ARC Book Review: The Way You Make Me Feel

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Synopsis:

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? With Maurene Goo’s signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free digital advanced reader’s copy of this book from Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 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 8, 2018.*

I haven’t read any of Goo’s books before, but I’ve heard only good things about her works so I decided to request this one and I was not the least bit disappointed. The novel follows Clara, a teen who loves to pull pranks, especially when it means ruining her enemy, Rose’s, day.

However, when Clara’s prank at prom takes things too far she suddenly finds herself having to work on her father’s food truck, the KoBra, with Rose, ruining her plans for the perfect summer and visiting her mom, Jules, who she doesn’t see often. Miserable and angry, Clara wants nothing to do with this task or with Rose, but the longer she’s forced to work with her the more Clara realizes Rose isn’t all that terrible after all.

I really loved this story because I think Goo did a really good job of showing where Clara’s needs for pranks came from and I really understood her as a character. On the flip side, I also totally got where Rose was coming from and I liked seeing these girls being forced to realize that even though they were different that didn’t mean they had to be enemies. I’m a big fan of girl friendship stories and this was a great one.

Additionally, Clara’s dad, Adrian, is definitely a DILF. I fell in love with him pretty early on and I have no regrets. I also really liked Clara’s romantic interest, Hamlet. He was so quirky and genuine and I thought that was a nice contrast to Clara, who definitely struggled with facing her real feelings about things.

Lastly, Goo did an incredible job of showing the relationships between Clara and her separated parents. I think it would’ve been really easy to make one parent look like the good one and the other look bad, but Goo did a great job of showing why Adrian was so awesome, but also how Jules was flawed but still tried. I thought it was amazing to see Clara learn more about her parents, because I think it’s something a lot of kids with divorced parents go through, where they realize their fun parent isn’t always the best parent.

Thus, overall, I highly recommend this book. I truly loved it and it made me incredibly hungry, but in the best way. Now I want to read all of Goo’s books so I think I’ll go do that. If you’ve read The Way You Make Me Feel, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Borrow or Buy: Definitely, buy it!

Stars:

5 stars

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ARC Book Review: The Summer of Us

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Synopsis:

American expat Aubrey has only two weeks left in Europe before she leaves for college, and she’s nowhere near ready. Good thing she and her best friend, Rae, have planned one last group trip across the continent. From Paris to Prague, they’re going to explore famous museums, sip champagne in fancy restaurants, and eat as many croissants as possible with their friends Clara, Jonah, and Gabe.

But when old secrets come to light, Aubrey and Rae’s trip goes from a carefree adventure to a complete disaster. For starters, there’s Aubrey and Gabe’s unresolved history, complicated by the fact that Aubrey is dating Jonah, Gabe’s best friend. And then there’s Rae’s hopeless crush on the effortlessly cool Clara. How is Rae supposed to admit her feelings to someone so perfect when they’re moving to different sides of the world in just a few weeks?

Author Cecilia Vinesse delivers a romantic European adventure that embraces the magic of warm summer nights, the thrill of first kisses, and the bittersweet ache of learning to say goodbye to the past while embracing the future.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from The Novl. 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 June 5, 2018.*

What is this? A book review? From me? Why yes, your girl is back! School is finally winding down, which means I can finally read the books I want, which includes a backlog of a plethora of ARCs. So without further ado let’s get to it.

True story, I kind of forgot I requested this book, but I’ve been in a contemporary mood as of late so I was excited to dive in. The Summer of Us is told in alternating close third person POVs of two best friends—Aubrey and Rae—as they embark on a backpacking trip across Europe with their other three best friends: Gabe, Clara, and Jonah. Except things in this friend group are totally complicated.

Aubrey’s dating Jonah, but three weeks ago she kissed Gabe. Oops! Meanwhile, Rae has a huge crush on Clara, but Clara’s so obviously straight…or is she? Naturally, as the trip goes on people’s secrets come out and drama arises, but at the heart of this novel is story about friendship and what it means when everything in your world is changing, but you want it all to stay the same.

I found this story to be very relatable, and it made me reflect on my own experience of graduating high school and being both excited to move on and start the next chapter in my life and also being totally scared of losing my friendships from high school. Cecilia Vinesse perfectly captured that feeling with her novel through both perspectives, and the romance was also a nice touch.

Overall, The Summer of Us is a quick read that will make you want to hop on the next flight to London and take your own backpacking trip around Europe with a group of your closest friends. I highly recommend this novel if you love tales of friendship and romance. It’s a perfect summer read!

Borrow or Buy: Buy it! I could see this being a book you want to read every summer.

Stars:

4 stars

ARC Book Review: The Cruel Prince

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Synopsis:

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from The Novl. 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 Jan. 2, 2018.*

I’ve never read a Holly Black novel before so I wasn’t really sure what to expect going into this novel. All I knew was there would be faeries, who are super in right now, and that Black is considered a queen in the YA fantasy world. That was enough for me to be interested.

The prologue of this story sucked me in immediately, as it made it clear very quickly that this would not be a book that sugarcoated the world of the fey. Instead, this story jumped right in with the bloodshed and I was totally here for it. But then the story slowed down a bit. Jude, the narrator and protagonist of the story, is a human who grew up in the world of Faerie and all she wants is to be accepted among them. To do so, she hopes to participate in a tournament so she can become a knight. Differently, her twin sister, Taryn, hopes to marry into a Fey family. Their elder sister, Vivi, would rather have nothing to do with the fey, even though she’s actually half-fey.

As much as I loved the family and school dynamics that played out in the beginning of the novel, after the bloodshed in the prologue, I was a little blood thirsty. I wanted to jump right back into the action and get to the good stuff. However, although there was a little wait to get there when Black went there she really went there. The second half of the novel was filled with so many twists and betrayals that I realized, like Jude, I made the mistake of forgetting that we were still in the world of Faerie, and while the fey can’t technically lie that doesn’t stop them from being ruthless.

This book totally blew my mind, especially in the last 150 pages, and once it got to the good stuff, I couldn’t put it down. I was on the edge of my seat, trying to figure out what Jude would do next, in order to protect herself and her family, and I was not disappointed. What I loved most about this book, was how even though Jude and Taryn are human, you can see how they learned how to play the games of the Fey, and how they got quite good at it.

The ending of this book left me shook and I absolutely must know what happens next. Definitely pick up The Cruel Prince once it’s released; you won’t regret it.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

4 stars

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ARC Book Review: All the Crooked Saints

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Synopsis:

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

Maggie Stiefvater has been called “a master storyteller” by USA Today and “wildly imaginative” by Entertainment Weekly. Now, with All the Crooked Saints, she gives us the extraordinary story of an extraordinary family, a masterful tale of love, fear, darkness, and redemption.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Book Depository

Review

*I won a free advanced reader’s copy of this book at Brooklyn Book Festival. 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 released today.*

If you’ve been following me for a while you know that although I really enjoyed The Raven Cycle series, I wasn’t all that enthralled with the plot, because it didn’t make any sense to me. Thus, I wasn’t sure how to feel about this new book by Maggie Stiefvater. It didn’t help that the book quickly came under fire for it’s representation of Mexican Americans after it was first announced. Despite all these things, I ended up really enjoying this novel.

The story is told in the third person, with the same kind of magical realism voice that I loved in the The Raven Cycle books, and looks at a Mexican American family, the Sorias, living in Bicho Raro, Colarado in the 1960s. The Sorias have been done throughout generations to be saints that can give people miracles, which help them overcome the darkness inside of them. Although this novel is definitely about the Sorias as a whole and the pilgrims that travel to get their miracles, it’s really about the three young Soria cousins: Beatriz, Daniel, and Joaquin.

Daniel is the current Saint of Bicho Raro and it’s his job to give the pilgrims their miracles, but because this is a Stiefvater book the miracle isn’t something simple. Instead there’s two parts to the miracle. First, Daniel brings out the darkness in the pilgrim, which can manifest into pretty much anything, and then it’s the pilgrim’s job to figure out how to get rid of their darkness. Until they do that, the pilgrims don’t leave Bicho Raro and the Sorias don’t kick them out because they believe a pilgrim might find success later and return the favor. Also, the Sorias don’t engage with the pilgrims because they believe they can “catch” a pilgrim’s darkness.

I really enjoyed all the characters in this story. I liked how they each handled miracles and how it affected their perspective on the world around them. Additionally, I was actually interested in all of their histories. This story gave me The Sun is Also a Star vibes, because it gives the background for almost every character. It was also interesting seeing this divide between the Sorias and the pilgrims, since they all lived in the same place, but at times it felt like they were in two very different worlds. I also enjoyed the little bits of romance in this story as well. They were subtle and cute and I would’ve loved more, but the amount given was sufficent.

Lastly, in terms of the representation of Mexican Americans, since I’m not Mexican I can’t speak for how a Mexican person will feel about it. I thought it was well done, though I’m confused as to why Stiefvater named the town Bicho Raro when that means weirdo in Spanish. Perhaps because this story is a bit weird? Who knows? Besides that though, I thought the characters were well thought out and not stereotypical. Therefore, I highly recommend picking up this book today and giving it a read.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“Always take blame for your own actions but never take blame for someone else’s.”

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Book Review: Warcross

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Synopsis:

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty-hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I am a big fan of Marie Lu so it broke my heart that I missed the opportunity to get an ARC of her newest novel, Warcross, at BookCon. However, the wait was totally worth it and now I’m kind of glad I didn’t get to read it early because I NEED THE SEQUEL YESTERDAY!

Okay, so this is going to be a brief, vague review because I don’t want to spoil anything or give anything away. Here’s what you need to know, besides the fact that you absolutely must read this book immediately. The protagonist is Emika and the story is told solely from her point of view and this is the first story Lu has done in this style and I absolutely loved it.

At the start of the novel, Emika is struggling. She’s broker than broke and unfortunately her one shot at getting the money she needed to pay her rent slips right through her fingers. Because of this, she ends up attempting to do a very risky hack during the opening ceremony of the international Warcross championships. Warcross is this crazy virtual game that pretty much every one in the world plays using these glasses with what’s called Neurolink. Essentially, the glasses let you escape the real world and enter the world of Warcross.

Emika’s hack goes awry, however, and she ends up revealing herself to the world. But instead of getting arrested (again), Warcross creator Hideo decides to hire her to try to find Zero, a hacker that’s threatening the game. Next thing she knows she’s on one of the international teams competing in the Warcross games while on the hunt for Zero, who she soon realizes is more dangerous than she first thought.

Filled with action, romance, and twists that kept me up late reading because I COULDN’T PUT THIS BOOK DOWN, Warcross is one of my favorite books by Lu (The Midnight Star is still my all-time fave). I can’t wait to see what happens next in this incredible world she’s created and there’s so much more I want to know about these characters. If you haven’t picked up Warcross yet, I highly recommend you pick it up ASAP and then come back here so we can discuss that ending.

Borrow or Buy: Buy it immediately!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Everything’s science fiction until someone makes it science fact.”

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Book Review: When It’s Real

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Synopsis:

Under ordinary circumstances, Oakley Ford and Vaughn Bennett would never even cross paths.

There’s nothing ordinary about Oakley. This bad-boy pop star’s got Grammy Awards, millions of fangirls and a reputation as a restless, too-charming troublemaker. But with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley needs to show the world he’s settling down—and who better to help him than Vaughn, a part-time waitress trying to help her family get by? The very definition of ordinary.

Posing as his girlfriend, Vaughn will overhaul Oakley’s image from troublemaker to serious artist. In return for enough money to put her brothers through college, she can endure outlandish Hollywood parties and carefully orchestrated Twitter exchanges. She’ll fool the paparazzi and the groupies. She might even start fooling herself a little.

Because when ordinary rules no longer apply, there’s no telling what your heart will do…

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I haven’t read The Royals series by Erin Watt, but I’d seen When It’s Real floating around Instagram for a while so when I was browsing the Strand, I impulsively decided to buy a copy, book buying ban be damned. Thankfully, it was totally worth the buy because I absolutely could not put it down and when I finished it I reread it again. Yeah, it’s that good.

The story is told in the alternating POVs of Oakley and Vaughn, beginning with Oakley. As is unfortunately the case with a lot child stars, Oakley has now become known more for his outrageous parties and the revolving door of women entering his bedroom than his music. It’s been a few years since he released his last album and his manager informs him that the only way he’ll be able to work with the best producer in the biz is to change his image.

What better way to do that than to date an average nice girl? Enter Vaughn. Her elder sister just happens to work at the management company that reps Oakley and when Oakley’s manager sees a pic of Vaughn, he believes she’s the perfect girl for the job. There’s only one problem, she has a boyfriend. And also, she doesn’t want to do it.

But Vaughn is then made a offer she can’t, in good conscience, refuse. Thus begins her fake relationship with Oakley. Typically, it takes a lot for be to behind a fake relationship story. There has to be a good enough reason for it, and in this case I thought there was.

What I loved about this fake relationship story was although I figured Vaughn and Oakley would end up together this didn’t feel like an insta-love story to me. You actually get to see Oakley and Vaughn slowly realize there’s more to each other than the other realized. Additionally, I liked that this wasn’t really a love triangle kind of story either. I won’t spoil it, but I’d be surprised if you find yourself rooting for Vaughn’s boyfriend.

Overall, I really enjoyed everything about this story. Vaughn was super relatable and I loved her family. Oakley was totally swoonworthy and the steamy scenes were perfect. Also, the plot was really well done and I loved how this story ended because it did surprise me a little bit. So if you haven’t read this book yet I highly recommend picking it up.

Borrow or Buy: Buy it!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“The good ones put your character to the flame and burn away all the rest of the shit until you come out a better you. She’s one of the good ones.”

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ARC Book Review: Invictus

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Synopsis:

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time traveler from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in ancient Rome, Far’s very existence defies the laws of nature. All he’s ever wanted was to explore history for himself, but after failing his entrance exam into the government program, Far will have to settle for a position on the black market-captaining a time-traveling crew to steal valuables from the past.
During a routine heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl named Eliot who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Eliot has secrets-big ones-that will affect Far’s life from beginning to end. Armed with the knowledge that history is not as steady as it seems, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to set things right before the clock runs out.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I won a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from NOVL and  Little, Brown 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 will be released on September 26, 2017.*

This book was described as Doctor Who meets Guardians of the Galaxy, but since I’m pretty sure I’ve only seen one episode of Doctor Who that didn’t mean much to me. After reading this novel, I’d say this book is more of Six of Crows but with time travel. In other words, I loved it.

The novel started a little slow, but once Farway got his crew together and they were living on the Invictus, their time travelling ship, things got very exciting very fast. The only thing that threw me off a little bit was that we don’t see the beginnings of the crew’s adventures through time. Instead, the story jumps ahead and when we first see the crew on the Invictus they’ve already been jumping around time for about a year.

However, the time jump (pun intended) worked for me because I liked that Far, Priya, Imogen, and Gram, along with my favorite red panda, Saffron, were already a kind of family by the time the drama really begins. And that drama comes in the form of the mysterious Elliot.

To be honest, I didn’t like Elliot at first. Her non-answers annoyed me and I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why is she being so difficult?” Of course, there’s a reason, which you’ll just have to read and discover. But, in my opinion, I understood where she was coming from and in the end she became one of my favorite characters. Although, to be honest, I loved all the characters in this story.

Far is the cocky, sassy character, who’s soft spot for Priya made him endearing and quite adorable. Priya, my queen medic, was awesome and I wish she could make me some chai tea in real life. I’m sure her’s is better than what I’ve been getting at Starbucks. I absolutely loved Imogen and the fact that she changes her hair color every day. She’s so cute and funny, and we both share a love of gelato. And then we have my favorite nerd, Gram. His obsession with Rubik’s cubes and Tetris was so cute to me, and I liked that because he’s black, his views about travelling through time were different than those of his crew members. I thought that was a pretty great perspective to this story.

Overall, this book was filled with the perfect amount of adventure, romance, diversity, and funny moments, and I just couldn’t put it down. Although the ending to this story was absolutely perfect, I also wouldn’t mind a sequel. I just love these characters so much. Definitely make sure to grab a copy of this book when it comes out.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

5 stars

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