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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Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: My Spring TBR

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I love making TBR lists.  There is something so exciting about thinking of the books I’m going to read next.  Do I always stick to them? No, but they do give me a good sense of accomplishment and keep my blogging schedule on track.  This week’s theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is our Spring TBR, which for me is March-May, and I cannot wait to get through all of these beauties!

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

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I Spy the Boy Next Door by Samantha Armstrong

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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Enchantée by Gita Trelease

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Finale by Stephanie Garber

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Lovestruck by Kate Watson

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Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

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The Girl From the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor 

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Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

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Collide by Nina Walker

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What books are on your TBRs?  Give me some more recommendations cuz my list is forever growing! 🙂
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 •


Book Reviews

The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton ARC Review

39080472Summary: In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, Camille, her sister Edel, and her guard and new love Remy must race against time to find Princess Charlotte. Sophia’s Imperial forces will stop at nothing to keep the rebels from returning Charlotte to the castle and her rightful place as queen. With the help of an underground resistance movement called The Iron Ladies-a society that rejects beauty treatments entirely-and the backing of alternative newspaper The Spider’s Web, Camille uses her powers, her connections and her cunning to outwit her greatest nemesis, Sophia, and restore peace to Orleans.

 

*Release Date: March 5th, 2019*


My Thoughts: I was such a huge fan of The Belles, and when I got approved for an ARC on Netgalley for the sequel, I was SO happy.  I was excited to get back into the world that I loved so much from book one, and find out what was next for the characters after that cliff hanger ending.  The book jumps right back in to where we left off, and it took me a minute to remember everything and readjust to the creative and specific verbiage they use.  Unfortunately, the plot of this book is a bit slower than The Belles, and even though things were happening, everything just felt less vibrant.  The action does pick up in the second half, but the characters stay pretty linear without much growth.  The chemistry between Camille and Remy was nice, but I wanted their relationship to be stronger.  It didn’t progress enough for me.  The best relationships were between Camille and her sisters, and I loved seeing the different ways they all dealt with the battle against Sophia and their way of life.  Speaking of, I wanted more of Sophia.  They talked about her a lot, but I wanted more interactions and moments with her because her craziness made the first book so engaging.  I liked where the story went, but it just felt like something was missing.  I appreciated the open ending- it was satisfying enough if there is not another book, but it definitely leaves room for the story to continue.  Overall, I was a little underwhelmed by this sequel, but there was enough for it to be enjoyable and I look forward to seeing if there is more to the story.

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Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick

39973246Summary: London, 1765

Lady Isabella Gerard, a respectable member of Georgian society, orders her maid to take her new golden gown and destroy it, its shimmering beauty tainted by the actions of her brutal husband the night before.

Three months later, Lord Gerard stands at the shoreline of the lake, looking down at a woman wearing the golden gown. As the body slowly rolls over to reveal her face, it’s clear this was not his intended victim…

250 Years Later…

When a gown she stole from a historic home as a child is mysteriously returned to Fenella Brightwell, it begins to possess her in exactly the same way that it did as a girl. Soon the fragile new life Fen has created for herself away from her abusive ex-husband is threatened at its foundations by the gown’s power over her until she can’t tell what is real and what is imaginary.

As Fen uncovers more about the gown and Isabella’s story, she begins to see the parallels with her own life. When each piece of history is revealed, the gown—and its past—seems to possess her more and more, culminating in a dramatic revelation set to destroy her sanity.

*I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley and HARLEQUIN- Graydon House Books in return for an honest review*

RELEASE DATE: Febuary 26th, 2019


My Thoughts: This book caught my eye on Netgalley right away, as I am a sucker for historical fiction- especially with interwoven timelines.  It did not disappoint.  It had a mysterious gothic fiction vibe, which I loved, and a gripping plot.  I couldn’t put it down because the pacing was spectacular.  The mysteries slowly unraveled and kept me guessing the entire time with some great twists and reveals.  The supernatural elements were subtle and unexplained, which only added to the tension.  There were three different narrators, all with unique and specific points of view, and the way they worked to flesh out different parts of the story was super compelling and addicting.  Fenella’s storyline was my favorite, and I really loved her chemistry with her love interest.  The parallels between Isabella in the past and Fen in the present were interesting, but I wish there would have been a stronger a connection between them and that they would have been a bit more entwined.  The writing, while not super elegant, was entertaining and painted nice pictures of both the characters and the world.  Overall, this book isn’t a game changer, but it is a great quick and consuming read for any historical fiction fan.

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Book Reviews

ARC Review: Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway

32949202Summary: He was raised in revolution. She was raised in a palace. Can their love stop a war? Code Name Verity meets The Winner’s Curse in Joanna Hathaway’s Dark of the West, a breathtaking YA fantasy debut.

Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.

*I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge! Thank you for the opportunity!*

Release Date: February 5th, 2019


My Thoughts:  This book was different than I had expected.  It is billed as a fantasy novel, but other than being set in a fictional world, there were no fantasy elements whatsoever.  It read more like a historical fiction war story- which is cool, but I kept waiting for the fantasy aspect to emerge and it never did.  The fictional world is really in depth with complicated politics, which was amazing, but I found myself floundering without enough knowledge to fully grasp it all (I didn’t have the map in my ARC, and I think that would have helped me to understand it all better.  There will be map in the official release.) In addition to the fully developed world, the characters were also pretty well formed and interesting- Athan especially.  He was really likable and I empathized with him a lot.  There was a great contrast between him and Aurelia and their relationship was sweet, however; I didn’t feel like it progressed enough.  I loved their star-crossed lovers scenario, but I just wish there would have been a little more heat.  In fact, the whole book was pretty slow and there wasn’t a lot of action.  It was very politically focused, with intricate schemes and plans, and it felt like a set up for later action that didn’t come in this book.  The last few chapters were a bit more exciting as things came to a head, and I did enjoy the twists, but I didn’t feel like there was enough plot driven action for the first book in a series.  Overall, it was beautifully written with an interesting premise and characters, but it was a bit too slow for me to get fully on board.

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Book Reviews

ARC Review: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry

39863269Summary: Jesse Lachlin is cursed.

So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland.

Scarlett Copeland is psychic.

Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin.

Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other. But as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…

*I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge! Thank you for the opportunity!*

Release Date: January 22nd, 2019


My Thoughts:  This book was a great way to start off my reading year! I loved it. Scarlett and Jesse have a broken friendship, and each have secret darknesses of their own. When circumstances bring these two estranged friends together, their connection becomes deeper and more meaningful than it ever was, and they find the solace and help in each other that only true love can bring. This book deals with some pretty dark subject matter- abuse, loss, grief- but I thought all of it was handled extremely well.  To me it seemed very realistic and showed how complicated these types of relationships can be.  The writing was descriptive and emotional, and it really connected me to the characters.  The perspective switches between Jesse and Scarlett were effective, but I wish they would have had more distinctive voices for each character.  Even so, I was completely invested in both of their stories and the way they wove together.  While their relationship did seem to escalate pretty quickly, their backstory of being best friends made that connection seem real and not insta-lovey, and it allowed me to feel all the flutters that their sweet romance induced.  There was a slight mystical element with Jesse’s psychic cousin, Glory, but it wasn’t overwhelming, and added the perfect amount of magic, which felt an awful lot like hope, to a very real story.  This book was different than I expected it to be, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.  Definitely recommend.

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