The Valiant #1 By Lesley Livingston

Synopsis:

Princess. Captive. Gladiator.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

Review:

Definitely, check out this book if you liked Throne of Glass or An Ember in the Ashes!! It’s a really fun YA historical fiction story (very little fantasy) about a group of badass teen female gladiatrices in ancient Rome.

Fallon starts out as the fierce warrior daughter of a Celtic king. She just wants to make her own name in battle and be named a warrior chief, but then she’s kidnapped and sold as a gladiatrix in Rome. Her older sister who trained her to fight was killed by the Romans, so Fallon’s not too fond of them… except then a really cute one shows up and Fallon is all sorts of CONFLICTED. For a few chapters. 

I don’t really want to say too much more about the plot because there’s a spoiler in the beginning and a big one in the middle that are kind of central to everything. So I’ll just say that Fallon trains with a group of girls who all fight for Caesar. (Yeah, as in Julius Caesar. He and Cleopatra show up). A guy offers to buy Fallon’s freedom but she’s determined to earn it herself. Then someone keeps leaving crow feathers and dead birds as threatening messages to Fallon and she finds herself in a weird mess with powerful people. 

Fallon’s guided by the Morrigan (the Celtic goddess of war/death), so I was TOTALLY into the book once any hint of Celtic mythology showed up. I really, really liked Fallon’s character, too. She was incredibly strong, flawed, and learned throughout the course of the story. And I liked the guy she fell in love with, but the actual romance itself escalated to full intensity out of nowhere (especially considering the events in the first few chapters). 

But I liked how sisterhood was such a central part of the story… both with family and friends. And I appreciated that this wasn’t the cliche plot of a girl out to kill everyone and/or overthrow the rulers for revenge. Fallon was fighting for herself

The battle scenes are pretty awesome!! Fallon’s sister always asked her if she was a weapon or a target, so that’s kind of a theme throughout the story. There’s this super impossible maneuver that nobody can do in battle except for Fallon… but not because she’s a super special snowflake. She can do it because she worked at it for years.

This story doesn’t waste any time getting started and never really slows down. It’s pretty fast-paced the whole way through, which is great because you’re never bored. Buuut that also means some of the relationships end up being pretty shallow. I’m not sure if those characters were just thrown in and will be established or used more in the next book, but I kind of wanted more in a lot of areas. Everything that happened was really interesting and I liked it all! It just flew by really quickly and kind of skimmed the surface of what it could’ve been. The last half of the book really crammed in a ton for the sequels to build on, though, so this series seems like it will only get better. 

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy!

 

Pages: 372 Pages

Version: Hardcover

Rating: 4.5 Stars

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Synopsis:

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jeweled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Review:

Guys, this was SO GOOD. It’s one of those books that makes you want to reread it the second you’re finished with it. You devour it and you just need to go back and relieve the awesomeness again. It’s THAT good. I read it in two days and never even felt the time pass.

It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but with Sarah’s stunning writing, it becomes so much more than that. It becomes a story on its own, original and breathtaking, with compelling characters, set in a beautiful world that screams fantasy. It’s the story of Feyre, a human girl who kills a wolf in the woods, only to later find out it was actually a faerie; she must pay retribution for what she’s done and, when Tamlin, the beast, comes to collect her, she goes with him to his court. The Spring Court. There, she finds out about a curse placed upon it and she discovers more and more about the world of faeries, which endangers her.

I am having trouble expressing just how much I loved this book and this story. It’s beautifully written. The best part for me was the fact that it didn’t feel like a retelling, it felt original and only when I really sat and thought about it did I spot the similarities with The Beauty and the Beast. For me, that’s a plus. I loved the twists and turns that Sarah weaved in the story and I cannot wait to see what’s in store for us in the next book.

I adored the characters. Feyre is an incredible female character and I loved her interactions with the three boys in her life: Tamlin, Lucien, and Rhysand. She’s smart, determined, ruthless when it comes to protecting the ones she loves. Her relationship with Tamlin shocked me, I absolute disliked him. With that being said Sarah has GREAT character building. On the other hand, I loved that Sarah wasn’t afraid to explore a more sensual relationship between them and she did it so well – those scenes are sexy and hot and I loved them. I have my issues with Rhys, but I’m very curious to see where their relationship will end up in the next book. As for Lucien, bless his soul, he must be protected at all costs!

All in all, read this book and do it now. It’s fantastic. If you’re a Maas fan, this is definitely for you. If you’re only now looking into her, I’d recommend starting with A Court of Thorns and Roses, it’s easier to get into than Throne of Glass and it will allow you to familiarize with her beautiful writing. 

Favourite quotes:

“I threw myself into that fire, threw myself into it, into him, and let myself burn.”

“We need hope, or else we cannot endure.”

“I love you,’ he whispered and kissed my brow. ‘Thorns and all.”

If you would like to purchase this book you can do so by using the link below to purchase it from The Book Depository! 

http://www.bookdepository.com/?a_aid=books4joy

Pages: 419

Format: Paperback

Rating: 5/5!

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Synopsis: 

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

Review:

Words still fail me and it’s been almost a week since I’ve finished this book. It was spectacular. Fantastic. Unbelievable. Out of this world beautiful. I can keep going. It’s probably the strongest sequel I’ve ever read and it just soared on the top spot for my favorite book of the year. Sara has outdone herself with this one and it shows. It’s remarkably beautifully written, it ensnares you from the very first page and it’s hard to believe, but it gets better and better with. each. page. Sarah weaves such an intricate tale and it’s hard to believe where we’re at, at the end of ACOMAF, compared to where ACOTAR has started. It’s like a different story altogether, but it’s amazing to see the progression of Feyre’s story and how far she’s gotten.

This is one of those books that you don’t necessarily expect to blow your mind, especially since it’s a sequel, and sequels tend to not be as good as the first book (that dreaded Second Book Syndrome that everyone hates), but it’s definitely not the case with ACOMAF. The story progressed beautifully from the end of the first book and it went places I never thought it could go. Most importantly, nothing felt forced. Nothing felt unnatural. Everything felt smooth and fluid. And the writing was breathtaking. I absolutely adored the descriptions and I love how much the world has expanded from the first book. We got to travel further into Prythian and it’s beautiful and can someone get me there right now?

As for the characters…. holy cow! Oh my god. Unbelievable. The Feyre in the beginning of ACOTAR is nothing like the Feyre at the end of ACOMAF. It’s not out of character, it’s character growth and development and I loved every second of it. Feyre comes into her own, she shows how kickass she can be and it’s beautiful to watch. I love that Sarah has introduced so many new characters, and that she makes you fall in love with them so effortlessly. You care about them instantly and I think that’s something impressive for an author – to make you feel connected to every single character they write. No matter if they’re heroes or villains.

Please read this book. It’s phenomenal. It’s too good for words. You 100% won’t regret one second of it.

Special mention for sexually explicit scenes. I don’t remember exactly how many there are, but they’re there and if you’re sensitive to them, bear this in mind.

Favourite quotes:

“No one was my master— but I might be master of everything, if I wished. If I dared.”

“I am broken and healing, but every piece of my heart belongs to you.”

“To the stars who listen—and the dreams that are answered.”

“You sent that music into my cell. Why?” Rhysand’s voice was hoarse. “Because you were breaking. And I couldn’t find another way to save you.”

Now, for a bit of a spoiler-y discussion:

Feyre and Rhysand. These two are perfect together. They were friends before anything else. And their relationship progresses so naturally, it’s not forced at all. It’s not insta love. It’s two people getting to know each other and respect each other and be partners. Equals. The end of ACOMAF destroyed me. I was so scared that their bond had been shattered, I was literally unable to function. When I found out she had become High Lady and she’ll essentially be a spy, I started crying. The last sentence of the book is one of the most powerful and amazing lines I’ve ever read in my life. It’s everything.

I loved how the focus was on Feyre’s choices. She always had a choice with Rhysand, as opposed to Tamlin. I do believe Tamlin loves/d her, but Under the Mountain twisted them both to the point where his good intentions went sideways. He couldn’t understand her anymore. His selfishness started to break through. The fact that Lucien would dare act against Amarantha, but backed down when he thought he had pushed Tamlin too far speaks wonders about Tamlin’s character. The betrayal at the end…I just couldn’t. I couldn’t believe he could do that. I do hope we’ll get to see some redemption for him. I don’t believe he’ll come out of this story alive, though. 

So many amazing female characters! Amren and Morrigan are just…perfection. I loved how Sarah touched on the treatment of women, through Morrigan’s story and that of the Illyrian women in the camps, women who are often seen only as tools for breeding, with no choices of their own, with no means of deciding their own destiny. The rest of the Inner Circle has stolen my heart permanently. I just want them all to be okay after the story is done.

As for Rhysand…he has become one of my all time favorite characters. He’s such a complex, intricate individual, I can’t believe I thought poorly of him during ACOTAR. He is a perfect example of how men should act. He’s absolutely flipping fantastic. He’s powerful, cocky, snarky, sarcastic, but underneath it all, is someone who has suffered for the good of his people and his friends. He has such a deeply ingrained instinct to protect, but he never holds it over Feyre’s head and ultimately leaves her to make the choices she wants. He has faith and trust in her and that won me over immediately. It’s hard not to compare him with Tamlin, but Tamlin doesn’t hold a candle to Rhysand. He’s perfect, that is all.

If you would like to purchase this book you can do so by using the link below to purchase it from The Book Depository! 

http://www.bookdepository.com/?a_aid=books4joy

Pages: 624

Format: U.K Edition Paperback

Rating: 5/5!

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Synopsis:

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

Review:

READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.


Wow, where to begin with this one? It’s not many times that I can say an author lived up to my expectations—and that they followed through with nearly everything I wanted to happen. I’ve been let down so many times in “final books” or shows.

Maas did not let me down.

This book is very appropriately named ACOWAR, for this truly is a book of war. From start to finish. Even though I would say I enjoyed ACOMAF better, that’s not because it was necessarily a better book. This book is IMPRESSIVE and probably Maas’ best book. It’s not just everyone twiddling their thumbs until the end of an anti-climactic battle. No, there are plenty of small battles that lead to the final, epic one.

Which ultimately means this book was very different than the first two. Much of this book is dedicated to planning, being in war camps, training, and leading up to the battles. Which at times can be a bit taxing, but that’s what war is. It’s not meant to be glamorous and sunshine and giggles. Maas did manage to mix in plenty of humor and romance though, which I thought was balanced perfectly.

She really went for it. She made it feel epic and larger than life—a WAR. Which is super impressive considering this is told from Feyre’s perspective. We only get Rhysand’s POV twice. Maas very cleverly placed Feyre throughout the story so that we as the reader wouldn’t miss the action. She brought in characters from the first two books and it honestly felt like I was watching a movie. This is a book you want to SEE made into a movie or TV show. I had tears in my eyes, more than once which doesn’t happen to me often, but this book is EMOTIONAL. You feel that exhaustion, that despair, that hope, with these characters.


So let’s talk about them.

Feyre, our darling heroine. I absolutely loved her journey, her growth. She transforms into a true High Lady. She’s the type of heroine you want to read about. I absolutely loved everything about her story. Now looking at the covers…this is so interesting. ALL covers feature Feyre in back with her tattoo. We have plaything Feyre on the cover of ACOTAR, barely on the cover. Then we have soldier Feyre on ACOMAF’s cover, and she’s more prominent on the cover. Then we have High Lady Feyre, front and center, on this cover. It’s just so beautiful. *sobs* Feyre makes some bad calls here and there but I can’t help but love her anyway. She’s so REAL.

And because I can’t talk about her without talking about Rhysand—wow, what a pair. This is how romance should be written. Their love did not falter in this book. It only grew, and we got to see them working together as High Lord and Lady. (I can’t explain how relieving it is to have a heroine WANT power, use it, wield it, and not be ashamed or villainize herself, or villainize the “love interest” for doing the same.) They are that power couple you crave in every fantasy book.

He is just perfect. I can’t say a single negative thing about him. He’s everything I want in a male lead character. ( and everything I want in a life partner myself.)  Seeing how far Feyre and Rhys have come…it’s just stunning. Makes my chest ache with its perfection. Their equality, their trust, and respect, their belief in the other…I don’t think I’ve ever read a better romance.

And spoilers but…yes, the Bone Carver was, in fact, their future son. *sobs again*

Speaking of family…Mor, Cassian, Azriel, Amren.

They were so, so wonderful. All of them. I loved how Feyre got to spend one-on-one with each of them. There were some very critical scenes with each one. Azriel got much more time in this book and I loved getting to know him a little more.

Speaking of Azriel…DO I SHIP HIM AND ELAIN OR WHAT. YES. When I read ACOMAF, I just…couldn’t get into Mor/Azriel romantically. I actually thought Mor connected better with Cassian, and Azriel connected almost instantly to Elain. And when Lucien ended up her mate…I couldn’t get on board that with either. As much as I love Lucien, they felt like two pieces of a puzzle that don’t really fit.

Maas did not disappoint me. There were more Elain/Azriel moments by far than Lucien/Elain. Which leaves my heart in a dilemma because Lucien is one of my favorites and I’d hate to see him hurt. But…I can’t deny that there’s really not much connection between Elain and Lucien. Not yet at least. If anything, it feels like he’s trying to do what he thinks he should be doing with a mate.

We do meet Elain’s fiancé, Grayson. There’s a moment when Feyre suggests Elain was hoping love could triumph over the mating bond and to me that’s a bit of foreshadowing. Not with Grayson, but Azriel. I’m going to call it now: Elain and Lucien will be like Tamlin and Rhys’ parents: mates, but not necessarily right for each other romantically. I’m predicting Elain/Azriel as endgame, with Lucien possibly with Vassa—a new character we meet in the end.

This brings me to a slight gripe: Lucien was sidelined after the beginning. Once he got to the night court, we didn’t get much of him, and then soon he was off to search for Vassa. I was disappointed. It also felt unrealistic to me for everyone in the inner circle to speak so freely around Lucien—Tamlin’s right-hand man. I also can’t stand the idea that Tamlin and Lucien won’t work together. It’s sort of indicated that Lucien might be staying in the night court, but it’s a bit open. Despite everything, I’d hate that friendship to burn.

Speaking of which, let’s talk about Tamlin. I wasn’t entirely happy with how quickly Feyre was to villainize him. She goes as far to wonder how Rhys stomached Amarantha when she’s playing a spy in spring court and I thought…um, you LOVED Tamlin. He loved you. He didn’t destroy your world, take your powers, and enslave you. So not quiiiiite the shame.

When we learn that Tamlin *gasp* was planning to find a way around the bargain with Hybern and work against him once Feyre was safe, Feyre is surprised. Like…really? I sure wasn’t. I called it the moment he showed up in ACOMAF. Tamlin isn’t a monster or the human slaughtering type. Feyre destroyed his court and that somewhat backfired. I was glad because I didn’t think Feyre was right in that regard. I’m not Tamlin’s biggest fan, but he gets majorly screwed over when you consider the whole series. He loses Feyre, he loses Lucien, he loses a lot of his court, he loses his soldiers…I hope Maas did this not to punish him, but to set him in the sequels. Because I do truly hope he finds happiness. I know many people wanted him to suffer, but I didn’t. He made some poor decisions, his lack of communication and guarded nature did not help him in his relationship, and he never learned to face what happened under the mountain.

Hopefully, in the sequel, he will be able to. He fights with our heroes and saves Feyre AND Rhys—again, no surprise there. He was never a villain. He just wasn’t right for Feyre.

Nesta and Elain were pleasant surprises. At first, I was unhappy we’d get more of them but now that I’ve finished…I’m so glad. They both grew so much and have unique, interesting arcs that tie into the plot. Nesta…she thaws a little more. She shares some really nice moments with Feyre and even their father. I wish her shit got called out more—Mor is literally the only one that ever does—but for the most part, her growth is very good. I can say I finally enjoy Cassian and Nesta together.

I loved Elain’s development and GOODNESS AZRIEL GIVES HER TRUTH-TELLER AND SHE SLAYS THE KING WITH IT. I couldn’t even. Nesta will no doubt get credit for it because she twisted the blade, but she was down and Elain is the one who truly deserves the credit. She stabbed him, allowing Nesta to finish him. It was glorious.

We didn’t get quite as much Amren as I would have liked, but she still had a huge importance. She SLAYED. We also got to see Cassian in action as the general. He too was glorious and I loved seeing him in a larger role. I ADORE his friendship with Feyre. He had so many moments in this book to where I was just lkjsfnmskads. I love him.

JURIAN. I forgot to mention him. He was such a pleasant surprise. Reading ACOTAR, I never would have thought he’d have such an important role. Such an asshat but a hilarious one. I’m interested in what’s ahead for him.

We see Rhys in beast form. We see Amren’s true form. We see the Bone Carver slay. We see the unification of the courts. We see all the High Lord’s in action. We see EVERYTHING you can possibly want. (Except a damn wedding. When will Maas EVER write a wedding we want? Lol Okay, this book wasn’t the place, but it could have been the epilogue, damn it!)

Anyway, I could go on and on. This series is something special. This book wraps up well but leaves a lot open for the upcoming installments.

“Stay with the High Lord.”

I think my heart exploded at this point. You’ll know why when you read it. Yes, I cried.\

Prepare yourselves. You will laugh. You will cry. You will rage. You will smile. You’ll feel so much of everything that your chest will ache.

As I said, this book is not perfect. But it will make you FEEL. It will stay with you long after you put it down. And that, perhaps, is more beautiful than perfection itself.

If you would like to purchase this book you can do so by using the link below to purchase it from The Book Depository! 

http://www.bookdepository.com/?a_aid=books4joy

Pages: 699

Format: U.K Edition Paperback

Rating: 5/5!

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer ( Vol. 1)

Synopsis:

When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers’ leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the series.

Review:

1. This book is set after Winter (Lunar Chronicles book #4) so you must have read that series as there are spoilers.

2.This is a graphic novel, but it is hardcover and smaller than most graphic novels (it looks like a book). The dimensions are approximately 9″ by 6.5″.

3.The designs are in blue, black and white only.

Wires and Nerve was such an amazing book. It really exceeded my expectations. I had no idea if this graphic novel was going to simply be a cute story about Iko, or if we would see all of our favorite Lunar Chronicles characters.

This story follows Iko. It takes place after Winter (book #4) and includes all of our favorite characters: Cinder, Kai, Cress, Thorne, Scarlett, Wolf, Iko, Winter, and Jacin.

There are some wolf-hybrid soldiers causing a lot of trouble. So Iko takes it upon herself to help out Cinder.

I absolutely loved this story. We get to see all of our favorite characters. And we get to see what they are all doing post-Winter. We also get to see a character called Kinney (Cinder’s royal guard). I loved his interactions with Iko.

This story ends with a big cliffhanger. I cannot wait to read the next book! My only small complaint is that I wish the designs had more colors.  Even the cover has a pretty orange/red. I would have loved to see the designs be more vibrant. But it was interesting to see a graphic novel done in only blues.

If you would like to purchase this book you can do so by using the link below to purchase it from The Book Depository! 

http://www.bookdepository.com/?a_aid=books4joy

Pages: 238

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 5/5!

Secrets of the Tally by Halie Fewkes

Synopsis

Meet Allie: she’s just woken up in an empty forest with blood on her hands and everything she’s ever known wiped from her mind. In her survival-oriented world, people are hunted by vicious predators and it quickly becomes clear that they are specifically hunting her.
Allie’s friends and sister have no insight as to why she’s a target, and her only clue is a list of tally marks she finds tucked away, detailing how many lives she’s saved and how many deaths she’s caused. Judging by the amount of ink slashed across the page and the fact that nobody seems to know about it, Allie knows she used to have secrets that need to be recovered.
Without knowing whom to trust, she finds herself drawn to a new stranger in the caves they call home, and even though he won’t talk about his own past, he’s ready to help Allie recover hers.
The problem now is that Allie’s instinct to survive is the only thing strong enough to bring her memories back. Flashes of her old self will only surface to save her from life threatening danger, so if she wants to avoid living as an echo of her former self, danger is what she must seek.

 As a note, an ARC/ finished copy of this novel was sent to me by the publisher and or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions in any way.

Review

I love the author’s writing style and clever ways of expressing things. There is a perfect blend of mystery and adventure in this book, and the emotional descriptions were well crafted. The world building is exceptional, and the backstory is intriguing. I had a hard time pulling away from the book to do real life things like sleeping.

First of all, I fell in love with the book cover, it’s so beautiful. The story is entertaining and it’s action-packed right from the very first pages, making it fast-paced and incredibly easy to read. There are usually some tell-tale signs that a book has been self-published but I honestly didn’t see any, and only knew when I got to the acknowledgments page at the end of the book.

Allie is a strong female character/ protagonist, despite her memory loss, I also really liked Archie- even when he turned out to not be what I expected. I don’t want to give too much away because it was such fun to have the mystery aspect to it while reading, and learning things at the same pace as the main character, and don’t want to take that away from anyone else.

All I have left to say is that you guys should totally pick up a copy of this book!

Pages: 320


Format: Hardcover

Rating: 5/5!

 

In a Perfect World by Trish Doller

Synopsis 

Caroline Kelly is excited to be spending her summer vacation working at the local amusement park with her best friend, exploring weird Ohio with her boyfriend, and attending soccer camp with the hope she’ll be her team’s captain in the fall.

But when Caroline’s mother is hired to open an eye clinic in Cairo, Egypt, Caroline’s plans are upended. Caroline is now expected to spend her summer and her senior year in a foreign country, away from her friends, her home, and everything she’s ever known.

With this move, Caroline predicts she’ll spend her time navigating crowded streets, eating unfamiliar food, and having terrible bouts of homesickness. But when she finds instead is a culture that surprises her, a city that astounds her, and a charming, unpredictable boy who challenges everything she thought she knew about life, love, and privilege.

As a note, an ARC/ finished copy of this novel was sent to me by the publisher and or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions in any way.

Review 

In a Perfect World has a lot of elements I love in a YA contemporary. The main character that’s taken out of her comfort zone. A breathtaking, swoon inducing love interest and an involved loving family. Yet, it also has things that you don’t come across that often. There was an Egyptian setting, tons of culture and diversity, and in depth talk about privilege. This book was so much more than meets the eye and I loved every page.

Caroline was a fabulous main character. She was likable and easy to relate to. She took all these big changes as easy as one could expect. I loved that she wasn’t whiny or bratty about having to spontaneously move away from her home. Her parents were very involved in her life and the story! That’s something that always makes me happy.

Trish Doller can write some chemistry. There were sparks as soon as Caroline and Adam met. Of course, things were very complicated for them. Adam is Muslim and Caroline is not. Adam’s family had some pretty tough opinions on dating, let alone dating a girl that wasn’t Muslim. So there’s a bit of a forbidden romance thing going on. Swoon! The chemistry just sizzled off the page. Adam was sweet and shy, but he really stood up for what he wanted. Their feelings for each other felt so sincere. They were one of the best couples I’ve read in a long time.

The setting was a huge surprise love for me. Trish Doller brought the setting to life. I love that she included the beautiful touristy locations along with the grittier, poorer side of Cairo. There was an amazing amount of Egyptian culture in this story. I learned a lot of interesting new things about Islam. Caroline is also forced to face her privilege head on. All of this stuff fits into the story perfectly. It didn’t feel forced at all! This made the book so much more than a summer YA romance. I learned things. It was amazing!

Caroline and Adam start their relationship pretty early in the story, and this isn’t a long book. I was afraid it was either going to break my heart or be unrealistic. I shouldn’t have worried because it was absolutely perfect. There’s just so much to love about it. I’m still thinking about the characters. That’s always the mark of an incredible book for me. Add this one to your Summer TBR!

Pages: 294


Format: Paperback ARC

 

 

Rating: 5/5!

 

 

 

 

Dreamology by Lucy Keating

Synopsis

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?

Review

Man, I can’t seem to wipe this stupid grin off my face. Seriously, I had no idea I’d love Dreamology so much, this was exactly what I needed. It’s creative, funny, adorable and the sweetest thing ever. Max and Alice have a very unique connection. They’ve known each other since they were little kids and grew up exploring the world and creating this amazing bond, but here’s the thing, they’ve never really met. They only know each other from their dreams. That is until Alice and her dad move from New York to Boston and Alice attends Bennett Academy, walks into class and sees the boy of her dreams standing at the door. Max. He’s real and it’s almost like a dream come true, but it would seem that reality might have a different plan.

Can I just say I’m totally in love with Lucy Keating writing! I absolutely loved how easy it was to sink into this book, her writing is effortless and intelligent. I loved the flow and pace of the story and how everything played out. I kept finding myself re-reading passages and dialogue multiple times before I could read more, all the while I had a goofy smile plastered from ear to ear. I wasn’t sure I wanted to savor this book or devour it in one sitting. I swear I don’t think there is one character that I didn’t love. I found it so incredibly refreshing that every character in this book was kind. Flawed, sure, but genuinely nice. I also thought it was wonderful going into a book that wasn’t tainted with overly depressing or heart-harded issues. There were moments of sadness, sure, but it was never overly done. Mind you we still have our share of drama and angst, but it was cleverly written and the story always felt light and warm and even magical.

The concept is really quite fascinating and incredibly imaginative. It’s a thought provoking story that explores the science and magic behind dreams but it’s also a story about family, friends and how to deal with lost. But I think my favorite part of this book was the dreams. Max and Alice’s dreams are filled with exotic, wild adventures that are rich, vivid and spectacular. It makes me wish I could dream like that, it was so beautiful. But it was more than how the dreams looked, it was how Max and Alice connected to each other. It took them away from their lonely reality and gave them this dream-like-wonderland, giving them something to hold onto. Each other. Still, Max and Alice find themselves in a very confusing and conflicting situation. It’s one thing to know that your dream-childhood friend actually exists, but they have to figure out the why’s and how’s of it all since it seems that their dreams are bleeding into their reality and their sanity might just be on the line.

There are two versions of Max in this book. Dream Max and real Max. At first, I thought I liked Dream Max more. He’s was more spontaneous and silly and well, free, while real Max is more grounded, serious and in control. The back and forth and hot and cold attitude was really killing me and at several points I really wished I could have reached in the book to smack Max straight, but the more I got to understand him, I realized, like Alice, that you can have more than one version of yourself and still love who the person is. As for Alice? I loved her instantly. She’s quirky and sweet and I love how alive she always seemed to be despite the issues with her mother and how she clings on to her dreamworld. The romance in this was so flippin’ cute. It’s those little things that they remembered about the other that made my heart do flips, it’s the tension, banter, and uncertainty that made them so irresistible and it was all those damn stolen kisses and tender moments that made me want to read this book forever.

At one point of the story, I almost wanted Alice with Oliver. He’s this wonderful, funny, carefree guy with contagious energy and a great sense of adventure, but from the start, we always knew who owned Alice’s heart. I also loved Sophie, she’s exactly the kind of support you need and want in a best friend. And last but not least I absolutely loved Jerry and truly believe this book wouldn’t be the same without him.

Bottom line, this book was perfect for me. It’s the kind of book that just takes you away. It made me think, made me feel and made me laugh and made me smile the entire way through. Loved the concept, the amazing storytelling and all of these unforgettable characters. Instant love and one of my favorite books of 2017. A wonderful debut from Lucy Keating, I greatly look forward to seeing what she comes up with next. She is definitely an author to look out for! Bravo!

The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

Synopsis 

Skye Thorn has given tarot card readings for years, and now her psychic visions are helping the police find the town’s missing golden girl. It’s no challenge—her readings have always been faked, but this time she has some insider knowledge. The kidnapping was supposed to be easy—no one would get hurt and she’d get the money she needs to start a new life. But a seemingly harmless prank has turned dark, and Skye realizes the people she’s involved with are willing to kill to get what they want and she must discover their true identity before it’s too late. 

As a note, an ARC/ finished copy of this novel was sent to me by the publisher and or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions in any way.

Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Review

I was disappointed on how this book went. It felt like the plot was disorganized. I found it confusing at points. An Example of this is how Skye went the library, pulled out a book and wrote yes to the note inside saying “Are you in?” There was no context before then so I was completely confused as to what that meant and how did Skye know to look there in the first place? Even though this was all explained later it really threw me off. Another thing was Pluto. Pluto just appeared. I was let be like who the hell is Pluto? Why does Skye know him/her? When did this offer to participate in Paige’s kidnapping for money happen? Too many questions with no context and no answers.

I appreciate twists in novels but there too many at one time hitting me like a brick wall. Pluto turns out to be Paige and then she ends up dead, Paige finds a note saying Paige’s dad murdered her, but it turns it out it was Skye’s mom that actually murdered her. Again so confused and going back pages to see if I missed a crucial key somehow along the way that would make these twists less jarring. 

The narrative didn’t really work for me. 

What did give this novel stars at all was the interesting premise. A girl that uses her supposed psychic abilities to help aid police in a missing person case who also does Tarot card readings. Hell yeah, I would read anything that has to do with psychics, mediums, tarot cards, what have you. Even though the twists were too crazy I always have to give credit when I did not see them coming at all and I did not expect any of them. Predictability does not take part in this book and I appreciate it.

Can’t say I would recommend this book there’s better books out there.

This book will be available for purchase, wherever books are sold, on 10/03/2017, in hardcover format for $17.99. Recommended for readers in grade 9 and up. 

Pages: 320


Format: Hardcover

 

 

Rating: 1/5

The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

Synopsis

I’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fist fights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

As a note, an ARC/ finished copy of this novel was sent to me by the publisher and or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions in any way.

Review

This book was Exhilarating, Sexy, Fast- Paced and Action- Packed.

I want to start out by saying that I have HUGE book hang over. This book was all sorts of intense and would make a seriously awesome movie! It’d be kind of like a YA version of Fast & Furious.

I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump for the past week but I could NOT put this down. The street racing is actually a very small portion of the story — it’s more about relationships and choices. (But the street racing scenes are awesome as well).

To try to explain Frankie and Marco’s relationship is sort of as if they were fish out of the water without each other. They needed one another. Their chemistry and love (the always kind) were so very refreshing to read. They’re attracted to each other in the parking lot and then soon after they’re in “forever love.” But I actually didn’t care and was into their adorable relationship because the high stake situations and choices they end up facing made their intensity work.

This book was seemed to be perfectly planned out, the writing was amazing, and there was never a dull moment! The world & main characters were completely vivid and I totally cared about everything. There’s also an amazing cast of multi-dimensional secondary characters as well. I liked how there were a couple people I thought might’ve killed Noah throughout the story. All that to say that Garcia wasn’t too obvious about who it had been making the aha moment was satisfying. 

I know this is a bit different than the fantasy stories I typically read, but I really enjoyed it and totally recommend it!

Thank you to the publisher/ author for sending me a review copy!

If you would like to purchase this book you can do so by using the link below to purchase it from The Book Depository! 

http://www.bookdepository.com/?a_aid=books4joy

 

Pages: 370


Format: Paperback 

Rating: 5/5!