March 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 7

wintersong-by-s-jae-jones1.Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong Full Review

Publisher: Thomas Dunne

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 436

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: There was so much pre-release hype + buzz surrounding this book and I was not disappointed! The writing-style (1st person POV) really sucks you into the story and brings the setting and characters to life! Elements of family, loyalty + independence were weaved all throughout this magical tale. What really stood out to me though was the atmosphere Jones created which really made this book stand-out! Highly recommend!

Daughter Of The Pirate King2.Daughter Of The Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (DOTPK #1)

Daughter Of The Pirate King Full Review

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: I loved everything about this book! We follow Alosa as she plans her own capture aboard The Night Farer in order to help her father “The Pirate King” locate a map! Levenseller blends action, adventure, and romance perfectly! The plot surprised me with every page! The characters, plot and world are wonderfully developed. This was a perfect pirate adventure & I cannot wait for Book 2!

Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza Cover Reveal 20173.Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza (EOATS #1) 

Empress Of A Thousand Skies Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 314

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: A unique and fascinating character-driven Sci-Fi/Space Opera! Belleza discusses and expands on very timely topics and she kept those a central part of the novel! Told through 3rd person, she does an incredible job with dual POV! Additionally, the plot, characters (+diversity), politics, world, etc. are all put at the center which was fantastic! However I do wish the world was expanded on more (more/richer atmosphere)! Regardless, there were so many great elements to this novel & I cannot wait to see how it wraps up in Book 2!

The Girl From the Other Side-Siúil, A Rún Vol. 14.The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún Vol. 1 {TGFTOS #1} by Nagabe

The Girl From The Other Side Full Review

Publisher: Seven Seas

Release Date: January 24, 2017

Pages: 180

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This manga was fantastic! Both dark + enchanting, we follow Shiva & “Teacher” as they live in a world with “Insiders” + “Outsiders” (monsters, similar to what Teacher is). Teacher wants to keep Shiva safe so they live in a quiet cottage near the woods. Themes of family + the shades between light vs. dark are central in this story! It kept me surprised with each and every page! The artwork is wonderful and really brings the story to life! 

under-rose-tainted-skies-by-louise-gornall5.Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Under-Rose Tainted Skies Full Review

Publisher: Clarion Books

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Norah has both agoraphobia & OCD and with that, finds it difficult to leave her house. However along the way, she comes to understand the bravery that she’s had all along. While reading, I could really follow Norah’s thought process and could really relate to her, in regards to her anxiety. However I did feel the ending was rather rushed near the end. This novel emphasized personal growth and I adored that so much! If your looking for a great YA Contemporary (+ #Ownvoices) definitely check this book out!

we-are-okay-by-nina-lacour6.We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

We Are Okay Full Review

Publisher: Dutton Books For Young Readers

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Pages: 234

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: The writing is what brought so much emotion and depth to Marin’s story.  Additionally, it also brought the characters to life + atmosphere to the setting! While there is slow pacing, themes and character development are weaved throughout! This novel discusses themes of friendship, family, grief/loss, and love! 

Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos Review7.Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos

Crazy Messy Beautiful Full Review

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Arcos delivers a unique contemporary that puts an emphasis on friendship. In English class, Pablo gets assigned a research paper on a classmate. Pablo & Callie really develop a friendship/bond over the course of this novel. However Pablo realizes he may be falling for Callie. I did find that aspect to be rather rushed + some other plot elements that felt incomplete! Regardless, Arcos really makes friendship a huge factor of this novel while also delivering a unique take on love.

However:*There was one line I *personally found to be questionable, which can be read on my Review* I would love reviewers to give me feedback, perhaps I just misunderstood? 

Additional Posts From This Month:

Literary Listens: Podcast Recommendations For Writers

Traitor To The Throne Reading Playlist + Wintersong Reading Playlist

Waiting On Wednesday I #8 (Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns)

Warcross by Marie Lu Cover Reveal

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!

June 2016 Wrap-Up

# of Books Read: 10

Girl-of-Ink-and-Stars1.The Girl Of Ink And Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Girl Of Ink And Stars Full Review

Publisher: Chicken House

Release Date: May 5, 2016

Pages: 228

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A beautifully written debut! This book is filled with mystery, adventure, and an unforgettable world/characters that keep you turning the page!

You Know Me Well June 72.You Know Me Well by David Levithan + Nina LaCour

You Know Me Well ARC Review

Publisher: St.Martins Griffin

Release Date: June 7,2016

Pages: 256 (Hardcover) 250 (ARC)

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star--Book Blog

Overall Thoughts: A dual-POV contemporary that has friendship at its core!

Mark+Kate struggle to tell their crushes how they feel about them, fearing their friendship would be put at risk!

But along the way Mark & Kate help each other no matter what and find the strength within themselves to confront their crushes/friends!

Zodiac Starforce Cover3.Zodiac Starforce: By The Power Of Astra by Kevin Panetta + Paulina Ganucheau

Zodiac Starforce Full Review

Publisher: Dark Horse Books

Release Date: March 9,2016

Pages: 136

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A fast-paced comic with friendship/girl-power ❤ ❤

The art-style is beautiful & the plot itself is pretty easy to follow w/ a diverse cast of characters!

How It Ends4.How It Ends by Catherine Lo

How It Ends Full Review

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Release Date: June 7,2016

Pages: 304

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A deep and moving story about friendship!

This book was spectacular! I found myself relating to Jessie (being quite shy) & finding it difficult to navigate friendships!

Lo’s novel tells the story of Annie & Jessie and the obstacles/tensions that threaten to destroy their friendship!

Highly recommend !!

Prodigy Graphic Novel Marie Lu5.Prodigy by Marie Lu (Graphic Novel)

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers

Pages: 160

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A condensed but overall enjoyable read of Marie’s 371 page novel of the same name!

This is definitely for those who have read all the Legend books! (more background info/character development)

I will def. be reading the GN of Champion if one is to be released!

the-problem-with-forever-cover6. The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Problem With Forever Full Review

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Release Date: May 17,2016

Pages: 480

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star--Book Blog

Overall Thoughts: A deep and character-driven contemporary!

Reading from Malory’s POV while at times heart-breaking showed the reader just how strong/independent she had become! There are some aspects that did bother me, the mean girlfriend cliche and at times the pacing was quite slow! But this was a truly unforgettable contemporary!

Lady Killer vol. 17.Lady Killer Vol.1 by Joëlle Jones + Jamie S. Rich

Lady Killer Full Review

Publisher: Dark Horse Books

Release Date: September 15, 2015

Pages: 138

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A dark thrilling story of a housewife turned assassin! Everything about this comic was perfect! The plot is fast-paced the characters are well developed and the plot twists will leave you wondering what happens next!

The Princess Saves Herself In This One Cover8.The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace

The Princess Saves Herself In This One Full Review

Publisher: CreateSpace

Release Date: April 23,2016

Pages: 156

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: Powerful and moving poems that discuss grief, acceptance, love, independence and so much more! Each poem is raw and evokes such emotion!

A must read!

This Savage Song July 59.This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

ARC Review To Come

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: July 5, 2016

Pages: 464

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A dark, but fast-paced story! The 3rd person POV makes it easy to transition from Kate to August! Twists/turns + plot twists that keep you reading till the very end!

Love & Gelato10. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Love & Gelato Full Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: May 3,2016

Pages: 390

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star--Book Blog

Overall Thoughts: This contemporary took me by surprise! There is so much depth to the characters + reading from Lina’s POV was never dull! Italy is brought to life in this novel and the mystery/friendship that Lina develops is enough to keep you reading!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes I #3          

June 2016 Releases

Literary Magazine Discussion

The Alchemists Of Loom by Elise Kova Cover Reveal

You Know Me Well ARC Review

You Know Me Well June 7You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Levithan

Publisher: St.Martins Griffin

Release Date: June 7,2016

Pages: 256 (Hardcover) 250 (ARC)

Summary: Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other — and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star--Book Blog

My Thoughts: Received this ARC from Yallwest

Such a great book!
I’ve read another one of Nina’s books, Everything Leads To You and similar to that one I can definitely see her wonderful writing style present in this book too!
I sadly haven’t read a book by David Levithan, (only his short story in My True Love Gave To Me!) but I’ve heard they are amazing!
I loved that this book was told in Dual POV! Both Mark & Kate struggle with communicating to their long-time crushes but become fast friends & help each other when they need it most!
That’s what made this book so great! The friendship they developed and no matter what they were always there for each other, helping one another when they were down!

Both characters develop quite a lot through out this book!
Kate: Trying to establish her relationship w/ Violet, fixing her fading friendship w/Lehna and understanding what she wants to do with her life after high-school!
Mark: Understanding that while he may want to be in a relationship w/ Ryan, Ryan doesn’t feel the same way and is falling in love with someone else! With Mark unsure of what that means for their friendship!

Though most of their issues could have been avoided b/c of miscommunication, it definitely gave them an opportunity for them to learn more about themselves when it came time to confront their crushes/friends!

Overall a wonderful YA Contemporary!
W/ thought-provoking writing-style & such realistic characters!

This novel while has its serious moments is an uplifting read that will definitely put a smile on your face once you finish!
If you are looking for a refreshing take on GLBT in YA (+ w/this week being Pride Week) & just want a YA-contemporary w/ friendship and self-discovery/development at its core I highly recommend this book!

June 2016 Book Releases I’m Looking Forward To!

Here are the June Releases I’m Looking Forward To!

You Know Me Well June 7
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin June 7

1.You Know Me Well by David Levithan + Nina Lacour

ARC Review To Come (Currently Reading)

Summary: Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other — and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

American Girls June 7
Publisher: Flatiron Books June 7

2.American Girls by Alison Umminger

Summary: She was looking for a place to land.
Anna is a fifteen-year-old girl slouching toward adulthood, and she’s had it with her life at home. So Anna “borrows” her stepmom’s credit card an runs away to Los Angeles, where her half-sister takes her in. But LA isn’t quite the glamorous escape Anna had imagined.

As Anna spends her days on TV and movie sets, she engrosses herself in a project researching the murderous Manson girls—and although the violence in her own life isn’t the kind that leaves physical scars, she begins to notice the parallels between herself and the lost girls of LA, and of America, past and present.

In Anna’s singular voice, we glimpse not only a picture of life on the B-list in LA, but also a clear-eyed reflection on being young, vulnerable, lost, and female in America—in short, on the B-list of life. Alison Umminger writes about girls, sex, violence, and which people society deems worthy of caring about, which ones it doesn’t, in a way not often seen in YA fiction.

 

 

How It Ends
Publisher: HMH BYR June 7

3.How It Ends by Catherine Lo

Summary: There are two sides to every story.

It’s friends-at-first-sight for Jessie and Annie, proving the old adage that opposites attract. Shy, anxious Jessie would give anything to have Annie’s beauty and confidence. And Annie thinks Jessie has the perfect life, with her close-knit family and killer grades. They’re BFFs…until suddenly they’re not.

Told through alternating points of view, How It Ends is a wildly fast but deeply moving read about a friendship in crisis. Set against a tumultuous sophomore year of bullying, boys and backstabbing, the novel shows what can happen when friends choose assumptions and fear over each other.

Never Ever June 21
Publisher: Viking BYR June 21

4.Never Ever by Sara Saedi

Summary: When Wylie encounters Phinn—confident, mature, and devastatingly handsome—at a party the night before her brother goes to juvie, she can’t believe how fast she falls for him. And that’s before he shows her how to fly.

Soon Wylie and her brothers find themselves whisked away to a mysterious tropical island off the coast of New York City where nobody ages beyond seventeen and life is a constant party. Wylie’s in heaven: now her brother won’t go to jail and she can escape her over-scheduled life with all its woes and responsibilities—permanently.

But the deeper Wylie falls for Phinn, the more she begins to discover has been kept from her and her brothers. Somebody on the island has been lying to her, but the truth can’t stay hidden forever.

Mirror In The Sky June 21
Publisher: Razorbill June 21

5.Mirror In The Sky by Aditi Khorana

Summary: For Tara Krishnan, navigating Brierly, the academically rigorous prep school she attends on scholarship, feels overwhelming and impossible. Her junior year begins in the wake of a startling discovery: A message from an alternate Earth, light years away, is intercepted by NASA. This means that on another planet, there is another version of Tara, a Tara who could be living better, burning brighter, because of tiny differences in her choices.

The world lights up with the knowledge of Terra Nova, the mirror planet, and Tara’s life on Earth begins to change. At first, small shifts happen, like attention from Nick Osterman, the most popular guy at Brierly, and her mother playing hooky from work to watch the news all day. But eventually those small shifts swell, the discovery of Terra Nova like a black hole, bending all the light around it.

As a new era of scientific history dawns and Tara’s life at Brierly continues its orbit, only one thing is clear: Nothing on Earth–or for Tara–will ever be the same again.