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN. 

Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.” 

Ghost and Bone by Andrew Prentice

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Oscar Grimstone is a normal kid–aside from his secret Curse. Whenever he touches something living, like a flower or his classroom goldfish, they always seem to die. But then Oscar discovers an even bigger secret: even though he is very much alive, he has the ability to transform into a ghost.

Just when he thinks things can’t get any stranger two ghosts show up at his home in a skeleton carriage and he winds up joining them on a journey beyond the real world to a place he never knew existed–the city of ghosts. There Oscar will discover a place where people go once they die, before they aboard a ship to the The Other Side. But will he find out who he really is?


As you can see I have a “type” for my middle grade book interests! I am leaning towards fantasy, mystery, horror type books… I think this is because they take you on a ride away from reality! These books seems really entertaining, I’m excited to read them!!

Have you read any of these? What are your thoughts on middle grade books?

First Impressions: Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Hi there 🙂

So today I wanted to share my thoughts on Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating. It has been sitting on the Kobo shelves for months now! I got it for super duper cheap, like 0.99 cents or something crazy! I have been wanting to read it because I’m getting more and more into chick-lit style books and everyone says this is such a good one. So, finally, I have picked this one up and I AM HAPPY I DID!

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First impressions: So, this book is actually hilarious. I am about 45 pages in and I am impressed. Like, I have actually laughed out loud a few times. It is super funny. I have never experienced this before with a book!! I think Hazels character is just perfect. She is funny, crazy, has no filter, and is so genuinely herself which is just so heartwarming. It is also so perfect that her character is teacher, I think that is really fitting. I think we all knew someone in high school/ college that became a teacher and we were like oh…….. that’s not good 😂. She also has the most hilarious, weird, different relationship with Josh!

Josh is an interesting character to me. So far, I enjoy him, but he hasn’t fully won me over yet. There’s something about him I’m not connecting with but I feel like that will blow over just based on how cute and funny this book is. I’m sure he will open up and become a better character with time.

I just cannot get over the writing and how comical it is. I am so pleasantly surprised by it and I do not want to put it down (but I have to because work and stuff 🙄).


What did you think of this one? If you haven’t read it, do you think you will?