Bite-Sized Reviews of The Impossible Fortress, Revenge of the Evil Librarian, Liberation, and The Anatomical Shape of a Heart

February 22, 2017 Reviews 8

Lately I feel like I’ll never catch up with reviews. I might have to do another installment of bite-sized reviews sooner rather than later because I want to let you guys know my thoughts on all the fantastic books I’ve been reading lately! Hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!


Bite-Sized Reviews of The Impossible Fortress, Revenge of the Evil Librarian, Liberation, and The Anatomical Shape of a HeartThe Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak
Published by Simon & Schuster on February 7th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 285
Source: NetGalley
My content rating: Mature YA (Nothing more than kissing shown, but talk of sex and other mature themes)
My rating:
4 Stars

A dazzling debut novel—at once a charming romance and a moving coming-of-age story—about what happens when a fourteen-year old boy pretends to seduce a girl to steal a copy of Playboy but then discovers she is his computer-loving soulmate.

Billy Marvin’s first love was a computer. Then he met Mary Zelinsky.
Do you remember your first love?

The Impossible Fortress begins with a magazine…The year is 1987 and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. For three teenage boys—Billy, Alf, and Clark—who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain. So, they hatch a plan to steal it.

The heist will be fraught with peril: a locked building, intrepid police officers, rusty fire escapes, leaps across rooftops, electronic alarm systems, and a hyperactive Shih Tzu named Arnold Schwarzenegger. Failed attempt after failed attempt leads them to a genius master plan—they’ll swipe the security code to Zelinsky’s convenience store by seducing the owner’s daughter, Mary Zelinsky. It becomes Billy’s mission to befriend her and get the information by any means necessary. But Mary isn’t your average teenage girl. She’s a computer loving, expert coder, already strides ahead of Billy in ability, with a wry sense of humor and a hidden, big heart. But what starts as a game to win Mary’s affection leaves Billy with a gut-wrenching choice: deceive the girl who may well be his first love or break a promise to his best friends.

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This book was fun and kooky and nostalgic. Though I’ll admit that the often crude and horny teenage boys occasionally rubbed me the wrong way (this book definitely wasn’t trying to be PC), I do think that Rekulak captured the essence of these characters well and that they’re probably pretty more realistic than I’d like them to be. And I loved that, in the end, loyalty and friendship won out and Billy’s best friends rallied around him in ways I wasn’t expecting. I loved all of the nods to the 80s—from the references to TV shows and video games to the details about the “cutting edge” technology of the times. I think that will appear to those of us who remember and to younger readers who will be in awe of how we survived such primitive circumstances (I know that my kids get a kick out of hearing old recordings of the boing-boing-boinging of the modems we used way back then!).

The romance that develops between Mary and Billy as they’re creating their video game is sweet, but it’s nice that it’s also based on mutual respect and understanding. But since the characters are only fourteen, they make a lot of mistakes along the way—Billy definitely isn’t sure how to handle his feelings of attraction (and rejection) and he responds in some pretty immature ways. I also appreciated Billy’s relationship with his beleaguered mom. Better yet, just when we think the story is going to be completely predictable, there’s a twist thrown in that changes things quite a bit and we learn that everything is not as it first appeared. Overall, this is an entertaining book that explores pursuing your hopes and dreams, learning to stand up for what you want and making a lot of crazy mistakes along the way. I give it 4/5 Stars.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of The Impossible Fortress, Revenge of the Evil Librarian, Liberation, and The Anatomical Shape of a HeartRevenge of the Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen
Series: Evil Librarian #2
Published by Candlewick Press on February 14th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 288
Source: NetGalley
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Some violence)
My rating:
4 Stars

The stage is set for a fiendishly dramatic summer at theater camp for Cynthia and her boyfriend, Ryan. With no demons at all. Right?

Last fall, Cynthia Rothschild saved her best friend, as well as the entire student body, from the demon librarian, Mr. Gabriel, all while executing the most awesome set design for the school musical, Sweeney Todd. But now that all that demon stuff is behind her, Cyn is looking forward to the best summer ever at theater camp with her former-crush-and-now-boyfriend, Ryan Halsey. Once she gets to camp, though, Cyn realizes this summer might not be all she’s been hoping for. First, Ryan’s best camp friend is a girl (which Ryan had never mentioned to Cyn), and she just happens to be ridiculously pretty. Plus, it seems the demon stuff is not entirely over as Cyn had hoped. At least any new demons that show up to ruin her summer can't possibly be as evil as Mr. Gabriel. It's not like he could somehow come back to life to seek his terrible revenge or something. Best-selling author Michelle Knudsen brings back all the hilarity and horror (not to mention hot guys) in this sizzling sequel to Evil Librarian.

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I adored the first book in this series because of its sassy narrator and Buffy the Vampire-esque style. This second book didn’t have quite as many fun, laugh-out-loud moments, but it was still a really good read. In this installment, Cyn is trying to go back to “normal” life after her run-in with demons. She’s now dating Ryan, the boy of her dreams, and they’re headed off to musical theater camp together (pretty much a dream come true for her). But, of course, her past and the demon world catch up with her in unavoidable ways, and she soon finds herself once again battling evil. If she can figure out who’s actually evil.

I kind of wished that Cyn would have been more honest and upfront with Ryan so we could have avoided some of the boyfriend drama (though that drama did end up playing an important role in her battle against demons, oddly enough), and I missed a little bit of the charm that the last book had for me, BUT as a musical theater lover, I was super connected to the fun camp setting and to Cyn’s connection to theater. I also still found Cyn to be a sassy and snarky narrator—a style that gets me every time. This installment got 4/5 stars from me.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of The Impossible Fortress, Revenge of the Evil Librarian, Liberation, and The Anatomical Shape of a HeartLiberation by Kate L. Mary
Series: Moonchild #2
Published by Self Published on 11/1/16
Genres: New Adult, Steampunk
Pages: 280
Source: The Author
My content rating: 18+ (Sex, Some violence)
My rating:
3.5 Stars

After surviving the auction and a near death experience at the hands of Asher’s father, Scarlett Moon is more than ready to settle into life in Columbus. She isn’t alone, either. With each passing day her friends look more at home in the warehouse, and even with Asher ready for more than Scarlett can give, she manages to fall into a routine that almost feels like a normal life. She has her best friend back and for the first time in years, Scarlett feels like there just might be hope on the horizon.

But one distress call is all it takes to destroy the serenity the group has managed to build.

It’s been months since the night Paget stormed out of the warehouse following a fight with Asher, and for all Scarlett knew, the other woman had moved on. Only the fear in Paget’s voice when she calls the warehouse tells a different story, and even though Scarlett never liked Asher’s ex to begin with, she can’t help feeling a little bit responsible for the trouble Paget now finds herself in.

The group heads to the seediest part of the city in search of Paget, picking up clues as they piece together what might have gone wrong. The more Scarlett learns about what the other woman has been through over the last few months, the more concerned she becomes. Even worse: there’s no sign of Paget anywhere in Columbus.

With all the clues pointing in one direction, the group leaves the city and heads for the country in hopes of finding Paget hiding among her own people in Hocking Hills. Only it seems the danger may have followed them, leaving nothing but death and destruction in its wake and putting Paget in more danger than ever before. With each turn Scarlett learns more about the woman who used to hold Asher’s heart, and she suddenly finds herself unable to deny how she really feels about him. Only, with Paget in trouble, Scarlett can’t help wondering if Asher is as over his ex as he claims to be.

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This second book in Mary’s NA dystopian (slightly steampunk) series is right on par with the first—it has lots of grit and the stakes are high! In this book Scarlett, Asher and crew have to go on another rescue mission, which isn’t terribly surprising considering the bleak world they live in. This time it’s Paget, Asher’s ex, who’s in danger. The get an SOS call from her, but they have no idea where she is or what kind of trouble she’s in. When they set off to find her, they end up in a part of the country that Scarlett’s never seen—where the people live off the grid, a bit wild but free. While Scarlett has finally admitted to herself that she’s in love with Asher, she still doesn’t think she’s good for him, so she doesn’t want to give in to her impulses to start something up with him. I understood Scarlett’s motivation but I kind of wished that, a little earlier in the book, she’d managed to get over some of her insecurities because the game of will-they-won’t-they felt a bit stretched out. Still, this book is full of action and danger, and it kept me emotionally engaged throughout. I love Scarlett’s mixture of strength and vulnerability and Asher’s … well, everything. Overall, I give this book 3.5/5 stars, but it’s really close to being a 4 star book.


Bite-Sized Reviews of The Impossible Fortress, Revenge of the Evil Librarian, Liberation, and The Anatomical Shape of a HeartThe Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 3rd 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 304
Source: Won It!
My content rating: YA
My rating:
4 Stars

Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she's spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Leonardo da Vinci’s footsteps, she's ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Beatrix’s own family’s closet tear them apart?

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This book was all sorts of adorable and I really enjoyed it, but for some reason, based on the way everyone insisted I was going to LOVE it, I was expecting it to be more impactful. Don’t get me wrong, the book managed to make me feel attached to both Bex and Jack—especially Jack—but it was the type of story that I read, enjoyed, and then put down without thinking much more about it. And I guess I was just expecting something … more? And as a mom, I kind of couldn’t get behind the whole criminal side to the story, even though Jack has reasons for his actions. I did enjoy unraveling the mystery behind Jack’s family and why he does what he does. And I also loved the artistic side to the story. Overall, I’d say this was a solid 4 star read.

8 Responses to “Bite-Sized Reviews of The Impossible Fortress, Revenge of the Evil Librarian, Liberation, and The Anatomical Shape of a Heart”

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I think I just had really high expectations for Anatomical because everyone kept telling me how much I was going to love it and it seemed like such a me book. It wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but I wasn’t blown away by it like I was expecting to be.

  1. Olivia Roach

    I confess the review I came to check out was the one about Jenn Bennett’s book. I really loved how adorable that story turned out to be, and was pretty surprised by the depth in it as well. Which made me a very happy reader afterwards. And lots of these books sound cool! I especially like the sound of The Impossible Fortress.

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