La-la Land Book Blog

Review and Content Advisory

Brick Books for the Garden
Brick Books for the Garden

A few weeks ago I saw this idea on Facebook so I had to give it a try with my favorite book series. 

All you do is take basic red bricks (I had some laying around from a previous project) and acrylic craft paint.

You just paint  book covers on the bricks. Don't worry if it isn't perfect because I think it's more charming with flaws.

I finished them off with a clear coat so they would be more weather resisitant and put them in a flower bed.



The Maze Runner by James Dashner-Rated YT

The Maze Runner - James Dashner

I am really a fan of the Dystopian genre. Something about showing humans at their most cruel is fascinating. This one is a bit Lord of the Flies meets The Hunger Games.


The book begins with the main character, Thomas, ascending in an elevator of sorts. He has no idea how he got there and has no memory of his life before that moment. 

When he arrives at the surface he is met by a group of boys who all arrived in the same way and with the same loss of memory. 


The author does a great job of making you feel what it must be like for Thomas to have been thrown suddenly into such a place. The "glade" and the community of sorts that the boys have built, and the maze, extremely menacing and imposing are all experienced in detail by the reader. 


The way the leaders of the boys run things is harsh (there is even an execution carried out) and it is heart wrenching to see what are essentially children, forced to take on these roles, but I think that a strict system like theirs would be necessary in such a situation. There are no adults and they are doing the best they can to maintain order in what could easily turn into fear induced chaos.


The end of this book is fast paced and full of action and tragedy. 


This is the first book in a series so it is left with mysteries yet unsolved and alludes to plenty more for Thomas and the other boys to overcome.


The good thing is other books in the series are already available and the movie for The Maze Runner will be in theatres this year!


It was good, just not as great as I'd hoped for.

Red Hill - Jamie McGuire

I am a big fan of Jamie McGuire's Beautiful Disaster books and was very excited to see her tackle a zombie apocalypse story.



What did I think??

Well, I wasn't exactly glued to the pages and it didn't really bring anything I hadn't already seen from zombie stories/movies (though there was one particularly surprising death).

That's not to say I didn't like it. I did.  But some of it seemed... rushed.

That may not be the right word actually...

Major things would just happen out of nowhere.

It's likely the author was going for realism and/or shock value with this. A zombie apocalypse WOULD be chaotic, and major events WOULD occur abruptly and without warning, but I found myself thinking more than once that I must have accidentally skipped a page somewhere (and I hadn't).


Something else that bothered me:

"It just started," I said quietly, putting my phone in the cup holder. "I can still get to them." I tossed my phone into my purse, gripped the steering wheel with one hand, and shoved the gear into reverse with the other.

There were a few  other small edits needed like this that were missed which I didn't  expect from such a well known author.


And of course, personal mood of the reader will greatly affect the perception of a story and this may not have been the best choice of read for me at this time. I may have found it riveting or not been bothered by the little things if I had read it a week ago or a week from know how that goes. 

The book was good, but not great for me and, since I was expecting great, I probably am being kind of hard on it. 

If you've never read a zombie story this would be a good place to start and if you've read a lot of zombie stories, it will look pretty familiar to you but it is still a good story and worth a read. 

Dare You To

Dare You To - Katie McGarry

(I received this book as an Advanced Reviewer Copy)

In this installment of the Pushing the Limits series, we get Beth's story. Those of you that have read Pushing the Limits will remember her as a close friend of Noah's.
I stayed up until almost 1:00 am this morning because I just couldn't put this book down until I finished it!

I LOVED everything about this book. Beth is a great character. I find it absolutely hilarious how she bursts Ryan's ego bubble when they first meet! (he tries to get her number as a dare) She has a quick wit and a sharp tongue and her interactions with the other characters was HIGHLY entertaining!

But under her tough exterior is a girl who is badly damaged by the cards that life has dealt her. Abandoned by her father and left to take care of her alcoholic mother while avoiding her mother's abusive boyfriend, she doesn't think her life will ever amount to anything good.

​Living is like being chained at the bottom of a shallow pond with my eyes open and no air. I can see distorted images of happiness and light, even hear muffled laughter, but everything is out of my reach as I lay suffocating in agony​​. ​

When events lead to her long lost uncle getting custody of Beth, she is moved to a new town and forced to leave her mother, friends, and old lifestyle behind.


Ryan...why couldn't there have been boys like Ryan around when I was 17??

He lost a dare when a skater girl didn't fall for his charms and give him her number. Ryan HATES to lose at anything. When that same girl moves to his town and starts attending his school he thinks he may yet have a chance to win the dare.
What he didn't expect was to develop real feelings for her. Or for the fact that his initial interest in her being only for a dare, would come back to bite him BIG TIME!

Now this is important....In spite of the way it sounds, the original dare was NOT malicious and Ryan was never out to hurt Beth. He is amazingly sweet, very respectful, and completely genuine. He's not a womanizer or snobby in that stereotypical jock way that I was expecting and the dare really was harmless fun. I ABSOLUTELY ADORED HIM!

However, Beth has it in her head that a boy like Ryan (wealthy/jock/all around golden boy) could never really want a relationship with a girl like her (poor/skater/sordid history) and Ryan has a very hard time convincing her that his feelings for her are real. She agrees to date him but won't let him have her heart.

When fear for her mother begins to drag Beth back to her old life, Ryan tries to convince her that she can't change her mother and that she has a chance to make a new life for herself.

"You're a lot like that bird in the barn. You're so scared you're going to be caged in forever you can't see the way out. You smack yourself against the wall again and again and again. The door is open, Beth. Stop running in circles and walk out."

There are countless swoon and grin inducing moments in this book. There are also plenty that might make you tear up! (moments between Beth and her best friend Isaiah in particular...But don't worry! He'll be getting his own book as well! There's a sneak peek at the end of this one!!)

This author is amazing and I definitely recommend picking these books up!!


Dare You To-Beth and Ryan

Loved it! Very well done novella.

Old Souls - P.A. Lupton

Because an author has to pack a whole story into fewer pages, many novellas seem very rushed. I didn't get that rushed sense so badly while reading Old Souls. The story progressed and resolved at what seemed a very natural pace.
Great characters and I really liked the "witch" mythology the author created.
I hope she plans to give us more stories from this world!
(And the cover is beautiful!)

Moving my La-la Land Blog here.

I've decided to just move my review blog here so I'll be reviewing here from now on.