Guest Review: Meet the Sky by McCall Hoyle


Title: Meet the Sky
Author: McCall Hoyle 
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Publisher: Blink
Hardcover, 256 Pages
Published September 2018

Summary: It all started with the accident. The one that caused Sophie’s dad to walk out of her life. The one that left Sophie’s older sister, Meredith, barely able to walk at all. With nothing but pain in her past, all Sophie wants is to plan for the future—keep the family business running, get accepted to veterinary school, and protect her mom and sister from another disaster. But when a hurricane forms off the coast of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and heads right toward their island, Sophie realizes nature is one thing she can’t control. After she gets separated from her family during the evacuation, Sophie finds herself trapped on the island with the last person she’d have chosen—the reckless and wild Finn Sanders, who broke her heart freshman year. As they struggle to find safety, Sophie learns that Finn has suffered his own heartbreak; but instead of playing it safe, Finn’s become the kind of guy who goes surfing in the eye of the hurricane. He may be the perfect person to remind Sophie how to embrace life again, but only if their newfound friendship can survive the storm.

Today on the blog we have a guest review from Rae over at A New Look on BooksThey were kind enough to stop by and review Meet the Sky and share their thoughts on it, and we couldn't be more excited to have them here as our guest reviewer for today! So without further ado, let's get into it!


Follow the story of Sophie, told in first POV, as she experiences a natural disaster that rips apart not only her world, but how she views it too.

Sophie doesn’t believe in fairy tales, not anymore. After an accident that has left her older sister, Mere, a shell of her former self, left her mom working herself to the point of exhaustion, and caused her dad to leave… well needless to say Sophie is struggling to keep her family together. Obsessed with plans and the issue of time, Sophie sticks to what she knows and dreams of a controlled future. Enter Finn, a former friend and ninth grade crush who just so happened to break her heart when he left without a goodbye and stood her up at their first high school dance. The thing is, Finn is back and trying to get her attention. He is acting like nothing has changed. Distracted, worried, Sophie plans to avoid Finn at all costs and later is following her mom and sister out of the area to avoid the hurricane when her beat up truck blows a tire. Stranded, events spiral, as Sophie and Finn are pushed together to ride out the storm. More than one thing changes…

This story hit too close to home on a number of levels for me. Not only could I relate to the area, to an extent from just recently being in NC, but I was also in an accident at the beginning of this month and everything has changed – especially my perspective on life. While I’m recovering, I watched some of my quirks manifest in Sophie on her journey. She felt so real, so na├»ve, and so stubborn! At times she broke my heart even if I groaned at some of her decisions and thoughts. I lived the storm through her and that for me is one of my favorite parts of reading a novel – the ultimate connection where I’m at the story’s mercy. This of course makes me think of Finn… I loved this boy. From his quirky nature, comedic relief, love of junk food, need for adrenaline – okay I could continue but I’ll refrain. He and Sophie supported each other as character foils excellently. How they grew together and separately was well done. A shout out as well to the side characters that not only had their own personas, but also contributed to the story without taking too much control of it. Ah, which leads me to the pace and overall plot of the story.

Everything just happened so fast! One second I’m thinking Sophie is fine and the next I’m hit back to back with scenery, emotions, and this mega-storm. The confusion worked though even as my heart pounded with adrenaline. Overall it reflected the characters themselves and set the mood. As readers are following along, the scenes themselves are gorgeous – if not terrifying based on the circumstances – and the reoccurring references of life, death, risk, and time blended together spot on.


I don’t really have anything that I feel the need to critique. So, in conclusion *clears throat* I really connected with Meet the Sky and highly recommend it. It is a story of hope, loss, and growth that reflects an inner battle outwardly in the form of a storm and the need to survive.



We'd like to once again thank Rae for stopping by The Book Bratz today to post this guest review. You can read the original review over on their blog by clicking HERE!













** Psst! Interested in guest reviewing on The Book Bratz? Shoot us an email at thebookbratz@gmail.com or DM us on Twitter (@thebookbratz) and we'd love to have you!

Blogging 101: When, Why & What to Post


So, you want to start a book blog and you don't know where to start. This is completely normal. Starting a blog is an overwhelming feeling, there is so much you need to know that you don't. We are hoping with this new series that we will be able to help new bloggers navigate the blogging world!
Previous Posts: PlatformsWebsites Essential for Running a Blog | Staying Organized 

I want to start off this post saying that NO ONE can tell you what to post on your blog or when to post it. It is your blog and your content is your choice. This post is merely suggestions and the optimal times of when to post your posts. I am going to start off with the three most common post you are going to probably want to take part of because a) they are fun and b) you are sharing your love of books! Isn't that what you started a book blog for!? 


SUGGESTIONS ON WHAT TO POST!


Top Ten Tuesday:
I assign each Tuesday a topic and then post my top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join me and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.
You’ll find the schedule of upcoming TTT topics below so you can plan ahead. I’ll post a Linky here on the blog each week so you can link up your post (if you want). If you don’t have a blog, post your picks in the comment section below! Have tons of fun talking books and getting to know your fellow bloggers!

TTT are one of our favorite things to post here on The Book Bratz. More often or not they are so much fun to put together and really bring your attention to a lot of books that you haven't give much thought about. Also, Jana includes a widget where you can link your post up to and also visit other peoples posts. It is so much fun I've been introduced to so many amazing blogs that way. As the name suggests this meme is done on Tuesday's and are once a week, but you can do it when ever you feel like it. 


Waiting on Wednesday:


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted here, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Waiting on Wednesday is another weekly meme that we love participating in. Basically you feature a book on your blog that hasn't been published yet and why you are excited for it. I have discovered so many books by checking out other blogs when they do these posts. Jill use to put a widget up to link up (just like Jana does) but she hasn't done it in a while so I just search through the #WaitingonWednesday tag on twitter!

Reviews:

You are a book blog! What better way to show your love for books then to give them amazing reviews to share with the world!? Not sure where to start on writing a book review? Just write your honest thoughts and opinions. What did you like? What did you dislike? How were the characters? What did you think of the plot? I will have a post up soon about writing book reviews. So check back for that soon!! 

SUGGESTIONS ON WHY YOU SHOULD POST WHAT YOU DO!

This is your blog. Post what you want and don't let people tell you not to. This is your space and your outlet. You are your own boss. Write some awesome content and hit that publish button!



WHEN YOU SHOULD POST YOUR POST:

There really isn't an appropriate time to post a blog post. Currently I am writing this blog post at 4 in the morning, if I wanted to I can hit the publish button now. Typically we schedule our posts to go up 12a.m. EST so they have a full 24 hours on the blog before our next post goes up. But when ever you feel like posting a blog post it is your choice. Get people to view the blog post is how you promote it (Twitter, Facebook,Pinterest and/or Instagram) rather then the time of day it is posted. 

So that is it for today's Blogging 101 post! I hopes this helped out on When, Why and What to post. Please remember this is merely advice and things that we have learned through out our years of blogging. Talk to us! Was this post helpful? Do you have any question? If you do please comment them and I will respond back ASAP! 

Review: Hidden Deep by Amy Patrick

Title: Hidden Deep (Hidden Saga #1)
Author: Amy Patrick
Genre: Paranormal, Romance 
Publisher: Oxford South Press
Publication Date: March 23rd 2015
Kindle Edition, 376 pages

Summary: 
Give in to the Glamour… Sixteen-year-old Ryann Carroll has just run into the guy who saved her life ten years ago. You might think she'd be happy to see him again. Not exactly. She's a bit underdressed (as in skinny-dipping) and he's not supposed to exist. After her father's affair, all Ryann wants is to escape the family implosion fallout and find a little peace. She also wouldn't mind a first date that didn't suck, but she's determined not to end up like her mom: vulnerable, betrayed, destroyed. Ryann's recently moved back to her childhood home in rural Mississippi, the same place where ten years earlier she became lost in the woods overnight and nearly died. He's still irresistibly drawn to those woods. There she encounters the boy who kept her from freezing to death that long ago winter night and was nowhere to be seen when rescuers arrived. He's still mysterious, but now all grown-up and gorgeous, too. And the more she's with him, the greater the threat he poses to Ryann's strict policy-- never want someone more than he wants you. Seventeen-year-old Lad knows the law of his people all too well: Don't get careless and Don't get caught. It's allowed his race to live undetected in this world for thousands of years, mentioned only in flawed and fading folklore… Lad's never been able to forget about Ryann since that night ten years ago. When he sees her again, his fascination re-ignites and becomes a growing desire that tempts him to break all the rules. He's not even supposed to talk to a human, much less fall in love with one. And the timing is atrocious. The Assemblage is coming, the rift between the Light and Dark is widening, and mysterious celebrity fan pods are becoming more and more widespread and influential. Lad may have to trade his own chance at happiness to keep the humans, especially Ryann, blissfully unaware and safe.
To be completely honest with you have a love hate relationship with this book. When I read the synopsis on Goodreads and saw that the book was currently free for on Amazon for my kindle I jumped at the chance. I haven't read a an urban fantasy book in the longest time and I figured this was going to be a quick read. It was, the story was intriguing and I had to know what was going to happen with Ryann and Lad and stayed up way to late to finish Hidden Deep, which I am not complaining about in the slightest. 


*I just have a super complicated relationship with this book*

I honestly really liked Ryann's character, she is a relatable teenage girl. She actually reminds me a lot of how I was when I was sixteen. Some of her decisions aren't well planned out and pretty rash but that is what being a teenager is like sometimes. Plus with the IRS breathing down her mother's neck for her father's mistakes she feels like the weight of the world is on her shoulders. Not only for her family's sake but also for Lad's as well. 

My only I had two issues with this book, the first being the insta-love between Ryann and Lad. I understand that had a connection from a past incident and they been searching for each other for ten years, but they rushed into things really fast. Under their circumstances I understand and also with them being so young and it being their first "love" I am chalking it up to that. (We were all sixteen once, it all had the feeling at least once in our life for a special someone from super early on.) With the mini love triangle with Nox I strongly believe that Patrick is planning for a love triangle in the following books which I am actually pretty down for since both Lad and Nox are totally opposites and I can see her ending up with either on of them. 

My second is that were Ryann and her mother were well developed I feel like I know next to nothing about Nox and very little about Lad. Lad had to be very secretive about who and what he was for more then half the book so I sort of understand that and hope that Patrick expands a lot more on him in the next books in the series. Nox was in a majority of the book becoming a love interest but all I knew was he was super attractive and into Ryann and he was in a band that was getting a record deal. Maybe Patrick is saving their character development for future books? I hope so. 

Besides the two issues I really enjoyed this book. It's not often that you read a story about Elves. I really like the world that was created for them and their customs. I am really excited to see more of them considering how the story ended with Ryann and Lad perusing a relationship so it only seems likely that Lad's world will play a role in the next book. 

Though the romance was kinda fast it is still swoon worthy. Honestly if a guy said half the things that Lad had said to Ryann I probably would have been a puddle on the floor. His dedication and his will to fight for her really had me routing for their relationship and hoping for a really good outcome. I am also kind of in love with Lad sooooooooo I can't blame Ryann for falling for him quickly. *Shrugs*

In the end I ended up reading Hidden Deep super fast and I am really looking forward to the rest of the series. I learned there is three books following these characters, three more following different characters (that have to do with these characters) and then three more that I am not sure what they deal with. But I haven't read a long series in so so so long so I am so down for this. Any who, if you made it this far into to this really long review thank you for listening to my thoughts and ramblings (Its is 4a.m. and I am super caffeinated so I am typing about a mile a minute at the moment.) But let me know if you read this series!!! It seems super underrated. 


*Me rereading this when it is published and regretting that I wrote a review high on caffeine.*



(3.5 Stars!)



ARC Review: How She Died, How I Lived by Mary Crockett


Title: How She Died, How I Lived
Author: Mary Crockett
Publisher: Little, Brown
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Paperback, 400 Pages
Publication Date: November 13th, 2018


Summary: I was one of five. The five girls Kyle texted that day. The girls it could have been. Only Jamie--beautiful, saintly Jamie--was kind enough to respond. And it got her killed. On the eve of Kyle's sentencing a year after Jamie's death, all the other "chosen ones" are coping in various ways. But our tenacious narrator is full of anger, stuck somewhere between the horrifying past and the unknown future as she tries to piece together why she gets to live, while Jamie is dead. Now she finds herself drawn to Charlie, Jamie's boyfriend--knowing all the while that their relationship will always be haunted by what-ifs and why-nots. Is hope possible in the face of such violence? Is forgiveness? How do you go on living when you know it could have been you instead?

I received an advanced copy of this book at BookExpo this year, and I wasn't sure what it was at first, but once I actually looked at the synopsis and realized that the story was about, I knew that I would have to get on line. I'm not into super gory or super horror-level books, but this book seemed like the perfect about of disturbing thrills to shake me up without, you know, terrorizing me for life. And I ended up really enjoying this book and devouring the entire 400-paged story in only 24 hours, because I kept flipping the pages because I had to know what would happen next.

For starters, this book deals heavily with rape, gore, sexual assault, and murder. If these are topics that you don't want to read, then I don't suggest picking this one up. But if you're okay with that and want to give it a try, then read on and continue reading the rest of this review!

Something that surprised me a little bit actually crossed my mind when I was writing this review. I realized that I forgot the narrator's name. I searched through the book, online, and even in the book's synopsis before I realized that we never actually got the name of the narrator. Which should, in retrospect, bother me, but I realized that Mary Crockett managed to pull of the entire story without giving what can be considered as such basic information, and that was a bold writing choice that I actually really appreciated. (Also, if the narrator does have a name and I just happened to miss it, please comment down below and let me know! But I have a feeling that they really don't.)

This was such a chilling story that gripped me from the very beginning. Like I mentioned earlier in this review, I flipped through this so quickly because I just could. not. put. it. down. The horrors that these girls had to face were so scary and I couldn't ever even imagine that happening to me. Not only can I barely fathom what happened to Jamie, but I couldn't imagine what it must feel like for those other four girls to know that Jamie is dead partially because they weren't the ones that responded fast enough to Kyle. It was so messed up and scary and really made me sit and think about things for awhile. This book definitely covers the horrors of imaging what could happen if a situation ended up being about you instead of the other victim.

As for what I didn't like about this book, I just wasn't a huge fan of the insta-love between Charlie and the narrator. It seemed like there wasn't really much development there, and they just popped into existence and started crushing on each other after not speaking for years, and everything was just fine and dandy. So that part threw me off a little bit. That and the fact that Charlie's best friend, Mark, clearly has some sort of vendetta against the narrator, even though he never explains why and we never really find out.

Overall, I really enjoyed How She Died, How I Lived. While there were some scenes that were a little graphic and scared me a little bit, I walked away from this book in the end having chills down my arms and definitely being shaken down to my core. If you're looking for a book to capture you, crawl under your skin, and make you feel something, then this is definitely one worth checking out. 



Waiting on Wednesday: If You're Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser


"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read!

Jessica's Waiting on:

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Title: If You're Out There
Author: Katy Loutzenhiser
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: March 5th, 2019



Summary: After Zan’s best friend moves to California, she’s baffled and crushed when Priya suddenly ghosts. Worse, Priya’s social media has turned into a stream of ungrammatical posts chronicling a sunny, vapid new life that doesn’t sound like her at all. Everyone tells Zan not to be an idiot: Let Priya do her reinvention thing, and move on. But until Zan hears Priya say it, she won’t be able to admit that the friendship is finished. It’s only when she meets Logan, the compelling new guy in Spanish class, that Zan begins to open up about her sadness, her insecurity, her sense of total betrayal. And he’s just as willing to throw himself into the investigation when everyone else thinks her suspicions are crazy. Then a clue hidden in Priya’s latest selfie introduces a new, deeply disturbing possibility. Maybe Priya isn’t just not answering Zan’s emails. Maybe she can’t.

This book sounds like a really chilling mystery that I immediately knew I had to add to my TBR. I mean, look at that summary -- I got chills down my arms just reading it. At first, I thought it was going to be an upbeat story about new friendships and letting go of people that have hurt you. But then when I finished reading the summary, I saw an entirely different layer to this book, and now I can't wait until 2019 so I can pick it up!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so we can stop back!

The College Diaries: Mental Health


Today I want to tackle a conversation that has been sitting on in my mind for a little while now, and I never knew how to address it on the blog. We talk about books here, but for those who followed us since the very start of The Book Bratz knows how we are huge mental health supporters and I've even shared my story of mental illness back in 2016. But this post is about school and mental health and being ready for your future. I want to share my story in hopes that in maybe some way shape or form that it will help someone. Because if you are feeling like this in this moment, I want you to know that you aren't alone. 

In 2017 I took a hiatus from blogging rather abruptly, I put a post up saying how I was leaving The Book Bratz for undetermined amount of time and to be honest with you I wasn't sure if I was ever going to come back to something that I thought I loved with my whole entire heart. I stopped reading, I didn't keep up with my favorite blogs or bloggers. I barley talked to Jessica or Emily (Maybe a couple of times a month, if that.)  I didn't only quit The Book Bratz, I also dropped out of college several months prior. I had three weeks left in my first semester and I decided to drop out. I spent 2017 struggling with my mental health, I had extreme highs and really bad lows. My lows were ugly and my highs were even uglier. It wasn't a pretty time in my life, but it is a time of my life that I use as a lesson. 

For returning college students, new college students, high schools students who are beginning to plan their futures: It is okay to not be sure what you want. It is alright to take a step back and want time off to focus on yourself. College is not a race to see who finishes first and if you view it that way it isn't going to be an experience you think very fondly of. It is also incredibly important to put you and your mental health first. Because without you being alright, is everything else you want in life going to be accomplished if all you want to do is give up? 

It took me a little over a year to find myself, to find my passion and to get myself back to the girl I was. In January 2018 I went back to school, I got a 3.5 for the semester, I started blogging again and I rekindled my friendship with my two best friends. I cut out the toxic things from my life and it wasn't easy. But it was something that I had to do to move forward. 

This post is kind of a mess, but it is my way of showing that no one is alone out there and if you feel alone you really aren't. We have this beautiful platform with amazing people that we created and I wanted to take at least one post to be real with out followers (We always are real, but being real about mental health is another thing.) 

If any of you ever need anything at all. To talk/vent/ask advice our e-mail/DMs are always open anytime of the day. If you wanted to talk directly to me, you can find me on twitter at @amber_shep. Please know that you are never a lone, and this post is just my way of trying to show you that you aren't. 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl in which we create bookish lists about everything from our favorite characters to love triangles and everything in between!
This Weeks Theme: Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read



I really have to get on the reading wagon because I cut this list down a lot so I can makw this post! What are your lists? Leave the link to your TTT below so I can stop back!


Banned Books Week 2018 -- Our Favorite Banned Books!

It's one of our favorite weeks of the year -- Banned Books Week 2018! To celebrate, we're highlighting some of our favorite "banned" books. Check them out, and share your thoughts and opinions below!

Here at The Book Bratz, we don't believe in banning literature. We think that it's important for stories to be shared, and trying to censor students and children doesn't benefit anyone. So without further ado, here are some of our favorite banned books:

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So those are some of our favorite banned books! What are yours? Leave a comment down below and let us know -- don't forget to share your thoughts on the concept of banning books, also!