Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier | ARC Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Expected Publication: September 1st 2015

Synopsis:

Everything about Jonah is unexpected. On the first day of school, he sits next to April, when he could have chosen to sit with the popular girl. He turns down an invitation to join the school team and declares he’d rather paint. He encourages April to develop her musical talent and shrugs off the bullies that torment them.

April isn’t surprised to find herself falling for Jonah. The unexpected part is when he falls for her too.

But the giddy happiness of their first romance begins to fade when Jonah’s unpredictability begins to take a darker turn. April understands that her boyfriend is haunted by a painful memory, but his sudden mood swings worry her. She can’t explain his growing fear of cellphones, electric keyboards, and of sounds that no one else can hear. Still, no matter what happens, April is sure that she’ll always stand by him.

Until Jonah finally breaks and is committed to a psychiatric ward.

Until schizophrenia changes everything.

Though everyone urges her to let him go, April stays true to Jonah. But as the boy she adores begins to disappear in front of her, she has to face her worst fear: that her love may not be enough to save him.


Your Voice is All I Hear
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My Rating: 4 stars 4/5 (Really Good)

Book Information

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Genre(s): Contemporary (Mental Illness), Young-Adult

ARC Page Count: 336

Format: e-book


Thank you Sourcebooks Fire for sending me an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley! This did not affect my review in any way. Any of the quotes used are from an uncorrected proof and may be changed in the final copy.

Hello, today I have for you an ARC review on Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier! This book is a contemporary novel that covers mental illness (schizophrenia). I honestly haven’t read many books of this topic, one of the reasons why this book caught my eye, especially after reading (and enjoying) Made You Up by Francesca Zappia, the one book of schizophrenia I’ve read recently. This book turned out to be way different than what I expected—way different than Made You Up (in case some of you were wondering), generally in a good way. If you’re into mental illness in YA (and by mental illness, I mean, a true, realistic portrayal of it), I urge you to pick up this book.  The schizophrenia was shown for what it really was, not sugarcoated, and it was clear the author did her research, which is fantastic. My main problem with this book, however, was the fact that I wasn’t a big fan of the main character. Actually, I wasn’t a fan of almost all of the characters in here. The secondary characters came off as stereotypical and the main character herself was a bit too bland and needy for my taste. But by the end of the novel, I was able to look past all that to say that I still enjoyed this book.

Plot

My feelings on the plot varied throughout the story. At the start the plot generally annoyed me, mainly because the characters all got on my nerves and I couldn’t get into the story. I didn’t like April much (she was extremely judgmental, and quite naive, which just didn’t work out with me), and it definitely didn’t help when she went ahead and instantly fell in love with the new guy in her class. I’m not completely against insta-love, I know it can definitely work for the better at times, but this book was definitely not one of those times. I just wasn’t feeling it.

Luckily, as I continued through the story, the plot got better, in that we started to get introduced to the symptoms of schizophrenia. I started to look past the characters into seeing more of the schizophrenia’s effects, and it was truly heart-wrenching seeing the denial the characters went through, seeing the tougher, grittier side of schizophrenia, which, trust me, isn’t pretty.

Near the end of the novel (maybe after 60 or 70% read) I really started to get emotionally attached to everything. The feels! There starts to have so much going on, and my emotions just kind of all explode all over the place. I absolutely loved that! I would even go as far as to say that this almost got me to shed a tear, which doesn’t often happen. Although the plot isn’t the best right from the get-go, it’s definitely drama and emotion-packed!

Characters

“I was the one he trusted. I was the one he loved, the only one who believed him, even when his own mother had locked him away and thrown away the key.”

I wasn’t a big fan of April, I’ll admit that. For a good part of the book I found her to be bland, selfish, naive and even a bit needy as well. It just wasn’t my favorite combo, but I will admit that in some ways you can consider her to be a realistic portrayal of how a lot of people would act in her shoes. And perhaps for some of you April will be a great protagonist, but for me, she just wasn’t the best. However, that being said, once I got near the middle-ish and the end, I started to really care for her. What she went through, must’ve been torturous, and my heart honestly hurt for her by the end. So, I guess these two opposing sentiments kind of just cancel eachother out, and to put it simply; she was an okay protagonist. Her character is pretty easy to sympathize with, even if she wasn’t the most likable person at the start. I ended up genuinely rooting for her, which is great.

Jonah, April’s love interest, is the one suffering from schizophrenia. He is definitely my favorite character in the book, it didn’t take me long ’till I fell under his spell and was rooting for him completely. We don’t see right away the effects of the schizophrenia; we get the time to get to know him, see what he’s like. Which, ultimately, meant that my heart broke even harder when we start seeing the symptoms, because I had already grown attached to him. It was so heartbreaking to see how damaging the effects of schizophrenia can be, although I praise Leah Scheier for doing such a wonderful job on it. There was no sugar-coating, and although seeing it through April’s eyes didn’t allow for us to see what Jonah himself was thinking, it was clear how much he was struggling. Honestly, I’m rendered speechless just thinking about it all, because my words cannot do justice to express how heart-wrenching it was, reading what Jonah went through.

Writing Style

The writing is very pleasant, it had a conversational style to it, with a more serious mood underlying it. The pacing was relatively fast (to reflect the nature of schizophrenia, I suppose, what with its unpredictability, etc.) It really suited the story and was intriguing to read. The story is written from the first-person perspective of April, which, I suppose is fitting and also did its part to have me sympathize with her character.

Overall…

I really enjoyed this novel, despite not being a fan of April for a good chunk of the first half of the novel. April, really is what prevented me from rating this book higher, but overall I consider this to be a heart-wrenching novel that you should definitely not miss if you’re looking for a well-written portrayal of schizophrenia. The plot had me absolutely all over the place in the end; my emotions ranged from despairing to desperate and so much more. I loved Jonah so much, and I praise Leah Scheier for being able to bring out such strong responses from me (and other readers, I’m sure). The ending was lovely, in a kind of heartbreaking and bittersweet way. I’m not usually a big fan of open endings (as there is in this book) and wasn’t a big fan of this one at first, but overall, I found it to be quite fitting for the story. All in all, Your Voice is All I Hear is an emotional read that is not afraid to show the true effects of schizophrenia—and how it can change the lives of so many in the matter of seconds. A wonderful story!

What you do think of this book? Have you read it? Let me know in the comments below!


Hungry? Well don’t worry, you’ll get your chance to gobble this up when it releases tomorrow! 😉

Analee 10

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

(Throne of Glass #1)

Published: August 2nd 2012

Synopsis:

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly.
Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?


Throne of Glass_bookcover
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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Genre(s): Fantasy, Young-Adult

Page Count: 404

Format: Paperback


Hello! Today I have for you a review on Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, the first book in the epic fantasy series of the same name. Since Queen of Shadows (SO EXCITED), the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, is being released very soon (September 1st, to be precise) and I plan to read it as soon as I receive it (I pre-ordered it), me being me, I decided I had to review the previous three books. So here I am, with a review on the first book, from where the adventure all started!

I’m usually terrible at reviewing a book in a series when I’ve already read its accompanying sequels (and it was a while back too) but I’ll be giving it my best shot! To write a more accurate review, I’m going to be [attempting] writing the review from the viewpoint of when I first read it, without the knowledge of the events in the second and third book. Let’s get on with it!

Plot

I love this story so much! Everything about it had me addicted. However, one thing that might irk some readers is the fact that it isn’t constantly in action. There is action, though, if you’re patient enough to stick with the story. From the very first page we’re thrown right into the story, and from there the plot and storyline builds up everything rather slowly (but artfully) to its end point where all hell breaks loose. I found myself enraptured with the whole story, even if we were at some point where it wasn’t exactly an active scene. (And there was magic included! Magic! I absolutely love when there is magic involved in a story, there are so many open gates for the author, and the reader, to explore which allows for quite the enticing story.) There was just enough going on (despite the lack of constant action) in the book, what with the incredible world-building, the romance, the mystery, the magic, and it all flowed together seamlessly. It was truly magical!

Characters

“My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name’s Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I’d still beat you, no matter what you call me.”

I loved Celaena. She is everything I love in a strong female protagonist and more! She is by no means perfect, but her personality (a mix of fierce, arrogant and feminine) is perfect for her occupation and is quite endearing, if I’m to be honest. Her wit and sarcastic nature led to amusing interactions with other characters, which I truly enjoyed quite a bit! But what I love about her the most is the fact that she’s an amazing representation of a strong, female lead. How? Well. I know lots of readers think negatively of the fact that Celaena comments positively on her own looks, and think that makes her arrogant and selfish. But while Celaena may be arrogant (she says so herself if I’m not mistaken), is being confident in her looks a bad thing? There are so many female leads out there who are insecure about how they look, and I loved how Celaena wasn’t like that.

In short, Celaena Sardothien was blessed with a handful of attractive features that compensated for the majority of average ones; and, by early adolescence, she’d discovered that with the help of cosmetics, these average features could easily match the extraordinary assets.

Also, did I mention she loved books? Yep, along with being one of Erilea’s most feared assassins, she’s an avid reader.

“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

Despite being who she was (a self-confident and kick-butt assassin) she was so relatable and girly, even. Which is, of course, another thing that puts her apart from other characters. She proves that you can be feminine and still be a badass, and be a badass and still be feminine. Amazing, really, when you think about how few books there are with characters like that.

Next we have Prince Dorian Havilliard, who wasn’t completely what I expected. He was a typical character in that his princely roles, obligations and duties were familiar (needed to marry, obey his father, etc. etc.) but I did not expect to like him as much as I did. He wasn’t a stuck-up and arrogant snob (well, not too arrogant, at least) like some royals I can name (*Cough* Eadlyn *cough*), but instead a caring and thoughtful person. He is quite charming and his and Celaena’s interactions were quite cute and fun to read. However there is a teensy little problem…

…Which comes in the name and form of Chaol Westfall, Captain of the Guard. He is amazing. I loved him, really. He’s all scowling and gloomy, but really, he has a heart of gold. So why wouldn’t I love him? (I’m almost not even joking, he’s simply to die for.) His interactions with Celaena are more different than the ones she had with Dorian, but no less entertaining and cute to read about. Their relationship is more subtle, and really, more stronger in my opinion! Though do not let my judgement influence you. 😉 Overall, Chaol is still a total cutie pie!

Writing Style

“Sometimes, the wicked will tell us things just to confuse us–to haunt our thoughts long after we’ve faced them.”

I refuse to believe this is the debut of Sarah J. Maas. Nope. The writing in this novel was absolutely fantastic. First off, I loved how the world was written; we aren’t given, like, heaps and mounts of information on this world we’re in, but we’re able (or at least *I* was able) to imagine the world we’re in, understand its history and what it’s like. And I loved that, because often in books of the fantasy genre, it’s hard to fully get a grip on the world we’re in, but for Throne of Glass, it was like second skin. Another thing I loved about the writing was that it was seemed so poetic and flowed so nicely with the tone and mood of the book. It was effortless, reading this book, and I enjoyed reading it so much because it was written so nicely!

Book Trailer

Overall…

This is a book you should not, under any circumstances, pass on, because it is truly wonderful. The plot is crafted so well that although it isn’t jam-packed with action (trust me, there’s plenty of that in the next book) it’s compelling and incredibly hard to resist. For me, anyway. It might take some time to get into it for some, but it’s definitely worth your time! I absolutely loved the characters, especially Celaena and the love interests, because they were created marvelously! Celaena is a fantastic representation of feminine badass assassin, and we definitely need more female leads who are confident and not insecure of who they are. She may be seen as arrogant, but that so-called arrogance gives her the ability to acknowledge her strenghts, something that countless other characters undermine. This was simply so refreshing! There is a love triangle, but it is more subtle and doesn’t take over the whole plot, and instead provides some excitement and emotional attachment from the reader. The writing is poetic and perfectly fits the story. Really, must I go on? I say not, because bottom line is: this book is fantastic. And I must say, if you do not at least give a chance to this book/series, I shall be quite offended and will unfriend you. 😛 Just kidding. But still. I command you to read it!!

Have you read this book? If you have, I shall be quite sad if you don’t join in on my fangirling!! (Especially with Queen of Shadows being released very soon!) And even if you haven’t, I will be equally sad if you don’t leave a taste of your thoughts on whether you will read the book or not. 😉 Bottom line: talk to me! I’d love to hear from you. ❤

Now, I’m off to bed! I think I’m kind of sleep-deprived right now… Enjoy your day/night, bookworms! Just remember, this book must be gobbled up asap. 😀

Analee 10

Joyride by Anna Banks | Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Published: June 2nd 2015

Synopsis:

A popular guy and a shy girl with a secret become unlikely accomplices for midnight pranking, and are soon in over their heads—with the law and with each other—in this sparkling standalone from NYT-bestselling author Anna Banks.

It’s been years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico.

Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber’s dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn’t acknowledge Amber’s mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects.

All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they’ve been living according to others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts—and one another—is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh.


Joyride_bookcover
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My Rating: 4 stars 4/5 (Really Good)

Book Information

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Young-Adult

Page Count: 288

Format: Hardcover


Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve posted a review, unfortunately, but I am now here with a review on Joyride by Anna Banks. I rate this book 4 stars, although a more accurate rating might be 3 or 3.5 stars. But that’s besides the point. The main reason I liked this book was because it was kind of an unexpected experience for me. Although I read the blurb and reviews beforehand on this book, when I read it, it felt like I was delving into the unknown. I had no idea what to expect, and really didn’t have that many expectation, which in the end played in my favor since I ended up really enjoying the book as a result. Does that make sense? I feel like I’m rambling right now, so let me just cut to the chase: this book was an entertaining story with themes of racism, family, and poverty, alongside a slow-burn romance that I really enjoyed.

Quick Summary

Carly Vega has been constantly working to earn money (at a night-shift at a convenience store), get good grades and stay out of trouble alongside her older brother Julio, ever since her parents had been deported. Both their lives have been centered around trying to earn enough money to smuggle them back (along with two younger siblings). One day, when a guy named Arden (the popular guy at school) meets Carly, he becomes interested in acquiring her as his partner in crime. But Carly is focused on staying under the radar so she could help her parents, while Arden’s goal is to make sure he doesn’t do what his family wants. How can they mix?

Plot

At a first glance at the cover, the storyline seems to be something with road trips and a cute romance, right? Well, that’s not the whole story. Yes, there is a cute romance, but the plot addresses issues like racism, poverty and immigration problems, something that we don’t see enough in books. I, for one, have hardly ever read contemporary novels in which there are immigration issues incorporated. Although I cannot vouch for whether the kind portrayed in the book is correct, I found it to be realistic enough to be believable, and it was interesting to read a book with this kind of theme.

The storyline itself was entertaining, it being generally a cute romance with tension building up more in the middle and especially in the end. It is leaning toward more of an insta-love story, however you can’t exactly tell right away, which is the reason why I liked the first half of the story quite a bit. The plot really had my attention, and even though most of it didn’t exactly blow me away, I had fun reading it. I also really liked how the plot was executed, in that the more tension-filled moments didn’t clash with the overall mood of the story, instead it kind of fit right in, which made for a relatively smooth reading experience.

Characters

I’m having a hard time writing out my thoughts on the characters, but I would say generally, I liked them. I especially liked Carly at the beginning of the book because I loved her attitude. For a good part of the first half of the story, I was rooting for her because she really had a good sense of her morals and stood up for herself against Arden.

“As if from a distance, I watch my hands as they tuck themselves under his tray and flip it over onto his lap. The unidentifiable contents splatter everywhere. A bit of it even makes its way into his left nostril. He stares up at me, still holding his spoon midair. His jaw is in danger of falling off.”

(Now, this may seem a bit extreme, but in the context of the story, it was completely understandable and I totally approved. XD)

It was just so much fun seeing how she treated Arden as he pursued her. And I have to mention that she didn’t really come off as a shy girl as mentioned in the blurb. But that was kind of good thing because it wasn’t as cliché, shy girl meets outgoing boy, instant sparks, etc etc.

Throughout the story we see a bit more of Carly’s development as she warms up to Arden and becomes friends, and then later on falls for him (no spoilers there, it’s kind of given). I won’t lie, it was kind of insta-love but it was still okay. What I also found interesting was seeing her internal struggle throughout the story, between doing what she wanted to do and what she was required to do in order to help her family. I really sympathized with her because she had so much pressure on her and did everything asked of her yet never truly got the freedom she deserved.

Arden, I will admit, I had mixed feelings toward, at first. At first are the key words here, you see? The fact that after simply one night he’s all interested in Carly (to be his partner in crime, not his girlfriend, but still) bugged me for a while, and I kind of just didn’t want him to win over Carly so easily. It wasn’t exactly so much so the insta-love than Arden, because for some inexplicable reason, I seemed to have something against Arden and just didn’t want it to happen. Of course, I warmed up to him afterwards. He went through so much it’s hard not to feel bad for him. His and Carly’s relationship ended up being really cute and I loved how he supported her so much.

“You’ve filled a hole I didn’t know I had in me, Carly. What is there to regret?”

As for the other characters, I was mostly okay with them except for Arden’s dad, who I absolutely hated. Julio, Carly’s brother isn’t exactly my favorite person, but I still liked him. Carly’s family, although not present for basically the whole story, plays a big role in the novel, and I liked them. The pressure they put on their children to raise money to smuggle them back to the States may bother some readers, but I found it kind of realistic and interesting to read about. This book was very family-positive (in the case of Carly, not Arden) in a more different way than most books.

Writing Style

The writing style is pretty different than most books, but I can’t exactly say it’s great. It’s told from the perspective of 1st person in Carly’s POV and 3rd person in Arden’s POV. I have read books like this before (most notably The Lying Game series by Sara Shepard) but for this book the style seemed kind of awkward and didn’t exactly work out. I don’t know, it kind of threw me off several times in the story and prevented me from fully being immersed in the story. Mostly because whenever the POVs switched, I would have to adjust to the change, and it would disturb the flow of the writing. But I did manage to get through the book without too many difficulties, and I ended up still enjoying the story.

Overall…

An entertaining summer read that I recommend if you’re looking for a light story with some important themes mixed in. This book is also more diverse than a lot of books out there these days (namely because of the issues addressed in the novel as well as the fact the main character is hispanic) and although the writing style wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, it’s pretty subjective to reader’s taste and it may be someone else’s preference. The main characters, although perhaps not the best for some, were quite likeable and definitely have a lot of chemistry together. I really liked Carly’s personality, and even though I wasn’t Arden’s biggest fan at first, he really did grow on me and I really liked him. As for the other characters, I definitely didn’t like Arden’s father, which I’m guessing is the point, and although I had some issues with Carly’s brother Julio, he ended up being a decent guy. All in all, I really liked reading this book, and I recommend it if any of the above interests you!

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Do you want to read this book? Let me know, in the comments below! 

Also…Let’s go for a joyride! This meal is quite tasty, perfect for a little trip!

Analee 10

Pepped Up by Ali Dean | Book Review (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

(Pepper Jones #1)

Published: August 25th 2013

Synopsis:

Pepper Jones is ready for an epic cross country season. She wants to qualify for Nationals, and she’s willing to do anything it takes to make it happen. She can handle long miles and hill sprints, but boys? That’s an entirely different challenge.

Pepper’s never considered revealing her deeper feelings for her longtime friend, Jace Wilder. After all, he’s got the personal magnetism and good looks to hook just about any girl in town — and he has. Their friendship stands apart from high school social circles, and they’re both just fine with that (or at least they pretend to be).

That is, until running star Ryan Harding moves to town.

When it comes to running, Pepper’s goals are clear. But when it comes to Jace and Ryan, it’s nowhere near as simple.


Pepped Up_bookcover
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My Rating: 3 stars 3/5 (Decent)

Book Information

Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Page Count: 238

Format: ebook

Purchase: Amazon


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Welcome to my review stop of the first book in the Pepper Jones series, Pepped Up by Ali Dean!

Note: I received a free digital copy thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for review purposes. This doesn’t affect my review in any way.

Pepped Up is a fun, light-hearted contemporary novel that I liked. I wasn’t particularly attached to the main character and the pace was a bit slow for my taste, but overall it’s a good book that will keep you entertained.

Plot

Before anything, I have to say that this book is not at all for readers who dislike love triangles. I tend to be wary of them myself, but I don’t avoid them (not like I can even if I wanted to, seeing how basically all books these days have love triangles). I mean, there are love triangles that turn out to be entertaining, you know? Sadly, this one wasn’t one of them. I feel as if the book was dominated by the love triangle, and instead of being entertaining, in the first half of the novel, I found myself being annoyed at the lack of substance. However, once I took the plot a bit less seriously and just focused on what it’s like in terms of reading about it, I did like the story. It was a relatively light read and it ended up being an entertaining read. That being said, there was one thing that kind of had me a bit iffy about, which was the fact that there were more mature themes in this book than I was expecting. Not necessarily in a bad way, but I suppose since I wasn’t at all expecting such themes in this book, it threw me off.

What I liked most about the plot was the sports theme in this book. It’s not often that I find YA books about sports or with sport-related themes that turn out to be entertaining, and I really liked that aspect of the book. Most of the sports themes had to do with running, and although I’m a terrible runner, it was interesting reading from the perspective of a characters who loved to run and was great at it too.

“This right here is what I live for. The steady rhythm of my feet landing softly on dirt.”

Characters

I have a love-hate thing going on with Pepper. On one hand I like her attitude towards running, the fact that she’s willing to push herself and hold back when needed so she can do the best she can. She’s relatively disciplined and I liked her character, for the most part. On the other hand, what got on my nerves was her tendency to pine after Jace (who’s a complete jerk) and the fact that despite being smart, she couldn’t see the obvious (like so many other YA characters out there). I just couldn’t understand it and it ended up being annoying.

The main love interest, Jace, is who really bugged me. Sure, he had some nice moments, but overall I couldn’t see why Pepper was so into him and there was no depth to him much. I felt as if the only reason people were into him was because he was attractive, which is a bummer because he had the potential to be a real great character. Ryan, the other love interest, was better, there seemed to actually be more to him compared to Jace.

Writing Style

The writing style is one of the best parts of the novel. I would’ve hardly have guessed that this was a debut novel, because the writing had a lot of skill behind it that you wouldn’t expect to see in debuts. I did find the pace to be a bit slow, but that is considering my own taste, I would say for the majority the pace is completely adequate. One thing I was not a big fan of was the ending, because although it’s not technically a cliffhanger, it does leave something missing and felt rushed to me. I’m assuming more will be answered in the next books though.

“I want to capture the exhilaration and peace flowing through my veins, pulsing through my soul. Who needs a vice when you can attain an utter sense of being alive with such simple ingredients?”

-Pepper, about running

Overall…

This contemporary romance debut is more of a hit-or-miss. It wasn’t completely my cup of tea, but it was an entertaining read all the same, despite the more negative side of this book. The plot could’ve been handled better and the characters could’ve had more depth, but if you like love triangles and contemporary romance, this isn’t a bad book to try out. The writing is great, and I really enjoyed the running descriptions. All in all, a decent YA (with mature themes) contemporary romance with sport themes and a love triangle, Pepped Up is the first in a trilogy I have a good chance of continuing. (If only to get a better ending.)

An adequate meal! What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! 

Analee 10


Ali_AUTHOR BIO:

Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband and two children. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.

Author links: Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


INT Giveaway – $10 Amazon gift card + a signed copy of any book in the Pepper Jones series (ends August 27th)

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh | Book Review

(The Wrath and the Dawn #1)

Published: May 12th 2015

Synopsis:

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.


The Wrath and the Dawn_bookcover
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My Rating: 5 stars 5/5 (Outstanding)

Book Information

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance, Retelling, Young Adult

Page Count: 388

Format: Hardcover


Hello! It’s been forever since I’ve really done a worthwhile post—this past week has just been memes really, and I feel terrible for that! It’s been over a week since I last posted a review, and that really isn’t good. Not to mention I have yet to go around to a lot of your blogs and reply to your comments. I’m sorry, guys! I’ve really been trying to, but I just don’t seem to have the time, and I have no idea how things just got so out of hand. Anyway, please hold your sticks and stones for now, I really am super sorry. 😦

Anyway, gloom and doom aside, today I finally have a review, on, as you may have guessed, The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. This A Thousand and One Nights retelling has been super hyped up before and since its release, so I was super excited to see that this was the chosen book for the August read-along hosted by Bibliophile Gathering. Now, I’m going to be completely honest here and say that going into this book, I hardly had any idea what A Thousand and One Nights was about. I’m not sure whether I’m supposed to know this fairytale before reading this book, but I didn’t. Either way, it didn’t affect the reading experience. This book was amazing and I really loved it. I totally understand the hype and it met my expectations in a completely unexpected way (if that makes any sense)!

Quick Summary

The eighteen year-old Caliph of Khoresan, Khalid is a killer. Every night Khalid chooses a new bride, only to have her killed as sunrise. It all comes as a surprise when brave Shahrzad volunteers to be his bride. But Shahrzad is more than what she seems, as her clever mind is set on getting revenge on the man who killed her best friend and so many others. Problem is, she might just be falling in love with him… But how could she, when he’s proven, time and time again, to be a killer?Read More »

Like Candy by Debra Doxer | ARC Book Review (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

(Candy #1)

Published: July 28th 2015

Synopsis:

Revenge is sweet, just like candy.

Candy Seaborne knows she’s badass. She takes after her father, an assassin and possibly a spy, although he won’t admit to either. She idolizes him. Her dream is to follow in his footsteps. But first, she has to finish high school.

Biding her time, waiting for real life to begin, Candy craves drama and isn’t above manufacturing some. If you’re a classmate who wronged her or a boyfriend who cheated, watch your back. She’s no pushover, and revenge may be her favorite pastime.

Jonah Bryson is the senior class heartthrob who breaks all the stereotypes. He’s a jock, but he isn’t the typical player. He’s moody and antisocial. No girl has gotten anywhere with him since his last girlfriend broke his heart.

Candy sees Jonah as a challenge and the perfect distraction. But she may be in over her head because unlike everyone else, Jonah isn’t buying her tough act. He sees the lost, lonely girl inside. He sees too much. When he looks at her that way, she wants to let her guard down and be vulnerable. But that’s the last thing she should do because her father’s world is spilling over into hers, and life is about to get real much sooner than Candy expected.


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My Rating: 3.5 stars 3.5/5 (Liked it)

Book Information

Genre(s): Romance, Mystery, Young Adult

Page Count: 258

Format: ebook

Purchase: Amazon


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Welcome to my review tour stop of Like Candy by Debra Doxer, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.

Note: I received a free digital eARC of this book thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for review purposes. This does not affect my review.

Like Candy was an entertaining romance and mystery (mostly romance)! I know the genres include ‘mystery’ but really the majority of the book was romance, or that’s how it felt like. It wasn’t ’till I reached near the end of the book where my heart was really beating because of the mystery, my toes curled in anticipation to see what will happen next. Although this was misleading and kind of threw me off, I really enjoyed this book nonetheless.

Plot

The plot was kind of a surprise to me, mostly because from the blurb, I was expecting some kick-butt action from the main character, Candy, but instead got a girl with no skills other than to be able to manipulate and pull pranks on people who’ve wronged her. I also think it could’ve been better executed, it had the potential to be both a contemporary romance as well as a mystery and spy novel, and sometimes that clashed. That being said, the plot was still very entertaining. Despite what I just said about the two genres clashing, I really enjoyed the fact that while we were led to believe the book was all romance by the first part, there were little twists and turns here and there that made the storyline more engaging and unexpected. A lot of the book did focus on the romance between Candy and Jonah, though, so beware of that. Although the plot wasn’t exactly what I expected, I liked the way things turned out, even though the expected cliffhanger at the end has me cursing that I can’t yet read the next book. 🙂

Characters

Candy herself was an interesting character, one for which I have conflicted feelings toward. On one hand, her manipulative attitude, and actions, instead of coming off as badass, as she says herself, at times felt plain mean and petty,and rude for no reasonNot to mention throughout the book she hardly showed any assassin or badass skills at all, which was kind of disappointing. On the other hand, I did understand why she acted the way she did, and found it intriguing, as twisted that may sound. All she really wanted was her father’s approval, the one thing she never seems to be able to get. Her father is often cold and distant, which frustrated me because Candy deserved more, from her father, at least. She was, no matter how much of a strong, assassin kind of character she claimed to be, still really innocent and with no mother and a pretty bad childhood, she wanted, no, needed her father to be proud of her. I understood that, it really made her character, although sometimes hard to like, easier to sympathize with, because a parent’s approval is something we’ve all wanted some time or another, am I right?

As for the other characters, they shined less brightly than Candy, obviously, except for Jonah and Candy’s father. But starting with Jonah, the love interest. I can’t exactly say what I liked most about him, but I did like his character.

“I wish I was the first guy you fell for. Then maybe the shadows in your eyes wouldn’t be there, and when I told you how beautiful you are, you’d believe me. You make me want to erase those shadows and chase away the memories that put them there, because every day that you don’t realize how amazing you are is a tragedy in my book.”

He was definitely swoon-worthy! And hidden inside him there are a bunch of mysteries and secrets which added both depth to his character and more uncertainty that kept me engaged in the story.

As for Candy’s father, I was quite frustrated with him in the way he treated Candy, both hot and cold moods (generally cold) but his character really intrigued me. By the end of the novel we hardly knew anything more about him than when we started (which was kind of irksome, to be honest) and he was in a cloud of mystery. He has a lot of potential to be a crucial part in the story, and I’m really interested in seeing how he will turn out to be.

Writing Style

The writing style was great! I couldn’t stop reading, everything flowed seamlessly, and there were often parts of the book where it was like reading poetry without actually reading poetry, if that makes any sense.

“As I watched my mother fade and my father grieve, my inability to do anythings sat like a weight on my chest, growing heavier each day until something as simple as breathing hurt. All I could do was stand by while everything fell apart, and no matter how much I wished for things to get better, they never did.”

Although novels written in first person is sometimes a hit or miss kind of thing, in this book, I really felt Candy’s emotions, her feelings, really clearly and the writing was executed very well for the story. It was steamy in some places, mysterious in others, cute in several places. All arranged nicely to really show Candy’s feelings.

Overall…

This book felt more like a ‘hit or miss’ to me. You either like it or you don’t. The plot was an interesting combination of both mystery and romance, while most of the book focuses on the romance, there is more to it that keeps you engaged in the story. I’ll be looking forward to the second book, especially after the cliffhanger in this book! I’m also interested in seeing more of Candy’s development. She was fine in this book, however there are several things about her that I think I was supposed to enjoy, but instead I found came off as shallow and unmoral, and which might be delved into more in the sequel. I did really sympathize with her and understood her though, which is a plus in the reading experience. The secondary characters weren’t the greatest, but both Jonah and Candy’s father had a lot of depth to them and have the potential to be great characters in the sequel. The writing was easy to read, seamlessly flowing and really helping to get the readers acquainted with the way Candy thought. All in all, this book was quite enjoyable and I liked it!

This book will have you gobbling it up like candy! Eat it quickly!

Analee 10


Debra

AUTHOR BIO:
Debra Doxer was born in Boston, and other than a few lost years in the California sunshine, she has always resided in the Boston area. She writes fiction, technical software documents, illegible scribbles on sticky notes, and texts that get mangled by AutoCorrect. She writes for a living, and she writes for fun. When her daughter asks when she’ll run out of words, her response always is, “When I run out of time.”
Connect with Debra. She loves hearing from readers.
Author links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


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What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi | ARC Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Published: August 4th 2015

Synopsis:

It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead, he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.

The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions, and Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?


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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Genre(s): Contemporary, Young-Adult

Page Count [hardcover]: 320

Format: ebook


Thank you Sourcebooks Fire for sending me an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

Hello! Today I have a review on What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi, a stunningly touching and unique YA contemporary novel. If I had to sum up this word using two words, I’d use ‘unique‘ and ‘addictive‘ because that’s exactly what it is. It’s so rare to me, in YA contemporaries, that we have the perspective of a male in a teenage pregnancy situation. Time and time again I come across books with a teenage mother, but hardly ever have I encountered a book from the viewpoint of a teenage father. And it is so often we see books about cancer making the rounds, hardly ever do we see books with a fresh take on it. But this book, provided me with exactly that. What You Left Behind was an honest, hooking and unique story from the perspective of a teenage widowed father, and put a different twist on a cancer story that I really enjoyed.

Quick Summary

Everything fell apart when Meg died from cancer and left behind a baby girl. Hope. And Meg’s death seemed to be all Ryden’s fault. After all, he got her pregnant, which caused her to stop her chemo treatment, her one chance to overcome her cancer and survive. Meg’s parents seem to agree, and offers no help in providing support for Hope. Now Ryden has financial issues as he tries to deal with taking care of Hope and getting to soccer practice as he’s aiming to earn an athletic scholarship. The only bright spot in everything is Joni. But with Ryden being unable to let go of Meg, how will he ever be able to move on?

Plot

The plot is honest, un-sugarcoated and emotional. It’s a touching story and I really loved it! What I loved most about it was the unique perspective. Kudos to Jessica Verdi for tackling a different side of a common book trope in an interesting and engaging way! I really enjoyed reading from the point of view of a male teenager who has to take care of a baby; that is quite rare I find, and Jessica Verdi pulled it off! I was completely immersed in the plot, and I never wanted to stop reading. It was a cute romance while still being an emotional story portraying the struggles in life, both happy and sad, which was great to read.

Characters

I really loved Ryden as a narrator. He wasn’t perfect, and often there were times where I wanted to slap him across the face so that he would wake up and make things right. One of the times being how he completely neglects his daughter, I really wished he treated her better and that there were more love between the two. That did bug me, but really, in the end I simply couldn’t dislike him. I understood his struggles. I felt bad for him. I mean, what 17 year-old teenage boy wants to be stuck taking care of a baby almost single-handedly when he could be playing soccer for a scholarship?
Ryden’s definitely not going to be coming first in any selflessness contests anytime soon; his tendency of putting what he wanted above the needs of others was frustrating, but by the end he goes through a lot of development and became a better person. Also, there was the fact that his pain over losing Meg was simply so strong, so real, I couldn’t just not sympathize with him. Jessica Verdi did a great job at creating a character that is a realistic portrayal of a teenage father, a character who, while made a lot of mistakes, and was sometimes annoying, still was able to earn my compassion, understanding and sympathy.

Joni, the main female character in the novel, was great too. She was feisty and a strong, independant woman who was perfect for Ryden. I liked the relationship between her and Ryden, they had great chemistry, but more than that, her personality was simply a lot of fun. I really liked how Joni was portrayed; not a stereotypical girl you encounter in contemporaries, but a lively and real person who is unafraid in standing up for herself.

The other characters were very well-done. I especially loved Ryden’s mother and her role in the story. Even though she didn’t have a particularly large role, her constant support of Ryden and his baby Hope was simply so heart-warming and had a pretty big impact in Ryden’s character development. I loved how she wasn’t MIA in the story; she was present and really did the best she could to help out and show her son that he could still be a great father despite lacking a maternal presence by his side.

Writing Style

“Finding someone you can really connect with is like winning the lottery—It happens basically never, but if it does, you really shouldn’t blow it.”

The writing style was great; it was light but thoughtful, fun and well-suited for the story. The writing really reflected Ryden’s thoughts effectively, his emotions were strong and clear, and I really enjoyed reading it.

“I still don’t quite get how each one of those stars is actually a sun, burning up its own part of the universe. It seems incomprehensible that something that big, that complex, that infinite, is out there, while we’re here on this stupid planet, watching reality shows and waiting in line for the new iPhone and buying all the chia seeds in the Whole Foods because some article told us it was trendy, thinking we’re tough shit, like any of it means anything.”

There was also an undertone of dry humour throughout the book that I really enjoyed reading. That’s to be expected, as the story is told from the perspective of a 17 year-old teenager, and I’m glad it didn’t disappoint! The writing was really fun to read.

Overall…

I recommend this book to readers of contemporary and romance, and for readers who are looking for a fresh page in YA contemporary. This book provides you with a twist on two popular and overused storylines; teenage pregnancy and cancer. While you have to face a main character who sometimes makes extremely selfish and bad decisions, in the end it’s worth it. The main character, Ryden, does make bad decisions, but you can’t help but feel sorry for him, and understand his situation. Not only that, there is a great mother-son relationship in the book, and a great female main character as well. The writing is a lot of fun to read, and has an interesting and humorous tone to the it. All in all, this book was great and I’d definitely recommend it!


Oh, look what you left behind! Your tasty meal awaits, come and pick it up!

Analee 10

Pretty Dark Sacrifice by Heather L. Reid | ARC Book Review (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

(Pretty Dark Nothing #2)

Published: July 28th 2015

Synopsis:

It’s been five weeks, two days, and eight hours since the demons forced Quinn to throw herself into the raging river, since Aaron sacrificed himself to save her, since his body disappeared without a trace.

Everyone wants Quinn to move on, but she can’t, not after a spirit appears to her at Aaron’s memorial, convincing her he’s still alive.

When a mysterious box materializes on the very spot Aaron disappeared, Quinn finds she’s at the center of an ancient prophesy of betrayal, revenge, and sacrifice that takes her to the depths of the underworld to face Lilith—Adam’s first wife.

If Quinn can stop Lilith from unleashing the demon horde Eve, trapped inside the box during the Battle of Eden millennia ago, she will save the human realm and free Aaron from an eternity in torment.

All it will cost is her blood.


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My Rating: 3.5 stars 3.5/5 (Liked it)

Book Information

Publisher: Month9books, LLC.

Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, Young-Adult

Page Count: 230

Format: ebook

Purchase LinksBAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks


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Welcome to my review stop of Pretty Dark Sacrifice by Heather L. Reid, a haunting YA paranormal romance!

Note: I received a free digital eARC of this book for review purposes thanks to Chapter by Chapter and the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book.

The sequel to Pretty Dark Nothing was just as gripping, unique and full of twists as its predecessor Pretty Dark Nothing [review]. Unfortunately I did find the main character to be annoying at the start of the book, unlike in Pretty Dark Nothing,where I was able to sympathize and understand the protagonist. However, I did come to accept her by the end of the book, and that’s one of the main reasons I rated this book closer to 4 stars than 3. The plot and writing were also great!

Quick Summary

It’s been over a month since Aaron sacrificed himself to save Quinn. Everyone has pretty much moved on, except for Quinn, who refuses to believe Aaron was dead despite the fact the search was called off becuase there were no results. She soon finds that he is held captive by a dangerous threat; Lilith, who plans to create an army of demons to destroy the human race. Quinn is desperate to get Aaron back, and would do anything to save him. Question is, will she be able to do it without getting humanity destroyed in the process?

Plot

I really liked the plot, it was relatively unique and I would say I liked it even more than that of Pretty Dark Nothing. By just a little bit, though. One of the things I liked, that I usually like in all sequels, is the fact that I was already introduced to the characters and the book was able to start off immediately in the middle of action. There was no need to start off slowly, after all. But what I liked most about the plot was the storyline. The whole thing with Lilith and the demons. I’ve read several books with demons in them, but both this and Pretty Dark Nothing provided me with a more different take on them, which I enjoyed reading in this book. These demons, they fed on negativity, and the way this was portrayed was so interesting!

“Where she went, the demons followed. Already, they invaded the ever-widening cracks in her mental barrier. She could feel their insidious claws digging into her memories, searching out her pain.”

(Pretty Dark Sacrifice ARC, Chapter 1)

Characters

I will say right off the bat that Quinn was more difficult to enjoy in this book. In the first book, she made a lot of mistakes, but for the most part I was able to understand why and sympathize, which was the main reason I was okay with her. But in this one, it was different, because while I understood why she did the things she did, I couldn’t exactly sympathize or approve. Okay, so she’s in love with Aaron and feels guilty because he sacrificed himself for her, but that doesn’t mean it’s fine to be reckless and risk everything to save him, when it meant that the whole human race was at stake. I did understand why though; she was desperate and guilty, and I guess when you’re in love, that’s what happens? I don’t know, but I was annoyed with her attitude for most of the first part of the book. However, I did come to like her soon enough. I did admire her bravery and determination, not to mention strength when facing Lilith and her demons. I also really liked the lack of love triangle in this one, if there had been one it wouldn’t have made sense and it would’ve just been bothersome. Quinn came off as annoying and weak at the start, but by the end I actually did come to really care about her.

Aaron, the love interest, we don’t get to see much of in this book, but I did like him. Probably even more than I liked Quinn. I really liked his dedication and love for Quinn, (although I would say he deserves better). He was also very determined, and never gave up on finding a way to escape and defeat Lilith.
As for the other characters, I think they kind of fell flat, but they were still good nonetheless. I liked Marcus, Aaron’s best friend, he was a comic relief and very sweet. Reese, Quinn’s best friend, I wasn’t that impressed, but she was alright. There was a good cast of characters that were essential to the story and relatively interesting to read about.

Writing Style

The writing style was great, I really liked the mood Heather L. Reid was able to create with her writing; dark and mysterious. There were also a lot of descriptive passages, which were great because they weren’t overdone and were useful in visualizing the world. It kept me interested in the book, and as a result, I flew through the pages!

Overall…

I liked this book! I would say I liked it around the same as the first book, although I would say I liked the plot for this one a bit better. I found the main character to be a bit annoying in the first part of the book, but I did warm up to her as I continued the story, and by the end of the story, although I didn’t love her, she was a good character. The other characters were interesting too. What I liked most about this book was its storyline, I definitely recommend giving this series a try if you’re looking for a refreshing take on demons or like paranormal romance. From what I read in the ending, it seems like this will be a trilogy, and I’ll be looking forward to reading the last book! 

Hungry? Not hungry? Either way, I definitely say you should gobble it up if you like paranormal romance meals!

Analee 10


Heather L. ReidABOUT HEATHER L. REID:

Heather L. Reid is both American and British and has called six different cities in three different countries, home. Her strong sense of wanderlust and craving for a new adventure mean you might find her wandering the moors of her beloved Scotland, exploring haunted castles, or hiking through a magical forest in search of fairies and sprites. When she’s not venturing into the unknown in her real life, she loves getting lost in the worlds of video games or curling up by the fire with good story. For now, this native Texan is back in the Lone Star State, settling down with her Scottish husband and writing new tales of fantasy and horror.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Pinterest | Instagram


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Made You Up by Francesca Zappia | Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Published: May 19th 2015

Synopsis:

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.


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My Rating: 5 stars 5/5 (Outstanding)

Book Information

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Young-Adult

Page Count: 448

Format: Hardcover


Hello! Today I have for you a review on Made You Up by Francesca Zappia. I absolutely fell in love with this book and the author, it was simply fantastic. The plot was full of unpredictable twists and throughout it all had such a cute romance! Not to mention the mental illness that the story revolved around. This is one of the few times I read a book with an unreliable narrator, and Francesca Zappia absolutely nailed it. I loved Alex, and Miles!! They were both so wonderful. No, actually, all the characters were great, and the writing style was wonderful. ❤ The praise is endless!

Quick Summary

Alex is schizophrenic. She hears things. Hallucinates. Every day she struggles to know what is real and what is made up. She’s determined to prove to her family and doctors that she’ll be able pass high school and get into college, and most of the time, it seems like she’s succeeding. But when you enter Miles into the picture, and a whole bunch of confusion between what’s real and what’s not, things get difficult. Alex was never normal. But is she ready to be?Read More »

Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather L. Reid | Book Review

(Pretty Dark Nothing #1)

Published: April 23rd 2013

Synopsis:

It’s been twenty three days since Quinn has slept for more than minutes at a time. Demons have invaded her dreams, stalking her, and whispering of her death. The lack of sleep and crippling fear are ruining her life. Energy drinks and caffeine pills don’t make a dent. When Quinn dozes off in the school hallway, Aaron, an amnesiac with a psychic ability, accidentally enters her nightmare. The demons are determined to keep them apart, and Aaron from discovering the secret locked away in his memory. Together, they could banish the darkness back to the underworld for good. That is, unless the demons kill them first.


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My Rating: 3.5 stars 3.5/5 (Liked it)

Book Information

Publisher: Month9Books

Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, Young-Adult

Page Count:

Format: ebook


Note: I received a free digital copy of this book for review purposes. This does not at all affect my opinion or review.

Hello! Today I have a review on Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather L. Reid, an interesting YA paranormal romance. This book had several cliché elements, but I really liked the storyline of this book. The main character, while not likeable to everyone, is still a good character, albeit flawed.

Plot

“A creeping cold inched its way across her exposed skin, dotting her flesh with goose bumps. Something dark and sinister played against the dead weight of her sleeping body from the other side of the headboard. The wood shuddered and groaned as something evil reached out, searching for the portal that would open with a deep sleep. Quinn’s breath quickened with the thought of what was coming, but it was too late. She was helpless, already suspended in a state of horror between waking and dreaming and no energy left to fight.”

I really liked the whole idea of the plot. It was creative and unique and put a different spin on demons that I enjoyed. I wasn’t a huge fan of the love drama Quinn goes through in the midst of it all, but I did like the paranormal aspect of it. I mean, I have read other books with demons and it, and this book portrayed them with a ‘feeding on negativity‘ thing that I don’t see often in other books.

Characters

So starting off with Quinn, the main protagonist. I will admit, she isn’t a character I usually care for. I found her to be weak and annoying several times throughout the story, which may be even more intensified for some of you, if you really can’t stand these kind of characters. However, I did actually like her. Well, the word like might be too strong of a word, but I at least sympathized with her, and while I did not completely approve of her choices, I understood them. You see, if you looked at the story from a distance, Quinn seems needy, clingy, and obsessed with her ex, Jeff. In fact, these were my initial thoughts about her, but at a closer inspection, I understood her reluctance to let go, her need for someone to be there for her because no one else is. I understood why she did the things she did; it was out of her control and in the end, I couldn’t exactly blame her for that. She was flawed, but I didn’t find her to be bad because of those flaws, instead, they helped add depth to her character.

We also get the POV of the love interest, Aaron. While the addition of Jeff in the story technically makes him a second love interest, Jeff never really was a true love interest. Quinn thought she loved him (for a good chunk of the book, admittedly) but she realized afterwards she didn’t. Anyway, Aaron, I really liked; he was sweet and nice and definitely didn’t deserve what Quinn put him through. His dedication to Quinn despite it all is heartwarming, although kind of frustrating at times. But ultimately, I ship them.

Writing Style

“Within seconds, she hit the cold, hard earth, knocking the wind out of her. She gasped. The familiar smell of damp and decay warned of where the darkness had taken her.”

The writing style was interesting too. I especially looked forward the parts where the author was describing the scenes with the demons, because I liked the descriptions and the mood she created; mysterious and dark. It was often very suspenseful, and that’s what I think was the best part of the writing.

Overall…

I definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a book with an interesting take on demons. There is a love triangle in this one, but it’s a more different kind of one, less prominent, I would say. Although the main character might be an issue for some, I really liked Quinn’s character, although she’s can be very uncertain and comes off as needy at times, there are other factors that add depth to her character. The writing style is great, very suspenseful and intriguing. If you’re a fan of paranormal romance, this is something you shouldn’t pass up!

Want a taste? It’s pretty dark, but it’s definitely not nothing! (Lol. [Bad] pun intended.)

Analee 10

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli | Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Published: April 7th 2015

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.


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My Rating: 5 stars 5/5 (Outstanding)

Book Information

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance (LGBTQ), Young-Adult

Page Count: 303

Formats I Own: Hardcover, ebook


Hello! Today I have a review on Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, a fantastic book that you all must absolutely read! There has been so much hype around this book, and I’m so happy to say it’s worth it. This book was heartwarming, sweet and will simply keep you up until you finish it!

Quick Summary

From a distance, Simon Spier is a pretty normal teenager, except for a little detail; he’s a closet gay. And except for his secret email correspondant, Blue, no one knows it. Until another person (a guy named Martin) finds out, and screenshots Simon’s emails to Blue to use as blackmail. Now Simon has to help Martin get closer to the girl he likes, Abby, or Martin will expose the emails on the internet. Not only that, Simon faces several other obstacles, which in turn makes Simon’s world completely upside down.Read More »

The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak | ARC Book Review

(The Heartbreaker Chronicles #1)

Expected Publication: August 4th 2015

Synopsis:

Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD…for four hours. She’s totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she’ll never see him again.

Except, Stella’s life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life?

But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver — dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band — when her sister could be dying of cancer?

Ali Novak wrote her debut novel My Life with the Walter Boys when she was just 15 years old, and has since penned her next book, The Heartbreakers. First a hit on the online community Wattpad, her second novel has over 38 million reads and is loved by readers around the world.


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My Rating: 4 stars 4/5 (Really Good)

Book Information

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Young-Adult

Page Count: 336

Format: ebook


Note: I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hello! Today I have for you a review on The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak. This book was amazing! I had to stay up late to finish this, it was that good. And I’m glad I did! This book is the perfect summer read, great to simply have fun, relax, and just get caught up in a cute romance.

Quick Summary

Stella would do anything for her sister, Cara, who is dying from cancer. Even standing in line for a signing from a world-famous band whose music Stella hates, The Heartbreakers, since her sister’s a die-hard fan. Stella had no idea when she met a cute guy in Starbucks that he was Oliver Perry, the lead singer of The Heartbreakers, and he had no idea that she was one of the only people who hated his music. As they get the chance to get to know eachother, Stella finds he’s not a bad guy. But how could Stella think of dating and spending time with Oliver when her sister is dying?Read More »

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley | Book Review

(Magonia #1)

Published: April 28th 2015

Synopsis:

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?


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My Rating: 3.5 stars 3.5/5 (Liked it)

Book Information

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre(s): Fantasy, Young-adult

Page Count: 320

Format I Own: Hardcover & ebook


Hello! Today I have a review on Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley. I finally read this book, as part of a Goodreads read-along (hosted by The Book Club of Opinionated Hufflepuffs). I finished this book pretty quickly, considering it was 320 pages, which I translate to: addictive! After reading it, I will admit that I was quite conflicted, but I’ve finally sorted out my thoughts to say that I liked it. In the end I would say this book deserves a solid 3.5 stars. And I’m so happy about that! This book seemed like such a book, and although it wasn’t quite what I expected, it was still enjoyable and I’m interested in seeing what the second book will be like.

Quick Summary

Aza was always going to die. She’s literally choking on thin air, and the doctors all predicted she would die. When Aza sees a ship in the sky, calling out to her, everyone thinks it’s simply a hallucination, except her best friend Jason. But then one day Aza wakes up, stronger than ever to find that she’s crucial to the survival of a whole new world—Magonia. Will Aza be able to let go of the people she loves on Earth to do what she need to do?Read More »

Spellbinder by C.C. Hunter | Book Review

(Shadow Falls novella) 

Published: June 30th 2015

Synopsis:

When magic, romance and family secrets collide, the result is spellbinding!

Miranda Kane has always felt like a screw up–at least when it comes to her ability to wield magic. Her only sanctuary is Shadow Falls camp, where she’s learning to harness her powers as a witch. But thanks to her shapeshifter boyfriend who called it quits and ran off to Paris, both her heart and powers feel broken.

When she unexpectedly lands a top spot in a spell casting competition in France, she flies out with her best friends Kylie and Della. But her trip takes her straight into the heart of a dangerous supernatural mystery–and a heated romance. What Miranda doesn’t expect is for her investigation to unleash shocking revelations…about herself, her family, and her arch enemy. Now Miranda must step up and show everyone that she’s a witch to be reckoned with….before it’s too late.


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My Rating: 4 stars 4/5 (Really Good)

Book Information

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

Page Count: 147

Format: e-book


Hola! Or, bonjour, as this book takes place primarily in France. Anyway, point is, hello! I am still working on several other full-length novel reviews, and until I can post them I shall be entertaining you all on this interesting and intriguing novella; Spellbinder by C.C. Hunter! This is a Shadow Falls novella, told from the point-of-view of one of the side characters in both C.C. Hunter’s Shadow Falls & Shadow Falls After Dark series:Miranda Kane.

I really enjoyed both Shadow Falls and Shadow Falls After Dark, and so I had been eagerly anticipating this release! Although Miranda hadn’t been a character I cared for as much, I was intrigued to see what life from her POV is like. And so I finally read it! I really enjoyed it. I really got to understand Miranda more and liked her more too. And in the romance & action department, this book didn’t lack either. Anyway, I’m rambling way too much for an intro, so let’s get to it.

Quick Summary

Miranda has always wanted her mother’s approval on her abilities. She participates in magic competitions–but ends up feeling like a screw-up. But this time around, she has more of an incentive to work to become high priestess; tickets for her her and friends to fly to Paris for the next Wicca magic tournament. Paris also happens to be where her kind-of ex-boyfriend, Perry, was, who had studies in Paris, the reason why he had called off their relationship. But everything is tougher when secrets are revealed and blood is spilled…

My Review

A plot of romance, mystery and action, what could go wrong? And in the hands of Ms. C.C. Hunter? Pff, nothing to worry about, that’s for sure, particularly if you’re a fan of the Shadow Falls series. The story takes place after the events of the second book in the Shadow Falls: After Dark series, Eternal, and the plot was gripping! Especially near the end. I have to say I did find a few events kind of predictable, for which I deduct maybe, .5 star, but I was able to overlook that in terms of how much I enjoyed the story. What I really liked was how even though this book is a paranormal romance, C.C. Hunter managed to keep an undertone of a realistic portrayal of teenage problems and friendship. There were two major things in the storyline, and C.C. Hunter managed to keep them both in check, making sure they weren’t all scattered and everything. The plot was very well-written, I was kept on my toes in anticipation while still sympathizing and feeling for the characters at the same time, which was great.

Which brings me to the characters. Like I mentioned, Miranda hadn’t been a character I particularly cared about (although I didn’t dislike her) but this novella really got me to understand her and her problems. Miranda had always wanted her mother’s approval, and this novella really showed how much that approval meant to her. Because seeing it from the perspective from one of her friends is way different than seeing it from her perspective herself, and I love how this uncertainty, this want for approval made Miranda into a more relatable character. I mean, don’t we all want our parents’ approval? No matter what age we are, our parents’ opinions really matter, and it was interesting seeing how Miranda dealt with this. Also, this novella also shines light on the other characters that we didn’t get much of a view on in the other books in the series, like Shawn and Tabitha. It was great finding more about them. Most of all, Miranda was put in a new light for me; I saw her as more of a stronger, braver and compassionate person, and I really enjoyed seeing the ‘true’ Miranda.

Lastly, the writing style. C.C. Hunter’s writing is definitely one of my favorites; it’s very simple, yet engaging, unique and addicting. Even if this wasn’t a novella I’d probably be unable to stop reading the book, because the writing style is simply so great!

Overall…

A great addition to the Shadow Falls series, this book is great for those of you Shadow Falls fans craving for the third book in the Shadow Falls: After Dark series. This novella will provide you wil a gripping plot, realistic problems alongside a paranormal storyline, and give you a refreshing perspective on Miranda’s character. The writing style is engaging and enjoyable, overall I recommend this mostly to readers of the Shadow Falls series! I suppose this can be read alone, however it will give some spoilers on the series, of course. All in all, I really enjoyed this novella!

What do you think of this novella? Have you read it or the series? Let me know in the comments below!

Sounds tasty? Well then, eat it up! It is positively spellbinding.

Analee 10

Deception So Dark by Clara Kensie | Book Review

(Run to You #2)

Published: May 1st 2015

Synopsis:

Originally published as the Run to You serial parts 4-6— Fourth Shadow, Fifth Touch, and Sixth Sense.

Deception So Dark is the complete second novel in the Run to You series, a riveting thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past, and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…

With no more secrets to keep them apart, Tessa and Tristan embark upon a desperate search to find her missing brother and sister. But not even Tristan can keep Tessa safe from the hostile classmates at her new school…or from the nightmare that haunts her even while she’s awake. As Tessa’s nightmare becomes all too real, her hope of getting her family back together feels ever more out of reach. When a psychic warns her that leaving town may mean her death, Tessa still cannot stay when she uncovers a potential lead to her brother and sister. Not even if she must go alone and risk losing it all: Tristan, her family, and even her life.

Run to You is Tessa and Tristan’s story—two full-length books about psychic gifts, secret lives and dangerous loves. Danger. Deception. Betrayal. It must be true love.


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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Genre(s): Young-adult, romantic thriller

Page Count: 325

Format: E-book


 Note: I received a free digital copy of this book thanks to YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Run to You Series Review

Hello fellow bookworms! I have for you now the review on the sequel to Deception So Deadly, Deception So Dark. (You can check out the review to Deception So Deadly here.) This book, was even more mind-blowing than its predecessor, if that’s even possible. Although there are a few things I liked better in the first book, this book took me on an unforgettable roller coaster and I really enjoyed it. (I’ll be skipping the quick summary this time, by the way.)

Plot

The plot, the plot. It picks up from where the first one ended, and at the start, I will admit I wasn’t convinced that this book would be able to impress me. But I shouldn’t have doubted it, because this book instead brought a organized mashup of plot twists, interesting ideas and cliffhangers. I say organized mashup because while it was all sorts of things mixed together, it was done in a calculated and organized manner, which means the plot twists and cliffhangers weren’t all over the place or anything, just like the first book. Everything was done, I felt, to a certain purpose, and it was really well delivered.

Characters

In the first book I really got attached to the characters, and reading this book was great because I didn’t have to go through the trouble of getting to know them and worrying about whether I like them or not. Tessa, our heroine, made a lot more mistakes in this book than in Deception So Deadly (which seems to be a common theme in YA books, I think) but luckily I still managed to really like her. I suppose it was because I understood her needs and why she did what she did, and a part of me approved of her decision, and admired her for it, no matter how risky and unintelligent it was. No character is perfect, right? As far as flaws go, Tessa’s weren’t bad, and didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment of her character.

As for where Tristan is concerned, I still really liked him! I loved seeing how much he truly, sincerely loved Tessa, it was beautiful. What bothered me about him was mostly because he was a bit too obsessed with keeping Tessa safe, and had a bruised ego when he couldn’t. I guess I admire his love for Tessa, but it got on my nerves a bit afterwards. However, in essence, I wasn’t truly upset with him, especially after all he does for Tessa. All in all, the characters were fantastic.

Writing Style

The writing style didn’t change much as far as I could see from the first book, luckily, since it was gripping, engaging and easy to read! I really enjoyed the writing style, it made my reading experience better than it already was by being simple, but gripping and interesting from the very first page.

Overall…

I enjoyed this book so much! Even more than the first book, which I didn’t think would be possible. The plot was a lot more suspenseful in this one, although I think the first book is more fast-paced. I completely fell in love with the characters all over again, and really admired Tessa, sympathizing with her as well. I also really loved the romance in this book; it was sweet, strong and true, I loved how no matter what, Tessa and Tristan’s love stayed sincere and prevailed. The writing was great, just as gripping and interesting as it was in the first book. All in all, this book is one I would recommend you don’t miss if you’re interested in reading a YA romantic thriller!

Analee 10