Tag: books

Always Never Yours Review

Always Never Yours Review

I’m so happy to be doing a review of Always Never Yours for the blog tour!

Always Never Yours, by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley

Synopsis

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A contemporary Shakespeare-inspired YA from a fantastic new author couple! What’s it like to play the understudy in your own love story?

Megan Harper is the girl before . . . just like Rosaline from Romeo and Juliet. Every one of Megan’s relationships has ended the same way–her ex replaces her with someone perfect. But instead of crying over every breakup, Megan spends her time on her two passions: pursuing her next fling and directing theater. She hates the spotlight, and she’s hoping to fulfill her college program’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible. But then Megan’s theater teacher casts her to play none other than Juliet in her school’s production of Romeo and Juliet–and she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright. In exchange for Megan’s help writing a play, Owen agrees to help Megan catch the eye of a hot hipster stagehand. Between rehearsing and contending with her dad’s plans to move with Megan’s pregnant stepmom to New York, Megan begins to realize Owen– thoughtful,
unconventional, and utterly unlike her exes–might be the Romeo she never expected. Better yet, with him, she might finally be a Juliet.

 

Authors

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Raised by a school librarian, Austin’s always had a passion for books, especially books for young people. He met and fell in love with Emily in high school and went to Harvard University for undergrad. He studied English (focusing on Shakespeare) and graduated magna cum laude in 2014. Recently, Austin worked as a journalist for The Hollywood Reporter and was a UCLA law student; however there’s nothing he he loves like writing with Emily. Emily, whose parents are screenwriters, has loved writing and story-telling since an age she hardly remembers. Since meeting Austin (she says it was middle school–accounts vary), Emily attended Princeton University for undergrad, studied psychology, and graduated magna cum laude in 2014. While at Princeton, she wrote the first novel in her self-published YA fantasy trilogy, The Last Oracle, which was featured in USA Today and was a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

 

Review

Always Never Yours was such an entertaining contemporary novel! I just finished reading Romeo & Juliet in my English class this past semester, and I was so happy to catch all the references (and there were many)! As far as the content of the book, it was good, but not great. There were a few things that could have played out differently, and I would have loved to see it! This novel contains many typical YA romance tropes, and I think the authors could have been more original as far as the storytelling went. We had the typical high school setting, the perfect best friend, the girl that gets around, etc. Even though some of these tropes were typical, others played out nicely in order to benefit the story. As I mentioned, I think the authors could have gone different ways to really diversified the storytelling and make it more original.

Another thing I would have liked to see were more developed characters. Our protagonist was written well, but some of the supporting characters felt written, not real. I love a character driven story (more so than a plot-driven one), and that was one thing that lacked for me. I did enjoy the family dynamic throughout the story, though! Megan’s family had some flat points, but for the most part they were 3-dimensional. She struggles with fitting in with her family: Her dad has remarried and has a child with his new wife, and Megan’s mom is halfway across the country with a new life. Her struggle with finding her place is a real one that was represented very well.

A strong point in this novel is theater. It really takes the stage (#pun) in this story, and I love it! So often, hobbies are discarded or mentioned once and never again in stories. In this one, though, theater drives everything that happens. It was so nice to see a story focused on theater, and doing it so well. It showed that the authors had done research and had knowledge on the subject. Megan’s passion for theater is obvious, and it influences many of her decisions as far as relationships and school go.

Overall, I really enjoyed Always Never Yours and the story it told! I would definitely recommend it to someone looking for a lighthearted contemporary, especially if you’re interested in theater and/or Shakespeare! I gave it a rating of 3.5/5 stars!

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Folded Notes From High School Review

Folded Notes From High School, by Matt Boren

*Thank you to Penguin Random House, who sent me a review ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.*

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Summary

ALEX & ELIZA SPOTLIGHT

Hey guys! I’m so happy to be Spotlighting Alex & Eliza for the blog tour! I absolutely loved Alex & Eliza when I read it last year, and the sequel is out April 17! Below, you will find a cover, synopsis, and more to go along with this novel!

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ALEX & ELIZA: A LOVE STORY
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Witches of East End and The Descendants comes the love story of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.
1777. Albany, New York.
As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters–Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival those of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.
Still, Eliza can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck–as an orphan, and a bastard one at that–to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that forever change the course of American history.
In the pages of Alex and Eliza, #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.
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Author Bio
Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York TimesUSA TodayWall Street JournalLos Angeles Times, and Publishers Weekly internationally bestselling author of many critically acclaimed books for readers of all ages, including Alex & Eliza: A Love Story, Disney’s Descendants novels, the Blue Bloods series, and the Summer on East End series. Her books have sold over eight million copies, and the Witches of East End series became an hour-long television drama on the Lifetime network. Visit her at melissa-delacruz.com.
Other Bloggers on This Tour:
Alex & Eliza
Love & War 

March 2018 Wrap-Up

March was a phenomenal reading month for me! Unfortunately, however, my camera was stolen this month, so I’ve decided to upload my wrap-up to the blog. Enjoy!

March 2018 Stats

Pages Read: 2,921

Books Read: 9

Average Star Rating: 3.83

The Books & The Thoughts

31394234Zenith, by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings

 

This thrilling sci-fi novel was really fun to read! I do have a full review of this novel on my blog, so you can check that out if you’d like. For a mini-review, Zenith was enjoyable, but there were some things I felt were off. The world wasn’t extremely detailed or developed, and I would have enjoyed seeing more of it. Also, some of the characters seemed to be indecisive about who they were (though I suppose it’s the authors actually at fault).  Sometimes, Andi was ruthless, and other times she was sympathetic. The pacing, too, was a little slow for my taste. Overall though, I liked Zenith! 4/5 stars.

 

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Love & War, by Melissa de la Cruz

I read Alex & Eliza last year and really enjoyed it, and when I found out there was going to be a sequel I was so excited! Penguin Random House kindly sent me an ARC to review (more in-depth on the blog). This was really my introduction to Hamilton (I, unlike others, hadn’t had previous interest). While I’m unsure of the historical accuracy of this series, I do love reading them! Love & War follows Alex and Eliza after marriage, as they are struggling to find money and time with each other. I felt it was a realistic portrayal of this period in people’s lives, and I liked seeing this dynamic. At times, the book could have information dumps, but overall I really enjoyed it! 4/5 stars.

 

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Not if I Save You First, by Ally Carter

I got this as an ARC at YALLFest and was so excited to read it because I had loved Carter’s past novels! There probably are a few changes made to the final copy released this past month, but from what I read, it was amazing! I do have an in-depth review on the blog (without a picture), if you’re interested in more detailed thoughts. This was a thriller/romance/almost political novel. I felt it was too short! Things seemed rushed at times, and the ending was pretty confusing and I was lost. Other than that, the characters were written pretty well (our MC was a bit indecisive, similar to Zenith’s), and I would definitely recommend picking this up! 4/5 stars.

 

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Meet Cute, by a LOT of different authors

Unfortunately, this anthology was a disappointment. I only really liked two or three stories, when I was hoping to love all of them! The stories were just undeveloped, even for short novella-type ones. I can’t really say much other than that, but I ended up giving Meet Cute 2.5 or 3 stars.

 

 

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The Unlikelies, by Carrie Firestone

This novel really showed how to be a good citizen. That sounds super childish, but its true. We follow a group of teens who don’t have any plans for the summer, but end up busting drug house things (you can tell I’m inexperienced on the subject), encouraging people who have been bullied, and just generally lifting up their community, as well as other people around the world. It’s enlightening, and shows it doesn’t take much to help someone be happy. I did have a few issues with the romantic relationship aspect, as well as some repetitiveness and character development, but other than that I liked this novel! 3/5 stars.

 

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Fairest, by Marissa Meyer

It has been a very long time since I’ve delved into TLC world, but I hadn’t read Fairest and saw it as a must-read for this series. This was cringey, but not in the writing or plot. Levana was a downright cringey teenager, and it made me really uncomfortable! I’ve heard some people say this book made them like Levana more, but that is most certainly not the case for me. I felt sorry for her, but she is insane. Literally. The story itself was good and progressed well, but Levana as a character was just…yikes. 4/5 stars.

 

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Ana Rocha: Shadows of Justice, by Ammar Habib & Glenda Mendoza

*The author kindly sent me a copy of this novel for review* I was hesitant to pick it up because the whole crime genre is intimidating, and I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this novel. However, I ended up having a blast reading this! It was action-packed and real; I would totally recommend it. There were a few issues with character development and repetitiveness, but other than that, I gave it 4/5 stars! (There’s a more in-depth review on the blog.)

 

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American Panda, by Gloria Chao

This was one of my most anticipated contemporary releases of this year! The premise was so intriguing, and I thought it was going to be so much fun! Unfortunately, I was disappointed by this book. I enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as I’d hoped. The main character was frustrating, the romantic relationship wasn’t fleshed out very well, and some of the characters didn’t feel real (or, they’d show up and seem important, then disappear for the rest of the novel). The plot itself was wonderful and I enjoyed seeing someone of college age, but this was overall a disappointing read for me. 3/5 stars.

 

41+8O7nI1XL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_What to Say Next, Julie Buxbaum

I absolutely adored this book. I cannot sing its praises loud enough! The dynamic between our two main characters was amazing to see play out. This is such an important, relevant novel in today’s world, and I’m so glad I picked it up! It deals with autism, grief (and how it can quickly turn to depression), bullying, and more. I laughed out loud (which never happens) and cried multiple times (even rarer). It made me feel all the feels, and I think this will stick with me for a very long time. Go read it! 5/5 stars.

Not if I Save You First Review

Not if I Save You First, by Ally Carter

Release Date: March 27, 2018

Summary

Maddie thought she and Logan would be friends forever. But when your dad is a Secret Service agent and your best friend is the president’s son, sometimes life has other plans. Before she knows it, Maddie’s dad is dragging her to a cabin in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness.

No phone.
No Internet.
And not a single word from Logan.

Maddie tells herself it’s okay. After all, she’s the most popular girl for twenty miles in any direction. (She’s also the only girl for twenty miles in any direction.) She has wood to cut and weapons to bedazzle. Her life is full.
Until Logan shows up six years later . . .
And Maddie wants to kill him.

But before that can happen, an assailant appears out of nowhere, knocking Maddie off a cliff and dragging Logan to some unknown fate. Maddie knows she could turn back- and get help. But the weather is turning and the terrain will only get more treacherous, the animals more deadly.

Maddie still really wants to kill Logan.
But she has to save him first.

Summary from Goodreads.

My Thoughts

Not if I Save You First is a fun, thrilling story that I absolutely blew through! Ally Carter wrote a series that really got me into YA, and this book was just as good. The writing style wasn’t jaw dropping, but the story itself was done very well. I would consider this novel to be a thriller, which I’m not prone to pick up, with some other elements thrown in. There were a few complaints I had, as far as characters and pacing. Overall, the novel was action-packed, but after certain events the story would die down until another event came, causing the pace to be inconsistent. My second–and final–critique is with our main character, Maddie. While she was an interesting, hardcore character, I felt the author had a difficult time choosing what kind of character she wanted Maddie to me. For instance, one minute  she would be fighting or chopping wood in Alaska, but the next she would be worrying about her hair or bedazzling an axe. While I understand she has a varying personality, I felt the author could improve upon her descriptions of her. The other characters were developed well, though they seemed a bit 2D. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and the premise, and I’d recommend picking it up when it comes out! 4/5 stars.

Love & War Review

Love and War, by Melissa de la Cruz

Release Date: April 17, 2018

35883428Summary

1781. Albany, New York.

As the war for American independence rages on, Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler begin their new life as a married couple. Still, Alex is as determined as ever to prove his mettle and secure his legacy . . . even if that means leaving his beloved Eliza behind to join the front lines at the Battle of Yorktown. But when the war unexpectedly arrives on Eliza’s doorstep, she must fight for a better future–for their fledgling country and for her marriage.

Yet even after the Revolution comes to its historic close, Alex and Eliza’s happily-ever-after is threatened. Eliza struggles to build a home in the hustle and bustle of New York City just as Alex’s burgeoning law practice brings him up against his greatest rival–the ambitious young lawyer Aaron Burr. And with Alex’s star on the rise, Eliza can’t help but feel neglected by a husband who seems to have time for everyone but her. Torn apart by new trials and temptations, can Alex and Eliza’s epic love survive life in the big city?

Summary from Penguin Random House.

My Thoughts

Love & War was an absolutely brilliant installment to the Alex & Eliza books! To begin with, we rarely see couples after marriage, or even following getting together. In this novel, however, we see the struggle between Alex and Eliza as they must deal with all aspects of both adulthood and married life. I felt that both characters handled the difficult situations in a realistic manner, and I enjoyed seeing them not always get along, but act like a real married couple. I cannot personally testify to the accuracy of this, seeing as I don’t study this time period, but as far as I can tell, we got an equal amount of information and embellishment. For every “knowledge dump,” there were elements of the story that were fun and lighthearted, and I loved it. The family aspect of this story was also done well. Angelica, Peggy, and Eliza’s relationship was one that is likely envied by all sisters, even though they have their disagreements. In the beginning, it was one of the leading plot points. However, after getting into Part Two, Eliza’s family became more distant, though still influence decisions she made–once more, a completely realistic reaction to what she is going through. I had only two problems with this book, one being the repetitiveness. There were times when I felt certain stories or time periods were referenced more than once, and not every time was necessary. There also were parts that were filled with too much information. I understand, of course, that this is a historical fiction and must have some sort of tie-in to real events, and for the most part, I appreciated it. At times, the author recited a lot of information that probably could have been spread out over time. Overall, though, I really enjoyed this book. 4/5 stars!

Zenith Review

Zenith, by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings

31394234Summary

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.

But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder‘s all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situation and at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi’s past.

Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their shipor just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

Summary from Goodreads.

My Thoughts

There is no doubt in my mind that Zenith is a thrilling, explosive sci-fi adventure with a strong cast of female space pirates and a great romance to boot. However, I have a few notes on things I didn’t love. The first was the writing. Don’t get me wrong, I did love the writing style, but there were a few sections where words were italicized unnecessarily. I watched a review by Squibbles Reads on YouTube on this novel prior reading it, so I was looking for the things she mentioned. One of these points was italicized words, and I completely agree. In sentences, the authors would put an emphasis on the word, taking away the reader’s ability to understand the implication of the word. The story was also, at times, a bit slow. This could be credited to the fact that I struggle with sci-fi settings. Lastly, I felt this story wasn’t very original. This novel was broadcasted as Guardians of the Galaxy with girls, and I felt it resembled this too much. The characters were each very unique and fun to read about, but the overall plot felt like every other sci-fi I’ve read. Other than my critiques, I did enjoy this story and will likely be reading the next book. 4/5 stars!