No Good Deed by Kara Connolly – ARC Review

32766757Ellie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle—yes, that Nottingham—she ends up in medieval England.

Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood?

Pulled into a past life as an outlaw, Ellie feels her present fading away next to daring do-gooding and a devilishly handsome knight. Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future.

 

Review

 

No Good Deed by Kara Connolly is a retelling of Robin Hood, it also features time travel, and a female as Robin Hood. So naturally I jumped at the chance to review it! So, thank you Penguin Random House for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. As I’m sure most of you know by now, I am a huge fan of retellings, and I also love time travel books. So finding a book that has both of those things? Yeah, pretty much the best thing ever.

 

No Good Deed was such a fun, lighthearted read. It was funny, and sassy. It didn’t take itself too seriously, and it was a perfect book for summer. Now, as with any time travel book there are some pretty major historical inaccuracies. But if I cared about historical accuracy in my magical Robin Hood time travel YA novel then… well I wouldn’t be reading it in the first place would I? So with that disclaimer out of the way let talk about the plot.

 

The plot was fast paced, and a lot of fun. There was a decent amount of action, and it had a really nice flow. There were a few plot holes, and things that were just never explained (such as how Ellie ended up time travelling) but those things didn’t really matter to me too much. This isn’t the type of book you take super seriously, it’s mind candy – It tastes good, but has no nutritional value. The plot kept me engaged, and interested. I read this book in a single sitting.

 

The main character Ellie was great. I loved the fact that once she realized that she was becoming Robin Hood that she totally went with it and just had fun with it. I loved that she was determined to do what was right, even when at times she thought it would be in detriment to herself or her ability to find a way to get back to her own time. There were so many great characters though! Will was one of my favorites; his personality was so cheeky and fun. I also loved James, and how exasperated he got with Ellie in a good natured way. Much was also wonderful, I loved his enthusiasm. There was a touch of romance sprinkled throughout the book, but it almost wasn’t even note-worthy and certainly wasn’t a main focus.

 

I know I’ve used the word “fun” to describe this book multiple times now, but it really is the best description. I loved the crazy situations Ellie got herself into, I loved how each aspect of the Robin Hood legend formed, I loved the characters, I pretty much loved everything about this book. If you like lighthearted check your mind at the door books then this one is for you. 4/5 Stars.

Now I Rise by Kiersten White – ARC Review

22817331She has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself.

After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada Dracul is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.

What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?

As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won…and souls will be lost.

 

Review

 

Now I Rise by Kiersten White is actually a sequel, and was sent to me by Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. I don’t often review sequels, as you generally have to have read the first book to understand the review for the second book. But I’m going to go ahead and try anyways. Now what you need to know about my opinion of the first book was that it was a 3.5 out of 5 stars for me, I didn’t love Lada (the main character) but I did like Randu (the other main character), I wasn’t overly impressed by the romance (but it wasn’t horrible), and the plot was pretty good. With that out of the way let’s dive right in.

 

Let’s start with characters. I enjoyed Lada a lot more in this book than I did in the first book. I definitely felt like she was more complex and well-rounded in this one, which made a big difference for me. Lada is the type of female character that kicks ass 100% of the time. She doesn’t back down from what she wants, she doesn’t back down from a fight, and she’s not afraid of anything. She isn’t your typical female YA heroine, and she definitely challenges the stereotype. One of the main things that I disliked about her in the first book was that she seemed very one dimensional, and needlessly cruel. However in this book we get to see farther into her character, and she becomes more real. Randu became even more loveable in this book. Seriously, I thought I couldn’t love him anymore than I already did but I was wrong. His storyline in this book was heartbreaking at times, and his character development was phenomenal.

 

There were two major plotlines that intersected throughout the novel, one for Lada and one for Randu as they were separated for the majority of the book. Radnu’s storyline was amazing, and heartbreaking. Randu’s plotline focuses on some hard choices, and is handled wonderfully. As for Lada’s storyline, it was interesting and well written. It didn’t hold my attention as much as Randu’s, but that isn’t surprising considering how much I love Randu. I can definitely see why these books have been compared to Game of Thrones, they are rich and dark and full of twists and turns. And I have to say, although I don’t want to give anything away, that the ending absolutely killed me.

 

Overall I definitely enjoyed this sequel more than the first book, which isn’t something that happens very often! This one was a 4/5 star read for me.

Review of The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury was a gorgeous book. Now, I realize that gorgeous is a bit of an odd word to describe a story with, but it is definitely fitting in this case.
I loved the style of writing and the way in which the story was told. Zahra, the Jinni, tells the story in first person to her “Habiba”. Of course, she isn’t actually talking to anyone, she simply addresses this person in her head as she narrates. Normally I hate this style of writing, but it worked so amazingly well for this particular story.

Khoury tells a beautiful story, she describes everything in rich detail without going overboard. Khoury describes each person, city, palace, act of magic, and even the desert itself in such gorgeous detail that could feel the desert sun on my face while I sat in my room at midnight reading, I felt the rush of magic, smelt the spices and flowers, and heard the bustling of city.

Not only was the writing beautiful, but the story itself was wonderful as well. There were two main plot lines, the one that was happening in the moment, and one of the past that was slowly revealed over the course of the novel until the merged at the climax. The plot was well thought out, interesting, and not a total cliche -which is not easy when it comes to retellings!

I loved Zahra as a main character. Having spent thousands of years enslaved to the lamp and the whims of those in possession of it she has found her own way to fight back through their wishes. Zahra is far from perfect, after being trapped inside her lamp for 500 years straight, in the ruins of an ancient city, she will do anything to free herself from the lamp. Including manipulating Aladdin into helping her gain her freedom.

Zahra is a strong female character, a warrior and a fighter. But she isn’t the only strong female character in this book, the princess and her ladies are warriors, and fight -literally- to liberate the people. Caspida, the princess, and Zarha share a mutual respect which is extremely refreshing when so many books pit strong female characters against each other.
Now, Aladdin. I was worried that he would be a complete cliche, or end up being just a useless character that doesn’t really do anything. But luckily neither of those were the case. Aladdin is flawed, and grows in a very real way throughout the course of the book. Originally set out for revenge, he ends up helping to lead a rebellion. He’s a charming, funny, womanizing character and I loved him dearly.

Now, I should mention, although based on the summary it should be obvious, that this was a love story. But it was a wonderful slow building one, and honestly one of the best YA romances I’ve read in such a long time. Their relationship started off with Zarha flat out using Aladdin, grew into a funny and amusing friendship, and eventually blossomed into a true love. One of my favorite moments was when Zahra was in her true Jinni form, shapeless smoke and magic, and Aladdin was the only one in that moment that still saw her as a person. It was beautiful.

I would love to go on about the magic in this world, the Jinn, and how unique it was but I don’t want to give too much away. One of the best parts of this book is discovering everything as you go.

I loved absolutely everything about this book, from the characters, to the setting, to the plot. The climax was everything I hoped it would be, and more. The only problem I had, and I wouldn’t even call it a problem per say, would be that the final chapter, the epilogue so to speak, was slightly rushed. But I loved this book so much, I absolutely have to give it 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Missing by Kelley Armstrong – ARC Review

25487124The only thing Winter Crane likes about Reeve’s End is that soon she’ll leave it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There’s nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They’re better off taking a chance elsewhere. The only thing Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree. But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they’re all missing?

 

Review

 

Missing by Kelley Armstrong was sent to me by Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. Okay, so most of you know by now that I am a fan of Kelley Armstrong’s books. She is absolutely amazing at writing suspenseful books, and at combining the paranormal with reality (although Missing isn’t paranormal at all). I did enjoy Missing, although Armstrong has written other books that I have liked much better.

 

One of the things that I loved about Missing is something that I love in almost every one of Armstrong’s books; and that is the suspense and how creepy it is. If you’re ever looking for the perfect book to read at Halloween, look no further. However, I found the graphic violence in regards to the feral dogs to be a bit much. I’m a dog lover, so it perhaps upset me more than it would other people. But there were multiple, graphic, scenes surrounding violence against dogs and it upset me, I had to skim over those parts.

 

The main character, Winter, was very interesting. She was relatable in a lot of ways, and was well rounded in the fact that she had genuine character flaws –and personally I love that because it makes a character more “real” for me. The supporting characters were also very likeable, and I enjoyed them. The brothers were really great, and probably my favourite characters. Another thing that I loved was the romance. It was sweet, and well written. But what I liked most about it was that it took a backseat to the plot, which is a big plus for me.

 

Now, the plot itself was fairly predictable at times – but I’m not sure how much of that is because I’ve read so many of her books and know what to expect and how much is just genuine predictability. Predictability doesn’t bother me, I’m only mentioning it because I know it makes a difference to some people. There were a few things that I think could have been done better, but I don’t want to say what and spoil anything. But for the most part those things were fairly minor.

 

Overall this book was a 3.5 out of 5 stars for me. It an engaging read, and I read it in a single sitting.

 

Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis – ARC Review

25314447Everyone has a place.

Khosa was born to be fed to the sea, to prevent the kind of wave that once destroyed the Kingdom of Stille. She can’t be sacrificed until she produces an heir, but human touch repulses her…except for the touch of the Indiri.

Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race with magic that’s seductive—a force of nature—but dwindling since the Pietra slaughtered their people.

Witt leads the Pietra, the fierce warriors who are now marching on the Kingdom of Stille. The stone shores of Witt’s kingdom harbor a secret threat, and to ensure the survival of his people, he’s prepared to conquer every speck of Stille’s soil.

Vincent stands to inherit the throne of Stille, but has no wife to share it with. When the beautiful and mysterious Khosa arrives without an heir, Vincent knows that his father will stop at nothing to make sure she fulfills her duty. Torn between protecting his kingdom and protecting the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is soon at odds with his heart.

While royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the Indiri struggle to survive, the rising sea calls for its Given, and Khosa is destined to answer.

 

Review

 

Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis had such an interesting premise! It’s not often that a YA Fantasy novel comes out with a premise that hasn’t already been done in some way, shape, or form. So I was really excited to read this one.

 

Let’s start off with the characters. I’ve heard some people say that Khosa was the main character, and while I’d agree that she’s a main character I personally felt that as there were multiple different POVs that there were multiple main characters.  Vincent is the second main character and one of second most important character after Khosa. I personally would also classify the siblings (Donil and Dara) as secondary main characters, as they both play important roles in the book and have a lot of “face time” so to speak.

 

One of the main complaints I’ve read about this book is about Khosa. A lot of reviewers have complained that she’s weak, that she didn’t fight against her role and complaints about her touch aversion. Personally, I liked Khosa. I found her to be a refreshing change from all of the female characters out there who start out rebelling. I thought that Khosa was realistic; she was raised for this purpose and doesn’t fight it at first because that’s how she was raised. That, to me, is realistic. Eventually she does fight against her fate, but it’s a slow build to that point, which I also found realistic. As for the other characters, I enjoyed them for the most part. Dara was one of my favorites, and I didn’t care much for Vincent.

 

The other major complaint I’ve seen for this book was that it is confusing. Personally, I didn’t find it confusing. I will say that it’s a book you really have to be focusing on, but I didn’t think it was confusing. But everyone is different, and different people find different things confusing. The plot itself had a few holes, and the ending was pretty rushed. But overall it was fast paced and interesting enough to keep me reading.

 

There were a few scenes in this book that disturbed me, but I don’t want to get into that too much aside from issuing a warning about graphic scenes and to read with caution if you don’t like that. Aside from those scenes the other complaint I had was that everything was very predictable. I don’t mind predictability in general, but this didn’t surprise me in any way. Another thing I would like to add was that this book leans more into the adult fantasy side of things then YA in terms of the subject matter and how certain things (ie Women and their roles in society) are portrayed. This can be frustrating for some, and disturbing for others – so this won’t be a book that everyone likes.

 

Overall, I personally enjoyed this one. It was a fast read; I read it in a single sitting. There were things I liked and things I didn’t like. But overall I enjoyed it. 4 out of 5 stars.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston – ARC Review

30724132

Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale.

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

 


Review

Geekerella by Ashley Poston went on my wish list the moment I first heard about it, back in November. So when Penguin Random House asked me if I wanted an ARC I was pretty excited. Not only is this book a Cinderella retelling (and you guys all know how much I love retellings) but it is also a book that focuses on fandom! Being a pretty geeky girl, that has been involved in multiple fandoms since I was a kid, I always love reading books that have a focus on fandom. Geekerella was such an adorable, cute, and fun read. It was everything I expected it to be and more.

 

The two main characters, Elle and Darien, were both very well written and relatable. Elle, short for Danielle, is our Cinderella. She lives with her stepmother and two stepsisters, and feels incredibly isolated and alone. However instead of letting that make her weak or keep her down it motivates her to work hard and find a way out. Elle’s escape is Starfield, a Sci-Fi TV show, and she is heavily involved in the fandom. When Elle is lonely she turns to Starfield and the fandom, it helps her feel less alone and helps her to feel like she’s part of something. I really related to that aspect of Elle, as I suspect most fandom loving people will. I loved Elle as a character, she was funny and sarcastic and very well rounded.

 

Darien, our other main character and “prince charming”, is an actor starring in the new Starfield Movie. He’s also a huge Starfield fan, but his manager has him pretending that he doesn’t know much about Starfield which in turn makes him pretty disliked by the die-hard fans. Darien’s character was sweet and fun, he was definitely my favorite. There were also a few really great side characters as well, which in my opinion is one of the things that make a good book into a great book. Sage was my favorite side character, her “no bullshit” attitude and humor was really entertaining.

 

The romance between Elle and Darien was sweet and pretty cute. At first they get to know each other via texting. I wasn’t into the texting at first, but it definitely grew on me as I got further into the novel. It wasn’t a Rose and Jack level (Titanic) romance, but it was cute and perfect for spring. As for the plot, Poston managed to include all of the major Cinderella plot points in her own unique way. It was well paced and interesting. It was pretty predictable, but that didn’t bother me. After all, there are only so many things you can do with a contemporary YA Cinderella retelling.

 

My absolute favorite aspect of the book though was the fandom. Poston did such a great job creating Starfield and integrating the fandom into the story. Her portrayal of the online fandom was really accurate and well done. I also loved how real Starfield felt, and how both Elle and Darien’s love for Starfield really shined throughout the entire novel –anyone that is passionate about a particular book/movie/series will relate to just how much both of these characters loved Starfield.

 

Overall I don’t think that there is a single thing that I would change about this novel. I absolutely loved it. If you’ve ever watched the movie A Cinderella Story and enjoyed it than chances are you will enjoy this book. If you’re a geek/nerd like me and are involved in fandoms than chances are you will enjoy this book. If you’re just looking for a fun, light, and cute spring/summer read than chances are you will enjoy this book. If you’re a fan of fairytale retellings than chances are you will enjoy this book. This one was a solid 5/5 stars for me, and I definitely recommend it.

 

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner – ARC Review

30649795What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?

One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts. The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend. Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?

 

Review

 

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner when I received it. (This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.) I am normally a lot pickier with my contemporary reads than I am with my fantasy reads, so I was a little nervous to read this one. But I was pleasantly surprised, because I ended up loving it.

 

One of the things that I loved the most about this book was how real all of the emotions felt. Zentner did an amazing job of portraying the myriad of emotions that someone, especially a teenager, would feel when dealing with this kind of loss –especially in this type of situation. Everything about these characters emotions felt so real. I cried multiple times while reading this one, sometimes with sadness but also sometimes because of the hope that started to develop throughout the novel.

 

Carver, the main character, was very likeable and well rounded. My favourite character however was his sister, I loved how fierce she was and how much she loved her brother. But honestly I loved most of the characters! All of them were well written, and it was so easy to feel what each character was feeling.

 

The plot itself was solid. This isn’t a fast paced novel filled with action. Instead it is a very character driven book, with a solid, if slow, plot. Since this book deals with loss in a very real way, I thought that the slow moving (and by slow I mean not fast paced action) plot was perfect. There were several other things that I loved about this book, two of the main things being how well Zentner dealt with the subject of therapy and anxiety. He did such a good job, and I was very impressed with how both subjects were handled in the book.

 

I could go on but I’m going to end this here. This is a book with a beautiful message, and I definitely recommend it. This one was 5/5 stars for me!

ARC Review – Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta

25226075A girl discovers a family secret and a past full of magic that could both save her and put her in mortal danger in this suspenseful novel that’s perfect for fans of Katie Alender and Natasha Preston. All sixteen-year-old Heather MacNair wants is to feel normal, to shed the intense paranoia she’s worn all year like a scratchy sweater. After her compulsion to self-harm came to light, Heather was kept under her doctor’s watchful eye. Her family thinks she’s better—and there’s nothing she wants more than for that to be true. She still can’t believe she’s allowed to spend her summer vacation as she always does: at her aunt’s home in Scotland, where she has lots of happy memories. Far away from all her problems save one: she can’t stop carving the Celtic knot that haunts her dreams into her skin. Good friends and boys with Scottish accents can cure almost anything…except nightmares. Heather can’t stop dreaming about two sisters from centuries ago, twins Prudence and Primrose, who somehow seem tied to her own life. Their presence lurks just beneath the surface of her consciousness, sending ripples through what should be a peaceful summer. The twins might hold the key to putting Heather’s soul at rest…or they could slice her future deeper than any knife.

Review

Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta was a mixed bag for me. There were things that I loved, and things that I didn’t enjoy as much. This book was sent to me by Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. Now with that out of the way, lets jump right in.

 

One of the things that I struggled with while reading this book was the characters. Heather, our main character, was alright I suppose. But I don’t want the main characters I read about to just be alright. I want them to stand out in some way to me. I want them to be interesting. I want to remember them. Heather was not a memorable character, in fact I had to double check in the book that Heather was really the main character’s name because I could not remember. That’s how forgettable she was for me. While her personality was pretty blah for me, her struggles were very real and relatable. However, (TRIGGER WARNING: SELF-HARM) the amount of detail the author put into describing Heather’s cutting was a little disturbing and I wish it had been handled a bit differently. The author spent a lot of time focusing on Heather’s cutting, and not just the aftermath (ie counselling and whatnot)

 

As for the other characters, I really wasn’t a fan. The twins were very cookie cutter type characters, and quite predictable. The love interest, Robby, was your standard run of the mill YA love interest. While that normally wouldn’t bother me, that combined with how forced the romance felt and how bland all the other characters were… I just couldn’t get myself to like Robby.

 

Now, another thing I didn’t like… the ending. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that I didn’t dislike the ending because of how it ended but because of how incredibly rushed it was. It felt like the author gave up and threw her hands in the air and said “let’s just get this over with”. I like my endings to be more thought out, and well planned.

 

Now, I know it must sound like I hated the book. But there were a few things that I enjoyed. One of those things was the magic and witches plotline. The author did a great job in creating a unique magical situation, and the parts of the book dedicated to magic were beautifully written. I wish that the plotline focusing on magic and witches had started much sooner, because it really was my favourite part of the book. Another thing that I loved about this book was the setting. This book is set in Scotland, and I absolutely loved that.

 

Overall I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. This one was only a 2 out of 5 stars for me.

ARC Review – Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

30335388Life ahead: Proceed with caution.

Sixteen-year-old Petula De Wilde is anything but wild. A family tragedy has made her shut herself off from the world. Once a crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula now sees danger in everything, from airplanes to ground beef.

The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class. She has nothing in common with this small band of teenage misfits, except that they all carry their own burden of guilt.

When Jacob joins their ranks, he seems so normal and confident. Petula wants nothing to do with him, or his prosthetic arm. But when they’re forced to collaborate on a unique school project, she slowly opens up, and he inspires her to face her fears.

Until a hidden truth threatens to derail everything.

 

Review

 

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. My initial thoughts on this book? Wow, this book sure is short! Seriously, at somewhere around 230 pages (and with an uncomplicated writing style and plot) this one only took me just over an hour to read. And before you ask, no I didn’t rush through it. It was just a very easy read.

 

I’m a little torn about this book. It wasn’t bad, I didn’t dislike it. But I didn’t love it either. It was okay, but it didn’t grip me. The writing itself was well done and enjoyable, but I wasn’t a big fan of the portrayal of the subject matter. This book deals with anxiety, and as someone that has anxiety I can be fairly pick when it comes to books that deal with anxiety. There are some books that do an amazing job, and some books that don’t do a great job of it. For me this book fell into the latter category. While reading it I couldn’t help but feel like the author downplayed how serious anxiety is and can be, and I also didn’t appreciate the fact that after the romance started the main character seemed to be miraculously anxiety free. Anxiety doesn’t work that way, at least not in my experience. I’m just not a huge fan of the “get a boyfriend and you’ll be fixed!” trope that is popular in a lot of YA.

 

Since I’ve mentioned the romance let’s talk about that for a minute. It wasn’t horrible. But it also didn’t have me hoping that the characters would end up together, which is usually the goal when writing romance. At least I assume it is. It was definitely more of a “instant love”, which I know can bother a lot of people. That part didn’t bother me really, but I just wasn’t excited about the romance. It fell a little flat for me. I also want to say that I’ve read a few reviews and some seem to agree that the romance was definite “insta-love” and other seem to think it wasn’t.

 

Now with that being said, I did really enjoy the characters. There was an overall quirky and fun quality to the characters, and the plot itself, that I enjoyed. There were a lot of supporting characters that I loved, and they were all well written and well-rounded for such a short book. I can’t mention this book without bringing up cats, as this book was full of them. I’m more of a dog person myself, but I loved all of the focus on cats and how it helped to keep things quirky and lighten the mood. The plot itself was decent and well thought out, if a teeny tiny bit predictable.

 

Overall this one was pretty average. I think if it had been longer and had gone into more detail and dug a little deeper with some of the issues presented that it could have been a really great book. As it is this one was a 3/5 stars for me. It’s a good choice if you ever need a fast and quirky read.

 

 

 

 

January Wrap Up

Before I get into my January wrap up I want to give a brief explanation, since my blog has quite a few followers that aren’t active in the book blogging/online community and won’t know what it is. So, for those of you that don’t know wrap ups are done at the end of each month, and basically you just go over all of the books that you read that month. I’ll list each book, their summaries, and my thoughts and rating, as well as when I read each book. If only one date is listed then that means that I read the book in a single sitting. Now without any further ado I’ll just jump right in.

 


 

23310751Title: First and Then by Emma Mills

Summary: Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life. Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself

Date Read: January 7th, 2017

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts: This was a nice, quick, easy read. It was cute and fun, and had a great cast of characters. I wish the ending had been a bit more developed, but overall this is a great book to pick up in between heavier reads.

 


 

26836910Title: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

Summary: Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The girl who has grown up by her side and who is as much as sister as a master. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire…

Date Read: January 8th, 2017

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts: I devoured this book, it was just so addictive. When I first started reading it I was pretty unsure, Nemesis was just so cold and calculating. But she really grew throughout the book, and ended up being an amazing character. The plot itself was fast paced and kept you thinking, and there was a twist at the end that was just so perfect. I ended up taking half a star off because of the slow start, but that is really my only complaint for this one.

 


 

26116473Title: The Outliers by Kimberley McCreight

Summary: It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help. Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself. This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice: she has to ignore her gut instinct and go with him. But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?

Date Read: January 9th, 2017

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts: It’s no secret amongst my friends and family that I get scared pretty easily, and this book really freaked me out while I was reading it –but in a fun way. It would be a perfect book to pick up around Halloween. It was fast paced and suspenseful, and ended on a wicked cliffhanger. I laughed, I cried, I was scared – this book had it all. I loved both Wylie and Jasper, their back and forth was great and I loved watching them become friends and learn how to rely on each other. The plot had so many twists and turns, it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

 


 

22718685Title: Joyride by Anna Banks

Summary: A popular guy and a shy girl with a secret become unlikely accomplices for midnight pranking, and are soon in over their heads—with the law and with each other—in this sparkling standalone from NYT-bestselling author Anna Banks. It’s been years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico. Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber’s dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn’t acknowledge Amber’s mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects. All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they’ve been living according to others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts—and one another—is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh.

Date Read: January 10th, 2017

My Rating: 2/5 Stars

My Thoughts: This book started out really promising, it was funny and interesting. But about halfway through it fell flat, the plot didn’t develop and was completely predictable, the characters didn’t grow, and the humor stopped. The only reason why I read this one in a single sitting was because I knew that if I put it down I would never pick it back up again.

 


 

22571275Title: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Summary: Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things: 1. She is not crazy. 2. Her mother was murdered. 3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay. As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her — so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands. Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace — no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

Date Read: January 11th, 2017

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

My Thoughts: This book wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. It was interesting enough to keep me reading, but not interesting enough to make me want to read the rest of the series. The main character, Grace, was pretty annoying. But there were a few characters that I did really enjoy, such as Grace’s best friend. Overall is was just okay.

 


 

16069030Title: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Summary: As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Date Read: January 11th, 2017

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts: This was actually the second book that I read in a single sitting on the 11th, and I’m glad that I read it that day because as mediocre as All Fall Down by Ally Carter was The Winner’s Curse was amazing and more than made up for All Fall Down. I can’t even begin to explain the absolute and complete but wonderful agony that reading this book was. I was completely caught off guard by the turn it took, and the ending was absolutely amazing and horrible. I don’t even know how to explain my thoughts on this book, because I don’t want to spoil anything. But trust me, you have to read this one.

 


 

24565038Title: Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis

Summary: Sixteen-year-old heiress and paparazzi darling Liddi Jantzen hates the spotlight. But as the only daughter in the most powerful tech family in the galaxy, it’s hard to escape it. So when a group of men shows up at her house uninvited, she assumes it’s just the usual media-grubs. That is, until shots are fired. Liddi escapes, only to be pulled into an interplanetary conspiracy more complex than she ever could have imagined. Her older brothers have been caught as well, trapped in the conduits between the planets. And when their captor implants a device in Liddi’s vocal cords to monitor her speech, their lives are in her hands: One word and her brothers are dead. Desperate to save her family from a desolate future, Liddi travels to another world, where she meets the one person who might have the skills to help her bring her eight brothers home—a handsome dignitary named Tiav. But without her voice, Liddi must use every bit of her strength and wit to convince Tiav that her mission is true. With the tenuous balance of the planets deeply intertwined with her brothers’ survival, just how much is Liddi willing to sacrifice to bring them back? Haunting and mesmerizing, this retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans strings the heart of the classic with a stunning, imaginative world as a star-crossed family fights for its very survival.

Date Read: January 12th to 13th, 2017

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts: I loved Lewis’ other novel, Stitching Snow, which was a Snow White retelling. While I didn’t love Spinning Starlight as much as I loved Stitching Snow, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. The world building was interesting, and the plot itself was decent. I enjoyed the way the chapters alternated between present day and flashbacks to Liddi growing up and her brothers. Unfortunately I felt that the ending was a bit rushed, and the romance in this one felt very instant and fast, and not natural to me.

 


 

21414439Title: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Summary: In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands. Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home. Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself. In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Date Read: January 13th to 17th, 2017

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

My Thoughts: It took me forever to get into this book. I didn’t really start to enjoy it until over half way through, and up until that point it really bored me. It took me a long time to grow attached to any of the characters; the multiple POVs played a part in that I think. However once it picked up it really picked up. I ended up really liking Iseult, but Safi never really grew on me. The ending was fast paced and interesting enough that I will probably give the second book in this series a chance.

 


 

27414431Title: Nemesis by Anna Banks

Summary: Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king’s servitude. Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But Mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined. Sepora’s gift may be able to save Tarik’s kingdom. But should she risk exposing herself and her growing feelings for her nemesis?

Date Read: January 17th, 2017

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts: I was nervous to read this one as I had read Joyride by Anna Banks earlier in the month and hadn’t liked it. But I was happily surprised by Nemesis, and really enjoyed it. The world this was set in was richly imagined, and I fell in love with it. The characters were well rounded and interesting. The plot was solid, and the ending was the perfect set up for a sequel. I had to take a star off because this book was completely predictable, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. I definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a fantasy and a romance to read.

 


 

28678119Title: Paper Princess by Erin Watt

Summary: From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself. These Royals will ruin you. Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone. Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from. Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals. He might be right. Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.

Date Read: January 18th, 2017

My Rating: 1/5 Stars

My Thoughts: I don’t often say this, in fact I’m not sure that I have ever said this, but this book was a complete waste of paper. If you’ve read and liked this book, I’m not trying to offend you. This is just my personal opinion. There was absolutely no plot. No really, it didn’t have one. The entire book consisted of the Royal Brothers belittling, bulling, and degrading Ella and various other female characters. The characters in the book went to parties, hooked up, and fought. Then the book ended. Seriously. The characters themselves were flat, vapid, and clichéd. I really hated this book, and the only reason I finished it was because I try to never leave a book unfished, and I try not to make a final decision on how good or horrible a book is unless I’ve read the entire thing –because some books do get better the further in you get.

 


 

27969081Title: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Summary: Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives. I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched feathers are all that surround me. Every single person who was in my house – my entire family — is gone. Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin. The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland.

Date Read: January 18th to 20th, 2017

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts: While I didn’t love this book, I did really like it. Los Lagos was really neat, and definitely had an Alice in Wonderland feeling to it. The mythology and culture of brujas was incredibly interesting, and the main character’s family was wonderful. It was also a diverse read, as the main character is bisexual and Latina. However, parts of this book just fell a bit flat for me. The main character was selfish, and the romance felt forced. Overall it’s definitely worth reading, but just keep your expectations a bit lower.

 


 

28356624Title: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Summary: Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen. That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right. Half the time Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here – it’s their last year at Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up. Carry On is a love letter to love stories and the power of words – to every ‘chosen one’ who ever had more on their mind than saving the world

Date Read: January 20th to 22nd, 2017

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

My Thoughts: I absolutely loved this book… until the last 100 pages or so. The characters, world building, and use of magic were so unique and well done throughout the entire book. And then the last 100 pages… it all just kind of fell apart. At least in my opinion. It was enough for me to knock off two full stars from my rating.

 


 

17675462Title: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Summary: “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.” It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive. Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble. But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little. For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Date Read: January 24th to 25th, 2017

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

My Thoughts: This was another book that started off slowly but got better as the book went along. There were so many great things about this book, I loved Blue and her family. Blue, the main character, lives with her mom, her mom’s three friends, and her cousin. It’s a houseful of women, and they are all physics. I loved the dynamic between all of them; it was probably my favorite part of the book. The four Raven Boys took me a while to warm up to, but I definitely grew to enjoy them as well. Blue herself was a great main character, and I loved her. One thing that I didn’t like was the constantly changing POV, it made it harder to get to know any one character because the POV kept switching. The plot of this one was a bit slow as well.


 

17347389Title: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Summary: Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after.

Date Read: January 25th to 26th, 2017

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts: This was the sequel to The Raven Boys, and while I enjoyed it much more than I enjoyed the first book, it was still just okay. I did enjoy getting to know the characters more, and the plot was much more interesting than the plot of the first book. Overall it was good enough that I’ll probably read the third book at some point, but the series so far hasn’t been good enough that I feel the need to read the third book immediately.

 


 

Overall in the month of January I read 14 books, so it was definitely a good reading month for me. Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think of them?