Never Ever by Sara Saedi Review

Never Ever June 21Never Ever by Sara Saedi (Never Ever #1)

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Release Date: June 21, 2016

Pages: 320

Summary: Wylie Dalton didn’t believe in fairy tales or love at first sight.

Then she met a real-life Peter Pan.

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.

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

My Thoughts:  I’ve been wanting to read more Peter Pan retellings ever since I read Unhooked!
And to be honest I think I loved this one a lot more!

Sara’s writing style really creates a whimsical/magical tone for this novel which I loved!

This retelling is quite dark not only on Minor Island (this versions Neverland) but also in the real world w/ one of Wylie’s brothers Josh heading to juvie + her parents marriage falling apart, which leads the Dalton’s escaping to M.I.

After meeting the mysterious Phinn at a rooftop party, he introduces himself to Wylie and she gets to know him for a short time and after eating flowers, her + her brothers are convinced that Phinn taking them to MI will make them so much happier!

After basically kidnapping them, he introduces them to the island.

There were so many modern/unique twists that made this book so much fun!
This version of Neverland was so cool!!

I loved the twist that Saedi was able to put on  this versions Neverland w/ MI becoming an island for kids who had a rough past and escape it!

The world building was fantastic. The island had a variety of customs, food, even their own unique slang!
I found that the politics/hierarchy that run MI were a very integral part of the story and were used perfectly to create an aura of mystery not only for Phinn and the others living on the island, but the island itself!

As for plot I really loved it!

Throughout the novel, Wylie is unsure whether or not she wants to stay there on the island, while getting sucked into the intrigue/mystery of the island itself and knowing that she is falling in love with Phinn!
With the 3rd person POV, it was wonderful to see the parents POV in this as well because as the plot progresses we come to know one of them has quite an important role in the story.

Now onto the spoilers!!
The Dalton’s father being an original member of MI was a plot twist I did not see coming! But it was great to see that by the end, he got all the info he needed to figure out where Wylie+Josh+Micah were.

I loved how Wylie’s father was what really tied this story together! Because throughout most of the novel I was trying to connect the dots but couldn’t really find an answer, especially behind Hopper (one of the original island members that everyone fears is dangerous)! As the plot progresses there is so much more to Phinn that really develops him more as a character.

So many plot twists you don’t see coming!!

However there were a few issues that kept me from giving this a full 5 stars.

I wanted Phinn+ Wylie’s relationship to be developed a little more. There were moments I felt they could have taken time to talk more + get to know each other better before they went into their relationship.

While I absolutely loved the island created, I wish there would have been more descriptions/backstories about the island just to give a little more depth to the world.

As for the ending, the second I read that last line all I could think was:

“WHAT?? It can’t end like this!!”

Luckily, there was an excerpt in the back for the SEQUEL which will be titled The Lost Kids!!! ❤ ❤

If you haven’t read this book I highly recommend you do!
Sara’s dark + magical twist on the classic Peter Pan will keep you reading till he very end! The secrets surrounding the mysterious Minor Island and its residents will definitely leave you wanting the sequel right away!

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.

April 2016 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 5

Kindred Spirits1.Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Kindred Spirits Full Review

Publisher: Macmillans Kids UK

Release Date: February 25, 2016

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: Regardless of the length of this story, Rainbow Rowell creates characters that feel so real! Rainbow,similar to Fangirl, expands on the idea of cultures/fandoms!

Delilah Dirk2. Delilah Dirk And The Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff

Delilah Dirk Full Review

Publisher: First Second

Release Date: August 27, 2013

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star

Overall Thoughts: A fun, adventure-filled graphic novel! The characters were both entertaining and complex! Highly recommend if you love graphic novels/comics!

Water's Wrath Cover3.Water’s Wrath by Elise Kova (Air Awakens #4)

Water’s Wrath Full ARC Review

Publisher: Silver Wing Press

Release Date: April 26,2016

Pages: 350

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star

Overall Thoughts: Another great addition to the Air Awakens Series! I personally found this book a little slower than the previous ones, but there is so much that happens in this book & really builds up to the final book!

Truest4. Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers

Truest Full Review

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (EpicReads)

Release Date: September 1,2015

Pages: 378

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: I loved this book so much!! ❤ There is a lot of great characters/character development! Many issues are discussed in this novel such as family, friendship, religion, mental illness and the writing style is absolutely wonderful! Highly Recommend! ❤

The Star-Touched Queen5. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched Queen Full Review

Publisher: St.Martin’s Griffin

Release Date: April 26, 2016

Pages: 352

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: Persephone meets Indian Mythology in this YA debut! The writing goes hand-in-hand with the complex world-building and characters in this this story! Maya goes through a journey not only to better understand her world, but herself as well! Highly Recommend!

Additional Favorite Posts From This Month :

Book Bytes I #2     April 2016 Releases

LATFOB Recap Day 1 / Day 2    Yallwest Tips/Tricks

Book Blogger Interview I #1

The Winners Kiss Playlist

Crystal Crowned (Air Awakens #5) Cover Reveal

What Books Did You Read This Month? 🙂

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi Review

The Star-Touched QueenThe Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Publisher: St.Martin’s Griffin

Release Date: April 26, 2016

Pages: 352

Summary: Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets — thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.

My Rating:  Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

***Spoilers Ahead***

My Thoughts: *Sill deciding between 4/4.5!

The Star-Touched Queen was a poetic and exquisitely written debut!

I can’t count the number of times when I found myself highlighting sentences and passages!

What really is the heart and soul of this story is both the main character Maya and the world!

I really connected with her and truly felt she came to life from page one!

She goes through quite a transformation in this book! While feared, she still has her flaws. Along her journey, she comes to grow and learns what it means to be a ruler.

Through the writing-style you really get a grasp of the world and feel transported to the many places Maya lives in/travels to such as Bharata, Akaran + the Night Bazaar!

I also loved Amar! He was a wonderfully-written character! I loved how Roshani hid secrets from us in terms of his character and how they played a vital role as the book progressed. However, I wish we learned more about him, because while Maya takes center stage, when certain events happen he is not present as much and I almost forgot about him as the story continued.

Not having much background on Indian folklore/mythology, it was great to learn more about it through this novel!

I will admit, I was unaware that this book would essentially be split into two parts:

1.Maya and her journey to Akaran 

+

2.Her journey back to Bharata but with much time passed/finding a way to save Amar!

Wanting to essentially  go in blind, I only remembered a few key facts of the plot, so I assumed Amar would be more of a central character to the story! But to my surprise, it went in completely different directions than what I was expecting!

While I really loved it, there was one aspect of the novel that made me take away a star! The plot was somewhat lost on me when I reached the “second half” and characters were introduced/expanded on.

But I suppose that is also what made me really enjoy it as well b/c it was both unexpected and added a unique twist to the story ❤

Overall this was a magnificent debut!

Seamlessly weaved mythology and poetic writing deliver a tale unlike anything I’ve ever read before and a truly magical story I will never forget!

Highly recommend if you love YA Fantasy/ YA Mythology, or are looking for not only a unique and character-driven story, but also rich and vivid world building !

*Side note: I loved the inclusion of chapter titles <3!

If you’ve read The Star-Touched Queen or are planning to, let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 🙂

March 2016 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read:  6

The Crown And The Arrow1. The Crown And The Arrow by Renee Ahdieh (TWATD  #0.5)

The Crown & The Arrow Full Review

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

Release Date: March 1, 2016

Pages: 9

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts:  It was a quick read, but I really enjoyed reading from Khalid’s perspective! Can’t wait for The Rose & The Dagger!

97800623807532. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (TGFE #1)

The Girl From Everywhere Full Review

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: February 16, 2016

Pages: 464

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: This was a lovely debut! Not only was the concept of traveling in this book so interesting, but this novel also has such a wonderful cast of characters! I will definitely be reading the sequel.

The Forbidden Wish3.The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

The Forbidden Wish Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Pages: 352

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: This retelling of Aladdin was so unique! Every element of this story from characters to world building made this book a blast to read! Highly recommend ❤

A Gathering Of Shadows4. A Gathering Of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering Of Shadows Full Review

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Pages: 512

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star

Overall Thoughts: A spectacular sequel! While more character-driven, AGOS still dives deeper into the world and politics weaving them together perfectly with the plot!

Thanks For The Trouble5. Thanks For The Trouble by Tommy Wallach

Thanks For The Trouble Full Review

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Pages: 352

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: This contemporary has such an engaging plot, is very thought-provoking & has such a memorable cast of characters. If your looking for a new YA Contemporary to read I highly recommend this one! ❤

204432356.The Winners Kiss by Marie Rutkoski (Winners Trilogy #3)

The Winners Kiss Full Review

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Release Date: March 29, 2016

Pages: 496

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: Writing style, characters, etc.came together perfectly to bring a spectacular end to The Winners Trilogy!

Additional Favorite Posts From This Month:

Playlists:

Blackhearts / Rebel Of The Sands / The Girl From Everywhere / Unhooked

Waiting On Wednesday #5 / #6

March 2016 Releases

What Books Did You Read This Month? 🙂

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury Review

The Forbidden Wish.jpgThe Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Pages: 352

Summary: She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world…

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

My Thoughts:

This book was wonderful!

While this story is based on Aladdin, with each page of this story you can see Jessica really makes this story her own!

Not only was there an exquisite and vivid writing style, but the engaging plot really keeps you turning the page.

While there is a lot that happens in this story, from Zahra’s past to the ongoing war w/ the jinni, it never feels too busy and all flows wonderfully!

With Zahra wanting to be free, she makes a deal to find Zhian, a trapped Jinni prince, who is located in the royal palace!

To do so, she convinces Aladdin to use a wish to become a prince and trick the royals!

From there the plot becomes even more complex!

As the plot progressed you see Zahra, who is a very powerful jinni also go through many moments of vulnerability and learn more about herself as she fights for her freedom!

Another aspect of this book I absolutely loved was the relationship that developed between Aladdin+Zahra, from each interaction to the lines of banter.

From the plot it is obvious a relationship will be apparent, but it really grows and develops on its own as the story progresses.

With Zahra fighting for freedom and Aladdin fighting to avenge his parents, you see the complexities to their character with each and every page!

There is also so much girl-power in this book which I loved ❤ ❤

There’s the fierce princess Caspida and her tough crew at her side!

They all work together/support each other as does Zahra when the plot progresses & that made this book even more engaging!!

Captivating and exquisitely written, The Forbidden Wish is a story that really takes you to a whole new world!

If you are a fan of YA Fantasy or Retellings I highly recommend this book!

 

 

 

February 2016 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Between-shades-of-gray1.Between Shades Of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades Of Gray Full Review

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: March 22, 2011

Pages: 344

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: This was my first Ruta Sepetys novel and it was amazing! While heartbreaking, this story focused on another side to WW2 not usually explored. I really felt for each character and their struggles during the war. The pacing was a little slow at times, so that’s why I took away a star.

9781481432696_3be562. Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Blackhearts Full Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: February 9, 2016

Pages: 384

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: By the end, I felt I really knew each and every character. Anne and Teach slowly develop a relationship and through the writing, I really felt I was transported to that time period. With each chapter, I really saw their relationship develop and grow! Definitely a wonderful debut novel!

51791fac06ad83b1f20c93afe76b15dbe0df3b813.Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #2)

Glass Sword Full Review

Publisher: Harper Teen

Release Date: February 9, 2016

Pages: 448

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

(Still in between 4/4.5)

Overall Thoughts: Glass Sword definitely had a different tone to it than RQ. Maven’s transition to a villain really made this book a blast to read! He is now my fave. character in the series! My issues were mostly with plot direction and world building! But this was definitely a solid sequel! I do plan to continue the series!

2 Salt To The Sea4. Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt To The Sea Full Review

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: February 2, 2016

Pages: 400

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: Told through multiple, short, POV’s we follow 4 people as they plan to board the Wilhelm Gustloff! The writing style truly creates such emotion and depth within each character! Similar to Between Shades Of Gray, this novel focuses on war from a different angle. This novel was absolutely brilliant! Highly recommend ❤

1 Unhooked5.Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Unhooked Full Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: February 2, 2016

Pages: 342

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

Overall Thoughts: This was a dark and immersive retelling of Peter Pan. The tone/atmosphere was definitely present all through out the story. The characters and plot were wonderfully developed. However, I did feel the ending was quite rushed!

Earths-End-Cover-Only6.Earth’s End by Elise Kova (Air Awakens #3)

Earth’s End Full Review

Publisher: Silver Wing Press

Release Date: February 11, 2016

Pages: 350

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A great continuation to an amazing series! Character development is huge in this story. The end will definitely leave you wanting to get your hands on Book 4 right away!

What Books Did You Read This Month? 🙂

Let Me Know In The Comments Below!

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell Review

1 UnhookedPublisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: February 2, 2016

Pages: 342

Summary: For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

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

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

My Thoughts:

I do have some knowledge of the original story & of course from the classic Disney film!

So having that knowledge, I really did enjoy my first Peter Pan retelling ❤

What made this book so good was the setting + tone.

Lisa makes this retelling quite dark, but through her writing style I really felt I was in Neverland w/ Gwen.

In terms of plot it was very well done! Fey and dark “shadow” creatures among other things are introduced, which really went well with the story.

When Gwen gets taken to Neverland she becomes a part of Captain’s crew. He was such a well developed character! When he is introduced we are meant to believe he is a heartless character, but as the story progresses we come to know he is far from that! He was definitely my favorite ❤ ❤

The relationship that develops between both Captain & Gwen was wonderful!! ❤

As for Pan, he was quite the opposite. Unknown to Gwen in the beginning, he manipulated/used her, only to unlock her hidden powers and take over Neverland.

From the moment he was introduced, I just knew he would he wasn’t what he seemed!

As the plot progresses the history of Neverland is revealed and a Queen is revealed to be a big role in Peter’s plan.

The major plot points/twists, in my opinion, never felt rushed or random. With the overall atmosphere of Neverland, they all felt relevant.

As stated before, what I loved about this retelling was the dark tone/atmosphere Lisa created.

Lisa also does a wonderful job at weaving betrayal/deceit into her characters which, for some, makes it difficult to know who to trust!

My only issue was that ending did feel a little rushed & I was sad that Olivia, Gwen’s friend, never returned home w/ her 😥

But overall this was a fun, dark, atmospheric and immersive retelling!

If you’ve read Unhooked let me know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂