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Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Release Date: September 9, 2014

Source: Edelweiss

Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery, Military, Realistic Fiction

Rating: image

I have this habit of jumping into books without really knowing what I’m getting myself into. Honestly? It’s worked out for the better about 8/10 times. Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley is one of those books and I am so happy I went in blind.

This novel is phenomenal because it tries something different, brings light to a real issue in the very gender-biased world of the military, and introduces us to a female protagonist who isn’t tough because she’s survived a post-apocalyptic war, or because she’s a girl and if she’s not tough she’s not a good character—she’s simply tough because that was her upbringing and she is still very much flawed, as any real character will be.  

Sam, the protagonist, is a strong character who faces multiple challenges set to bring her down. As the novel progresses, Sam becomes increasingly paranoid, and as a result, so does the reader. Since we are seeing the world from Sam’s perspective, we get an all-access pass to the horrors that she faces as one of the first girls to ever enter this particular military school. 

Hensley is gifted at making the reader either hate or love certain characters. She shows us the struggle that some people may go through just in order to survive. The lines of what is wrong and what is right can be blurred while we try to find ourselves in a world that begs for our failure. Since this novel was riddled with potentially untrustworthy people, we might find ourselves questioning everyone’s motive and if they really are who they say they are. 

Though the conclusion is unconventional and unexpected, I’m actually happy to see that Hensley respected the school rules that she herself introduced. Rather than giving Sam special treatment, just so we could have an ideal and expected conclusion, she remains true to the fact that there aren’t any special individuals in the school, but instead a family and a team. 

I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good realistic fiction novel that has a bit of an edge to it. If you like to see female characters fighting their way through sexism and  a “man’s world”, then you might also enjoy this. Also, the romance isn’t half bad!



Feral by Holly Schindler

Release Date: August 26, 2014

Source: Edelweiss

Genres: Paranormal, Mystery, Horror, Cats, Thriller

Rating: image

Feral by Holly Schindler was one of those reads that left you wondering what the hell you just read. While I somewhat enjoyed this one, I was still a bit overwhelmed with the whole premise and wasn’t too surprised by the conclusion. 

Claire, the protagonist, is a girl who recently survived a brutal attack back in Chicago, prompting a move that will not only change her life, but start the weird events that will haunt the novel. Peculiar, Missouri is not only a very small place with a very weird name, but it is also a place overrun by feral cats. From the moment those cats are mentioned, the story takes on a very creepy tone. 

The prose of the novel is beautiful, but the story itself is so weird and random that I found myself struggling to hang on. I gave Feral a three out of five because of this prose and because of the way everything wraps up at the end, but it doesn’t mean that I wasn’t constantly thinking about this book’s strangeness.

One of the things that Schindler did right was making the story as overwhelming for the reader as it was for Claire. We got to see what she went through, while her world started to blend with the world of the dead that she was surrounding herself with.

Though the novel was a bit long-winded and more than a bit strange, I still did enjoy it. Feral is definitely a different kind of book that will challenge you to see what is real and what is imagined. Plus, the cats. Man, if you weren’t freaked out by cats before, this novel might just do it for you. 

I recommend Feral to readers who enjoy a bit of a psychological thriller. Also, to readers who find fun in weird books full of weird instances. Also, if you like or hate cats, this might appeal to you!



Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Release Date: October 4, 2011

Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary, Romance, Paranormal

Rating: image

Beware, a semi-colon addict resides within the pages of this novel.

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon had so much potential. It started of strongly with a bland female character who’d just moved to a pretty cool place and was set to live in a small town, where a mysterious hottie suddenly takes a liking to her and—whoa, wait. This sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Other than the fact that this doesn’t have vampires and that Megan, the protagonist, actually cares about her friends, does this not sound like the story of a certain bland girl and a certain sparkly vamp? 

Yeah, exactly. 

Not only is Carrier of the Mark a victim of a semi-colon addict, but it is full of insta-romance, sappiness, and overly complicated (and sometimes confusing and contradicting) explanations of the powers that these characters possess. Overall, the story was one convoluted and predictable mess. 

Carrier of the Mark is indeed a very fast read and it is also set in a gorgeous town in Ireland, but it is also cliche. It feels like it tried too hard to be this romantic novel following these characters that shouldn’t be together. I really wanted to like this one because I’ve been wanting to read it for a long time, but I was so disappointed. How can a story that has such a strong beginning, turn out so flat? 

I would recommend this to sappy romance lovers, but honestly, I don’t even know who I would recommend this for. 


Happy reading!

When you have a large collection of books:

Get ready for the most popular question: "Will you even read them all?"

I hope you like book buying bans, because you will make them, then promptly break them multiple times a year...okay, maybe multiple times a month.

If you dig through your shelves, you'll probably encounter a book you had no idea you owned.

Book cataloguing is probably the best thing ever. Before you order those books online, make sure you don't already own them!

A favourite phrase: "I own that book, but it's still on my tbr list."

And, "Welcome to my library!"

One last one, "Oh, I'm sorry, you said you had a lot of books...yeah, wait until you see my collection."

Hm, how to make more room.

More options for creative book pictures are at your finger tips.

The struggle of finding something to read in a room full of books is real.

It's scary how good you're getting at finding ways to get into your room with your new books without being spotted.

It's even scarier how you're becoming an expert with justifying your huge book purchases.

Ah, nothing like the smell of hundreds/thousands of books in the morning.

Three words that will terrify any book collector: house fire, mold.

Those books will be read one day, and if not, you'll pass them on to your kids!

Who needs wall space, anyway?

Make sure you take some Advil or Tylenol before you organize those shelves.

Admit it, you love hearing a new friend's gasp of surprise when they see your collection.

You know you already own a book that's suddenly, if only you could find it...

For every five books you read, you'll probably by twice as many new books.

Book borrowers beware: We might have a lot of books, but we know when you still haven't returned the one you borrowed.

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