Book Review: Broken Prince by Erin Watt

Title: Broken Prince
Author: Erin Watt
Series: The Royals #2
Publisher: Everafter Romance
Publication date: July 25, 2016
Pages: 370
Source: Borrowed
Summary (via Goodreads):  From wharf fights and school brawls to crumbling lives inside glittery mansions, one guy tries to save himself. 

 

THESE ROYALS WILL RUIN YOU…

 

Reed Royal has it all—looks, status, money. The girls at his elite prep school line up to date him, the guys want to be him, but Reed never gave a damn about anyone but his family until Ella Harper walked into his life.

 

What started off as burning resentment and the need to make his father’s new ward suffer turned into something else entirely—keep Ella close. Keep Ella safe. But when one foolish mistake drives her out of Reed’s arms and brings chaos to the Royal household, Reed’s entire world begins to fall apart around him.

 

Ella doesn’t want him anymore. She says they’ll only destroy each other.

 

SHE MIGHT BE RIGHT.

 

Secrets. Betrayal. Enemies. It’s like nothing Reed has ever dealt with before, and if he’s going to win back his princess, he’ll need to prove himself Royally worthy.

 

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I liked this one a lot better than book 1. It was nice being able to see inside Reed’s head, to get his perspective. It endeared him to me even more. I finished this book in pretty much 2 days, because I couldn’t put it down. I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars.

 

So once again there’s D-R-A-M-A, but for the most part, it felt mostly less dramatic than book 1 to me. Some people might find this one a little boring compared to book 1, but I enjoyed it. The ending was over the top what the heck is going on though. Like I can’t even with the twists and turns. It made me want book 3 right away though, so that’s good. Unfortunately my library doesn’t have this series, so I had to get them with an interlibrary loan. So I’m not sure if I should request book 3 as an interlibrary loan, or just buy the books eventually. A decision for another time.

 

Reed is amazing, although Easton is still my favorite Royal. I liked Callum a lot more in this book. There were some cute lines, but I didn’t keep track because I didn’t want to give any spoilers. Overall, this was a fast, enjoyable read. But I really don’t know how I feel about the last couple surprises at the end of the book, especially the last one. Guess I have to read the next book before I can make a final conclusion.

 

Audiobook Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: May 30, 2017
Length: 10 hrs and 46 mins
Source: Purchased
Summary (via Goodreads): Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

 

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

 

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

 

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

 

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Another great contemporary romance for the books! I’d heard the narrators were good, so I gave the audiobook a try. I did like the narrators for the most part, although the guy doing a female’s voice isn’t the greatest. The story was interesting, and I found myself waiting to see what happened next. I’m giving this one 4.5 stars.

 

I really adored Rishi, except for like one thing he did. It’s pretty early into the book, so if you’ve read it, you’ll probably know what I’m talking about. He was pretty cute, and he was genuinely an overall good guy. He tried to support Dimple, he was actually chasing after her–wanting to woo her–which I liked. Not enough guys chase after girls! He’s definitely an addition to my book boyfriend list. I’d love to have a boyfriend like his thoughtful self.

 

Dimple, Dimple, Dimple…I liked her quite a bit. Some of her logic made me want to shake her, asking her what the heck. But besides that, I felt a kinship with her. She’s strong, opinionated, and smart. Yes to main characters like that! And as for the controversy, if you can call it that, surrounding this book, I think it’s blown out of proportion. And that’s all I’m saying about that.

 

The romance was cute, swoony, and made me smile. I loved some of the secondary characters. Mainly Ashish, although I did like both sets of parents to a certain extent. Celia kind of drive me nuts through at least half the book, along with some of the other coding contestants. It was nice to see a bit of the Indian culture scattered throughout the book, so props for that. Overall, I can’t wait to read more from this author!

 

Book Review: Roar by Cora Carmack

Title: Roar
Author: Cora Carmack
Series: Stormheart #1
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication date: June 13, 2017
Pages: 380
Source: Borrowed
Summary (via Goodreads): In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

 

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

 

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

 

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

 

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

 

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

 

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First off, what did I just read? It wasn’t terrible (okay maybe the last 50 pages were), but this book was pretty boring. I’m sorry, but I’m just being honest. The writing style was good, but I felt like I read almost 400 pages of nothing. It was just world-building, traveling, some twisted stuff, and quite a bit back and forth between POVs. I can only give this book 2 out of 5 stars.

 

One major disappointment was that there was only a teeny, tiny bit of romance, and it was pretty late into the book. And honestly it felt like it was put there just because the author figured the readers would want some kissing. Like hey, I guess they should kiss now. It didn’t feel organic to me. It felt forced, and honestly the affection in this book kind of made me uneasy. I’m not going to go into details, but the romance I was expecting did NOT happen.

 

Aurora/Rora/Roar was not my favorite character. She was okay sometimes, but I honestly felt like her mind frame was kind of childlike. She’s supposed to be getting married, and ruling her lands, and I just don’t feel like she was anywhere near the preparedness that her situation required. Her behavior reminded me more of a younger teen in many ways. The beginning of this book was probably my favorite…even though it was kind of an info dump. I liked Locke for the most part, but I wouldn’t say he’s a book boyfriend. Maybe someone I’d try dating, and decide from there if he’s a yay or a nay.

 

As the story progressed, there were a lot of people that got left behind and only randomly got thrown a few pages here and there of their POVs. It was kind of off-putting, because I’d almost forgotten all about them, and then we were in their minds again. I felt like nothing really interesting happened; nothing that shocked me and made me want to applaud the cleverness of the writing. And then the last 50 pages (yes, I’m talking about them again) were beyond bizarre. It was like the author felt the need to completely change the story, that she veered off the path that the previous 300+ pages had set up. I was reading it, and was like what the heck just happened? The last 50 pages were the worst of all the pages. I rolled my eyes quite a bit. Sorry, not sorry.

 

On top of all the above, the font is pretty dang small, and it gave me a headache if I tried reading more than 50-100 pages a day. Honestly, I should have just marked this one as DNF long ago, but I thought maybe there’d be more romance, action, and adventure. Plus I was buddy reading with Jessica, so that motivated me to read more as well. I’m not continuing this series, because I have a ton of books on my TBR, and I need to find things I love. Maybe I’m the black sheep with this book, because I see lots of 4-5 star reviews, but I just can’t. Baaaaa.

 

Audiobook Review: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Title: Glass Sword
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #2
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: February 9, 2016
Length: 14 hrs and 39 mins
Source: Borrowed
Summary (via Goodreads): If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

 

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

 

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

 

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

 

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

 

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

 

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

 

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Book 2 picked up right where the previous one left off. It was the same narrator, which I really like. I absolutely hate when they change who reads the series. This was pretty interesting, although I found the beginning a little slow again. I’ll give this book 4 stars overall.

 

I had to do a re-read of book 1’s summary. Frankly it’s been a while since I listened to that audiobook, and I’d forgotten most of the finer details. Book 2 is a lot more “war” focused than book 1, for obvious reasons. Cal and Mare escaped and have to fight to maintain their freedom. Maven is pretty much constantly chasing them, or in the back of their minds. I’m still not 100% sure of my stance on Maven.

 

There’s some sad parts in this, particularly in the last couple hours of the audiobook. I won’t spoil anything by saying who, but one of my favorite characters dies. I know casualties are to be expected, but noooooo! Not this person. I was heartbroken. Can I also just say that the ending was twisted? As weird as it sounds, I kind of dug it though…it made me want to read book 3 really badly.

 

I’m still wishy-washy about my feelings for Cal. The reader loves him, the reader loves him not. Kilorn drove me nuts several times, and I seriously wanted to smack him at least once. I liked seeing newer characters, particularly the Red-and-Silver army Mare’s determined to recruit, determined to fight Maven with. There were definitely moments I pretty much held my breath (cliché, I know), wondering if everything would turn out okay. No comment on if that’s a yay, or a nay, outcome wise.

 

I can’t say much else without being spoilery, but I liked book 2 and can’t wait to dive into book 3 whenever I’m so inclined.

 

Sunday Street Team: Internet Famous by Danika Stone Review + Giveaway

Sunday Street Team

 

Welcome to the Sunday Street Team! I received an eARC of this book in exchange for a honest review. This book was pretty good overall *swoons for Laurent*. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

 

Title: Internet Famous
Author:
Danika Stone
Publisher:
Swoon Reads
Publication date:
June 6, 2017
Summary (via Goodreads): High school senior and internet sensation Madison Nakama seems to have it all: a happy family, good grades, and a massive online following for her pop-culture blog. But when her mother suddenly abandons the family, Madi finds herself struggling to keep up with all of her commitments.

 

Fandom to the rescue! As her online fans band together to help, an online/offline flirtation sparks with Laurent, a French exchange student. Their internet romance—played out in the comments section of her MadLibs blog—attracts the attention of an internet troll who threatens the separation of Madi’s real and online personas. With her carefully constructed life unraveling, Madi must uncover the hacker’s identity before he can do any more damage, or risk losing the people she loves the most… Laurent included.

 

Pre-order Links: Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


 

 

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I signed up for the Sunday Street Team for Danika’s last YA book, so I had to sign up for this one. As I stated in my review of her last book, I’m a huge believer in fandoms. And while this book was less fandom-y, I still really enjoyed it. I received a copy from Netgalley to review, and ended up giving this book 4 out of 5 stars.

 

One thing I should mention off the bat is the kinship I felt with Madi. I have a hard time interacting with people outside of the internet as well, at least initially. I am very introverted and I don’t open up until I really know someone. So yay for a main character I can relate to. And let me just say that I fully appreciated Laurent and his French self. *drools* Such a fine specimen of YA/NA male goodness. He’s going on my book boyfriend list.

 

Before I go any further into what I loved about Laurent, and some other characters, let me just say that I really disliked Madi’s mother, and an authority figure who I’ll refer to as She Who Must Not Be Named. The authority figure was kind of an evil witch, and Madi’s mother needed to get her head out of her butt in my opinion. Gross image, but so true. I’m kind of glad she was MIA throughout most of the book. #sorrynotsorry

 

Madi’s sister, Sarah, was a great secondary character. I loved how Madi interacted with her most of the time, and how they helped one another (mostly Madi helping Sarah, but Sarah came through for Madi in her time of need against the troll). Speaking of the troll, I pretty much knew who it was from the moment they started trolling. Not sure if everyone else who read this is in the same boat, or if I’m just a great guesser. I’m curious to know. So the big reveal was more of an affirmation of my suspicions. I always want to be surprised by books, and it rarely happens.

 

Okay, so lets talk about Laurent. He’s gorgeous, geeky, artistic, and speaks French at random times. I had to translate like a quarter of what he said, but seriously, I want someone to speak French to me all day, every day. He’s beyond perfect, the whole package. The flirtation between Madi and Laurent is half the reason why I couldn’t put the book down. There were some serious sparks between these two. And to kind of get off topic, but not really, I liked how Madi’s dad encouraged her to be with Laurent. He knew that Laurent made Madi happy, and he wanted her to have something that kept a smile on her face. Yay Madi’s dad! His parenting (later in the book) made up for her disaster of a mom.

 

I didn’t keep track of any lines, because the ones I wanted to save were mostly French…and kind of gave things away. Just read the book so you can swoon over Laurent too!

 

Final note: Another great book from Danika. Also, in case anyone is confused by the YA/NA tags, I think the subject matter is within the YA category. But with Madi being 18, and Laurent being in college, they’re NA aged. I can’t wait to see what Danika comes up with next. P.S. The ending of this book is seriously swoony.

 

 


 

about the author

 

Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both teens (All the Feels and Internet Famous) and adults (Edge of Wild and Intaglio). When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.

 

Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency.

 

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September SST: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess Interview + Giveaway

Sunday Street Team

 

Welcome to the Sunday Street Team! I was lucky enough to interview Jessica Cluess about the first book, A Shadow Bright and Burning, in a new trilogy of hers. See below for her answers, plus a giveaway.

 

A Shadow Bright and BurningTitle: A Shadow Bright and Burning
Author: 
Jessica Cluess
Publisher:
Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
September 20, 2016
Summary (via Goodreads): I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

 

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she’s brought to London to train with Her Majesty’s sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she’s the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

 


 

interview

 

Was there anything specific in your life that made you want to write?

The recession of 2008, actually. I know that’s not the most romantic story in the world, but it’s the truth! I was barely making ends meet, and I really had no idea what was going to happen to me. So, feeling glum, I picked up Dune by Frank Herbert and got instantly whisked away to another world. I thought ‘I need to write stories that make other people feel this way.’ So I got to work, and I haven’t stopped since.

 

What’s your favorite color?

Red. I’m a Gryffindor, it’s expected.

 

If you were on a deserted island, what’s one book that you’d want to have with you?

Is there a How To Survive On A Deserted Island For Dummies? Because then definitely that one.

 

Did you have a playlist that you listened to while writing A Shadow Bright and Burning, or are you a ‘write in the quiet’ type of person?

I’m a ‘listen to the same song over and over while staring at a blank wall and thinking, then shutting off the music to write’ type of person. But I listened to everyone from Florence + The Machine and Janelle Monae to Bach and Stephen Sondheim to music from video games and the theme song from Outlander for like ten hours straight. I believe music is to writers the way food is to pregnant women: it may be a combination of something you’d never eat or listen to normally, but when you’re creating, it suddenly becomes the only thing you want.

 

Do you know how many books are going to be in the Kingdom on Fire series?

Three. I know exactly what happens in the epilogue of the final book. When I write it, I’m going to be pretty emotional.

 

If you could have any job in the world, what would you choose and why?

Besides this one? Because it’s pretty sweet. Well, when I was a kid, I wanted to be an FBI agent. Then, when I realized that didn’t involve hunting for aliens or interviewing cannibals, I changed my goals.

 

Do you have any advice for writers looking to be published?

I think the biggest thing is persistence. My first book that I queried died a horrible death—no one would touch it. If I’d stopped there, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. So even after the worst rejection of your life, remember that an acceptance could literally be right around the corner.

 

Chocolate or vanilla?

Oof. Chocolate, I suppose. Although sometimes a vanilla milkshake is perfection.

 

What are some of your hobbies?

Honestly, writing used to be my hobby, so I need to get some more. Let’s see. I love hiking. If I could, I’d hike every day, always in the early morning. Watching terrible movies with my friends and shouting at the screen is always fun. Maybe I should take up knitting.

 

Are you considering writing in other genres, like contemporary for example?

I’m a fantasy writer at heart. For me, it’s the genre that allows a lot of fantastic worldbuilding with really intense emotion, two things that I love. I would love to write a detective series one day, but it would probably end up with something supernatural going on. I can’t stay away.

 


 

about the author

 

JESSICA CLUESS is a writer, a graduate of Northwestern University, and an unapologetic nerd. After college, she moved to Los Angeles, where she served coffee to the rich and famous while working on her first novel. When she’s not writing books, she’s an instructor at Writopia Lab, helping kids and teens tell their own stories.

 


 

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August SST: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow Review + Giveaway

Sunday Street Team

 

Welcome to the Sunday Street Team! I received an eARC of this book in exchange for a honest review. This book was dark, but so amazing. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

 


Girl in PiecesTitle:
Girl in Pieces
Author: Kathleen Glasgow
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication date:
August 30, 2016
Summary (via Goodreads): Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The thick glass of a mason jar cuts deep, and the pain washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

 

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

 


 

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I was beyond excited to read this book for the Sunday Street Team. I think more people should tell darker stories, because they exist in our world. This was an amazing book. The writing was heartbreakingly beautiful. I received a copy from Netgalley to review, and ended up giving this book 5 out of 5 stars.

 

As soon as I picked up this book, I pretty much didn’t want to put it down…except to take some breaks when my heart felt like it had cracked open in my chest. The book wasn’t all darkness, but it definitely wasn’t a happy book. Which is fine with me, because life isn’t sunshine and daisies 24/7. Charlie’s story, and even a lot of the secondary characters stories, will resonate with a lot of people.

 

I absolutely loved Charlie’s character. She seemed so real. My heart ached for her, and the people surrounding her, that have to deal with inner and outer demons. I really liked a lot of the female characters in this book, but barely any of the male characters–except a couple. A lot of the guys were jackasses. Charlie goes through so much in this book, and by the end, I’m glad she has people she can turn to, people she can rely on.

 

Honestly, I think everyone should read this book. It reminds you that sometimes bad things–overwhelming things–happen. But with some supportive friends, you can embrace life to its fullest. One of my favorite things about this book is that you can feel the raw pain and emotion. Kathleen wasn’t scared to show the downs of life, to show how the tornado building inside you can lash out at any moment.

 

I made notes of some gorgeous lines while reading: “We all have our Kiefer stages, when we want to destroy ourselves in order to create. To see if that’s beautiful, too.” and “I say the wrong thing, if I can bring myself to say anything at all. I’ve always felt like an intrusion, a giant blob of wrong.” and “I’m so unwhole. I don’t know where all the pieces of me are, how to fit them together, how to make them stick. Or if I even can.”

 

Final note: An amazing book. It’s definitely dark, but it has an optimistic ending. I’m so glad I read this book. As soon as I finished reading, I bought myself a copy for my personal collection. I’d highly recommend this one.

 

If you or someone you know is struggling and needs help, please consider contacting:
Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
To Write Love on Her Arms: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/
National Runaway Hotline: 1-800-621-4000

 

5 stars

 


 

about the author

 

Kathleen Glasgow lives in Tucson, Arizona. She writes for the radio show The Writer’s Almanac and can probably provide you with some interesting anecdotes about historical literary figures if you asked nicely. You can find out more about Kathleen by following her on Twitter: @kathglasgow, Instagram, @misskathleenglasgow (where she posts about sunsets, depression, spirit circles, and books) or her website: kathleenglasgowbooks.com.

 


 

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July SST: Signs of You by Emily France Review + Giveaway

Sunday Street Team

 

Welcome to the Sunday Street Team! I received an eARC of this book in exchange for a honest review. This book was definitely unique. I didn’t love it as much as I wanted though. I gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

 


Signs of YouTitle:
 Signs of You
Author: Emily France
Publisher: Soho Teen
Publication date:
July 19, 2016
Summary (via Goodreads): Since sixteen-year-old Riley Strout lost her mother two years ago, her saving grace has been her quirky little family in the grief support group she joined as a freshman. Jay, Kate, and Noah understand her pain; each lost a loved one, and they’ve stuck together in spite of their differences, united by tragedies only they understand.

 

When Riley thinks she spots her mother shopping in a grocery store, she fears she is suffering some sort of post-traumatic stress. Then Jay and Kate report similar experiences. Only Noah hasn’t had some kind of vision, which is perhaps why he’s become so skeptical and distant.

 

When Noah disappears, Riley fears she’s lost another loved one. As they frantically search for him, she, Kate, and Jay are drawn into the mystery surrounding a relic that belonged to Jay’s dead father and contains clues about the afterlife. Riley finds herself wrestling with her feelings for both Noah and Jay—which have become clear only in Noah’s absence. If Riley is to help those she loves, and herself, she must set things right with the one she’s lost.

 


 

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When I saw that this book was being offered for the Sunday Street Team, I was so excited. Overall, it was a good book and the writing was so beautiful in places, but I just didn’t connect with the characters and story like I was expecting. I received a copy from Edelweiss to review, and ended up giving this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

 

One thing I can definitely praise this book for is being unique. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it. But with that being said, it was a little weird for my tastes. I liked the beginning of the book, got a little lost/uncertain about the middle, and really liked the ending.

 

The book is only 240 pages, which isn’t long, but I felt like it could have been shorter. At times I felt not a lot was happening, and I think that contributed to my not liking the book as much as I wanted. I did like Riley a lot overall, and Noah was a doll. Kate was pretty entertaining, but I really didn’t like Jay’s character very much. One of my favorite parts of this book was their friendship (I could have done without Jay personally).

 

There’s a major lack of parents in this book (besides the dead ones which are mentioned quite a bit). I think the only parent that’s shown is Riley’s dad, and even he’s not that prominent. The rest were MIA. I guess maybe that’s the nature of parents going through grief?

 

Noah was probably one of my favorite characters of this book. He’s pretty quiet, maybe a little bit of an outsider (even in their group), and very observant. By the end of the book, I loved him to pieces. He’s a new addition to my book boyfriend list. One thing to note is that there’s not a lot of romance in this book. Sure Riley’s got a major crush on someone, but the focus of the book isn’t romance.

 

I made notes of beautiful lines while I was updating my progress in this book. There were quite a few: “…I know we’ve learned something about loss: when you find friends who know it, who’ve been through it, who really, really get the ache that moves in and lives in your bones, it gets a little easier.” and “My deepest, darkest fear is that maybe we don’t ever get over some things. Maybe we just carry them around, permanently, these heavy, dull aches in the heart. And maybe they don’t heal; maybe we just learn to work around the pain.” and “…maybe it’s no more complicated or romantic than that the damaged are drawn to the damaged. Connected by hurt.”

 

Final note: A good book, but I didn’t love it like I’d hoped I would. For anyone that likes contemporary books that are a little darker, and kind out there subject wise, check this one out. It’s got some beautiful writing people!

 

3.5 stars

 


 

about the author

 

Emily France graduated from Brown University before going on to law school, where she was the editor-in-chief of the law review. She finds creative inspiration in all things spiritual, from sitting with Benedictine monks for 4 a.m. vigils in a Rocky Mountain monastery to trekking to Buddhist and Hindu temples in India. Now she writes full-time and lives with her husband and their fearless Tibetan Spaniel in sunny Colorado—the closest place to Nirvana she’s found. Signs of You is her debut novel. Visit Emily online at www.emilyfrancebooks.com and follow her on Twitter @EmilyFranceBook.

 


 

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Book Review: None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

None of the Above

Title: None of the Above
Author: I.W. Gregorio
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication date: April 7, 2015
Pages: 328
Source: Borrowed
Summary (via Goodreads): A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex… and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

 

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

 

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

 

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

 

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

 

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Such a good book. I personally don’t know much about what it means to be intersex, so I loved learning more and reading Kristin’s story. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

 

So I actually bought an ebook copy of this book for a diverse book event several months ago, but I wanted to read a hardcover copy instead of using my Kindle, due to eye strain. I reserved a library copy when I saw this book on the list for #ReadProud. It’s been on my TBR list for way too long, so I had to rectify that situation.

 

Kristin was such a great main character. I learned a lot about what it means to be intersex because of this book, so yay for that! I love being able to open my eyes to new things, to be able to understand things more, to keep my mind open/accepting of everyone. My heart hurt for some of the things Kristin had to endure. People, especially teens, can be so cruel.

 

I’m glad she had a great support system built of family and friends to turn to. I definitely cried during emotional parts in the book. So fair warning, you might cry too. I just know Kristin is going to be okay, especially because her support circle got bigger as the book continued. It really goes to show you that some people are actually good.

 

There was some romance in the beginning of the book, and then some at the very end. I like the romance at the end better. The ending was perfection. I was beyond happy that Kristin was in a better place emotionally, and that things were starting to look up for her all around.

 

I can’t say for certain, but I think Darren will be an addition to my book boyfriend list. He was super sweet, but I feel like I didn’t get to see enough of him. I wanted more! I also really loved his mom. Kristin’s dad was another great character; he’s kind of intense after what happened with Kristin’s mom (no spoilers), but he’s so accepting/supportive after Kristin received her diagnosis. More parents should be like him. In addition to these characters, I loved Gretchen, Jessica, and a few others.

 

I didn’t make many status updates on Goodreads while devouring this book in two days, but here’s a quote I loved: “One day I would find my own place. I couldn’t run there, though, because it didn’t exist yet; I had to build it myself, out of forgiveness, truth, and terrifying gestures of friendship.”

 

Final note: An amazing book! I’m so glad I picked this book for the final #ReadProud weekly challenge. Get yourself a copy of this book ASAP. It’ll open your eyes and your heart.

 

5 stars

Book Review: Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Everything Leads to You

Title: Everything Leads to You
Author: Nina LaCour
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Publication date: May 15, 2014
Pages: 312
Source: Borrowed
Summary (via Goodreads): A love letter to the craft and romance of film and fate in front of—and behind—the camera from the award-winning author of Hold Still.

 

A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.

 

Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.

 

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I loved this book. It was utter perfection. If you’re looking for a cute, slow burn love story, a f/f romance, etc., I highly suggest you read this book. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

 

I’d gotten this book from the library before, and didn’t have time to read it. When I saw it on the list for #ReadProud, I was super excited to finally cross it off my TBR list. I’m upset that I didn’t read this book sooner, before it was so good. I pretty much loved all the characters in this book: Emi, Charlotte, Ava, Jamal, Toby (even though you don’t see him much), Emi’s parents, etc. There were only a couple characters I didn’t like, for reasons you’ll see if you read this book.

 

Emi was a fantastic main character; I adored her. The book mostly takes place in the summertime, which allows us to see Emi’s super amazing job as a set designer. I loved seeing all the little details, like shopping at Goodwill, going to garage/estate sales, etc. They really helped sell the authenticity of the job, in my opinion.

 

Another character that I loved was Ava. Her life, and backstory, leapt off the page. My heart hurt for everything she had to endure. There was a bit of a mysterious aspect to this book, which I thought was nice. You slowly learn more and more until you have most of the picture presented to you by the end of the book. There were still some questions left unanswered, but I thought that was a good metaphor for life: you don’t always get answers to everything you want to know.

 

I loved the slow burn romance, and the perfect ending to this beautiful story. I say yes to this book. I need to buy a copy ASAP to read over and over again. I only made note of one line that I really liked: “And I understand what this is. It’s the opposite of the collapse of the fantasy. It’s what happens when the illusion pales in comparison to the truth.”

 

Final note: I will push this one on people constantly, because it was such an amazing book! I’m so glad I finally got around to reading this book for the #ReadProud challenge this month. Get yourself a copy ASAP if you haven’t read this yet!

 

5 stars