Buttons Book Reviews

All books are magical, whether enchanted or not.

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

Christmas break — December 23, 2018

Christmas break

I won’t be posting anything until January 5th. I would like the time to enjoy company with family and friends. I will be doing some blog-hopping, but not as much as I usually do. Happy Holidays!!!! -Annalee and Buttons

In The Afterlight, by Alexandra Bracken — December 21, 2018

In The Afterlight, by Alexandra Bracken

When the Children’s League disbands, Ruby becomes a leader and forms an unlikely alliance with Liam’s brother, Cole, but competing ideals threaten the mission to uncover the cause of IANN and free psi children from the camps.

This book was a thrilling conclusion to The Darkest Minds series!!! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading this book. Alexandra’s writing was very good and I can’t wait to read The Darkest Legacy.

Alex’s writing style is very distinctive. Her style is also very addicting, which means that right after Christmas I know what book I’ll be getting. I really enjoyed how well Alex described the setting. I could envision myself in the book with Ruby and her crew, experiencing what they were experiencing and learning what they were learning. I wish that I had been able to spend more time in certain places, but I loved traveling all around the country. There were other ways that I learned about the setting, like through people’s stories. I really wish I knew how to travel inside of books so that I could see whether the setting that Alex described was where I wanted to be.

The characters were really great!!! They were so detailed and I enjoyed reading about them. Some characters that we previously met and had left, have returned!!! That made my day. When characters did return from previous books, their backstories were explained and their traumas were dealt with. I really enjoyed seeing some of the newer characters react to situations that the other characters had already been through, and them learning how to act. There were some heartbreaking deaths as well. I was crying at some points in this book because of who died and what happened to some of my favorite characters.

They don’t burn do they? Not like us.


Bracken, Alexandra. In the Afterlight. Hyperion, an Imprint of Disney Book Group, 2015.

The fight for a cure was very impressive and I was really interested in seeing what characters wanted a cure and what characters didn’t. I found it really interesting to see what Clancey’s thoughts on the cure were. His mother was an interesting character and I wish that she got more page time. The cure wasn’t all that it seemed to be, and Clancey turned out to be fairly on point with his thoughts on how the cure would be. I wish that I could have talked to him on his thoughts and that he wouldn’t have manipulated me if I did.

The plot was very action-packed and I loved it to the end!!! There were a couple camp breakouts and I was sitting on the edge of my seat for all of them. I wish that I had been a part of the story so that I could have helped with some of the stuff that they did. There was a lot of relationship stuff, but that was okay. There was a lot of questions on who could be trusted during this book, which helped keep me engrossed in the book. I really enjoyed reading In The Afterlight.

I loved reading this book and I highly recommend it. I got the book summary from the Library of Congress. 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

The Rose Society, by Marie Lu — December 15, 2018

The Rose Society, by Marie Lu

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her. But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele, and the Dagger Society want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?

This book was a stunning chronicle of Adelina’s descent into darkness. I highly recommend it and can’t wait to read The Midnight Star.

Marie’s writing was so lyrical and I loved it a lot. It was also really addicting and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. I wish I had the next book on hand so that I could start reading it. Marie described the setting very well and I felt like I was in the world with Adelina and her Roses. I wish that Adelina wasn’t the only character in the first person, though. It was a bit disconcerting when the story switched POVs. I really enjoyed reading Marie’s writing and I hope that it is just as good when I’m reading The Midnight Star.

The characters were very well-written and I loved reading about them. I wish I knew all of them in real life. All of the characters were very detailed and I knew the side characters almost as well as I knew Adelina and Violetta. I really enjoyed reading about all of the character drama and Adelina’s slow descent into something less than human. I wish that there was more Adelina and Enzo time, but I understand why the book needed to be written the way it did.

The effects of the magical deterioration were really well-written. When Raffaele, found out that all of the Elites were dying, my heart stopped in my chest. I wish that all of the characters didn’t have to die, but it is logical that they should die. Adelina took a dark terrible path in this book and I just wanted to stop her and tell her that she was making a terrible choice so many times while reading this book, even though I know that her abilities were driving her insane. I appreciated the realisticness of this predicament in The Rose Society, but I wish that it didn’t have to be this way.

They were the flash of light in a stormy sky, the fleeting darkness before dawn. Never have they existed before, nor shall they ever exist again.


Lu, Marie. THE ROSE SOCIETY (#2). G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2015.

The plot was very well-written, but, once again, I wish that it had been different. I wish that Adelina’s mental health didn’t deteriorate, I wish that Adelina had tried to win over the Daggers, and I wish that some people hadn’t died. I really enjoyed reading about the intensity of the bond between Adelina and her Roses. I wish that the ending wasn’t written the way it was and that it was happier. I saw Adelina turn darker and darker every day and that made me decide that if I ever go down that path, I’ll talk to a therapist.

I really enjoyed reading this book, even though it dragged Adelina’s mental health through the mud. I highly recommend it, as well as the rest of Marie Lu’s books. I got the summary from the Library of Congress. 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

City of Ghosts, by Victoria Schwab —

City of Ghosts, by Victoria Schwab

Ever since her near-fatal drowning, Cassidy has been able to pull back the “Veil” that separates the living from the dead and see ghosts, not that she wants to, and she was really looking forward to a ghost-free summer at the beach; however her parents are going to start filming a TV series about the world’s most haunted places, starting with Edinburgh with its graveyards, castles, and restless phantoms–and Cass and her personal ghost companion, Jacob, are about to find out that a city of old ghosts can be a very dangerous place indeed.

I really enjoyed the fun (yet slightly dark) little story that is City of Ghosts. It was so sweet and charming and I can’t wait to read the sequel.

Victoria’s writing style was so unique and I loved it a lot. I wish I had been able to pick up City of Ghosts faster. Victoria says that Edinburgh is the city where she buried her heart and it really shows in her descriptions of the city. I was blown away reading about all of the places in the city, especially Blackwell’s Bookstore. I think that after reading City of Ghosts, I have to visit Edinburgh sometime in the future if only to see if it’s as beautiful as it seems.

I loved the characters so much. I wish I had been able to talk to them and meet them in real life. Cassidy seemed so realistic and I loved reading about her. The side characters were great too, but my favorite character was Lara. Lara is her own person, and that’s what drew me to her. She takes Cassidy under her wing and teaches her most of what she knows. I wish we had a spinoff series for her.

It might surprise you to know that I have, on occasion, broken a few rules.

Schwab, Victoria. City of Ghosts. Scholastic Press, 2018

The ghosts in this book were very well-written. I enjoyed learning about ghost hunting and the ghosts themselves. Jacob, The Raven In Red, and all of the ghosts were very detailed and had very clear boundaries. Like their inability to touch things and their avoidance of certain objects. I wish I knew more about why the ghosts couldn’t move onto the Afterlife when other people could, but I think that’s a question for another book. I can’t wait to learn more about ghosts and ghost hunting in the next book.

The plot was very action-packed and surprisingly dark for a middle-grade book. You don’t normally read about some of the topics in this book when you’re in middle school.  I really loved reading about the ghost hunting and I can’t wait to see what happens next in the Cassidy Blake series. I had one main thought after I finished City of Ghosts. That book didn’t need a series. It would have been an open ending, but I’ve always enjoyed those. I’m not sure whether I want this book to become a series or not, but I’ll pick up the second book to see what happens next for Cassidy.

I really enjoyed City of Ghosts and I recommend it. I got the book summary from the Library of Congress. 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