REVIEW: The Crown’s Game – Evelyn Skye

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Title:
The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1)
Author: Evelyn Skye
Rating: ★★

“For the winner of the game, there would be unimaginable power. For the defeated, desolate oblivion. The Crown’s Game was not one to lose.”

There’s no other way to say it: this book was a disappointment. Magic? Fantasy Russia? Battle to the death? Romance? It seemed like it had everything going for it. Even when I read an excerpt back in the spring, I thought it was going to be such a big hit! I had expected so much more than what I read, however. My biggest issue was the plot. It was so boring. I was hoping for big, epic battles full of magic and pages after pages of action and tension. There was none of that. It wasn’t until about the last ten percent of the book that it started to pick and become more exciting.

I was not a fan of the writing either. It was a bit juvenile at some parts and there was also too much telling and not enough showing. Another thing that bothered me was how similar it was to The Night Circus. The plot and characters were almost identical, just with a different setting. It was almost like reading a Young Adult version of the original, which meant I could guess exactly what was going to happen later on in the book. Overall, it was a light and quick read, but not at all what I was expecting when I had read the synopsis. 

REVIEW: The Problem With Forever – Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Title: The Problem With Forever
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Rating: ★★★★½

It’s no big secret that I love Jennifer Armentrout and (with only a couple exceptions) everything she writes. At this point in my life, I think I’ve grown past reading high school contemporary romances. It’s hard to find one that I really enjoy but I knew I’d make an exception for JLA. And boy, I was not let down. This book was excellent. It was raw, emotional, heart-wrenching, and real– a hauntingly beautiful story

“I promised I’d keep you safe forever. Just don’t make a sound.”

Her writing was flawless and addicting as usual. I was gripped from the prologue. I knew from the beginning my heart was going to get painfully squeezed but it was going to be totally worth it. Not to mention, childhood best friends to something more is my bread and butter. Sign me up every time. Mallory was a wonderful main character. I enjoyed watching her character develop throughout the story. Her growth was very well written and felt real. Her quiet strength and courage by the end of the book was something to admire. Rider was fantastic as well. He was sweet, protective, flawed, and totally adorable. Every time he blushed or his cheeks turned pink I turned into a puddle of mush. Seriously. I don’t know how she does it, but JLA writes the most swoon-worthy guys. She holds the most spots on my top ten Book Boyfriends which is pretty impressive.

Mallory and Rider’s background was not easy to read: it was heartbreaking. The effects of their childhood has stayed with them and affected the way they now live their lives, but in very different ways. I loved reading about their struggles to overcome the trauma and to heal, both themselves and each other. The ending was perfect and sweet and beautiful.

“I want to be the guy worthy of your love, and I swear, if you’ll have me, I’ll do everything in my power to be that man. I’ll never stop trying. Ever.”

I literally did not want this book to end. I kept finding out things to do rather than finish it because I didn’t want it to be over. The Problem With Forever is an emotionally gripping read that I highly recommend!

REVIEW: Risuko – David Kudler (ARC)

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Title: 
Risuko
Author: David Kudler
Rating: ★★★

ARC received through NetGalley.

The first thing that drew me to Risuko was that beautiful cover. I literally could not resist founding out more about this book once I saw it. The plot seemed pretty interesting enough so I decided to give this a try. The book is actually geared more towards Middle Grade readers than Young Adults, but besides that, I found it all together enjoyable. I don’t know much about Japanese culture or history so it was very interesting for me to read and learn.

The first part of the book was a bit slow, but picked up and was considerably better in the latter half. A lot of the book is focused on Risuko doing menial tasks, and while it was honestly a little boring at times, I think it served a purpose. The author is clearly building towards other books, and I believe the small, inconsequential chores we were reading about will later become important to her training and her character development. One thing I really liked was the struggle between Risuko’s new role as a kunoichi and her personal mantra to “do no harm”. As the books continue, there will be a internal struggle for her to resolve. I also have to say that although I typically don’t care for storylines about side characters, I found myself loving the tension between Mieko and Masugu. From the beginning, I wanted to know more about what was going on! What’s the story there? Tell me more!

I do wish the book had more action in it. A book about young ladies learning to fight for a war? Yes, please! But I’m sure this book was just a premise to the next, in which I hope is more fast paced with more action. If I was younger, I probably would have rated the book higher. I do think Risuko will be a big hit with other people and a young audience!

REVIEW: Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

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Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Rating: ★★★★★

This book was an emotional roller coaster. I won’t lie: I was wary about reading it. I tend to stay away from books that have a lot of hype, especially when they’re about to be made into movies, because I always end up feeling underwhelmed when I read them. I added it to me TBR list anyway, since the synopsis was interesting and the plot seemed different and unique enough that I figured I might end up enjoying it, but I honestly wasn’t really planning to read it anytime soon. It was going to be a “filler” book-something to pass the time between releases of books I’ve been waiting to read-and not something I was expecting a whole lot out of. As with The Dark Days Club, I was once again sorely mistaken.

Me Before You was one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. I laughed. I cried. I cursed. I made obnoxious noises of disbelief and anger (that ending, that ending). The relationship between Lou and Will was so honest and beautiful and I loved seeing it grow over the events of the novel. Lou’s feelings towards him changed so gradually that, like her, I didn’t notice how they had shifted from feelings of friendship to deeper romantic love until it was all consuming.

“I know it’s not how you would have chosen it, but I know I can make you happy. And all I can say is that you make me…you make me into someone I couldn’t even imagine. You make me happy, even when you’re awful. I would rather be with you-even the you that you seem to think is diminished-than with anyone else in the world.”

The writing itself was wonderful and compelling. A lot of what was written and the reactions and choices made by the characters were completely realistic and natural. The blend between the humor and the emotional and the serious issues in the book was balanced nicely and no doubt one of the reasons I enjoyed it so very much. I’m glad I took the chance on this book, because this is a story I will not be forgetting anytime soon

Buzz Books 2016: YA Fall/Winter

I was recently lucky enough to receive a copy though NetGalley of Publishers Lunch Buzz Books 2016 for upcoming young adult releases in the fall and winter. There’s a big variety of excerpts to read from and surprisingly they were almost no books that were already on my radar to check out. I thought I would share which of the samplers I enjoyed the best and am most looking forward to read!

23207027Three Dark Crowns: Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions. But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

25189584The Hawkweed Prophecy: Poppy Hooper and Ember Hawkweed couldn’t lead more different lives. Poppy is a troubled teen: moving from school to school, causing chaos wherever she goes, never making friends or lasting connections. Ember is a young witch, struggling to find a pace within her coven and prove her worth. Both are outsiders: feeling like they don’t belong and seeking escape. Poppy and Ember become friends, secretly sharing knowledge of their two worlds. Little do they know that destiny has brought them together: an ancient prophecy, and a life-changing betrayal. Growing closer, they begin to understand why they’ve never belonged and the reason they are now forever connected to each other. Switched at birth, Poppy and Ember must come to terms with their true identities and fight for their own place in the world.

28691932The Forgetting: Seventeen-year-old Nadia lives in Canna, a quiet city in an idyllic world, hemmed in by high walls that are constructed of a material no one in her town recognizes. Every twelve years, the people of Canaan undergo a collective Forgetting, in the days before which the town devolves into a chaos of bloody violence, and after which the people are left without any trace of memory of themselves, their families, their lives. Nadia has never forgotten, however. As the next Forgetting approaches, Nadia is determined to find out what causes it and whether there is any way to stop it. With the help of Gray, the handsome glassblower’s son, she discovers that there is a devious plot afoot…one that keeps the people of Canaan permanently subdued. Will Nadia be able to solve the mystery before the people forget the truth? And before Gray forgets her?

23203252A Shadow Bright and Burning: Henrietta Howel can burst into flames.Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she’s shocked when instead of being executed, she’s invited to train as one of Her Majesty’s royal sorcerers. Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she’s the prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city-and the one she loves?

24921954The Thousandth Floor: New York City, 2118. A thousand-story tower has been built in the middle of Manhattan, with every amenity imaginable-at least, for the wealthy living at the top. But even in the world of unimaginable luxury, life isn’t perfect. Rylin Myers lives on the lower floors and is struggling to make ends meet, any way she knows how. Leda Cole can’t tell her perfect friends she spent the summer at rehab, or what sent her there in the first place. Watt Bakradi finds himself the center of the tower’s elite social scene, with the help of an illegal A.I.he designed. Eris Dodd-Radson defines herself by her wealth by discovers that might not last forever. And the genetically perfect Avery Fuller who lives in the thousandth floor penthouse is hiding a terrible secret that could be her undoing. When a young woman falls from the 1,000th floor, her death ignites a scandal that ensnares the top-floor elite and bottom-floor drones.

25812109The Female of the Species: Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best—the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher’s kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone. As their senior year unfolds, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.