ARC: Mirage by Somaiya Daud

miragegoodreads-synopsis

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

commentary

When I first picked up Mirage from my tbr pile at home, I had no idea what I was expecting. I can best describe this book as the female version of The Prince and The Pauper in Space with hints of forced colonialism and imperialism. The first chapter had me hooked on the story, and normally, it takes a couple chapters before I become invested in a book.

Mirage was quite different from what I have read. To begin, it seems like not much happened, that was my original thought when I first finished the book. After letting my thoughts marinate for a couple days, this book does not bring the action, but it builds up to potential conflict that the characters will encounter in the upcoming sequel.

To begin, Amani is not the chosen one, nor is she a Mary Sue character. Amani dreams of having her life with far less restrictions, she and her family live in a village. She has a passion for reading books, especially poetry. She and her brothers live in a society where the Vathek Empire has subjugated other planets into submission, and Amani’s planet is one of them. When Amani’s village is celebrating a special cultural practice, robots serving the empire take Amani by force away from her people and family. Amani is forced into a position in which she has no control over her body, nor her fate.

Amani shares a close resemblance to Princess Maram. Amani is presented as a fragile when compared to Maram’s vicious nature. Amani becomes the Empire’s puppet in order to protect the princess from any danger. Given the tough situation, Amani does get agency. Though being Maram’s body double did give Amani fright at first, she learns that she can wield her own power given her position. Amani obeys and listens to her orders, but, she also learns to manipulate her situation.

The relationship between Maram and Amani is complicated. The princess is shown to be as a morally grey character. As a reader, you question Maram’s ideals. Was she influenced by her nature, or her nurture?  At the same, you can’t help but feel sorry for the princess. She was been raised by her Vathek family, and it has served as a factor to why she behaves in a cruel, and unjust manner.

As for the love interest, I will admit, it was definitely a insta-love situation, and usually I loathe insta-love relationships. But, I found myself digging the relationship between Amani and Idris. It was a forbidden love, and both characters are forced into positions that they have to comply to. Though, I am interested to know how Idris and Maram are in a relationship, because it’s vague and left to the imagination. The ending left me craving for the next book immediately. The very last chapters has the suspense and action that it was lacking in the first portion. I came with little to no expectations when it came to Mirage, but I wholeheartedly love it. It’s science fiction, fantasy, has the drama you need, and I think I might ship Amani and Maram more than Idris and Amani!

Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

ARC: Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Since she was seven years old, Yvonne has had her trusted violin to keep her company, especially in those lonely days after her mother walked out on their family. But with graduation just around the corner, she is forced to face the hard truth that she just might not be good enough to attend a conservatory after high school.

Full of doubt about her future, and increasingly frustrated by her strained relationship with her successful but emotionally closed-off father, Yvonne meets a street musician and fellow violinist who understands her struggle. He’s mysterious, charming, and different from Warren, the familiar and reliable boy who has her heart. But when Yvonne becomes unexpectedly pregnant, she has to make the most difficult decision yet about her future.

Commentary:

Perhaps, I am getting older because it is hard for me to find a good contemporary YA book that pleases me in this day and age. Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert was a choice. The synopsis was intriguing, the plot did seem something out of the CW, so I took a chance on the book. I did receive Finding Yvonne in Yallwest, but opinions are all my own. So, this is a unpopular opinion. Considering the reviews I have seen for the book, there aren’t much negative reviews. This book was an experience, and I was left shaking my head due to certain events that played out. That being said, this will be a rant review with spoilers.
Starting on a positive note, I did enjoy how Yvonne was unapologetic about herself and her sexuality. I have no issues with a character’s sexuality. Yvonne was confident about her body and her choices. That being said, she made a lot of questionable decisions. I will say that the pregnancy aspect of the book did not play a major role as I had anticipated. The pregnancy revelation was placed near the last third of the book. The synopsis presents a story of how a pregnant Yvonne has to chose the right path due to her circumstances…but, the reality was not the case.
It is hard for me to comprehend the actions of Yvonne, especially when it came to her relationships. So, Yvonne was seeing her father’s sous chef, Warren, but it was not an exclusive relationship. The relationship between Warren and Yvonne was secretive because of the age difference between the two. Warren was protective of Yvonne, and did not want to be sexually engaged with her until she was officially 18. It seemed like Yvonne wanted her relationship with Warren to move at a faster pace. I felt myself siding with Warren because she was underage. Though the age difference was not extreme, it seemed that Yvonne disregarded it for the sake of love. I rolled my eyes…but this was not as bad as The Beau and The Belle by R.S. Grey, a book that I had several issues with…
Yvonne was happy in her relationship despite not being official. When she and Warren hang out in Venice Beach, she finds herself completely and utterly drawn by a street musician named Omar. Despite being in a complicated relationship with Warren, she falls completely head over heels for Omar. A major issue I had with this book was the cheating aspect. Yvonne does get into a major fight with Warren because he chose to work on her birthday, and she reacts by destroying the birthday cake that Warren bought her. Yvonne also seeks out Omar, and considers hanging out with him…DESPITE NOT KNOWING THE GUY!
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The story tried to establish a love triangle, but it was lame. I felt uncomfortable with how Yvonne was seeing Omar, while she had her fight with Warren. Yvonne lies about her relationship status to both men. Instead of being rational and calling her relationship off with Warren, she peruses each man. I fully did not trust Omar, he seemed a bit shady…but instead of getting to know Omar, she has sex with him on her first official date with him. It does not help that she continues seeing Warren, and has sex with him a week after she has had sex with Omar. I assumed that she was going to get pregnant by Omar, but I was surprised. As mentioned previously, her pregnancy does not play a major role in this book. NOR WILL YOU FIND OUT WHO THE REAL FATHER IS!
Literally, this book was about Finding Yvonne, and how she was going to deal with her relationships, ambitions, and career choices. I was not the biggest fan of Yvonne because she did have several immature moments. In my opinion, she manipulated both guys. I knew Omar was shady, which did end up being true. Yvonne goes through minimal growth. It seems that she is used to getting praises all the time. For example, growing up she received praises for her violin skills, and then as a teen, she thrived off praises for her baking skills. I really wanted Yvonne to be an awesome character. The only character that I liked by far was her best friend Sabine. Sabine was looking out for her friend, and even warned Yvonne that she could be potentially used. Sabine was supportive, and dealt with Yvonne’s unnecessary drama and antics. Kudos to Sabine for being the true MVP of this book.
Final Rating: ⭐⭐
Publication Date: August 7th 2018

ARC: Furyborn by Claire Legrand

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goodreads-synopsis

Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.

commentaryHey guys, it has been nearly a year since I last wrote a book review. Sounds crazy? I know. I’ve been busy with my undergrad education and I occasionally read on the side, but didn’t have enough time to read as I used to. My finals are over, and I am attempting my first book review of the year. I have been reading a lot more, and felt inspired to write once again.

My good friend had an extra copy of Furyborn by Claire Legrand that she recieved in the Fairyloot Novemeber 2017 box. I traded her a couple books for it because I was highly looking forward to reading Furyborn. For my list of 2018 books, Furyborn was high on my list. I took Furyborn to the Philippines spring break vacation, but I never managed to pick it up. Returning to the States, and readjusting to my school schedule, I manange to find time to read Furyborn.

Darn it! I was hoping that Furyborn was going to have a lot of action and kickass female protagonists, but I am highly disappointed with what I read. Actually, extremely disappointed. I wanted to drop the book so badly.

What went wrong? Despite the prologue being the best written chapter in the book, it gave so many spoilers away! Especially concerning Rielle. The book is about two prophecized queens. One queen is told to bring destruction, whereas the other queen is the opposite. The prologue lets the reader know that Rielle is the Blood Queen. I wanted some buildup to this story. It sucks that as a reader, you know that Rielle becomes the queen to bring destruction to the world. In addition, the prologue gave away the connection Rielle has with Eliana despite the two characters living in two different time periods.

Which storyline was better? In Furyborn, there are two storylines to follow. One is Rielle and the past events that led to the decline of magic. She undergoes trials to prove that she is the Sun Queen, but you would already know that she becomes the Blood Queen. Reading her chapters were a bit frustrating because you know the fate of Rielle. You know that she will pass the trials and betray her people. I wanted to skip her chapters. Finally, the villain was revealed in the prologue! THERE WAS NO BUILDUP TO THIS STORY.  When it comes to Rielle, she is easily manipulated by those around her. She has the ability of all 7 powers in her kingdom. When Rielle starts hearing voices, she accepts doesn’t question it! Rielle converses with the voice in her head that happens to be a guy who she doesn’t know. Instead of worrying about her mental state, she falls in love with the voice…and converses with her new voice…and seeks advice from this voice…never having met this person….ugh. The story presents a frustrating love triangle in which Rielle is stuck between loving her childhood friend Prince Audric, and the voice in her head, Corien…I hated this love triangle so badly. 

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When it comes to Eliana’s pov, she was a frustrating character as well. She is known as The Dread of Orline. Eliana is supposed to be a badass assassin, but the story presents a character with wishy washy mentality. It was hard understanding the plot of Eliana’s chapters. I can’t take Eliana seriously. At least, I was spared from reading about a tedious love triangle. But once again, this story is filled with insta-love. The guy characters are not well developed. Prince Audric was okay. He was understanding of Rielle, and never questioned her motives. As for Simon, you find out who he is in the prologue as well. I would have placed the prologue near the end of the book to have a shocking revelation, but I guess that there is more to be told about Rielle later on in the series…

What Furyborn lack was introducing the folklore of the land. Angels are the villains of the book, and they have been locked behind a gate. But you don’t know what they did? This book hardly mentions the mythology, which would have been a great addition. I would have rated this book higher if I need more details about the angels. As for the magic system, everyone gets their power from the empirium, which is not explained. I’ll assume its an omnipresent power activator or a god that existed in the world. Where was the world buidling in this book? The stakes were high, but I did not find myself attached to the charactesrs.  Furyborn was a hot mess for me, and it is such as shame. The cover is gorgeous, the synoposis sounded amazing, but the delivery was not there. As for other books in the series, I might check out the following book to see what happens. Hopefully the author improves the story, but you can only hope.

ARC: Emma In The Night by Wendy Walker

Emma In The Night

From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

Add to Goodreads

I received Emma In The Night through the website SheSpeaks. This is an honest review.

Let’s start with this, I finished reading Emma In The Night in less than two days. I haven’t been so emotionally invested in a book this year until this one. Emma In The Night is amazing. I went into the book with no expectations. I started the first chapter yesterday and I really found it hard to put down the book. The book was beautifully written and I was captivated.

Emma In The Night is a dark mystery that revolves around two sisters Emma and Cassandra Tanner. Both sisters disappeared three years ago and their case was deemed cold. One day, Cassandra Tanner returns and the search for her sister begins once again. Each chapter had me hooked, I am not going to lie. Cassandra did not reveal her story all at once. I had to keep reading in order to find out what happened in the three years the sisters disappeared. I wanted to know the motive of them disappearing. At first I thought they were kidnapped, and then I was starting to believe that they had ran away. The story became darker as Cass was revealing what really happened to her and Emma.

The whole time I believed Cassandra and her retelling her story of survival. After all she and her sister had been through, I had no doubt about the authenticity of her story. I honestly had no idea that I was going to be deceived by the protagonist. I did not expect an unreliable narrator!  I never saw it coming. There were so many twists and turns when it came to Emma In The Night. My favorite character was Cassandra. Despite being an unreliable narrator, she endured so much. She was emotionally detached coming back after three years and suffered a traumatic childhood. Cassandra wanted to live a normal life with her father and sister. Cassandra was aware of how toxic her mother was growing up. Cassandra knew she was the weaker sibling while Emma was the stronger one. I felt that Cassandra was the stronger sibling in the end. Emma was on the path of self destruction despite being mother’s favorite, while Cassandra did whatever it take to survive abuse and torture.

As for the reveal of this psychological thriller, I could not believe what happened that night the sisters disappeared. I was shocked. I loved that the book made me question what was real and what was not. I thought it was interesting how the book had two perspectives. One being Cassandra’s perspective and the other being Dr. Abby Winters who was part of the investigation team. I liked how both Cassandra and Abby had similar childhood experiences.

As for Abby Winters perspective, I thought it was an interesting choice. Abby Winters tried her best to solve the disappearance of Cassandra and Emma. Abby had to work hard in order to resolve the issue. She never gave up on the case because it hit close to home for her. She was responsible for putting the pieces together while Cassandra came back and told her story of her disappearance to the world. I enjoyed reading Abby’s perspective, she’s the protagonist that you can trust while reading the story.

I don’t want to spoil everything for anyone who wants to read Emma In The Night, but I will end with this: If you want to read a dark psychological thriller for this summer I’d recommend checking out Emma In The Night. The more you read, the darker the book becomes.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.5)

ARC: Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Geekerella

goodreads-synopsis

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

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I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me an ARC of Geekerella by Amy Poston. All opinions are my own.

I am completely blown away by Geekerella. I went into the book with no expectations. I love my Cinderella retellings, and so I decided to check this one out. Why didn’t anyone tell me that Geekerella was going to be so good?! It was that good!  I am still shocked that I managed to finish Geekerella in the span of two days. I devoured the book, I had so much fun reading Geekerella. I might even re-read again because it was too good!

Alright, so Geekerella is a Cinderella retelling that made my fandom heart melt. If you loved reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, you need to pick up Geekerella. Do it now! If you’re in any fandom, you’ll appreciate Geekerella. This book made me feel really happy. (It’s been a while folks…ha ha) It follows the basic Cinderella plot. Evil step-mother, evil step-sisters, and a charming romantic love interest. What made Geekerella stand out was that the main protagonists were nerdy and oh so adorable. They were both perfect for each other, it was meant to be. I loved reading both Elle and Darien’s perspective. Both characters had such great development. I was rooting for my two precious babies. Though, I did prefer Elle a lot more. She was so innocent and deserving of happiness. Elle was passionate about her fandom, and she defended it like there was no tomorrow. She was misunderstood and quirky, and a bit stubborn, but had a heart of gold.Elle’s love for her father and her fandom was so cute. Darien was charming, but he all he wanted to be was a normal person, not just an actor. He wanted a normal life, and had to deal with a lot of hate against him. He was coping with bullies and fame. He couldn’t trust people because he was betrayed by his best friend. I have to admit that there were a couple sad moments in the book, I did cry a bit.

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It had so many positive themes, like never giving up when things are impossible. I was immediately charmed by both characters. Elle and Darien had their own conflicts that they needed to resolve. Elle and Darien felt like two unwanted people in their worlds until they found each other. I love how Elle and Darien have back and forth conversations with each other anonymously.

As for the side characters, Sage was my favorite. She is Elle’s co-worker who soon becomes her best friend. I found it really cute how Elle introduced Sage to Starfield. She always pushed Elle to stand up for herself and not give up so quickly. I loved rebellious attitude. She is Elle’s punk rock fairy Godmother. I loved how Sage was a loyal friend to Elle no matter what. I wished there could have been a bit more moments with Sage and her love interest though!

If I can nominate a book to get a live action movie, it would be Geekerella. Can you imagine a cosplay ball and how beautiful it would be? The cosplay ball was absolutely cute, one of my favorite parts in Geekerella. Overall Geekerella was a magical contemporary book that made my heart swoon. Recommend it? Heck yes!

Publication Date: April 4th 2017 by Quirk Books

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.5)

ARC: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

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goodreads-synopsis

Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.

After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

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I received an ARC on NetGalley.

This review will contain spoilers!

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So the story starts off with Lane Roanoke. She has a detached personality and can be very cynical. Her mother commits suicide and she is adopted by her grandparents in Kansas. Lane was never close to her mother, and she was relieved when her mother died. Initially, Lane had no clue that she still had family. When she arrives in Kansas, she instantly forms a bond with her cousin Allegra. Lane’s life is transformed. Lane is not used to living in a loving home. Though everything seems perfect in the household, there seems to be a lot of things off with her new family members especially Allegra. Lane never stays as a permanent member of the Roanoke clan and leaves immediately as the summer comes to an end. As the years go by, Lane looses contact with her immediate family. One day when her grandfather calls her about Allegra, Lane knows that she has to return no matter the consequences.

When I first saw the title of the Roanoke Girls, I thought it was going to take place during the Roanoke colony. This is not the case for the Roanoke Girls. As I read the synopsis I was intrigued by the mystery, and decided to give it a go. What I read was dark and this book is not for younger readers. Also, don’t read it if you’re triggered easily by rape and incest.

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As I’ve mentioned, the mystery of Allegra’s murder had me intrigued. But, the author revealed shocking secrets in the beginning chapters…thus making it obvious who was the killer was. The book would have been stronger if the author had revealed the incest and pedophilia secrets till the very end of the story. By the time I was halfway done with the story, I knew where the story was headed. There weren’t that many suspects to pick from.

The main story is told in alternating perspectives between adult Lane and teenage Lane. There are also chapters including the povs of the other fallen Roanoke Girls who have died. I really liked that the other perspectives of the Roanoke Girls were told, though their chapters were short. Other than that, it felt as if Lane had not changed at all in her adult years. Lane’s character stayed consistent throughout the book. Though she became a bit more destructive as an adult.

One thing I can say is that the characters were not likable especially Lane. Lane is distrusting and angry, and resentful all the time. Lane is extremely bitter at how her life played out. Though she didn’t suffer as much as her cousin Allegra did, Lane is very hesitant to change. She still sees herself as destructive due to life events. Honestly, I found it hard to like Lane. She made it difficult to feel sympathy for her due to her actions. Instead of moving on, or at least getting a form of therapy to cope with life, she chooses the destructive path.

Lane could have avoided the pain and trauma of that summer if she had spoken. If she had said something to the authorities, Allegra’s death could have been prevented. But no, Lane chose not to speak to anyone. She felt that there was no person that she could have trusted. In a way, I feel that even Lane played a part in Allegra’s demise.

As for the other characters, I can say the same thing: none of them were likable, except for Cooper. Like Lane, Cooper also had a horrible childhood. Cooper suffered more than Lane, but he chose to better himself and not end up like his abusive father. Cooper became wiser as the years went by and tried several times to get Lane to open up.

When it came to the big revelation, I was not surprised at all. Most of the time, Lane spent her time having sex than looking for clues. When the killer confessed to the murder, it happened instantly. All I can say is that the Roanoke girls suffered from abuse: sexually and mentally. The Roanoke girls had no help from anyone. All the girls suffered a sad fate, which was death. I really despised the grandfather and the grandmother, but more the grandfather. It was such as sad book to read, but there were so many frustrating moments that could have been avoided if characters had helped out.

Despite all of it, the ending was a bit sweeter than I had anticipated.

Book Release: March 7th 2017 by Crown

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️

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Yallwest 2016 Recap

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I’ve been excited for Yallwest 2016 ever since last year. When I first saw the lineup for this year, I felt prepared. This year I was going to take a cart. Ha ha. Last year, I took my backpack, but by the end of the day I was tired of carrying all my books. As for this year, I wasn’t tired, but I was tired of standing all day.

I went with my boyfriend to Yallwest on Saturday, and the first thing we did was get in line for the ticketed event for Rainbow Rowell’s keynote. Unfortunately, the line was extremely long and we needed to verify our information. The event was supposed to start at 10:00 am, but we entered the building around 10:30ish. Minor complaint: It was a bit disorganized.

As for the rest of the day, I was mostly in line to get my books signed. I’m not kidding. I only attended one panel and that was the keynote. Because I wanted to get my books signed, I missed out on some bookish goods. Ha ha. This year’s event was bigger than I expected. Hopefully for next year, maybe Yallwest could be located in a bigger location.

Now going back to the lines, I was mostly standing in line to get my books and my boyfriend would get in line for the next lineup of authors. The only author that didn’t sign my books was Rainbow Rowell, that line was huge!! I was very grateful that my boyfriend came with me since he did get me a couple of ARCs. For next year, I’ll try to attend both days. I ended up with food poisoning on Sunday…so I couldn’t attend. Despite everything, I had a lot of fun! I didn’t take a lot of pictures since most of the book signings were sped up.

Tips for next year:

  • bring water: I have a 64 ounce water bottle, and yes I drank it all
  • a cart or wagon: Unless you have a few books this does not apply
  • sunglasses
  • post its and sharpies
  • packed lunch: the food trucks are quite expensive
  • a group of friends: the more the merrier
  • Have fun!!! I know I did 🙂

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I was so happy that I took a picture with Leigh Bardugo! (The only author I took a picture with ha ha) I lost my dust jacket for Six of Crows and I look tired. (ง ´͈౪`͈)ว

Signed Books

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The Arcs

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i'm not your manic pixie dream girl.jpg Goodreads Synopsis:Beatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini has life all figured out. She’s starting senior year at the top of her class, she’s a shoo-in for a scholarship to M.I.T., and she’s got a new boyfriend she’s crazy about. The only problem: All through high school Bea and her best friends Spencer and Gabe have been the targets of horrific bullying.

So Bea uses her math skills to come up with The Formula, a 100% mathematically-guaranteed path to social happiness in high school. Now Gabe is on his way to becoming Student Body President, and Spencer is finally getting his art noticed. But when her boyfriend dumps her for Toile, the quirky new girl at school, Bea realizes it’s time to use The Formula for herself. She’ll be reinvented as the eccentric and lovable Trixie—a quintessential manic pixie dream girl—in order to win her boyfriend back and beat new-girl Toile at her own game.

Unfortunately, being a manic pixie dream girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and “Trixie” is causing unexpected consequences for her friends. As The Formula begins to break down, can Bea find a way to reclaim her true identity, and fix everything she’s messed up? Or will the casualties of her manic pixie experiment go far deeper than she could possibly imagine?

kids of appetite.jpgGoodreads Synopsis: The bestselling author of Mosquitoland brings us another batch of unforgettable characters in this tragicomedy about first love and devastating loss.

Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.

This is a story about:

1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.

rock fall, everyone dies.jpgGoodreads Synopsis: Twin Peaks meets Stars Hollow in this paranormal suspense novel about a boy who can reach inside people and steal their innermost things—fears, memories, scars, even love—and his family’s secret ritual that for centuries has kept the cliff above their small town from collapsing.

Aspen Quick has never really worried about how he’s affecting people when he steals from them. But this summer he’ll discover just how strong the Quick family magic is—and how far they’ll go to keep their secrets safe.

With a smart, arrogant protagonist, a sinister family tradition, and an ending you won’t see coming, this is a fast-paced, twisty story about power, addiction, and deciding what kind of person you want to be, in a family that has the ability to control everything you are.

winning.jpgGoodreads Synopsis: House of Cards meets Election in this wickedly entertaining story about an uber-ambitious high school junior.

Whoever said being nice would get you to the top?

Certainly not Alexandra Miles. She isn’t nice, but she’s more than skilled at playing the part. She floats through the halls of Spencer High, effortlessly orchestrating the actions of everyone around her, making people bend to her whim without even noticing they’re doing it. She is the queen of Spencer High—and it’s time to make it official.

Alexandra has a goal, you see—Homecoming Queen. Her ambitions are far grander than her small town will allow, but homecoming is just the first step to achieving total domination. So when peppy, popular Erin Hewett moves to town and seems to have a real shot at the crown, Alexandra has to take action.

With the help of her trusted friend Sam, she devises her most devious plot yet. She’ll introduce an unexpected third competitor in the mix, one whose meteoric rise—and devastating fall—will destroy Erin’s chances once and for all. Alexandra can run a scheme like this in her sleep. What could possibly go wrong?

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ARC: The ‘Ohana Tree by Rebecca Addison

The 'Ohana TreeAuthor: Rebecca Addison

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: The first book in the ‘Ohana Series by Rebecca Addison.

On a small island in Hawaii, twenty-eight-year-old Kai is contemplating his life.
He’s a talented singer-songwriter, stuck playing other people’s music for tourists at the local bar. With his own songs and with that voice, he has the potential to be the next big thing. But as much as he lives and breathes to play music, Kai knows he will never leave the island to pursue his dream.

On an old bus rumbling along a winding road, a girl named Tessa looks out the window. She sees frog-green plants clinging to the side of sheer cliffs, snatches of a bright blue sea. She’s come to Hawaii to reconnect with the only person who really knows her. And to escape. She’s a winged seed on the breeze, never settling long enough to grow and put down roots.

In her second novel, Rebecca Addison tells a soul-stirring story about family loyalty, love and loss, long-held secrets and the chance for new beginnings.

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 I was kindly provided the arc by the author for my honest opinion. One of my new years resolution was to read more indie authors, and luckily this book fits the criteria. I’m trying to read different genres, instead of sticking with the same old genre.

The ‘Ohana Tree begins with Kai, an inspiring musician that constantly puts his family’s needs above his own. Kai’s father and brother rely on him on just about everything. Kai dreams of leaving the island and pursuing his dream. Kai is stuck on the island and he doesn’t believe that he’ll ever leave.

Perhaps that was the problem. Nothing out of the ordinary ever happened to me. I was still young, my body strong and my head full of dreams and ideas. But I felt old, and my world grew smaller and smaller each passing year. There were expectations. That I would stay on the island. That I would look after our land. That I would watch over my family.

One day he meets Tessa, an equally gifted musician who constantly travels. Kai is immediately captivated by Tessa, especially her music.

She was free, spontaneous, curious and independent. It made me happy. But it felt risky, too. I knew that I was in a dangerous waters with Tess. There was a real chance that she was going to give me a glimpse of a a magical, high definition version of my life, only to leave me to live out the one I had instead.

Tessa is a girl who doesn’t want to fall in love because she has many failed relationships. Tessa is attracted to Kai as well, but she knows that she’ll end up hurting him if they start a relationship. Tessa decides to push Kai away, but Kai never gives up on her. Kai and Tessa manage to form a relationship even though both protagonists have tragic backstories.

I haven’t read in a male point of view in such a long time, so it was a refreshing change.  As for the characters, I really liked them equally, but if I had to pick my favorite, it would be Kai. Kai was the perfect boyfriend to Tessa. He hardly has any faults. He sacrifices his needs and puts others above him.  Kai loves his ‘ohana more than anything. Though Tess wants to keep her privacy, Kai never gives up on her. Both characters bring out the best in each other. Tess made Kai feel that anything was possible, especially leaving the island behind. While Kai helped changed Tess’ perspective on love and family. Kai and Tess’ relationship is really stable, though there were some moments that they bickered.

The secondary characters were just as great. I felt sad for Kai’s father. Though Kai never had a loving relationship with his father, his father cared deeply for him. Tess saw another side to Kai’s father that Kai was not seeing.

Why do you do that?

Do what?

Make it sound like he’s this callous, evil man. You don’t have to thank me for hanging out with him, Kai. I like him and I like spending time up there.

Akamu (Kai’s younger brother) is very supportive of Kai’s relationship with Tess. There were many funny interactions with Akamu being a third wheel.

Before I started reading The ‘Ohana Tree, I didn’t know what to expect. After reading the first book, I was amazed at how emotionally invested I was with the characters and their situations. Also, this book had several steamy moments. I really enjoyed reading The ‘Ohana Tree and I can’t wait for the sequel. This book felt more like something I would take on the beach, and it’s set in Hawaii.

My favorite quote:

Ohana isn’t just your blood, Tess. It’s the family you choose for yourself. Family isn’t just the people who made you; it’s the people who love you.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Website: http://rebeccaaddison.com/

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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

 

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:

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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