Book Review: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

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Synopsis:

The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie’s every waking thought. But when she discovers she’s a celestial spirit who’s powerful enough to bash through the gates of heaven with her fists, her perfectionist existence is shattered.

Enter Quentin, a transfer student from China whose tone-deaf assertiveness beguiles Genie to the brink of madness. Quentin nurtures Genie’s outrageous transformation—sometimes gently, sometimes aggressively—as her sleepy suburb in the Bay Area comes under siege from hell-spawn.

This epic YA debut draws from Chinese folklore, features a larger-than-life heroine, and perfectly balances the realities of Genie’s grounded high school life with the absurd supernatural world she finds herself commanding.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from Abrams Books for Young Readers. 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 is now on sale.*

Let me start by saying this book is kind of weird. There were multiple times during my reading of this novel where I said to myself, “Wait, what?” For example, very early on it’s revealed that Quentin has a monkey tail. I still don’t fully understand how he hides this from regular people.

However, despite the strangeness of the story I find myself being pretty sucked in to Genie Lo’s story. I found her strive to get accepted into an Ivy League school and leave her life in suburbia behind relatable. I also really enjoyed her friendship with Yunie and liked how their friendship was kind of tested during the novel.

Genie and Quentin’s relationship was also interesting and also a little strange. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to like him at first or not. Genie certainly didn’t, and rightly so. Still, as the novel went on, I started to really ship them and they had some cute moments that made me laugh and smile.

As far as the demon fighting goes, though, I wasn’t all that impressed by that plot. It seemed pretty easily resolved in the end to me; however, there was a nice little twist that did surprise me. Even with the twist though, I didn’t really find the villains impressive and I was annoyed with Guanyin, the goddess that was supposedly on Quentin and Genie’s side. The way she treated Genie annoyed me and made no sense to me. I felt the same way about Genie’s mom, as well.

There were also some plot points that just seemed to fall off and never really be explained. For example, I’m not sure what the relationship with Guanyin and Quentin really was in the past. And Genie’s involvement with volleyball team seemingly disappears entirely halfway through the novel, as well as the girl who tormented her.

Overall, I wanted more from this novel. I could’ve done with a little more romance, more action, and more of Yunie. I believe this is a stand alone, but I’d actually be interested in seeing this story continue, because I think it could only get better.

For now though, this novel just didn’t do it for me.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow

Stars:

3 stars

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Book Review: Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here

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Synopsis:

Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her pot-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. Scarlett never considers what might happen if they were to find out what she truly thinks about them…until a dramatic series of events exposes a very different reality than Scarlett’s stories, forever transforming her approach to relationships—both online and off.

Purchase From:

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Review

I’ve had this book on my shelves for at least a year and I don’t know why it took me so long to read it. As I told someone on Instagram, this book gave me serious Fangirl vibes, but I actually liked the story Scarlett was writing, unlike the Carry On snippets in Fangirl (note: I love Fangirl, so no shade).

Scarlett is a teenager who fluctuates between being a realist and a pessimist. Her favorite TV show was just cancelled and she’s currently in a mild state of depression. To make matters worse, her favorite thing to do, writing fan fiction, now seems pointless without the show. Until she comes up with a new concept.

Rather than writing about her favorite characters, she begins writing about the students at her high school. There’s her longtime crush, Gideon, who’s become one of the “populars,” and Ashley, one of the popular girls and Scarlett’s archnemesis. Ashley also happens to be the sister to Scarlett’s best friend, Avery, and is, of course, dating Gideon.

As Scarlett starts to blur the lines between the fictional world she’s created and the real one, her life gets way more complicated. There may be something more than just friendship blooming between her and Gideon, but she’s not exactly sure. Meanwhile, Avery’s starting to take an interest in high school activities that have nothing to do with her regular academic studies. Additionally, Scarlett’s mom is dating someone new… again. The only constant in Scarlett’s life at the moment is her elderly neighbor and good friend Ruth, who’s a BAMF in every way you can imagine.

I really loved the characters in this novel, especially Scarlett. She’s snarky, funny, and unafraid to stand up for herself. I also like that even though she’s a “nerd,” she’s not the kind that is super intelligent. In fact, Avery often does Scarlett’s homework for her, which I loved. Often times in novels like this, the characters that geek out about comic books or TV shows are also insanely smart and are heading to Ivy League schools. While there’s obviously nothing wrong with that, it sometimes seems like these books about fandoms and geek culture skip over the outcasts and the people who don’t fit in with the academically inclined or the “popular” people; they’re just different.

That’s what I loved about this novel. Even Ashley, the “popular mean girl” character, really surprised me, as she wasn’t exactly that typical mean girl that often exists in these types of novels. These characters were all complicated and had their own issues that really reflected what high school is actually like and I loved it.

In summary, Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here is a must read in my book.

Borrow or Buy: Buy it!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“…the importance of trying to understand people who are different from you, even though it’s so much harder than writing them off, because it might make you admit something to yourself that’s painful.”

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Book Review: Inked Armor

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Synopsis:

In this follow-up to Clipped Wings, the emotional love story continues between Hayden and Tenley; two young people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts.

In the wake of losing Tenley Page, tattooist Hayden Stryker’s tumultuous past is haunting him. Plagued by nightmares about the murder of his parents, Hayden reaches out again to Tenley. Having run from the man she doesn’t believe she deserves, Tenley finally lays her guilt to rest. Despite their intense physical attraction, Hayden and Tenley struggle to repair their fragile emotional connection. As Hayden gets closer to the truth, he must find a way to reconcile his guilt over his parents’ death in order to keep the woman who finally cracked his armor, and found her way into his heart.

Purchase From:

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Review

Inked Armor picks up two weeks after the end of Clipped Wings. Tenly has returned to her hometown to get her affairs in order and to figure out all her complicated feelings about her past so she can be in a real relationship with Hayden. Of course, she went about this all wrong, and really hurt Hayden.

Once Tenley returns to Chicago, fixing their relationship is much easier said than done. They’ve both been hurting because of their dark pasts and while Tenley has finally begun to come to grips with hers, Hayden must now face the ghosts of his.

I really liked that this book took more of look at Hayden’s issues, because they were definitely hinted at in the first novel but weren’t ever really explored. In this book we learn more about Hayden’s parents, the night they died, and how that one night really altered Hayden’s life. I also really enjoyed the kind of mystery surrounding that night as well. I started making my own guesses at who could’ve killed Hayden’s parents and while I was right, I was also still surprised, which I loved.

Besides that, this book also didn’t disappoint in the romance/smut department. The scenes between Hayden and Tenley were just as steamy and interesting. They can really just hook-up anywhere, honestly. More than the smut though, their relationship was incredibly cute, as were the other couples in this novel.

Overall, I thought this was an excellent sequel and perfect end to this duology. I’ll definitely still be reading all the short stories in this series, though. I already bought them all on my Kindle. Can you tell I’m obsessed?

Borrow or Buy: Buy it!

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“The most dangerous criminals are the ones who appear the least threatening.”

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ARC Review: Wonder Woman: Warbringer

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Synopsis:

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

Purchase From:

AmazonAmazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book at BookCon. 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 will be released on August 29, 2017.*

If I’m being totally honest, I didn’t really have any interest in this book. If Leigh Bardugo didn’t write it, I probably wouldn’t have read it. I’ve never really been a big fan of Wonder Woman and still haven’t seen the new movie. I don’t know why, I just never got into her story and therefore didn’t really know much about her.

However, I decided to finally give this book a read because I’ve only seen good reviews of it thus far and I love the Six of Crows duology by Bardugo. Though this book started out slow, I ended up really enjoying it and couldn’t put it down.

The novel begins with Diana, who, if you are even less familiar with Wonder Woman than I am, will one day become Wonder Woman. Now, though, she’s the Princess of the Amazons, trying to prove herself to her sisters. Unlike all the other Amazons, Diana was created by her mother, Hippolyta, with the help of the gods. She was never mortal, like the other Amazons, and has never seen war, a man, or the human world in general.

That is until a boat crashes near Diana’s home, Themyscira, with Alia on it. Alia is a mortal human, but she’s also a Warbringer, meaning she’s a descendant of Helen of Troy. Alia’s power will bring an age of war so great that it will even reach Themyscira, a land of peace. That is, unless Alia and Diana can team up to stop it.

Diana learns what she must do to bring the age of Warbringers to an end, but of course it’s not something simple, and it leads Diana and Alia to the mortal lands, which led to a lot of action and adventure, but also some hilarity. Because Dianna has never been anywhere besides Themyscira, there was a lot she didn’t understand about the world, like cellphones or the fact that to “kick someone’s ass” didn’t mean you literally kick them in the ass.

I also liked that Alia is half-black and this novel looks at issues of race and how that shaped who Alia, and her older brother, Jason, were. The novel had a lot of diversity actually, with Alia’s best friend, Nim, being Indian and queer, and Jason’s best friend, Theo, also being a person of color.

Warbringer also had some twists that really surprised me, which I totally loved. I like being caught off guard and this book did that for me. There were also little bits of romance, which were just enough that I liked it, but it didn’t take away from the story at all.

Overall, I definitely recommend giving this book a read when it comes out. Even if you’re not all that familiar with Wonder Woman, like me, you can definitely still enjoy this novel. And if you love Wonder Woman, I think you’ll definitely like this novel.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“It’s the people who never learn the word impossible who make history, because they’re the ones who keep trying.”

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Book Review: Clipped Wings

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Synopsis:

Their body art is hot. Their chemistry is even hotter.

From her dark hair sweeping below her waist to her soft, sexy curves, Tenley Page intrigues tattoo artist Hayden Stryker in a way no one else ever has…especially when she asks him to ink a gorgeous, intricate design on her back. Yet for all her beauty, there is something darkly tragic and damaged about Tenley that Hayden is everything.

Covered in ink and steel, Hayden is everything Tenley has never dared to want, awakening a desire to explore more than the art adorning his stunning body. Trapped by a past that leaves her screaming from nightmares, Tenley sees Hayden as the perfect escape. Although he has secrets too, if they both keep themselves guarded perhaps their intense physical connection will remain only that.

But nothing, not even passion, can keep them safe from their pasts…

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

Clipped Wings took me by surprise. I was given this book and it’s sequel and decided to randomly give them a try because I was in the mood for a romance and I absolutely loved them.

The novel is told in alternating points of view of Hayden and Tenley, both of whom have dark pasts. Hayden has made a family out the people he works with in his tattoo shop, Inked Armor, and his Aunt Cassie, who’s more like an older sister to him than an aunt.

Tenley works at Cassie’s bookstore, across the street from Hayden’s tattoo shop. Tenley just moved to Chicago in attempt to move on from a terrible plane crash that took the lives of those closest to her. She’s also trying to get her degree at Northwestern, which comes with it’s own complications because her advisor is the absolute worst.

When Tenley goes into Hayden’s shop with an idea for a back tattoo, the chemistry between the two of them is palpable. Eventually, they let their lust for each other overwhelm all their senses and start to get to know each other on a very physical level and then an emotional one. However, they’re both keeping secrets and unfortunately, all secrets eventually come to light.

I really liked the relationship between Hayden and Tenley and I could understand why they weren’t being completely honest with each other, though it still frustrated me. The smut scenes were great and not repetitive like some other romance novels I read. I also really liked the side characters. Besides the awesome people at Inked Armour, Tenley’s neighbor, Sarah, was the best. Cassie and her husband were also really cute and fun.

Clipped Wings gave me serious Confess (by Colleen Hoover) vibes but there were enough differences that it still felt like it’s own book to me. Still, if you loved Confess as much as I did, I’m confident you’ll love this book. There’s even an antagonist named Trey and an asshole cop, though in this book those characters are two different people.

My point is, you should definitely give this book a read if you’re looking for a dark romance that will give you all the feels.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:
5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Hope was a dangerous emotion; it gave false confidence and made a person do unconscionable things.”

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Book Review: Big Little Lies

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Synopsis:

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal…
A murder…a tragic accident…or just parents behaving badly?  
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. But who did what?

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I’ve actually had an ARC copy of this novel since 2014, but it wasn’t until my book club decided to read it that I finally picked it up. I don’t know why I waited so long; it was so good!

The novel is told in the third person POV and follows Madeline, Celeste, and Jane, three moms whose kids are all starting kindergarten at the same school. At the start of the novel, you know someone ends up dead in two months at trivia night. At the start and end of the chapters there are other characters telling their own recollection of events, seemingly to the detectives investigating the case.

I loved those little snippets because they often differed from what really happened and they were also often funny and ridiculous. Moreover, I loved these characters. Madeline, Celeste, and Jane are all flawed but I loved them anyway, though Madeline was definitely my favorite and because of the show I pictured her as Reese Witherspoon, who I love.

Madeline loves conflict but can’t stand the fact that her daughter will be starting school with her ex’s daughter.To make matters worse, Madeline’s eldest daughter, Abigail, seems to be choosing her dad (Madeline’s ex) and his new wife, Bonnie, over Madeline and her new husband, Ed. Of course, Madeline can’t stand it.

Meanwhile, Celeste’s perfect life is anything but perfect, but how can she possibly tell anyone that? Besides, Celeste can’t help but feel like maybe her life isn’t all that bad and if she just sticks it out a little while longer, what’s the worst that can happen?

Jane moved to town looking for a fresh start but before her son, Ziggy, even begins school he’s painted as a violent bully and although Jane can’t believe it she also can’t help but wonder if it’s true.

I really liked Madeline, Celeste, and Jane’s friendship and I loved all the twists in the book (there were so many!). Though I suspected most of them, I was still pretty surprised to be right. I was also surprised by how dark this book was at times, but how it also made me laugh and smile a lot. I was happy with the ending and I highly recommend giving this book a read if you haven’t already. I can’t wait to watch the show!

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Reading a novel was like returning to a once beloved holiday destination.”

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Book Review: The Hating Game

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Synopsis:

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.

                       2) A person’s undoing

                       3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I’d been hearing about this novel for a while and decided to finally give it a try when I needed a new audiobook for my run. Even after I finished running I couldn’t stop listening. I was totally hooked.

The story is told in Lucy’s point of view and she hates Josh, mainly because when they first met she gave him her best smile and he did not return it in the slightest. These two are polar opposites. While Lucy is tiny and aims to please everyone, Josh is tall, a little stand offish, and every one thinks he’s mean. It’s pretty easy to see why these two clash, especially since their desks face each other so they have to deal with each other often.

Their little childish antics in the office were cute and funny and the sparks between them were pretty obvious from the very beginning. The romance aspects of the novel were pretty steamy and Josh totally made me swoon. Moreover, I liked getting to learn more about Lucy and Josh’s personalities and why they are the way they are. The novel delves into both Lucy and Josh’s family lives and their pasts, which I found really interesting.

Besides the obvious romance, the main conflict of the novel was Lucy and Josh fighting for the same promotion. I was really happy with how it was resolved in the end because I wasn’t sure how it would be. Overall, I loved this book from beginning to end and highly recommend it if you’re looking for a quick and cute romance that will make you laugh.

I can’t wait to see what Sally Thorne writes next!

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“The trick is to find that one person who can give it back as good as they can take it.”

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