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?

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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: The Edge of Everything

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Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

Purchase From:

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Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Borrow or Buy: Buy

Stars:

3 stars

Favorite Line:

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

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Book Review: The Distance Between Us

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Synopsis:

Money can’t buy a good first impression.

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers learned early that the rich are not to be trusted. And after years of studying them from behind the cash register of her mom’s porcelain-doll shop, she has seen nothing to prove otherwise. Enter Xander Spence—he’s tall, handsome, and oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and the fact that he seems to be one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But just when Xander’s loyalty and attentiveness are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. With so many obstacles standing in their way, can she close the distance between them?

Purchase From:

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Review

I can’t believe I forgot to review this book. I read it a while back and I really liked, even though it wasn’t my all time favorite Kasie West novel. Let’s dive in.

First, if you’re making your way through Kasie West’s books like I’ve been doing recently I recommend reading The Distance Between Us before On the Fence because they take place in the same town so there’s some overlapping characters and The Distance Between Us was released first. Truthfully though it doesn’t really matter, which order you read them in since nothing’s given away but I would’ve preferred if I’d read them in order.

Moving on, I loved Caymen and Xander. They were so cute together and made me swoon. I also liked that we got to see their relationship play out. A lot of romance novels wait to the end for the characters to get together and then there’s only like a chapter where they’re actually together but this book wasn’t like that. You actually get to see their romance play out, which was nice. I also really liked Caymen’s humor. She’s super sarcastic and witty and I loved how Xander played off that but could also see through it when she was using her humor to deflect.

My biggest issue with this novel was Caymen’s mom. I found her to be super irritating but thankfully she’s not around that often so it didn’t bother me too much. Other than that I really like this novel and want to buy it so I can read it again. Once I finally read By Your Side I plan on doing a full ranking of all of West’s romance novels and I’m pretty sure The Distance Between Us will be close to the top. Definitely give it a read if you haven’t already.

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“Sometimes it’s the little things that bring that special someone back to us in some small way.”

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Book Review: King’s Cage

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Synopsis:

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

Purchase From:

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Review

*Warning: There will be minimal spoilers about Glass Sword in this review. Read at your own risk.*

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t like Red Queen. For me, it was way too predictable and overhyped. However, I kept reading the series and I’m so happy I did because with each book this series has gotten better and better.

King’s Cage is told in multiple POVs but it’s still mainly Mare’s story and the other two POVs (Cameron and Evangeline) are just as interesting. I really enjoyed seeing this world through these other two ladies’ eyes, especially Evangeline. She’s the first Silver we get to hear from and I absolutely loved her and her storyline. I’m rooting for her in the next (and last!) book.

What I loved most about this novel, though, is the background we got on Maven. As I said, Red Queen was predictable for me so I never liked Maven and I never trusted him. However, in King’s Cage I actually started to become interested in Maven’s character. I don’t like him per say, but I understand him a bit more now. I even started to feel sorry for him. I’m still hoping Mare kills him in the end but I also won’t be mad if he’s somehow redeemed at the end of the series.

However, at the end of the day my heart will always belong to Cal. I don’t want to talk about it too much because I don’t want to spoil this book for anyone but I will say I don’t know how I feel about Cal’s choices in this novel. On the one hand I understand why he did certain things but on the other hand I just wanted to scream, “Are you kidding me?”

Overall, I loved this novel. While I’ve seen other people say it started slow that didn’t bother me at all. Mare is in captivity and there’s only so much that can happen while she’s locked up and I still think Victoria Aveyard handled it very well, especially with the switch in POVs. I really liked every aspect of this novel and I’m excited/scared to see how this will all end.

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Cameron, my heart is quite literally in this.”

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Book Review: Wayfarer

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Synopsis:

Etta Spencer didn’t know she was a traveler until the day she emerged both miles and years from her home. Now, robbed of the powerful object that was her only hope of saving her mother, Etta finds herself stranded once more, cut off from Nicholas-the eighteenth century privateer she loves-and her natural time.

When Etta inadvertently stumbles into the heart of the Thorns, the renegade travelers who stole the astrolabe from her, she vows to finish what she started and destroy the astrolabe once and for all. Instead, she’s blindsided by a bombshell revelation from their leader, Henry Hemlock: he is her father. Suddenly questioning everything she’s been fighting for, Etta must choose a path, one that could transform her future.

Still devastated by Etta’s disappearance, Nicholas has enlisted the unlikely help of Sophia Ironwood and a cheeky mercenary-for-hire to track both her and the missing astrolabe down. But as the tremors of change to the timeline grow stronger and the stakes for recovering the astrolabe mount, they discover an ancient power far more frightening than the rival travelers currently locked in a battle for control. . . a power that threatens to eradicate the timeline altogether.

Purchase From:

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Review

*Warning: There will be minimal spoilers about Passenger in this review. Read at your own risk.*

I had high hopes for Wayfarer but ultimately I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. My biggest complaint about Passenger was the lack of action and excitement but at the start of Wayfarer I was excited and sucked in. Etta and Nicholas were separated because a shift in the timeline and although I loved their romance it was great to see them off doing their own things and having to fend for themselves. However, as the story went on my excitement fizzled out and I was just wishing for this book to get to the point already. I wasn’t sure what the point was but I just couldn’t find it in me to care about these characters or their mission. I just wasn’t hooked.

That being said, I did enjoy learning more about the history of the travelers and Etta’s parents. At the end of Passengers I didn’t like Etta’s mom Rose and although I still don’t love her I feel like I at least understand her a bit more (even though there’s still some loose ends I have questions about). Similarly, this novel introduced a couple of new characters that I really liked and I definitely enjoyed Sophia much more in this book than I did in Passenger.

Also, while I didn’t find the plot all that attention grabbing I did think the writing of Wayfarer was incredibly beautiful and I took down so many favorite lines because I liked so many. Alexandra Bracken is an incredible writer, I just don’t think this book was for me. All the long descriptions about the places and the explanations about time travel made me want to skim but obviously these were necessary parts of the book.

Therefore, in case of Wayfarer I think it’s more of “it’s not you, it’s me” situation. I just couldn’t get into it and I was glad when I was finally done.

Stars:

3 stars

Favorite Line:

“It is no shameful thing to be beaten when outnumbered, not when you were brave enough to try. Nor is a scar or injury something to despair over, for it is a mark that you were strong enough to survive.”

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Book Review: P.S. I Like You

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Synopsis:

While spacing out in Chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk, and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters — sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery, and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

Purchase From:

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Review

I am such a Kasie West fan now. I want to read all her books. They’re so good!

P.S. I Like You was the perfect romance novel and I wish I owned it so I could read it again. The story is told from Lily’s point of view and although I loved her I also liked that she had flaws. She knows how to hold a grudge and sometimes misjudges people but always apologizes when she realizes she’s made a mistake. Besides Lily though, I also really liked her family and her best friend, Isabel.

Although the person who Lily was writing the letters to was pretty obvious to me I was still really happy with the romance of this novel. Lily figures it out about half way through the novel and I like how that wasn’t the end of the story. It was kind of just the beginning actually. Lily was forced to come to terms with the fact that her letter writer wasn’t who she hoped it was but also that there’s more to some people than meets the eye.

I really liked the relationship between Lily and the letter writer and he was absolutely swoon-worthy to me. I also like that just because Lily liked the person in the letter she didn’t just automatically decide she was in love with him when she found out who it was. She had to grapple with her feelings and figure out how she felt about the whole situation. I also liked that there were other small conflicts in the story that didn’t take away from the romance but added to the main plot as well.

Overall, this is definitely a buy and I can’t wait to get it after my book buying ban is lifted. I’m literally counting the days because I plan on rereading it as soon as I get it. Definitely give this book a chance if you haven’t already.

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“P.S. I like you. A lot.”

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Bookish Sweet 16: My 2017 TBR

I checked my shelves and I own 92 books that I haven’t read yet. 92! How sway? With that in mind I have chosen 16 books from my own shelves that I absolutely have to read next year. I’m hoping to read more than just the ones on this list but I figured this would be a good start.


1. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

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I loved The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken but I’ve been hesitant to read Passenger since I’ve read mixed reviews. I’m hoping I enjoy it so I can read the sequel, which comes out in January.

2-3. The Wrath & the Dawn Duology by Reneé Ahdieh

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My friend told me I need to read this duology so when I saw both books on BookOutlet I quickly purchased them during the site’s Black Friday sale. Then I proceeded not to read them. Oops!

4. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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My original plan was to read An Ember in the Ashes so I could read the sequel, which came out this year. Well the sequel has come out and I still haven’t read either of these books. At least now I can read them back to back.

5. Mosquitoland by David Arnold

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I fell in love with David Arnold’s writing style when I read Kids of Appetite so I wanted to read his debut novel. Of course once I actually had the novel I somehow forgot to read it.

6. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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Honestly, the title of this novel is what really sold me. Rarely do I just pick up a book in the bookstore and buy it without having compared prices online but I did for Simon.

7. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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I’ve had an ARC copy Big Little Lies since I interned at People magazine back in 2014. Now that it’s going to be an HBO mini-series I figured it was finally time I gave it a read.

8. Just One Day by Gayle Foreman

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I really want to read more contemporary romances in 2017 and Gayle Foreman is the perfect person to start off with. I loved If I Stay and Where She Went and I feel confident I’ll enjoy Just One Day as well.

9. The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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It’s possible I bought this book just for the cover. Just look at it! Isn’t it gorgeous? Yes, I know, I have a problem. Honestly though, I loved the Lux series so I feel confident I will like this book as well. I just have to read it.

10-11. Second Chance Summer and Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Morgan Matson is an author I just discovered this year. So far I’ve read two of her books and now I own two more. I’m hoping to read them both next year.

12-16. 2017 ARCs

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This year was the first year I really started getting a lot of ARCs and while I was good in the beginning I started just letting them fall by the wayside. Next year I plan to read all my ARCs before they’re pubbed so I can post more ARC reviews. Not pictured: As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka.

Do you have a big TBR pile? What books do you plan on tackling next year? Let me know in the comments below!