Buttons Book Reviews

All books are magical, whether enchanted or not.

Haitus — June 22, 2019

Haitus

Yeah. Another one. Summer is really hectic for me, so I probably won’t be posting a lot (if at all) from now until late August-early September. I might still be around, but it will be sketchy. I hope all of you have a great summer!!!

XOXO

Annalee

The Unexpected Everything, by Morgan Matson — June 15, 2019

The Unexpected Everything, by Morgan Matson

Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing – if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

I really really enjoyed The Unexpected Everything. It was the summer read. I would describe it as a romantic comedy that a lot of people can relate to.

The writing style was lighthearted and fun. I really enjoyed that because it had the air of anything-can-happen. Not many of the books I have recently read have that quality. The setting was described very well and I enjoyed learning about And it’s environment. The way that the setting was portrayed seemed accurate and relatable. The setting could have been described a bit more, but it was okay. All in all, the writing style helped with the mood and the setting and I enjoyed reading them.

Andie: Andie was a good main character for this story. But she was pretty bland and cliche. I liked how she interacted with her friends and family, and her interest in animals. Andie was also very relatable. I enjoyed her well enough, but thought that she could have been more interesting.

Clark: Clark was also pretty generic, but he has one thing going for him. Clark was a 19 year old novelist. It really helped my self-esteem. Otherwise, he was a pretty boring love interest. If the author has put a little more thought and effort into him, I would have really liked him.

On The Come Up, by Angie Thomas — June 2, 2019

On The Come Up, by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip-hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But it’s hard to get your come up when you are labeled a hoodlum at school and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her song, which goes viral . . . for all the wrong reasons.

Bri soon finds herself in the middle of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri just doesn’t want to make it – she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.

Insightful, unflinching and full of heart, On The Come Up is an ode to hip-hop from one of the most influential literary voices of a generation. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you, and about how, especially for young black people, freedom of speech isn’t always free.

I absolutely loved this book. I wish I had picked it up sooner, but there wasn’t time. The plot was phenomenal and the characters were so unique and talented. I loved the writing and wish that I could write like Angie could. Maybe one day I will.

I really liked the tone of Angie’s writing. It fit the story really well and it added a layer of vitality to the story that would probably not have been there otherwise. Angie described the setting very well and I could picture it down to how the school looked. Angie doesn’t have the most distinctive writing style, but her stories are unique. I don’t see very many other people writing stories like this. The way that Angie portrays Bri and her thoughts in this novel feels so real to me and it made Bri more relatable to me.

Bri and all of the other characters were very well-written and I wish I could have met them in real life. The characters were very diverse and I loved hearing about them. Most of them had arcs and changed in some way. I really liked how the teenagers were represented and how realistic they were. All of the characters had motives, which sometimes clashed, so the plot was moved forward. I really loved the dynamics between Bri and her family. They were very unique and I have never read anything like them. I hope that we hear more about Bri and her family in the future.

I can’t talk very much about the hip-hop aspect of the book, because I don’t normally listen to that kind of music. I don’t like rap in general, but I am sure that Angie did fine with it. I read the rap parts like I would a poem, and they seemed fine to me from that perspective. If I am wrong, please message me and I will double check.

The plot was very detailed and in-depth. It was not the easiest read, but I think it needs to be read. I wonder if this book will be turned into a movie like The Hate You Give was. It is certainty good enough. I do not live in an area like Bri, so I do not know how accurate things like gang violence and those plot details were, but I am going to assume that Angie did her research and that they were all right. Once again, if I am inaccurate in this, don’t hesitate to contact me. I really enjoyed the fact that friendships played a big part in the plot. So did family. It made everything more relatable. I love Angie’s talent and I can’t wait to see more from her.

I really loved On The Come Up and I would highly recommend. I got the book summary from the inside cover. Thanks for Reading!!! Have a Great Day!!!

XOXO

Annalee

Gmorning, Gnight! by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jonny Sun — May 28, 2019

Gmorning, Gnight! by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jonny Sun

Before he inspired the world with Hamilton and was catapulted into international fame, Lin-Manuel Miranda was inspiring his Twitter followers with words of encouragement at the beginning and end of each day. He wrote these original sayings, aphorisms, and poetry for himself as much as for others. But as Miranda’s audience grew, these messages took on a life of their own. Now, Miranda has gathered the best of his daily greetings into a beautiful collection illustrated by acclaimed artist (and fellow Twitter favorite) Jonny Sun. Full of comfort and motivation, Gmorning, Gnight!, is a touchstone for anyone who needs a quick lift.

This review will probably be on the short side because there were 10-15 words on each page. And there were 200 pages. So, not very many words. Did that impact how much I liked the book? Of course not! I loved this thing! It is really helpful when you are trying to get something done, and have lost motivation.

The writing style was very much like a Twitter post. Which is what these were. If I had come at this looking for errors in things like sentence structure, my head would have exploded. As it was, the content and the way that the tweets were written was incredibly sweet and I loved it immensely. I am thinking of making one of the quotes my blog tagline, because of how motivational they are.

The art was phenomenal!!!! I loved it so much!!! It was very detailed and I really liked how it varied from page to page and stuck with the theme of the tweet that Lin-Manuel had on that page. The drawings breathed life into the motivational sayings that were on each page. All of the illustrations were simple and sweet, which helped get the point across.

Sorry for the really short post. This book wasn’t the longest, and I didn’t have much to run with. I highly recommend it for everyone. I got the summary from the book jacket. Thanks for Reading!!! Have a Great Day!!!

XOXO

Annalee

We Rule The Night, by Claire Eliza Bartlett — May 20, 2019

We Rule The Night, by Claire Eliza Bartlett

Seventeen-year-old Revna is a skilled factory worker, manufacturing magical war machines for the Union of the North. She’s disregarded for her disability and her second-class citizenship – and after she’s caught using illegal magic, a lifetime in prison looms.

Meanwhile, on the front lines of the war, Linne disguised herself as a man to join the army, in defiance of her powerful father and the law. She is as good a solider as any of the boys(better, even), but none of that matters when she’s caught.

Both girls are offered a reprieve from punishment: Use your magic in a special women’s military flight unit, and undertake terrifying, deadly, missions under cover of darkness.

Revna and Linne can hardly stand to be in the same cockpit. But if they can’t fly together and prove their worth to the war effort, their country will brand them traitors. And if they can’t find a way to fly well, the enemy’s superior firepower will destroy them . . . If they don’t destroy each other first.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a good debut and I will probably pick up Claire’s next book.

The writing style was captivating. It grabbed my attention and held it. It wasn’t the most distinctive, but it also wasn’t boring and average. I really liked how Claire wrote the magic system and government. The magic system was very detailed and unique. I enjoyed reading a magic system that wasn’t cut and dry. I loved (in a plot sense) how the government banned magic and how it enforced those rules. I was never quite sure whether to trust the government, but I loved each character’s perspective on it.

Revna: Revna was one of my favorite characters in this book. She was smart, dedicated, and didn’t like it when people pitied her. She also had prosthetic legs. I think that representation was done well, but I do not have prosthetic leg(s), nor do I know anyone who has prosthetic leg(s). I didn’t notice anything problematic, but if one of you guys finds something different, fell free to tell me and I will change it. Revna and Linne had many differences, but I liked how Revna tried to work past these so that the two of them could stay in the air. Revna’s character developed a lot and I was glad that she grew.

Linne: I started We Rule The Night thinking that I would hate Linne by the end. Long story short: I didn’t. I liked how much she developed and where her character was heading. Linne didn’t take any backtalk from anyone, which made her unlikable among other characters. It also made me respect her. It made her and Revna go toe to toe more than once. It also helped show how much she developed. All in all, I really liked Linne by the end and would love to hear more from her.

In the Author’s Note, Claire mentioned that We Rule The Night was based on the Night Witches. While on my unprecedented break from blogging, I read a book about the Night Witches by Elizabeth Wein. It was really good and I loved finding all of the references and little tidbits that I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. The little details of the Night Witches were not the most accurate, but the main principles and concepts were.  The Night Witches were a very interesting group and I am glad to see that they were portrayed fairly accurately in this book.

The plot was very well-done and I enjoyed it a lot. I have never read a story like this one, and that really shows. This was not the most suspenseful book I have read, but it was up there. I really enjoyed how much character development played a part in the plot. Will this book have a sequel? That is what I want to know. Because as soon as I know, I am preordering it from somewhere.

I really enjoyed reading We Rule The Night and I would recommend it. I got the summary from the book cover. Thanks for Reading!!! Have a Nice Day!!!

XOXO

Annalee

The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Albert — May 18, 2019

The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Albert

Seventeen-year-old Alice Proserpine and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always one step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice discovers how bad her luck can really get. Her mother is stolen away by a figure who claims to come from the cruel, supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: Stay away from the Hazel Wood.

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with her classmate and fairy-tale superfan Ellery Finch, who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To rescue her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood and then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began – and where she might discover why her own story went so wrong.

All of the five-star reviews about this book were right. The Hazel Wood is amazing. I couldn’t put it down. I wish I had picked it up sooner, but I was feeling stubborn and had so many other books to read. The characters were very in-depth and I loved discovering the Hinterland with Alice.

The writing style was very concise, especially when you think about how this is Melissa’s first novel. She described everything in vivid detail, which kept me hooked onto the story. The pacing was a little bit confusing at times, but it was not terrible. I really enjoyed when Alice was in the Hinterland and learning everything, as it was the perfect way to tell all of the readers about the Hinterland as well.

Alice was such a great character. She was relatable and I enjoyed listening to her POV. Melissa did a great job with her inner thoughts and how she reacted once she entered the Hinterland. I also was really impressed with how much Alice’s character developed. She turned from being a fairly angry girl who turned away from others to a girl who put her boundaries first and was in control of her story. Alice may not be the best role model, but she is a really good character.

The supporting characters were also very good. I really liked how in-depth they were and that they also developed. I loved how realistic they were and how !last of them were filed by ambition and greed. These are normal human reasons for doing things. The characters from the Hinterland had a different set of motives, but getting into those would spoil the story. Alice’s trust in some of the side characters was a driving plot point. It is not normally what happens in fantasy. And I like how invested Alive and some of the side characters were in each other, it made for some very touching bonds.

The plot was very detailed and gripping. I really liked how Melissa incorporated some of the tales from Alice’s grandmother’s book into The Hazel Wood. I think that the plot was very clear and concise, which is good when you’ve been reading vague books for the past several weeks. This book was not predictable at all. I had some guesses on how the story would end, and none of them were even close to right. I got the paperback edition of this, which means I got two stories from Alice’s grandmother. They were just as well written as the rest of the book and I wish there were more of them back there.

I think that Melissa did a very good job on this book and I can’t wait to read The Night Country. I got the summary from the back of the book. Once again, I am very sorry for not having posted for several months and I can’t wait to get back on track. Thanks for Reading!!! Have a Great Day!!!

XOXO

Annalee

Life Update (Where Have I Been?) — May 12, 2019

Life Update (Where Have I Been?)

Hey guys! I’m back. I burned out in January and took an unexpected hiatus. I wish I could have come back on sooner, but I wasn’t ready. I probably won’t post as much, one or two times a week, but I will still try to post. Hopefully, I will do more tags and maybe a weekly meme. I have always loved this community and I can’t wait to start writing posts again.

XOXO Annalee

BLOG TOUR: The Whispers, by Greg Howard — January 23, 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Whispers, by Greg Howard

A middle grade debut that’s a heartrending coming-of-age tale, perfect for fans of Bridge to Terabithia and Counting By 7s.

Eleven-year-old Riley believes in the whispers, magical fairies that will grant you wishes if you leave them tributes. Riley has a lot of wishes. He wishes bullies at school would stop picking on him. He wishes Dylan, his 8th grade crush, liked him, and Riley wishes he would stop wetting the bed. But most of all, Riley wishes for his mom to come back home. She disappeared a few months ago, and Riley is determined to crack the case. He even meets with a detective, Frank, to go over his witness statement time and time again. 

Frustrated with the lack of progress in the investigation, Riley decides to take matters into his own hands. So he goes on a camping trip with his friend Gary to find the whispers and ask them to bring his mom back home. But Riley doesn’t realize the trip will shake the foundation of everything that he believes in forever.

I loved this book so much!!!! It was so sweet and I highly recommend it. I was lucky enough to be able to interview the author, Greg Howard, and he was a lovely person.

Who was your favorite character to write? Why?

My favorite character to write was definitely Riley. It was the first time I’d written in a middle-grade voice and I was surprised at how easy it was to fall into Riley’s heart and mind. I pulled a lot of his personality from my own when I was his age and I loved viewing the world through his honest, unfiltered eyes. It was very liberating and somewhat cathartic.

What was your favorite part of writing The Whispers? Least favorite part?

I love writing humor. And through every revision, I’m constantly “punching up the funny.” Riley’s sense of humor is very quirky and he’s an extremely witty kid, most of the time without even realizing it. I think that speaks to his sometimes brutally honest narration.

My least favorite part of writing The Whispers was all the raw nerves I kept hitting. This is a deeply personal story and I through the writing process, I uncovered a lot of feelings and emotions that I’d ignored for a long time. Or as Riley says, I’d pushed them “behind the big wall in my brain where I put things I don’t want to think about too much.”

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Read more and write more. Don’t worry too much about the business side of publishing. You will end up spending plenty of time on all that. When you’re not writing, read. When you’re not reading, write. The more you write the better you will become, and every book you read along the way will help you on that journey.

What is your go-to book when you are feeling down?

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is full of such great advice for writers and it’s seasoned with Anne’s witty self-deprecating humor. It’s hard to take yourself too seriously after reading that book. It also helps you realize that we, as writers, all have the same doubts, struggles, and bad habits.

Where is your favorite place to write (inside the house or out of it)?

Most of the time I write on the lumpy sectional in my den with my three dogs laying all over me. It’s not the most comfortable place to sit for hours, but that’s where I’ve done my best writing, so I’m not about to change it up now.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Germany – I’ve just always wanted to go there. I took three years of German in high school, so I know how to ask where the bathroom and the library are, so I should be good.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Television.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Jeff Zentner, Becky Albertalli, and Kathleen Grissom have all been particularly gracious to me—offering advice, counsel, promotional support, etc. Through their kindness they taught me to pay it forward and always offer the same generosity to new writers who reach out to me.

What Hogwarts’ Houses would you sort your characters into?

Riley – Gryffindor

Dylan – Ravenclaw

Gene Grimes – Slytherin

Tucker – Hufflepuff

Greg Howard grew up near the coast of South Carolina. His hometown of Georgetown is known as the “Ghost Capital of the South” (seriously…there’s a sign), and was always a great source of material for his overactive imagination. Raised in a staunchly religious home, Greg escaped into the arts: singing, playing piano, acting, writing songs, and making up stories. Currently, Greg resides in Nashville, Tennessee, with his husband, Steve, and their three rescued fur babies Molly, Toby, and Riley.

I really loved reading this book and a review should be coming on it. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to have interviewed Greg Howard and I will be picking up his future novels. Remember to fill out my survey. You can find the link to it on my About page. Thanks for Reading!!! Have a Great Day!!! -Annalee and Buttons

Week One

January 14 – Novel Novice – Creative Instagram Picture + Spotlight

January 15 – Pages Unbound – Author Q&A

January 16 – Bookish Connoisseur – Creative Instagram Picture

January 17 – Velarisreads – Review

January 18 – The Desert Bibliophile – Playlist

Week Two

January 21 – Bookish Bug – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

January 22 – A Bronx Latina Reads – Review

January 23 – Buttons Book Reviews – Author Q&A

January 24 – The Hermit Librarian – Review + Book Aesthetic

January 25 – Andy Winder – Author Guest Post: The Whispers is a middle grade novel that features a queer protagonist. What influenced you to write LGBTQ middle grade and what are some of the positives or challenges of writing in this genre? Do you have any LGBTQ middle grade book recommendations?

The Rise of Winter, by Alex Lyttle — January 17, 2019

The Rise of Winter, by Alex Lyttle

Title: The Rise of Winter

Author: Alex Lyttle

Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing

Date Published: April 1, 2019

Centuries ago, Terra, the world, was nearly destroyed by humans. In the wake of that destruction, Terra created the Guardians—a group sworn to protect Her. But humans have returned to their plundering ways and Terra needs the Guardians. The Guardians are now fractured, their leader murdered years before. They need a new leader—a new Terra Protectorum—but when a young girl is chosen, outrage ensues. Questions demand answers.
Why has Terra selected a girl with no knowledge of the Guardians? Why has she chosen a human when it is the humans destroying the earth? And most importantly, why has she chosen the girl whose father murdered the last Terra Protectorum?

Well, that break went on a little longer than expected, but I’m back!!!! Thank you Netgalley and Central Avenue Publishing for providing me with this ARC. I really enjoyed this book, but it had some faults. My favorite part of The Rise of Winter was the fantasy aspect, which I can wait to talk to you about.

The writing style was very distinct and I enjoyed reading The Rise of Winter. Alex Lyttle’s writing was very to-the-point and crisp. Alex described the setting very well and I enjoyed reading about Terra. There were also lots of cute illustrations through the book that I enjoyed immensely. I also enjoyed stumbling upon an illustration that depicted the plot. I felt like I was in the book with the characters, the setting was so well done. I really enjoyed Alex Lyttle’s writing style and how he described the setting. I also enjoyed the illustrations.

The characters were very well-written and I loved hearing about their lives and backstories. Alex put a lot of thought into the characters and it really showed. They all had a very detailed backstory and were very well-developed. There was also mention of an LGBTQ+ relationship, and when it was questioned, the character replied: “Love is love.” Those are the kind of characters I want to see more of. Winter, the main character, was also really cool. She made mistakes, felt bad, and tried to fix them. She also stood up for her values. Winter is a role model that young girls can admire and look up to.

The future aspect in The Rise of Winter was my favorite part of the book. I loved hearing about the talking animals and their various abilities. I wish I had been able to meet the Guardians and learn about their abilities. The aspect that the Earth, or Terra, was sentient, intrigued me and I enjoyed learning about that. When the fantasy aspect, Alex also taught that everyone should respect the Earth and should live in harmony with nature. I was impressed that Alex Lyttle was able to teach about caring of the Earth with the high fantasy aspect.

The plot was very action-packed and I enjoyed reading it. There were a lot of cliff-hangers. There was also a lot of suspense. I loved reading about Winter and her adventures, which was very intriguing. The plot was set up in this book, but there was quite a bit of action. I enjoyed hearing about everything and I wish I was able to enter this world. The plot and the rest of the book were very well done and I highly recommend it.

I loved reading The Rise of Winter and I recommend it. I got the summary from Netgalley. Remember to fill out my survey. You can find the link to it on my About page. Thanks for Reading!!! Have a Great Day!!! -Annalee and Buttons

What I Read Over My Break — January 5, 2019

What I Read Over My Break

Even though I took a break from blogging, that doesn’t mean that I took a break from reading!!! And because I’m feeling to lazy to write individual reviews for each book, I’ll just tell you what books I read and their rating.

Archenemies, by Marissa Meyer: Five stars.

Two Dark Reigns, by Kendare Blake: Five stars.

A Torch Against The Night, by Sabba Tahir: Five stars.

City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare: Five stars.

Becoming, by Michelle Obama: Five Stars.

Language of Thorns, by Leigh Bardugo: Three Stars.

A Winter’s Promise: Four point five stars.

Vicious, by V.E. Schwab: Three Stars

I didn’t read as much as I would have liked to over my break, but I did get some things in. I hope that you guys had a lovely winter break and I can’t wait to get back to the blog. Thanks for Reading!!! Have a Great Day!!! -Annalee and Buttons