Book Review: Kill the Boy Band

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Synopsis:

Just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near them. That’s why we got a room in the hotel where they were staying.

We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him-his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets.

We were not planning on what happened next.

We swear.

From thrilling new talent Goldy Moldavsky comes a pitch-black, hilarious take on fandom and the badass girls who have the power to make-or break-the people we call “celebrities.”

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I’ve had this novel in my possession for a while now but I didn’t actually get around to reading it until I downloaded the audio book in prep for a job interview. If you enjoy audio books, I highly recommend this one. Though I didn’t totally love this story, the narration along with the interesting British accents definitely made this book funny and enjoyable for me.

The novel is told in the point of view of the main character who’s name I can’t recall and think that’s indicative of how very rarely it was said. Or, how interested I was in her as a character. Checking Goodreads, someone says her name is Lydia. That doesn’t sound totally right to me, but again, I’m really not sure, but let’s just go with it. So Lydia, along with her so-called friends, Erin, Isabel, and Apple, have this brilliant idea to get a room at the hotel their favorite band, The Ruperts, is staying at so they have a better chance of meeting them.

The Ruperts were obviously a parody of One Direction. Literally each guy in the band is named Rupert and they all auditioned for this fake reality competition show called So You Think the British Don’t Have Talent? and were then pushed into being a group solely because they all had the same name. Each of the girls have their own favorite in the band, as is typically the case when it comes to boy bands.

There’s Rupert P., the worst member of the band who auditioned by juggling; he’s Apple’s favorite. Rupert L. can’t tell time; he’s Isabel’s fave. Rupert X. is the bad boy; Erin was aligned with him. And then the narrator (Lydia?) was in love with Rupert K., who if I had to make a 1D comparison here, I’d say he’s the Harry of the group.

The four girls’ plan was already a bit crazy, but this book was all about poking fun at fandom culture and how absurd it’s gotten. So, naturally, as the story moves forward, the girls’ situation gets more and more complicated, and it begins with Apple kidnapping Rupert P. It pretty much goes downhill from there.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. It was hard to get into at first because I can’t remember a time when I was ever obsessed with a celebrity at the level at which these girls are. However, I know there are people who very much feel this way about certain celebs so thinking about that I found the book funny and an interesting commentary on fan girls. I also liked that while the author poked fun at the whole world of fandom, she also gave fangirls the credit they deserve. Call them crazy, but 1D would’ve never blown up the way they did if it wasn’t for all their “crazy” fans.

The way the author played on that singular power that fangirls have was very interesting in this novel and I liked it a lot. I think my biggest issue was that I found the characters to be annoying most of the time. Like I said, I couldn’t really relate to them so I automatically felt like a lot of what they were doing was ridiculous and so clearly a bad idea that I was like, “How did you let it get this far?”

In the end, I think Kill the Boy Band is a fun and silly read but I probably wouldn’t pick it up again.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow

Stars:

3 stars

Favorite Line:

“The joy you find as a teen, however frivolous and dumb, is pure and meaningful.”

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Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper

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Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I’d heard a lot about this book, mostly on bookstagram, but didn’t decide to give it a try until I received an ARC of it’s sequel, Hunting Prince Dracula. Unfortunately, as hard as I tried to get into this story I just did not enjoy it. The story follows Audrey Rose, a young woman in high society who is fascinated with cadavers. Thankfully, her Uncle Jonathan is a scientist who also enjoys exploring dead bodies but Audrey Rose’s father doesn’t approve. Thus, Audrey must sneak around to do her scientific work, which gets more and more difficult as she begins to get invested in solving the Jack the Ripper case.

The main premise, or mystery, of the story is of course, who is Jack the Ripper? While I hoped the answer would be surprising, I guessed who it was pretty much right away. Maybe I’m just a naturally suspicious person, but I didn’t trust this person from the get go and all the false leads were such obvious red herrings that they just confirmed to me my suspicions were right. So yeah, the mystery didn’t thrill me and the “twist” left me feeling meh.

Additionally, I could’ve done without all the gross descriptions of dead bodies, but that was too expected in this novel. However, if you’re squeamish I highly wouldn’t recommend this book. It literally begins with Audrey cutting into a body.

The best part of the novel was the bit of romance between Audrey and her uncle’s student, Thomas. The two work together to solve the case of Jack the Ripper and of course they fall for each other, because that’s what happens when you stick two teens in a room together for too long. Sorry, my sarcasm just slips out sometimes. I really did enjoy their scenes together and they pretty much got me through this book.

Even so, as cute as I think Audrey and Thomas are together, I actually don’t really care about them or any of the other characters. Nothing about the story made me want to know more or keep reading, and so I felt the story dragged. I began skimming towards the end just I could finally be finished with the book. Because of this I’ve decided not to read the sequel, though I did give it try. I just can’t get into this story. Maybe it’s just not right for me, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow!

Stars:

2 stars

Favorite Line:

“Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.”

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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: Seriously… I’m Kidding

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Synopsis:

Seriously… I’m Kidding is a lively, hilarious, and often sweetly poignant look at the life of the much-loved entertainer as she opens up about her personal life, her talk show, and joining the judges table of American Idol.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

According to Goodreads, I started this book in September 2016. As much as I love Ellen this book just didn’t hook me and it was a book I definitely didn’t have a problem putting down, multiple times. Even so, Ellen’s wit and natural humor definitely made me laugh a few times and I highly recommend listening to the audiobook, rather than just reading the book.

One of my favorite parts about listening to this book five years after it was first published is remembering all the things Ellen has done and been through. She discusses her coming out and her brief stint as an American Idol judge, which I totally forgot about. She also jokes about her frustration with Pixar making sequels to just about every movie except Finding Nemo, which was extra funny now that the sequel has been made (and was very good).

Ellen also dropped some words of wisdom and advice that were so ridiculous I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, even while I was doing a run. This book just reminded me how incredibly kind and amazing Ellen is and I was happy to learn a little bit more about her by listening to this audiobook. I just wouldn’t listen to it again.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow

Stars:

3 stars

Favorite Line:

“When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.”

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Book Review: The Rose & the Dagger

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Synopsis:

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*Warning: There will be spoilers from The Wrath & the Dawn in this read. Read at your own risk!*

I wanted to love this duology but overall it was overhyped to me. The first book got better, so I was able to look past my issues with it but The Rose and the Dagger was just such a huge disappointment.

This novel pretty much begins where the first book left off. Shazi now has to figure out how she can break the curse on her husband, Khalid, so they can be together. However, she, along with her family, are now living in the desert with Khalid’s enemies, which includes Shazi’s first love, Tariq. Needless to say, the situation is complicated.

My biggest issue with this book was how big magic ended up coming to play in the story. In the first novel, Shazi and her father’s ability with magic was briefly mentioned but not in such a way that I thought it would be such a huge part of solving basically every issue in this novel. The magic that basically took over the story just seemed like such a cop out to me, especially with the introduction of Artan, a skilled magician, and his whole backstory.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Artan has a character but we just met him and all of sudden he becomes this big player in the story. His addition to the story, along with Shazi’s magical carpet, changed this series from A Thousand Nights retelling to an Aladdin retelling and I didn’t really like the shift.

Additionally, how the issue of the curse was resolved just seemed very anticlimactic to me. The curse was made out to be the worst possible thing every so I was expecting something crazy to happen and I just kind of felt meh when everything was resolved. I’m not sure what I was expecting but it wasn’t that. I felt that way about pretty much all the conflicts in this book. I just expected the stakes to feel higher or something crazier to go down and it didn’t play out that way.

There were some deaths that did shock me so that was a nice surprise. This book really dragged for me and I didn’t start getting into until the last 100 pages when there was more action and everything starts coming together. Even so, I just did not love this novel overall.

My favorite part about this novel was probably seeing more of Irsa and her relationship with Rahim. Besides that though, I was majorly disappointed with how this story played out and I thought about not finishing it multiple times but decided to push through since I was doing a buddy read.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be reading more of Renée Ahdieh’s books. I didn’t love this duology and most of the issues I had with it were the same issues I had with Flame in the Mist. I just found that in her storytelling she doesn’t explain things. She throws out these ideas and solutions and you’re just supposed to be like, “Yeah sure that makes sense,” when it actually does not, in fact, back sense. It drove me crazy with this book as it did with her others.

However, I will say she definitely knows how to write romance and that’s what kept these books interesting for me. If you’ve read The Rose and the Dagger let me know your thoughts about it below!

Borrow or Buy: Borrow

Stars:

3 stars

Favorite Line:

“True strength isn’t about sovereignty. It’s about knowing when you need help and having the courage to accept it.”

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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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Book Review: Cheater

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Synopsis:

Lucas Thorn wasn’t born a cheater. All it took was a single moment—say, a certain disastrous incident on the night before his wedding—and boom. Reputation destroyed forever and always. So now he owns it. He has a lady friend for every night of the week (except Sundays—God’s day and all), and his rules are simple: No commitments. No exceptions.

But a certain smart-mouthed, strawberry blonde vixen is about to blow that all to hell.

Avery Black has never forgiven Lucas for cheating on her sister. And suddenly being forced to work with him is pretty much a nightmare on steroids. Of course, it does afford her the opportunity to make his life as difficult as possible. But no good revenge scheme comes without payback. Because he didn’t become the Lucas Thorn without learning a few things about women.

Now Avery’s lust for vengeance has turned into, well, lust. And if Lucas stops cheating, it’s definitely not because he’s falling in love…

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

First, the synopsis of this novel led me to believe this would be an office type of romance situation in which the protagonists hate each other but they clearly also have chemistry and by having to work together sparks fly and they end up together. This was not that kind of book. Instead, I got a “let’s pretend we’re in a relationship for some reason and then while we’re pretending we realize it’s real” kind of story, which is not what I signed up for.

My biggest issue with this isn’t even that the plot was so very different than what I was led to believe, it was how the book got to this point. This is a bit spoilery but it happens early on in the novel and I’ll try to keep it as vague as possible.

Basically, Avery ends up sleeping over at Lucas’ apartment because she was drunk and his sister came over and thought that Avery and Lucas hooked up. Rather than just tell Lucas’ sister the truth, Avery decided it’d be better to pretend that they were actually dating and were in a serious committed relationship. Honestly, this was so ridiculous and only got more ridiculous when Lucas’ sister than told his mother about it and again, rather than just tell her the truth, he then played along with it until suddenly every one in Avery and Lucas’ families believed they were in a committed relationship.

Also, Lucas and Avery decided to continue the lie simply because they wanted their mothers to become friends again since they’d stopped talking after Lucas cheated on Avery’s sister Kayla with her other sister Brooke. Because somehow no one was upset that Lucas was now dating yet another sister of his ex-fiancé. Sure.

Truly, I thought the whole plot of this novel was outrageous and the only thing that saved it for me was that Lucas and Avery were pretty funny. The novel is told in their alternating POVs and there were a few lines that did make me laugh out loud. Plus, the two did have chemistry, which was nice.

Still, overall I thought this novel was sub par at best. I also didn’t understand this idea that Lucas was a “cheater.” Yes, he cheated in the past and in that way he was a cheater but him sleeping with different women every day of the week doesn’t make him a cheater. All of these women knew he wasn’t dating just them and agreed to it therefore I’m confused as to how what he was doing was considered cheating. It’s called being in an open relationship or just having multiple partners.

As long as everyone is involved is aware it’s not cheating and I hated that this book basically makes it seem like dating multiple people at once is problematic or being polyamorous is wrong. It’s not and this book shouldn’t promote this idea that it is. This idea that Lucas was a cheater was repeatedly hammered on throughout the novel, hence the title, and it thoroughly annoyed me all the way through.

So if you couldn’t already tell I didn’t love this book and I definitely will not be reading the sequel/companion novel. If you haven’t read this book, I definitely don’t recommend it but if you have read it let me know what you think.

Also, I’m currently running a giveaway on my Instagram. You can check it out here.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow it.

Stars:

2 stars

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