Book Reviews

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim Review

42815556Summary: Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

*I received an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.  Thanks to Randomhouse Children’s for the opportunity!*


Ok. I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book, and I was so wrong.  It’s really good.  It is a beautifully written story that has everything you could want out of a YA fantasy novel.  The adventure is epic and fun, the romance is swoony, the system of magic is interesting, and the main characters are wonderfully likable.  I absolutely loved the Chinese culture in this book, especially its influences on the magic system.  It all works so seamlessly and transports us to a really vibrant world that I can’t wait to see more of.  The whole story has a traditional folklore feel to it as well, which adds a level of maturity and simplicity in the storytelling.  Maia is a great heroine and really comes into her own by the end.  I loved her arc, but I do wish we could have seen it progressing a bit stronger throughout.  The chemistry and tension with her love interest are fabulous from the get-go, and the pace of their relationship was perfect.  The journey they take together is fun and fantastical and super fast-paced.  The ending packs a punch and left me wanting more.  I am so pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book and I cannot wait to see where this series goes.

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Book Reviews

ARC Review: The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets by Molly Fader

41887422Summary: What drove their family apart just might bring them back together…It’s been seventeen years since the tragic summer the McAvoy sisters fell apart. Lindy, the wild one, left home, carved out a new life in the city and never looked back. Delia, the sister who stayed, became a mother herself, raising her daughters and running the family shop in their small Pennsylvania hometown on the shores of Lake Erie. But now, with their mother’s ailing health and a rebellious teenager to rein in, Delia has no choice but to welcome Lindy home. As the two sisters try to put their family back in order, they finally have the chance to reclaim what’s been lost over the years: for Delia, professional dreams and a happy marriage, and for Lindy, a sense of home and an old flame–and best of all, each other. But when one turbulent night leads to a shocking revelation, the women must face the past they’ve avoided for a decade. And there’s nothing like an old secret to bring the McAvoy women back together and stronger than ever. With warm affection and wry wit, Molly Fader’s The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets is about the ties that bind family and the power of secrets to hold us back or set us free.

*I received a copy of this book from Harlequin- Graydon House Books through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Release Date July 16th, 2019


My Thoughts: This book is the epitome of a perfect, well written, summer beach read.  The plot was paced so well and I could not put it down until I figured out all of the secrets.  It was easy to read and had some really poignant metaphors and descriptions, along with some well developed and loveable characters.  We get to read from the four perspectives of the McAvoy women and they all had a distinctive, yet cohesive, voice.  Each woman had their own struggles that were relatable, intriguing, and helped to build a complex and wonderful set of characters.  I loved watching their relationships with each other evolve and discovering what had happened to wreck their former closeness.  The mystery was handled so well, and it ended up being a lot more exciting and dark than I had originally expected.  It dealt with a lot of difficult topics like dementia, abuse, grief, and depression, but was overall a story about family and connection.  I became so emotionally invested in these characters and their experiences that I was moved to tears more than once.  The afterword really wrapped it all up in a great dramatic way that had my jaw on the floor.  Overall, this was a super quick and easily investable story that I highly recommend for anyone looking for a great and fast-paced summer read.

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Book Reviews

Review: Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop

41824802Summary: Fourteen-year-old Peter Green can’t remember how he died.
All he has are his pajamas, a silk tie, and a one-way bus ticket to Mrs. Battisworth’s Academy and Haven for Unliving Boys and Girls, a strange and spooky school for dead orphans like himself. But that’s all he needs: the Unliving Academy has everything, from vampires in the hallways, to monsters in the cafeteria, to ghosts in the basement.

And that’s just the teachers; the students are far stranger.

As Pete learns to fit in with his new supernatural schoolmates, he starts to discover his own uniquely undead abilities, and even begins enjoying his life after death…but he just can’t shake the feeling that he’s forgotten something (or somebody!) important.

Somebody he left behind in the land of the living.

Somebody he loved very much.

Somebody who’s in terrible danger. 

Peter Green and the Unliving Academy is the captivating first installment of Angelina Allsop’s Unliving series of young adult fantasy novels. If you like reading about fun-filled adventures, fully realized new worlds, and the most unlikely of heroes, you’re sure to love Allsop’s spirited coming-of-age tale.

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review*


My Thoughts: This book has so much potential.  The concept is brilliant, the characters diverse, and the world is unique and interesting.  Unfortunately, all of it was a bit underdeveloped.  Peter Green has died and shows up in Purgatory with none of his memories, where he is sent to an AfterLife boarding school for children.  I was on board with this concept and plot right away and was ready to dive into this adventure and see this wild world of AfterLife… but there wasn’t enough world building for me.  Sure, there were a lot of cool things and crazy creatures, but there were no rules set to establish the world, and the systems of magic, concretely enough.  We got little hints of it while Peter is learning about his “skills” at school, but it just felt to me that anything could happen there and it would just be accepted as a kooky part of the world instead of having a true basis in the way the universe was set up.  I absolutely loved the different portals and purgatory, the magical skills to be learned, and the entire concept of having a full life- complete with a job, family, community, etc.- after death.  It was so clever and unique that I just wanted it to be established on a deeper level.  The characters were sweet, but once again underdeveloped.  I couldn’t remember who was who most of the time because all we really got about them were their names.  I don’t even remember what Peter Green looks like, other than that he wears pajamas and a tie, and he didn’t really have a memorable personality.  Peter’s new best friends Scoot and Charlie were fun.  I loved Charlie’s unapologetic vanity and hunger for gossip and Scoot’s toughness and I would have loved to see a deeper relationship build between them all.  The plot was exciting and fun, but unfocused.  There were a lot of great scenes and ideas but there wasn’t a solid enough through-line, and many of the plot points felt unnecessary and distracting, even if they added entertainment value.  I don’t think the plot was used to it’s fullest in helping to create the world and develop the characters.  Overall, the ideas in this book are out of this world and I loved the concept and I just don’t think the execution lived up to its potential.

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Book Reviews

ARC Review: Kingsbane by Claire Legrand

40523458Summary: In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller Furyborn, two queens, separated by a thousand years, connected by secrets and lies, must continue their fight amid deadly plots and unthinkable betrayals that will test their strength—and their hearts.

Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien—but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist.

Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity’s long-awaited savior. But fear of corruption—fear of becoming another Rielle—keeps Eliana’s power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted—by embracing her mother’s power, or rejecting it forever.

*I received an ARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*


My Thoughts: I was on the fence about continuing this series after my lukewarm reception of Furyborn, but I’m glad I did.  While I still wasn’t crazy about it, I liked Kingsbane more than I liked the first book.  The characters continued to grow, and I loved finding out more of Rielle’s history and how it contributed to Eliana’s future.  Where Rielle was my favorite character in Furyborn, it actually switched to Eliana for this one, and I found myself looking forward to her sections more.  The switching perspectives continued to move the plot and intrigue along nicely, but for some reason, each switch was more jarring to me and took a second to adjust in each chapter.  I do wish we could have a bit more knowledge about the magic systems and the angels because it still wasn’t 100% clear for me.  If you can get past that though, the plot was exciting in both timelines and I really loved watching them weave together.  The ending was totally unexpected and had my jaw on the floor.  I was riled up after finishing for sure.  I am now too invested in the plot to not be along for the ride, and I anxiously await the conclusion in book three.  I really do think that if the magic and the angels were fleshed out better, this series would knock it out of the park, but until that ferocious ending, it was a fairly average read.

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Book Reviews

ARC Review: Murder at Macbeth by Samantha Armstrong

45300231Summary: WHOSE DEADLY SECRET HAS TAKEN CENTRE STAGE?

When a talented, young actress unwittingly stabs herself live onstage after a prop knife is tampered with, suspicion immediately falls on her eclectic band of castmates.

But who had the motive to kill the show’s leading lady?

As the insightful, yet disillusioned, Detective Inspector Finley Robson and his shrewd partner, Detective Sergeant Nadia Zahra, interrogate the seven key suspects, secrets unfold to unveil a web of scandal, blackmail, and deceit.

Bitter rivalries, secret trysts and troubled pasts are just the beginning of the story…

Set against the backdrop of a gritty London theatre production of Macbeth, this compelling novel explores a dark world of mystery and intrigue. All is not as it seems…

A hugely gripping police procedural full of unpredictable twists and suspense, Murder at Macbeth will captivate you from the very first page and keep you guessing right until the end.

With an intriguing plot and distinctive characters, this English murder mystery is a compelling whodunnit which is perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins, Karin Slaughter and LJ Ross.

*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review*


My Thoughts: As a theatre actress and obsessive Criminal Minds/ Law and Order SVU fan, I was so excited to read this book even though it is not my usual genre to read.   In this one, an actress accidentally stabs herself onstage when a prop dagger is switched for a real one and her castmates are the only suspects.  While I love watching them on tv, I do have to admit that police procedurals are not the most exciting thing for me to unravel in book form.  While the plot was interesting and held my attention, I found myself bored by the format (which I don’t think was the author’s fault, but rather my own personal genre preference).  There were some nice, more narrative-like, flashbacks that broke up the investigation and really helped build the tension and mystery which I was pleased with.  I had no idea who the culprit was going to be and was kept guessing until the last moments, but I never felt like I could fully invest myself in the story or its characters and therefore was underwhelmed at the conclusion.  I think that readers who enjoy this type of genre and format would really get into this one, and I’m glad I gave it a go, but the genre just not my cup of tea.

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Book Reviews

ARC Review: I Spy the Boy Next Door by Samantha Armstrong

PrintSummary: Four p.m. spy sessions are the highlight of Mallory Taylor’s day. Observing the boy next door—one with a body and an attitude to match—has her perched beside her window so often it can’t be healthy.

When she finally convinces her mom to let her go to public school, Mallory comes face to face with her neighbor, Troy Parker. And he makes it clear he wants nothing to do with her. His rejection awakens a newfound tenacity and maybe even a touch of recklessness. But when Troy starts to show up when she needs him the most, Mallory can’t help but wonder if there’s more to him than he’s let on.

Taking chances, breaking rules, and following her heart is all new to Mallory. And no one warned her just how fickle hearts can be. When she discovers that Troy isn’t at all the guy she imagined him to be, secrets rise to the surface that will change her life forever.

*I received a copy of this book from Koru House Press in return for an honest review! Thanks to them and Samantha Armstrong for the opportunity!*


My Thoughts: This book was really different than what I expected.  I anticipated a light-hearted, opposites attract YA romance and that is not what this was.  Our main character, Mallory, has lived a very sheltered, home-schooled existence for her whole life, all while crushing on Troy, her next door neighbor, from afar.  Once Mallory convinces her overprotective parents to let her go to school, she finally gets the chance to come face to face with him and the story begins… but nothing much happens for a while.  There is a lot of moodiness and unwarranted behavior from him, and confusion from her, but they don’t really have that many interactions.  I was so confused as to how they fell for each other when they had such minimal contact.  In fact, none of the relationships between Mallory and the other characters were really developed enough to be believable.  They would have one interaction, and then they’d be best friends.  There was a bit of very exaggerated sexual tension between Mallory and Troy, but without a strong build-up to their connection, it didn’t fully work for me.  Out of nowhere, the book becomes an episode of criminal minds and while I wanted to find out what was going to happen next, I was thrown by the sudden change in mood and plot.  The twist did help explain more about Mallory’s character, but overall the whole book just felt a bit incohesive and underdeveloped.  I think if Mallory and Troy’s relationship had a stronger foundation and actually built to a smolder instead of going from zero to 100, the whole thing might have worked better.  Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get on board with this one.

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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 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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Book Reviews

The Dating Game by Kiley Roache ARC Review

40212098Summary: The Social Network gets a romantic twist in this fresh and engaging new read from the author of Frat Girl, Kiley Roache. Experience the whirlwind ups and downs of college life in this authentic and entertaining new novel!

When a notoriously difficult class for future entrepreneurs leads to three freshmen developing the next “it” app for dating on college campuses, all hell breaks loose…

Type A control freak Sara lives by her color-coordinated Post-it notes.  Rich boy Braden wants out from under his billionaire father’s thumb.  Scholarship student Roberto can’t afford for his grades to drop.

When the three are forced to work together in one of the university’s most difficult classes, tension rises to the breaking point…until, shockingly, the silly dating app they create proves to be the most viable project in class. Late nights of app development, interest from investors and unexpected romance are woven into a true-to-life college drama that explores what it means to really connect online and IRL.

Release Date: March 26th, 2019


My Thoughts:  The Dating Game was a fun and quick read.  Told from the three different perspectives of our main characters, Sara, Roberto, and Braden, we get a glimpse into the world of tech start-ups mixed in with some college love drama.  I really enjoyed each of their voices and loved that we had three very different people, with different view points, telling the same story.  They were all well developed characters individually, but I did think there was some chemistry missing for them together.  The plot led us to a love triangle, which I am a sucker for, but I did not feel enough between the three of them.  I could have used a little more juice.  The plot wasn’t super action packed, and it was a bit predictable, but there were some really great and beautiful parts of the narrative.  There is a scene where Robbie and Sara are discussing heartbreak and it really struck me.  The language of the whole book was relatable and I liked reading about college aged characters in such a unique situation.  Overall, it wasn’t a life changing book, but it was a cute read with an interesting premiss.

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Monthly Wrap-Ups

February 2019 Wrap-Up

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Hello everyone! It’s already March and that is crazy!! My tour has been chugging along, and we’re finally in Los Angeles for the next month.  It has been harder to blog on tour than I had expected, and I ended up taking a bit of an unexpected hiatus and missed a few more posts than I would have liked.  However, I have still been reading a good amount and trying to keep up as much as possible.

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Books Read:

The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick ★★★★

The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton★★★

The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman★★★★

P.S. I Still Love you by Jenny Han★★★★★

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han★★★★★

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins★★★


Favorite Book of the Month:

I can’t decide which one of these books I liked better, but they’re both incredible.


Currently Reading:

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Challenge Updates:

Goodreads Challenge: 10 of 100

Classics Club Challenge: 4 of 50 (I suck… but I WILL read Wuthering Heights this month)


Broadway Book Chat: Keri Rene Fuller

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February Reviews:

• Furyborn by Claire LegrandARC-The Woman in the Lake by Nicola CornickARC-The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton 


February Posts

Top 10 Tuesday: New Releases I’m On The Fence About • Cleaning Up My TBR- Down the TBR Hole #8 • Top 10 Tuesday: My Favorite Book Couples from 2018 • Top 10 Tuesday: Hidden Gems With Less Than 2,000 Goodreads Ratings •