Book Reviews

ARC Review: Again, but Better by Christine Riccio

41147279Summary: From one of the most followed booktubers today, comes Again, but Better, a story about second chances, discovering yourself, and being brave enough to try again.

Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change—there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.

Release Date: May 7th, 2019
*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review! Thanks to St. Martin’s Press, Christine Riccio, and Netgalley!*

My Thoughts: WOW.  I am obsessed with this book.  From the first Harry Potter reference, I knew I was going to love it.  Riccio’s writing style and Shane’s voice are absolutely hilarious and there were times when I felt like she was inside my brain.  Shane is a totally lovable and entirely relatable character.  All of her bookish fandom and pop culture references killed me, and I just loved the way her mind worked.  I was rooting for her to come into herself the whole time and I loved watching as she figured out what she truly wanted.  As someone who fell in love with London on my own travels, I was so excited to be transported back and was definitely living through Shane’s study abroad experience.  Her flatmates were such a great grouping of characters who all had their unique, fun quirks.  Babe with her Disney obsession and aspiring actor, Atticus, were my favorites.  Then there was Pilot Penn, Shane’s crush.  Their dynamic and chemistry were fantastic and while there were moments that he made me mad, I totally understood the conflict.  I think my favorite thing about this book was reading their witty, flirtatious banter.  There were several swoon-worthy moments that had my stomach all fluttery.  The big twist in the middle of the book caught me totally off guard and seeing it play out was so exciting.  As you can tell, I just really loved this book and I have very little, if any, negative comments.  From the romance to the friendships, to the wanderlust, and finally discovering who you are meant to be, this book knocked it out of the park and I can’t wait to see what Riccio does next.

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Book Hangover

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: The First 10 Books I Reviewed

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When I started out book blogging, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.  All I knew was that I wanted to write about books.  I started checking out some other book blogs and fumbled my way through the first couple of months reviewing whatever books I was reading at the time.  This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl is the First Ten Books I Reviewed.  Looking these over I feel like I have definitely grown as a blogger since writing these, but I’m still proud of them all the same.


The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

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Strange Medicine by Mike Russell

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

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Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

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Starswept by Mary Fan

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Book Reviews

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer Review

43204703Summary: Fall in love, break the curse. 

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom. 

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

My Thoughts: I was completely absorbed by this book.  When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about getting back to it.  Right away from the first chapter, we get a gripping intro to the curse that set up the rest of the story perfectly, as well as our two male main characters, Rhen and Grey, and their relationship to each other.  Both men were complex and interesting, and the more we found out about their pasts, the more I fell in love with them.  Then we meet our heroine, Harper, who I really grew to like.  At first, I was kind of indifferent towards her, but her arc is great.  I loved the portrayal of her cerebral palsy.  It was just a part of who she was rather than her entire identity.  The two different perspectives were a perfect way to tell the story too. The juxtaposition of Harper’s casual, sarcastic voice to Rhen’s more formal, fairytale-esque voice was really effective. The pacing of Harper’s relationships with all of the people in Emberfall was done really well, wasn’t rushed, and felt realistic.  Knowing that to break the curse she had to fall in love with Rhen was a great added pressure to their growing relationship and trust.  Emberfall was beautifully created and vibrant, and I loved how the curse affected the rest of the world.  The plot was so quick and engrossing, and I couldn’t put it down.  The cliff hanger ending was an added bonus, and I cannot wait to see where this story is going to go.  As a Beauty and the Beast fanatic, I was a little hesitant to read a re-telling of my favorite story, but it definitely held up and I loved it.

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Tags

Game of Thrones Book Tag

Ok Y’all.  I’m obsessed with Game of Thrones and since Winter is FINALLY here, I thought I should celebrate it with this awesome book tag created by Biblio Nyan (and updated from the original to fit the current year) while I anxiously await the next episode on Sunday.

HOUSE LANNISTER: HEAR ME ROAR – Name a book that you originally loved, but upon a re-read realized that it wasn’t so great after all.

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It’s just not as good of a book as I remember it being… Do I still love it for what it is/was? Yes, but my definition of what makes a great book has changed a lot since my first read of it.


HOUSE STARK: WINTER IS COMING – Name your most anticipated book release for 2019.

I can’t decide.  There are so many good ones coming out.  Here are 3 of my tops.


HOUSE TARGARYEN: FIRE AND BLOOD – Name a book that you felt completely slayed with fantastic characters, plot, pacing, etc.

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I just can’t get over how much I loved these books.


HOUSE BARATHEON: OURS IS THE FURY – Name a book that ended with a cliffhanger ending that genuinely pissed you off.

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Still pissed about it its lack of a sequel.


HOUSE MARTELL: UNBOWED. UNBENT. UNBROKEN. – Name a book, or book series, that’s been on your TBR since the dawn of time.

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God, there are so many I could choose for this… but this one has probably been on there since elementary school…


HOUSE BOLTON: OUR BLADES ARE SHARP – Name the most graphic or disturbing book that you’ve ever read.

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I don’t really read books that are disturbing or dark… this one was too much for me.


HOUSE TYRELL: GROWING STRONG – Name a book, or book series, that gets better and better with every re-read.

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I’m sorry, there was no other option.


Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads

TTT-Big2I don’t know what the weather is like where you are, but here in San Diego, it’s supposed to be rainy and cloudy all day- which just happens to be a perfect fit for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday from That Artsy Reader Girl: Rainy Day Reads.  I personally love rainy days, especially when I have the time to curl up with a good book and just relax.  Here are 10 picks that I think are perfect for a rainy day.

What kind of books do you like to read on a rainy day? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

 

Book Reviews · The Classics Club

Classics Club: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë Review

432394Summary: Emily Brontë’s only novel, Wuthering Heights remains one of literature’s most disturbing explorations into the dark side of romantic passion. Heathcliff and Cathy believe they’re destined to love each other forever, but when cruelty and snobbery separate them, their untamed emotions literally consume them.

Set amid the wild and stormy Yorkshire moors, Wuthering Heights, an unpolished and devastating epic of childhood playmates who grow into soul mates, is widely regarded as the most original tale of thwarted desire and heartbreak in the English language.


My Thoughts: I really enjoyed Wuthering Heights.  It was a bit tough to get into at the start, but once Nelly started her narrative it really picked up.  The plot isn’t super action-packed, but it isn’t about that.  It’s about the amazing characters, who are all super flawed and are quite frankly, not great people.  I loved Catherine and her feisty, spoiled nature, and even though that wins over her heart, I loved her relationship with Heathcliff.  Heathcliff got dealt a really terrible life, and while he is an absolutely despicable human being, especially in the latter half of the book, you can’t help but feel for him which is crazy.  Their last scene together is unbelievable, and probably one of my favorite literary scenes of all time.  From that point on, I loved the book.  The story continuing with Young Catherine and Heathcliff’s revenge was so engaging and maddening to read- I couldn’t put it down.  I despised Linton and could not understand the appeal, other than finally having a companion, to Young Catherine.  I really enjoyed how everything wrapped up in the end though and felt it was resolved really well.  The only thing keeping this from being a 5 star read for me, is that I wish we would have seen more between Cathy and Heathcliff to build up their love and passion at the beginning.  It was implied, but I would have liked to have a few more scenes between them so I could feel their passion, rather than just being told it exists.

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Discussion Posts · Tags

Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #10

I joined Goodreads a few years ago, way before I started blogging, so my profile is kind of a mess.  I really want to clean it up so I can make better use of it.  I thought what a better way to do that than to join the Down the TBR Hole meme started by Lia @Lost In a Story! I am going to do it once a month instead of weekly, and hopefully make my Goodreads a pleasant place to be again.

Here is how it works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books

Decide: keep it or should it go?


Room by Emma Donoghue

9691607To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. 

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.

Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating–a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.

My Thoughts: I broke down and saw the movie version of this book before I had the chance to read it, and I loved it.  However; now that I know the story and what happens, I’m not sure if I have to spend the time reading it. VERDICT: TOSS


Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Twelve-year-old CeeCee is in trouble. For years she’s been the caretaker of her psychotic 12408603mother, Camille— the crown-wearing, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town. Though it’s 1967 and they live in Ohio, Camille believes it’s 1951 and she’s just been crowned the Vidalia Onion Queen of Georgia.

The day CeeCee discovers Camille in the front yard wearing a tattered prom dress and tiara as she blows kisses to passing motorists, she knows her mother has completely flipped. When tragedy strikes, Tootie Caldwell, a previously unknown great-aunt comes to CeeCee’s rescue and whisks her away to Savannah. Within hours of her arrival, CeeCee is catapulted into a perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricities—a world that appears to be run entirely by women.

While Tootie is busy saving Savannah’s endangered historic homes from the wrecking ball, CeeCee encounters a cast of unforgettable, eccentric characters. From the mysterious Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in an outdoor tub under the watchful eyes of a voyeuristic peacock, to Oletta Jones, the all-knowing household cook, to Violene Hobbs, the loud-mouthed widow who entertains a local police officer in her yellow see-through peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.

But CeeCee’s view of the world is challenged in ways she could have never imagined: there are secrets to keep, injustices to face, and loyalties to uphold. Just as she begins to find her ballast and experiences a sense of belonging, her newfound joy collides with the long-held fear that her mother’s legacy has left her destined for destruction.

Laugh-out-loud funny, at times heartbreaking, and written in a pitch-perfect voice, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is a spirited Southern tale that explores the intricate frailties and strengths of female relationships while illuminating the journey of a young girl who loses her mother but finds many others. 

My Thoughts: This book just doesn’t really appeal to me anymore.  VERDICT: TOSS


Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

7159515On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all. 

Still Missing interweaves the year Annie spent as the captive of a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfold through sessions with her psychiatrist, with a second narrative following the events after her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.

My Thoughts: This is not the normal type of book that I read, but I have been watching a ton of criminal minds and now this sounds good to me. VERDICT: KEEP


Cum Laude by Cecily von Ziegesar

Dexter College is a small liberal arts college in the quiet town of Home, Maine. But it won’t 6022731stay quiet for long with this group of freshmen. There’s Shipley–blonde and beautiful, the object of envy and more than a little lust. Determined to assert herself and to shed her good-girl image, she buys cigarettes and condoms, because that’s what every self-respecting college girl does. Her edgy roommate, Eliza, came to Dexter to get noticed, and she has the attitude and the mouth to prove it. Then there’s Tom. Handsome, privileged, used to getting his own way, he’s a jock-turned-artist who thinks his paintings will change the world. Sensitive Nick, Tom’s wake-and-bake pot-smoking roommate, wants to follow in the footsteps of his boarding-school hero. And then there are brother and sister Adam and Tragedy Gatz. The freckle-faced farm boy lives at home with his parents and his little sister, who does all she can to stop him from being a wuss.

As Shipley, Eliza, Tom, Nick, and Adam find out, that first year of college is more than credits and cramming. Between the lust and the love, the secrecy and the scandal, they’ll all receive an unexpected education. It’s a time of shifting alliances, unrequited crushes, and coming of age. Find Yourself is Dexter’s motto. And they are determined to do just that.

My Thoughts: I love Cecily von Ziegesar and both her other series and while this synopsis sounds perfect for me, it only has 2.5 stars on Goodreads and I haven’t really heard much about it… If I stumbled across it at the library I might pick it up but I probably won’t seek it out… VERDICT: TOSS


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

24213After a tumble down the rabbit hole, Alice finds herself far away from home in the absurd world of Wonderland. As mind-bending as it is delightful, Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel is pure magic for young and old alike.

My Thoughts: I feel like this is a must read, and it is on my Classics Club list.  VERDICT: KEEP

 

 


 

What do you think? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Outrageous Things I’ve Done for Books

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Happy Tuesday bookworms! I’m writing to you from the pool in Costa Mesa, California, and I couldn’t be happier about it.  As bookworms, I’m sure we have all done some outrageous things for the love of books and reading.  This week’s topic from That Artsy Reader Girl is celebrating the lengths we all go to for our passion.


Used my sister’s library card to check out more books when I didn’t want to pay my library fines.


Read backstage in the dark in between dance numbers because I couldn’t put my book down.  I’ve done this on multiple occasions.


Brought more than 2 books, other than the one I’m currently reading, on the train just in case I finish my book and need another one.


Walked around Disney World reading Harry Potter.  My family called me Belle the whole time.


Filled my entire carry on with books for a week-long vacation.  Yes, I did read all of them.


Bought someone a book as a present, but read it first before giving it to them.  Not my finest moment.


Went to a huge midnight release bash for the release of The Deathly Hallows.  I have a T-Shirt and everything.


Biked 20 miles into town and back with my best friend so we could buy the 4th Twilight book on the release day.  Then we went back to her cottage and read the rest of the night.


Gotten in trouble in my high school physics class for “texting” only to bring up a book instead of a phone.


Dressed up as Tonks and Lucius Malfoy for Harry Potter related events.


What crazy things have you guys done for the love of reading? ❤

Book Reviews

ARC Review: Lovestruck by Kate Watson

40074277Summary: Sixteen-year-old cupid-in-training Kali is in an Olympus-sized mountain of trouble. Rule number one in arrow-toting matchmaking: don’t stick yourself. But accidents happen, and Kali instantly falls hard for her indie rock, bass-playing target, Benicio.

The God of Love is going to kill her. Even if he is her dad.

Being the daughter of Eros isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For one thing, a girl can get jaded when her parents have the most beautiful and fatalistic love story in history. For another, immortality royally sucks when the Oracle condemns you to eternity in the wrong profession. Do the Gods care that Kali wants to ditch the love stuff and be a muse?

Nope.

To reclaim her heart and her destiny, Kali is left with no choice but to defy the Gods, tempt the Fates, date the mortal love-of-her-life, and hope she doesn’t lose her best friend, Hector, in the process.

*Thanks to North Star Editions/Flux for the ARC in return for an honest review*


My Thoughts: This book was so sweet.  The story follows Kali, an Erote-in-training, as she navigates through her teenage years as a Greek Goddess of Love.  This Greek mythology reimagining was so clever and full of funny tidbits that created a great atmosphere and a thoroughly built world.  A lot of the Greek Gods were familiar to me, but Watson did a fantastic job of giving them new life and expanding on tradition in a way that was both funny and real.  I loved Kali’s voice and immediately connected with her.  She’s hilarious, sarcastic, and dramatic, which as the drama-queen of my family I totally related to.  I also felt really connected to her relationships with the supporting characters, especially with her best friend, Hector, and her teacher, Artemis.  The plot was fully engrossing and gave me all the warm fuzzies with the romance.  I love a good love triangle with a twist.  The quest to conquer her fate was so right and so Greek, and it was the perfect vehicle for Kali to discover herself.  I was a little disappointed by the ending “twist”, which felt a little too deus ex machina and unnecessary to me, but overall I had a really great time reading this book and I recommend it to anyone who loves Greek mythology and a heart-warming YA romance.

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Monthly Wrap-Ups

March 2019 Wrap-Up

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What a month! I spent most of March in Los Angeles, and spent the last week here in Seattle, which I have fallen in love with.  I have been to so many amazing book stores (and coffee shops) this month, and my heart is so happy.  Unfortunately, my suitcases have no more room for all the books I have acquired, so I will be putting myself on a book buying ban for April.  In terms of blogging, I have been slacking lately.  It really is a lot harder to blog consistently on tour than I had expected, but I’m doing my best.  April brings me to 5 new cities, and I can’t wait to explore while I read along the way.

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Books Read:

The Dating Game by Kiley Roache★★★

The Wicked King by Holly Black ★★★★★

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan ★★★

Lovestruck by Kate Watson ★★★★


Favorite Book of the Month:

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Bookstores Visited:

The Last Book Store — Los Angeles, CA

BLMF Literary Saloon — Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA

Lion Heart Book Store — Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA

Lamplight Books — Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA

The Elliott Bay Book Company — Seattle, WA

Barnes and Noble — Seattle, WA


Currently Reading:

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Challenge Updates:

Goodreads Challenge: 14 of 100

Classics Club Challenge: 5 of 50


Broadway Book Chat: Liz Schmitz


March Reviews

• The Dating Game by Kiley RoacheThe Wicked King by Holly Black Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

March Posts

Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #9 • Top 10 Tuesday: Standalone Books That Need a Sequel • Last 10 Books Tag • Top 10 Tuesday: My Spring TBR •