I loved Him. Like, absolutely loved! Wes and Jamie were best friends through middle school and high school even though they only saw each other for siI loved Him. Like, absolutely loved! Wes and Jamie were best friends through middle school and high school even though they only saw each other for six weeks every summer during hockey camp. Then during their senior year, things happen, and they haven’t spoken in four years. The two are reunited during a championship game, then both of them work as coaches at the same summer camp. It’s there that Jamie finally learns why Wes cut him out of his life, and they regain something much more than friendship.
Him gave me all of the happy, tingly feels. All of them. Right from the beginning. I had to know what happened at camp to drive them apart, and it’s slowly, agonizingly revealed. I was shocked! I was expecting something along those lines, but not quite like that! Holy crap! And once the truth was out, I was mentally yelling at them to get to kissing! There’s so much tension! And so much kissing! And so much beyond kissing! It is intense! Feeeeeelings!
I also loved how Wes and Jamie actually talk things out in Him, rather than giving each other the cold shoulder and ruining things like they did so many years ago. It’s not like it’s all sunshine and rainbows for them. They have problems. They jump to conclusions and have misunderstandings, but they talk about it! Then realize they’re being stupid and get back to kissing! And I loved how Jamie puzzled over his sexuality, and realized that he’s bisexual! He uses the word! He labels himself! He accepts it! Others accept it! Hooray for being bisexual!
There are many, many things about Him that gave me the warm fuzzies. Obviously, the friendship and eventual romance between Wes and Jamie. Then there’s what Wes’ college coach did for him that made me go “AAAWWW!” And then there’s Jamie’s mom’s house warming gift which was adorably hilarious! And then more Wes and Jamie!
Clearly, I really, really, really loved Him. I have zero complaints. Zero. But I do have a lot of feelings. Lots.
This Side of Home was really great! Maya and her twin Nikki have many of the same feelings that I have, and the same confusions that I have, althou4.5★
This Side of Home was really great! Maya and her twin Nikki have many of the same feelings that I have, and the same confusions that I have, although they're prompted by slightly different reasons. The twins live in a neighborhood that has been primarily African American until recently. Their neighbors are moving after landlords fix up the houses and raise the rent. New businesses are popping up, and their school principal is set on showcasing the new diversity. Maya is not happy about all of these changes going on and she's determined to show the good parts of her neighborhood and school which were already there.
I was immediately drawn in by Maya's voice in This Side of Home. She felt so real and relatable to me. She's struggling with the changes she's seeing all around her, which are being shown as progress and improvement. Clean streets and newly painted buildings are good, but it's coming at the cost of removing the population that was there before. Basically, the neighborhood is becoming more white and forcing the original black population out which is unfair and Maya sees this. Why can't they have these things while keeping the people the same? It's clearly not right. At times Maya's reactions are naive and single-minded, but her story is very much about her placing her identity in this changing world.
Tradition versus change is a very big message in This Side of Home. We really get to see this as Maya works as student body president, wanting to do something meaningful beyond just dances. She bumps heads with the new principal who essentially shuts down all of her ideas in the name of diversity. Diversity is amazing, but not when you erase people to showcase it. He frustrated me soooo much! His heart seemed to be in the right place, but he's going about everything so wrong. Maya sticks with it though, and while she does do some things that get her trouble, she learns from all this. She finds a way to compromise on her ideas without compromising her values.
I do wish that This Side of Home did touch more on Maya and Nikki forming their own identities apart from each other. We do see some of this, but not as much as I was expecting. I especially wanted more from Nikki because almost every time she was on the page, I was like "this is me!" They're identical twins, but Maya is referred to as the black one and Nikki is the white one because of how they dress and do their hair. They have the same skin, but Nikki isn't "black enough" for their community and she's much more accepting of all of the changes they're facing. This is me! I am half-white, but I got the "you're acting white" thing just like Nikki does. We both like being in mixed company. We're not acting anything, just expressing ourselves in a different way!
There's also a really cute romance in This Side of Home. Maya's best friend's family is one of the ones forced to move, and in their place comes Tony's family. They get to know each other because of student council, and things just go from there. Maya is hesitant at first, because of the tension in their neighborhood, she doesn't want to drawn attention to them. But Tony and Maya actually talk these things out! They have the important discussions! And I swear I nearly swooned when Tony was rubbing oil into Maya's hair for her!
This Side of Home was just really great. It explores a topic that I hadn't read about before, and it gives such an authentic portrayal of being a black girl today, trying to find her way. I really admired Maya for being so rooted in her culture and fighting for it, but also learning that there's a way for her to exist with everyone else. We don't need to push others out to keep the things that are important. We all exist together and should learn from one another instead of being an us and them.
The Sin Eater's Daughter was wow. Wow. WOW! Like...wow. I didn't know anything about it going in other than that it was some kind of Fantasy. That isThe Sin Eater's Daughter was wow. Wow. WOW! Like...wow. I didn't know anything about it going in other than that it was some kind of Fantasy. That is literally it, but after just a few pages I was completely hooked. Holy crap! Twylla has a deadly touch thanks to the poison that she's fed once a month. She's the embodiment of her world's gods, so she's immune to the poison as is any one else who is granted it by divine right. The queen uses her as the executioner for traitors to the crown. This is the only life Twylla has known, but things are being unsettled at the palace and she's unsure of her place in it.
I have to start with the world The Sin Eater's Daughter is set in. There's some screwed up, Game of Thrones type of crap going on here! First of all, there's the sin eater herself, who is Twylla's mother. Certain foods represent specific sins, and they're laid upon someone's coffin when they die. The sin eater must eat all of the food or else the soul is trapped and cannot move on. Needless to say, Twylla's mom is huge, and she doesn't want that for herself. Then there's the incestuous royal family. The current queen has married her brother and had a son with him, then married her cousin. Twylla will be the first non-blood relative to marry in in centuries, and only because she's considered a divine miracle.
Then of course, there's the two Gods whom Twylla is the embodied daughter of, which I found their stories endlessly interesting. But maybe not quite as interesting as the fairy tales which are just as dark and twisted as they are in our world. The main one we learn about is kind of like the Pied Piper and Sleeping Beauty mixed together and it ends up playing an important role in the overall plot. Those last few chapters...OMG! What is even going on right now!? The queen is sick! I don't think I have ever gasped while reading before, but that plot twist...yeah. Did not see that coming. In fact, I didn't think a YA author would go there. But she went there. Geez.
The romance. THE ROMANCE! I am all over this romance! All over it! No, there is no typical love triangle between Twylla, the prince, and her guard. Her heart is firmly taken by one! And OMG, how I loved them together! I never wanted them to be apart! He tries to teach her how to read! Be still my heart! It was like I was in their love bubble with them and I just love them to pieces! And then things happen! And I was like NOOO! And then I was like OMG!!! And then I was like...I NEED THE SEQUEL IMMEDIATELY!
Basically, I really loved The Sin Eater's Daughter. Loved. Loved. I loved it. Do you understand me? I loved it. It is dark and disturbing and twisty. And the romance. Mustn't forget that romance.
I Am Princess X was freaking fantastic. From the blurb, it seemed like it was just going to be a quick, fun, maybe slightly sad, read about a girl griI Am Princess X was freaking fantastic. From the blurb, it seemed like it was just going to be a quick, fun, maybe slightly sad, read about a girl grieving her friend and comics. Well, the quick and fun part was right! The story is much dark and more serious than I was expecting. I mean, there's a gruesome death in the first chapter, and then the whole plot is...well, that's actually a spoiler. So...yeah. Spoilers.
I was very, very, very surprised by I Am Princess X. It hooked me from the first chapter, and I could not put it down! Well, I had to put it down because I needed a shower, but it was a quick shower, because I had to get back to May and Trick! May sees stickers and graffiti of a comic book character she and her friend Libby created when they were kids, but Libby died when they were 14. So what does the reemergence of their kick ass princess mean? May hopes that it means Libby is still alive, once she finds the website that includes stories she didn't help write. Is she, or is it just wishful thinking?
For serious though, I Am Princess X was super great. Yeah, it's totally improbable, but I don't care! It was awesome! People are sick and disturbed and what even?! This book is smart and dark and funny and exciting and nearly gave me heart palpitations, because ahhh! I can't say more! Everything is a spoiler! This is a mystery! I can't even tell you what the mystery is! Just read it!
As soon as I heard about Treble Maker, I knew I had to read it, and I was not disappointed at all. I could not stoI received an ARC through NetGalley.
As soon as I heard about Treble Maker, I knew I had to read it, and I was not disappointed at all. I could not stop smiling while reading it, even writing the review, my face hurts because my cheeks will just not take a rest! Cody is hoping for his big break. He's auditioned for every singing competition ever, and has somehow ended up in an a capella group for Perfect Harmony. He doesn't care though. He knows he has a great voice, and he's in it to win it. He also has his sights on the clumsy bass from another group, Lucas, but doesn't expect anything real to come from that.
Treble Maker just made me very happy. I don't read a lot of M/M Romance, but knowing there's gems like this out there makes me want to read more! Cody and Lucas are super adorable! And sexy! Sexy and adorable! Lucas is just so unsure of himself, especially when his group is eliminated, but he's picked up by Cody's group since they need a new bass singer. He's also taken a purity pledge. His parents are alright with him being gay, but they are absolutely not alright with "typical" gay behavior (i.e. promiscuity). But Lucas has needs! And fantasies! And a kink! And Cody lets him play out all of his fantasies and helps him not feel guilty about it! And holy hell, the sex scenes are hot! And varied! And many! Good gosh.
I really don't know what to say about Treble Maker other than I loved it to pieces. The competition angle was really fun too, especially since it's so underhanded! But the romance! My heart! I believed them! Cody may have started out just toying with the sweet, Christian boy, but it developed into feelings! It gave me feelings! Lucas going from being so scared of being himself to embracing himself and his relationship with Cody was wonderful! I also found the whole thing about his conservative parents being LGBT allies--but also pushing them to have conservative values--very interesting. It's not an angle I've seen before. But...aaahhh! Cody and Lucas! My heart might explode from loving them so much!
I don't think that I can adequately express how happy A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin made me. It's Regency stepbrother romance! It's kind of forbiddI don't think that I can adequately express how happy A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin made me. It's Regency stepbrother romance! It's kind of forbidden, but not really. It's certainly not smiled upon by polite London society, which adds a certain something extra. Basically, Declan and Rosalie haven't seen each other in ten years. She was sent away to school and he inherited a dukedom after his father passed. Then Rosalie is dropped off at his doorstep, because two years after graduation, her mother still hasn't come for her! Declan is not pleased at having his bachelor pad invaded by his little stepsister, who isn't so little anymore.
A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin is simply amazing. There's so much tension between Rosalie and Declan! She's always had a crush on him, but knew things could never happen between them. But having her in such close proximity, Declan can't help but be by affected her. His solution? Marry her off as soon as possible! Out of sight, out of mind! Easier said than done.
What I also loved about A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin was the change in setting! We still get the typical ballroom scenes, but there's also two instances where Rosalie visits Sodom, which is basically a sex club. She goes for the simple mission of getting her first kiss, and I bet you can guess who that ends up being! He doesn't know it's her of course, because of the mask she wears. But the entire time I'm sitting here mentally screaming at her to take it off! Let him know! Be together!
A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin also has amazing side characters. Declan asks his aunt and cousin to stay with him to act as chaperones while Rosalie has her season and I just adored them! Of course, they can see feelings developing before Declan does and they do a bit of meddling. And I just loved cousin Aurelia to pieces! She's bookish and doesn't always hold her tongue, and needless to say, she's having trouble finding a husband. So I'm super excited that her book is next!
Then there's Rosalie's god awful mother. This woman is just...awful. Forget for a second that she left her daughter at school for two extra years without a word, but she also thinks Rosalie is jealous of her! I guess her mother is a MILF and knows it, but the way she talks down to Rosalie is awful. Then there's her subplot. That woman is insane! Like, she is either crazy or straight up evil. I can't even with what she does to Rosalie toward the end!
A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin is an all around great read. I was super invested in the romance, and I believed the tension between Rosalie and Declan. Even though they aren't related, step-sibling relations is still a bit taboo. But you can't help who you love! The supporting characters and subplot are just as wonderful and engaging as the main romance! I seriously do not have a single complaint!
I think there was a mini explosion in my brain due to awesomeness. Steelheart is intense, exciting, and...awesome! I was nervous because of the hype,I think there was a mini explosion in my brain due to awesomeness. Steelheart is intense, exciting, and...awesome! I was nervous because of the hype, but I was hooked from the prologue! I loved this future! I loved that the superheroes were all actually super-villains, and that the superheroes were just humans! And I loved how much of a nerd David was! He's been completely obsessed with Epics since Steelheart murdered his father ten years ago. He's dedicated his life to studying all things Epic, and various other subjects in order to understand them better. And now it's time for him to get his revenge.
Steelheart is most definitely my favorite superhero book to date. Like, it is seriously completely awesome. I was not bored or confused even once. I was, however, antsy as heck once the battle between the Reckoners and Steelheart drew closer. Most of the book is dedicated to them carrying out David's plan, even though they're missing the most crucial piece: Steelheart's weakness. Every Epic has one, but he seems completely unbeatable. I had a theory, David had a theory, and we were both semi-correct, but not really. It's a pretty great, yet simple weakness. But holy crap.
There are twists after twists! And reveals after reveals! And I saw none of them coming! They're not even huge reveals and twists that seem to have come out of nowhere. It's just...stuff that makes perfect sense, but people are so blind and caught up in other things that they don't see it! I was like WHAT?!?! And I then I was like WOAH?!?! And then I was like OMG!!! Those last few chapters are intense.
So, Steelheart was an epic book about Epics. I most definitely, thoroughly, fully enjoyed it. The world building is pretty awesome, even if no one knows how or why these powers suddenly manifested. I suspected that will be revealed in time, at least I hope. I'm worried for Newcago now though, but luckily I had Firefight handy to find out what comes next!
Cam Girl is wow, and woah, and what?! It's entertaining as well as extremely important. When it starts, Vada and EI received an ARC through NetGalley.
Cam Girl is wow, and woah, and what?! It's entertaining as well as extremely important. When it starts, Vada and Ellis have just been in a car accident where the other driver died. To say it shook them up is an understatement, and Vada's whole world starts unraveling. She loses her (more than) best friend, the fine motor control in her right hand, her ability to draw and paint, and her general sense of self. At least until she meets Frankie who hires her on as a cam girl. It's then that she meets Blue, who becomes more than just a client.
I almost gave Cam Girl a 4 or 4.5 because I had figured out the twists and was getting frustrated with Vada for not noticing some things. However, it's not the twists and reveals that matter. It's the whys. Those I definitely didn't figure out. And why these characters are doing what they're doing is much more interesting and important than what they're actually doing. I know that's very vague, but spoilers! My heart was breaking when the truths came to light.
Cam Girl has a lot going on. There's the suspense plot revolving around what really happened the night of the accident. Vada grows close to the father of the other driver, and then he starts behaving oddly. Of course, there's also the very complicated romance between Vada, Ellis, and Blue, as well as Vada's struggles with her sexuality. The author goes pretty deep into a lot of issues of identity, both of gender and sexual orientation. There's a lot of important conversations and inner monologues about both subjects. On top of all of that we also see Vada learning to live with her disability. Lots of good stuff, all handled respectfully.
Let's talk about sex. Obviously Cam Girl is going to have sex. Mostly there's a lot of solo sex, because that's essentially Vada's job. But it definitely goes beyond just touching herself for anonymous men. She does breath play! I certainly was not expecting that! That's one kink that makes me very nervous (the studio does have an EMT on site at all times). Then there's the sex between Vada and Ellis, which is holy hell hot. If you're looking for sweet caresses and gentle petting, this is not that. Those girls know how to go at it!
There's a lot to love about Cam Girl. While it's sexy and exciting, like I said, it's also extremely important. It's messages are ones that we need to see more of. I know I didn't really talk about what those are, because they are spoilers, and essential to the plot. I guess you'll just have to read it to find out!
I definitely did not expect Because You'll Never Meet Me to be as weird and fabulous as it was. I loved the sound of the blurb, with two boys writingI definitely did not expect Because You'll Never Meet Me to be as weird and fabulous as it was. I loved the sound of the blurb, with two boys writing to each other, forming a friendship, but never being able to meet because of their medical conditions. Well, that blurb does not even come close to revealing all of Ollie and Moritz's complications. I don't want to spoil it either. This is just a book you'll have to read yourself to uncover all of their secrets!
Because You'll Never Meet Me turned my heart into goo, and then it broke it, then put it back together, then made my small heart grow three sizes. Ollie only has his mom and his doctor, since he lives in a cabin out in the woods, far away from electricity. He just reads, does origami, and plays the glockenspiel. His doctor recommends that he starts writing to Moritz, after some disastrous events involving a girl, his only friend ever. Moritz is in Germany, and he also doesn't have any friends because of reasons. Thus starts the beginning of a wonderful friendship. These boys tell each other everything, and help each other try to make sense of their very different worlds. Just...aahh! My heart!
Because You'll Never Meet Me is just amazing. I want to go on and on about it, but I cannot spoil things! The story does get super weird once Moritz shares certain facts, but it's a weirdness that 100% worked for me. It's weird, but also sad and terrible, but fascinating. I also loved watching Ollie learn how to socialize and realize that his world isn't just him. Then there's Moritz who thinks horribly of himself, and he learns other stuff too that I can't say. It just melted my heart! It's sooo good!
I was in love with Earls Just Want to Have Fun from the first chapter, all the way through to the final page. It iI received an ARC through NetGalley.
I was in love with Earls Just Want to Have Fun from the first chapter, all the way through to the final page. It is amazingtastic! It is truly unlike any other Historical Romance I've read, and I was never bored or annoyed once! Marlowe is part of a notorious gang in London, but during one job a man calls her Elizabeth. Marlowe has memories being called that as a child, or maybe it was just a coping mechanism for when she was scared. But then she's abducted and taken to the house of the Earl of Dane. His brother is a Bow Street Runner, and is convinced that Marlowe is really the missing Lady Elizabeth who was abducted as a child. Marlowe isn't sure of who she really is, but she knows she's not a lady and doesn't belong in this world. That is, until Dane shows her what it's like to be safe, secure, and loved.
The characters of Earls Just Want to Have Fun are simply incredible! Marlowe is rough around the edges. She's always dressed as a boy, because that's safer for her and more comfortable when she's thieving. She's uneducated, crass, and a bit wild. She's also not fond of bathing, but has a huge appetite. She's not happy to have been plucked off the street and then held hostage in a mansion, but Dane makes her feel things she's never felt before. And his sister shows her the kindness she's never known and makes her dare to hope for more. I loved watching her cause chaos in the earl's life. She has no manners and is headstrong, so the two bump heads more than once. But Dane is bored of the proper society ladies, and finds Marlowe's roughness endearing.
Earls Just Want to Have Fun is also full of sexy times and danger! Part of Marlowe's hesitance at staying with Dane is because she knows her boss, Satin, will be after her. She knows he'd rather see her dead than let her free, since she's his best "employee." Of course, he has to find her at some point, so I was always a little nervous for her. But she had Dane to keep her safe! He's no ordinary earl, as he knows how to fight and has bettered Marlowe several times when she tried to escape. And the tension! My goodness, the tension! Sparks fly when those two finally act on their feelings! I loved it!
The end of Earls Just Want to Have Fun also made me cry. It's a very happy ending, and I was so glad that Marlowe finally got the family and love she didn't have growing up. It's just so heartfelt and I couldn't contain my emotions!
The Hook Up is my favorite New Adult novel, without a doubt, and I hadn't even known it existed until it showed up in my inbox. I love the author's PaThe Hook Up is my favorite New Adult novel, without a doubt, and I hadn't even known it existed until it showed up in my inbox. I love the author's Paranormal Romances, but her first NA? Simply amazing! And it almost made me care about football. Almost! Drew is the big football star at his college. All the girls want him, and all the guys want to be him. But he only has eyes for Anna once he sits down next to her on the first day of classes. It may have been lust at first sight for him, but Anna wants nothing to do with him, especially after he calls her Big Red. She's had to deal with being not good enough all through high school, so she doesn't dare let herself believe that the quarterback wants her, curves and all. There's no denying their attraction though, so maybe casual sex won't be a problem if she doesn't get attached.
I had a very good feeling about The Hook Up as soon as Drew makes that terrible fumble with Anna's nickname and tries desperately to take it back and get her attention. He was trying to be funny and charming, since she has lots of curly red hair (and big boobs), but he had no idea he'd hit a nerve. Then they run into each other later at a party, and holy hell! Their chemistry is through the freaking roof! It's not forced. It is there and I believed it, and OMG I have never read a scene that hott. And it's not the only one! Drew and Anna cannot keep their hands to themselves and can't even wait to get behind closed doors! My goodness! Have a fan handy! Or take a break for a cold shower.
Of course, The Hook Up isn't only about hooking up. Sure, it starts out that way, especially for Anna. But soon feelings develop, and it's not out of the blue "I love her/him!" type stuff. They hang out, and talk, and things develop to the point where just sex isn't enough for either of them. And it's scary, and they screw up, but they fix it! Their break up fight was totally believable, because Anna was treating Drew pretty crappy in public and wasn't telling him why. He didn't need to put up with that! But their reunion was amazing! It's not all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, there's even more fighting, and it is intense, and woah! I was very much invested in this relationship.
I could probably go on and on about all of the little things that made The Hook Up stand out to me, but I think you all need to discover it for yourselves!
Let's try this again, since GR decided to delete this review...
I am in love with On the Island! It was the perfect summer romance and unlike other conLet's try this again, since GR decided to delete this review...
I am in love with On the Island! It was the perfect summer romance and unlike other contemporaries that I’ve read. Anna is hired to tutor sixteen year old T.J. over the summer after he missed most of his sophomore year due to cancer. His parents plan to fly them out to join them at their beach house, but when their pilot has a heart attack and the plane goes down, Anna and T.J. are stranded on one of about a thousand uninhabited islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The two do what they can to survive and hope to draw the attention of a passing plane, but once two go by without turning around, they have to learn to make the island their home.
On the Island blew me away! I’m terrified of flying so those first few chapters had me extremely nervous. But once T.J. and Anna are on the island, I didn’t want to put it down. The author describes all aspects of their new situation, including the unpleasant and the dangerous. It’s amazing to me what people can accomplish in life or death situations. I do think some of their life was made too easy. Some useful stuff is conveniently washed up on shore in perfect condition, and they find some stuff when they start exploring the island. However, I figured that if that’s the island they washed up on, it would make sense that some items from the crash would find their way there, too. And the mystery supplies that they find were an interesting twist. I’ll definitely need to pick up the companion novella, Uncharted, to find out more.
The romance was amazing! Don’t worry, nothing happens between a 30 year old woman and a 16 year old boy (although I don’t think I would have been bothered given the situation). Anna does set boundaries, such as making sure they bathe separately. But after two years alone together, something is bound to happen. Of course, T.J. did have a bit of a crush on his hot teacher when they arrived, but eventually that turned into real feelings. And soon enough, Anna realizes that T.J. is no longer a boy, but a man, and their connection is strong. I didn’t want them to leave the island!
About halfway through On the Island, Anna and T.J. do get rescued after nearly four years on the island. I was worried that it was going to lose some of the magic once they were back in the “real world” but I continued to love it just as much! They’re reunited with their families who thought they had been dead this entire time, but they also face the media. Reporters follow them everywhere and their relationship is obvious, and the reporters try to turn it into something ugly. Doubt wiggles its way between them, but I do think it was the best thing for them at the time, despite wanting them to be together so bad!
On the Island does have my least favorite type of romance ending, but I didn’t mind it. In fact, I really liked it and it made me tear up! Anna and T.J. deserve everything they got and more after the ordeal they went through. Although, I did miss the island and Chicken the chicken.
Salt & Storm is incredible. I knew I was going to love it from that amazing opening chapter, and I did. I heldI received an ARC through NetGalley.
Salt & Storm is incredible. I knew I was going to love it from that amazing opening chapter, and I did. I held onto that love even when the author ripped my heart out and messed with my emotions. Just...wow. A historical setting, a taste of the paranormal, and a swoon worthy romance are the ingredients for a perfect book when mixed correctly, and oh, how Salt & Storm mixes them right. Avery has lived on Prince Island her entire life, just like the generations of Roe women before her. It's a small whaling community, and as the island witch, her grandmother keeps the whalers and their families safe. But her time is coming to an end, and Avery should be taking over, since her mother has sworn off magic. Then she has a dream, where she dies, and she knows she'll never be the next witch unless she can find a way to change the future.
The alternate history setting of Salt & Storm was perfect, and not just because the mid-1800s are my favorite to read about. It just fit with the magical aspect and really amplified the struggles between Avery and her mother (a character that I loved to hate, so much!). I also loved getting to know a little more about whaling, which is probably weird. But Prince Island is almost as dependent on whales as they are on the Roe witches. It's a time where kerosene is starting to gain popularity, and whales are becoming increasingly rare. It's no wonder the town folk go a bit mad when learn about Avery's grandmother's failing spells...
Salt & Storm has an amazing romance! It doesn't really come about until halfway through, and then does become quite important, but not in an annoying insta-love way. It tugged at my emotions, made me smile, and made me cry! Yes, I cried! It is tragic and beautiful and sad and...my emotions! Avery and Tane--the tattooed harpoon boy!--come together because he was told of a young witch who could interpret dreams. He agrees to help her get to her grandmother if she reads all of his dreams for him. Of course, they grow close, and then there's a twist and it killed me! But then I figured out another twist that would untwist that twist, but then it didn't matter because it was all going to happen regardless! And then I cried. Quite the emotional investment on my part.
I absolutely loved Salt & Storm! I do not have a single complaint about it, except maybe that it broke my heart and I was not expecting that. I went into this expecting excitement, adventure, magic and romance! Well, I got all of that plus more! Avery's relationship with magic, her mother, and grandmother was amazing and I didn't see that all coming! Her romance with Tane was sooooo good and tragic! Then there's her relationship with the island and their inhabitants, which was complicated and certainly screwed up. I just loved everything it had to offer!
When was so freaking good! Maddie can see deathdates. When she was little, she didn't know what it was. She just sI received an ARC through NetGalley.
When was so freaking good! Maddie can see deathdates. When she was little, she didn't know what it was. She just saw numbers floating around people's heads. It isn't until her father dies that she and her mother realize what she can do. Now, Maddie is sixteen and taking care of her alcoholic mother, while working as a "psychic." At least until one woman gets extremely upset with Maddie's prediction about her son, and then points the cops in her direction when his body turns up a week later.
I could not put When down! The mystery is 100% engaging and addicting. The action picks up right away as Maddie and her best friend, Stubby, are accused of killing that boy, and then another girl whom Stubby has a crush on turns up dead on her birthday. The evidence was really damning against them. Maddie can't exactly explain how she knows what she knows, and it's hard to prove, especially when someone is so sure she's a cold-blooded killer rather than a girl with a special ability. Things just keep getting worse and worse for her, and yet, she's still trying to help those whose dates are close. She's convinced they can be changed if she warns them in time.
I never figured out who the real murderer was in When. There are plenty of suspicious characters around, but I never guessed them. When it all came out, I was like WTF?! People can be sooo sick and disturbed. That final confrontation was intense, because seriously, they are messed up in the head. But my favorite part was all of the little details that seemed unimportant and then all of a sudden BOOM! Awesome. And that epilogue and final page were so cute! It gave me all kinds of tingly feelings!
When is great. That's all there is to it. Maddie was an amazing protagonist. She's honest, sweet, and caring, but can also get feisty when she needs to. The mystery was dark and awesome. The conclusion was eerie and awesome. The non-romance was supremely adorable! Just read it!
Popular is the real life, geek to chic tale of one Maya van Wagenen. Right before the start of her last year of middle school, Maya finds a popularityPopular is the real life, geek to chic tale of one Maya van Wagenen. Right before the start of her last year of middle school, Maya finds a popularity guide from 1951 tucked away in a closet. Knowing she has trouble making friends and is an aspiring writer, her mother encourages her to give the advice a try and write about her experiences. Of course, mother knows best, and Maya now has her first published book and she found out what it means to popular. Although it did take on a different definition than she expected it would at the start.
I absolutely adored Popular. I knew it was going to be fun, but I didn't expect it to make me cry! Seriously. Maya's story is so touching, and I felt like I was right there with her at the end. I just could not contain my emotions at her discoveries about herself and those around her. Each month of the school year, Maya would employ the advice given by Betty Cornell in her guide on how to become popular. She starts with the easy stuff first, changing her hair and eating habits. Soon she's trying out makeup, wearing pantyhose and a girdle, then finally she expands her social circle. Yes, some of Betty's tips were completely outdated, but Maya follows it all with grace and humor, despite some negative reactions from her classmates. But she was no longer invisible; people knew who she was, and slowly, but surely Maya noticed others making changes in their own relationships.
I don't want to give too much away. Popular is one book that you really need to experience for yourself. Maya is a wonderful narrator, and I loved how upfront and honest she was about her experiment and her life. No matter how embarrassing or personal, Maya lets us in on every step of her journey from quiet geek to the life of the party (or the 8th grad prom!). There are moments where her journey hits some extremely awkward and even sad moments that feel straight out of fiction, but this is her real life! I'm so happy that I decided to pick up Popular, and definitely think you should too if you're into quirky Non-Fiction, or even Contemporary YA.
Spirit Bound is my favorite of the series now! I had forgotten just how emotionally intense it was. I felt like I was on the verge of a heart attack aSpirit Bound is my favorite of the series now! I had forgotten just how emotionally intense it was. I felt like I was on the verge of a heart attack and an emotional breakdown, and getting closer with each page I read. It was all too much. My heart hurts for Rose and Dimitri even though I know what's to come. I just can't help it! Just so you're warned, this review focuses on the romance(s), since that's what I paid the most attention to, and in fact it dominates the plot. So yeah.
Of course, I need to start with Dimitri. He's after Rose and knows that once she graduates, and is away from the school, he can get to her. Or get her to come to him. Spirit Bound is mainly focused on Rose's next insane plan to save him or destroy him. She goes to incredible lengths to get to the one person who can help her. This part is super fast and action packed. Then things take an emotional turn and I was almost overcome with tears...again. Then my heart broke for Rose. And then I think my heart stopped during Dimitri's heartfelt speech about how things are different now. I just can't take much more of this! I want my happy ending already!
Regardless of the fact that Spirit Bound is the best book in the series, it also contains my favorite scene. You'd probably assume it has to do with Dimitri, but you'd be wrong. This is a Rose and Adrian scene and I had been eagerly anticipating rereading since I started book one for the second time. It is seriously the greatest thing to come out of this series. It's hot. Really, really hot. It's nothing graphic, but holy hell. I actually really loved seeing Rose and Adrian's relationship. Even though he jokes around a lot, Adrian is clearly is a very kind and understanding guy. I have no doubt that he'd be faithful and give Rose the world, but I can't see them ever being together long term. It's simply not where her heart is. Adrian deserves someone who will put him first, and that is not Rose. But still, favorite scene. Even if it makes me feel kind of like a pervert.
Spirit Bound has a lot of other stuff going on, such as vampire politics which are seriously getting heated! There's also the matter of a convicted criminal on the loose, the fact that there's a new way to fight Strigoi, and Lissa getting her place on the royal council. It's all in preparation for the final book where everything blows up! Including my heart. Of course, it also ends on the most epic cliffhanger ever, so be sure to have Last Sacrifice on hand.
The stakes keep getting raised! Pun intended. The best way to describe Blood Promise is intense. It was my favorite book the first reading this seriesThe stakes keep getting raised! Pun intended. The best way to describe Blood Promise is intense. It was my favorite book the first reading this series, and while Spirit Bound stole that spot this time, I still love it to pieces! Rose has been through a lot, and she goes through even more. It starts out pretty slow. Rose is aimlessly wandering around Russia, either hoping to run into Dimitri or find someone who can point her his way. Eventually she does end up in his hometown, and stays with his family for a while. It's an emotional time for everyone, but she knows she can't stay and heads back out on her journey. It doesn't go how she's rehearsed it in her mind, because who can really prepare to face down the love of their life with deadly intentions?
Dimitri! He is the highlight of Blood Promise for me (and to Rose for a little while). I don't care that he's evil and doing bad, bad things. There's still that spark of Dimitri-essence in there that cannot be ignored. For three and a half books, we're told how evil Strigoi are and that they are no longer the people that they were. Well, Dimitri kind of proves that wrong, and Rose falls for it for a time. He's just so...persuasive. The venom from his bites help some, but still. I'm probably a very, deeply disturbed person but I love Strigoi Dimitri. The biting and the making out and the hunger for power and...SWOON! Then that scene on the bridge! My heart! I know what happened between them was wrong, but I loved every moment of it.
Given the massive size of Blood Promise, Dimitri (at least in his current form) is actually a very small part of the book. We're introduced to a whole mess of new characters as Rose travels through Siberia. She meets other rogue guardians, Dimitri's mother, grandmother, and sisters, an Alchemist, a Moroi mobster, and another Moroi-Dhampir bonded pair. It's a lot to take in, and most of them aren't really that important to the overall story. But they're all important to Rose's character growth. They each provide her with something that helps her in some way. Sydney, the Alchemist, is probably the most important one since she's the star of Bloodlines. I hated her the first time I read this, but I think since I knew what to expect, her rudeness didn't shock me as much.
Even though Rose is across the world, we still get to see what's happening back at the school with Lissa and Adrian. It's actually pretty interesting stuff, but I won't go into it. Let's just say, some spirit users shouldn't be allowed out in society. But all of this pales in comparison to Dimitri. Seriously. Blood Promise is all about Dimitri, even when he's not around, and I loved it.
I absolutely loved Picture Perfect! It made me cry from sadness, and then from happiness, and then I started crying again when I sat to write this revI absolutely loved Picture Perfect! It made me cry from sadness, and then from happiness, and then I started crying again when I sat to write this review. It was just seriously amazing! Cat's journey toward self-acceptance is one that I think is highly relatable to just about everyone, no matter what your size or body type. Cat use to be a model, but after an accident shattered her lower leg, she gained sixty pounds. Now, she's back at school, her clothes fit different, her body moves differently, people look at her differently. Everything is just different, and she's having trouble adjusting. The guy she had been seeing before the accident snubbed her, and that was just the final straw. But Cat isn't one to mope around, feeling sorry for herself. She reached out for help, and that's how she winded up posing nude for an art class and meeting the man who will change her forever.
Don't worry, Picture Perfect isn't one of those fixed by the power of love books. Yes, Nate does play a part in Cat's coming to terms with her new body and self-perception, but it's ultimately her that takes control of the situation. Cat starts by talking to her best friend. Hooray for supportive friends! She then goes to see a counselor, who suggests the nude modeling to regain her confidence. And then Nate enters the picture and is completely smitten with Cat. They have a real connection, have fun together, and he helps her find activities that make her feel strong and capable, but don't put a strain on her bad leg. They just work, and you can see Cat becoming more and more comfortable with herself after meeting him. But, good things never last.
Of course there's the inevitable fight in Picture Perfect. Things with Nate seem too good to be true, and then Cat finds something that just crushes her. It completely rattles her self esteem, but I liked how the author used the fight as a way for Cat to take back her life. She may feel sexy and confident with Nate, but she also needs to feel that way without him. Cat took those feelings and channeled them into her goals. I also loved how Nate wasn't totally villainized (I mean, they do have to get back together for a happily ever after!). It just goes to show how sometimes we get caught up in our own problems, that we don't even see how others are affected by the same pressures as us. Nate's explanation is what caused the first tears to flow. Then their make up made cry from happiness.
Picture Perfect was just wonderful. It's all about loving yourself, and accepting who you are. Our minds and bodies aren't static things, they change all the time, and we must adapt. Cat kept clinging to the skinny, super hot girl that she was, that she was totally missing out on what life could be just because she's a few sizes larger. The romance was sexy and sweet and amazing! And I loved that the author included some parts that show how men are affected by standards of beauty just as women are.
I love happy endings! I also love bittersweet endings! Ensnared was just the perfect end for this series. That epilogue nearly made me cry, because itI love happy endings! I also love bittersweet endings! Ensnared was just the perfect end for this series. That epilogue nearly made me cry, because it was just perfect. Although I absolutely knew that was coming, but it was the ending I wanted, so hooray! Also, it's not a typical ending. It's a bit out there, but we wouldn't expect anything less from Wonderland, right? Right!
Ensnared starts out with Alyssa on a mission. She needs to rescue her loved ones and repair Wonderland and defeat Queen Red. There's a lot she needs to do, and she needs her dad's help to do it. I adored that! Too often parents are just absent and don't know what the heck their teens are doing to save the world, but Alyssa's dad was a very important part in finding a way back to Wonderland. So everything gets going right away, and never stops! They go from problem to problem, solve one, and move on! It was great and kept me hooked!
The world-building continues to be fantastic even though this is the end of the trilogy. This time we get to see AnyElsewhere, which is just as weird as Wonderland, especially since someone is doing stuff to change it. It's there where Alyssa completes the first part of her mission. I was ecstatic to be reunited with Morpheus! He is just wonderful and we really got to see a softer side of him during this part of the book. Jeb on the other hand...well, he's changed. I won't go into details, because spoilers! But that was an interesting twist I never saw coming!
Of course, the love triangle is a major plot point. Alyssa keeps going back and forth between Jeb and Morpheus. I am firmly on Team Morpheus, but I could definitely believe her struggle. Her heart was literally splitting in two! She has reasons for wanting to be with both of them, and I believed that she truly loved them both and it was killing her! Like I said, I totally knew that resolution was coming. It was obvious, but I'm so glad that it did! It made me so happy!
Ensnared was a wonderful ending to this crazy trilogy! It was weird and bizarre and dark and dangerous and funny and HOORAY! I desperately want more though!
Imagine a mash-up of The Hunger Games, The Amazing Race, and something with kick ass animal sidekicksRereading! :D
I received an ARC through NetGalley.
Imagine a mash-up of The Hunger Games, The Amazing Race, and something with kick ass animal sidekicks and you've got Fire & Flood. I was pulled in from the first page and read this in two sittings. That probably could have been one sitting but I went to bed about three-quarters in. I loved this! It's kind of the typical corporation hosting something awful for an amazing prize, and teenagers entering with hopes of winning and dismantling the whole thing from the inside, but I was hooked and amazed! It felt fresh and new and exciting! Plus there's a huge variety of animal companions that range from cute and fluffy to terrifying and fluffy (and feathery and leathery).
Tella's brother is sick and dying, and there's no available cure. Then a mysterious package arrives with a message for Tella telling her to report to a specific location to compete in the Brimstone Bleed, which if she wins, she'll obtain the cure. Her parents freak out, because they know what's going on, but refuse to tell her (or as we learn later, can't tell her). Tella would do anything for her brother so she takes off, and ends up a bit in over her head. She's now in a race to the death through the jungle with whatever mystery animal lives inside this large egg she's carrying. I read straight through this entire jungle leg of the race and was fascinated! Then they got to the desert, and things got intense pretty fast.
My favorite part of Fire & Flood was of course the Pandoras aka the animal companions. They're lab created animals with special abilities. What looks like a pig or a fox or a lion is really something much, much more. Of course, Tella gets the most badass Pandora despite grabbing the last egg that appeared to be damaged. Her KD-8, which she renames Madox, is adorable in his normal state, but then his supped up state...woah! Needless to say, Tella spends a lot of time worrying about her little companion, since the other contenders have their sights on him.
There's really not a lot I can say about Fire & Flood without giving away any surprises and I'm having trouble expressing my love for it. There are several twists and turns sprinkled throughout, including how this race came to be. Just know that I didn't want to put it down--and for the most part didn't--and was completely hooked and engaged the entire time!
Freakboy made my heart hurt, but it also made me smile. It was my first novel about a trans character, and I think the author handled the subject realFreakboy made my heart hurt, but it also made me smile. It was my first novel about a trans character, and I think the author handled the subject really well. There's actually three connected narratives: Brendan, Angela, and Vanessa. Brendan appears to be the typical, All American guy. He's a wrestler and a gamer, and has been dating Vanessa for the past year. But on the inside, he's confused. He often dreams about being a girl, and wanting to be part of "the girl world." He doesn't think he's gay, because he does love his girlfriend, but then what is he? Then he meets Angel at the LGBTQ Teen center, and things start to click into place.
Freakboy is a verse novel, which I think worked really well for this story. It's not as "flowery" as other verse novels I've read, which will probably work for readers new to the genre. I do kind of wish I had read it in print though, since some of the poems are formatted into shapes that fit the content, and others have shorter imbedded poems, which I'd have to flip back a few pages to read. But they were well worth the extra button pushes, since those smaller poems were so heartbreaking, because they showed Brendan's deeper turmoil.
I loved how the author didn't make Freakboy just a sad book about a boy struggling with his gender identity and sexuality. Yes, she does show Brendan being bullied, losing his girlfriend, and beating himself up for not fitting in. But she does balance this with the brighter side. Angel has always known she was a girl, not the little boy society tried to make her. Now, at twenty, she works at the LGBTQ teen center to offer support to those who need it. She's comfortable in her skin and is open about who she is. She's just an all around optimistic person, despite some trouble in her past. Brendan really needed her as he figured out who he is and who he wants to be.
I just really loved Freakboy. Brendan's journey was a sad one, but ultimately it ended on a note of hope. I appreciate that the author didn't wrap things up super neatly by shoving Brendan into some box with a neat label. Not everyone falls completely into the gender binary, and I liked that she showed that. This novel was also more about Brendan's self-acceptance, rather than his coming out. While I would have liked to witness him taking the next step, I do like where Freakboy ended.
Menagerie is seriously one of the coolest books I have ever read. It's deep, dark, depressing and utterly wonderfuI received an ARC through NetGalley.
Menagerie is seriously one of the coolest books I have ever read. It's deep, dark, depressing and utterly wonderful! I don't even know how to really describe it. It's genre-defying! It's like Alternate History Dystopia Magical Realism Urban Fantasy Mythological Circus Fiction. I don't even know. It's so weird. Metzger's Menagerie is unlike any circus you've ever been to. Instead of a Bearded Lady and Lobster Boy, you've got a minotaur, mermaids, and...Delilah. It's her 25th birthday, her boyfriend got her tickets to the Menagerie, and neither expects her to wind up as part of the exhibit.
I was hooked on Menagerie from that first chapter. 25 years ago, Delilah's mother prayed for a quieter, well behaved infant and that's exactly what she got. Meanwhile, thousands of parents of multi-child families killed all of their kids but one. All of those kids were rounded up, and discovered that they weren't human. And weirder still, they were all "born" in March of 1980. Since then, anyone deemed not human or unnatural fauna was stripped of rights to be studied, tortured and gawked at. Delilah was never okay with how these "cryptids" were treated, and now she's considered one of them.
Menagerie is completely twisted and disturbing. The way cryptids are treated is completely awful. The majority of the story is from Delilah's POV, and she's treated no better. Maybe even worse at times, since one of the handlers is trying to "break" her. They want her to perform as a sideshow freak, but she truly has no idea how to unleash her inner beast, whatever it may be. Then we also get the perspective of several other characters, which at times broke my heart. I mean, they're people...but not really, but they do have feelings and personalities, and just aaaaah! I may even have a crush on a Minotaur!
The only thing that kind of bothered me about Menagerie, but not really, was that I wanted to know more about the world before 1986 when all of the craziness went down. It seems like cryptids were accepted parts of society back then. The humanoid ones lived among people, and the animal-like ones lived free. But is that really what it was like? There's not much about it. That's just what I was able to put together with little bits of information scattered throughout, which is why I included Alternate History in my long genre classification. I also wondered how these things came to be: did they just appear one day (like those changeling kids) or were they always there? Either way, this world is fascinating and I need to know more!
Menagerie was all kinds of fabulous! Just about every kind of mythical creature is on display, including whatever the heck Delilah is. It is revealed, but I won't tell you what. It's very cool! And while most of the book is dark, there is light at the end of the tunnel! I totally think this could have worked as a standalone, but I desperately want more!
I use to be really addicted to Top Chef, Hell's Kitchen, and Master Chef, so I figured I'd enjoy Some Like it SpicI received an ARC through NetGalley.
I use to be really addicted to Top Chef, Hell's Kitchen, and Master Chef, so I figured I'd enjoy Some Like it Spicy. I was expecting a quick and fun romance set against the backdrop of reality TV, but I wasn't expecting to fall madly in love with it! I became so immersed in Ashton and Ty's romance that I actually cried tears of joy at the end, even though I'm typically annoyed by the cliche engagement type endings. This was just an amazing book. It has great characters (although it took me a bit to warm up to Ashton), a great premise, a super fun plot, and a sexy romance! There's also plenty of scandal and real life problems, too, but surprisingly those didn't take away from my enjoyment, which sometimes happens.
Some Like it Spicy follows Ashton as she competes on a popular Top Chef-like reality show. She was hesitant to sign on, but her business partners convinced her that she'd be doing it for all them, since her restaurant is sinking. There she meets the host, and head judge, Ty Cates. It's an instant attraction, but there's also some antagonism there, since Ashton is quite the strong personality and very defensive. Of course, their attraction is only heightened by the fact that it's illegal for them to be involved while the show is filming. They have to sneak around, or at least get creative with the time they're allowed alone together. I love forbidden romance, so I loved Ashton and Ty! Their sexual chemistry is through the roof and they find themselves in some sticky situations.
In addition to the romance, I absolutely loved the whole reality TV set up. Some Like it Spicy takes us on set, back stage, and beyond! It was a lot of fun seeing the inner workings of so-called "reality" television. I never thought about it much, but this seems like how it probably works. I felt like I was actually watching The Next Top Celebrity Chef along with the outtakes specials. We get to see all of the challenges which made my tummy rumble, and the grueling long hours of reshooting and interviews. Then we follow the contestants back to their house, and really get to see all of the different personalities. There are a couple of stereotypes, but they were clearly there to fill a specific role on the TV show, so that didn't bother me. I grew to absolutely adore Jolene and her mission to make health food tasty!
Some Like it Spicy was a very welcome surprise. It's probably snagged the position of my favorite Contemporary Romance. I just loved everything about it, except that it made me really hungry and I wanted to climb into the pages to steal some of the food! I laughed, I cried, I swooned! This romance really does have it all!
Earth Girl has easily made its way onto my all-time favorite books list! It is absolutely everything that I love about reading! I laughed, I cried, IEarth Girl has easily made its way onto my all-time favorite books list! It is absolutely everything that I love about reading! I laughed, I cried, I stopped breathing, I smiled so hard that my cheeks hurt! The plot and the world are both incredibly unique, well developed, and compelling. It has a fantastic cast of characters, and a great message. It really has it all! I will admit that I was a little unsure at the very beginning because it took me a few chapters to settle into the writing, but soon I was in love with it!
Earth Girl takes place in the distant future after technology has been invented allowing humans to travel to, and live on, different planets. That is, all humans except one in ten thousand whose immune systems cannot handle being off-world. Jarra is one of these unlucky few. However, she doesn’t let the jokes and discrimination against her get her down. She’s determined to prove to the “norms” that she’s as good as, or even better than, them. With the help of her ProMom (a kind of surrogate parent), she is able to enroll in a history program on Earth through an off-world school. There she is no longer Jarra the ape, she is Jarra the Military Kid. She creates a new identity for herself while she explores her passion for history as well as proves that her “throwback” status doesn’t hold her back.
I adored Jarra! Her love for history is incredibly contagious. I personally hated history in school, but the “pre-history” and “modern history” in Earth Girl was fascinating and Jarra told it with such enthusiasm that I couldn’t help but be interested! There is a lot of world-building and history lessons in this book, but it never felt like info-dumps. Jarra likes to talk about history so it felt natural as we got to know her better. We also get to see some of the lectures in her history program and witness some of the videos that they watch. The world-building is complete and phenomenal! At no point was I confused about how the world worked or anything. We learn everything that we need to know and more. It was also a lot of fun to read about our current world being considered as ancient ruins for archeologists to study!
There is also the most adorable romance in existence in Earth Girl. Jarra and Fian made my cheeks hurt from smiling so much! Their interactions are so cute and authentic that at times I couldn’t contain my giggles. There is absolutely no insta-love or even insta-lust. They get to know each other gradually through working together at their dig site, as well as hanging out in their rooms watching their favorite shows. They have actual conversations! And laugh together! Through their budding romance, we also get even more world-building, since relationships work quite differently in this future. Of course, there has to be some tension, but it wasn’t some made-up melodrama. Jarra has been telling a lot of lies to cover up who she really is, and this had me so nervous once Fian and Jarra start getting more serious. It results in one of my crying moments.
Prejudice plays a huge role throughout Earth Girl. Humans who live on other planets have several derogatory terms for those who are Earthbound. Parents who birth “handicapped” children almost always abandon them, often abandoning each other and misplacing blame as to why their child isn’t normal. It’s an ugly way to live, but that’s how things are. Jarra has her own prejudices against “exos” though, too. It was interesting to watch her deal with these and slowly change her mind as she spends time with her classmates.
Clearly, I am in love with Earth Girl. I am so glad that I stumbled upon it. It is absorbing, insightful, creative, and just amazing! I loved the plot, characters, world, and even the slang! All of the inside jokes and traditions of the historians were a lot of fun too, and added to the enjoyable atmosphere. I was completely engrossed the entire time and was on the edge of my seat during the big climax. You should not miss out on this one!
I loved Parallel. It is the perfect mix of science and romance, and I just loved it. Actually, I thought I was going to be annoyed once the romance stI loved Parallel. It is the perfect mix of science and romance, and I just loved it. Actually, I thought I was going to be annoyed once the romance started to take over the story, but by that point I was completely invested in Abby's life and had to know how this was going to turn out for her. In short, Abby's not living the life she expected. Some things went wrong with her schedule and she ended up on a movie set in L.A. rather than in a classroom at Northwestern. Then her universe collides with an alternate universe and gets tangled. Now, Abby finds herself at Yale with no memory of how she got there. Soon she finds out about the parallel universe and is determined to get her life back on track, or at least embrace the life she wants.
The two worlds of Parallel are one year and one day apart. Any big changes made by 2008 Abby have the potential of changing the present for 2009 Abby (our present day Abby). But technically, didn't this entire year already happen, so all of 2008 Abby's decisions are made, and 2009 Abby wouldn't be experiencing changes, she'd just be living 2008 Abby's life but a year in advance? Or has 2008 technically not happened yet, since the past timeline is suppose to be the dominant one now, so the decisions are still in process which is why 2009 Abby can have her life jolted at any moment? Meanwhile, as the 2008 world continues along, 2009 Abby gains new memories of those past events, as they rewrite her memories as should have happened during the collision like everyone else. Luckily, the way parallel universes work wasn't overly complicated, but it still made my head hurt to think about it too deeply. I loved the deeper sciencey parts though! Hooray for eccentric professors!
The romance...I loved it! It was a love triangle...or maybe a love square...but not really. Present day Abby starts dating a guy named Michael once she's at Yale. Things are going great, but then she starts getting memories of a guy name Josh. 2008 Abby meets Josh when she takes Astronomy instead of Drama, and things click with him. Present day Abby has technically never met Josh, so she shouldn't have lingering feelings about him, especially since she's into Michael. But eventually present day Abby and present day Josh cross paths and things...get weird. There's a twist and I was like NOOO! I was genuinely shocked. And then this is where it seems like Abby's "destiny" is tangled up in her love life, but I was still loving Parallel so I couldn't even care that her choice of boyfriend became more important than her college and career decisions.
Then Parallel shocked me again! That last page is what bumped my rating up to a full 5★. What in the world?! I suffered a bit of brain explosion, because that was perfect. No other ending could have worked. At first it seems a bit open, but it's not really. Abby ends up exactly where she was meant to be, and now it's up to her to go after the life she wants.
This is my second book by Amanda Grace, and it will certainly not be my last! The Truth About You and Me was simplI received an ARC through NetGalley.
This is my second book by Amanda Grace, and it will certainly not be my last! The Truth About You and Me was simply fantastic! I'm very interested in student-teacher relationships, so this was a must read for me. It also grabbed my attention because, like me, Madelyn is starting community college at 16 years old. She's still technically enrolled in high school, but she's taking college classes for credit at both schools. There she meets Bennett, her sweet and gorgeous Biology professor. There's an undeniable attraction there from the beginning, but anything between them is sadly forbidden. Doubly forbidden, since she's underage and his student. However, Bennett restrains himself and says they have to wait until the quarter ends and Madelyn is no longer in his class. He doesn't know she's 16 though. They spend the next 10 weeks really getting to know each other, until one night ruins everything.
The first thing that I loved about The Truth About You and Me was that it's told in second person! It's formatted as a letter to Bennett from Madelyn as she unpacks all of the lies and tries to set their story straight. I really wish more books were written this way. It felt much more personal and real, getting Madelyn's feelings and all of the events straight from her. The only drawback was there were no natural stopping points. There is a break at around 77% where she starts a new letter, but that's kind of far in. However, that didn't even matter because I didn't want to stop reading at any point! I did briefly to eat lunch, but that was it. It was so easy to fall back into Madelyn's letter and the heartbreaking story she has to tell.
I do have to mention that Madelyn and Bennett are not together for most of The Truth About You and Me. Most the book is focused on them simply hanging out, which is already kind of toeing that line between innocent and inappropriate behavior. There's also a lot of attention on Madelyn's feelings, not only concerning her growing feelings for her professor, but on her life in general. Her parents have essentially mapped out her entire future, and it's not what she wants. Talking to Bennett really helps her see that, and she finally has someone who understands where she's coming from. She may be in college, but she has no clue what she wants to do beyond that, and that's okay. Her relationship with Bennett really helped her with her self esteem and being able to stand up to her parents, even as it almost ruined his life.
I won't go into the details of the ending, but I liked it. It's not over-the-top or a dramafest. It's just a very real consequence to Madelyn and Bennett's actions. The letter format actually does spoil The Truth About You and Me, since we know right from the beginning something had to have gone wrong. However, it's not how I was expecting, and the outcome was different than what my mind had conjured up. The big climax was a little weird, but I was so caught up in Madelyn's emotions that I didn't really care. I'm sure these kinds of things happen, so whatever. I liked the ending, and that's that. I just loved this book in general.
I am ashamed at how long it took me to read The Fire Horse Girl. It is so good! I loved Jade Moon from the first page, and was completely immersed inI am ashamed at how long it took me to read The Fire Horse Girl. It is so good! I loved Jade Moon from the first page, and was completely immersed in her story until the last page. Set in 1923, we follow Jade Moon as she leaves her village in China and heads off to America. A young man, Sterling Promise, had brought a message from her long lost uncle and papers to get her father to San Francisco. They reach Angel Island, where they are held for months as the officials determine if they are who they say they are. Jade manages to make it to the city only after assuming a boy's identity, but life in America is not what she anticipated at all.
Jade Moon has to be the best character I've encountered in a long time. Her village believes they're cursed, since her sign is Fire Horse, the worst of the worst in the Chinese Zodiac. She's clumsy, hot-tempered, and just generally doesn't act how women were expected to act. She believes she's unlucky and that there's nothing for her in China, which is why she is desperate to make the journey to America. It's not easy, but Jade Moon uses her wit and cunning to get there. Oh, how I loved what she did to Sterling Promise in order to get passage! Good stuff! Once she is in Chinatown, she does what she has to in order to secure housing and a job. She works for the most powerful and dangerous man, but her supposed bad qualities allow her to succeed and pass as a boy for months. And she finally does something good! Much applause for Jade!
I really don't want to give anything away, so I'm keeping this review short. Trust me that The Fire Horse Girl is great! It's about a time in history that I didn't know much about and it really opened my eyes to how Chinese Immigrants were treated. I also learned a lot about Chinese culture. I do think this one will appeal to those who aren't typically fans of Historical Fiction also. It never felt stuffy and old like Historical Fiction does at times. It's exciting and fresh as we cheer for Jade Mood to reach her American dream! There's also a little bit of romance, which ended up being really cute once the two got past all of their past conflicts. The Fire Horse Girl definitely left me with a smile.
I felt sick, and I cried, and I couldn't even...just OMG. This is how you end a series. Redemption is just...I don't know. The author ripped my heartI felt sick, and I cried, and I couldn't even...just OMG. This is how you end a series. Redemption is just...I don't know. The author ripped my heart out, stomped on it, put it in a blender, and then laughed at me. I was anxious going into this one, because I knew something bad was going to happen. I wasn't expecting this level of heartbreak though. This entire series revolves around a prophecy of a girl saving the supernatural world, but also meeting her untimely end. I always had hope that Alexa and Nelly would find a way to defy the prophecy like every other series out there, but I was still nervous as heck. With good reason.
I normally hate books that alternate between first and third POVs, but I think it works really well in Redemption. We still get Alexa and Nelly's first person accounts, but then it bounces around to various third person characters. This just upped my anxiety, because this suggests the possibility that both narrators could die but still have the story move forward! It was torture! I never felt confident that anyone was going to live until the end, and those POV shifts kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat! I was a big bundle of nerves the entire time, and then that ending killed me.
There was also a writing device included that usually bugs me in books and movies, but again, it worked way too well for Redemption! I can't say what it is, because it'll spoil something huge, but OMG! For a good chuck of the story I was just thinking "why is this happening?!" It was all too much, but then there was a twist. I was relieved, because that twist that gave me hope! Unfortunately, it was false hope! As the big climax drew closer, I held onto that hope, only to have my soul crushed.
Redemption is a devastating ending to a fabulous series. The only negative I have is that I noticed more typos in this one than the other three books, but really, who cares? The story was intense, emotional, and holy crap amazing! There is still originality in the vampire genre! Also, authors need to take note on how to properly end a series. Sunshine and rainbows aren't always needed. A bit of soul destruction works just as well.
Somebody pass me a tissue! That ending killed me! The One was a nearly perfect ending to this series, but it kicked me in the emotions so I don't evenSomebody pass me a tissue! That ending killed me! The One was a nearly perfect ending to this series, but it kicked me in the emotions so I don't even care about its flaws. Those last few pages were awful! My eyes were full of tears and burning and my glasses were fogging up and WHY?! Why her! My heart! Maxon is down to this final four girls, and while it's completely obvious who he's going to choose, I didn't expect such a bumpy ride to get there!
The first thing I loved about The One was the relationship between the final girls. Of course, there's mega tension since they all want to "win" and can't help but compare their relationship with Maxon to everyone else. Needless to say, there is plenty of jealousy and insecurity once the truth comes out! But then slowly, they grow closer and realize this is about him, not them, and they shouldn't throw away possible life long friendships for a man who probably doesn't love them. I actually grew to like Celeste! Elise was just kind of there, but we do finally get to know her better too. And Kriss...well, she had me worried for a second because Maxon does have feelings for her.
Maxon and America drove me nuts in The One! I wanted to lock them in a safe room until they worked out their problems! America is so stubborn and strong willed, yet super insecure and that infuriates Maxon. But then Maxon refuses to stand up for himself to his father, and doesn't communicate fully with America and that causes issues. Then there's the whole Aspen mess, and OMG, I nearly had a heart attack!
I'm just going to stop talking now. The One was amazing. It started off all fun and awesome again, and then it turned super intense and emotional. And Christmas! And my feelings! And I'm so happy but I'm so sad at the same time!
Now that I have finally read The Elite, I can let out the breath I didn't realize I had been holding. Kidding! Kind of. I was antsy the entire time4.5★
Now that I have finally read The Elite, I can let out the breath I didn't realize I had been holding. Kidding! Kind of. I was antsy the entire time I was reading, because I knew stuff was going to happen! I was excited for and dreading stuff, but I didn't know what. Maxon has whittled down 35 girls to just 6, even though there's really only one girl he has his sights on. America is confused about her feelings for Maxon and the responsibilities that would come with loving him. But she's also not over Aspen, and having him as a back up plan is a bit comforting, but is that all he is now? While the love triangle does play a larger role in The Elite, there is actually a lot more world building and focus on the rebel attacks and civil unrest that was mostly just hinted at previously.
I loved The Elite. Not as much as The Selection, but this was still an amazing sequel. No filler material! Certainly no middle book syndrome! It was missing a little something for me though. A lot of major events happen, but nothing that really WOWed me. I think it was mostly the lack of romantic drama on America's part that let me down. I was totally expecting some huge blow out over Aspen, but it never came. However, America does cause quite the scandal near the end! Enough to get the attention of the king! Dang girl!
My favorite part of The Elite was probably getting to know Maxon better. I'm firmly on his team, and have been, since I think Aspen is a jerk. And I honestly believe, America is just keeping him close so she doesn't go back to nothing. They do have history and that's hard to let go of, especially since her life outside of the palace is going to be extremely different if she were eliminated. But, back to Maxon. I loved how he didn't put up with America's tantrums. He tells her things how they are, and makes his position very clear. He wants her and does not want to be played with! He's been very sweet and understanding up until this point, but this his life too, and probably his only shot at finding a partner. America needs to get her crap together! Although there were times I wanted to knee Maxon in the groin, because aaahhh! Why her?!?! No no no! Stop!
There's a lot more plotty goodness in The Elite, too. Who knew researching Halloween would cause so many problems? I'm not going to give anything away on that front, but I will say there was a lot more excitement than the first book. The rebels attack several times, which could have gotten repetitive, but each time was different. There were different threats and complications, and I was always worried. No one is safe! I also enjoyed getting to learn more about the history of Illea, which is of course, very different than what the citizens are told. It also has me highly suspicious of the king...
Basically, I adored The Elite. There's excitement and romance and danger! There was still some of the fun cattiness from The Selection, and I really wanted to be the one to punch Celeste in her gorgeous face. Seriously, that girl! Ahh! I cannot wait to see what comes next for the remaining girls.