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NicoleCeBallos

NicoleCeBallos

Joined October 2016

Librarian. Reader. Lover of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, dinos, and space.
review
NicoleCeBallos
The Dead Romantics | Ashley Poston
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Pickpick

Florence Day is a ghost writer who can see/talk to ghosts. The book starts off with Florence having a really bad day. Her new editor denied her an extension for her deadline, she ran into her ex at a bar, and she got a call that her dad died. She goes back home for the funeral and runs into a familiar ghost, her editor. There was so much to love about this book.

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NicoleCeBallos
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Panpan

Another disappointment. I really liked his earlier books, but the past couple have been absolutely ridiculous. This was a mess from the start to the very unrealistic epilouge. I don't know if I'll be reading anymore of his books.

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NicoleCeBallos
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Panpan

This was a major disappointment. It read like bad fan fiction. The author had no clear plot, so she just repeated the same things over and over. I lost track of how many times a variation of "Sally was a rag doll" was used. The ending was wrapped up in a convenient bow in like 10 pages and they lived happily ever after.

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NicoleCeBallos
The Daughter of Doctor Moreau | Silvia Moreno-Garcia
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Mehso-so

This was a very very slow book. I had high hopes for it, but it was just bland (besides the amazing cover). She hasn't been able to recapture the magic of Mexican Gothic or Gods of Jade and Shadow.

Asthecroweflies 😩 Aw man! I was looking forward to this as well. 1mo
NicoleCeBallos @Asthecroweflies This was one of the top books I was looking forward to this year and I'm so bummed. 😔 1mo
23 likes1 stack add2 comments
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NicoleCeBallos
Little Thieves | Margaret Owen
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I had been putting off this book because of all the hype surrounding it. I finally read it, and it was perfection. The hype was well deserved.

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NicoleCeBallos
Hide | Kiersten White
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Big fan of this! A group of 14 contestants come to play hide and seek at an abandoned amusement park to win $50,000 as part of a reality show. The contestants who are found, just disappear and soon the remaining players think it might not be a game after all.

22 likes1 stack add
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NicoleCeBallos
So This Is Ever After | F.T. Lukens
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Mehso-so

This is what happens after the Chosen One defeats the villain. It was a sweet story, but nothing new or unique.

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NicoleCeBallos
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Pickpick

This was a fun Sci-Fi romp through space. Nilah is a race car driver, who accidentally gets involved in a plot to destroy the universe by a secret society. She is kidnapped/joins up with a treasure hunter, Boots, and her ex-crew to find a lost treasure. Everyone on this crew, except Boots, has some sort of magical talent that are pretty cool.

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NicoleCeBallos
The Midnight Club | Christopher Pike
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Pickpick

I wanted to reread this book before the Netflix show. I read it in high school and I don't remember it being sad, but man, it was a bummer! I liked it, but the blurb had nothing to do with the actual story, so I was surprised by the plot.

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NicoleCeBallos
Dead Silence | S.A. Barnes
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Was this scary, no. Was I frantically turning the page to find out what happened? Yes! A salvage crew stumbles across a luxury space liner that went missing 20 years ago. Once they're on board, they find the passengers and crew all all died in violent ways, but don't know what happened to them. It's a haunted house story, but in space!

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NicoleCeBallos
Lotera | Karla Arenas Valenti
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Pickpick

Wow. I picked up this because of the cover and was blown away. Typically, junior fiction isn't that dark, but this was super dark. Life and Death are playing Lotería and Clara is the child chosen as their pawn.

16 likes1 stack add
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NicoleCeBallos
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Pickpick

This was about the HL Hunley, which was a Civil War submarine that is considered to be the first successful combat sub. It sunk the ship and then it immediately sunk too, so I'm not sure how successful it actually was. For 131 years, it was missing until it was found in 1995 with the bodies of the crew still at their stations. It became a mystery as to what caused it to sink and what killed the crew. Rachel writes about her process of solving it.

NicoleCeBallos The Friends of the Hunley still refuses to accept Rachel's explanation for why it sunk and makes no reference to her or the book on their website. 6mo
24 likes1 comment
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NicoleCeBallos
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Panpan

This was pretty forgettable. Jane marries Augustine on the condition that she can never set foot in his family home. Of course she does and strange things start to happen. The book tried to be way too many things (gothic, horror, magical realism, cosmic horror) and never managed to get it together on any of them.

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NicoleCeBallos
The Bone Maker: A Novel | Sarah Beth Durst
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I loved this stand alone fantasy! Five bone makers defeated the evil bone maker and were hailed as heroes. Twenty-five years later, they find out that Eklor wasn't defeated and now they have to save the world again.

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NicoleCeBallos
These Silent Woods: A Novel | Kimi Cunningham Grant
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Panpan

Not a fan of this at all. If I wanted to be preached at, I would have picked up a Christian book. Instead, I was blindsided by what I thought was a thriller. The author actually has a character who cheated on his wife and was "very poisonous" because he was an "outspoken atheist." Barf. The story itself was super boring, unbelievable, and unoriginal. I wish I could get back my hours that I wasted on this drivel.

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NicoleCeBallos
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Pickpick

This is a fictional account of Bella Gunness, who was a female serial killer in the late 1800s in Chicago. She had herself a murder farm where she lured men to either be her husband or farm help and then killed them. This book was a tad bit too long and dragged in places, but overall a fun read.

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NicoleCeBallos
Chasing the Boogeyman | Richard Chizmar
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed this! It's a fake true crime book that's full of staged pictures and "facts" but is also full of real things from the author's life. There's a serial killer terrorizing Richard's hometown and the cops can't catch the killer. Richard writes a book about the Boogeyman's victims and their families.

32 likes1 stack add
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NicoleCeBallos
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Pickpick

This book made me so livid. I had to put it down multiple times because of how angry it made me. The loss to the scientific community is huge and you have this smug little white boy named Edwin Rist who still thinks he did nothing wrong.

LiteraryinLawrence That sounds infuriating. 9mo
NicoleCeBallos @LiteraryinLawrence so infuriating. He stole 299 bird skins because the museum didn't need that many. He needed the feathers to sell to other fly tyers so he could buy a new flute. 9mo
35 likes2 comments
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NicoleCeBallos
Orfeia | Joanne M Harris
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Pickpick

This was a beautiful retelling of the Orpheus myth, complete with pretty illustrations. The story itself was kinda slow because the big payoff happens at the very end of the book, but I was a fan!

readordierachel What a pretty cover 9mo
NicoleCeBallos @readordierachel it is! The illustrations in the book are pretty too 9mo
13 likes1 stack add2 comments
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NicoleCeBallos
Scary Stories for Young Foxes | Christian McKay Heidicker
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Pickpick

This was great!! The Storyteller is telling scary stories to a group of fox kits. Mia and Uly are the 2 main foxes in the stories and each chapter they encounter a new danger. There's a cameo from a well known author that was very cleverly done.

18 likes2 stack adds
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NicoleCeBallos
Hang the Moon: A Novel | Alexandria Bellefleur
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Panpan

This is the sequel to Written in the Stars and all the characters appear in it. This came off as manipulative instead of sweet. Brendon and Annie reconnect after 8 years when Annie came to Seattle to tell her bff, Darcy, she was moving to London for a promotion. The rest of the book was 4 people peer pressuring Annie into moving to Seattle, a city she's never lived in, because Brendon and her were meant for each other...after 2 weeks of dating.

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NicoleCeBallos
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Pickpick

This book started off really really slow. Once you get through the first 1/4, it picks up and becomes a whimsical and sweet book. The last 1/4 had me bawling hysterically. It's about grief, loss, love, life, found family, and acceptance. It's not my fave book by him, but I enjoyed it.

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NicoleCeBallos
The Love Hypothesis | Ali Hazelwood
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Pickpick

I'm a sucker for the fake dating trope. This not only had that trope, but also scientists. The two main characters, Adam and Olive, were actually likable and had chemistry. It lived up to the hype surrounding it.

AkashaVampie I have seen people compare the main characters to Rey and Kylo Ren 10mo
28 likes1 comment
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NicoleCeBallos
The Twisted Ones | T. Kingfisher
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Mouse is cleaning out her grandma's house (with her dog) and every night there is a tap, tap, tap on the windows. She stumbles upon her step grandpa's journal and must decide if it's just the writings of an old man who is losing his mind or something more sinister. It's definitely the second one.

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NicoleCeBallos
She Who Became the Sun | Shelley Parker-Chan
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Another amazing fantasy read. I get so excited when I read back to back 5 star books! This is being described as Song of Achilles meet Mulan, but it's so much more. Zhu and Ouyang are the two main characters and they're on opposite sides of the Mongols vs Rebels conflict in China. Zhu took her brother's fate as her own and is rising through the Rebel's army. Ouyang is the Mongol's general and he is full of rage. Also, there's ghosts. I loved it!

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NicoleCeBallos
Black Sun | Rebecca Roanhorse
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All Hail the Crows. This is hands down one of the best fantasy books I've read in years. Epic fantasy full of gods, magic, political intrigue, betrayals, well developed characters, and Crows. I loved everything about it and can't wait for book 2!!

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NicoleCeBallos
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Mehso-so

I've seen so many 4 and 5 star reviews, but for me this was like a 2.5. I liked the attention to mental health, the message that everyone is deserving of love, the LBGTQ+ rep, and Charlie. Things I didn't like: the fact that Dev is Indian American, but that plays absolutely no factor in his personality. Dev is also very blind/naive about the reality show which he's worked on for 6 years. Lots of drama at the end that was unnecessary and avoidable

Reggie Total pet peeve of mine with “representation.” Saying someone is something but not backing it up with some kind of language, family tradition, or food, or anything that says they are from that background. And who knows maybe they are totally Americanized but it still makes me itch a little. 12mo
NicoleCeBallos @Reggie mine too. It really felt like she was like my book is diverse because one of the leads is an Indian American. You could call him David instead of Dev and the story wouldn't change at all. And I feel like that's a problem. Especially since she's selling this as a gay romcom with a biracial relationship. 12mo
16 likes2 comments
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NicoleCeBallos
Folklorn | Angela Mi Young Hur
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Bailedbailed

I did not finish this one. Elsa is an incredibly unlikable and insecure character. Some examples: harping on everyone's ethnicity, being hateful to another woman scientist because Elsa thought her kinda boyfriend might sleep with her, being jealous that a professor she met once might have a girlfriend that's not her. All of this happens in the first 100 pages. I couldn't take any more, so I bailed.

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NicoleCeBallos
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Mehso-so

This was an odd book. I liked it, but hated all the characters in it.. Ten astronauts leave Earth to go discover Terra-Two and on the way multiple problems pop up. I loved the premise and it kept my attention. BUT I hated all the characters. They were all horrible people with no redeeming qualities.

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NicoleCeBallos
Fugitive Telemetry | Martha Wells
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I just love this series so much! Murderbot never fails to make me laugh out loud. I'm not sure what is says about me that I see myself in a snarky and antisocial AI, who calls himself Muderbot, but here we are. I can't wait for the next one to come out!

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NicoleCeBallos
Brothersong | Tj Klune
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I was super pumped about Brothersong, so I re-read the first 3 books to prepare for it. I love these characters so much and I'm sad it ended. I thought it was good, but not great. I wish that it had focused a bit more on the couple, like the other 3 do. Ravensong and Heartsong are still tied for the strongest book. Wolfsong is still my least favorite because of the weird age difference.

Branwen I'm planning to start this series next month! Super excited! 😃💕📚 13mo
NicoleCeBallos @Branwen I hope you like it too! 13mo
19 likes1 stack add2 comments
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NicoleCeBallos
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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This lived up to the hype! I couldn't put it down, but didn't want it to end.

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NicoleCeBallos
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I absolutely loved this! It was a tribute to slasher films and final girls. Each final girl was based off a final girl from a slasher film. Some of the character's names are the names of the actors who played a final girl. Dr. Carol is a nod to Professor Carol, who coined ther term final girl. It was such a fun read!

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NicoleCeBallos
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Mehso-so

I picked this up solely because of the amazing cover. It was alright. Kinda all over the place. I liked reading the stewardesses stories and looking at the pictures, but the author kept going off topic to talk about other things.

Cortg Very cool cover!
13mo
17 likes1 stack add1 comment
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NicoleCeBallos
The Maidens: A Novel | Alex Michaelides
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Panpan

Another bummer. I think the author was just trying to get in on the mythology phase that seems to be happening now. It didn't work. It just made an awkward book even worse. Mariana goes to her old college because her niece's friend was murdered. Then she decides that she is going to solve it. The killer made absolutely no sense.

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NicoleCeBallos
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Panpan

You might think a thriller set mostly in a car over the span of 6ish hours would not work and you'd be correct! This was a massive disappointment for me. I like his books, but this was the worst thing I've read all year. None of the characters were realistic or did reasonable things. I know this is set in 1991, but come on. Your friend was killed by a stranger, so you accept a car ride from a stranger?

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NicoleCeBallos
Malibu Rising | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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Pickpick

This was a fun read and I'm not really sure why. There was no real point of the story, but I was very invested in the siblings. I would have liked a little less of the party and more of what happened afterwards because I felt like the book just ended. Would I re-read this? No, but it was my favorite read for July.

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NicoleCeBallos
Something to Talk About | Meryl Wilsner
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Jo is a actress/producer/writer for a TV show and Emma is her assistant. They attend the SAG awards and the media say the 2 of them are together. It takes them almost the entire book to even admit they like each other. Emma is awful. She calls Jo "Boss" the majority of the time, so they're not exactly friends, but spends 60+ pages being upset with Jo for not telling her she hangs out with Emma's sister at their nephew's baseball game.

Reggie This was bad. Zero chemistry. I felt like a lot of the book was just getting coffee. 1y
NicoleCeBallos @Reggie so much coffee, zero chemistry, and a lot unnecessary drama. It's been on a lot of lists, so I was excited about it 1y
16 likes2 comments
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NicoleCeBallos
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Bailedbailed

A secret Apothecary that sells poison to women to kill the men in their lives? Yes, please! How could this book be so boring? It was such a snooze fest. I gave up halfway through and bailed. The author was repetitive, the 3 women all sounded exactly the same, and the writing was clunky. I hated everything about this except for the gorgeous cover.

sprainedbrain I didn‘t like the modern day character at all. 🤨 1y
NicoleCeBallos @sprainedbrain neither did I. 1y
18 likes2 comments
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NicoleCeBallos
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Pickpick

I'm a big fan of Gothic Horror and this was fantastic! Elsie inherits a big, creepy house after her husband dies in a mysterious circumstance in it. Her sister in law and her move into the house. There's a room in the house that remains locked, but they force their way into it, where they find lifelike wooden figures, called Companions. All of the Companions are people in the book and they all move around the house by themselves.

Freespirit Sounds spooky!! 1y
BrittanyReads I loved this, too!! I was seriously creeped out by it! 👀 I have The Poison Thread by her that I'm excited to get to! 1y
NicoleCeBallos @BrittanyReads I'll have to check that out! 1y
21 likes1 stack add3 comments
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NicoleCeBallos
The Rose Code | Kate Quinn
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I like all of Kate's books. I liked this one better than The Alice Network, but less than The Huntress. The Rose code is about 3 women code breakers who worked at Bletchley Park during WW2. Osla, Mab, and Beth are three very different women, but become friends due to their secretive work until a secret tears them apart.

Eggs Agree on Huntress❣️ 1y
19 likes1 comment
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NicoleCeBallos
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Pickpick

I loved this graphic novel!! There's the human world and monsters live in the shadow world. Each human has a monster who is tied to their life. On Halloween, the guardian of the worlds was incapacitated and the veil between the worlds disappeared, letting the monsters in. 10 year old Mona meets a group of new "friends" that include a vampire boy, a ghoul, a were opposum, a voodoo doll, a ghost doctor, and her own personal monster.

21 likes1 stack add
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NicoleCeBallos
The Paris Library: A Novel | Janet Skeslien Charles
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Panpan

This was just an "eh" book. It alternates between POVs between Odile in WW2 and Lily in 1983. Odile was a very naive girl who worked in the American Library during WW2. Lily is a very whiney girl who lives in Montana in the 80s. It's a pretty forgettable book. It was a 2.5 star read for me, but I seem to be in the minority on that.

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NicoleCeBallos
Greenlights | Matthew McConaughey
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Matthew McConaughey is a guest speaker at TLA and he's just so chill. I feel like he's life coaching me and I'm so invested.

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NicoleCeBallos
Written in the Stars: A Novel | Alexandria Bellefleur
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Pickpick

Darcy and Elle went on a disastrous blind date. The next day, Darcy asked Elle to be her fake gf to get Darcy's brother (who also happens to work with Elle) off her back. Darcy and Elle start fake dating and surprise, surprise, they fall in love. It's got all the cheesy puns and romance cliques, but somehow it was sweet.

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NicoleCeBallos
The Only Good Indians | Stephen Graham Jones
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Mehso-so

This is a weird book for me to review. I liked it, but also didn't. Four friends went on an elk hunt 10 years ago and killed more elk than they would ever need. Now, the elk head woman is stalking them for revenge. The POVs switched back and forth and it was hard to know who it was. It also had very graphic descriptions of elk and dogs dying, which almost made me stop reading.

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NicoleCeBallos
Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics | Dolly Parton, Robert K Oermann
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I love Dolly Parton. She's such a wonderful and kind person. This book tells the inspiration and stories behind over 100 of her songs. All the big ones are in it, along with some of her favorites. She's too classy to actually say it, so I will, that Porter Wagoner was a douchebag and was holding her back.

rather_be_reading abt to listen to this on audio! 2y
NicoleCeBallos @rather_be_reading I wish I had listened to it on audio! I've heard it's great! 2y
36 likes2 comments
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NicoleCeBallos
Lore | Alexandra Bracken
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Pickpick

This was Greek mythology meets The Hunger Game. Every 7 years, the Greek Gods become mortal and are hunted by the bloodlines of ancient Greek heroes. Whoever kills them are granted immortality and their powers, but will become the hunted.

20 likes2 stack adds
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NicoleCeBallos
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Pickpick

I recently learned about the Night Witches and wanted to read some more about them. However, there are very few nonfiction books about them (thanks Cold War). This book was on every list I found, so I picked it up to see if there were any references listed (and there were!!). I absolutely loved the story! One of the best historical fiction books I've ever read! It had everything! A mystery, murder, Nazis, Nazi hunters, a Night Witch. 5/5

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NicoleCeBallos
What We See When We Read | Peter Mendelsund
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Panpan

I have one word to describe this book. Pretentious.