Monthly Wrap-Up: June 2019

Hey everyone! I’m on a two week summer break from classes and I could not be happier. I can’t wait to spend this time getting ahead on homework and getting a lot of reading in! This month was fantastic for reading for me: I read two books that are currently my favorite of the year! What are you all planning to read in July? While making a TBR I realized I have a lot of ARCs that need to be read for August so I think I’ll be spending most of my July reading doing that!


35561260NOCTURNA: There was nothing wrong this book, but upon finishing it I felt pretty apathetic towards it. I did enjoy the magic and the world-building and the characters, but besides that, nothing about the plot captured my full attention or pulled me into the story. By the end of the book, I was reading just to finish it. All in all, the book was pretty unmemorable to me, which is a shame because it sounded so good and I was really interested in the premise.  ★★½

38330596THE STORM CROW: The action starts out right from the start, which was a great way to get me invested in this book. I absolutely loved the elemental crows aspect and I really liked the protagonist, Anthia. She struggles with her depression and grief and the author did a fantastic job representing this throughout the book. My only issue was the romance: the synopsis of the book makes it seem like we should be expecting one thing, but when given another option, it fell pretty flat.  ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★★

42785825THE FRIEND ZONE: When I started this, I honestly just expected a light-hearted, fluffy contemporary romance perfect for summer. And while the book delivered with the romance, angst, and humor, it also brought out emotions that were unexpected in the best way. Besides a few issues I had – such as the light, gray-area cheating that occurs early on and the constant putting down of other women – I did really enjoy this book and would totally recommend it as a fun summer romance!  ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★★

42201395SORCERY OF THORNS: This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and I had a lot of fun reading it! This book contains sentient books; a fierce, sword-wielding librarian; and a handsome, broody sorcerer with a tragic past. What more could any bibliophile ask for in a book? Margaret Rogerson did an amazing job with the world-building and the magical aspects of this story and I cannot wait for whatever she writes next!  ★★★★

36578543FIREBORNE: THIS BOOK WAS FLIPPING AMAZING. It’s going to take everything I can not to go rambling on and on, but please do yourself a favor and add this to your TBR. It’s been a few weeks and I’m still amazed over how awesome this book was. I’ve seen the premised being described as Pluto’s Republic + Aegon Targaryen + Hermione Granger and I’m here to tell you that yes, it’s exactly that in the best way possible.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★★

36558159THE BEHOLDER: Okay, so there were parts of this that I definitely did enjoy. Huge kudos to Anna Bright for writing a love triangle in which I rooted for both characters equally. But the rest of the story fell pretty flat for me. My biggest issue was the world-building. It felt really disorganized and confusing. There was a lot of anachronistic elements to the settings and it pulled me out of the story multiple times.  [review]  ★★½

40523458KINGSBANE:  I was not expecting this to be as action-packed as it was! There was definitely no Second Book Syndrome here. It was very easy to fall back into this story and become just as invested in the characters as I was in the first book. I really loved Rielle in Furborn, but it was hard to watch her make the choices she made in this book, especially when it was hurting other people I really care about. And that ending….I did not see that twist coming! I cannot wait for the finale and expect it to be as awesome as the first two.  ★★★★

39854434FIX HER UP:  Tessa Bailey has earned herself a new fan. Holy shit, this book was HOT. I was expecting a fun, contemporary romance but I was not expecting those steamy scenes! And listen, I am not complaining one bit. From the romance to the fake-dating trope (a favorite), there was so much to love about this story. This was my first Tessa Bailey, but you can bet it won’t be my last. Excellent all around.  [review]  ★★★★★

40653162CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT: Although the premise was not anything new, this book handled it in such a fantastic way. Maegan and Rob are each dealing with their own family issues, and I loved how they eventually find solace and comfort in each other. There were a lot of heavy topics involved in this story, and I thought Brigid Kemmerer wrote about them in a very compelling and realistic way.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★

42815556SPIN THE DAWN: The book is being pitched at Mulan meets Project Runaway, and that’s the perfect description for this marvelous book. Maia was an amazing heroine: she was devoted to her family, resourceful, intelligent, and caring. With a protagonist to cheer for, a love interest that will steal your heart, and writing that draws you in from the first chapter, I’m positive readers will love this book as much as I did!  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★

40177770DEV1AT3: Another action-packed book from Jay Kristoff, full of fun characters and set in such a cool world. This book focuses a lot more on Lemon Fresh and her story and I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this, but once I started it was a total non-issue. She makes some important discoveries for herself and finally starts to develop of sense of self-identity. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]   ★★★★

41118857THE DRAGON REPUBLIC: I AM NOT OKAY. I really need this book to be released because I need someone to talk to about that ending. I absolutely devoured this. The Poppy War was one of my favorite books from last year, so I was a little nervous going into this, but I ended up enjoying this even more so. All I will say is: you are not prepared for this book. Absolutely stunning.  ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss.  [review]  ★★★★★

39679076HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS: The premise of this sounded amazing, and so I was pretty bummed up that it didn’t live up to my expectations. I really liked the atmospheric setting and the spooky/eerie vibe the story gave off. The romance kind of ruined it for me: I wasn’t a fan of the love triangle or how insta-lovey it was, and I thought the way it wrapped up was a bit too convenient.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★

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REVIEW: Call It What You Want – Brigid Kemmerer (ARC)

40653162Title: Call It What You Want
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Rating: ★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. 

Call It What You Want was a heartfelt story with an emotional depth that took me by surprise.

The premise was not anything new for a YA contemporary: two teenagers isolate by their peers find solace in each other. However, this book handled the trope in such a fantastic way. Rob and Maegan are each dealing with their own family issues, and after being forced to work together on a Calculus project, a friendship begins to form between them. I loved Rob so much! ❤️ He was so perfect! And it was really fun and satisfying watching his friendship to Maegan evolve from acquaintances to friends to something more. There were also a couple other great character relationships that develop as well with the side characters. In particular, I really enjoyed Rob and Owen’s friendship and Maegan’s relationship with her sister, Samantha. They were really important to the story and I was absorbed by their dynamics.

There were a lot of heavy topics brought up throughout the book, and Brigid Kemmerer wrote about them in a very compelling and realistic way. Some parts were so well written they made me feel a little emotional thinking about what some of these characters were going through. I absolutely love the fact that Brigid Kemmerer allowed the boys in the story to have emotions! You really don’t see enough of this in books, especially in the YA genre. Boys are allowed have emotions; to cry and to be upset and break down and not be any less masculine because of it. And when it did happen in the book, it wasn’t a huge focus and felt very natural and real. I honestly think it was one of my favorite aspects of the story.

Brigid Kemmerer really impressed me with this lovely book. I was not expecting the emotional depth and heavy topics brought up, but I thought they were brilliant and created such a wonderful story. Call It What You Want is a heartwarming, captivating book with some powerful messages.

Monthly Wrap-Up: May 2019

Hello everyone! Right now I’m in New York for BookCon and I’m so excited!! Who else will be at BookExpo/BookCon? What are you most looking forward to doing or seeing? Let me know in the comments!


41147279AGAIN, BUT BETTER: This was not the book for me. The writing was disjointed and the story felt so autobiographical that it was really uncomfortable reading. My biggest issue, however, was the fact that the plot basically revolves around the main character falling for someone who is already in a relationship and that love interest engaging in some cheating. I can’t root for characters that I don’t like.  [reviewARC provided by the publisher.  DNF @ 63%

35424766NYXIA UPRISING: Such a great wrap-up to a really underrated sci-fi series! I’ve been a fan of these books since I was approved for an early review copy of the first one and I’ve enjoyed each book in the series tremendously! Scott Reintgen does an excellent job not only with his pacing and writing, but also by keeping the reader engaged throughout the story. These books are awesome and if you haven’t checked them out yet I highly recommend them! ★★★½

12813630THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN: My goal for this year was to read a couple of Holly Black’s previous books, and I was not disappointed! I thought this was a super unique take on vampires and I almost wish it was a series instead of a standalone. I also was digging the fact that the book takes place in Springfield, Massachusetts – which is where my mom and her entire family is from!  ★★★½

40381392FINALE: These books are so damn good. I’m thankful Stephanie Garber decided to do a dual POV for this conclusion; I think it helped a lot with wrapping up the series. I love both Tella and Scarlett so it was nice seeing the climax and ending from both of their perspectives.  ★★★★★

 

34236194MORE THAN WE CAN TELL: After reading and loving Brigid Kemmerer’s newest fantasy book, I wanted to check out some of her contemporary works. I think I had expectations that were too high as I was a bit let down by this book. I didn’t feel connected to either Rev or Emma, and therefore I didn’t connect to the story. I liked the plotline and the characters’ journeys, but didn’t feel as moved as everyone seems to have been by the story.  ★★★

23688792THESE VICIOUS MASKS: This is a book that I had been wanting to reread for awhile now. The first time I read this, I enjoyed it, but felt like I would have liked it more had I not just finished Lady Helen. I put off reading the sequel until the whole series was finally punished and I’m so glad I did! As I had anticipated, I liked this much better the second time and appreciated it so much more. This is such a fun YA historical/paranormal book! ★★★½

30199421THESE RUTHLESS DEEDS: Reading all the books in series back to back is so underappreciated. I started this immediately after finishing the first and it made all the difference; there was no time spent trying to figure out what was going out and what had happened in the previous book. I didn’t like this quite as much as These Vicious Masks, but I still really liked the story and the characters. This was a great sequel to a fun series!  ★★★

34612713THESE VENGEFUL SOULS: There was a lot more going on in this book and I flew through the pages. This was a great conclusion to the series. I thought these books were unique and the concept intriguing: who doesn’t love an X-Men meets Victorian-era England plot? I definintely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or paranormal books with a good blend of mystery, action, and romance!  ★★★

40291564STORM AND FURY: I never really got into The Dark Elements series – I was firmly Team Zayne and totally over the bad boy trope at that point – and so I was really excited when I learned Zayne would be getting his own story! I haven’t read a JLA book in awhile and I got nervous at first because I was having trouble getting into it in the beginning. Eventually, the story began to pick up and improve and I remembered why I love her paranormal stories so much!  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  ★★★½

39821312THE CANDLE AND THE FLAME: This was an excellent, beautifully written debut. The writing was absolutely gorgeous. I loved how diversely rich in culture and history the book was; the author’s descriptions paint a vivid picture for the reader. And of course any story featuring djinn is a story for me! I really loved all the different characters, relationships, romances, and the political intrigue featured in the story. I wish the book had been a bit longer because I would love to have seen what happens next!  [review]  ★★★★

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REVIEW: Again, but Better – Christine Riccio (ARC)

41147279Title: Again, but Better
Author: Christine Riccio
Rating: DNF @ 63%

ARC provided by the publisher.

This book might be for other readers, but it was not the book for me. First off all, I prepared to love this. I studied abroad for a semester my senior year of college and to this day it remains the best experience of my life. So I was really excited about Christine Riccio writing a YA contemporary that I was hoping would remind me of my amazing memories. Unfortunately, there was so much I disliked about Again, but Better that I couldn’t even force myself to finish the book. 

My first grievance is with the writing. It was so disjointed; there was no flow and it read like a bunch of short anecdotes pasted together one after another. Not only that, but it was like I was just being told what was happening, instead being able to read the story and figure it out for myself. There was a whole lot of telling and not a lot of showing. And this might be me just nitpicking, but there was a lot of overuse of exclamations and sentences that were made to exclamatory when it was totally unnecessary. 

The writing also felt very personal. Other reviews have mentioned how similar the story and the main character, Shane, is to Christine’s life to the point that the story is almost semi-autobiographical. Now, I’m not into booktube so I don’t follow Christine’s channel, but even I could spot the numerous similarities. It was almost uncomfortable to read because it was like I was reading her journal. 

My biggest issue, however, which made me ultimately decide to stop reading the story were the characters. There is ton of light cheating present and I would argue that the crux of the story centers around the fact that the main character, Shane, believes herself to be in love with a guy in a relationship. As soon as it’s mentioned that Pilot has a girlfriend, I hated him. He’s the kind of guy that wants to take a break with his girlfriend before travelling abroad for a few months because he “doesn’t know what’ll happen” while he’s away. Pilot not only hides the fact that he’s currently in a relationship at first, but then seems to have no qualms about engaging in some grey-area cheating (holding hands, sharing a bed with another girl, and kissing). And Shane is no better. She hardly ever mentions his girlfriend and seems to ignore her existence, but yet she actively flirts with Pilot and attempts to make a move on him. 

The fact that I disliked both Shane and Pilot made it extremely hard to continue this book. Why would I want to read something when I literally do not care for characters and am actively rooting against the protagonist? I knew girls like Shane. I knew boys like Pilot. And I hated them both. Literally the only character I cared about in the book was Amy (Pilot’s girlfriend) because not only is she made out to be a villain when she obviously has the right to feel threatened, but she has a really shitty boyfriend and ends up getting the short end of the stick by the end of the book (I’m assuming). Give me a story about Amy moving on from this P.O.S. and living her best life. 

Anyway, rant over. I’m sure there are plenty of readers who will love Again, but Better and are not bothered by the light cheating but that person is not me. I was really, really looking forward to this but I was extremely let down. 

REVIEW: If I’m Being Honest – Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka

IIBH_Reveal.inddTitle: If I’m Being Honest
Author: Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Rating: ★★★★★

I finished this at 3:37am after staying up all night to read it, so I guess you could say I liked it. I’m pretty picky when it comes to YA Contemporary, but If I’m Being Honest was pure perfection and completely cured my reading drought!

The premise of the story draws inspiration from The Taming of the Shrew, in which our protagonist Cameron attempts to “tame” herself in order to win back the affections of her crush. If I’m Being Honest bypassed any expectations I had going into this. I absolutely loved Cameron’s character growth and self-discovery throughout the novel. It was not a smooth ride and she had a few moments of regression, but the way it was written was so honest and real. The book highlights the fact that no one is perfect, and that we should surround ourselves with people who love us despite our flaws, and more importantly learn to love ourselves because of them.

The characters were really the heart of the story. The authors did a fantastic job of creating characters that were fleshed out and relatable. Another positive aspect of the book were all the different relationships; good and bad, old and new. They brought a lot of depth and really made the story stand out. In particular, I thought the relationship that Cameron builds with Brendan was amazing! I am one hundred percent here for cute, nerdy guys a the love interest.

If I was in high school, this would have been the type of book I would have brought with me from class to class and forced all my friends into reading. If I’m Being Honest is a fun, engaging, delightful read that I highly recommend!