Tag: young adult

Aug 02

August 2019 New Releases

Books/Writing 0

Somehow, I only have ONE book pre-ordered for August! I did receive some ARCs of others that I’m sharing as well because I think they sound amazing (even if I haven’t *cough cough* got to read them yet).   This is just, as always, the books I have pre-ordered, it is by no means an exhaustive list of all the books being published this month…just the ones I absolutely couldn’t live without! This month seems a little light on the publishing front, but I guess that’s to be expected for summer. I’ve already been eyeing a TON of September and October books though…my bank account is going to be begging for mercy.

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All covers link to GoodReads!

I’ll be reviewing most if not all these in the coming few weeks, so keep your eyes open! Any of them on your list? Any others I should add?

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May 28

No Place Like Here – Review and Tour!

Book Reviews 3 ★★★★★

Be sure to check out all the stops on the tour over at Prism Book Tours!

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No Place Like Here – Review and Tour!No Place Like Here by Christina June
Published by Blink on May 21, 2019
Genres: Modern, Young Adult
Pages: 272
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreadsfive-stars

Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.

The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes—inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere—can help her cope.

With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

No Place Like Here was so much more than I expected! I went into it thinking I was getting a somewhat fluffy summer camp novel (at only 272 pages I finished it in half a shift at work – yes, my job is that slow). While there were fluffy aspects, it was so much deeper and touched my heart in ways I was completely surprised by.

Ashlyn’s entire world has been turned upside down. All her plans for the summer have gone out the window. Her parents BOTH seem to have abandoned her. She’s been shipped off to stay with relatives she hasn’t seen for nearly a decade. She plans to just keep her head down and her mouth shut, just like she has for the entire life she’s spent with her overbearing, self-centered father. But then she realizes that she does still have a family that cares about her, and she starts to grow into herself. She grows SO MUCH in this short book, it was really amazing and yet still very believable.

I loved that she didn’t just grow up and shut her parents out. She grew up and at least tried to start the healing process with them. Her mom’s struggle with depression felt realistically portrayed, and I really appreciated the positive mental health rep in the book! Getting help is NOT a weakness, or a waste of time. YES!

Also, a HUGE thank you to Christina June for not making this a “romance is the answer” story. There is a little flirtation, a little kissing, a lot of attraction – but no real romance. So many stories portray romantic relationships as the cure-all for what ails us and it’s just so not true!

Now I need to go back and read the books that came before this one. Apparently some of the same characters show up, so I’m personally hoping that after No Place Like Here we get to hear more of Baxter’s story…

5/5 stars. I loved this book! I’ll be waiting for anything else Christina June puts out.

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five-stars

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May 20

The Bone Charmer – Review and Tour!

Book Reviews 0

Be sure to check out all the stops on the tour over at The Fantastic Flying Book Club! Also scroll to the bottom to enter the giveaway!

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The Bone Charmer – Review and Tour!The Bone Charmer by Breeana Shields
Published by Page Street Kids on May 21, 2019
Pages: 400
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads

In Saskia’s world, bones are the source of all power. They tell the future, reveal the past, and expose secrets in the present. Each village has a designated seer who performs readings for the townsfolk, and in Midwood, the Bone Charmer is Saskia’s mother.

On the day of her kenning—a special bone reading that determines the apprenticeships of all seventeen-year-olds—Saskia’s worst fears come true. She receives an assignment to train as a Bone Charmer, like her mother, and even worse, a match-making reading that pairs her with Bram—a boy who has suspicious tattoos that hint of violence.

Saskia knows her mother saw multiple paths for her, yet chose one she knew Saskia wouldn’t want. Their argument leads to a fracture in one of the bones. Broken bones are always bad luck, but this particular set of bones have been infused with extra magic, and so the break has devastating consequences—Saskia’s future has split as well. Now she will live her two potential paths simultaneously. Only one future can survive. And Saskia’s life is in danger in both.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Bone Charmer is the kind of book that knocks the breath out of you. And then revives you, just a little bit, enough that you see the light at the end of the tunnel and hope that it’s not, you know, THE light. But enough with my ridiculous metaphors.

Saskia is a seventeen year old girl who has lost almost everyone dear to her in the last year. When her bone kenning doesn’t go as she hopes, her life splits into two different realities. Both were equally captivating and as they wove closer and closer together I got more and more worried – but I still didn’t see THAT ending coming.

This story punches hard in the feels. HARD. That is undoubtedly it’s strong point. The worldbuilding is a little vague, as the world is clearly a fantasy that is loosely based in some type of medieval European setting. The different magics – all involving bones – aren’t spelled out in detail, but enough to keep them separate and for their basic uses to be clear.

I loved Saskia, though she seemed a little spoiled at first. She grows so much through the story, it was quite painful at times. She is brave, but a little reckless. Her mother too, I felt a lot for. I think she could have been more open with Saskia and it might have spared them a lot of the struggles they went through, but she was doing as any parent with a heart would, and trying to spare her daughter further pain.

The idea of two realities worked a lot better than I was expecting! I got confused at the very end, but I think that is because the characters were equally confused. Phew. That ending. Please, PLEASE tell me there will be a sequel! I need to know!

There isn’t really a lot of romance in this book! There is some, but it’s really in the beginning stages and was just super sweet. I did really like that Saskia had a history with her interest, instead of it being an insta-love thing. In the end though, this is NOT your typical “love saves the day” or even a HEA. I did really like a certain guy, ahem. Again, PLEASE let there be a sequel!

4/5 stars overall. Lovely story that completely held my attention!

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About the Author

 

Breeana Shields is an author of fantasy novels for teens including THE BONE CHARMER, POISON’S KISS, and POISON’S CAGE. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in English.

When she’s not writing, Breeana loves reading, traveling, and playing board games with her extremely competitive family. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, her three children, and two adorable, but spoiled dogs.

 

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Nov 29

Review of The Curses

Book Reviews 0

Review of The CursesThe Curses (The Graces, #2) by Laure Eve
Published by Amulet Books on December 31, 2018
Genres: magical realism, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Goodreads

Picking up the pieces after the chilling events of the previous year isn’t easy, but the Graces are determined to do it. Wolf is back after a mysterious disappearance, and everyone’s eager to return to normal. Except for Summer, the youngest Grace. Summer has a knack for discovering the truth—and something is troubling her. After a trail of clues leads her to what could be the key to both her family’s mysterious past and the secret of Wolf, she’s determined to vanquish yet another curse. But exposing secrets is a dangerous game, and it’s not one Summer can win alone.

At Summer’s behest, the coven comes back together, reluctantly drawing their erstwhile friend River back into the fold. But Wolf’s behavior becomes unpredictable even as Fenrin’s strength fades, and Summer must ask herself whether the friend she so loves is also planning her family’s ultimate, cursed demise.

This riveting sequel to The Graces is saturated with magic, the destructive cost of power, the complications of family, and the nature of forgiveness.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Be forewarned, there is swearing involved in this review, because, um…

What TF just happened.

I really wanted to review The Curses without giving spoilers for the first one, The Graces (please excuse the formatting on that ANCIENT review), but it’s so damn difficult because you absolutely cannot be reading this one without reading the first. Please don’t even try. So yes, there are some spoilery comments for the first book contained in this review. 

You should be tolerant of every kind of behavior…except ignorance and stupidity. No one should ever tolerate behavior that ruin the world.

This book is so much better than the first. SO MUCH. Like so much I want to hug it. Once I started it, I finished in less than a day. I could barely put it down, I wanted so much to know what the heck was going on! Considering my “meh” feelings over the first book, I am just ecstatic that this one pulled the story out off the runaway train track. In fact, had it not been for the TOTAL shocker at the end of The Graces, I probably wouldn’t have picked this one up. But I think you would have to be just about inhuman to not be overcome by curiosity about that ending.

The Curses picks up a few months after the events of The Graces, and this time is written from the perspective of Summer, the youngest Grace. This was soooo much better than the narrative voice in the first book. I really hate unreliable narrators, it makes me feel like my entire life is a lie, so I was relieved that Laure Eve didn’t repeat that in this book. We also spend almost no time at the school in this one – hallelujah.

Thalia, Fenrin, Summer, River, and Wolf are all active players once again, but they are quite changed by the previous events and are all coping in various ways. Wolf’s dramatic disappearance and subsequent reappearance has cast a shadow of sorts over the entire town, and the Grace household bears the brunt of it. Everything is different, with an undercurrent of ill feeling, but no one seems able to quite put a finger on the cause. Summer, ever curious and following her gut, digs and probes until she has her siblings just as involved as herself, and eventually River gets dragged back into their circle as well.

Time had brought a folding inward instead of outward. They had trapped themselves in a relentless limbo of deliberate numbness. Too afraid to feel, too afraid to let go.

The magical realism in this story is, well…so very real. The Graces are pagan witches – which is an actual thing, and I have friends who follow practices very similar (and often with similar reactions from the general public, sadly), as far as the herbal magick and belief in binding, etc. However, none of them – as far as I’m aware – actually think there is a way, or if they did, would ever actually TRY, to resurrect anyone. Which is where the magical, or fantasy if you will, part comes into play. Also, the “power” of various witches to bend events or the future to their will (such as River, particularly) is set firmly in the realm of fantasy. The use of tarot cards, spells, wardings and bindings…not so much. Perhaps it is the slightly blurry line between the two that allows this story to pull you in so very well. At times I variously felt the hairs on the back of my neck raise, as though I’d been punched in the gut, and as if my blood was actually turning cold in my veins. Some of the events are just almost too much to bear, as the pain and loss with accompanying grief is completely palpable through the page.

My favorite part of this book though? The sibling solidarity. The Graces have each others’ backs, no matter what, and they will go down without even a peep to protect one another. Even if they fight and bicker like any siblings, if anyone else threatens one of them, the outsider quickly wishes they hadn’t. And when one of them is in serious trouble, the others think nothing of getting into trouble right alongside them.

The events really just come one right after another in this one, with none of the drag I felt in the first book. Also, the foreshadowing – maybe Laure Eve should take up writing suspense or thrillers, because OMG the cellar scene where all the lies come out was INTENSE and I was just left with my jaw hanging open…and then I realized, like Summer did, that HOLY SHIT IT WAS THERE ALL ALONG.

5/5 stars. I really can’t think of anything bad to say about this one! Which totally surprises me, given that I had quite a few bones to pick with The Graces. The Curses is full of amazing quotes and feelings, and the ending – while it left me feeling sad and melancholy – was really full of closure and not without hope. The author seems to have worked out just about all the things that made me twitch in the first book, and I was just left with a massive hole in my heart for all the things the characters went through.

Oh, and once again, let’s end with a note about this freaking fabulous cover. I am obsessed and I can’t WAIT to have this sitting beside The Graces on my shelf because they look absolutely stunning together.

 

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Nov 21

Review of Escaping from Houdini

Book Reviews 0 ★★★½

Review of Escaping from HoudiniEscaping from Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #3) by Kerri Maniscalco
Published by Jimmy Patterson on September 18, 2018
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreadsthree-half-stars

In this third installment in the #1 bestselling Stalking Jack the Ripper series, a luxurious ocean liner becomes a floating prison of scandal, madness, and horror when passengers are murdered one by one…with nowhere to run from the killer. .

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?

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“Truth is a blade. Brutal and ice cold. It cuts. Sometimes when spoken carelessly it even scars.”

Escaping from Houdini (Book #3 in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series) was one of my most anticipated books of the entire year. I absolutely adored the first two – which, if you haven’t read and have the slightest interest in doing so STOP READING because there will be spoilers for those two books – and so I was delighted to find out that the original planned trilogy was being expanded to four. Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell…I can’t get enough of them, or the deliciously creepy situations their forensic passion leads them into! That said, I have to admit this book was my least favorite of the series so far. You can see my review of the first, Stalking Jack the Ripper, and the second, Hunting Prince Dracula, by clicking the linked titles!

Can’t help it, this is what I thought of through the first few chapters. 😛

I really do hate to say it, but in some ways it feels completely unnecessary…like why spend an entire book on the trans-oceanic voyage from Europe to America? I understand it makes for a really creepy atmostphere, when people are being MURDERED and you know for absolutely certain they are on the ship with you and no way to get off of it in the middle of the ocean…but still. Anyway, maybe that’s just me, and I’m butt-hurt because I was really looking forward to seeing what they did in America and also seeing how the series ended.

//SMALL POTENTIAL SPOILERS for character-type stuff, not plot//

My People

Other than the maybe-not-necessary part of my feelings on the book…OMG WADSWORTH. What happened?!? Where did the stalwart, strong-minded girl I knew go? What…just what. Here, maybe a screenshot of my actual agony as I read will help:

Not only was she suddenly needing smelling salts, but the way she treated Thomas…I really struggle to accept that it was justified. In the grand scheme of things, I understand why she did it. She put trying to find the killer and figure out what was going on ahead of her own feelings, but in the process I really feel she treated Thomas as if he was just an automaton without any kind of emotion. It felt like a kick to the stomach. And, as we all remember (riiiiight, you did read the other books), for all his cold, calculating, analytical brain cells, our boy does actually have a heart a few fibers of insecurity running through it. Now, in an author note at the end, Kerri Maniscalco actually addresses this entire issue, and WHY Wadsworth acted the way she did. I get it. I’m just not completely on board with it and I feel like it quite possibly forever altered her relationship with Thomas. Can relationships recover from setbacks? Absolutely. Do they? Sometimes. So I guess we will just have to wait and see in book four…HOW am I going to wait another year??

Plot

“This isn’t the first time you’ve removed a cravat, is it?”
“It would be the first time I used it to strangle someone, though.”

The mystery aspect of this one wasn’t as hair-raising as either one of the other two books. Enjoyable, yes, and I didn’t have a very good theory until about 65-75% of the way through the book (perhaps because I was so hung up over Wadsworth and Cresswell’s woes). It was very flashy and atmospheric but not all that exciting. After the first couple of bodies you kinda/sorta knew what to expect.

The “show” aspect was interesting and really gave a different flavor to the setting than you would expect from a ship. It was very circus-y and all the minor characters introduced created ALL kinds of red herrings and hangups.

Things That Did Surprise Me

“Be cautious with who you give your heart to. And be even more wary of those who wish to steal it.”

First, totally did not see the cousin thing coming. That was intriguing and really added another layer to the story. Next, do not go into this expecting Houdini to play a large part. The title is somewhat misleading. Third, WHO THE HELL is this circus master dude and WTF is he playing at (this question is mostly answered by the end but geez I hated this guy’s guts for most of the book). Fourth, I still adore Mrs. Harvey. I don’t think I mentioned her in my other reviews, but she is just the absolute BEST with her “nightcaps” and look-the-other way style of chaperoning.

Overall, I’m giving Escaping from Houdini 3.5 stars. I really wanted to give it 4 but it just bummed me out too much, between the “meh” mystery factor and the “ACK!!” relationship factor.

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Nov 15

Review of Sky in the Deep

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Review of Sky in the DeepSky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Published by Wednesday Books on April 24, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult
Pages: 340
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreadsfive-stars
two-flames

Part Wonder Woman, part Vikings—and all heart.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

First of all. This cover. AND VIKING WARRIOR WOMEN. Just take all my money right now, why don’t you. Of course, there’s also a huge danger in being completely taken by a cover and brief blurb…sometimes the copywriter is a better writer than the actual author. So I was sort of kind of worried that might have happened, but I am very happy to report that it most certainly did not disappoint!

YESSSSSSS.

Oh, and btw – I was reading my copy of this book in the bath, and my puppy knocked it out of my hand and INTO THE WATER. There was much shrieking and flailing but the book survived and so did the puppy. The book is now all ripple-y and much thicker than it should be, but still readable. *eyeroll* 

FIRST OF ALL:

Adrienne Young, can we pleeeeeeeease have a sequel where Eelyn and Fiske are a little older?? PLEASE??? Like maybe a NA type? Maybe where the enemy tribe resurges? I know there is a companion novel coming but it sounds like it might be more about someone else and I just need more of Eelyn. Please and thank you. Ok, now I will attempt to write something more coherent…there ARE some SMALL potential spoilers.

Characters:

Obviously, Eelyn. Our fierce Viking shieldmaiden. When the book first started, I was slightly put off by just how ANGRY she seemed to be, as if she had no other emotion (other than feeling pain, I definitely got the sense that she was in pain, but her reaction to pain was MORE ANGER). Did she have reason? Yes, probably more than most of us reading. Life in this time was hard, even if women were treated more equally in this Viking world. Eelyn kicks ass, but beneath her strong soldier exterior she still has a heart, she loves her family and her village more than life itself…which is why it hurts her so deeply when she discovers what her brother, Iri, has done. Eelyn is also NOT one of these heroine who walks and talks like a badass but never quite manages to DO anything badass…nope. She is downright brutal at one point in the book, and I found myself quite literally gaping at the page.

I’d envied Iri my whole life for his open heart, and now mine had been pried open too.

Iri himself is quite…well, I liked him, but I didn’t feel that close to him. I went through about the first half of the books with my arms figuratively crossed on my chest, TOTALLY with Eelyn that nothingbutnothing should have kept him from returning to his family, but then…then things happen. Still, I wanted to KNOW Iri better, because he really seemed like he was a complex character that we just didn’t get to know that well. Eelyn knows him, or thinks she does, and it is from her viewpoint that we see him.

Fiske is something else. He really grew on me, because in the beginning I just thought he was a wuss. No joke. Then we see him interact not only with Eelyn and Iri, but his mother, his little brother…and oh wait, he’s not a wuss, he just thinks before he acts. I loved the slow-burn of his and Eelyn’s romance. I know enemies-to-lovers is one of the OLDEST romantic plots ever, but it’s repeated because it works, both in books and sometimes even in real life! I really wanted to see more of them as a couple, in the village and family dynamics…ah well. 2 flames, because while there are some couple scenes there’s nothing graphic or really all that descriptive.

Inge, the only real mother-figure in the entire book (as Eelyn and Iri’s mother died long ago), is the best. I loved her so much. She is a healer, not a warrior, and yet she is very clearly just as strong as Eelyn or any of the others. I pretty much want to be her, since I’m pretty sure I don’t have the reflexes to be Eelyn.

Halvard!! OMG, this little guy has more guts and spine than several adults put together. And he is so non-judgmental, sees the good in everyone…we all need a Halvard in our lives. I swear the moments when his life is in danger, I went all Mama Bear even just sitting on my couch. DON’T YOU DARE MESS WITH MY LITTLE MAN, YO. At one point I actually thought he was going to be killed off and when I finally got to the end of that passage, I realized I’d been sitting there with my free hand just plastered over my mouth and I had tears in my eyes. THE FEELS.

Plot

The plot is pretty well encapsulated in the book blurb, making this story MUCH more character driven than action driven – despite having some really intense battle scenes in the first and last quarters of the book. The middle bit is really more about Eelyn and her internal struggles with being a captive, and of all the dynamics of the Riki village and Iri’s “new” people. It is heartbreaking, at times.

The words were small but they were true. ‘I’m thinking that I wish you’d died that day.’

Worldbuilding

There isn’t a lot of detail given, which works quite well for this book. We know that the Aska live by the sea, and the Riki live in the mountains, and they have a generations old blood feud. Their culture is clearly based on ancient Vikings, but other than that…this was a book about people and relationships, not one to immerse you completely in a historically accurate time and place. It does immerse you, just…in a much more narrow way. It works much better than I could have imagined, and I was quite surprised that the lack of detail did not seem to hinder my enjoyment of the story at all.

5/5 stars. Highly recommend. My only “complaint” is that I really wanted more, I was very disappointed when it ended…but isn’t that how the best books always are?

I could still see a young Eelyn standing on the beach turned into the wind, a sword in one hand and an axe in the other. I hadn’t lost her. I hadn’t buried her. I’d only let her change into something new.

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five-stars

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Aug 15

Review of The Unexpected Everything

Book Reviews 0 ★★★½

I picked this book up at a steal ($3.99 for the hardcover) at Books-A-Million last year, and then when I realized one of the 2018 books I was looking at – Save the Date, if anyone is curious – was by the same author I decided I really needed to pull it out and read it. Then come to find out said Morgan Matson also wrote Since You’ve Been Gone, which was EXTREMELY popular yet I still haven’t read and apparently I hadn’t paid any attention at all to who wrote it…anyway. Small book world!

Review of The Unexpected EverythingThe Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, Морган Мэтсон
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 3, 2016
Genres: Modern, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 519
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Goodreadsthree-half-stars
one-flame

Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

The Unexpected Everything

Cute. Fluffy. Dogs. Sounds like an awesome time, right? I adore dogs and I’ve even contemplated trying to establish a dog-walking business myself to bring in some side hustle cash, so I thought for sure I would love this book! I kind of did…and I kind of didn’t. There is one huge, glaring issue in particular, but…

Good Things First:

Dogs! Obviously.

Andie isn’t even particularly a dog person before the story starts, but after a chance encounter with one she quickly gets lured in. PUPPY LOVE! Anyone who can resist is either heartless or allergic. 😛 Anyway.

Friends! Andie and her three best girlfriends are tight. They care so much about each other, it just leaps off the page. I love the way the group texts were presented in the hard copy of the book, complete with emojis. It was awesome and hysterical and oh-so-accurate.

Cute. Andie and Clark are SO different and yet they work and are adorable together.

Andie is a sexual being and it is portrayed in a POSITIVE light. I loved this. For far too long it’s been the THING for guys to be players and have casual hookups and be cheered for doing so, while if a girl does the same she’s a slut. Not so here. Andie does have emotional struggles, which contribute to her inability (in the beginning) to connect with any of her boyfriends much beyond a fun and physical level. Even when she does begin to realize that oh hey, feelings are ok even if they’re sometimes annoying, she still enjoys the physical side of things. YES! The book doesn’t go into too much detail and is pretty tame as far as sexual stuff really, but the implications are there.

Not Great Stuff:

This book is nothing but a HUGE basketful of privilege. White privilege, rich privilege, political privilege, straight privilege…all of it. This smacked me in the face even though yes, I’m white and straight. I am not and have never been from the kind of world this book exists in – where all teenagers have their own cars, the newest phones, perfectly safe neighborhoods, huge houses, don’t NEED a job but only work one to avoid boredom…WTF. There are no characters of any other nationality or color, or sexual identity. Like they don’t even exist. WHAT WORLD DO YOU LIVE IN?!? I was extremely bothered and this aspect alone is what brings my rating down. I understand that sure, in some places, this is how people live. But the characters in this book don’t seem to have any idea of how well off they are, or that there’s anything special about their lives. I guess, maybe, that this is supposed to be a light-hearted, escapism type read…but even if so I just can’t buy it. It’s not okay and I am extremely disappointed. I’m not sure I will be trying anymore Matson books. Looking at the other reviews on GoodReads, I seem to be one of the only people bothered by this aspect…so maybe I’m oversensitive or something. But it just rubbed me wrong.

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three-half-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Jul 19

2018 Books I’m Dying to Read

Books/Writing 0

This year has not been a great one for my reading! I’ve been reading…but reading required stuff for school. I had sort of forgotten about that aspect of college classes. 😛 Very inconvenient, that. So basically, all these fabulous new books have come out and I HAVEN’T READ A SINGLE ONE. Not even the ones I pre-ordered!

I keep reminding myself that this is a temporary – albeit going to be a VERY long temporary – season and one day I will have time to read all the things I want again. I’m actually enjoying school very much and it’s going very well! I just have to prioritize my time and energy and…well. I care too much about my GPA to put anything except my family in front of it. That said, AUGUST IS COMING. And with August is coming a month-long break from classes.

I have SO earned it, people. Hopefully during that month, I will get to at least a handful of these amazing-sounding new 2018 books! All covers link to GoodReads.

 

 

THIS BOOK. Viking shield-maidens, betrayals, forbidden love? YES PLEASE. On my shelf since release, it’s coming with me on vacation. It sounds amazing and I keep seeing new great reviews for it!

 

 

 

 

Another one already on my shelf. This one seems to turn ALL the stereotypes for historical and even alternate history books on their respective heads. I can’t wait. It, also, sounds amazing! Sorry, you’ll have to bear with me repeatedly using that word because these are all just making me squeal with anticipation like a little kid.

 

 

 

 

 

Yet another one that is already on my shelf…still unread. Ahem. I had to get this one because I loved Marsh’s YA debut, Fear the Drowning Deep. Necromancy, bisexuality, and monsters…sign me up. Must. Read. Faster.

 

 

 

 

 

I have been waiting for this book since I finished When Dimple Met Rishi – which was fabulous, and I am sure this one will be just as fabulous. OMG. Why can I not have a 48 hour day? And keep my sleep needs the same, thankyouverymuch.

 

 

 

 

 

EEEEEEEEE!!! It’s finally here, it’s finally here! I snickered and guffawed my way through My Lady Jane, so I am delighted to read these awesome authors’ take on Jane Eyre. I’m convinced it will be just as amazing, lighthearted, and fun.

 

 

 

There are TONS more books that sound phenomenal out this year. If you want you can check out my entire 2018 release list on GoodReads, and please share some of your favorites – whether you’ve read them already or still waiting – in the comments!

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[Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you click on a link and purchase something I’ve talked about or recommended, I’ll receive a very small percentage of the sale. Please see my disclosure policy for more info.]If you really enjoyed reading and would like to show your support for future content and help keep the blog running (my goal is to make the blog self-supporting), consider using the affiliate links on this page to buy your next book, or donate to the blog using one of the links below!

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Jan 16

The Love That Split the World Review

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★★

The Love That Split the World ReviewThe Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Published by Razorbill on January 26th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Modern, magical realism
Pages: 390
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreadsfive-stars

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start…until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” At first, they’re just momentary glimpses—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

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“No matter how hard it feels, you don’t need to be afraid to move on, and you don’t need to be afraid to stay either. There’s always more to see and feel.”

How I felt after finishing the last page of this book.

What this book is: 90% emotions/feelings. Glorious, ooey-gooey lovey-dovey, feelings that make me want to actually try to hope for HEAs and the best in life and love. Adorable. Cute. Romantic.

What this book is not (i.e., please don’t pick it up if you’re into these things): deep, extremely thought provoking, realistic.

First of all, I’m so stinking proud of myself for READING AND FINISHING this book! At long long LOOOOONG last, as it came in my February 2016 OwlCrate. Yikes. I read like one “meh” review of it and lost all my enthusiasm for the story…which I sort of regret, but I also realize that at the time, this sort of ooey-gooey-ness would probably not have sat very well with me…and quite possibly would have resulted in it being thrown across the room, never to be finished.

The Love That Split the World is an adorable summer story of love, loss, and teenagers finding themselves and each other. Sprinkled in between the emotionally intense, physically warming scenes (but never explicit or very graphic, and there is no actual sex in the book) are gems like the quote above, and others I desperately wish my 16-18 year old self (hell, even 19, 20, or 21 year old self) had read or known.

“You shouldn’t be scared of someone you love.”

The book briefly addresses the issue of consent – even for “just” making out, and one scene in particular left me feeling rather nauseous even though “nothing happened.” Alcoholism is also brought up, and addressed in one of the most succinct ways I have ever seen – painful, as it always is, but it was done so, so well. Huge props.

Oh, and the characters!! I’ve discovered yet another book boyfriend – Beau, your beautiful soul has won my heart. I will also confess that in high school, I admired the football players from afar so…yeah…piano AND football playing Beau is just totally swoonworthy. And I always, ALWAYS get hit right in the feels by the broken-but-still-strong hero types, the ones who just remain good people at heart despite having been given the shit end of the stick in life. Natalie’s spirit – her need to KNOW, her intense desire to find herself, to make something of herself – really resonated with me. While I don’t know how it would feel to grow up a minority (not only in your town, but in your FAMILY) in a small southern town, I spent a lot of my growing up years in places not unlike her Kentucky hometown and to some extent, I can imagine. Especially in small town America, people who don’t look (or act) exactly the same are often viewed with suspicion and outright dislike. In Natalie’s case, her biggest struggle seems to be with not sharing her looks or personality with her adoptive parents, and the fact that she was hassled about it by her classmates when she was younger.

I adored the time bending/travel aspect of the story. I was a little (ok, very) confused for awhile, but eventually I realized what was happening…mostly. I still DID NOT see that ending coming and my poor little heart nearly burst with ALL THE FEELS. I didn’t quite CRY, but my throat squeezed very very tight, my eyes burned, and I blinked rapidly for a few moments. Then I had to read the last few pages about 5 times to make sure I hadn’t missed anything!

Diversity: This was my first pick for the January topic, Biracial Awareness (check out the suggested bookshelf!), in the Platypire Diverse Books Reading challenge. Natalie is bi-racial, and adopted. Another main character is Korean. The author does not belong to either of these groups, but she seems to have put a great deal of effort into making her story authentic and respectful especially to the First Nations cultures she draws from in the writing of the book.

I gave this book 5/5 stars. It is an amazingly fun and cute romance with enough time-turning stuff to keep that side of my brain interested too.

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I hope you enjoyed my review of The Love That Split the World! Follow me on social media to keep up with more reviews and bookish posts!

         
[Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you click on a link and purchase something I’ve talked about or recommended, I’ll receive a very small percentage of the sale. Please see my disclosure policy for more info.]

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five-stars

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Jan 09

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter Review

Book Reviews 2 ★★★★★

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter ReviewThe Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss
on June 20th 2017
Genres: Alternate History, Historical, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreadsfive-stars

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

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“No wonder men did not want women to wear bloomers. What could women accomplish if they did not have to continually mind their skirts, keep them from dragging in the mud or getting trampled on the steps of an omnibus? If they had pockets! With pockets, women could conquer the world!”

This was a fabulous book to start out 2018! It was just the right parts dry, sarcastic humor, witty remarks, and references to the classics mixed with strong female characters. My inner book nerd did so many happy dances. I absolutely LOVED the characters and ideas pulled from the classics (Frankenstein, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and I think maybe another that I’m missing). However, the reader does not have to have read those classics to enjoy this book. The characters are entirely fleshed out in this book alone. They have their own stories and the style of writing is completely entertaining. It starts out written in 3rd person, but within just a couple of pages it shifts – brilliantly – to a sidebar commentary of the various characters interjecting while the narrator is writing! It sounds complicated but it is amazing and brilliant and I laughed out loud so many times.

Based around the idea of a secret scientific society at the end of the 19th century, the story starts out with the main character, Mary Jekyll, burying her mother and in desperate financial straits. Then through a series of unusual discoveries in her mother’s papers, she stumbles across a strangest of characters – all of which seem linked to herself and her dead father in some way. Then they link up with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson and between their ever-growing little menagerie of misfits they attempt to solve the mystery of this strange society.

There’s no real romance – there are hints of it, and some of the characters have obviously had past relationships or relations, as they are referred to at one point. I admit that I’m really looking forward to the sequel, not only to see what exactly was going on with the Society but because I am dying to know if Mary actually ends up with Dr. Watson (as in the original Sherlock Holmes stories, Dr. Watson’s eventual wife was named Mary), or not! I feel like it will be a NOT but I just need to know. 😛

Overall, 5/5 stars and a fantastic start to my reading year 2018! Highly recommend to YA readers who are fans of historical fiction in general, but especially classic literature.

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I hope you enjoyed my review of The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter! Follow me on social media to keep up with more reviews and bookish posts!

         

 

[Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you click on a link and purchase something I’ve talked about or recommended, I’ll receive a very small percentage of the sale. Please see my disclosure policy for more info.]

five-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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