Review


Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #3) by Jenny Han

Title: Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Author: Jenny Han

Date of Publication: May 2nd, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary

Rating: 5 stars

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

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Since the big casting news has been released, I figure this is the best time to post my thoughts on Always and Forever, Lara Jean.

 

What an adventure! I have only a few thoughts on the series’ end. Here’s my breakdown:

 

#1 It’s so refreshing to read about a family and their interactions with each other. While yes, Margot annoyed me. She had her own solid reason to be. I love the realness of the Song-Covey-Rothschild family. Their father is sometimes too “perfect” of a dad, but that’s my only complaint (and that’s just an opinion/feeling of mine). I realized that after reading this book, I crave those precious family bonding ties in stories. Family interactions are missing most of the time in YA novels. We not only get a lot of family time in this third installment, we also get interactions between the family and friends (i.e. Peter and dad).

 

#2 The romance makes me feel all kinds of bubbly and warm! Peter and Lara Jean have really grown together and “get” each other now. I simply loved it!

 

#3 Less “triangle” drama! Love triangles or whatever shapes are out there nowadays in YA leave such a bitter taste in my mouth. This book avoids much of that drama, and really focuses on the main characters. Hats off to Jenny Han!

 

#4 Lack of closure. The second book left me wanting more. The third book helps a little, but not by much! I would have preferred a more solid, definite ending. However, I know why it ended the way it ended. WARNING: Highlight the space below for spoilers!

 

It’s unclear if Peter and Lara Jean will stay together forever. My romantic self wishes they will. But the ending is indeed realistic this way. Because they are both young adults, and are attending different schools. A lot can change, especially in these stages of their lives. What I predict happening (and it’s only my speculation, since this series has come to an end) is that they would break up eventually, but possibly reunite later on in their lives. Who knows?! Readers can only imagine these fictional futures now.

 

I’ll miss the Covey-Song-Rothschild family and Peter forever. I can see myself reading this book again in the future!

 

And FINALLY, we have a movie in the works!

 

I’m honestly astonished by how fast everything is moving. I had known that the movie rights were bought, but we heard nothing afterwards really. Last week was a whirlwind that I loved! Those who are involved in the project have been so utterly generous with sharing pictures and videos with fans. I’m impatiently waiting for the next piece of news: the release date. And of course, the movie!

 

In other areas, the cast looks strong—I’m so happy by who they chose for each role. I am just concerned the spirit of the story would be lost, or if the story doesn’t have that “flow.” We will have to wait and see.

Follow the author, director, the cast, etc. on instagram for regular updates, pictures, and videos! 

Jenny Han

Susan Johnson (Director)

Amanda de Souza (Assistant to the Director)

Lana Condor (Lara Jean Covey)

Noah Centineo (Peter K.)

Israel Broussard (Josh Sanderson)

Janel Parrish (Margot Covey)

Anna Cathcart (Kitty Covey)

Madeleine Arthur (Chris)

Trezzo Mahoro (Lucas)

AwesomenessFilm 

 


Review: Immortal Fire by Annette Marie

Title: Immortal Fire

Author: Annette Marie

Series: Red Winter Trilogy #3

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Publication Date: April 11, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

 Once, Emi believed the heavenly gods were righteous and wise, while the earthly yokai spirits were bloodthirsty and evil. But with a traitorous deity poised to destroy her world, and the yokai standing as humanity’s only defense, the lies of her upbringing have toppled to reveal a far more terrifying reality.

 

Despite the looming threat, Emi can’t escape her greatest distraction: Shiro, the fox yokai who has so deftly claimed her heart for his own. Soon—too soon—she will have to break the curse that binds his magic and memories. And once the ancient power inside him awakens, the yokai she loves will be changed forever.


As the earthly gods gather to wage war against the heavens, Emi and Shiro must gamble everything to turn the tide against their immortal, all-powerful foes. Together, they will find a way to save her world—even if it means losing each other.

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I just adore this series and this finale was the whole nine yards and then some. Seriously, more people need to read this.

I can’t get over of this riveting, action-packed, adorably romantic and hope-inspiring story. If there is one way to end a series, this is it and I loved everything about it.

The transformation of the main character, Emi, is on point in this series. It’s a realistic progression from a meek, obedient girl to a fierce, powerful woman, but it never feels rushed or inappropriate. We gradually see Emi become more confident in not just her powers, but herself, which is a huge plus.

And with confidence comes more conflict. Immortal Fire, similar to its predecessors, is filled with action and thrill. You think you’ll be bored? Think again, because before you can catch your breath after a particularly grueling suspense scene, you’re thrown into another life-or-death situation. There are emotionally-packed moments as well. The fear of losing yourself and loved ones, and farewells to friends brought the fast paced down to bring light to the relationships between the characters.

And Shiro. Shiro, Shiro, Shiro. If there ever was a troubled man, it was Shiro, but his humor was kept alive even in the darkest of times. #TeamShiro.

I loved every moment of Immortal Fire. I don’t have any complaints though I should warn some of you, the romance can get a little heavy in this one, but don’t be dissuade. It’s a wonderful book and I’m said to say goodbye to these characters, but the ending was perfect so I’m happy and ready for Annette Marie’s next series.

 

 

Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, which includes the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night. Her first love is fantasy, a limitless realm of creativity where she can break all the boring rules of real life, but fast-paced urban fantasy, bold heroines, and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She proudly admits she has a thing for dragons, and her editor has politely inquired as to whether she intends to include them in every single book.

Annette lives in the frozen winter wasteland of northern Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad). She shares her life with her remarkably patient, comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness — sorry, cat — Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

To find out more about Annette and her books, visit her website at www.authorannettemarie.com.

 


Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 4

Title: The Night Circus 

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Series: Standalone

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Publication Date: July 3rd 2012

Ratings: 4 Stars

Synopsis: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

 

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I don’t know how to explain The Night Circus and any efforts would fail miserably if asked but that’s the brilliance of such a story. It was easy to jump into the pages and visit Le Cirque des Reves and watch the story unfold piece-by-piece, but my explanation of the story would not do it justice. I could say that it’s about a competition between two prodigies or a forbidden romance between the competitors or an abundance of other descriptions, but it’s much, much more than that.

My favorite part of The Night Circus is the writing. Erin Morgenstern is a talented writer and you would never know this was her debut novel by reading it. Her writing is fluid and beautiful, but never excessive or dull.

Hesitantly he puts a hand out to touch the beads, which are smooth and cold and he finds that his arms slips through them easily, that they part like water or long grass. The beads clatter as the strands hit one another, and the sound that echoes in the dark space sounds like rain.” (pg 214)

The setting is more than a place in The Night Circus. Le Cirque des Reves is a character itself, probably bigger than Celia or Marco, and I loved everything about it. It’s like Hogwarts, but on steroids. With Morgenstern’s writing and the magical atmosphere, it feels like a dream and I’m a little disappointed that this kind of circus doesn’t actually exist.

“Every element of the circus blends together in a wonderful coalescence. Acts that have been training in separate countries on separate continents now perform in adjacent tents, each part melding seamlessly into a whole. Each costume, each gesture, each sign on each tent is more perfect than the last.” (pg 119)

And the game. The competition. It has a life of it’s own and I’m pleased with the way it ended. I can’t think of a better ending.

My only fault with the story has to do with the romance. It felt a little odd and slightly out-of-place. It has a hint of insta-love, but since this book doesn’t drown in romance and there’s so much more to it, I didn’t mind it too much.

My review probably doesn’t make much sense, but I still hope you read The Night Circus. There aren’t many books that can play with your sense and make you a part of magical world like this, so I suggest you don’t miss out on the experience.

Erin Morgenstern is a writer and a multimedia artist, who describes all her work as “fairy tales in one way or another.” She grew up in Marshfield, Massachusetts. She currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts with two very fluffy cats.

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Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Title: Caraval

Author: Stephanie Garber

Series: Caraval #1

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Romance

Publication Date: January 31, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis: Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

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The hype behind Caraval was unreal. It had taken over the book industry; bloggers would swear by its epicness, movie deals were being made before the release. My expectations went through the roof and I think that’s what made me give this book 4 stars instead of 5. Although, the book was really good, it didn’t blow my socks off. I guess I was just waiting for something that would change my life and alas, this didn’t.

Everyone’s been comparing Caraval to The Night Circus, but I’ve never read it. Instead, Caraval reminded me of a Young Adult version of the movie The Game (one of my favorites), just with magic and more romance. You don’t know what is real and what is part of the game (if there really is a game). You can’t tell who’s lying or who’s bad. Some of my guesses were right and some were wrong, which I loved. This book is far from predictable and any book filled with staggering twists is a winner in my book (ha!).

I can’t explain much about the book, otherwise it would ruin it for others, but I enjoyed reading Caraval. Julian, the love interest, was mysterious and charming. Scarlette’s loyalty to her sister was a major theme. Her transformation throughout the book was gradual and impressive. The ending left me wanting more so I’ll definitely be reading the sequel when it’s released.

Did I like Caraval? Yes. Did it blow my socks off like I expected it to? Not really. Then again, this may be due to the substantially high expectations I had after reading all the hype surrounding this book. Overall, it wasn’t bad and I’ll look out for the next installment.

 

Stephanie Garber grew up in northern California, where she was often compared to Anne Shirley, Jo March, and other fictional characters with wild imaginations and stubborn streaks. When she’s not writing, Stephanie teaches creative writing, and dreams of her next adventure.

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Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Title: Daughter of the Pirate King

Author: Tricia Levenseller

Series: Daughter of the Pirate King #1

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Action

Publication Date: February 28, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Synopsis:There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

 

 

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I’m so happy I gave this book a chance. I had read a YA with pirates before that left me disappointed, so I was a little hesitant with this book, but I’m so glad I took the chance. I LOVED this book. I read it in single sitting. It was so easy to get lost in the story and I did not want it to end.

The characters are fascinating. The main character, Alosa, was splendid. I adored her fiery attitude, unyielding loyalty, and strategic mindset. Riden, the love interest, was a pirate with a heart of gold that kept you on your toes. My favorite parts was the banter between Alosa and Riden. The chemistry between them was evident in the first few pages.

The story was interesting. We start off without a lot of introduction. Instead, we’re in the middle of an action scene that pretty much sets the pace for the rest of the story.

If you love Pirates of the Caribbean then you’ll enjoy Daughter of the Pirate King. Romance, suspense, and mystique make this story a winner.

 

Tricia Levenseller is from a small town in Oregon, but she now lives in Utah with her bossy dog, Rosy. She received her degree in English Language and editing, and she is thrilled that she never has to read another textbook again. When she’s not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing volleyball, and watching her favorite TV shows while eating extra-buttered popcorn.

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ARC Review: A Boy Like You by Ginger Scott (+ Giveaway)



We’re celebrating the release of A BOY LIKE YOU by Ginger Scott!

A BOY LIKE YOU
YA Contemporary Romance
Scheduled to release: March 3, 2017

They say everyone’s a superhero to someone. I’m not sure who I’m supposed
to save, but I know who saved me.

We were kids. His name was Christopher. And up until the day he pulled me
from death’s grip, he was nothing more than a boy I felt sorry for. In a
blink of an eye, he became the only person who made me feel safe.

And then he disappeared.

Now I’m seventeen. I’m not a kid anymore. I haven’t been for years. While
death didn’t take me that day, the things that happened left me with
scars—the kind that robbed me of everything I once loved and drove me into
darkness. But more than anything else, that day—and every day since—has
taken away my desire to dream.

I wasn’t going to have hope. I wouldn’t let myself wish. Those things—they
weren’t for girls like me. That’s what I believed…until the new boy.

He’s nothing like the old boy. He’s taller and older. His hair is longer,
and his body is lean—strong and ready for anything. I don’t feel sorry for
him. And sometimes, I hate him. He challenges me. From the moment I first
saw him standing there on the baseball field, he pushed me—his eyes
constantly questioning, doubting…daring. Still, something about him—it
feels…familiar.

He says his name is Wes. But I can’t help but feel like he’s someone else.
Someone from my past. Someone who’s come back to save me.

This time, though, he’s too late. Josselyn Winters, the girl he once knew,
is gone. I am the threat; I am my worst enemy. And he can’t save me from
myself.

Ginger Scott’s new book, A Boy Like You, is a perfect light read for all types of romance readers. Similar to her previous novels, the characters in A Boy Like You are complex and well-developed. Wes is another wonderful book boyfriend to add to your list. He’s as real as they come and I loved the mysterious background he held. In addition to romance, the story delves into issues regarding family and overcoming the past. Overall, A Boy Like You is a perfect coming-of-age book and although there were some slow-paced parts, I think many people will like this story.

*I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review*


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4a501259580/?

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, and Hold My Breath.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork ’em, Devils).

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Thanks to Wordsmith Publicity for the opportunity to be a part of this tour!


ARC Review: Gilded Cage

 

Title: Gilded Cage

Author: Vic James

Series: Dark Gifts #1

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy?

Release Date: February 17, 2017

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Synopsis:Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

 

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Gilded Cage was a book that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. The premise was intriguing; a servant girl falls for a forbidden boy while uncovering his family secrets and a slave boy fights for a revolution. When I received this book, I thought I was going to get romance, action, and mystery, but I didn’t get that.

Gilded Cage has a well-developed plot. The many complex characters with various motives and goals create an elaborate and complex story. The many moving parts feel more like a movie than a novel. Most books that have more than one POV fail to distinguish between the different voices. That wasn’t the case with this book. Although, the characters were complex enough to recognize, the main characters, Abi and Luke, fell into the background and I couldn’t connect with them at all.

Also, I didn’t understand the purpose of Luke and Abi’s parents. They were present, but never did anything to progress the story. They seemed unnecessary and I felt that if they were removed from the story altogether nothing would change.

On the other hand, my favorite characters were Luke, Renie, and Silyen. Renie was a bold and mighty 12-year-old girl and Silyen felt the most complex. His scenes were always the most interesting. Luke went through the most character development; he went from a weak boy to a fearless rebel through the course of the story.

My biggest problem with the book was the writing technique. The writing itself is good, but too descriptive to the point it became wordy.

“A couple of centuries ago Harding Matravers, heir of an impecunious and obscure line, had decided to put his derided Skill for weatherwork to good use.” (21% of ARC copy, subject to change for final copy)

The entire book is written like this, extremely wordy and unnecessarily long. It’s not too difficult to understand, but it forces you to peruse through the reading rather than get lost in the words. The overall effect is a slow-paced and occasionally-boring read.  

For a fantasy book, there isn’t much action or thrill in this book, but an abundance of political drama. We get a lot of information, some even unnecessary in my opinion and combined with the long, detailed writing the book became a hard book to read.

Lastly, I’m very disappointed with the romance in this book. The synopsis made me think that romance would be a big part, but it’s hardly mentioned at all. Through a handful of interactions, Abi falls for one of the brothers and I don’t understand why. Their relationship resembles more sibling than romantic. Regardless, the relationship itself is so insignificant, it could be eliminated from the book and it wouldn’t matter.

Honestly, I think Gilded Cage would be better for upper YA and Adults, because I can’t imagine a lot the younger readers enjoying this. To be fair, a major problem was I was expecting a different story than the one we got. The lack of action, wordy writing, many POVs, and the absence of romance was not what I was expecting. Then again, now that you know what you’ll get, maybe you’ll enjoy this read.

 

*I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*