ARC: Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova

the reading belle bruja born.jpg

goodreads-synopsis

Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.

Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back…commentary

**Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks for giving me an e-book copy of the book for an honest review. All opinions are my own**

In Labyrinth Lost, the first book in the Brooklyn Witches series, Alex was the original protagonist. The black sheep of the family due to not having magic like her sisters. After the events of the first book, the point of view shifts to Lula Mortiz, the eldest sister of the family. In Labyrinth Lost, Lula was a confident witch with healing powers, but she undergoes a transformation in which she “loses” herself. Though this book deals with Lula, I love the maturity Alex gained from her experiences with Los Lagos. She seems more mature than the previous book. It is a shame that this book did not include a lot of Alex and Rishi moments.

As much as I loved Labyrinth Lost, I completely fell in love with Bruja Born. This book is about the process of healing for Lula because of her scars, both mentally and emotionally. Lula has found herself in a dark place, and only she can get herself. What I loved about this book is that Lula had an encouraging support system of her sisters and family that loved her even when she didn’t feel like herself. This is a beautiful journey of self discovery especially after losing her dearest boyfriend and the events of Los Lagos. Lula no longer feels joy and her connection to magic has severely changed. She is also learning to adjust to having her father back into her life after disappearing for many years. What I really loved about Lula is that she was raw, emotional, and mostly flawed. The author does not present a special snowflake, but rather someone relatable. It’s refreshing to read about realistic characters rather than Mary Sue type characters. She makes a lot of mistakes, along the way, but it serves to improve herself for the best. I could relate to Lula’s experiences of re-experiencing self love. The author portrayed Lula’s emptiness so realistically despite being a work of fiction.

One of my favorite lines in the book. This shows the sass and the protection Lula has for her sister Alex:

You really think I’m going to betray my sister for you? Boy, bye.

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Though the setting takes place in Brooklyn, magic plays a heavy element to this sequel. New lore is introduced in this urban fantasy such as casi muertos (neither living or completely dead, somewhere in between. Others would say they are similar to zombies), vampires, and witch hunters. Magic is always has a price. Lula learns this the hard way. Resurrecting the dead is not possible, even with Lula’s healing magic. She gains a new ability, but pays the ultimate price. The stakes are really high in this book. I loved the action scenes, and the magical alliance between different magical folks. This book presented a showdown and really delivered! I really hope that the author continues this series. I would love to see the Mortiz sisters once again. And I hope that Rose gets a perspective too!

Rating: 4.5

ARC: The New Guy And Other Senior Distractions by Amy Spalding

Goodreads Review: A ridiculously cute, formerly-famous new guy dropping into your life? It’s practically every girl’s dream.

But not Jules McCallister-Morgan’s.

I realize that on paper I look like your standard type-A, neurotic, overachiever. And maybe I am. But I didn’t get to be the editor of my school’s long-revered newspaper by just showing up*. I have one main goal for my senior year-early acceptance into my first choice Ivy League college-and I will not be deterred by best friends, moms who think I could stand to “live a little,” or boys.

At least, that was the plan before I knew about Alex Powell**.

And before Alex Powell betrayed me***.

I know what you’re thinking: Calm down, Jules. But you don’t understand. This stuff matters. This is my life. And I’m not going down without a fight.

—-

* Okay, I sort of did. But it’s a sore subject.

** I mean, I guess everyone knows about Alex Powell? Two years ago, you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about viral video boy band sensation Chaos 4 All. Two years ago, Alex Powell was famous.

***Some people think I’m overreacting. But this. Means. War.

Filled with romance, rivalry, and passive-aggressive dog walking, Amy Spalding delivers a hilariously relatable high school story that’s sure to have you falling for The New Guy.

Commentary: I was kindly provided the physical copy of The Memory Book by The Novl.

I wanted The New Guy And Other Senior Distractions by Amy Spalding to be hilarious and cute. Funny thing is that my sister told me this book was going to be awful just by reading the synopsis. I gave it a chance despite her warning and oh boy, she was was right. All the contemporary books that I have read so far in this month have been terrible, one after another. This book is no exception. Also, spoilers!

The story starts off with Jules, a overachieving high school senior that wants everything to go according to plan. She dreams of attending Brown University and getting the editor in chief position at her school. She may not be popular, but she has a supportive group of friends. Dating guys are not on her top priority at all, and everything changed when the new guy, Alex transfers to her school.

Alex used to be in a boy band and had a one hit wonder, now he’s focusing on having a normal life. He is immediately attracted to Jules, even though she has no time for dating. There are immediate sparks between both characters, but both experience a roller coaster of emotions because of his “betrayal”.

This book was so silly, and not in a good way. I was hoping that the betrayal was going to be much darker, and honestly I don’t believe that Alex betrayed Jules at all. Jules took it out of proportion. In the span of almost a week, she suddenly drops Alex out of her life because he is her “enemy”. Alex happens to be in Talon, the school’s official newscaster team that has taken all of the Crest’s (the school’s newspaper) popularity away. Since Talon is popular among the students, the readership of the Crest has suffered tremendously and has threaten the school’s tradition.  Jules declares war on Talon and hijinks ensue.

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I wanted to like Jules, I really did and I tried. I couldn’t because her character was really wishy-washy. Everyone admires Jules because she is a natural born leader and is very hardworking. A loyal friend. I found her rather selfish and a horrible friend. For example, Jules was so caught up on destroying Talon that she ignored her best friend Sadie’s messages for several days. And then her relationship with Alex was really dramatic. One moment Jules is happy to be with her hot boyfriend, and in the next moment she questions if he’s liar and a cheat. They constantly break up…I couldn’t take their relationship seriously. Alex was a bland character, and to be honest I didn’t think their relationship was healthy. Like I’ve mentioned before, all these emotions of love and hatred happen in the span of about a month.

Other than that, this book was so cheesy and over the top. The only character that I did end up liking was Sadie, though she’s a secondary character. Sadie was supportive to Jules throughout the whole book, especially when Jules has problems with Alex. There are a couple of things I liked in this book. It’s set in the Eagle Rock/Highland Park area, and since I usually go there on Sundays I know the places that Jules visits. I did like Jules and Natalie’s rivalry, though I would have liked it even more if there was a bigger reason why those two didn’t get along, instead of misunderstanding each other.

Recommendation wise, I would recommend this book to a younger audience. It wasn’t for me.

Final Rating: ⭐️ (1.5)

Release Date: April 5th 2016 by Poppy

 

The Memory Book by Lara Avery

Goodreads Synopsis: They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I’ll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I’m writing to remember.

Sammie was always a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as humanly possible. Nothing will stand in her way–not even a rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly start to steal her memories and then her health. What she needs is a new plan.

So the Memory Book is born: Sammie’s notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. It’s where she’ll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime crush, Stuart–a brilliant young writer who is home for the summer. And where she’ll admit how much she’s missed her childhood best friend, Cooper, and even take some of the blame for the fight that ended their friendship.

Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it’s not the life she planned.

Commentary: I was kindly provided the physical copy of The Memory Book by The Novl.

When I first read the synopsis, I was beyond excited to read this book. I admit it, I did hype it up a bit. I thought that The Memory Book was going to be similar to one of my favorite books: Flowers For Alergnon by Daniel Keyes, which I highly recommend reading. Anyways, going back to The Memory Book and how I felt about it as a whole: I loved the first chapter, but everything kinda went downhill. And yes, there will be spoilers.

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The book was not entirely bad, but one of my biggest issues was how forgettable the book was to me. I really did not like the protagonist’s choices. I loved how socially awkward she was and how she was an overachiever, but that’s just it. After reading several chapters, I was not enjoying what I was reading. And I even considered putting the book down, but I kept telling myself to finish it, and so I did. If I was twelve, maybe I would have liked it much more, but certainly not love it. I didn’t feel an emotional attachment to Sammie. Even if she didn’t have her disease, I still wouldn’t find her likable.

Moving on to the love interests…I found each of her guys equally boring. First there is Stuart, her man crush from high school. She has always found him fascinating since he is a writer and ha . I was very displeased with Sammie especially what she did to Stuart. Sammie had sex with Cooper and cheated on Stuart while he was out of town. It happened out of no where.

Now about the ending, well I didn’t cry. The way it ended sorta felt bittersweet because I didn’t think it was going to happen so quickly. I would have liked the book a bit more if it

  • focused more on Sammie’s struggles
  • didn’t focus a lot on the love interests
  • had no love triangle
  • had a better family dynamic
  • had more guest posts describing Sammie and her condition
  • had better writing

Though I found this book quite tedious, others might like this book more than me. The Memory Book has a unique synopsis, and I would actually recommend this book to a younger audience.

Also worst quote ever…

Then he took my arm-that’s right, you read correctly-he took my arm, and turned it over, as if he were administering a shot. He brought a pen out of his pocket, uncapped it with his teeth and wrote his email. Each curve of each letter of his name was like, I don’t know, having sex. I have never had sex, but have you ever had someone write on you? Have you ever had a writer write on you?He might as well have been doing it with his fingertip.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood

Goodreads Synopsis: The summer before Ivy’s senior year is going to be golden; all bonfires, barbeques, and spending time with her best friends. For once, she will just get to be. No summer classes, none of Granddad’s intense expectations to live up to the family name. For generations, the Milbourn women have lead extraordinary lives—and died young and tragically. Granddad calls it a legacy, but Ivy considers it a curse. Why else would her mother have run off and abandoned her as a child?

But when her mother unexpectedly returns home with two young daughters in tow, all of the stories Ivy wove to protect her heart start to unravel. The very people she once trusted now speak in lies. And all of Ivy’s ambition and determination cannot defend her against the secrets of the Milbourn past….

Commentary:

rolls eyes

The synopsis sounded very interesting, but it wasn’t what I expected. Let me break this down: one of the worst contemporary novels that I read so far. I’ve been having great luck with contemporary novels so far, but this one was not worth it.

As much as I didn’t love the book, I read it much quicker than I anticipated. Anyways, this story is about Ivy, a very talented girl that doesn’t realize she has a lot of potential to be anything she wants to be. She constantly feels pressure by her grandfather and feels that she is not good enough. All the women in her family have been blessed with talents, but at the same time, all the talented women die at a young age. Ivy was raised by her grandfather since her mother abandoned her, and her father is irrelevant since he plays no role in this story.

Life seemed perfect for Ivy, until her mother reappeared into her life. Ivy has depended on herself and grandfather, she feels bitter towards her mother which is understandable. Ivy’s mother, Erika, was a terrible character. She’s probably one of the worst mothers in YA fiction. There is nothing redeemable about her. Erika is constantly bitter, and it seems she has feelings of jealously towards her own daughter. She doesn’t acknowledge Ivy as her daughter. Ivy has two half sisters that refer to her as their aunt because of Erika. Tragic. Ivy is everything that Erika was meant to be. Erika is a horrible mother, but only behaves nicely to her youngest daughter. Erika has many emotional problems, and has problems remaining sober. I would have liked if Erika’s backstory were explored more. Erika and Ivy constantly bicker, and there is a lot of drama in this book! It felt more like a soap opera to me.

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Now moving on to the love interests, I wasn’t a big fan of either guy. First off, there’s Alex who is Ivy’s best friend. Alex likes Ivy, but she doesn’t feel the same for him. She feels like she’ll jeopardize their friendship if they become a couple. All her other friends root for Ivy and Alex to be a couple. Alex wants to be Ivy’s boyfriend so badly, but Ivy pushes away his feelings. The other guy is  Connor, who happens to be her grandfather’s top student, and really hot. Seriously, he’s nothing more than a hot guy with a love of poetry. Connor hardly gets developed at all!! There is a love triangle, but Alex never has a chance to be with Ivy. Alex was constantly jealous, and Ivy left him for Connor, a guy that she hardly knows. If I had to pick, I would chose Alex since he’s known her all her life, though he was a major jerk. Anyways, Ivy and Connor become a couple and almost have sex…by the way, this story takes place in the span of ten days. They hardly know each other…their relationship is much more passion than anything else. I would have liked their relationship way more if the relationship was more developed.

The ending was a let down, and I definitely don’t recommend reading this book. I rolled my eyes a lot when I was reading this story. There were several diverse topics that should have been explored more. My original rating for this book was much higher, but after much thought, I will give it a much lower rating.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Release Date:May 3rd 2016

 

Risuko by David Kudler: Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis: Can one girl win a war?

My name is Kano Murasaki, but most people call me Risuko. Squirrel.

I am from Serenity Province, though I was not born there.

My nation has been at war for a hundred years, Serenity is under attack, my family is in disgrace, but some people think that I can bring victory. That I can be a very special kind of woman.

All I want to do is climb.

My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls me Squirrel.

Risuko.

Though Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, Risuko just wants to climb trees. Growing up far from the battlefields and court intrigues, the fatherless girl finds herself pulled into a plot that may reunite Japan — or may destroy it. She is torn from her home and what is left of her family, but finds new friends at a school that may not be what it seems.

Magical but historical, Risuko follows her along the first dangerous steps to discovering who she truly is.

Kano Murasaki, called Risuko (Squirrel) is a young, fatherless girl, more comfortable climbing trees than down on the ground. Yet she finds herself enmeshed in a game where the board is the whole nation of Japan, where the pieces are armies, moved by scheming lords, and a single girl couldn’t possibly have the power to change the outcome. Or could she?

YOUNG ADULT HISTORICAL ADVENTURE

Commentary: This book is available as Read Now on NetGalley.

When I saw this book on NetGalley, I just knew I had to pick it up! The synopsis is what won me over and I love the cover.

This book was an excellent introduction to the series, it was very entertaining. Risuko is sold from her family, not out of spite, but for Risuko’s own good. Along the way, Risuko learns about the politics in her country, and there are hints of the war to come.

Risuko focuses on the journey of the protagonist. If you are expecting a romance, this is not the book for you. This book is about Risuko’s personal growth and accepting her faith as a kunochi. A kunochi is a female ninja. What I loved about this book was that the author researched his topic. I really liked that there was a glossary at the end of the book, served as a good reference guide. Another aspect that I loved was the school at Mochizuki. I loved how the women from the school had to undergo miko training before becoming a kunochi.

Risuko is a great character! I loved her misadventures and I love the way that her character stayed consistent throughtout the book. I was hoping that she and Lieutenant Masugu were going to develop feelings for each other. I can still hope that happens in the second book. Now as for the villain, I’ve seen my good share of anime, and when that character revealed, I was right.

I really thought Risuko was going to be young adult, but it is more of a middle grade book. Not that I have a problem with it, but the protagonist is much younger than I’d imagine her to be. Secondly, I thought that the war was going to play a major role in this book, but that’s not the case. I’ll keep my hopes up for the sequel. Also the length was too short! I would have liked it much more if there were more chapters!

I love learning about Japanese history, and this book was welldone. By the time I finished the book, I was sad. Why is that? Well, I want to read the second book already! This book gets published all the way in June, and I’m buying my physical copy when it comes out. I am hoping that the sequel gives backstories on certain characters. This book was fast pace and I really liked the author’s writing style.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Release Date: June 15th 2016

Rebel Bully Geek Pariah by Erin Jade Lange: Book Review

Because after everything life has thrown at us – or, more accurately, after everything Mama has thrown at our lives – I’m not so breakable. Mama is the glass that shatters too easily.. I am stone that doesn’t crack easily enough.

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Goodreads Synopsis: “The Breakfast Club” gets a modern, high-stakes reboot in this story of four very different teens and a night that changes them forever.

The Rebel: Once popular, Andi is now a dreadlocked, tattooed wild child.
The Bully: York torments everyone who crosses his path, especially his younger brother.
The Geek: Tired of being bullied, Boston is obsessed with getting into an Ivy League college.
The Pariah: Choosing to be invisible has always worked for Sam . . . until tonight.

When Andi, York, Boston, and Sam find themselves hiding in the woods after a party gets busted by the cops, they hop into the nearest car they see and take off—the first decision of many in a night that will change their lives forever. By the light of day, these four would never be caught dead together, but when their getaway takes a dangerously unpredictable turn, sticking together could be the only way to survive.

With cinematic storytelling and compelling emotional depth, critically acclaimed author Erin Jade Lange takes readers on literary thrill ride.

Commentary: I received this book via NetGalley for my honest review. There will be some minor spoilers.

The synopsis is honestly what made me interested in picking up this book. A modern version of The Breakfast Club sounded like a brilliant idea at first. I am not comparing this book to the movie at all. The only similarity it has with the movie is the group of misfits, and that’s about it. I thought this book was going to have multiple points of view just from reading the synopsis. That was not the case. Instead, this book has one pov. and it’s Sam, otherwise known as the “pariah” from the group.

Sam has a sad backstory. Her mother is a recovering drug addict, and Sam feels that she is responsible for her mother when she slips back into her cycle of addiction. Throughout her live, Sam choses to be invisible to make her life easier. She has no friends at all. I felt bad for Sam, but there were some moments where I didn’t feel sympathy for her. Sam thinks that by living as an outcast, it will make her life easier for her. She easily gets offended when people ignore her or don’t even remember her.

Honestly, I didn’t think the book needed romance. I felt no chemistry between York and Sam. Sam thought he was a hot guy who she encountered several times. I would have liked to seen York’s perspective and the reason why he fell for Sam. He tried flirting with her, but she didn’t seem to realize that he liked her. In the situation they were in, which was stressful already, didn’t need the romance.

I really wished that this story included more backstory on the other characters since it felt that this was Sam’s story rather than the others. It was a really quick read. The story overall was crazy. Most of the story, the group ran away from the “crooked cops”. There were not many action scenes as I would have hoped. It did get really exciting by the time I was 90% done with the book. I really felt that this book would have done better as a movie. For most of the story, it was told in the past. It did end on a sweet note, but I did not like this book as much. I really thought it was okay, and not as memorable as I hoped.

Final Review: ⭐️⭐️ (2.5)

Release Date: February 16th 2016 ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley: Book Review

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Goodreads Synopsis: Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Brontë siblings have always been inseparable. After all, nothing can bond four siblings quite like life in an isolated parsonage out on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict upbringing, actually transporting them into their created worlds: the glittering Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy Gondal. But at what price? As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives slipping away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their characters—the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna—refuse to let them go.

Gorgeously written and based on the Brontës’ juvenilia, Worlds of Ink & Shadow brings to life one of history’s most celebrated literary families.

Commentary: I received this book on NetGalley to review!! This is my honest opinion on this book!

Overall, this book was very fun to read. I liked how the siblings created their worlds that they could alter by being in the story. Seriously, they would jump inside their stories! How cool is that! From the beginning, Charlotte and Branwell are very competitive when it comes to writing. Charlotte pays careful attention to the plot of her story and alters any mistakes immediately while Branwell goes with the flow and has very little control on the story’s plot. In Verdopolis, Charlotte often disguises herself as Zamorna’s younger brother while Branwell has an alter ego and lives out his life as freely as he wants too. Anne and Emily are allowed to read the stories, but are not permitted to enter Verdopolis. Emily resents her older siblings, but she does not understand the price her siblings paid for their abilities.

Now, what I really like about the book is that each sibling has a unique personality trait. Charlotte is the perfectionist, Branwell is arrogant, Emily is romantic, and Anne is the quiet genius. If I had to choose my favorite sibling, it would be Emily because she is the most unpredictable and emotional. Emily is the hopeless romantic with a wild imagination, and I really enjoyed her chapters. I also liked how close she was with Anne. Anne is my second favorite character! Anne is really clever and loves her siblings dearly. Even though Charlotte is the oldest sibling, Anne is the wisest and the most responsible. Leave it to Anne to save the day! ٩(๑❛ワ❛๑)و

I did find the book to be a bit creepy at times especially when the siblings were being haunted by some of the characters they created. Charlotte and Branwell experienced the worst of it. They couldn’t abandon their writings otherwise Old Tom would torment them. Charlotte was being haunted by a twisted version of her older sister Maria while Branwell was haunted by his least favorite sibling Elizabeth. I did find it sad how Branwell only wanted to see Maria instead of Elizabeth. ( ˃̶͈ ̯ ̜ ˂̶͈ˊ ) ︠³

There is romance in this book and no love triangles! There is only one couple though there is supposed to be two couples. Emily and Rogue get together while the other couple does not. I liked how their relationship was built up. At first, I thought Emily was attracted to the Duke, as I kept reading, it was revealed that she has always been in love with the bad boy. Emily was a bit foolish with her actions, but she saw something in Rogue that the others did not see. I love how Rogue started slowly falling for her as well! At first, Rogue felt indifference towards her and almost killed her and by the end of the book, he wanted to protect her.

As for the villain, I was not surprised when the big revelation came. There were tiny hints that the villain was not created like the rest of the characters in Verdopolis. From the moment he was introduced, I knew he was going to play a major role in story and I was right. The villain was more of trickster than someone malevolent and evil. Now, the book could have been better if there were epic fighting scenes against the villain, but that was not the case. The ending was really bittersweet. ᵟຶᴖ ᵟຶ

What I did dislike was the writing style, but I did enjoy the story! I wished it could have been a bit longer. Also, I wished there was more action scenes because this book hardly had none. Lastly, I wish Charlotte and Zamorna had more scenes together since Emily and Rogue’s relationship did overshadow theirs. Other than that, this was a very fast read and I enjoyed it! o(*≧□≦)o

Available January 5th, 2016

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

 

Kissing in America by Margo Rabb: Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis: Acclaimed writer Margo Rabb’s Kissing in America is “a wonderful novel about friendship, love, travel, life, hope, poetry, intelligence, and the inner lives of girls,” raves internationally bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love).

In the two years since her father died, sixteen-year-old Eva has found comfort in reading romance novels—118 of them, to be exact—to dull the pain of her loss that’s still so present. Her romantic fantasies become a reality when she meets Will, who seems to truly understand Eva’s grief. Unfortunately, after Eva falls head-over-heels for him, he picks up and moves to California without any warning. Not wanting to lose the only person who has been able to pull her out of sadness—and, perhaps, her shot at real love—Eva and her best friend, Annie, concoct a plan to travel to the west coast to see Will again. As they road trip across America, Eva and Annie confront the complex truth about love.

In this honest and emotional journey that National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr calls “gorgeous, funny, and joyous,” readers will experience the highs of infatuation and the lows of heartache as Eva contends with love in all of its forms.

Commentary: I had my doubts about this book and I was right. I received Kissing in America at Yallwest earlier this month. I didn’t have high expectations, but I didn’t think it would be such a bad a story. I couldn’t believe that Eva, the protagonist, was sixteen. Let me tell you, the girl is a bit delusional. I thought she was in middle school, not in high school. She falls head over heels for Will, a weird popular guy, who becomes her friend and something “more”. She instantly falls in love with him and they kiss, but only Eva believes that they are a couple. Will has to move to California, and she decides to find a way to be with him. Even though it would be convenient to take a plane from New York to California, she can’t because her father died in a tragic plane accident. Anyways, she convinces her best friend, Annie, to enter the “Smartest Girl in America” contest  in order to be closer to Will. Annie is skeptical at first, but then decides to enter the contest. After making it to the California, Eva finally meets Will, but he apologizes for ruining their friendship. At that point, I disliked Will. He made it seem as if he were interested in Eva. He led her to believe that he liked her. I just don’t understand why he didn’t tell her that he saw her as just a friend. Ughs. Now, this story was rather annoying for me to read. I mostly wanted to knock some common sense to the protagonist. Will felt a little boring to me. There wasn’t anything unique about him. I wasn’t a fan of the romance either. There were some cute moments in the story. Overall, I mostly felt sorry for Annie, who ended up losing the contest because Eva was not there for her (she was with Will, when she should have been in the television studio). I still feel that the whole road trip was to see Will, and not for the contest. It wasn’t my favorite, and it wasn’t memorable for me. Lastly, that the title of the book is a bit misleading…

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️

On Sale: May 26th, 2015

Illusionarium by Heather Dixon: Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis: What if the world holds more dangers—and more wonders—than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? From Heather Dixon, author of the acclaimed Entwined, comes a brilliantly conceived adventure that sweeps us from the inner workings of our souls to the far reaches of our imaginations.

Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then—as every good adventure begins—the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he’s a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations—or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path. Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that calls to mind The Night Circus and Pixar movies, but is wholly its own.

Commentary: I won Illusionarium at the Epic Reads tent. They were giving out ARCs of many books. I fell in love with the cover in contrast to the other book I won. I haven’t read an arc since last year, so I was beyond excited. This is my honest opinion, for anyone interested in this book. This book did not remind me of The Night Circus at all, I felt that this story was better than that. Jonathan Gouden, the protagonist, was one of my favorite characters. Though some of his actions were quite idiotic, he won my heart. I loved his comments (there are footnotes on certain pages). He was determined to get to find the cure, no matter the cost. The beginning was a bit confusing, but as I kept reading, the story made more sense. There wasn’t much romance as I thought there was going to be. I feel the cover is a bit misleading, I felt that romance was going to be a big part of the story, which it isn’t. As beautiful as the cover is, I hope it gets a new one. This story focused more on Jonathan and the journey he had to take to make things right. I did feel some parts were rushed in the book. One moment Jonathan couldn’t illusion and next moment, he becomes almost like a master when illusioning. Captain Lockwood was an amazing character. I really shipped him and Anna (parallel version of Jonathan’s sister: Hannah). When he was first introduced, I was a bit annoyed at his attitude, but I grew to love the daring warrior. I liked the villain from the story. I liked how it was revealed that she wasn’t who you thought she would be. I don’t want to spoil much, but I loved this book.The actions scenes did move a bit too quick, but I enjoyed reading it. I loved the bromance between Jonathan and Lockwood, their friendship was the best. The ending ended on a happy note. This book was such a quick read for me, and it was refreshing. I do feel this book is geared more toward a younger audience. It felt more middlegrade to me than young adult. I do recommend this book.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Release Date: 05/19/15

Jackaby by William Ritter: Book Review

“I have a gift that is, as far as I have found, unique to me. It allows me to see truth where others see illusion – and there are many illusions, so many masks and facades. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”  – Jackaby

I won an advanced reader’s copy of the novel through a goodreads giveaway. For anyone interested in buying the book, it goes on sale September 16, 2014. Winning a free book did not influence my opinions. The Cover: Did anyone feel the cover? It’s so soft and it feels very different from your typical paperback. I loved the cover of the novel, it was quite beautiful. I loved the  details of the cover such as the woman in red. It is one of my favorite covers of 2014. The Plot: Abigail Rook is not your typical Victorian socialite, she seeks adventure and travel,  and would rather get her hands dirty be seeking a husband to maintain her. She arrives to New England after having a disappointing experience excavating dinosaurs.  Abigail seeks a employment right away because she is in need of money and meets Jackaby, her future employer who is a detective. The people of New Fiddleham view Mr. R.F. Jackaby as a maniac since he deals with the supernatural. Naturally, he is talented in his work, he is compassionate and kind to supernatural creatures. The duo works together in order to solve the mysterious murders in New Fiddleham with some help from the police force. The Characters: Abigail definitely proved that she was not your stereotypical girl, she worked hard for her job. Jackaby, I had no complaints about his character. For some reason, I kept imagining Matt Smith as Jackaby because he reminded me of the eleventh doctor. At the same time, Jackaby really reminded me of Sherlock since he sees what others can’t see.  Then there is Charlie Cane, who I thought was adorable, I thought he was human until the middle of the book. The side characters were great, I would have loved it if Jenny the ghost had a bigger backstory, the same going for Douglas the duck. The Villian: I knew it! I loved how he was a creature rather than a person! The Romance: Thank the heavens that there was no love triangle in this novel. It would have ruined the novel for me that is. I didn’t not like how some of the characters in the novel tried to ship Jackaby and Abigail, I did roll my eyes during those parts. Jackaby and Abigail make an awesome team, I loved their friendship. The only two characters that developed some feelings for each other were Abigail and Charlie Cane. I did want to them together, but it’s okay that they did not become a couple. I would like to see the author wrote more stories about Jackaby. The novel is relatively easy to read and it is only 299 pages long. I would recommend this novel for anyone wanting to read a short mystery book with a hint of fantasy. For a standalone novel, I thought it was really good and I would really love more of Jackaby’s adventures. My rating is a 4 out of 5 😀