ARC REVIEW: The Impossible Fortress – by Jason Rekulak

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Title: The Impossible Fortress
Author: Jason Rekulak

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fiction
First published: February 7th 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Finished reading: February 3rd 2017
Pages: 304
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“So we stood up there for a long while, watching the sunset and discussing how it was one of those things you could never truly capture in 8-bit, not with the simplistic definition of violet (CHR$(156)), orange (CHR$(129)), and yellow (CHR$(158)). There were too many other colors, thousands of colors. The hardware could never do justice to it.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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The Impossible Fortress caught my attention the very first time I laid my eyes on it, and not just because of the colorful cover. I love feel-good stories and this debut by Jason Rekulak promised to be chock full of 80s nostalgia and flashbacks. I’m a 90s child myself, but I guess I was born close enough to the the year the story was set in (I was only minus one!) to be able to connect to the story instantly. It’s simply such a brilliant read! I completely fell in love with the writing style, plot and characters and it’s just such a great feel-good story… I loved the computer/nerd talk and it definitely brought back memories of my childhood where I taped radio songs, had to use floppy disks and didn’t have internet access to write quick messages. I loved all characters, although Billy and Mary have just a little extra magic about them… And the plot of The Impossible Fortress is almost endearing as the three boys mess up again and again during their ‘mission’ to get a copy of the Playboy. I had so much fun reading this coming of age story and I can recommend it to any contemporary fan! A huge bonus: you can actually play the game that is created by the main characters at jasonrekulak.com!

shortsummary1reviewqqqIt’s 1987 and the Playboy has just published photos of Vanna White, popular for her role in the TV game show Wheel Of Fortune. The three teenage friends Billy, Alf and Clark don’t know a thing about women and the Playboy is almost like a Holy Grail for them: they are desperate to get their hands on a copy of the Vanna White photos and decide to create a plan to steal a copy of that month’s Playboy. But stealing a copy isn’t all that easy and the boys fail and fail again… Then they think up a new masterplan: swipe the security code to Zelinsky’s convenience story by seducing the owner’s daughter Mary. It’s up to Billy to become close to the girl and get the information they need, but Billy might need Mary for other skills instead. She loves computers and is actually a way better coder than Billy is… Mary might be able to save the game Billy is creating, but he is soon faced with the tough choice to either deceive Mary or break a promis to his best friends.

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If you are looking for a well written coming of age story that will bury you under a crate full of nostalgic feelings and 80s flashbacks, you have found your next read. The Impossible Fortress is basically a time machine in book form and will make you feel as if you went thirty years back in time… I was hooked right from the first page and both the writing style and main characters were simply lovely. I had so much fun reading this story!


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Friday Finds #121 – February 17th

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FRIDAY FINDS showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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Continue reading

2017 Author ABC Challenge

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I know I’m already doing the 2017 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge, but a few people mentioned doing the same thing for authors and I just couldn’t resist the temptation. I couldn’t find any official post when I checked yesterday, so this is me creating my ‘own’ challenge. If you know the blog an author ABC challenge is hosted this year, please let me know in the comments! 🙂

I’m going to keep rules pretty basic and use the author’s last name for each letter. If there is more than one last name, it should be the first that counts… And the Q, X and Z names can have the letter anywhere in the last name.

>>> Last updated February 16th 2017 <<<

A: Arnold, David: Mosquitoland (2015)  5/5 stars
B: Barr, Emily: The One Memory Of Flora Banks (2017)  5/5 stars
C: Campbell, Jamie: The Thankful (2016)  4/5 stars
D –
E: Elliot, Ruby: It’s All Absolutely Fine (2017)  4/5 stars
F –
G –
H: Harmon, Amy: Making Faces (2013)  5/5 stars
I –
J: Jeffrey, Diane: Those Who Lie (2017)  3,5/5 stars
K: Kepnes, Caroline: You (2014) 0/5 stars
L: Luchesi, Lily: Stake-out (2015)  3,5/5 stars
M: Miranda, Megan: The Perfect Stranger (2017)  5/5 stars
N: Ness, Patrick: The Rest Of Us Just Live Here (2015)  3,5/5 stars
O –
P –
Q –
R: Rekulak, Jason: The Impossible Fortress (2017)  4,5/5 stars
S: Slater, K.L.: Blink (2017)  4,5/5 stars
T: Thorne, Jenn Marie: The Wrong Side Of Right (2015)  3/5 stars
U –
V –
W: Wyer, Carol: Little Girl Lost (2017)  4/5 stars
X: MaXwell, Lisa: Unhooked (2016)  3/5 stars
Y: Yoon, Nicola: The Sun Is Also A Star (2016)  4,5/5 stars
Z: Zentner, Jeff: The Serpent King (2016)  4,5/5 stars

I have found 17 out of 26 letters so far.


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WWW Wednesdays #124 – February 15th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently still reading the Rebel Of The Sands sequel, and I can’t wait to properly dive into the story later today. It took me a little longer to finish my review than I thought, but no more excuses now. Traitor To The Throne it is! I haven’t made any progress with my newest audiobook (Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison) this week though…

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished since last week is Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer, a new detective series I requested after hearing a lot of great things about it. It’s definitely a worthy psychological thriller! Lots and lots of plot twists and the writing style is really enjoyable… I wasn’t a fan of all the characters and there were a couple of cliches, but the rest of this messed up story makes up for it.  And even though I saw part of the ending already coming, a couple of facts/twists will definitely surprise you!
* I then read Rebel Of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, a book I’ve been posponing for way too long if you ask me. I finally picked it up after receiving an ARC of the sequel, and I’m glad I finally gave this story a chance. I loved it even better than expected! I’ve fallen in love with the worldbuilding, characters and writing style and I’m already reading the sequel right now.
* The last book I finished was The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson. I’ve been posponing this TBR jar pick for way too long and I’m glad I finally gave it a go. I still have to read the previous TBR jar pick as well (Little Women), so I won’t be picking a new one until I do. This one was better than expected even though some of the story was a bit weird (especially the whole Death thing and Andrew himself). The story is without doubt original and I liked the graphic novel bits with patient F.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have two pending ARCs next: A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles and The Last Gods of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer. (Ok, actually I have a whole mountain of pending ARCs, but I’m going to try and read these two first…) I also want to read both The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller and Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken VERY soon. So many books and so little time!


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ARC REVIEW: Missing – by Monty Marsden

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Title: Missing
Author: Monty Marsden

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: December 1st 2016
Publisher: Aria
Finished reading: February 1st 2017
Pages: 266
Rating 2,5qqq

“Patience is like a tree – the roots are bitter, but the fruits are most sweet.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Aria in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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This story was actually published over two months ago, but somehow it got mixed up with other ARCs and I didn’t read it on time. Oops? I always have a weak spot for a good thriller and I have an (unhealthy?) obsession for stories about serial killers. Add an Italian setting and I was sold as soon as I read the blurb of Missing. The author Monty Marsden is actually Italian; something I didn’t realize immediately, but it shows in the detailed descriptions and this book is in fact actually a translation. I was completely ready to dive into this serial killer mystery, but I ended up taking a very long time to finish it. I’m not sure if part of the essence of this story is lost in translation, but it all just felt way too chaotic and it took a long time before things started to make sense for me. The many POV switches distracted from the main plot and had me confused which characters were actually important in the story. That said, the introduction of Claps, suffering from aphasia (the struggle to comprehend and use words and verbal expressions) added a whole different level to the plot. He is a truly fascinating character and I enjoyed following his development. All in all Missing is not the best mystery I’ve read, although part might have been lost in translation and it did have its charm.

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Ami lives with her family in a little village in Lombardy, a seemingly safe and dusty place. But that is until one day Ami steps out of her house to go to school and never comes back nor did she ever make it to school. Her father raises the alarm and they start an immediate search for the little girl. Police Commisioner Sensi leads the investigation, and they seem to have found a trail straight away. But three months later, they still haven’t found Ami and they don’t have a solid lead as to what happened to her. Sensi decides to talk to his old friend Dr. Claps, a renowned criminologist who had to retire after suffering from aphasia. Because Ami doesn’t seem to be the only little girl who went missing, and Sensi needs all the help he can get to solve the mystery…

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I was really looking forward to Missing, especially after I found out about its Italian setting and the involvement of a serial killer. It’s not that the case itself isn’t intriguing and I really enjoyed the setting, but I somehow I had a really hard time reading this story. It just all felt chaotic with too many different characters/POVs being introduced without a proper connection… And I had a hard time understanding the relevance of some of the chapters. Things started to make sense later on in the story, but for me it was too little too late. Missing is a story with a lot of potential and interesting characters, and I kind of wish my Italian would be good enough to read the original version just to see if it was just the translation that let me down…


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Teaser Tuesdays #127 – February 14th: Traitor To The Throne

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme hosted at The Purple Booker. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I’m still kicking myself for not picking up Rebel Of The Sands sooner, but at least it does mean I can read the sequel straight away… I was honestly a bit shocked my request for Traitor To The Throne was approved, but I’m not complaining. 😉 Especially since I LOVED the first book. I’ve heard mixed things about it, but I’ve fallen in love with the worldbuilding, magic, main characters and Alwyn Hamilton‘s writing style. I’m not too far into the sequel yet, mostly because I still have to write a review of the first book and don’t want the two books to be mixed up. But I can’t wait to continue this one as soon as I’ve finished my review! 😀

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My teaser (10%):

“He chose the second one. But I was faster than his stupid brain could work. I dropped to my knees a second before the gun went off, the bullet burying itself harmlessly in the wall behind me.”

What are you reading right now?


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BOOK REVIEW: The Wrong Side Of Right – by Jenn Marie Thorne

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Title: The Wrong Side Of Right
Author: Jenn Marie Thorne

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: March 17th 2015
Publisher: Dial Books
Finished reading: January 30th 2017
Pages: 400
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“It’s amazing how much one person can change the world, even if they don’t know they’re doing it.”

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Confession: I snatched up a copy of The Wrong Side Of Right 100% based on the gorgeous cover and had no clue what the story exactly was about when I finally picked it up. I was actually browsing my kindle and picked up this story on a whim… And it turned out to be a bittersweet read after all the immigration chaos that has been going on lately in the US. This hint to real-life connection was actually almost spooky considering the fact this book was written back in 2015… But I guess it did make the plot in The Wrong Side Of Right a tad more interesting. That said, I have to admit I ended up having mixed feelings about this story despite the fact that I could really appreciate the immigration elements. The story had a fast pace and was easy to read, but it took me a long time to actually connect to the main characters and it all just felt a bit too cheesy for me. The Wrong Side Of Right wasn’t exactly a bad read and had its charming elements, so maybe this book just wasn’t for me? Contemporary romance fans will probably enjoy this story a lot more than I did.

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After Kate Quinn’s mother died last year, she thought she was now an orphan. That all changes when someone discovers the truth about her mother’s past and Kate is forced to come to terms with a new reality. She does have a father. But that is not the biggest shock: he is one of the most powerful politicians of the country and currently in the race to become the next US President. To keep the little scandal from blowing up, her father invites her to join a family she never knew she had… Including a brother, sister, stepmom and a campaign to support a father she hardly knows. Kate suddently finds herself in the middle of the spotlight, and there is no room for mistakes. Will she be able to get used to this new life? And what does her new family really think of her?

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If you are looking for a light, fluffy and fast-paced contemporary romance read, The Wrong Side Of Right is probably a great choice. It does read superfast, but I have to admit it took me a long time to warm up to this story. The main problem I had was probably with the main characters. Especially Kate was quite annoying and I felt she started out having little to no character. There were also a lot of cheesy cliches involved I couldn’t care about, but that might just be me not being a fan of the genre in the first place. The immigration elements were definitely a strong point of this story though.


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