We Are Okay by Nina LaCour Review

we-are-okay-by-nina-lacourWe Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Publisher: Dutton Books For Young Readers

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Pages: 234

Summary:Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: We Are Okay is a beautifully crafted story which journeys Marin as she encounters grief and solitude coming to terms with events of her past! 

LaCour’s writing-style is what made We Are Okay a captivating read. Her writing style brings out facets of Marin (emotionally) that drives the novel throughout.

While the plot is there, its mainly the emotion evoked through the 1st person POV of Marin that brings a unique aspect to this YA Contemporary!

Told through present and past chapters, Marin recollects on what led her to leave those she loves behind before her 1st year of college. With each and every line, I could feel the loneliness and grief that Marin carried with her!

Additionally, reading from her POV brought such depth and life to the characters, like Hannah, Mabel and her grandfather.

Reading about the loss Marin goes through was difficult at times, because with each page we understood just how alone she felt. However throughout the novel, we learn more about those from her past and that she has a great support system behind her and slowly but surely can find hope.

Because We Are Okay follows Marin in a unique + emotional head-space,  the novel does slow at some points (hence the 4.5) but it gives such insight into her true feelings and emotions which really makes this novel captivating.

There is not only GLBT+, but also Mexican representation which was great!

LaCour also weaves themes of family and friendship which are heavily discussed and explored throughout.

Marin’s struggles and difficulties with opening up to friends and establishing stronger ties with those friends was something I could see in myself. It’s never easy, but reading that Mabel did all she could to reconnect with Marin, was beautiful!!

Marin was a very soft-spoken character (at least from my perspective) and I found that so relatable. There is so much that she considers and ponders in her head, but when putting those thoughts into words, she finds it difficult!

I loved Mabel and Marin’s relationship! It does have its complications, but they have so much history that their friendship and love for each other is clearly seen in the story. They want the best for one another regardless of what happened in the past. There is so much girl-power that I found throughout We Are Okay! Just girls supporting each other through their darkest + emotional moments in life.

Setting was painted so beautifully. I could picture the New York snow and the California beaches as more than just locations in a story,but moments in time and with emotion + atmosphere (both dark and hopeful) that was only possible through Marin’s POV.

As stated above I adored this novel, however because of the way we follow Marin’s POV, the story did slow at times for me.

We Are Okay captures grief, hope, forgiveness, friendship and family.  Through an elegantly crafted writing-style, emotion and atmosphere capture the tone of this novel and drive the story forward as we follow Marin who finds hope in her darkest times!

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones Playlist

Wintersong PlaylistToday’s Reading Playlist is inspired by S. Jae-Jones Wintersong! ❄️✨🎧

I read this book earlier in March + have a full book review if you’re interested which you can check out Here!

This book was an enchanting tale I absolutely loved and while reading, I listened to tracks that had a whimsical, but classical theme to them!

Tracks featured in today’s playlist are from Final Fantasy XV!

Hope you enjoy! + Let me know your thoughts on this playlist in the comments below! 😀 ❤

 

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

under-rose-tainted-skies-by-louise-gornallUnder Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Publisher: Clarion Books

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Pages: 320

Summary: At seventeen, Norah has accepted that the four walls of her house delineate her life. She knows that fearing everything from inland tsunamis to odd numbers is irrational, but her mind insists the world outside is too big, too dangerous. So she stays safe inside, watching others’ lives through her windows and social media feed.

But when Luke arrives on her doorstep, he doesn’t see a girl defined by medical terms and mental health. Instead, he sees a girl who is funny, smart, and brave. And Norah likes what he sees.

Their friendship turns deeper, but Norah knows Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can walk beneath the open sky. One who is unafraid of kissing. One who isn’t so screwed up. Can she let him go for his own good—or can Norah learn to see herself through Luke’s eyes?

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Under Rose Tainted Skies is a captivating YA Contemporary which is honest, raw, heart-breaking at times and tells the story of Norah as she uncovers the bravery within herself she never believed she would have!

Under Rose-Tainted Skies was a book I was super excited to read! Though with so many releases + my library copy coming late, I read it a little later than I wanted too, but I’m so happy I finally did because it was wonderful! 

Reading from Norah’s POV was so much more than just following her through her daily life, it was traversing with her through her ups & downs and growth as she overcame fears + obstacles and forged a relationship she never thought possible.

What I loved the most about reading her POV was that through her eyes I saw+pictured the characters in a very unique way, much more than just beyond their physical descriptions I saw their own struggles +obstacles as well and overall this made them feel so real! Gornall did a fantastic job at bringing all the characters to life. Norah was very witty + funny and I loved that about her!

While I do have a good amount of knowledge on OCD + Agoraphobia, just reading from Norah’s POV as whole gave me more insight into the mental process one goes through and it felt so real I could picture her thought process all through out the novel! She was my favorite character because no matter what happened, she always pushed through and found her strength!

Additionally, there were moments I really could relate to her, especially with her anxiety, like overthinking situations and jumping to conclusions when nervous. It’s something that I’ve done for sure. And reading from her perspective, I felt Gornall portrayed SO accurately!! Norah even mentioned its very easy to see why those conclusions obviously wouldn’t make sense, but thinking them anyways with the overall nervousness she would feel was something that I could definitely relate to!

She hasn’t left her house in years and we see how she has adjusted to this life, but its clear she wants what is beyond her front door.

It was great seeing the inclusion of her therapist Dr. Reeves and how she offered advice to never be afraid to speak/talk to someone and overall help Norah in navigating her new relationship with Luke, the adorable new neighbor.

I adored Luke (who is 10% human + 90% charisma ❤ )!! Through Norah’s POV, we see that even though she has OCD+Agoraphobia, he accepts her for who she is and gives her distance when necessary + is so understanding. He was so supportive with her and overall I loved how their relationship developed.

One day when she is trying to get her groceries from the front porch, he decides to help her and sooner or later, he begins sending her letters! ❤

After much hesitation, she finally tells him about her agoraphobia + ocd and he is very accepting of Norah and doesn’t push her. Instead, he always makes time to go to her house to hang out with her. He’s compassionate and very supportive. While Norah thinks she isn’t good enough for him and her fears of no longer being his friend constantly come into mind, he ensures her that he cares for her and is grateful for their friendship. ❤

I loved the mother/daughter relationship, through out the novel, whenever Norah found herself nervous or unsure about something, she knew she could always talk to her mom! Amazing family dynamic!!

My only issue is that I felt the story was a little rushed when it neared the end.

Overall Gornall delivers an emotional, raw, but honest story as we read from Norah’s perspective and follow her journey to find the inner strength/bravery she’s always had.

This novel left me feeling hopeful! I highly recommend this novel if your looking for a deeply moving YA Contemporary or are looking for a great mental health #ownvoices!!

Under Rose Tainted Skies is both gripping and heart-felt. With an emphasis on friendship+family and personal growth, this novel will captivate you!

The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún Vol. 1 {Manga Review}

The Girl From the Other Side-Siúil, A Rún Vol. 1The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún Vol. 1 {TGFTOS #1}

Publisher: Seven Seas

Release Date: January 24, 2017

Pages: 180

Summary: In a world split between the Inside and the Outside, those living in both realms are told never to cross over to the other side, lest they be cursed. A young girl named Shiva lives on the other side, in a vacant village with a demonic guardian known only as “Teacher.” Although the two are forbidden to touch, they seem to share a bond that transcends their disparate appearances. But when Shiva leaves Teacher’s care to seek out her aunt, the secret behind her mysterious living arrangement comes to light.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: As though it were a fairy tale, The Girl From The Other Side is both dark and enchanting!

This manga was utterly fantastic!! I found this one while scrolling through Goodreads and it was the cover that originally had me sold! However, once I read the summary I knew I would adore it!

The story unfolds as we come to learn about the rules that govern the world for the Outsiders, who are still human to some degree, but are creatures of darkness that can turn men to monsters with a single touch.

A dark and mysterious plot drives this manga forward, with such in-depth characters and themes of family, and the shades in between light + darkness!

Shiva, a young girl, lives on the Outside w/ Teacher who is her guardian (+ an Outsider himself) in a quiet little cottage and watches over her as she waits for her aunt to return.

Shiva is a very optimistic child and is eager to explore what’s in the forest beyond the small cottage where they both live.

However, Teacher wants to ensure her safety and keep an eye on her at all times, because he doesn’t want her to become an Outsider as well!

Teacher is a very kind and understanding, however when its discovered he has a secret which is vitally linked to Shiva, he is unsure of what to do because he wants to ensure her happiness.

Regardless, he does all he can to keep Shiva safe, even when she finds herself deep in the forest and runs into guards from a near by town.

There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the Outsiders and how they came to be, yet the guards from a near by town suspect it was neighboring town, however no one knows for certain.

There’s a big discussion on how we view those who are different (w/ the Outsiders vs. Insiders for instance) when guards search the woods of the Outside to ensure the safety of their town as they continue their search to rid themselves of Outsiders.

The sophisticated, yet subtle artwork is masterfully done. Teacher, for instance, being an Outsider is a hybrid sorts (donning a shadowed animal-head, mouthless face and piercing eyes). However through the art his expressions are carried through mostly his eyes, yet also in the elegant way he carries himself.

Through the artwork, Nagabe also brings an eeriness to the world itself, but transports the reader in an instant.

The Girl From The Other Side is a dark, mysterious and magical tale that has so much depth from its characters to plot, you will be hooked from page 1!

Daughter Of The Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller Review

Daughter Of The Pirate KingDaughter Of The Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (DOTPK #1)

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Pages: 320

Summary: Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: A fast-paced pirate adventure with the perfect blend of action, romance, swashbuckling, and a hint of fantasy that will keep you turning the page!

Ever since I found out about this book back in 2015, I knew this would be a book I would love!

I mean kick-butt lady pirates, deception and adventure on the high seas? Whats not to love??

And this book absolutely went above and beyond my expectations! ❤ ❤

I flew through it in less than a day! 

You know when your reading a book, your transported and feel your right there with the characters in their world + before you know it you’ve reached the end?? Thats what reading this book was like! I loved each & every moment! (´▽`ʃƪ)

The plot surprised me with each and every page! I never knew where the plot was going & overall it went in very unique directions I was not expecting!

Reading from Alosa’s POV + through Tricia’s fantastic writing style, made DOTPK the swashbuckling adventure I was anticipating!

In terms of writing-style, Levenseller does a phenomenal job with atmosphere and characters, while the world-building itself is lightly touched upon in the beginning & introduced more towards the middle/end, she crafts it in such a way where you can really understand the world with its mythical sirens, mysterious islands and seafaring adventures!

I loved learning about the mythical Isle De Canta! Levenseller really built it into the lore and history of this world perfectly!!

As for characters I loved them! As stated before with Tricia’s writing, you really get to know these distinct characters through Alosa’s POV & get more insight to them through Alosa’s perceptive/pirate skills!

+ Oh gosh I adored Riden!! (´▽`ʃƪ) While he appears to be a ruthless, cold person, Alosa learns there’s more to him than she expects & the relationship they build through their banter was the best! Their relationship never felt forced to me & overall I really loved their dynamic!!

The plot surrounds Alosa as she plans her capture onto an enemy ship known as The Night Farer to find the missing piece of a 3-part map that will lead her father (The Pirate King) to the Isle De Canta! Thought that’s not without some obstacles along the way, like Riden’s interrogations, Alosa having to be constantly aware of her cover and not reveal any of her ruthless pirate skills or the plan for that matter!

Draxen, captain of The Night Farer underestimates Alosa’s pirate skills, however Riden (younger brother + first mate to Draxen) is sure that she’s hiding something!

I adored the female crew she had by her side when she finds herself docked for a night at a small town & how they were eager to help her no matter what! (Mandsy, Zimah & Sorinda were all such supportive friends to Alsoa!) It was clear that they all looked out for each other + supported each other!

Alosa also struggles to come to terms with who she is (when certain secrets are revealed) + while also wanting to prove herself to her father and seeing that struggle really surprised me because when the book starts out, you don’t really see much fear from her.

Her development + Riden’s was remarkably done! Levenseller really added depth to their character (among others) and you really see them differently by the end of the novel!

Overall this book went above and beyond my expectations and I cannot wait to see where Alosa’s adventure is headed in book 2!

Daughter Of The Pirate King is a swashbuckling adventure with action, kick-butt lady pirates and an immersive + fun story to keep you turning the page!

 

Warcross by Marie Lu Cover Reveal

Marie Lu, author of the New York Times Bestselling Legend Trilogy + The Young Elites Trilogy just had her cover reveal for Warcross, her latest novel set to hit shelves this fall!

When a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

Summary: For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

I’m such a big fan of Marie’s books and being a gamer myself, I am beyond excited to read this book! ❤

Now for the cover…

Warcross Cover Reveal

Oh gosh! I really like this cover! ❤

It really gives off a “video-game”-type of vibe & I love that!

The bright colors + rainbow element really makes it stand out and I cannot wait to see how it’ll look in hardcover!

I also love how the pattern really brings a unique delivery for the title!

It did take me by surprise, but I love the general theme of it and feel its an overall really fun and bright cover and as always Marie’s covers are so unique!! (´▽`ʃƪ)

Originally released from Entertainment Weekly, there was both a cover reveal and excerpt which you can check out Here!

Warcross is set to be released October 3, 2017!

So what are your thoughts on the Warcross cover? 

Lets discuss in the comments below! 🙂

Waiting On Wednesday I #8

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly post originally created by the book bloggers over at

BreakingTheSpines to spotlight upcoming releases!

This week I will be spotlighting…

Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. DaoForest Of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (Rise Of The Empress #1)

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Summary: Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with both breathtaking pain and beauty, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns possesses all the hallmarks of masterful fantasy: dazzling magic, heartbreaking romance, and a world that hangs in the balance.

The summary alone had me automatically add this book to my Fall TBR! + The cover is fantastic!!

+ I don’t have a whole lot of knowledge of East-Asian folklore, so through Dao’s novel I’m also beyond excited to read more about it through a fantasy setting! ❤

YA Fantasy is easily one of my new favorite genres and I’m always on the look-out for new and fascinating stories! + I’m always happy to read/support diverse books! ❤ ❤

+ From what I’ve read/heard online this is supposed to also be an Evil Queen retelling, which sounds so cool!

Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns isn’t set to come out till October, but I seriously cannot wait! It sounds beyond amazing!

Are you planning to read Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns? 

Lets Discuss In The Comments Below! 🙂