Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Review: The White Rose (The Lone City #2) by Amy Ewing

Book Title: The White Rose
Author: Amy Ewing
Published Date: October 6th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Book Two in The Lone City trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.

But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.

But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?

The White Rose is a raw, captivating sequel to The Jewel that fans won’t be able to put down until the final shocking moments.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

It was so awesome to be back in this world. I didn't realize how much I had missed it until I started reading this book. I've been in a bit of a funk, so I wasn't expecting to finish this book was quickly as I did. I finished it in about 4 hours total, maybe a bit less. So it was definitely captivating, interesting and so very, very good.

I was so excited that we got to see more of Raven. I absolutely love her and I love her friendship with Violet. I was worried things wouldn't be as strong as it was in book one, but it was every bit as strong, if not stronger than book one. I think Raven was actually my favorite character in this book.

Violet and Ash were every bit as ship-worthy as they were in book one. I loved them together. I worried about Ash in the beginning of the book, especially considering how book one ended. I was a bit worried about a possible love triangle, but given certain events in this book, I can confidently say that there is no love triangle and in fact Garnet has his eye on a different girl.

The characters were the strength in this book. I loved how much we got to know about these characters, and even new characters that we got to meet. The characters were the reason I adored this book so much.

Oh my goodness, the ending of this book stressed me out. I was warned that there was another cliffhanger, but I wasn't expecting THIS kind of cliffhanger. I was rendered speechless for a good 20 minutes. Every single time I tried to form words, nothing would come out. This ending was crazy-pants.

I really enjoyed this book. So addicting, captivating and awesome, and the ending was awesome. I'm giving it 4.5. It's not a perfect read, but it was insanely good and I highly recommend it.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Review: One by Sarah Crossan

Book Title: One
Author: Sarah Crossan
Published Date: September 15th, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Tippi and Grace share everything—clothes, friends . . . even their body. Writing in free verse, Sarah Crossan tells the sensitive and moving story of conjoined twin sisters, which will find fans in readers of Gayle Forman, Jodi Picoult, and Jandy Nelson.

Tippi and Grace. Grace and Tippi. For them, it’s normal to step into the same skirt. To hook their arms around each other for balance. To fall asleep listening to the other breathing. To share. And to keep some things private. The two sixteen-year-old girls have two heads, two hearts, and each has two arms, but at the belly, they join. And they are happy, never wanting to risk the dangerous separation surgery.

But the girls’ body is beginning to fight against them. And soon they will have to face the impossible choice they have avoided for their entire lives.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book from Greenwillow Books via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

I had been wanting a YA book about conjoined twins for well over a year, so when I saw this one, I pounced on it. I was a little nervous about it though because of the writing style. I'm normally not a fan of novels that are in verse, but considering the subject matter, I decided to give it a shot.

I am so glad I did, because it was really good, and even though it was written in verse it didn't read like it was. It read like it was written in typical novel fashion. I think it was probably because it was written as a free verse novel. 

Another problem I normally have with novels written in verse is that I can't connect to the characters very well. That was not a problem this time around. I loved Tippi & Grace and their personalities were different, and interesting. They were captivating and so very fascinating. 

They shared friends. 

I really loved Yasmeen. She was so good for them and she accepted them without question. She was a wonderful friend throughout the entire book. And Jon was another friend of theirs. He treated them normally and like Yasmeen he didn't even seem to see that they were conjoined. That wasn't an issue for him.

I was really glad that there wasn't a whole lot of romance in this book. There were hints of it here and there, but this book was mostly about two sisters who had been joined together since before birth. You know me, I'm a sucker for sister stories.

I do wish we could have seen more of their younger sister, who they had nicknamed Dragon. I felt crappy for their mom as she was desperately trying to hold down the fort. Their dad was no help as he was unemployed and spent most of the book drunk, leaving his wife to deal with the mounting hospital bills and her constant worries about Tippi and Grace.

Oh, and make sure you have kleenex. I needed it several times while reading the book. There are definitely feelsy moments throughout the book.

I ended up really enjoying this book more than I thought I would, and I definitely think there needs to be more books about conjoined twins. I find the whole concept fascinating and am so thrilled that I got to read this book. I am giving it 4 stars and I definitely recommend it to fellow YA Contemporary lovers like myself.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Review: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

Book Title: What You Left Behind
Author: Jessica Verdi
Published Date: August 4th, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead, he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.

The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions, and Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author.

I legitimately don't know how Jessica Verdi does it. She creates compelling stories with interesting characters. Tosses in a lot of feelsy moments and voila, she's got a story that I will fall in love with. What You Left Behind was definitely different than her previous books, but it followed her formula to a T.

Interesting plot. Check
Captivating characters. Check
Tons of feels. Check

It took me a bit of time to warm up to Ryden to be totally honest. He seemed to be struggling with everything and trying to do it all. He didn't want his life to change at all and he relied heavily on his mom to care for Hope, his baby. I know it's probably tough to assume so much responsibility so quickly, but his actions at the beginning of the book were a bit maddening. 

He was baffled that his daughter seemed to hate him, but babies at her age form attachments to the people who care for them the most. In this case, that was Ryden's mom. Ryden is still in school, playing soccer and working. It doesn't feel like his schedule was really changed at all and to be honest, he seemed selfish at times. It was probably his age, but it was definitely something that I noticed. 

Finally things started to change, Ryden had to make some decisions about Hope and his mom couldn't make the decisions because she was not the baby's next of kin.

Most of the reviews will probably focus on Ryden's growing romance with Joni, and I will talk about her later, but right now I want to talk about Ryden's relationship with his mother. We don't usually get to see mother/son relationships in YA. In fact, I think this book may be the first one I've read with such a positive mother/son relationship. In fact, I think it was my favorite part of this book. She was just so supportive and kind to her son and to her granddaughter.

I really liked Joni. She was quirky, fun and she had a healthy self respect for herself. She was good for Ryden. I was excited for them to get together, and I rooted for them. They made sense as a couple. I wish we had seen more of Joni because I feel like we didn't get to know as much about her as I would have liked.

The journals told a story. A story that we learned about right alongside Ryden. It showed that this whole situation was not as black and white as we all initially thought. I am a very black & white thinker, so this made me do a lot of thinking. I  didn't love Meg, but her journals helped me understand certain things that she did.

Jessica Verdi had already earned herself on my auto-read & auto-buy author lists, and this one was certainly no exception. I really enjoyed this book and will be giving it 4.5 stars. I do recommend this book because not only was it unique, but it also had some diverse and interesting characters.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #15

This weekly feature is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

My Pick

Synopsis from Goodreads
Vada Bergen is broke, the black sheep of her family, and moving a thousand miles away from home for grad school, but she’s got the two things she loves most: her art, and her best friend and soulmate, Ellis Carraway. Elle and Vada have a friendship so consuming it’s hard to tell where one girl ends and the other begins. It’s intense. It’s a little codependent. And nothing can tear them apart.

Until an accident on an icy winter road changes everything.

Vada is left deeply scarred, both emotionally and physically. Her once-promising art career is cut short. And Ellis pulls away, unwilling to talk about that night. Everything Vada loved is gone.

She’s got nothing left to lose.

So when she meets a smooth-talking lothario who offers to set her up as a cam girl, she can’t say no. All Vada has to do is spend a couple hours each night taking off her clothes on webcam, and the “tips” come pouring in.

It’s all just kinky fun till a client gets serious. “Blue” is mysterious, alluring, and more interested in Vada’s life than her body. Online, they open up to each other intimately. Blue helps her heal. And he pays well, but he wants her all to himself. No more cam shows. She agrees, because she’s starting to fall for him. And when he asks to meet, she says yes. Because she’s dying to know the real man behind the keyboard.

Even if one of his conditions is to bring Ellis. The girl who wants nothing to do with her anymore.

Now Vada must confront the past she’s been running from. A past full of devastating secrets—those of others, and those she’s been keeping from herself…

My Thoughts
Oh my goodness, this book just screams "ME!" I am so excited about this book. It looks exactly like something I will absolutely love. Is it November yet? Plus, look at that stunning cover! You all know I'm a sucker for gorgeous covers.

So what books are you most excited for?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015

This feature is hosted by the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish

This week, I had to compile my list of the top books I've read in 2015. It was pretty easy since I haven't had a lot of amazing reads this year.

I divided up my list by genre, because I'm really detail oriented.

Go see what books I listed this week!

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga 
-This book surprised me in the best way possible. I loved it and gave it 5 stars-
Paperweight by Meg Haston
-This book is a book that will stay with me for a very long time. I gave this book 5 stars-
The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen
-Girl power! I loved this book so much. It enraged me, it made me laugh and it made me cry. I gave this book 5 stars-
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli 
This book may be my favorite LGBT book of the year. So adorable & nerdy. I gave this book 5 stars-
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
This book broke my heart into a thousand teeny pieces. I loved this book so hard and I gave it 5 stars-
The Devil You Know by Trish Doller
-This book utterly terrified me. It was so different than Doller's previous books, but so awesome. I gave it 5 stars- 

The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows
-It started off slowly, but I began to fall in love with it right around page 60. I gave it 4.5 stars-
The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh
-THIS BOOK, GUYS! Oh my goodness, I adored this book. It was gorgeously written and had a swoon-worthy guy. I gave it 5 stars-
A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas
-Is there such a thing as heart eyes? Because this book, and particularly Lucien and Rhysand GAVE ME ALL THE SWOONS! I gave this book 5 stars-

Science Fiction
NIL Unlocked (NIL #2) by Lynne Matson
-So freaking fabulous. I adore this series and it just keeps getting better. I gave this book 5 stars-

Let me know if any of the books on my list are also on your list. Don't forget to leave the links to your TTT list this week.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: Rebound (Boomerang #2) by Noelle August

Book Title: Rebound
Author: Noelle August
Published Date: February 10th, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Series: Book Two in Boomerang Trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Hooking up is only the beginning of the fun in this sexy and irresistible second installment of the thrilling New Adult series, Boomerang.
Adam Blackwood has it all. At twenty-two, he’s fabulously wealthy, Ryan Gosling-hot and at the top of the heap in the business world. His life is perfect, until a scandal from his past resurfaces and knocks the tech wunderkind down, throwing his company, Boomerang, a hook-up site for millennials, into chaos.
Three years ago, Adam married his high school love—and then lost her in a tragic accident. Now, the heartbreak and guilt he’s tried to bury with work and women begins to take over his life.
Alison Quick, the twenty-one-year-old daughter of a business tycoon—and the very ex-girlfriend of Boomerang’s former intern, Ethan—has a problem of her own. She’s got one chance to prove to her father that she deserves a place in his empire by grabbing control of Boomerang and taking Adam down.
But as Alison moves in on him, armed with a cadre of lawyers and accountants, she discovers there’s much more to Adam and Boomerang than meets the eye. Will earning her father’s approval come at the price of losing her first real love? It appears so, unless Adam can forgive her for wrecking his life and trying to steal his livelihood. But Alison hopes that old adage is right. Maybe love can conquer all.
Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from William Morrow Paperbacks via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.
You guys know that I am normally so picky about my NA reads and how rarely I read NA because they disappoint me so much. Yet last year, right about this time, I reviewed Boomerang, which is the first book in the Boomerang trilogy. I fell in love with this book because they didn't follow a typical NA formula that I had become so used to.
When I heard this book was going to be about Ethan's ex, Allison and Ethan's former boss, Adam, I was a little nervous to see how it would all play out. I didn't expect to like Allison given what we had learned about her in Boomerang. Surprise, surprise, I ended up really liking her. She was in a tough position as her father was very powerful and used to getting his way through manipulation. Allison also loved horses, and I loved reading about how she cared for the horses her father owned.
Adam was a difficult one for me to warm up to. I didn't love him in Boomerang, so I was hoping I'd love him in Rebound. I ended up liking him more and more as the book went on. He complimented Allison quite well. Where she was weakest, he was strongest. Where she was strongest, he was weakest.
That Catwoman/Zorro scene at the beginning of the book was H-O-T.
We also learn a lot about Adam's past, which I loved. I didn't know what to expect with his past, but when certain things revealed themselves, it was clear to me that he was still struggling mightly, but he was hiding it from so many people. Hiding things is so unhealthy and I felt bad for Adam, and really wanted him to find that happy ending.
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed Boomerang. It took me awhile to like Adam, and certain other things kinda bugged me about this book. I do still recommend not only this book, but the first book in this trilogy. I'll be giving it 4 stars.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

SST: The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen

Welcome to the Sunday Street Team! This awesome idea was one that Nori of Readwritelove28 came up with and I jumped at the chance to be a part of it.

Today, I have Rachael Allen's sophomore release, The Revenge Playbook. I reviewed this book last month, but in case you missed it, keep scrolling and you can read it below.


In this poignant and hilarious novel, Rachael Allen brilliantly explores the nuances of high school hierarchies, the traumas sustained on the path to finding true love, and the joy of discovering a friend where you least expect.

Don’t get mad, get even!

In the small town of Ranburne, high school football rules and the players are treated like kings. How they treat the girls they go to school with? That’s a completely different story. Liv, Peyton, Melanie Jane, and Ana each have their own reason for wanting to teach the team a lesson—but it’s only when circumstances bring them together that they come up with the plan to steal the one thing the boys hold sacred. All they have to do is beat them at their own game.

Brimming with sharp observations and pitch-perfect teen voices, fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Mlynowski are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp tale—by the author of 17 First Kisses—about the unexpected roads that can lead you to finding yourself.

I loved Allen's first book, 17 First Kisses, and I wasn't sure if this book would live up to it, but it did. In a really big way. Like with 17 First Kisses, I was expecting something light and fluffy, but what I got was a book chock full of girl power, and some hard topics of conversation.

It has always been a big complaint of mine that high school athletes get special treatment. They get a pass on bad behavior, they get extensions on homework assignments, even when the non-athletes have asked for them for a legitimate reason and they don't get them. It's like they get privileges that other students don't get. 

Like they are the "golden boys"

Out of the four girls, Ana, Melanie Jane, Liv and Peyton, I think I liked Peyton the most. I related to her in a way that I couldn't relate to to the other three. She had special considerations due to her ADHD and she constantly tried to alert the teachers and the rest of the staff that she needed the boys (the football players) to stop bothering her so she could concentrate.

Did they punish the football players? Of course not.

Did they punish her by making her move so she wouldn't be so distracted? Absolutely.

I don't think I've been this angry over a book in a very long time. I was livid, actually more than livid if there is such a thing. It was the treatment of Peyton that enraged me the most.

Then we move on to Liv who has not had sex with her boyfriend, but she's still called a slut by a lot of the boys.

We have Melanie Jane who has sworn to remain a virgin until her wedding night. She used to be best friends with Ana until something changed between them.

Ana is hiding a secret. A secret that will devastate her family. She's choosing to keep it from them because when she tried to report it to the school & the law enforcement officers, she was told that she needed to keep it to herself or else one of the boys would lose his football scholarship.

When I read that part, I was furious. This is why so many high school girls are terrified to report any incidence of assault. They know that nothing will happen to the football players and other sports participants because they are athletes and are exempt from punishment. Schools need to stop treating these boys like they are a gift to mankind. Treat them as you would any other student, even if that means *gasp* punishing them.

These four girls have some similarities, but also a lot of differences, but the way they come together to fight back against the sexism and the misogyny surrounding the school, and most specifically the football team. They wanted nothing more than to beat the boys at their own game, even embarrassing them.

The presence of a list was also made known to the girls. This list is written by the BMOC (Big Man On Campus) Chad McAllister. It informs the rest of the football team that certain girls aren't worthy of them for various reasons (all of which have to do with either their looks or the fact that they haven't put out)


Basically if you have a girlfriend who is on the list, you need to cut her loose. For the good of the team & its image of course. This was another scene where I had to literally get up and walk away from my Kindle because I was literally shaking with rage.

I loved the friendships that developed in this book. I loved how Melanie Jane wasn't ridiculed for being a virgin. I loved how despite their different home lives, and interests, they still managed to form a friendship. This entire book was awesome, but the ending was amazing, and I cried buckets because of certain things that happen at the end that I don't want to spoil for those of you who haven't read it yet.

Just please read it. I actually feel like this book needs to be in classrooms, especially high school classrooms. It's a must read for all teenagers and even school faculty. I loved this book for the messages it sent and for the powerful friendships that developed. I'll be giving it 5 stars and I cannot wait to get a finished copy of this book.

Author Bio
Rachael Allen lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband, two children, and two sled dogs. In addition to being a YA writer, she's also a mad scientist, a rabid Falcons fan, an expert dare list maker, and a hugger. Rachael is the author of 17 FIRST KISSES.