The ABC Book Challenge: check out the Ratings!

And so the saga continues…. it is ever closer to the end and this challenge is literally over a year in the making.. I will finally feel free once this is all over, but for now, it’s time to celebrate books with the Letter “R”.

On to the books!

Memorable Books that Start with the Letter “R”:

Ramona Blue

I adore this book! It’s so well written. It has great characters and a great plot. It’s fast paced and it talks about some really important subjects. I highly recommend this contemporary.

Rogue

I love Julie Kagawa! Her works are incredible and I’ve enjoyed every book I’ve read from her. Rogue is no exception and I can’t wait to read the rest of this series!

Books I’d Love to Read Starting with the Letter “R”:

Replica

“Lyra’s story begins in the Haven Institute, a building tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida that from a distance looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, Haven is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed. When a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects—Lyra, or 24, and the boy known only as 72—manage to escape.

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals for as long as she can remember. A lonely teen, her life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April. But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family’s past and discovers her father’s mysterious connection to the secretive Haven research facility. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two replicas and a completely new set of questions.

While the stories of Lyra and Gemma mirror each other, each contains breathtaking revelations critically important to the other story. Using hotlinks in this electronic edition, readers can decide how they would like to read the book, as with the print version. They can read the story of Gemma or Lyra straight through first, followed by the other girl’s story, or they can move between chapters in Lyra’s and Gemma’s sections. No matter how it is read, Replica is an ambitious, thought-provoking masterwork.”

I own this book and still haven’t gotten to it. Trust me, I’m going to be reading this very soon. I’ve always loved the idea of the format and with two more in the series I know I’m going to devour it!

Reign of the Fallen

“Without the dead, she’d be no one.

Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their soul from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised: the Dead must remain shrouded. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, a grotesque transformation begins, turning the Dead into terrifying, bloodthirsty Shades.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears around the kingdom. Soon, a crushing loss of one of her closest companions leaves Odessa shattered, and reveals a disturbing conspiracy in Karthia: Someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is forced to contemplate a terrifying question: What if her magic is the weapon that brings the kingdom to its knees?

Fighting alongside her fellow mages–and a powerful girl as enthralling as she is infuriating–Odessa must untangle the gruesome plot to destroy Karthia before the Shades take everything she loves.

Perfect for fans of Three Dark Crowns and Red Queen, Reign of the Fallen is a gutsy, unpredictable read with a surprising and breathtaking LGBT romance at its core.”

I also own this book and I’m mad at how long it’s taken me to pick it up.. I’m going to read this very soon! It’s really high up on my tbr.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

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-Till next time!

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The ABC Book Challenge: The Queendom has Arrived

I’ve been updating regularly and I don’t want to stop just because I’m out of ideas for what to post today (especially because my main post ideas are going to take time I don’t have right now) so here we are with another ABC Book Challenge post! I’m charging through these at the moment. I’m at a point where I feel like I can see the end.

On with the books!

Memorable Books that Start with the Letter “Q” :

Queens of Geek

I don’t know why I didn’t review this book. I totally forgot to. However the book is quite memorable and so worth the read! It’s funny, cute, and adorable! I highly recommend it!

Queen of Shadows

This book is SO GOOD!! Most everyone in the community knows about Throne of Glass and it is a popular series for a reason. It’s an all around amazing fantasy and I love it!

Books I’d Love to Read Starting with the Letter “Q”:

Quarantine: A Love Story

Oliver wants a girlfriend, and there’s a girl back home who might be interested in him. The problem is, he has to spend his spring break on a volunteer trip in the Dominican Republic. Flora, on the other hand, isn’t really looking for a boyfriend. She just wants to end a miserable spring break visiting her dad and her new stepmom in the D.R.

The solution to both their problems? Get back home to New York ASAP. Sadly, they won’t be getting there anytime soon. 

Their hopes are dashed when Flora’s impulsiveness lands them in quarantine — just the two of them. Now, the two teens must come together in order to survive life in a bubble for 30 days. In that time, love will bloom. But is it the real thing, or just a placebo effect? 

In her debut novel, Katie Cicatelli-Kuc delivers an introspective and witty story about finding love in the most unexpected place.

This Story sounds cute. I sometimes need books like this. Plus, I’m so in love with this cover! It’s so adorable!

Queen of Hearts

“The first novel in Colleen Oakes’s epic, imaginative series tells the origin of one of the most infamous villains—the Queen of Hearts.

This is not the story of the Wonderland we know. Alice has not fallen down a rabbit hole. This is a Wonderland where beneath each smile lies a secret, each tart comes with a demand, and only prisoners tell the truth.

Dinah is the princess who will one day reign over Wonderland. She has not yet seen the dark depths of her kingdom; she longs only for her father’s approval and a future with the boy she loves. But when a betrayal breaks her heart and threatens her throne, she is launched into Wonderland’s dangerous political game. Dinah must stay one step ahead of her cunning enemies or she’ll lose not just the crown but her head.”

Fantasy about the origin of the queen of hearts? I need to read this!

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

The Beholder: A Review

The Beholder by Anna Bright

My Rating: 4/5 Stars!

 

Cover Rating: 9/10: This cover is absolutely gorgeous! The boat is stunning and it gives the story it’s fantasy/romantic vibes in one beautiful piece of imagery. I love the copper and grey wash coloring of it. It’s beautifully done.

 

Publisher: HarperTeen

 

Publish Date: June 4th, 2019

 

Number of Pages: 435

 

Received: Random book mail from the publisher!!

 

Purchase: Amazon

 

Synopsis:

“Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic to visit a series of potential suitors—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From the gardens of England to the fjords of Norge, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.

Lush landscapes, dazzling romance, and captivating intrigue await in this stunning alternate historical YA debut—perfect for fans of The Selection or Caraval.”

 

Opening Sentence: Once upon a time always began on nights like tonight.”

 

A Note Before my Review: I just want to say, the authors note before the start of this book is the sweetest thing ever. Anna Bright talks about why she became an author and what brought her to write “The Beholder” and it made me fall in love with her in an instant. I will read anything she writes because of it. (Also, because I loved “The Beholder” so much). One day I hope to meet this author in person because I just feel like she’s one of those authors that would be a genuine delight to meet.

 

Musings:

“The Beholder” completely surprised me. I expected it to go a certain way and it went in an entirely new direction and for that, I am so happy to have read this book. It was well written, engaging, and romantic. I need to know what’s up next in Selah’s world, but I know that will have to wait till Anna continues her story. I’m excited about it all the same!

What I Loved:

Selah is totally herself. This is a character who is herself at all times and doesn’t change for no one. She’s comfortable doing hard work and gardening. She’s bookish and values her time alone. She knows herself well and she stands up for her beliefs. She’s tough, but not in a physical way. I loved reading through her point of view.

Showcasing How fast falling in love can be. Her first love Peter was a slow burn (one we don’t see, but the had been friends for years). Nothing ever happened between them and he rejects her when she finally opens up and tells him how she feels. However, bachelor number 2 and 3 establish with her some real chemistry and things move quick with both. Sometimes you meet someone and even though time is short between you they change your life forever. There’s no rules to falling in love or what love should look like and as much as I love a slow burn, personally I have fallen in love with someone, at one point in my life, very quickly and it’s nice to have that feeling validated.

How all my expectations were subverted. I’m not going to talk about what happened with Bachelor #2 or #3 because discussing that ruins the book completely, but things went so much deeper then I expected. There was political stuff that surprised me. People had some ulterior motives that made my eyebrows raise. The ending was nothing like what I expected it to be. I have to know what happens next.. it’s too juicy.

Everything I want to talk about now is a spoiler. I just want to dive in and dish the details, but I’m not ruining this novel for no one. This book is barely fresh off the press and I’m dying to talk to someone about what happens, but I can’t.. this is going to be another instance of me having a bunch of strong opinions on little things (like I do with the splintered series) and I just want to talk about it left and right, but I won’t because I’m exercising some very minute self-control.

All in all:

This book is fantastic. It’s not what it seems. There’s some juicy drama. Great family dynamics. Interesting and unique ways of being in different places. This book is lush detailed and worth the read!

About the Author:

“I believe in woods, mountains, highways, cobblestones, roller coasters, dancing, concerts, cherry Pop Tarts, books, and magic.
When I’m not reading or writing on my couch, I’m dragging my husband off on an adventure, communing with Salem (my kitten/spiritual familiar), or causing trouble at One More Page Books, where I work.”

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

The ABC Book Challenge: what’s up Pal!

Welcome back to one of the few challenges I am wholly committed to completing the ABC book challenge! We are on to the letter “P” and I’m very happy to continue moving forward.

On to the books!

Memorable Books That Start With the Letter “P”:

Pretties

This Book is a big part of the beginning of my reading life. I remember loving the Uglies series when. I was younger and I may no longer own the books, but the memory stays forever.

Passion

I don’t know if I’d touch this series now, but in elementary, I loved the hell out of the fallen series. I don’t actually remember much about Passion, but Perks starts with The so I am trying to stay true to my formula here. I just remember having a fat crush on Luce.

Books I’d Love to Read Starting With the Letter “P”:

P.S. I Still Love You

Given the way love turned her heart in the New York Times bestselling To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, which School Library Journal called a “lovely, lighthearted romance,” it’s no surprise that Laura Jean still has letters to write.

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.

I FINALLY own this book!!! After so many years of wanting to read it I own it and I hope to get to it very soon!

Pumpkinheads

In Pumpkinheads, beloved #1 New York Timesbestselling author Rainbow Rowell and Eisner Award–winning artist Faith Erin Hicks have teamed up to create this tender and hilarious story about two irresistible teens discovering what it means to leave behind a place—and a person—with no regrets.

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?”

One of my life’s goals is to read some good graphic novels. This one looks like it could be one of them. It looks adorable and fluffy and full of autumn vibes and I am all for it!

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

In Another Life: A Review

In Another Life by C.C. Hunter

My Rating: 4 Stars!

Cover Rating: 3/10 stars, I’m not really feeling this cover. I think the only thing that would attract me to it is the color. It doesn’t feel like it’s truly connected with the story in any real way other then to say things get a bit fractured in the novel. I wish they had gone in a different direction.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publish Date: March 26th, 2019

Number of Pages: 352

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“What would you do if your whole life was a lie and learning the truth could cost you your life?

From New York Times bestselling author of the Shadow Falls series comes C. C. Hunter’s new YA thriller about a girl who learns that she may have been kidnapped as a child, and must race to uncover the truth about her past before she winds up a victim.

Chloe was three years old when she became Chloe Holden, but her adoption didn’t scar her, and she’s had a great life. Now, fourteen years later, her loving parents’ marriage has fallen apart and her mom has moved them to Joyful, Texas. Starting twelfth grade as the new kid at school, everything Chloe loved about her life is gone. And feelings of déjà vu from her early childhood start haunting her.

When Chloe meets Cash Colton she feels drawn to him, as though they’re kindred spirits. Until Cash tells her the real reason he sought her out: Chloe looks exactly like the daughter his foster parents lost years ago, and he’s determined to figure out the truth.

As Chloe and Cash delve deeper into her adoption, the more things don’t add up, and the more strange things start happening. Why is Chloe’s adoption a secret that people would kill for?”

Opening Sentence: ““What are you doing?” I ask when Dad pulls over at a convenience store only a mile from where Mom and I are now living.”

Musings:

Reading this book brought up a lot of emotions in me. It was a story way more intense then my own, but I was taken by the similarities in feeling. Chole was happy with her situation for most of her life. Living with the family that loved her and gave her all that she could have ever wanted, but her parents divorce changed everything. Then, Cash comes into her life and her world is flipped inside out and upside down. When he presents the idea that she was the kidnapped child of his foster parents and slowly reveals to her his own checkered past she is thrown into a state where she doesn’t know what to believe.

What I Enjoyed:

The action. It’s slow building to this point, but it has many tense thriller moments. I really enjoyed the way the events added up and built suspense as the story went on.

How suspicious Cash always was. Cash had constant suspicions to the 10th degree. Sometimes, I had no idea where they were coming from. But, I enjoyed how he began to trust Chole slowly as time went on.

Watching the two come together. I liked the relationship between them. It was complicated yes. It brought up a lot of baggage in them both, but what mattered was the love that was there and they decided to be there for each other and accept each other as they were.

That Chole had a good relationship with her parents. Yes at times due to divorce that the relationships were strained. However, at the end of the day the love was there. It was nice to read an adoption story where the parents weren’t abusive.

All and All:

In Another Life is a unique read with curious situations and some really great writing. You’ll keep guessing what the real truth is till the very end.

About the Author:

C. C. Hunter is the American author of the Shadow Falls young adult novels. C.C. Hunter is a pen name. Under her real name, Christie Craig, she also writes romantic suspense novels. Born in Alabama, she now lives in Texas.

Thanks for reading! I meant to write and post this review ages ago. I procrastinated on this one a ton and I no longer remember why, but better late then never! As always, let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

The ABC Book Challenge: nothing is an Obstacle

Welcome back to the ABC Book Challenge! I’m getting closer to finishing this and I can’t wait till I do!

Memorable Books that Start with the Letter “O”:

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

I remember this being read to me and my classmates senior year by one of my teachers. It was a really sweet and positive message and though it is a children’s book I will always remember that moment.

Of Mice and Men

I read this book for school at some point and while I may not have loved it I did remember enjoying it. I remember having discussions on this book that were interesting.

Books I’d love to read Stating with the Letter “O”:

Our Chemical Hearts

“John Green meets Rainbow Rowell in this irresistible story of first love, broken hearts, and the golden seams that put them back together again.

 

Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can’t-eat-can’t-sleep kind of love that he’s been hoping for just hasn’t been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he’s been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything’s about to change.

 

Grace isn’t who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys’ clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It’s obvious there’s something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn’t your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland’s brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love.”

I’ve wanted to read this book for a while. I got the chance to purchase it pretty cheaply at Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago so hopefully I can get to read this book sometime soon.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

““Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.”

This book has literally been the one book I’ve been wanting to read and get my hands on for ages! I did have the chance to read it a few times, but the last time was a long story and it doesn’t feel right to touch it right now. But, one day I’ll purchase a copy of my own and read it then.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

The ABC Book Challenge: it’s a Never ending story

The ABC Book Challenge continues with the letter “N”. I’m still going strong with this and honestly after so much time has past, I’m really proud. After this there are 12 more posts and possibly 2 bonuses that I’ve thought about since I first decided to take on this challenge. But, that’s for the future. On to the books!

Memorable Books that Start with the Letter “N”:

Night World

The Night World Series is one of my favorites from the start of my reading career. One day I will own this version of these books, but for now I am happy to own the older versions I used to own many years ago.

New Moon

Another old book that was actually the reason I started getting into reading. I no longer own any of the Twilight saga, but I will never forget the books that brought me into the world of reading.

Books I’d love to read Stating with the Letter “N”:

Nocturna

“To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.

As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.

But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.”

I’m in this for the cover. It’s completely gorgeous. The fact that this is an own voices novel is a plus.

Never-Contented Things

“Prince and his fairy courtiers are staggeringly beautiful, unrelentingly cruel, and exhausted by the tedium of the centuries—until they meet foster-siblings Josh and Ksenia. Drawn in by their vivid emotions, undying love for each other, and passion for life, Prince will stop at nothing to possess them.

First seduced and then entrapped by the fairies, Josh and Ksenia learn that the fairies’ otherworldly gifts come at a terrible price—and they must risk everything in order to reclaim their freedom.”

Again here for the cover.. it’s so creepy cool! Seems like people either love or hate this book, but I’m in it for the gamble.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

The ABC Book Challenge: Making it golden

I bet the lot of you didn’t expect me to keep this going after not doing one of these in months, but once I make a promise to do something I keep it. I’m getting through this challenge.. one way or another.

On to the books!

Memorable Books that Start with the Letter “M”:

Magic with Skin On

“In her much-anticipated debut poetry collection, Morgan Nikola-Wren has woven her signature romantic grit through a stunning, modern-day fairy tale. Chronicling the relationship between a lonely artist and her absent–albeit abusive–muse, Magic with Skin On will gently break you, then put you back together again.”

This was a magical poetry collection. It was really fun to read and had some beautiful and unique poems. I was so happy for the chance to read it!

Milk and Honey

“Rupi Kaur’s milk and honey, is a New York Times bestselling collection of poetry and prose about survival, the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.

The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes listeners through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them—because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.”

The highly popular Milk and Honey is another really great poetry collection. I enjoyed the artistic nature of it most.

Books I’d Love to Read Starting with the Letter “M”:

Missing, Presumed Dead

“When eighteen-year-old Lexi foresees the brutal murder of a young woman outside a club in downtown L.A., she is powerless to stop it.

But then the girl’s ghost appears, seeking vengeance, and Lexi is swept into a dangerous search that could put her directly in the path of a serial killer. From the author of Devils Unto Dust, this fast-paced and literary thriller will haunt fans of Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious and Karen M. McManus’s One of Us Is Lying.  

With a touch, Lexi can sense how and when someone will die. Some say it’s a gift. But to Lexi it’s a curse—one that keeps her friendless and alone. All that changes when Lexi foresees the violent death of a young woman, Jane, outside a club.

Jane doesn’t go to the afterlife quietly. Her ghost remains behind, determined to hunt down her murderer, and she needs Lexi’s help. In life, Jane was everything Lexi is not—outgoing, happy, popular. But in death, all Jane wants is revenge.

Lexi will do anything to help Jane, to make up for the fact that she didn’t—couldn’t—save Jane’s life, and to keep this beautiful ghost of a girl by her side for as long as possible.

Emma Berquist’s second novel is a haunting and atmospheric murder mystery that tackles themes of depression, loneliness, love, and identity. This high-concept novel is for fans of Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series.”

Paranormal criminal investigation? Count me in!

Meat Market

“Jana Novak’s history sounds like a classic model cliché: tall and gangly, she’s uncomfortable with her androgynous looks until she’s unexpectedly scouted and catapulted to superstardom.

But the fashion industry is as grimy as it is glamorous. And there are unexpected predators at every turn.

Jana is an ordinary girl from a south London estate, lifted to unimaginable heights. But the further you rise, the more devastating your fall …

Honest and raw, this is a timely exposé of the dark underbelly of the fashion industry in an era of #TimesUp and #MeToo. It might just be Juno Dawson’s most important book yet.

‘Juno Dawson slashes through the glamour of the fashion industry … combining blockbuster appeal with piercing commentary on modelling, body image and consent’ Observer”

Honestly in this for the cover… but the story itself sounds so unique and unlike anything I’ve read before.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

You Asked for Perfect: A Review

You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman

My Rating: 5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 9/10 it may not be in a style I typically find to be incredibly beautiful I think this cover is perfect for this book. This story is very School centric and this cover fits that vibe very well for me.

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Publish Date: March 1st 2019

Number of Pages: 288

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“For fans of Adam Silvera and Nina LaCour comes a timely novel about a teen’s struggle when academic success and happiness pull him in opposite directions. 

Senior Ariel Stone has spent his life cultivating the perfect college résumé: first chair violinist, dedicated volunteer, active synagogue congregant, and expected valedictorian. He barely has time to think about a social life, let alone a relationship…until a failed calculus quiz puts his future on the line, forcing Ariel to enlist his classmate, Amir, as a tutor. 
As the two spend more time together, Ariel discovers he may not like calculus, but he does like Amir. When he’s with Amir, the crushing academic pressure fades away, and a fuller and brighter world comes into focus. But college deadlines are still looming. And adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push Ariel past his limit. 
Full of empathy, honesty, and heart, You Asked for Perfect is a story for anyone who has ever questioned the price of perfection.”

Opening Sentence: “My feet pound the ground.”

Musings:

You Asked for Perfect is a fantastic novel. It perfectly encapsulates the anxiety of trying to be at the top academically in school. The pressure school provides on students to be perfect in order to get the best possible future for themselves they can and how that can reck all sorts of havoc on students mentally.

What I Loved:

Honestly everything. Personally this book managed to get me to miss school, but that’s just me. I loved the juggling act of trying to be there for your friends while at the same time juggling school and extra curricular activities. I loved the romantic elements of this novel. I loved how music played a part in this novel. I also loved that Ariel is Jewish and those elements. So pretty much everything about this novel was fantastic.

The portrayal of anxiety. I remember being in school and really struggling in AP Calc and having to drop it because it was too much for me along with my other honors and AP classes. Ariel scholar that he is pretty much aces everything and studies like a maniac. (I admit I was never one that study nearly as much as this character). But, the constant being on your phone. Testing yourself on mathway or quizlet. Reading material or listening to a audiobook while trying to accomplish some other homework assignment. Asking for extra credit (even if you don’t necessarily need it). Pushing yourself and then being super critical when you get a c or even a b. Feeling like a total and complete failure if you dare get an F. (I admit to crying on the occasion I got an F). Thinking each and every moment your in school you are working towards creating the best possible future for yourself. Essentially, this book showcases how in school aiming for perfection can at times bring you to a breaking point.

Ariel and Amir together. Ariel is bisexual and it was super cute to see him fall in love with Amir. Amir has this gentleness about him and this understanding that lets him have the ability to chill out Ariel. He is the one that calms Ariel’s storms and helps him to see that it’s ok to settle down the work load for a while. To have fun at times and to remember that your relationships with other people are just as important as preparing for your future.

The weaving of Jewish Traditions. I love it when books include some sort of religion in it. Especially if I don’t know too much about it. So, what intrigued me about this was the various foods and the times for prayer and the Shabbat dinner mostly. The family practice and unity aspects were very beautiful to me and I felt like I was learning about a different aspect of the religion I didn’t know before.

Remembering that everything is about perspective. Ariel puts in front of himself the need to be valedictorian in order to make it to an Ivy League college and make something of himself. But, he finds that all the expectations have been created by himself and himself alone. He perceives others to expect a certain level from him and perceives his parents to expect perfection from him, but in reality it’s all a response to what he said he himself wanted from himself. In other words his own mind created a cycle of needing perfection and creating that to be his identity and when he isn’t perfect he feels he doesn’t have anything else to show as his identity. This was a really deep and introspective part of this novel that was so interesting to read and think on.

His friendship. Ariel is best-friends with a girl and I love that they have their own little rituals and things they do together. I also love that she was fully fledged as a character and had her own goals and unique background and story. The author did an amazing job of making each character their own and having them come off as 3D full fledged characters.

Final Thoughts:

I highly recommend ‘You Asked for Perfect’. It’s really well written. It has a great story and a great message.

(Side note to those still in school)

I feel it necessary to say that this book really encapsulates what school was like for me. However, having been out of school for a while and having the opportunity to go to college has been taken away from me till I turn 25, I want to say this: you do not know what the future holds for you. So please enjoy the time you have now. Have fun and make friends and enjoy time with them now. Do your best, but don’t get stuck in feeling bad when your not perfect because you will have so many more opportunities in the future. Yes school is important, but it isn’t everything. Live your life to the fullest now and enjoy the opportunities you have now in the present moments. Take care of yourself and have fun. You’ll thank yourself later for it.

About the Author:

“Hello! I’m a writer and freelance editor. I currently split my time between Atlanta, Georgia and Brooklyn, New York. Thankfully both cities have good bagels.

My first novel, GIRL OUT OF WATER, is a coming-of-age story about a California surfer girl sent to landlocked Nebraska for the summer to care for her younger cousins. My second novel, YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT, explores the effects of intense academic pressure through the eyes of a teenage Valedictorian-to-be as he juggles school, friendships, and family. You can order both books from most retailers or request them from your local library.”

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

The Warrior Maiden: A Review

The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

My Rating: 3/5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 6/10 it is a beautiful cover. I like the balance of it. It fits what the story is as a Mulan retelling.

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Publish Date: February 5th, 2019

Number of Pages: 320 pages

Received: the publisher provided a arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson comes a fresh reimagining of the classic Mulan tale.

“When it comes to happily-ever-afters, Melanie Dickerson is the undisputed queen of fairy-tale romance, and all I can say is—long live the queen!” —Julie Lessman, award-winning author

She knows women are expected to marry, cook, and have children, not go to war. Can she manage to stay alive, save her mother, and keep the handsome son of a duke from discovering her secret?

When Mulan takes her father’s place in battle against the besieging Teutonic Knights, she realizes she has been preparing for this journey her whole life—and that her life, and her mother’s, depends on her success. As the adopted daughter of poor parents, Mulan has little power in the world. If she can’t prove herself on the battlefield, she could face death—or, perhaps worse, marriage to the village butcher.

Disguised as a young man, Mulan meets the German duke’s son, Wolfgang, who is determined to save his people even if it means fighting against his own brother. Wolfgang is exasperated by the new soldier who seems to be one step away from disaster at all times—or showing him up in embarrassing ways.

From rivals to reluctant friends, Mulan and Wolfgang begin to share secrets. But war is an uncertain time and dreams can die as quickly as they are born. When Mulan receives word of danger back home, she must make the ultimate choice. Can she be the son her bitter father never had? Or will she become the strong young woman she was created to be?

This fresh reimagining of the classic tale takes us to fifteenth-century Lithuania where both love and war challenge the strongest of hearts.”

Opening Sentence: “Galloping her horse past the big oak tree, Mulan pulled the bow string taut.”

Musings:

I always have and always will have a soft spot in my heart for retellings. The Warrior Maiden is no exception. Something about being in the world of the familiar in a brand new way is awesome to me and I was happy to read this version of Mulan’s familiar tale.

What I Loved:

Mulan’s resourcefulness. I love a character that thinks outside of the box and sees opportunities where others would see blocks. She takes charge and works as hard as any of the men she fights alongside and it shows.

An interesting brotherly dynamic. Wolfgang and his brother are at an opposition. Wolfgang May be younger, but his elder brother is the black sheep of the family. Their shared guilt over a past event affects them both. One far more then the other and it leads the brother down a darker path.

The spirituality. There is a lot of mention of religion in this book and it’s nice to see. It explores sort of how Christianity was in the past and it was unique to think of how it’s changed and remained the same to this day.

What I Wished were different:

The closeness to the original. I felt like this story was a bit too similar to the original Mulan. It was different technically in the setting, but it essentially felt like the same story. It didn’t have enough of a twist to it for me.

Mulan’s and Wolfgang’s back and forth was slightly frustrating. I just wanted them to sit down and communicate clearly to each other how clearly it was they loved each other and they were both so stuck in their own heads that nothing happened most of the time. I think it’s just a personal pet peeve of mine when two people want nothing more then to love and support each other let weird thoughts and fears get in the way. I hate how something small can turn much larger and it prevents action from being taken. It is realistic, but it is frustrating.

No Mushu. This isn’t actually a concern. Having Mushu or some sort of other animal companion is something that makes me happy in general.

All in all:

I enjoyed the story. It had some action, a bit of romance, some lives being saved. It’s a sweet little adventure retelling and it was a very entertaining read.

About the Author:

“Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author, a two-time Christy Award finalist, two-time Maggie Award winner, Carol Award winner, two-time winner of the Christian Retailing’s Best award, and her book, The Healer’s Apprentice, won the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Melanie earned a bachelors degree in special education of the hearing impaired from The University of Alabama and has worked as a teacher in Georgia, Tennessee, and Ukraine. She lives with her husband and two children in Huntsville, Alabama.”

Thanks to everyone for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!