Mini Reviews #2

 

Mini Reviews #2Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
Published: September 15th 2015
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three-half-stars

Recklessly loyal.

That’s how seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley has always thought of herself. Caring for her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But lately she’s grown resentful of everyone—including her needy best friend and her absent mom—taking her loyalty for granted.

Then Arden stumbles upon a website called Tonight the Streets Are Ours, the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter, who gives voice to feelings that Arden has never known how to express. He seems to get her in a way that no one else does, and he hasn’t even met her. Until Arden sets out on a road trip to find him.

During one crazy night out in New York City filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn’t exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn’t exactly who she thought she was, either.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

I liked this book, I did. I wasn’t crazy in love with it like I had wanted to be after This Song Will Save Your Life, but I liked it. Arden grew a lot in this story. She saw how she wasn’t who she thought she was and that there was more to her than expected. That was the part that I really enjoyed. What I didn’t like was the Peter part and the “stalking” him in NYC part and his reaction. Personally I found his reaction to the whole thing just odd. It didn’t make sense to me that he would be so calm that someone that found him online went to the length Arden did to meet him. That was strange to me. But all in all this was a good book. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it. It did make me want a Just Like Me doll, real bad. 😉

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Mini Reviews #2First & Then by Emma Mills
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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three-half-stars

Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I’m not really sure what to say about this one that hasn’t been said already. I guess I should start with the fact that I wanted to shake Devon A LOT! She was super judgmental most of the time and it got on my nerves. But the great things about books are the judgmental main characters usually grow and change by the end of the story and Devon certainly did that. She started to open her eyes and see what was what and that she may have over romanticized some situations. When she started to be less of a snob she was actually pretty likable. And I loved her with Ezra and her interaction with Foster, her cousin. That was the highlight for me. I know a lot of people LOVED this book and I think many more will too. I will admit I’m not a huge Jane Austen fan so that might be why I was over the moon for First and Then, but I definitely really liked it. You should check it out if you haven’t already.

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 Mini Reviews #2Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Poppy
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two-stars

On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan have only one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night leads them to family and friends, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

Charming, bittersweet, and full of wisdom and heart, this irresistible novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that arise when life and love lead in different directions.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

This was possibly one of the most depressing books I have read in a long time. I mean I don’t know if I didn’t connect with it because I never did the leaving for college thing or the potential break-up because of distance thing, but Clare depressed the crap out of me. She was such doom and gloom through just about every page. She over reacted to everything and expected Aidan to have all the answers and it really got on my nerves. I had to remind myself a few times that I was reading about teenagers which is not something I enjoy when I read a book. I prefer to just read it and not worry about ages but I couldn’t do it with this book. The side characters were the bright spot for me (and the end which I wish there was more of in the book). They were way more interesting and weren’t wrapped up in themselves so much. I mean I was 50% in and *I* wanted to break-up with Clare. I should have trusted my gut when I saw the mixed reviews but I didn’t and found out the hard way that this book was not for me.

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Review: The Heart of Betrayal – Mary E. Pearson

Review: The Heart of Betrayal – Mary E. PearsonThe Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #2
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Published: July 7th 2015
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four-stars

Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia's erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: there's Rafe, who lied to Lia, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be barbarians. Now that she lives amongst them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review

I didn’t know what to expect from book two of The Remnant Chronicles. I mean The Kiss of Deception was a pretty epic book for me and the ending had me dying to see where it would go. But it also had me terrified. I mean a book with Heart AND Betrayal in the title can lead to NO WHERE GOOD! But also, I needed to know so I had to read it. Verdict…it was excellent! The end killed me, but really strong second book.

The Heart of Betrayal picks up where The Kiss of Deception left off. To be honest I don’t want to say too much about the plot as it may give some stuff away. Basically Lia and Rafe are being held in Venda thanks to Kaden. They are all they have and must depend on each other for survival and safety but they also must rely on deception if they want to live. Both Lia and Rafe, and even Kaden, play dangerous games of lies and half-truths in order to live. But while this is all going on Lia is also trying to figure out her life and the two men in it that lied to her. With all of their secrets out in the open, well almost all, Lia has no idea what is right and what is wrong anymore and if she should trust people or her gut or even her own gift and destiny.

I liked Lia a lot in this story. In The Kiss of Deception she was very much still a young girl that didn’t really understand the way of the world. Her eyes were open to a lot but she still didn’t see it. Not until she was in Venda and was fighting to stay alive anyway she could. For me she grew-up in The Heart of Betrayal. Her eyes were opened to things she was shielded from and saw people and things for what they were. It was refreshing to see this side of her.

I really enjoyed Lia’s relationships with both Kaden and Rafe. There are a lot of feelings and emotions on both ends. She feels certain things for each of these men that have become important to her, but she never really questions what those feelings are. She knows in her heart of heart where she belongs and with who but she has to allow herself to see that even though it is clear from the beginning in my opinion. This really helped in making Lia a great character.

Truthfully, I thought the Komizar was a total creeper. He reminded me of the guy in Slumdog Millionaire that Latika lived with and totally gave me the heebie-jeebies. But he was interesting and I was not able to really figure him out. I almost wished for more of him just so I could see other sides that were hinted at. And his relationship with Kaden was definitely one to be examined. Komizar was probably one of the most complex characters in the book by far.

All in all I enjoyed The Heart of Betrayal. I didn’t love it like I loved The Kiss of Deception, but it was a solid book that moved the story along and that makes we want to know where else Pearson will be taking us. The end was ACTION PACKED and left me dying for book 3. And it left me with a lot of questions. All I can say for sure is that book 3 will be a doozy!

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Review: The Kiss of Deception – Mary E. Pearson

Review: The Kiss of Deception – Mary E. PearsonThe Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Published: July 8th 2014
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five-stars

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.She flees on her wedding day.She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

I had put off reading The Kiss of Deception for a long time. I bought it after I heard a lot of rave reviews but I was scared to read it because of all of those reviews. But finally, I went for it. Honestly, I had no idea what I was in for. I knew what the book was about, but I thought Lia was the deception part of the story. Man was I ever wrong. This book was so much more than Lia hiding from the life she didn’t want. Basically, it was pretty much AMAZING!

The Kiss of Deception is the story of Lia, a Princess to the Kingdom of Morrighan. Lia lives in a world that is filled with tradition, and one of those traditions is an arranged marriage. Forced to marry a prince she has never met before Lia decides she has only one option, to run. Taking off with her friend they start a new life for themselves. But when two new strangers arrive Lia is drawn to them and doesn’t know why. She also doesn’t know that one is the prince she was supposed to marry and an assassin sent to kill her. When Lia starts to get close to one she learns of things happening in the kingdom and decides she must return home and be the princess she was raised to be. Only things aren’t as easy as they seem. And when Lia is taken prisoner Lia must figure out how to fix her world that is falling apart and not to lose the man she is falling in love with.

I’ve said this over and over again, but The Kiss of Deception is an extremely clever book. When I first started reading it I was confused and wondering if, as a reader, I would get to know who was the prince and who was the assassin. But as the book continued and it was never made clear until it was time to be made clear, I realized the beauty in that writing tactic. By doing that Pearson made me part of the story. She made me as clueless as Lia. Sure I was able to make a guess based off the small amount of information I had, but I knew when Lia knew and I LOVED that. It made the book fresh and interesting and intense.

There was also the fact that the two guys, Rafe and Kaden, were so completely different. I mean one is a prince and one is an assassin. Yet Pearson wrote them in a way that made them interchangeable even with those differences. I had a feeling who was who, but as I read I would question my gut and ask really who was which one. It kept me on my toes and I appreciate that in a book.

The plot was also really well thought out and done. I loved Lia’s story and how she wanted to be able to love her own life but how she understood duty. She wanted a voice and had to run away to find it, but it didn’t make it any better for her. She knew in her heart what her place was, she just needed to come to terms with it.

The Kiss of Deception was a twisty, turny book of deceit and secrets that sucked me in from the beginning. I loved all the characters and the plot twists. I loved the story of Lia, Rafe, and Kaden and I loved how everything unfolded. The end left me wanting more and it will make you want the same. A definite must read.

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Review: Something Real – Heather Demetrios

somethingreal

Title: Something Real [Amazon]
Author: Heather Demetrios [website]
Publisher: Henry Holt BYR
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Blog Giveaway/Hardcover
Stars: 5 of 5

Publisher Description:
There’s nothing real about reality TV.

Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.

My Thoughts:
Wow, wow, wow! What an amazingly fantastic book with really awesome characters and a gripping story to boot. I am so happy to have finally read Something Real and not sure I can adequately put into words how awesome this book was. Basically it was one of those books that just has everything and leaves you feeling refreshed and cleansed when you’re done. Did I mention it was fantastic? And is also now one of my top 15 reads ever!

Something Real is about Bonnie, a 17 year old girl that has grown up on TV. Since she was born her life, along with her 12 brothers and sisters, has belonged to MetaReel and the wildly popular reality show Baker’s Dozen.  That is until four years ago when an incident happened that resulted in the shows cancellation. Now living a normal life with friends, a possible boyfriend and a made up past, Bonnie is ready to have it all and move on from the mess that was her life. Until MetaReel shows up and messes up everything all over again. Now instead of trying to figure out if her crush likes her or what her and her friends are going to do, Bonnie is living life in front of the cameras once again. With her happy existence threatening to disappear she has a choice to make…fight or flight.

First I must say I learned two very important lessons from this book. 1) I’m so very glad I’m an only child. 12 siblings? That’s more than a baseball team. Holy crap that’s a lot of kids! And 2) I have never not wanted to be on reality TV so much in my whole life! I swear this book almost made me feel bad for the Kardashian’s…almost. 😉

But seriously I am absolutely head over heels in love with Something Real. Straight up the characters rocked. From “Chloe” to Benton to Tessa to Mer to Lexi to everyone’s favorite sexy emo dude Patrick, I loved them all. Each one of these characters was a piece of Bonnie is one way or another. Whether it was someone she wanted to be, someone she was trying to be, someone she wanted to be with, each of them played a huge role in who Bonnie was by the end of her story and I loved that. And I just really loved Bonnie. She was a kid stuck between a rock and a hard place. She felt guilty for choices she made and things she thought were her fault. My heart broke for her and Benton and the vile people that were supposed to be their parent(s). But like in any good YA book watching bonnie grow truly was a delight. And watching this while she had Patrick Sheldon on her side was even better.

Patrick Sheldon. What does one say about Patrick Sheldon??!! He is the epitome of the perfect book boyfriend. He has the characteristics of all the things anyone wants in a good partner. He was unsure and sweet and adorable and protective. He was geeky and emo and just an all-around good guy. And he was exactly what Bonnie needed but wasn’t all she had which I found very important. I’ve been hearing about Patrick for months now and I finally understand the hype.

Basically I loved everything about this book and was so sad when it was done as I don’t feel like their stories are done. I want whole books on Benton and Lexi next with pop-ins from my favorites. I just want more because Something Real is one of those books you just don’t want to let go of. Bravo Ms. Demetrios. Bravo!

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