Book Review: Insta-Hate

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Synopsis:

When Alexandria Ray’s romance series becomes an overnight sensation, the world and its demands close in on her. After years of struggling to maintain the pace her publisher, agent and the world expects, she needs a break. Enrolling as a student at Columbia University is step one to finding herself again. Finding Arsen Daniel was not on her list.

Arsen Daniel, along with his best friend, built an empire in the form of an exclusive, psychology-based dating service. When an old friend invites him to teach a course at Columbia, he accepts. The course? The Psychology of Love. Sounds simple enough and the publicity alone will make it worth his time.

Arsen didn’t expect to meet his match in the form of a sarcastic blonde, hell bent on holding to her belief that true love doesn’t actually exist. After all, what woman, especially a world-renowned romance writer, doesn’t believe in happily ever after?

Something in Alexandria’s eyes tortures him. She reminds him of someone from his past and that is a very bad thing.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

Honestly, I was thoroughly surprised by how much I ended up enjoying this novel. I discovered Insta-Hate through my daily BookBub ebook deals email and books I’ve discovered on there have really been hit or miss. I’ve been burned by the past two books I got from there so I was hesitant to give this book a try but I am so glad I did.

Insta-Hate is told in alternating point of views of Arsen and Alexandria (Lex), and I loved both of these characters pretty much as soon as they were introduced. Lex is a best selling author who’s agent is the worst. When Lex is offered this huge book deal that will basically make her insanely wealthy, she decides to pass it up, realizing she needs a break to figure out what she really wants. Since Lex never went to college she decides to take a class at Columbia where her best friend just happens to work in admissions. It’s always good to have a friend on the inside when you’re trying to start college in your mid-twenties.

Anyway, it’s at Columbia, specifically at a frat party, where Arsen and Lex bump into each other. Arsen runs this site called Instant Gratification, which is basically eHarmony but better somehow. The point is, Arsen’s pretty well off as the company is incredibly successful, which is why he let his friend convince him to be a guest lecturer at Columbia, teaching a class about love. Of course, that’s the class Lex is taking. However, they don’t know this at first when they bump into each other.

Instead, Arsen mistakes Lex for someone else and thus begins their love story and it’s pretty great. Even though the novel is titled Insta-Hate, it’s not a hate turned into love story. Sure, Lex definitely isn’t Arsen’s biggest fan at first (she threatens to tase him), but that’s not really what this novel is about. In fact, the novel took a turn that I kind of suspected but was also very surprised by, which I loved.

My only issue with this novel was some things went unexplained and I wasn’t sure why. For example, Lex ends up getting into this writing groove later on in the novel and writes this book that is supposedly amazing and yet I could not tell you what this book is about. I’m assuming it’s about her life story but that was never explicitly said and that confused me. Also, there’s one point in the novel when Arsen starts acting really stupid and on the one hand I could kind of understand why but the whole time I just wanted to shake him and say, “Stop being this way!” Thankfully, he did, in fact, stop being that way.

Overall though, this book really surprised. I was pretty hooked from the very beginning and I think I read the whole book in a day. Insta-Hate is definitely a quick romantic read that does have a few steamy scenes but it’s definitely not erotica. It includes a love of funny characters. In particular, I loved Lex and her friends Ave and Jillian. They were hilarious.

Definitely give this book a chance if you’re looking for a cute and quick read. I highly recommend it.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“Lust was a liar and I couldn’t afford to trust that slut.”

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Book Review: Trusting You & Other Lies

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Synopsis:

Phoenix can’t imagine anything worse than being shipped off to family summer camp. Her parents have been fighting for the past two years—do they seriously think being crammed in a cabin with Phoenix and her little brother, Harry, will make things better?

On top of that, Phoenix is stuck training with Callum—the head counselor who is seriously cute but a complete know-it-all. His hot-cold attitude means he’s impossible to figure out—and even harder to rely on. But despite her better judgment, Phoenix is attracted to Callum. And he’s promising Phoenix a summer she’ll never forget. Can she trust him? Or is this just another lie?

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from First in Line and B-Fest. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel was released on June 20.*

It’s officially summer, which means it’s time to pull out those contemporaries and get into a summer time vibe and Trusting You & Other Lies is the perfect book for that. Set at a family summer camp that was giving me serious Dirty Dancing vibes (the original, not the remake), we find Phoenix, her little brother, Harry, and their parents trying to pretend their family is way more functional than it actually is.

Phoenix is pissed at her parents because they’re in dire financial straits, but rather than tell Phoenix and Harry the truth they’ve been hiding it, though Phoenix has discovered their dirty little secret. Of course, rather than confront them she decides to be passive aggressive and has decided from the get go that she will not like this camp she’s being forced to attend.

Of course, that’s when Callum steps in. Callum is cute, mysterious, and everything you’re looking for in a summer fling. While Callum trains Phoenix to be a counselor it becomes more and more obvious that there’s an attraction between them, but Phoenix has serious trust issues, and not just because of her parents; her ex cheated on her right before she went to camp. As Phoenix tries to figure out her feelings for Callum (and his feelings for her), she also has to decide if she’s willing to forgive the ones who’ve betrayed her trust and learn to trust again.

While there were definitely some cute and swoonworthy scenes in this novel, I wasn’t all that impressed with Phoenix and Callum’s romance. Honestly, I wasn’t a big fan of Phoenix or Callum. They both annoyed me a lot throughout the novel and I just wanted to shake them and ask, “Why are you like this?” Harry was honestly my favorite character.

I was also kind of annoyed about some things that were mentioned and then never explained, mainly about Callum’s brother. I know Callum’s supposed to be mysterious but he’d just drop these tiny bombshells about his brother and then never say another else about it, which I found so irritating.

Besides that though, this was a decent romance and it was a pretty quick read. I probably wouldn’t read again but I didn’t hate it. Basically, it was meh.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow

Stars:

3 stars

Favorite Line:

“You are the porterhouse [steak]. The best. All those other girls, any other girl, they’re packing popcorn.”

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Instagram Pods: Instagrammers Open Up About the Positives & Negatives of the New Trend

Earlier this year, Instagram rolled out their new algorithm, which altered the way users’ feeds now appear. Rather than posts showing up in chronological order, they now appear based on the user’s past likes and the post’s popularity, at least in theory. In truth, no one really knows how exactly the algorithm determines which posts to show users or not, but for most Instagrammers it’s agreed that the algorithm has completely altered the way they engage with followers.

Most Instagrammers and bloggers note that since the new algorithm was implemented they’ve seen a drop in engagement on their accounts. Thus, out of the algorithm came the pods. If you use Instagram as an influencer or blogger, you’ve probably heard of Instagram pods. Essentially, a pod is a group of Instagrammers that share their posts with each other and every one within the group has to like and/or comment on each other posts. The idea is guaranteed likes and/or comments equal guaranteed engagement on your posts, therefore bettering the odds of your posts being seen by more people.

While the idea behind the pods sounds good, there are many who are hesitant about joining them.

For Kayla King (@_thesummerlover_), it was a long while before she decided to give Instagram pods a chance.

“I was hesitant to join a pod because it just didn’t feel real to me,” she said.

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Alex Welch (@thecheerfulcloset), who plans on never joining a pod, has a similar sentiment.

“I haven’t joined one because I’d rather people only comment on my Instagram if they really do feel compelled to comment,” she said.

However, for many people who are in pods, they feel these groups aren’t just about the likes and comments, it’s about meeting with and working with others who have the same general ideas and goals as themselves.

For King, one of her favorite parts about being in a pod is getting to work with others who are in her same “niche of wellness lifestyle, fitness, [and] nutrition.”

“It’s honestly exciting to be involved with girls who love the same things I do,” she added.

Similarly, Jillian Waun (@justgigiblog), who was once in six pods before deciding to leave them all, found that while she ultimately decided pods weren’t for her, she did discover “some great accounts and met some amazing bloggers from Instagram pods.”

Sarah Caton (@spaceplaceandgrace), who remains in a few pods, agreed, stating, “I have met many bloggers I may have never previously encountered and I continue to follow and engage with them despite having left the pod.”

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While it’s great that Instagram pods do build connections amongst other Instagrammers, do they actually help your Instagram’s growth? For Waun, the answer was both yes and no.

“I definitely saw my engagement go up,” she said of her experience. “I had a ton of comments, I got about 100 more likes than usual, and in my Instagram insights tab it said a lot more people than usual were viewing my Instagram profile and clicking on my site.

“On the flip side, I felt this ‘growth’ was fake and when I left all my pods, it proved to me that it was. My engagement went down, along with likes, comments, and followers.”

For Caton, “fake likes” weren’t the reason some pods didn’t work for her; it was a lack of participation.

“I believe [pods] helped for awhile,” she said. “Sure, my basic ‘like’ and ‘comment’ stats went up, but I felt like the groups had inconsistent participation and some people would fail to leave sincere comments, which made my posts’ engagement look spammy.”

So are pods really worth it or are there better ways to try and increase the engagement of your Instagram?

Darrian Duckworth (@darrianmduck), who left the pod she was in, believes that it depends on what you’re trying to get out of it.

“If you’re looking to make connections with other people in a certain niche, then I would definitely recommend joining one, even if for only a short amount of time,” she said. “Really take the time to decide whether or not it is right for you and if you fit into the group.”

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Similarly, King suggests only joining a pod if you’re working with accounts you actually love.

“But just take it all with a grain of salt, because it’s a not a lasting solution and it’s not the best way to really see growth,” she added.

Wuan, however, feels differently, and suggests there’s better ways to get engagement than through the pods.

“Just be genuine and create good content,” she said. “Connect with other Instagrammers outside of pods. Don’t focus on likes, followers, and comments… it only brings someone’s creativity down. Allow yourself to be different and not follow the crowd.”

If you do choose to join a pod the most important thing is to make sure you’re willing to put in as much as you’re going to get out of the group.

“Join only if you can keep up and authentically engage, such as leaving meaningful comments,” Caton said. “Know when to leave a group or scale back if you are struggling to engage [with] all [the] posts.”

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“If you don’t want a huge commitment, a like-only pod would probably be best because it’s much quicker to just like photos as they come in,” Alexandria Taylor (@chapter_fifteen), who’s currently in two pods, added. “If you’re willing to put in more effort, a like and comment pod might be a good fit.”

When it comes to deciding whether or not to join an Instagram pod, just do what feels right for you. There’s no right or wrong answer; just like there’s no right or wrong way to run your Instagram. Just do you.


Thank you to Kayla King, Alex Welch, Jillian Waun, Sarah Caton, Darrian Duckworth, and Alexandria Taylor for answering my questions. You can check out each of their blogs by simply clicking their names.

Book Review: The Edge of Everything

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Synopsis:

For the perfect love, what would you be willing to lose?

It’s been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who’s still reeling from her father’s shocking death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying subzero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in the woods–only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.

X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker and others like him. X is forbidden from revealing himself to anyone other than his prey, but he casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As they learn more about their colliding worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for them both.

Gripping and full of heart, this epic start to a new series will bring readers right to the edge of everything.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began reading The Edge of Everything. I don’t think I read the synopsis beforehand, or if I did I didn’t remember it once I started the novel. I didn’t even realize this was a series until very near the end, which shifted my perspective quite a bit. While I would’ve liked to have known that beforehand, I think it was good that I didn’t know what to expect going into this novel.

The book is told in close third person point of view alternating between protagonists and love interests Zoe and X. It starts with a prologue that immediately drew me in because I loved the characters almost instantly. Zoe is snarky, whereas X is quiet and timid, even though he could totally kill you with his bare hands. He also speaks like he’s from the 19th century, which I found hilarious and cute. Add in the fact that he adorably has no understanding of the world because he’s grown up in the Lowlands, which is basically hell, and X is now on my book boyfriends list.

Besides Zoe and X, I enjoyed pretty much every character in this novel. I loved Zoe’s little family. Her mom is such a badass and her brother Jonah is so cute and super excitable. Then there’s Zoe’s ex Dallas who is such a dork and I love him. Zoe’s best friend Val was also great and funny. Down in the Lowlands, I really liked X’s friends Banger and Ripper, which is interesting because on the one hand they’ve done terrible things to end up in the Lowlands and yet I ended up loving them anyway. I also really liked the one of the Lowlands lord Regent and how he treated X. There’s some other lords that I could’ve lived without.

Essentially, the best part about this novel was the characters. They’re who really drew me in and I loved Zoe and X’s relationship, however, if you’re not a fan of insta-love you will not like this. I am a fan (in most cases) so I was immediately on the Zoe/X love train. The plot itself, however, didn’t draw me in as much as I would’ve hoped. My main issue was that it definitely felt predictable to me. I had a suspicion from early on that ended up proving to be right and I didn’t want to be.

Also, there’s a long part of the novel where Zoe and X are apart and while I understood why, that part of the novel dragged for me. I started skimming, thinking to myself, “Give me the good stuff. Where is the action?” It was just a bit too slow for me. However, once I got past that hump things got really interesting and I was sucked back in.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed The Edge of Everything and I will be reading the sequel, mainly because I need to know how this all ends. I’m kind of hoping this is just a duology, though I have no idea if that’s actually the case. I feel like I only need one more book to tie everything up but who knows what Jeff Giles has up his sleeves?

In any case, The Edge of Everything was worth the read and if you haven’t read it yet you should give it a chance.

Borrow or Buy: Buy

Stars:

3 stars

Favorite Line:

“If I do not return it is only because not one but two worlds conspired to stop me.”

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The Pros & Cons of BookCon 2017

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When it was announced BookCon was returning to NYC this year, I knew, without a doubt, I was going. Last year was my first time attending the event and I absolutely loved it so I knew I had to return. This year was a bit more stressful but I left knowing I’d be back next year.

One of the best things about BookCon this year was that it was two days, not just one. Naturally, I had to attend both days. The first day was difficult because I truly was not prepared for just how crazy it would be. The show floor opened at 10 a.m. and I think my friend and I arrived around 9:45 a.m. and, of course, there was a line just to get to the show floor.

There was an ARC signing that I wanted to go to at 10:30 a.m. and by the time I made it to the show floor the line was already capped. That was pretty much the mood for the whole day. The majority of the signings and ARC giveaways I wanted to get into the lines would cap before I even had a chance.

Still, day one was a blast. I attended Rainbow Rowell’s panel, which was hilarious, and then I went to her signing and actually met her, which was great. The line for Rowell’s signing was incredibly long and my feet were killing me, but again totally worth it. Also, what was great about this year was you signed up for signings beforehand online so even though the lines were long you knew, without a doubt, you were getting in because you already had a ticket. However, this was only the case for signings in the autographing area, not in booth signings.

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Anyway, after waiting so long for Rowell’s signing I’d learned my lesson and just waited around the autographing area for Victoria Aveyard’s signing and was in the front of the line so it was a much shorter wait and my feet thanked me.

This was actually the second time I’ve met Aveyard and she was just as awesome as I remember. She looked through my tabs in King’s Cage and approved of where I had them placed. Overall, I’d say the signings were my favorite part of the whole day.

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I also randomly met Jenny Han and Morgan Matson during the day. I’d met them both before (Han at BookCon last year; Matson at a signing in NYC) and they were both just as sweet as I remember. I also love that they’re friends and they always seem to be together. It’s super cute.

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For day two, I was way more prepared. First, I got there earlier so while I was still stuck in the queue line to get to the show floor I was much closer to the front of line and actually made it to the show floor by 10:10 a.m. Because I was so early, I was able to just stumble upon a signing with Sarah Mlynowski who was signing an ARC of the latest book in her Whatever After series. While I haven’t read the series, I’ve loved so many of Mlynowski’s other books that I couldn’t pass up the chance at meeting her, and since I was so early there were only three people in line when I got there so it was super easy.

After the struggles I went through on the first day I was also more prepared for the ARC signings on day two, particularly at the Penguin Random House booth. For the Penguin ARC signings you had to have a ticket and it was one book per ticket so things were super cut throat over there and filled up very fast.

For instance, I knew for the E. Lockhart signing, which was happening at 11 a.m. that I’d need to be hovering around the booth at around 10 a.m. Therefore I jetted over pretty quickly and was able to somehow get to the front of line and not only meet Lockhart and get the ARC but I also got a cute little makeup bag too.

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From there I met up with some bookstagrammers, Mags and Len, who were super cool and really helped me out a lot. I accredit a lot of my day two success to them. I stuck with them for a little bit and then met up with my friend for lunch, because I unfortunately was too late to get into the Cassandra Clare panel (it filled out so fast!) so I had time to kill.

For the record, finding time to eat at BookCon is difficult. It’s basically either you have to be willing to sacrifice missing something in order to find time to eat or you better have a bunch of snacks in your bag that you can eat while standing in line. There’s really no in between. I think that’s partly why I was also so miserable on day 1. I didn’t take a break to eat at all and just snacked on honey nut Cheerios all day. Having lunch on day 2 truly saved me.

After that I once again successfully hovered around the Penguin booth and was able to get into the Leigh Bardugo signing, which included an ARC of her Wonder Woman book. I’m super excited to read it and was glad I was able to snag a ticket because that line was insane and my friends, Mags and Len, were unable to get one.

Also, shoutout to Mags who snagged me an ARC of Krysten Ritter’s novel Bonfire after her panel. I also caught a glimpse of Ritter who was doing a signing at Penguin but I was too tired to try and fight for a spot in yet another line.

Instead, Mags, Len, and I got in a much more chill line for a partial ARC of Stephanie Perkins’ new novel There’s Someone Inside Your House, and let me just say, standing in line with friends is way more fun than standing in line by yourself. Get yourself a line buddy if you can. They’re fantastic. Then, we saw there was another ARC signing at the SOHO teen booth and it was just one of those things where we were like, “We don’t know what this is but it looks free so let’s do it.”

We ended up getting signed ARCs of Love, Hate, and Other Filters, which I’d actually heard about before and was excited to read, so that was a nice surprise. Also the author, Samira Ahmed, was incredibly sweet and funny, and my only regret was not snapping a pic with her.

Sometime during the day I also found time to meet Jeff Giles and get my copy of The Edge of Everything signed. I’ve actually spoken to Giles on the phone before and he gave me writing advice and I wasn’t sure he was going to remember that but he did, which was super nice. I told him I got into grad school and I’d be getting my MFA in Creative Writing and he congratulated me and it was great.

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To close out the day I went to a panel with Kevin Hart and Charlamagne tha God it was honestly one of the funniest events I’ve ever been to. I’ve only seen Hart live once and it was at one of his Move With Hart events so he didn’t really talk much. However, this panel was almost like getting a little stand up from him. He was so funny and honest and he said a lot of motivating things that made me feel like I could do anything.

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It was quite possibly the best part of my day, to be honest. I loved it so much I ended up buying his book, I Can’t Make This Up, right after the panel. My mom’s reading it now, and I hope to get to it soon.

Overall, I was definitely exhausted by the time BookCon was over. My feet were killing me and my back and shoulders ached and I still think I need to a get massage. Still, it was totally worth it. In totally, I got 13 books, only two of which I actually purchased, and I got nine books signed. I can’t wait to go back next year.

Did you go to BookCon? Do you hope to go next year? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: Lord of Shadows (Spoiler-Free)

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Synopsis:

Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?

And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear—before it’s too late.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*Warning: There will be spoilers about Lady Midnight in this post. Read at your own risk!*

I have been waiting for this book for what feels like the longest time and, unlike some other highly anticipated releases, Lord of Shadows did not disappoint me. I don’t even know where to begin.

Let’s start with that cliffhanger in Lady Midnight. I went into this novel expecting and Mark-Emma-Julian love triangle and that didn’t really happen in the way that I thought it would. I expected a bit more angst and instead it was kind of easily resolved, though I promise you there’s still plenty of conflict and romantic angst if you’re into that kind of thing, which I totally am.

In fact, the ships that kind of start off this book get upended pretty quickly, which I found interesting and fun. It kept things interesting and I never felt annoyed because, to me at least, there never seemed to a real love triangle. What I mean is, you can pretty much guess who everyone’s going to end up with and even if the characters themselves don’t.

Plus, I really liked how everyone loves each other. For example, Emma and Mark become really close and I liked their friendship. I also love how much Julian loves his siblings, as was evident in the first novel, but especially how he’s willing to swallow his feelings for Emma if it means she and Mark are happy together. It’s nice that not only are the Blackthorns so close but they’re family also includes Emma, Cristina, and even Kit now.

This book wasn’t just about the relationships, however, though I thought they were great. There’s various plots going on that kept be very engaged throughout the book. First of all, this book brought a lot of new characters, mainly in the form of the Centurions. These people are like the elite Shadowhunters. They train at a special school called the Scholomance. They’re also incredibly annoying, especially their quasi leader Zara.

Someone on Tumblr referred to Zara as the Dolores Umbridge of the Shadowhunter world. I saw her more as Tomi Lahren but either way, she’s literally the worst. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just say she’s very annoying and her ideas about Shadowhunters and Downworlders are so outrageous. She, and the people that hold her same ideals, call themselves the Cohorts and honestly, it gave me serious Trump supporters vibes. At one point I think Kit even refers to them as fascists. This book got real political and I kind of loved it.

Besides that though, there was also a lot of other stuff going on, mainly with the hot mess Malcolm laid the foundation for in Lady Midnight. Everyone wants their hands on the Black Volume of the Dead, which Malcolm used to raise the dead previously, and, of course ,every one wants it for different reasons and for their own agendas. There are also some other problems brewing that get revealed throughout the novel.

I’d also like to point out the incredible LGBTQ representation in this novel. II thought Clare did an incredible job with it. She hits almost every part of the spectrum in this novel in such an organic way that while I was surprised by some things it still felt authentic, again unlike some other books I’ve read recently.

There was also such incredible character growth and development in this novel, not just for the teens like the Blackthorns, Emma, and Cristina, but also for Diana, and I totally loved it. I also really enjoyed the new friendships we got in this novel. The end of Lady Midnight hinted at something between Kit and Ty but I loved that they, along with Livia, became this amazing team. They were so cute together.

I also really liked that we got to see a bit more of Dru. I’d like to see more of her in the third novel but this was a great start into seeing more of her and what life is like for her. She was also great body positivity representation. Seriously, the rep in this book is a 10/10 in my opinion.

Also, there are so many callbacks to The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, and Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy. It made me want to reread all the books all over again because of all the references and appearances by some of my faves. This book was such a fan made book and by that I mean if you’ve read every Shadowhunter book and have been a fan for years you will totally love this book. It’ll give you all the feels, honestly. Additionally, there’s already tons of theories about what all the callbacks mean and I’ve got a few of my own, which made this book even more fun.

Lastly, I feel like it would be a disservice to my readers if I didn’t warn you that this book will break you. I saw people talk about how they needed tissues and how heartbreaking it was and I was like, “Okay, I’m ready for what Cassie is going to put me through.” But I was not and you won’t be either and that’s all I’m going to say.

If you’ve read Lord of Shadows, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below and if you haven’t read this book yet, what are you waiting for?

Borrow or Buy: Buy it!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“When a decision like that is made by a government, it emboldens those who are already prejudiced to speak their deepest thoughts of hate. They assume they are simply brave enough to say what everyone really thinks.”

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ARC Book Review: Words in Deep Blue

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Synopsis:

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from First in Line and B-Fest. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel was released today.*

After reading a lot of fantasy lately, I was in the mood for a contemporary and Words in Deep Blue was the perfect choice. It’s a short contemporary romance told in the alternating points of views of former best friends Henry and Rachel. Right before Rachel was moving away she wrote Henry a love letter telling him, once and for all, how she felt about him. She put it in the Letter Library in his family’s bookshop, and this honestly sounds the coolest place ever.

In the Letter Library, you can’t take the books out and people write notes in the books or highlight their favorite parts and then put the books back. They also, of course, leave letters inside the books for others to read, which is what Rachel did on that fateful night.

Fast forward to a few years later and Rachel is totally over Henry because not only did he never respond to the letter but he didn’t even acknowledge it’s existence. So now, when Rachel returns to town, after the death of her younger brother, Cal, she’s not exactly excited to see Henry. Similarly, Henry, who feels Rachel just ditched him once she moved away, isn’t all that excited to see her either.

However, once Rachel and Henry start talking again, mainly thanks to their mutual friend, Lola, and the fact that they have to work together, their friendship begins to pick back up right where they left off. As Rachel continues to struggle with her grief over her brother’s death and Henry contemplates the end of his relationship with Amy, who he believes is the love his life, the two begin to lean on each other in a totally adorable, made-me-swoon kind of way.

Besides getting Henry and Rachel’s POVs, the books is also interspersed with letters from the Letter Library. These letters are between various people but mostly their the letters between George, Henry’s little sister, and a mystery guy named Pytheas; Rachel and Henry; and Henry’s parents. I thought these letters were really cute and a nice addition to the book, especially with the added mystery of Pytheas, though I figured it out pretty early on.

There were definitely times throughout the novel where I wanted to shake Rachel and tell her to stop acting so stupid but I gave her a pass because she’s grieving and besides those few moments I really enjoyed the novel. My only other issue, which is super small, was the random letter from the author in the book. I liked the idea behind it (that the book is kind of like a book in the Letter Library and this was her letter to the readers) but it appeared so abruptly in the novel that it totally took me out of the story.

At first I was confused by it and then I realized what it was and then I had to get back into the story after I read it. It just seemed very strange to me, though I did like the letter itself. Maybe if it came at the beginning of the book or at the very end it would’ve been fine but happening in the middle of the story just didn’t feel right.

Overall though, I really did like this book. If you’re looking for a cute and quick contemporary romance, this book is for you.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“People are not only their bodies. And if there is no hope of saving the things we love in their original form, we must save them however we can.”

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