Dark Skies | Book Review

My Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: Dark Skies (Dark Shores, #2)

Author: Danielle L. Jensen

Format: eBook (own)

Pages: 464

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, Politics, War, Magic

Lydia is a scholar, but books are her downfall when she meddles in the plots of the most powerful man in the Celendor Empire. Her life in danger, she flees west to the far side of the Endless Seas and finds herself entangled in a foreign war where her burgeoning powers are sought by both sides.

Killian is Marked by the God of War, but his gifts fail him when the realm under the dominion of the Corrupter invades Mudamora. Disgraced, he swears his sword to the kingdom’s only hope: the crown princess. But the choice sees him caught up in a web of political intrigue that will put his oath – and his heart – to the test.

With Mudamora falling beneath the armies of the Corrupter, Lydia and Killian strike a bargain to save those they love most—but it is a bargain with unintended and disastrous consequences. Truths are revealed, birthrights claimed, and loyalties questioned—all while a menace deadlier and more far-reaching than they realize sweeps across the world.

This is book two in Dark Shores series but the awesome thing is that it’s not a continuation of book one. It’s a parallel story, but Lydia’s story! You can read either Dark Shores or Dark Skies first and you won’t be lost, isn’t that cool? I read them in order but I do love that each girl got their own book!

My Reactions:

My Attention: intrigued

World Building: this Dark Shores world is amazing – in Celendor, it is definitely inspired by Rome and the “west”. In Dark Skies we go across the Endless see into Mudamora. So it was fantastic getting to know this side of the world that believe in the power and gifts of the Six (gods that bestow gifts).

Writing Style: less intense than Dark Shores, but it builds nicely into some crazy battles

Bringing the Heat: where is the heat?! Ugh…my one complaint haha

Crazy in Love: more like impossible love… ☹️

Creativity: I love this way of travel called the xenthier stem, touch it and you could end up somewhere unexpected, or in the case of the East, maybe entombed! But I love this world of powers, the Six, deimos and the west about to find out the East’s secrets

Mood: ready for book three!

Triggers: violence

My Takeaway: Lydia is slowly coming into her power and Killian has so much power but is bound to an oath to protect someone else. They better have a happy ending in book three. 😔

  • Teriana from Dark Shores is my girl and I loved her friendship with Lydia. But this is Lydia’s side of the story. Lydia is a scholar, who was adopted by a powerful Senator and has lived a life of privilege because of it. She and Teriana are opposites in personality. I always wanted to know what happened to Lydia and now we know…and it is definitely unexpected! Lydia is tested. She has been forced out of her protective bubble and her eyes have been opened to the world around her and her power.
  • I love that either Dark Skies or Dark Shores can be read first in this series. We get two perspectives that will combine in the third book and I absolutely love this format! It didn’t feel like things were too repetitive from Dark Shores since we are getting Lydia’s perspective on events that happened.
  • There is a lot of political intrigue happening in this story. Mudamora is ruled by King Serrick and his High Lords. This half of the world still believe in the Gods and the powers they bestow on chosen people. Lydia is from Celendor where do not believe in Gods, and who’s government is ruled by a governing body of Senators. Lydia is thrust into a conflict brewing between King Serrick, his daughter Princess Malahi and the leader of the Corrupted, Rufina. There is a power play going on at court, the Corrupted are threatening to take over their kingdom and they don’t even know the West is about to invade them as well!
  • Killian is trapped and has such a strong sense of honor and loyalty. I felt his struggle. He loves his family, he loves his people, he is marked by the god of war and feels an obligation to be the hero his kingdom want him to be. He may even be starting to love Lydia but…and that’s a big BUT. 😔 I love how he picked women warriors to guard Malahi. He has a reputation as this handsome ladies man but I saw no evidence of it, he barely even flirted! His main love is for his kingdom.
  • Lydia and Killian are trying to fix their mistakes, at least Killian is – Lydia is trying to get back to Celendor so she can help her best friend. In their separate personal lives, they blame themselves for events that have taken place which have meant harm to those they care about. They are both on this path to right their wrongs and yet…I get this sense the harder they try, the tighter this web taround them gets. It’s why I want these two to have a happy ending in book three. They deserve it!
  • I feel like this book is a drumbeat of upcoming war…you know it’s coming, the trap is being set, Mudamora is dying (there is blight on the land and water, there are monsters attacking at night, people are turning Corrupted), the tension is being pulled taut, the battle is coming, the war is coming, both East and West are about to collide (in book three) and I cannot wait to find out what is going to happen.
  • Where is the love?! Not even a kiss, a near kiss, ugh, I’m a romance lover so this killed me! Haha…the story didn’t actually need it, but oh my heart. I was just broken for these two. There is not time for their romance to build with war coming, there are paths to take, choices to make and all Killian and Lydia wants to do, is the RIGHT thing for the people they love. But I want them together so bad…it broke my heart in the end! 💔
  • Lydia’s story is going to reveal some secrets in book three, I can feel it! And I can’t wait to see how it affects everything.

I will be counting the days until book three, The Gilded Serpent, releases next year. I love this series and the characters. I love the world building, the political intrigue, and I want to see everything come together. I’m ready to see how our four characters grow and come together to defeat the enemies around them!

Book Review | The Kingdom of Back

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: The Kingdom of Back

Author: Marie Lu

Format: eBook (borrowed)

Pages: 336

Categories: Magical Realism, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart. 

Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish—to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age—her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true—but his help may cost her everything.

I did not know what to expect when I borrowed this book. I wasn’t loving the title and this was going to be something new as the author had not written historical fiction before. I only read one series from her and that was Warcross.

But I was pleasantly surprised by this book! Nannerl Mozart is Wolfgang’s older sister, the one we never hear about since Mozart basically equals Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. But he had an older sister and one who was accomplished at playing the clavier as well!

This story delves into her life but takes on a fantastical and magical twist. Nannerl wants to be seen too, she wants to be acknowledged as an accomplished talent as much as her brother is, but in a world dominated by men, she is second place. Then she makes a bargain with a magical being who promises he can make her immortal. Will all her dreams come true if she bargains with this stranger? Or will she lose herself and her brother?

  • I was skeptical of the magical realism in this book but hello…Marie Lu’s writing sucked me into this story so bad! It’s written like a fairy tale and it was so lush. The author’s love of Mozart and the music comes through into the writing as well. As someone who took piano lessons and was a big fan of Beethoven, I get her obsession with Mozart. These musicians made music that have lasted throughout time and it is magical.
  • The world building is wonderful especially since we get to travel with the Mozart family all over Europe. Today a popular musician would make millions and travel in style, but back then the Mozarts were just trying to make ends meet as their father’s ambition grew. It’s kind of a sad story.
  • It’s a story about a woman’s place in society, hundreds of years ago but it resonates in our time as well. Nannerl is talented but she’s a girl, which means she’s expected to listen, obey, be demure and marry at eighteen. She knows she will have to put away all her talent for composing after she is married.
  • Nannerl and her relationship with Wolferl is a beautiful yet complicated sibling relationship. They both are so talented and want to impress the world with their music. They also want the affection of their father who treats them like work horses to pay the family’s rent. 😒
  • Hyacinth – the liar. He did well playing both sides and it is revealed in the end of the story what he was truly after but yeah…he was a charmer wasn’t he? But I didn’t fall for it! Hyacinth’s world was well built and I enjoyed the tasks that he had Nannerl undertake. It just made me think of the Grimm fairytales or like Rumplestiltskin and stories in that vein.
  • The title explanation! After reading the book, now I love the title – it’s perfect!
  • At times I was so into the realistic side of Nannerl’s life, I almost wished it was pure historical fiction. But I think the author did such a great job blending the two worlds.
  • During reading this, I had flashbacks to the book Wintersong! 😱 You know, music and bargains with a certain Goblin King. And it seemed reminiscent because I was thinking wow, this Kingdom of Back reminds me of the movie, Labyrinth and it turn my thoughts took me to Wintersong.
  • There is no romance in this book which was awesome because the love between Nannerl and music was enough! ❤️

I am enchanted with this book. It really felt like something magical as I read it and it transported me into Nannerl’s world of music. It was almost like I was being transported to Narnia or The Never Ending Story because the writing is so lyrical. You can tell the author put her heart and soul into it because I felt it! I absolutely enjoyed this story and I’m glad I decided to read it.

ARC Review | Selected

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Title: Selected

Author: Barb Han

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 400

Categories: Young Adult, Romance, Dystopia

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

After a polarized nation was broken by the threat of civil war, States have now become countries. And in New Maine, things have gotten worse.

Giving my family a better life is everything. And my selection to attend an elite prep school suddenly offers my family a dramatically different life—food on the table, a roof over their heads, and a fighting chance at a future.

Everything is going great until some of my friends begin ghosting me, and then disappear. Soon it becomes clear this “chance of a lifetime” isn’t the Holy Grail I was promised. And the attention from one of Easton’s elite has me questioning why a boy with a golden future wants to risk it by being seen with me.

But when I find out why I’m really at this school, I may have to trust him if I want to live. 

Thank you to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

Selected is set in a future America where the states are now countries. Tori goes to a private school where the rich kids still rule the school. Tori is smart, gifted and she gets to go to the school because she is sponsored. She falls in love with a boy, Caius who is from a wealthy family and happens to be the hottest guy at school. But while Tori is away at school, her brother Trevor gets into some trouble and she has to find out what it is.

  • The idea of a future America divided into countries was what intrigued me about this story. Unfortunately we don’t get a lot of world-building in that aspect. But the book cover is great.
  • I like a high school story where you have the usual hot boy/strange girl hook-up so this was it for the story for a good chunk of it until we get to the part of the story where Trevor (Tori’s brother) gets involved.
  • Tori is an intriguing character, she’s being sponsored to go to the school and has a high IQ. She dances and seems like a really good kid.
  • This book held my attention until I thought it was about Caius and Tori falling in love and nothing else because that’s what most of the beginning of the book is about. By the time Trevor is in the story I lost interest as to what he would be involved in.
  • The story was lacking something…suspense? A thrill? Not even the romance between Caius and Tori made my heart melt. I felt nothing! It’s a light dystopian read but maybe I wanted more because most dystopians I read are fast paced and filled with danger.

This one was not for me but I think if you like a light dystopian young adult book, there will be others who will enjoy this better than I did.

Book Review | Scythe

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)

Author: Neal Shusterman

Format: Paperback (owned)

Pages: 435

Categories: Dystopia, Sci-Fi, Young Adult

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Scythe is the first novel of a thrilling new series by National Book Award–winning author Neal Shusterman in which Citra and Rowan learn that a perfect world comes only with a heavy price.

I finally read Scythe and I’m glad I waited this long to read it while the hype has died down. But now I know why there was hype around it. It is a thought-provoking story and it made me question a lot of things.

Here we have a utopian society, where it’s “perfection” is basically taken care of by the Thunderhead. It’s what we know as the “cloud” right now but in Scythe it eventually becomes a sentient being. Isn’t that why people are afraid of AI? Well it comes true in this world of Scythe.

But there is one domain the Thunderhead cannot intervene and it’s in the process of gleaning or killing for the sake of population control. Scythes are experts in the art of killing because it is their job to keep the human population under control, because in this future time, immortality has been achieved through science. When Citra and Rowan become apprentices to become a scythe they know only one of them will get the job. They train under different scythes and learn about killing but they also find out there are some serious issues going on in the Scythedom.

  • This story made me think and question many issues like immortality and if we ever achieve it. It is all achieved in Scythe and yes I had to suspend my belief a lot because I barely know anything about nanites (though I’ve heard of it before). It’s crazy, and wondrous to think immortality can be achieved through science and yet as you read the book…it gets a bit frightening too. Because humans experience boredom and even in the story we have a teen jumping off rooftops, getting a good “splat” and being revived. Over and over again…and I was like…say what? 😳
  • This book is about killing, because it is the Scythe’s job to glean. It’s a sacred job to some and others take it very to the next level of crazy but I thought it was interesting to see how different the scythes were in their methods of gleaning, their approach to gleaning and what they believe is their purpose when gleaning. They make the choice of WHO gets gleaned, and in our day and age, we’d say they are playing God. Scythe Goddard definitely thought he was a god. 😒
  • I enjoyed the twists and turns in the story. It moved the story along. The beginning of story was a bit slow because of the world building and Citra and Rowan going through training but I didn’t mind that. I found myself enjoying the slow reading.
  • I like how we get two apprentices that give us a glimpse into how different scythes go about their business. But I was bummed for Rowan going through what he did. 😞
  • Triggers: KILLING. And I mean, suicide (of course they get revived), all manners of killing with knives, guns, poison, flamethrowers, mass killings. Abuse. I didn’t think I could read this book because of the subject matter.
  • Citra and Rowan’s romance – if you are looking for a love story in this book – this book isn’t it. Their relationship grows but it’s kind of unnecessary to make them fall for each other, yet they do declare their love for each other. There are no romantic parts whatsoever.
  • Did I connect with the characters? Not on a deep level, I felt the most for Rowan because he got a bad deal with Scythe Goddard. And he changed a whole lot in the book. He is probably my favorite character.

Even with all it’s imperfections, this story stays with you, at least it did with me. I love how it made me question our lives as humans and also wonder about the future of AI and a world of immortality (not through vampiric means, which to me is WAY more romantic 😂). Would I want to reset my age to 21 again, three times over? What would I do with all that time? And the scythes…oh man, I would not want to become one and I wouldn’t want to be in a room with one. As for Citra and Rowan’s journey, I need to see what happens to Rowan and I need to learn more about the Thunderhead. How did it come to be? I have so many questions and with that said, I’ll be reading Thunderhead right away! I think I did good finding these two books on discount from Bookoutlet! 💃🏻

ARC Review | The Night Country

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: The Night Country ( The Hazel Wood, #2)

Author: Melissa Albert

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 352

Publication Date: January 7, 2020

Categories: Dark Fairy Tales, Young Adult, Dark Fantasy

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

In The Night Country, Alice Proserpine dives back into a menacing, mesmerizing world of dark fairy tales and hidden doors. Follow her and Ellery Finch as they learn The Hazel Woodwas just the beginning, and that worlds die not with a whimper, but a bang.

With Finch’s help, Alice escaped the Hinterland and her reclusive grandmother’s dark legacy. Now she and the rest of the dregs of the fairy tale world have washed up in New York City, where Alice is trying to make a new, unmagical life. But something is stalking the Hinterland’s survivors―and she suspects their deaths may have a darker purpose. Meanwhile, in the winking out world of the Hinterland, Finch seeks his own adventure, and―if he can find it―a way back home…

Thank you to Flat Iron Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

I rated the first book in this series The Hazel Wood, 3 1/2 stars because though the story goes off on an Alice in Wonderland like mind bend, I was still immersed in the mystery that was the Hinterland and The Hazel Wood. It keep me reading and wanting to find out what was going on.

Alice has escaped the Hinterland, choosing to go back to New York City and live her life as before. You would think things go back to normal but someone is murdering her ex-Story friends in New York City, but who? This story is a murder mystery with more dark fairy tales to tell.

  • I will say this about the series in general, both books have amazing book covers so yay to the artist! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
  • Sophia Snow is a new character in this book and I liked her a lot. I also liked learning about her fairy tale, even though it doesn’t come until later in the book. She was Alice’s only friend now that Finch chose to stay in the Hinterland.
  • The murder mystery kept me interested in this story. It gave me the creepy feeling I had like in the first book, especially the scene on the subway! I liked how the murders was something bigger than just some serial killer on the loose, I liked that twist in the story.
  • Ellery Finch’s letters were sweet! Maybe because I love Jane Austen but I thought it was quite romantic. As for their relationship, I can’t say there was much to grow on with them being separated and only having the one-sided letters but in the end they are finally in the same world.
  • This world of The Hazel Wood series is so unique, I love how it’s different and the fairy tales are so dark and scary. I adore that it’s a world of stories and books coming to life, that books are a door…that just got me thinking, yes, yes, YES. I get that so much. I think the concept of the Spinner making and remaking these worlds is so interesting.
  • Triggers: violence, blood, murder scenes
  • I wanted to know more about what happened with Ellery Finch and he shows up later in the book. So much later that I thought, he wasn’t going to be in this book at all! By the time we see what he’s been up to, I’ve lost interest. Finch comes back strong in the ending, but by then, I just wanted to finish.
  • The middle of this story lost me. I was disinterested. 😒 I put it down so many times and picked it up, just to get a few pages in but it didn’t grab me. I’m amazed I finished.
  • The mysteriousness of the first book is gone in this one. The reason I kept reading the first book was because I wanted to know what the Hazel Wood was and if it was real. The Night Country didn’t captivate me like the Hazel Wood did.
  • I wanted more dark fairy tale stories!

If you loved The Hazel Wood, you will love The Night Country because there is so much more than just the Hinterlands. The darkness is still there as it seems to always surround Alice, and though I enjoyed the first part of the book, I lost interest in the middle but managed to finish the book.

I don’t know if I just needed to be in the mood to read it, but I thought reading The Hazel Wood just recently would have continued my interest in the sequel. That wasn’t the case, but that’s okay, I find this world to be unique, fascinating and dark and I may not love the series, but I like it just enough.

ARC Review | The Map From Here to There

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: The Map From Here to There

Author: Emery Lord

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 368

Publication Date: January 7, 2020

Categories: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Acclaimed author Emery Lord crafts a gorgeous story of friendship and identity, daring to ask: What happens afterhappily ever after?

It’s senior year, and Paige Hancock is finally living her best life. She has a fun summer job, great friends, and a super charming boyfriend who totally gets her. But senior year also means big decisions. Weighing “the rest of her life,” Paige feels her anxiety begin to pervade every decision she makes. Everything is exactly how she always wanted it to be–how can she leave it all behind next year? In her head, she knows there is so much more to experience after high school. But in her heart, is it so terrible to want everything to stay the same forever?

Emery Lord’s award-winning storytelling shines with lovable characters and heartfelt exploration of life’s most important questions. 

Thank you to Bloomsbury YA and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

This book encompasses everything about senior year in high school, from boy problems, making memories, college choices anxiety, family dynamics and just about everything that could happen before graduating from high school. Apparently there is a book before this one where Paige and Max are featured and unfortunately I never read that book, but that’s okay! I think this book stood on it’s own pretty good, only a few parts got me confused. Paige and Max are dating, and trying to figure out their futures as their last year in high school comes to a close. What will happen after high school? That is THE question every senior in high school asks themselves and this book addresses a lot of the options that could happen.

  • The friendship between Paige and her friends is what friendship is all about! They were there for her as she was there for them and that made me miss my own high school days when all my friends were together in one state.
  • Paige’s friendship with Hunter!! Not gonna lie, I was kind of hoping they would hook up. 😅 Hunter was just so fun and Paige was fun around him. I liked her a lot when she was talking to him!
  • Paige and Max’s relationship got tested a few times but they stuck it out. I was in her shoes during my Senior year and I was in the majority where the relationship ended two months after we went to college. Those that stick it out – it’s admirable, just not for everyone and that’s okay too.
  • Showcasing anxiety!!! Everyone has their fair share of anxiety but now I have a 7 year old who is just like Paige, highly sensitive, stomach problems when he gets super nervous and I’ve only noticed the signs now. He is just like Paige where he worries about the safety of our family, or he’s such a good student in class because he’s afraid of getting scoldings, it was kind of a relief to get to know Paige’s character because of my son. But it’s not only my son…Paige’s past with her ex-boyfriend’s death caused her anxiety, same with me when I lost my first husband in an accident. So this book really was weirdly reminiscent of things in my own life.
  • Not a fault of the book, but I was lost about Paige’s past. So I need to read The Start of Me and You and that’s on me, not the book or author.
  • I got a little impatient with Paige and Max’s relationship drama, but that’s because I’m older. Haha…but this seriously was like my senior year and some parts made me cringe, remembering how I was with my own boyfriend as senior year came to an end. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Oh the back and forth of deciding to break up or not, to make it last or not, to leave the state or not. Again, not a fault of the book! Maybe the book is that good that it made me remember my past! LOL
  • I wanted Paige to date Hunter. Again…not a mark against the book at all! 🤣

This book is SO young adult, like it is perfect for teenagers, especially those in their Senior year trying to hang on to their friends, the life they know, going hard at making their last high school memories! Paige’s anxieties about her relationship with Max, her choices for college and how to make the right choice is everyone when they are eighteen. Everything Paige and her friends go through is so real and I appreciated that. The Map From Here to There is an emotional journey about life and deciding what will happen after high school.

Book Review | When the Stars Lead to You

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: When the Stars Lead to You

Author: Ronni Davis

Format: Hardcover (owned)

Pages: 394

Categories: Romance, Depression, Suicide, Young Adult

Eighteen-year-old Devon longs for two things.

The stars.
And the boy she fell in love with last summer.

When Ashton breaks Devon’s heart at the end of the most romantic and magical summer ever, she thinks her heart will never heal again. But over the course of the following year, Devon finds herself slowly putting the broken pieces back together.

Now it’s senior year, and she’s determined to enjoy every moment of it as she prepares for a future studying the galaxies. That is, until Ashton shows up on the first day of school. Can she forgive him and open her heart again? Or are they doomed to repeat history?

From debut author, Ronni Davis, comes a stunning novel about passion, loss, and the power of first love. 

I chose this book as my YA Book of the Month choice for November. I wanted to read a contemporary YA book with romance and look at that cover. 🤩

Devon and Ashton meet one summer and it is insta-love, but at the end of summer it was also insta-heartbreak. Two years later, Devon is pretty much over him until Ashton ends up at her school. The feelings and memories come rushing back for both of them but Devon doesn’t want to get her heart broken again. Devon is at the top of her class with dreams of being an astrophysicist to study the stars! But Devon and Ashton get swept up in their feelings. Underneath it all though, Ashton isn’t so stable and Devon finds out the challenges in their relationship go below the surface.

  • The cover definitely caught my eye. I love the color palette and the title sounds romantic.
  • There is sex in this book, and I do like that Devon’s mom raised her in a sex positive environment. When Devon and Ashton are leading up having sex, Devon’s mom asks her questions. They have an honest relationship which is very refreshing and her mom hands her condoms and information. I love their trusting relationship.
  • There are deep subjects in this story, but it gets revealed slowly. Ashton deals with depression and it shows the impact of it on their relationship. It shows how Devon chose to help him and it threw off her focus at school. But the depression is talked about in this book and explained and that’s what stood out in this story. I think the therapy scenes for both Asthon AND Devon, was very impactful.
  • Devon is bi-racial and Ashton comes from a rich white family so there was some tension there that added challenges to their relationship. Ashton’s family had certain requirements for the girls he dated but I’m glad he stuck to Devon, at least…this time around.
  • I loved the parts in the book that went into Devon’s passion: astronomy. I thought those parts were fascinating.
  • Triggers: this is a trigger filled book because there is heartbreak, a death of a family member, depression and attempted suicide.
  • I struggled through the beginning and middle because I thought okay, another insta-love story with a break-up and here they go back together again but the story at least got better near the end. Unfortunately by then I was just reading to finish it but learning about Ashton’s depression really kept me in the story.
  • Although their love is all consuming (they think about marriage in the future) I felt detached from Devon and Ashton. Their romance was quick, getting back together was quick and I just didn’t get swept away in it like they did. There were sexy scenes that didn’t give me feels at all. I can’t pin point why but I think because I wasn’t invested in these two characters until way later in the book that it their relationship just fell flat for me. It might be the writing, these two characters don’t exactly pop off the page.
  • This is not a happy story. For the most part Devon’s main struggle outside of her relationship with Ashton is trying to get into the college she wants to attend. But Ashton…he has depression, on top of a dysfunctional family life and he hits rock bottom.
  • Devon being in a co-dependent relationship with Ashton was heartbreaking to see, maybe because we know it’s going to cause heartbreak again.

The best part of this book was learning about depression and what it would take to get Ashton in a better place. I felt sad most of the time reading this book but I’m glad Devon had such a supportive cast of family and friends. As for Ashton, I wanted to reach inside this book and help him, but he needed to do the therapy work himself, like he said. The depression and therapy scenes in this story are impactful, if you can handle reading about the subject. Overall, it was an okay book maybe I needed to be in the right mood to read it.

Book Review | The Beautiful

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Beautiful

Author: Renée Ahdieh

Format: Hardcover (owned)

Pages: 448

Categories: Paranormal Romance, Historical Fantasy, Young Adult

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

I finally read The Beautiful! I had ordered through the YA Book of the Month club and waited almost 3 weeks for it. Then when it came, it sat on my shelf as I had to get through some arcs and library books first. But I’m glad I waited, because the hype died down and also…the reviews were coming in disappointing. 😕 It helped lower my expectations and so now that I’ve finally read it I can say, I actually liked it a lot!

Celine Rousseau is a girl with a past. She’s left Paris and now lives at a convent in New Orleans and no one knows her secret. Celine falls into a mysterious crowd of people called the Court of Lions and is enticed by their decadent world of parties, and…magic. Celine has a feeling they are different, more than inhuman, but what?

But there is also a killer on the loose in the city and this killer keeps leaving bodies where Celine is usually present. Will Celine be able to resist the charms of this dark court, and can she uncover who this killer is before it’s too late for her and the ones she care about? Celine has stumbled upon something bigger than what she thinks she knows

  • I have loved vampires since L.J. Smith wrote The Vampire Diaries in 1991 and then Anne Rice and her decadent world of vampires in New Orleans with The Interview with the Vampires, then of course there’s Twilight (and yes sparking vampires did make me pause when I first read it but I enjoyed it all the same 😂) and then Vampire Academy. With that said…this book had all the dark danger that I love about the world of vampires.
  • I love the cliches – I know, I know, it’s all been said and done, but I love it. Give me the forbidden love trope, the love triangle trope even, and give me the bad boy hot vampires too! This story has it and it’s nothing new, but I enjoy it anyway.
  • The book is written in third person except for the killer’s perspective which is in first person. The killer gave us insight into their thoughts of revenge. I really liked the murder mystery and the twist at the end wasn’t something I expected at all, so I look forward to reading the sequel to see what happens there!
  • I love the setting of New Orleans. It shows it’s dark, decadent side but also gives us a little history of the time it’s set in, 1870. Of course this book made me hungry, but I didn’t know most of the french foods that was being described, but it sounded delicious!
  • I liked the characters: Celine has secrets and lives at the convent but she is not a timid girl – she actually questions if what she did in the past makes her evil, also at times she is reckless and a rebel. She likes to play with fire, regardless if she gets burned or not. Bastien, was exactly how I want my bad boy – beautiful, powerful, and trying hard to resist Celine but he can’t help himself. Odette, Arjun, Pippa, and Detective Grimaldi were also interesting characters that I hope we get to see more of in the sequel!
  • Triggers: murder, blood, violence, memories of sexual assault, curse words
  • Not gonna lie, there was a lot of french in this book that just went over my head.
  • Celine…haha yes I did put her in the “like” section because I did like her sass and her reckless bravery at times, but sometimes she was a bit too much. She wants to be miss independent and not fall for Bastien but what does she do? 💆🏻‍♀️ But I don’t blame her, he’s rich, powerful, young and gorgeous…and the sparks between them. But there is another guy involved who…well we shall see what happens in book two, but warning, love triangle red flags!!! I’m here for it though. 🙋🏻‍♀️
  • Cliffhanger ending…😩.

The Beautiful had everything I enjoy in a vampire story. It had mystery, danger, forbidden romance, a budding love triangle and the decadence of New Orleans. I mean it’s been so long I’ve read a vampire story that for me, even with all the cliches, I loved it! The ending left me wanting to read the sequel right away, like tomorrow would be good, haha. I look forward to reading the next book in this series!

ARC Review | Scared Little Rabbits

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Scared Little Rabbits

Author: A.V. Geiger

Format: eBooks (NetGalley)

Pages: 336

Publication Date: December 3, 2019

Categories: Technology, Augmented Reality, Romance, Young Adult, Suspense

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

We stand in a tight cluster, high above the lake. One-by-one, we made our way up the narrow trail from the edge of campus. Now, we wait shoulder to shoulder behind the police tape. Nineteen summer students.
All but one.

When Nora gets accepted into her dream summer program at the prestigious Winthrop Academy, she jumps at the chance to put her coding skills to use. But then a fellow student goes missing—and the tech trail for the crime leads back to Nora. With no one else to trust, Nora must race to uncover the truth and clear her name…or she might be the next to disappear.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

Nora is a sixteen year old, coder who is accepted to a three weeks long summer program at Winthrop Academy. She’s a bit awkward in social situations and has trouble making friends. Nora has downloaded an app called InstaLove which is supposed to hook her up with someone special. Right away she runs into a fellow InstaLove player, Maddox, at Winthrop that she categorizes him as an InstaCrush in the game. But all is not what it seems at Winthrop and she doesn’t know who she can trust. Is Maddox really into her? Or is he still with his ex-girlfriend Eleanor who basically rules the school (but I mean, her parents own it)? Is Nora just a Scared Little Rabbit?

  • The story starts off with a mysterious incident which gives it a slightly dark vibe. We get a dual perspective from Nora and Maddox but also journal entries from Eleanor (Maddox’s ex). I was mistrustful of Maddox, and everyone else that Nora encountered at Winthrop Academy. I definitely enjoyed the suspense. The reveal in the end included lots of action, so that was my favorite part of the book.
  • The coding and technology information in this book is pretty legit. I think it’s fascinating that the story revolved around a dating app that uses augmented reality. As a mild gamer (like SO mild, my son and hubby are the gamers), and one who tried Pokemon Go (not my thing), having a dating app like that kind of scares me but can I see that being a reality for my kids, in their future? Oh for sure! My son’s VR games make me dizzy, so I don’t think I’d be someone who would want to wear a visor all the time to check out some potential hookup haha. But I can see the appeal for future generations I suppose. It’s obvious the author knows her coding and tech knowledge. 👏🏼
  • I liked seeing these characters, a lot of them girls 🙌🏼, so adept and confident at their coding skills. These girls at this summer program are smart, techy, innovative, okay most of them were mean girls or just weren’t nice to Nora (which sucked) but I do like that these girls were good at what they do. Maddox also was good looking AND smart, so that was good.
  • I guess it was obvious in the first chapters that this was going to be an insta-love story when it introduced Nora playing a game called InstaLove! 😂 So…if you aren’t into books with insta-love, this book is clearly one to stay clear of. It’s a three week summer program but Nora falls fast and hard for Maddox so fast. I felt bad for her at times, because clearly his situation was “complicated” with his ex-girlfriend who was Queen Bee on campus. That being said, I thought okay…it’s a crush, she’s sixteen, but…she was in LOVE and telling her parents that she needed to BE with Maddox and he was coming to visit her by the end of the story. 😳
  • Speaking of the ending…I thought it was abrupt. We barely get to know anyone’s parents in this book, but all of a sudden there is Nora and her mom having a scene at the end! It felt awkward.
  • Nora’s nickname given by the girls in the summer program got of my nerves. I understand it’s a “mean girls” type of story, but seriously, having them call her Lowercase, including Maddox, like really? That’s the guy who falling hard for? No. 🙄

Overall, I thought the story was fairly enjoyable especially when it came to the suspense and mystery aspect but it fell short for me in the romance department since I didn’t feel like Nora and Maddox’s connection was that deep. If you like a suspense story about technology and don’t mind some insta-love, then you might enjoy this one.

BLOG TOUR } Day Zero by. Kelly deVos

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Day Zero

Author: Kelly deVos

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 432

Publication Date: November 12, 2019

Category: Dystopian, Young Adult, Thriller, Suspense

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Don’t miss the exhilarating new novel from the author of Fat Girl on a Plane, featuring a fierce, bold heroine who will fight for her family and do whatever it takes to survive. Fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It series and Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave series will cheer for this fast-paced, near-future thrill ride.

If you’re going through hell…keep going.

Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending the weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby.

But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos.

In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks—and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?

Thank you to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for giving me a chance to read this eARC and inviting me to participate in this blog tour.

Jinx is living during the New Depression. An election recently took place and The Opposition leader, Ammon Carver, won the vote for president. It doesn’t seem like many people in Jinx’s life and in society approved of this choice, most were vying for the leader of The Spark, David Rosenthal, and there are rumors that the election was rigged – does that sound strangely familiar? 🤔 But not only that, they say Jinx’s dad is a major part of the chaos taking place. Jinx’s dad is Dr. Doomsday, a computer science professor and hacker who at one time created a worm that took down servers around the world. Her dad is also known for writing a survival guide book, which people laughed it, but maybe he knew something was coming.

When that “something coming” actually happens, and Jinx’s step-dad is accused of being the person behind it she and her family have to use Dr. Doomsday’s Guide to Ultimate Survival to actually survive life on the run. Will they succeed?

  • Everything I liked in this book was mostly in the beginning and the end. I liked the build-up of the story. We get a history lesson about this war brewing between The Opposition and The Spark, which sounds way too familiar to our current events right now. The tension between these two sides is very believable. A bombing event occurs and Jinx’s step-dad is the main suspect so Jinx and her family go on the run.
  • Jinx as a character really interesting. She’s a coder and loves video games and that’s all she really wants to do is play her video games. Her family is a bit broken. She has step-siblings, and she’s never on the same page with her step-sister. Jinx’s mother seems…cold. And her dad is nowhere around or not easily found So she is the main caretaker of her diabetic younger brother Charles. She has to do things in this story to keep her whole family alive by using the drills her father made her do from his survival guide. Jinx is a tough, smart girl and she is pushed to do things in this story to survive.
  • If you like dystopian stories, you will definitely like this one. It involves technology and coding. Jinx’s dad, Dr. Marshall, is well known for his computer theories, but he was very mysterious and elusive in this book. Jinx is trying to find him and I was like, what is with this guy? Help your kids! But of course, there’s more to it than that. There are some twists in this story that was really good and kept me on my toes.
  • The world building was good because it’s so close to our own, it’s something I can see happening with the collapse of banks, or how there is a sugar sale permit waiting list…that scares me. 😂 I was like, oh no, how would I get my sugary coffee drink if that happened?! But the whole world hasn’t collapse yet, there are still stores, it was supposed to be a booming town until the New Depression hit, so this world seems like something that could happen to us in the near future! 😱
  • I don’t know why but I lost interest in the middle of the story. Maybe it was moving too fast for me? It was definitely my mood though – it was a tiring week for me, so it was just a personal mood of mine and not anything against the story.
  • There is a relationship growing between Jinx and Navarro (the guy who was sent by Jinx’s dad to keep an eye on her) but I don’t know if it was needed. It’s not something I would miss if it wasn’t in the story.
  • Triggers: violence, bombing

If you like a fast-paced survival, dystopian story, you will like this one! It has lots of action, adventure, a family on the run, and twists that will surprise you.