ARC Book Review: Flame in the Mist

new book releases.JPG

Synopsis:

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and track down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

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 will be released on May 16, 2017.*

I didn’t know this was a Mulan retelling until someone on Instagram said it was and that made me feel so much better because my first thought while reading was, “Is this supposed to be like Mulan or are the similarities just an unfortunate coincidence?” Once I knew it was a retelling I was more comfortable with the similarities between the plots and I also liked how much Renée Ahdieh also changed it for her own story.

The first noticeable difference is this novel takes place in feudal Japan not Han China. However, there’s also a lot of other differences. I’d say the only real similarities is that Mariko disguises herself as a man and she develops romantic feelings for one of the men she ends up working alongside. Otherwise the stories are actually very different.

Mariko ends up disguising herself as a means of survival. Walking around in the jungle is never a good idea. Walking around in the jungle as a woman is an even a worse idea. It’s unfortunate but it’s also true. So Mariko takes on a new (male) identity and heads on a mission to find the Black Clan who she believes is responsible for trying to kill her and killing all those that were with her.

She of course finds them and figures out a way to weasel into their group. It’s not easy and she quickly realizes that while she’s smart in a lot of way, she’s not exactly “street smart.” Still, while working with the Black Clan she begins to make friends and even finds some romance.

Besides Mariko, the story also follows other characters. Told in the third person the story switches around a bit to Mariko’s brother, Kenshin, the Emperor, and members of the Black Clan. The jump in perspectives was nice because at points I found Mariko’s story to be a bit slow. I wanted action and she’s a planner, which is fine I just wasn’t really interested in all her plotting.

There’s also a great deal of mystery and magic in this novel and while I think the mystery did it’s job in making me want to know more it also left me thoroughly confused. Mainly, I was very confused by the ending and I’m not sure that I’m supposed to be. This book is the first in the series so obviously the cliff hanger sets up the next novel but I think the ending of this book was a plot twist that I somehow missed. I don’t want to spoil it so I’ll just say that the ending left me feeling unsatisfied, not entirely eager to continue on with the series but also curious to know what happens next.

Another issue I had with the novel was the romance. I won’t say who it’s with because one thing I did like about this novel was I wasn’t entirely sure at first who Mariko’s romance would be with. Not to say it took me by surprise when it happened but there’s definitely a few twists that I was definitely surprised by and liked a lot. What I didn’t enjoy was the ease in which the conflict between Mariko and her love interest was resolved. It just seemed way too easy to me. It was like there was this huge betrayal and then a few chapters it was like, “Never mind, we’re good.” I didn’t get it all and it didn’t sit right with me.

Besides that though, I did really love the romance. It made me swoon, which sounds cheesy to say but it’s true. Plus, I just really liked the relationship between them. Mariko spent her whole life feeling less than just because she was a woman and with the Black Clan and her love interest she began to realize that being a woman wasn’t a weakness or a fault, it was just who she was. I absolutely loved that and I loved that overall message of the book.

For that alone I really did enjoy this novel. Would I read it again? I’m not sure. Still, I think you should give this book a try. It’s really interesting and like I said, the romance is fantastic.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow.

Stars:

3 stars

Favorite Line:

“You are first and foremost a person. A reckless, foolish person, but a person nonetheless. If I ever say you are not permitted to do something, rest assured that the last reason I would ever say so would be because you are a girl.”

Other Reviews
The Eater of Books
A Page with a View
Her Bookish Things

ARC Book Review: North of Happy

north of happy review.jpg

Synopsis:

His whole life has been mapped out for him… 

Carlos Portillo has always led a privileged and sheltered life. A dual citizen of Mexico and the United States, he lives in Mexico City with his wealthy family, where he attends an elite international school. Always a rule follower and a parent pleaser, Carlos is more than happy to tread the well-worn path in front of him. He has always loved food and cooking, but his parents see it as just a hobby.

When his older brother, Felix—who has dropped out of college to live a life of travel—is tragically killed, Carlos begins hearing his brother’s voice, giving him advice and pushing him to rebel against his father’s plan for him. Worrying about his mental health but knowing the voice is right, Carlos runs away to the United States and manages to secure a job with his favorite celebrity chef. As he works to improve his skills in the kitchen and pursue his dream, he begins to fall for his boss’s daughter—a fact that could end his career before it begins. Finally living for himself, Carlos must decide what’s most important to him and where his true path really lies.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I won a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from Harlequin Teen. 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 April 25, 2017.*

Honestly, I’d never read a book by Adi Alsaid before but I love giveaways so I entered without a second thought and was happily surprised when I won. The book then sat on my shelves for a while but after reading two Ellen Hopkins books back to back I wanted to read something happier. Obviously, I forgot what this book was about.

The story follows Carlos, after his older brother Felix was tragically killed. Felix was the “wild child” of the family, meaning instead of going the traditional route and go to college like his parents wanted him to, he decided to travel the world instead. Carlos, did the very opposite, and planned to intern at his father’s company after graduating high school and then go to the University of Chicago, even though he loved to cook. However, after Felix’s death, Carlos, at the advice of Felix, who he keeps seeing everywhere and in everything, decides to head to an island by Seattle instead.

There, he goes to a restaurant his brother wanted to visit and finds himself meeting Emma, a girl who helps him feel less crazy about seeing his dead brother, and he also finds his way into the kitchen at the restaurant. However, Carlos unfortunately can’t have both the girl and the job. At least, he’s not supposed to, but being the new reckless teen that he is, he dates Emma anyway, which I loved. Forbidden romance is my jam.

Of course complications arise, and there’s some drama, both romantic and familial for Carlos, and overall I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I really liked that Carlos seeing Felix everywhere isn’t really explained so you can take it as you want to. I personally like to think Felix was indeed a ghost and Carlos wasn’t tripping, but that could just me. Additionally, I really liked Emma and Carlos’ relationship. I thought they were cute and funny but it was also realistic and didn’t feel forced.

Chef, Emma’s mom, annoyed me to no end but by the end of the novel I at least felt like I understood where she was coming from. I still didn’t like her but I respect her. I also really liked the side characters, especially Carlos’ roommates on the island; even Matt, who is kind of a jerk.

Although I was satisfied with the ending, I do think some people won’t be. It’s one of those endings where you can kind of decide for yourself what happens next, which I love but I know some people don’t. Still, I think this is definitely a must read. The way Alsaid handles grief, familial obligations, and just family in general, was great. I also enjoyed that every chapter started with a recipe, which was a constant reminder of Carlos’ love for food (and made me very hungry).

If you’ve never read Alsaid’s books like I hadn’t, I highly recommend this one. It was a quick read and I couldn’t put it down. Now I want to read his other novels. If you’ve read any of his books, which one should I read next? Let me know in the comments below.

Stars:

4 stars

Other Reviews

Nicole’s Novel Reads

ARC Book Review: The Hot One

the hot one review.jpg

Synopsis:

At first glance, stripping naked at my ex-girlfriend’s place of work might not seem like the brightest way to win her back. 
But trust me on this count – she always liked me best without any clothes on. And sometimes you’ve got to play to your strengths when you’re fighting an uphill battle. As a lawyer, I know how to fight, and I’m prepared to fight hard for her. I might have let her slip through my fingers the last time, but no way will that happen twice.
He’s the one who got away…
The nerve of Tyler Nichols to reappear like that, stripping at my job, showing off his rock hard body that drove me wild far too many nights. That man with his knowing grin and mischievous eyes is nothing but a cocky, arrogant jerk to saunter back into my life. Except, what if he’s not…?
He’s the one I’ve tried like hell to forget but just can’t. Maybe I’m cursed to remember him. My money is on him being the same guy he always was, but what’s the harm in giving him a week to prove he’s a new man? I won’t fall for him again.
But how do you resist the hot one…

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & NobleiBooks

Review

*I received a free digital advanced reader’s copy of this book from Lauren Blakely Books. 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 February 27, 2017.*

Honestly, when I first read the synopsis of The Hot One I wasn’t totally sold on it. Tyler just sounded too cocky and not my kind of guy at all. However, because I’ve loved almost every single one of Lauren Blakely’s books that I’ve read I still wanted to give this book a try and I’m so glad I did.

While Tyler was definitely just as cocky as I expected him to be he was also really funny and totally sweet. I absolutely loved his chemistry with Delaney and I also just loved Delaney as a person as well. The story is told in their alternating POVs, which I really liked because it was interesting to see how they viewed their past break-up in different ways. For Tyler, it was something he felt had to happen, whereas for Delaney it was devastating but also a major turning point in her life that turned out to be for the better.

What I loved most about this book was that the relationship between Tyler and Delaney was a slow burn. Not like really slow (this is an erotic novel after all) but unlike other Blakely books I’ve read, Tyler and Delaney didn’t just jump into bed right away. This was mainly because of their past relationship and the fact that they hadn’t seen each other since they broke up. These two had to get to know each other again and it was fun seeing them figure each other out as if it was the first time, not the second. Plus, when they finally did get in bed it was totally worth the build up.

My only issue in the book was Delaney had another love interest, Trevor, who seemed pretty pointless. Obviously I knew Tyler and Delaney were end game but still, we literally only see Trevor once and then he pretty much disappears after that. I kind wanted some drama there, especially because I feel like Tyler wouldn’t have taken the competition well and that could’ve been funny. But alas, it wasn’t so.

Still, Trevor aside, I really liked this book and read it in the span of day. I just couldn’t put it down. Definitely check this book out once it’s released. It’s a must read.

Stars:

4 stars

 

'Kids of Appetite' Book Review

ARC Book Review: Kids of Appetite

IMG_3456.JPG

Synopsis:

Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.

This is a story about:

1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.

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 will be released on September 20, 2016.*

If Coco was here she would say, “Did you have any intention of reading this book? Tell the truth.” To which I would say, “No CoCo I actually didn’t plan on reading Kids of Appetite, it just fell in my lap.” Because that’s the truth. I won this book at B-Fest and although I was so happy to win an ARC I had never heard of David Arnold before and I had no idea what I was in for. But free books are free books so I happily took my winnings home, put it on a shelf, and then left it there for months on end.

Until a few days ago when something compelled me to take this book off my shelf just to see what it was all about. Intrigued by the synopsis you can read above I literally stood in front of my bookshelf (mind you it was at least after midnight at this point in time; I had just finished another book) and began to read and was immediately sucked in just with the cast of characters. How many books begin with a cast of characters? Not many. And I needed to know more about these interesting characters and why people were being referred to as chapters. So I dived in and couldn’t put this book down.

First of all, the characters in this book are so well done and I loved all the Kids of Appetite. There’s of course Vic and Mad who tell the story in alternating first person point of views. Then you have the brothers, Baz and Zuz, and then the youngest of the group, Coco. Also, can I get a nice slow clap for the diversity in this book? Arnold, I applaud you. I don’t want to give anything about anything so sorry if this is vague but just know that Arnold put together an amazing cast of characters and did so really well. He deals with two important subjects and handles them flawlessly. Honestly, reading his author’s note at the end made me cry because you can practically feel how much he cared about getting this story right.

Kids of Appetite was the perfect mix of tragedy and comedy (which is apparently called a tragicomedy). It was heartfelt, the romance was there but not in a cheesy way, and it was just the right amount funny that didn’t make it feel like it was trying to hard. I liked the running themes throughout the book, like Vic’s Super Racehorse idea and CoCo’s use of “frakking” as a substitute for the f-word. I also liked how the plot fit together and everything came together in the end. I was definitely surprised and I also appreciated the fact that this book wasn’t as predictable as I thought it would be. In summary I just really loved this book, okay?

Anyway, I’m going to go grab Mosquitoland because apparently someone forgot to tell me that David Arnold is an amazing writer. In the meantime everyone go pre-order this book.

Stars:

5 stars

Other Reviews

Rebel Mommy Book Blog

Book Nerd Reads (Spoilers!)

Rose Read

'Gemina' by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

ARC Book Review: Gemina

IMG_3218.JPG

Synopsis:

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.
The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestsellerIlluminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.
Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and theHypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.
When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.
But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.
Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from First in Line. 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 October 18, 2016.*

There will be minimal spoilers for Illuminae in this review so tread carefully if you haven’t read it yet.

As soon as I finished Illuminae I picked up Gemina and I’m so incredible grateful that I was able to do that because this book is SO good! Typically I don’t like when sequels in a series don’t follow the same main characters in the first novel but I was so in love with the new characters in Gemina that it didn’t bother me at all.

In this novel the main characters are Hanna and Nik, two teens that come from two very different backgrounds. Hanna is the spoiled daughter of the Heimdall station’s captain, and Nik is part of the House of Knives crime family. While Hanna, Nik, and the rest of the residents on Heimdall are preparing for Terra Day (basically a day of celebration of parties), Kady and the rest of the Hypatia crew are on their way to Heimdall, as are some BeiTech troops and some drone ships. Awesome.

Although totally unplanned Hanna and Nik found themselves as the only means of protection for Heimdall and the only hope for the Hypatia crew. Together they’ll have to team up and figure out a way to save everyone…and the universe. Naturally things get complicated and Hanna and Nik have to trust each other if they even stand a chance of make it out of all of this alive. Just as with Illuminae, Gemina is filled with adventure, humor, plot twists, and a little romance. Also, the side characters are just as amazing as the MCs. When y’all meet Ella, you’ll know exactly what I mean. She’s a boss.

Anyway, the point is I couldn’t put this book down. I did, however, have to turn it upside down a few times. Just like Illuminae, this book is written in the same format of emails, surveillance logs, chat logs, journal entries, etc. I love how this book is formatted and the ending nearly killed me. I need to know what happens next!

Also, if you love Kady and the rest of the Hypatia crew as much as I did don’t worry they make an appearance in Gemina too but that’s all I’m going to say about that. No spoilers! I can’t wait for this book to come out so I can talk about it with all of you. It’s amazing!

Stars:

5 stars

Other Reviews

Mary Had A Little Book Blog

Random Redheaded Ramblings

Brittany’s Book Rambles

ARC Book Review: The Boy Is Back

Boy is Back pb.jpg

Synopsis:

In this brand-new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a scandal brings a young man back home to the small town, crazy family, and first love he left behind.

Reed Stewart thought he’d left all his small town troubles—including a broken heart—behind when he ditched tiny Bloomville, Indiana, ten years ago to become rich and famous on the professional golf circuit.  Then one tiny post on the Internet causes all of those troubles to return . . . with a vengeance.

Becky Flowers has worked hard to build her successful senior relocation business, but she’s worked even harder to forget Reed Stewart ever existed. She has absolutely no intention of seeing him when he returns—until his family hires her to save his parents.

Now Reed and Becky can’t avoid one another—or the memories of that one fateful night.  And soon everything they thought they knew about themselves (and each other) has been turned upside down, and they—and the entire town of Bloomville—might never be the same, all because The Boy Is Back.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from William Morrow Paperbacks via Edelweiss. 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 October 18, 2016.*

Meg Cabot is back! Not that she ever really left, but you know what I mean. I was so excited to hear about this novel. At first I didn’t even realize The Boy is Back is part of Cabot’s Boy series but once I realized that I knew I had to read it. For those that don’t know the Boy series are three (now four) books written in the form of emails, online chat rooms, text messages, journals, etc. Basically it’s an unconventional writing style and I’ve read and loved every single one.

I believe the first three are all connected somehow but I’m not sure how The Boy is Back is connected. Then again I haven’t read the Boy series in years so I probably missed the connection but I’m pretty sure Dolly and Tim were in the other books. Again, I’m not sure though. Anyway, the point it just as I loved the other books in the series I absolutely loved The Boy is Back. It was funny, romantic, and only took me a day to read. I couldn’t put it down.

I loved the cast of characters in this book. Becky and Reed were perfect and I loved Becky’s sister, Nicole. She was so funny and pretty spot on about everything going on in Becky’s life. Also, Reed’s family is a hot mess of hilarity. I loved them all, except Trimble. She was super annoying but she’s supposed to be so that’s fine.

The only issue I had with this book is you it shouldn’t read be read as an ebook. This may be because I have an advanced edition but the formatting of the emails and some of the texts looks a little off digitally. Plus, I think the formatting is way more fun when you can see it in print. That’s how I read the other books and loved it that way.

Other than that this book was amazing. If you’re looking for a cute, quick, and fun read make sure to check out this novel. You’ll love it.

Stars:

5 stars

Other Reviews

Penni’s Perceptions

ARC Review: Interference by Kay Honeyman

ARC Book Review: Interference 

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 10.24.40 PM.png

Synopsis:

As a Congressman’s daughter in Washington, D.C., Kate Hamilton is good at getting what she wants — what some people might call “interfering.” But when her family moves to West Texas so her dad can run in a special election, Kate encounters some difficulties that test all her political skills. None of her matchmaking efforts go according to plan. Her father’s campaign gets off to a rough start. A pro tip for moving to Texas: Don’t slam the star quarterback’s hand in a door. And whenever Kate messes up, the irritatingly right (and handsome) Hunter Price is there to witness it. But Kate has determination and a good heart, and with all her political savvy — and a little clever interference — she’ll figure out what it takes to make Red Dirt home.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from Arthur A. Levine at Book Con. 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 September 27, 2016.*

I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen retellings so when I heard this was a retelling of Emma I knew I had to read this book. Kay Honeyman does an amazing job of putting her own twist on this classic romance and I absolutely loved it. Interference takes place in a small town in Texas and the main character Kate is a congressman’s daughter that thinks she knows it all. Just like Emma she tries to play matchmaker for her friends, while her new friend, Hunter, tries to tell her to stay out of everyone’s business. Naturally, Kate doesn’t listen.

Add in your typical high school hijinks, football games, and political campaigns and this book was a roller coaster of drama, laughs, and romance. I absolutely loved the characters in this book and Hunter gave me full on heart eyes. For anyone that doesn’t really like Emma because they find Emma annoying you will like Kate more than Emma. I found Kate to be very relatable and even though a lot of the time I would think, “Kate, no!” it was hilarious seeing her make so many mistakes.

If you’re looking for a cute and quick romance that will give you Friday Night Lights feels, you should definitely pick up Interference. You won’t regret it.

Stars:

5 stars

Other Reviews

The Reader and the Chef

The Reading Nook Reviews