Reviews: A Hilarious Memoir, a Heartbreaking Historical Fiction, a Surprising Murder Mystery, and an Addictive Assassin Fantasy!

As promised, here I am with some reviews of some recently (and not-so-recently) read titles! I haven’t written a review in such a long time, so let’s hope I remember how! Also, instead of including all of the book info in the post, I’m going to link to Goodreads for this one, don’t hate me.


29102966MY MAD FAT DIARY: A MEMOIR (Rae Earl, #1) by Rae Earl

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Special thanks to St. Martin’s for providing me with a copy of the book for review!

Reading a whole lot like fiction, this memoir is a book that I’m so glad I took a chance on. Rae’s writing on her teen life is so relatable, fun, and utterly hilarious. Any fan of YA contemporary will immediately fall in love with Rae and her story, so don’t let the fact that it’s a memoir scare you away! I really can’t picture anyone not enjoying this book.

5 hearts


25614492SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys

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Wow, what an incredible story. This was my first time reading Ruta Sepetys, and I was blown away. Her storytelling is beautiful and heartbreaking. She took me on a journey of survival, love, loss and hardship following a group of individuals whose stories history often neglects to tell.

I’m an avid reader of historical fiction , particularly about the second World War, and this book did not disappoint. I can’t wait to read the companion, Between Shades of Gray.

5 hearts


29995905CITY OF SAINTS AND THIEVES by Natalie C. Anderson

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Special thanks to Penguin Random House for providing me with a copy of the book for review!

I went into this looking for an intense mystery or thriller, but what I got was so much more. Tina is the definition of a badass female heroine. She’s extremely stubborn, fierce, and can’t be controlled. But among these somewhat common elements of YA are unique and interesting focuses on Africa’s poverty, refugees, and warfare that I’d never read about before.

5 hearts


30011014POISON’S KISS ( Poison’s Kiss, #1) by Breeana Shields

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Special thanks to Penguin Random House for providing me with a copy of the book for review!

I really enjoyed this book and it was a super quick read! The concept of a kiss that kills is nothing new, but the addition of the Indian folklore was an element that kept the book from being more of the same. It kept my interest but I still had some problems with the ease of resolution to some major events. The ending felt more like an epilogue than a final chapter, but I’m still very excited to see what the second installment brings!

3.5 hearts


As I mentioned above, it’s been a while since I’ve written reviews, so these were rough. But I hope that you enjoyed it, and will check out some of these lovely titles!

xo

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Three Things I Loved About TELL ME THREE THINGS by Julie Buxbaum

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: April 5th, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher via First In Line
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

my rambles

Special thanks to First In Line for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!


Three Things I Loved About
TELL ME THREE THINGS

1. Jessie’s friendships with Dri, Agnes, and most of all, Scarlett.

Jessie has lots of relationships in this book. There’s family, friends, guys, mean girls, a step-brother… the list goes on and on. But one of my favorite parts about the story was Jessie’s relationship with her best friend pre-move, Scarlett. Their friendship was raw, and definitely not without its flaws, but I loved how it was given a lot of discussion, and made important. I also really enjoyed her friends at the new school, Dri and Agnes. It was clear that they were good friends to Jessie, and their bonds would be lasting. The story also touched on a bit of jealousy over new relationships that formed for both Jessie and Scarlett after they were separated. Everything about how these friendships were portrayed seemed real and full of emotion. Normally I don’t cry over friendships, but Jessie and Scarlett’s was one that I couldn’t help it.

2. The continuous conversation between Jessie and SN (and how it was adorable, yet real).

The mysterious SN was a character that I loved. He and Jessie communicated almost all the time, thanks to instant messaging. Originally he intrigued me because of the mystery, but as the story progressed he became more than just words on a computer screen. Their conversations were so raw and full of emotion, you couldn’t help but root for Jessie to finally find out his identity so they could be together! She poured out all of her feelings to him, and took a leap of faith that he was genuine.

3. Trying to figure out who SN was!

Ah, of course solving the mystery had to make my list. As I mentioned in #1, Jessie makes lots of new relationships, some of which are with guys. There is tons of build up at the end when she’s hoping SN is one person, but worried it may be another. I was biting my nails, hoping that SN would be the same guy that she was falling for in real life. I guess you’ll just have to read it and see for yourself…


Really, I could share more than just three things that I loved about this book, because I have a lot! But in all seriousness, Tell Me Three Things gave me all the feels. I was an emotional mess while I was reading this (but what else is new with me), which I wasn’t expecting to be. But in all honesty, if you enjoy true to life contemporaries with strong friendships and an emotional story, Tell Me Three Things is your book!

9xo

Review: GIRL IN THE BLUE COAT by Monica Hesse

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 5th, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Synopsis from Goodreads:

An unforgettable story of bravery, grief, and love in impossible times

The missing girl is Jewish. I need you to find her before the Nazis do.

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person–a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.

Meticulously researched, intricately plotted, and beautifully written, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary, gripping novel from a bright new voice in historical fiction.

my rambles

Special thanks to The Novl for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

Girl in the Blue Coat is a truly unforgettable and utterly incredible story that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it. It’s a heartbreaking look at not only the impact of the horrors of the Nazis on Jews, but also on those who joined the resistance, or resisted on their own. It shines a light on the little known stories of the fighters in the Netherlands, and the underground resistance groups that did as much as they could to help others survive the war.

The moment this book popped up on my radar, I knew I had to read it. I’ve always been fascinated by WWII, and this book seemed like it would share yet another perspective that I’d never read from before. I learned so much that I never knew. The workings of the resistance groups were amazing, and the ways in which people rebelled against the Nazis in any way they could was extremely touching. Reading the author’s note on historical accuracy at the end of the book was even more illuminating. Trust me when I say that this story was so well researched, accurate, and beautifully written.

It’s really a story about love, friendship, and bravery. There are passages where Hanneke reflects back on a past romance, and lost friendship that she is trying to cope with while the main story is going on. Because of those past memories, I got a good sense of what shaped Hanneke to be a wary fighter, and what she was like before the war affected her life. I found this book to be unique in it’s focus on how the war and cruelty affected everyone, not just Jews. The friendships that were created for Hanneke from being thrust into her quest to find Mirjam, the missing Jewish girl, showed–dare I say it– a positive side to the war. But it also showed how the war tore people apart.

The story was fast paced, but lacked no emotion for want of more excitement. The book left me in awe for many reasons, but the build up to the end had a lot to do with it. I could tell that the way the story unfolded was clearly intricately planned out, and hints at the truth were dropped throughout the story — we just didn’t know it yet. I was very surprised at the complexity of the revelation. I was definitely not expecting the story to play out the way it did. But as I said before, none of the serious and extremely important issues were sacrificed for the fictional story.

I won’t be forgetting any of these characters any time soon. Girl in the Blue Coat was a stunning and heart-wrenching story showing a unique perspective on WWII, and the way it affected the lives of everyone during the time period. If you are interested in WWII books, or historical fiction, Girl in the Blue Coat should be at the top of your TBR!

 9

Psst! I wrote a guest post on Ely’s blog as a part of a WWII blog event a little while ago sharing the 5 reasons why I was SO EXCITED to read this book. If my review hasn’t convinced you, go check that out! And be sure to check out the other posts from other amazing bloggers to find more WWII titles to add to your TBR!

xo

Review + Favorite Quotes: BLACKHEARTS by Nicole Castroman Blog Tour!

Blackhearts.png

I was thrilled when I got the email that I would be a part of the Blackhearts blog tour! Everything about this book sounded right up my alley. Spoiler, IT SO WAS! If you’re into a beautiful story and romance, this book is for you too! And, can we take a quick minute to appreciate that cover?


Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 9th, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Blog Tour)
Genre(s): Adventure, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retelling, Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

my rambles

Special thanks to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for hosting the blog tour and to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. SO. MUCH. It has taken me a couple of days to compose my feelings in order to right a proper review. My mind seriously couldn’t put this book into words, and I’m still having some troubles, so bear with me here. Blackhearts is an absolutely beautiful story. Everything about it was just that: beautiful. The writing, the story, the characters, the romance, everything.

I’ll start with the writing. It was descriptive, but not too much so. The writing didn’t take away from the story, but enhanced it. A lot of historical fiction books tend to be long and drawn out, but that’s not the case with Blackhearts. It was an addicting read, but not in the “normal” page-turning sense of the word. I felt like I was taking my time experiencing the story while I was reading, when in reality I was flying through it. I think that speaks to the rich immersive quality of Nicole Castroman’s ability to write a story.

Continue reading “Review + Favorite Quotes: BLACKHEARTS by Nicole Castroman Blog Tour!”

Review: P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU by Jenny Han

Publisher: Simon & Schuster BYR
Release Date: May 26th, 2015
Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, #2 | To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

my rambles

Why did I wait so long to read this book?! From the moment I finished To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before I needed to know how it would end for Lara Jean and Peter. And I’m so happy to say that P.S. I Still Love You made me quite happy!

While the first book I remember being a lighter and fluffier read, showing the antics that brought Lara Jean and Peter together, this one I found to be a bit more serious. Lara Jean and Peter go through their struggles, so there is an emphasis on first serious relationships and the emotions they bring. There’s also a large emphasis on family once again. The diversity of having a Korean-American main character was awesome. We got to learn a bit about the Song family’s traditions. And of course, there’s the friendship aspect of the book. The Lara Jean-Genevieve friendship is dealt with much more, and we get to learn more about the two when they were children, and just their childhoods in general.

I loved all of those three aspects of the book, but I of course loved the romance too. Peter Kavinsky is such a sweet, and real guy. The relationship and story is all portrayed in such a real way that’s relatable. There wasn’t one point while I was reading that I thought something happening could have been fake.

The one thing that I didn’t like about this was the introduction of another love interest. I didn’t like the timing of a new possible relationship for Lara Jean when it came up in the story. I’m a Peter girl, that’s for sure!

If you’ve read the first book, this is a must read. It won’t disappoint you. If anything, I think that there’s a very high chance you reading this book will make you love Lara Jean and Peter even more!

9

xo