Buttons Book Reviews

All books are magical, whether enchanted or not.

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

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

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

City of Ghosts, by Victoria Schwab — December 15, 2018

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

Wildcard, by Marie Lu — December 13, 2018

Wildcard, by Marie Lu

Teenage hacker Emika Chen embarks on a mission to unravel a sinister plot and is forced to join forces with a shadowy organization called the Blackcoats.

This book was a wild ride!!! I loved it so much and I hoped that it would never end! Emika was so developed and we learned a lot more about all of the side characters as well. The plot was a bit slow in the first half of the book, but it picked up around the halfway point. We also learned a lot more about the setting and the Warcross game itself. I wish that I could read more about Emika and what happens next for her.

Marie’s writing style didn’t change very much but it still worked really well. I was into the book from the first page, even if it was a little slow. I was addicted to the writing and now I have to wait until another one of Marie’s books is published. I loved how well the world of Warcross was described, especially the game itself. Since such a large part of the book was situated inside the game it is a good thing that it was done well. I loved reading the descriptions of all of the objects and the world.

All of the characters were very detailed and I learned so much about them. Marie used the first half of Wildcard to talk about their backstories and explain their motives. Then, when that was done Marie made sure to challenge the characters’ motives and develop them. The characters were very well-written and I wish that some of them had their own spinoff sequels. Relationships changed drastically in this book and I really enjoyed that. We saw a lot more characters, like Ziggy Frost and Max Martin, who were mentioned in passing but now were more prominent. I would love to hear more about characters like them so a spinoff would be nice.

The coding aspect of this book seemed very realistic and I wish I was able to code like Emika, Hideo, and Zero. There was not as much technical talk in this book as I had expected, but I think that’s for the best. Many people don’t know very much about coding, so talking about it might confuse some readers and convince them to put down the book. I wish that there was a bit more technical talk, but I can live without it. I wish I knew more about what coding language Hideo and Co. used, but I can figure that out.

The plot was very well-written, even though it took half the book for it to start moving. I wish that the action in Wildcard had happened faster, but the character motives and build-up were important. So important that without them the second half of the book wouldn’t be possible. The plot twists were very unpredictable and I was always sitting on the edge of my seat. I loved reading about the final showdown (and countdown). I wish I had been able to talk to Emika, Hideo, and the Phoenix Riders to give them advice and to talk about coding and virtual reality.

I loved Wildcard and I highly recommend it, just like I recommend any of Marie Lu’s books. I got the summary for the book 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

La Belle Sauvage, by Phillip Pullman — December 11, 2018

La Belle Sauvage, by Phillip Pullman

When Malcolm finds a secret message inquiring about a dangerous substance called Dust, he finds himself embroiled in a tale of intrigue featuring enforcement agents from the Magisterium, a woman with an evil monkey daemon, and a baby named Lyra.

This book was way better than the original trilogy!!!! I really enjoyed it and we got some answers to the questions that we asked. There were a lot of cameos and meetings that made me so excited because I saw some of my favorite characters before The Golden Compass. I really enjoyed reading this book and can’t wait to see what happens next in this trilogy.

Phillip’s writing style was very lyrical and I loved reading it. I got the signed collectors edition of this book at the Boulder Bookstore so there were a lot of illustrations that I didn’t want in the book, but otherwise, I really liked that. Phillip was able to display Malcolm’s thought process really well and I enjoyed seeing another character react to Lyra, even when she was that young. The writing style was not terrible, but I’ve seen better. I wish that Phillip’s writing had been a bit more down to earth and that he was able to give us more Lord Asriel and Lyra together.

Malcolm, Alice, Lyra, and all of the other characters were so detailed. I enjoyed learning about Malcolm and how he interacted with the world. The side characters were just as detailed as the main character and I loved reading about the interactions between some of the characters. There seemed to be a larger cast of characters in this book than in His Dark Materials but that might just be me. I loved reading about Malcolm and all of the other characters and I can’t wait to learn more about them.

The daemons were very well written and I loved learning about them. All of the daemons were very detailed and I wish I had learned more about them in this book and the earlier ones. I always wondered whether daemons felt the pain of their human and vice versa. Thankfully, I got my answer in this book. I also enjoyed learning about how much daemons could shift and whether you could tell how someone was feeling just by looking at their daemon. From the minute I started The Golden Compass I knew that I had to know everything about these daemons as possible and La Belle Sauvage helps me with that.

The plot was very well-written and I enjoyed reading it. The plot only sped up during the second half of the book, but that doesn’t mean that the first part was any less important. Without the first part and everything that happened there, the second half of the book wouldn’t have been there. There were lots of plot twists and I guessed about half of them. The idea for this story was very unique and I enjoyed reading about something that hasn’t been done yet.

I really liked reading La Belle Sauvage and I highly recommend it and the His Dark Materials trilogy. I got the summary for the book 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