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

Add it on Goodreads!

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

Add it on Goodreads!

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

Review: DREAMOLOGY by Lucy Keating (+Giveaway!)

DREAMOLOGY

A huge thanks to the FFBC for hosting this tour for Lucy Keating’s amazing book, Dreamology! I am thrilled to be participating!


Review

23466626Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 12th, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Blog Tour)
Genre(s): Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Vibrantly offbeat and utterly original, Lucy Keating’s debut novel combines the unconventional romance of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with the sweetness and heart of Jenny Han.

For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together, they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. Real Max is nothing like Dream Max. He’s stubborn and complicated. And he has a whole life Alice isn’t a part of. Getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

Alarmingly, when their dreams start to bleed into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?

my rambles

Special thanks to FFBC, HarperTeen and Edelweiss for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

Dreamology is unlike any book I’ve ever read. It’s completely unique and out of the box, while remaining entertaining, emotional, and utterly fun!

Told through dreams and reality, we get to see Alice and Max’s crazy relationship unfold in their dreams, and in real life. While I thought reading about the super surrealistic dreams was fun, I enjoyed seeing the couple work out their relationship in real life, together. The events unfolding in their real life pushed them together and forced them to work out their problems, and the fact for Alice that Max wasn’t completely like his dream self. I actually found myself loving real life Alice and Max better than their dream selves for that reason: they had flaws in the real world. It made me root for their relationship to last in real life even more.

The surrealism, magical realism, and fantasy aspects (I really don’t know how to categorize them), were some of my favorite parts. The melding of the magic into their real lives made the moments they shared more important and special. It was also written in a believable way, as Alice and Max aren’t even 100% sure of what they’re seeing.

Another thing I loved about Dreamology were the side characters: Alice’s best friend Sophie, and new friend Oliver. The two were both fun and added to lightness of the book. They were funny and adorable, great sidekicks to Alice and Max.

Different than anything I’ve ever read, Dreamology is refreshing and new, and will take you out of reality, and into the world of dreams. Part contemporary, part fantasy, Dreamology is a must-read romance that will lift you up like you’re in a hot-air balloon!

7


BUY THE BOOK!

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Book Depository | Kobo


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lucy lives in Los Angeles, California. She grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, attended Williams College in the Berkshires, and still misses the East Coast very much.
When she’s not writing, Lucy can usually be found obsessing over the latest music, inventing new flavors of ice cream, or having what she feels are perfectly acceptable conversations with her dog, Ernie.

You can follow Lucy on Instagram @lucy.keating, and Ernie The Dog @ernsboberns

WebsiteGoodreads | Twitter | Instagram


Enter the Giveaway!
(click the picture to enter)

Giveaway


Follow the Tour

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xo

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: Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: October 6th, 2015
Series: N/A
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

A troubled teen, living in Paris, is torn between two boys, one of whom encourages her to embrace life, while the other—dark, dangerous, and attractive—urges her to embrace her fatal flaws.

Haunting and beautifully written, with a sharp and distinctive voice that could belong only to this character, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unforgettable young adult novel.

Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year of high school. After being kicked out of four boarding schools, she has to get on the right track or she risks losing her hefty inheritance. Summer is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve everything. She meets two. Moony, a classmate, is recovering against all odds from a serious car accident, and he encourages Summer to embrace life despite how hard it can be to make it through even one day. But when Summer meets Kurt, a hot, mysterious older man who she just can’t shake, he leads her through the creepy underbelly of the city-and way out of her depth.

When Summer’s behavior manage to alienate everyone, even Moony, she’s forced to decide if a life so difficult is worth living. With an ending that’ll surprise even the most seasoned reader, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unputdownable and utterly compelling novel.

my rambles

Special thanks to Thomas Dunne Books for providing me with a copy of the book for review!

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light was like no book I’ve ever read before. It tells the story of depression and suicide through a lense that is completely unique and beautifully written.

I’m trying to diversify my reading and tackle reading some tougher topics. This book is definitely one of the darkest contemporaries that I’ve read. But the way that Ann Jacobus writes made parts of the story seem almost like magical realism.

The title is extremely fitting as there is a huge juxtaposition between giving in to the dark or living in the light. I won’t say much about it, but by the end, the revelation about one of the boys was so interesting. You’ll probably get an inkling about one of them from the very beginning, but the development of the character continually gives subtle hints about who he really is.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Summer, but I did like the depth of Moony and Kurt. I felt like even though most books like this are character-driven, the story was driven not by Summer, but by the mental illness itself. I liked how there was almost more of a focus on the mental illness being personified as a character and its actions against Summer.

As I said before, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light was so different. If you love contemporary, and like reading darker books, this is the perfect choice for you!

7

xo

Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (+ GIVEAWAY!)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 292
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre(s): Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Synopsis from Goodreads:

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

my rambles

Special thanks to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

I’ll start out this review by saying that this is NOT a book for everyone. I don’t normally tend to read lots of books that are focused around tough issues, such as school shootings. The reality of the story is sometimes too much for me to handle. But something about the summary for This Is Where It Ends made me pick it up. Maybe the idea of it being told over such a short amount of time. Maybe the fact that it follows so many people, each of whom has a connection to the shooter. I can’t quite pinpoint the why, but this was a book I was immediately intrigued by.

I knew I had to be in the right mindset to read a book about a shooting. They happen much too frequently in the United States, and around the world, for this book to be one that is read lightly. But in light of the recent events around the US, I was already almost numb, I’ll say, to the horrible events of mass shootings.

The main focus of the book is the school shooting, but there are also other tough topics conquered by This Is Where It Ends. There’s physical, mental, and sexual abuse. There’s sexuality. You may be thinking, “Why cover so many tough topics in one book, where the main story is already so hard to take?” Well all of those other topics factor into the life of the shooter, and make this book truly emotional. There’s romantic and familial relationships. Friendships. All of them are extremely important to this story.

The story is told through multiple POVs, and their parts in current as past events. While this allows us to learn more about the POV characters, and even bits and pieces about the shooter, we don’t get to learn about the internal struggle that is clearly happening inside his mind. I was warned about this before starting the book, but I agree that the inclusion of the shooter’s perspective would have made this a truly unique book, and not so typical.

What I really loved was how the book was told over the span of only 54 minutes. The flashbacks did make it seem like it was a longer span of time, but I still liked the chaotic tone the book had. I read this in almost one sitting, which I think is a good thing to do, especially considering the timing. Reading practically all of it at once made me feel immersed in the story, more so than the normal book I’d read in one sitting.

Yes, there were things that I would have liked to have been different. No, the book wasn’t perfect. But I think that it’s extremely relevant considering the world we live in, unfortunately. And I think that Marieke Nijkamp did a wonderful job of portraying so many of the current issues and relationships in today’s society.

Not for the faint-hearted, This Is Where It Ends is truly an emotional and heart-pounding read that will make you wonder how you would act in the character’s places and question the inner turmoil of those around you.

7

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