Thursday, July 27, 2017

Review: Spellbook of the Lost and Found - Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Spellbook of the Lost and Found
Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Magical Realism
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewellery, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something bigger; something she won’t talk about.

Then Olive meets three wild, mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel and Rowan. Like Rose, they’re mourning losses - and holding tight to secrets.

When they discover the ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things, they realise it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless it’s leading them towards secrets that were never meant to be found . . .
Olive, Rose, Ivy, Rowan, and Hazel are all searching for things they've lost, both tangible and intangible. But as they hunt for what is missing, things are also found.
"If you don't get lost, you'll never be found."
Fowley-Doyle won me as a fan with The Accident Season, and she delivered more of what won my heart in Spellbook of the Lost and Found. I was once again treated to her beautiful prose with its ethereal quality, that kept me mesmerized from page one. Fowley-Doyle has such a talent for creating atmosphere in her stories with descriptions that are so vivid. I really felt like I was in each and every situation with the characters. This book, much like her last book, puts the reader in a little darker place, which fit perfectly with a story about secrets and losses. And BONUS! There were times it was feeling a little reminiscent of The Craft, which is a plus in my book.

"Be careful what you bargain with; Every lost thing requires a sacrifice -- A new loss for every called thing found."
But it's not just the writing that is great, Fowley-Doyle gives us a great story too. I loved navigating my way through this tale, as she slowly fed me breadcrumbs to follow. I was engrossed in the stories presented by each of the three narrators, one from each group of friends, but I did not see a connection. As the story played on, two groups merge, and then I was really scratching my head about that third group. I did not figure out the connection until about two pages before the reveal. So, Fowly-Doyle deserves quite a pat on the back, for once again delivering a twist I really didn't see coming, and later, hitting me with one I REALLY didn't see coming.
"Maybe we need to lose some things to make room for others."
Every character in this book was interesting and jumped off the page. Fowley-Doyle always does such an incredible job fully realizing her complex characters. This was, by no means, a simple feat in this book, as there were quite a few major players in this story.
"I kiss her neck until I forget everything but this feeling and honestly it's a lot less like losing my heart and more like finally being found."
There is a big overarching theme of loss in this book, and I loved all the different angles Fowley-Doyle chose in her exploration of loss. Loss of tangible things, of self, of friendships, of trust. She also posed the idea, that not all loss is bad. Loss of a bad habit, of addiction, of a heart. But, there was also this idea of things found: physical items, a heart, independence, a friend, a sister, one's self. This book just left me thinking about so many things!
"Be careful what you wish for; Not all lost things should be found."
This book has some diversity, mostly in the sexual orientation realm. Two of main characters, Rose and Olive, are bisexual, and another, Hazel, is a lesbian. In addition to being bisexual, Rose is also half Indian, and it becomes a minor point of discussion with respect to ethnic beauty, which I found interesting. There is also a bit of feminist centered discussions, and a bunch of other important talk, which I will not reveal, because I don't want to spoil anything here.
"I've lost my heart. Not all losses are bad."
Overall: An captivating tale of love, loss, friendship and family filled with an air of mystery and magical realism.

**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book. I also would like to thank GoodReads and the publisher, as I won a physical copy through a GoodReads giveaway. Quotes are from an ARC and may change upon publication.

Do you have a favorite book that features magical realism?
Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Discussion: Reckless Abandon - That Time I Quit a Series

Do you remember that feeling, when you read this amazing first book in a series. Then you patiently or impatiently wait for the next book. You were so pumped, you could not wait to read more of this series, but then, you abandoned the series.

How could this happen? How could something I was so excited about fizzle out? These are the things I want to discuss today.

I had recently talked about finishing series, and that made me think about some series I DNFed. I just left them and never looked back.

One series that I abandoned is Red Queen. I LOVED the first book. I was so sad that I had to wait to find out what happened next. I was giddy with anticipation when I had Glass Sword in my hands, but that enthusiasm fizzled fast. I plodded through the book, but the ending was pretty good, so I put my name on the hold list for King's Cage. It was months until my hold came through, but when it did, I found I really didn't want to read it.

My reasons why

  1. The second book took me what seemed like forever to finish. I just checked the page count - 444. That book should have taken me two weekdays worth of reading time to finish, but it took me 3 work days and a Saturday. I remember putting the book down a lot and distracting myself. It felt like a chore to me. Why didn't I DNF the book? I was encouraged by so many positive reviews, I had adored the first book, and I was giving it time to get better (which it did).

  2. When I finally got the third book, I looked at the over 500 pages, and asked myself if I really wanted to invest more time in this series or use my time on other books. 

  3. I went and looked at the reviews. Readers were all over the place on this one, but the reviews that caught my attention were from people who had loved the previous books, and suddenly had no love for the series. Seeing this brought me back to point 2: do I want to read over 500 pages more of this series, which declined for me in the second book?

  4. I thought this was going to be a trilogy, and now there is a forth book. Do I want to commit to another book? I think with series, you reach a point where you are in so deep, you cannot quit, because you just need to know what happens. 

  5. I just felt like I lost interest in the series. I didn't like the direction it was going, and I didn't find myself invested in the future of these characters. There are so many books I want to read. I cannot bring myself to read out of a sense of obligation. 

I used Red Queen as an example, but I covered many of the reasons I have abandoned series. I would love to hear any and all thoughts on you have on this topic. Do you always finish series? What would make you abandon a series? Have you never abandoned a series? Inquiring minds want to know. 

**Note: Just because I didn't like this series, doesn't mean others won't enjoy it. It just wasn't for me. 

Have you ever abandon a series? Why? 
Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Review: Daughter of the Burning City - Amanda Foody

Daughter of the Burning City
Amanda Foody
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thanks to Harlequin TEEN for the ARC I received at BookExpo!

When I read the blurb for Daughter of the Burning City, I knew that I needed to make it a priority to grab at BEA - having loved Caraval, an endorsement from Stephanie Garber really sold me on this carnival-centric book. After reading the book, I can say that it definitely did not disappoint me, and I loved every second of it.
"Wicked, wicked to the core, the city will burn forevermore."
Daughter of the Burning City follows Sorina and her Freak Show in the traveling city of Gomorrah's festival. Sorina is an illusion worker, which immediately intrigued me since I had just recently finished The Rose Society, but besides just projecting illusions into the minds of others, she can also create living illusions. These not-so-imaginary creations are Sorina's family and are a part of her show's act, but everything changes when one of her illusions ends up dead.

The city of Gomorrah is a fascinating setting for the story. I think the idea of a carnival always has two sides - the excitement of the performances paired with a sort of creepy undertone, a darkness behind the flashing lights. The city of Gomorrah is built in a similar way. The uphill area is family friendly, filled with fun performances, including Sorina's Freak Show. On the other hand, the downhill is a dark place filled with pickpockets, prettywomen, and assassins. As the proprietor's daughter, Sorina will someday inherit the job, but this story follows her as she is exploring the downhill for the first time as part of her investigation into her illusion's death.

I loved the layers that Amanda Foody built into Gomorrah as well as the surrounding cities. The cities outside of Gomorrah, in a way, mimic the city itself: there is the Upmountain, filled with religious zealots and wealth, and the Downmountain, a place seen by the Upmountainers as filth. Additionally, the Upmountain disciples of Ovren view jynx workers like Sorina as devil workers, unclean and unnatural. Now imagine the Upmountain and drop Gomorrah, a city of sin, in the middle. Besides the dynamic of the city itself, Amanda Foody was able to add in elements of the world around them while still crafting a mystery and romance and much more. IN UNDER 400 PAGES!!! Honestly, iconic. There was no point where I felt like the world building was forced or hard to follow - it was all laid out in a way that made it easy to understand and natural.

As for the characters, I was amazed by how vivid each of the characters were. Even though Sorina was the main character, her illusions and other secondary characters were still so real. Even a pickpocket who wasn't heavily involved in the story was still given layers, leaving me caring for him even though he was kind of a crook. Sorina's illusions' lives didn't revolve around her - they all had lives of their own.

Sorina was a really interesting character in that she had a lot of insecurity that she had to work past. Sorina was constantly second guessing herself, letting others who she viewed as smarter than her take the lead in situations where she was fully competent. I really enjoyed watching her grow throughout the book, finding her way and the confidence to ask the hard questions and find the hard answers.

And then there was the romance. I don't want to give too much away, but it was definitely unexpected in some ways. Regardless to the circumstances, it was super swoony and there was humor and support and basically it was an ideal, healthy relationship in the end, which is really nice to see in YA since I feel like a lot of romance focuses on the struggle rather than the support.

Overall, Daughter of the Burning City was a brilliantly crafted story filled with mystery, magic, and so much more. While I personally had a bit of a rocky start getting into it, this book quickly grabbed my attention and drove me crazy when there were pieces of the puzzle that I wasn't seeing. Filled with solid character building, flawless world building, a quick pace, and enticing mystery, this book will not disappoint.

If you had a circus act, what would it be?
Let us know in the comments!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Review: Love and Other Alien Experiences - Kerry Winfrey

Love and Other Alien Experiences
Kerry Winfrey
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
In this heartwarming debut by HelloGiggles blogger Kerry Winfrey, a young agoraphobe begins a journey of first love that leads her to the true meaning of home—just by taking one small step outside of her house.

My name is Mallory Sullivan.

My therapist says I have an anxiety disorder.

My brother says I’m an “optimistic recluse.”

Everybody else says I'm a freak.

And they kind of have a point, because I haven't left the house in 67 days and only attend class via the webcam on my laptop. The person I talk to the most other than my mom and brother is the completely obnoxious BeamMeUp, and all we do is argue on New Mexico’s premiere alien message board.

But after yesterday, I have something: a chance. If I can win the homecoming crown by convincing resident hot popular guy and Friday Night Lights spawn Brad Kirkpatrick to go as my date, then maybe #stayathome will never appear next to the name @Mallory_Sullivan ever again.

First, I have to leave my room.
This, for me, was the right book at the right time. I had just set aside a book that I was not getting into, and I found myself immediately absorbed in Love and Other Alien Experiences.


  1. The Sullivan Family: I was a huge fan of Mallory and Lincoln. They had a very special sibling bond. It was endearing they way they looked out for each other, and seriously, how could I not love a family with the motto: "Why Be Serious When You Can Be Sarcastic?" I have found my people. 
  2. AlienHuntress and BeamMeUp: I was shipping this online couple from their first interaction. The banter and nerdy talk made me all sorts of happy, and I really thought that Mallory had found a kindred spirit in BeamMeUp. I know I would love a bouquet of Twizzlers. 
  3. Mallory and Her Battles: Mallory had anxiety disorder which blossomed into agoraphobia. I thought Winfrey really did an admirable job capturing that struggle of wanting to be able to conquer something, but not quite being able to. Mallory was trying to manage her disorder by working with a therapists and making small efforts such as going out into the backyard. Sometimes it was one step forward, two steps back. I thought Winfrey handled her disorder with care, and her journey seemed realistic to me. 
  4. "It's not like I'm Anxious Beauty and the touch of his lips is going to cure me. I still have my problems, and he still has his."
  5. The Nerd Culture: Mallory was an X-Files fangirl who speculated about aliens online. She was science savvy, and was fluent in nerd. I so enjoyed all the science and pop culture references. You couldn't imagine how exciting it was to me that they kept brining up physics. But don't worry, this was balanced out with sports, makeup, and puppies. 
  6. The Boys Next-door: I will not lie, I loved both Kirkpatrick brothers. Brad was the happy-go-lucky sweetheart, and Jake was the brooding and often overlooked brother. I admit, I fell harder for Jake, because I was into his quiet but awesome ways, and I fell a little more in love with him as I learned more of his backstory. 
There are definitely more reasons to read this book. It was such a cute and touching story of friendship, love, support, and tapping one's own inner strength. I laughed tons, and had also swooned. I rooted for Mallory and celebrated each of her successes. This book made my heart full and I just wanted to jump for joy. 

**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book. Quotes are from an ARC and may change upon publication.

Mallory works on a physics project during this book and Jake is a physics genius. My undergrad was in Chemical Engineering and my graduate degree is in physical science education, so every time they talked about physics I was pretty excited. 

Do you like physics?
Let us know in the comments!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday Post - The Week I Spent in an Inferno

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where I can share my wrap up of the past week, as well as plans for the current week.

My Week in Review

Because a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a few that sum up the weather this week:

The highlight of my week, was getting an email from Toms telling me about their new LLAMA SHOES!!! Of course I ordered a pair for me and Kiersten, because LLAMA SHOES!

So, that is something I have to look forward to.  😊

I was also very excited to see the announcement about the film adaptation for To All The Boys I've Loved Before. I remember Han talking about this at a BookCon panel (I think 2016?), and how she originally passed, because they did not think the Song girls needed to be Korean. Way to hold out Jenny Han! This means a lot to me as the mother of mixed race child (Chinese/white).

Last week on the blog:
  • Monday: I reviewed Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn
  • Tuesday: I shared by Mid-Year Freak Out, because I thought I should punish myself a little by forcing myself to pick some favorites. 
  • Wednesday: I gave some love to A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland with my Can't Wait Wednesday post.
  • Thursday: We hosted a blog tour stop for Tied Up in You by Erin Fletcher. **The giveaway for an Amazon gift card is still open. 
  • Friday: I reviewed Witchtown by Cory Putnam Oakes. 
What I Read Last Week

I was really happy with my reading week. So many unexpected surprises! The Dazzling Heights was a very satisfying sequel, and it looks like maybe a 3rd book is in the works from the way things were set up. But my most favorite book of the week was The Art of Feeling. I don't know. I think I am in love with grief books, because I have been lucky enough to read so many that were simply stellar. I thought the premise for this one was brilliant - a boy who cannot feel no physical pain being part of a the healing journey for girl, who is in constant physical pain. There were tons of funny and beautiful moments in this book, that were topped off by a fairly entertaining cast. Loved. It. I had a few reads that started out shaky, but redeemed themselves by the end, and earned a half star or so back.

What I Am Currently Reading

I am just starting Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink, so I don't have much to say. I am keeping with my tradition of listening to my adult romances with another Rachel Gibson audiobook. This one has a little murder mystery in it, which is adding to my enjoyment.

What I Plan to Read

I am going to try and show some shelf-love again this week. I really need to do more of that. I hope to read some of my physical ARCs soon too, but since they are all currently in boxes, it makes it quite difficult.

How was your week?
Let us know in the comments!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Review: Witchtown - Cory Putman Oakes

Cory Putman Oakes
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
When sixteen-year-old Macie O’Sullivan and her masterfully manipulative mother Aubra arrive at the gates of Witchtown—the most famous and mysterious witch-only haven in the world—they have one goal in mind: to rob it for all it’s worth.

But that plan derails when Macie and Aubra start to dig deeper into Witchtown’s history and uncover that there is more to the quirky haven than meets the eye.

Exploring the haven by herself, Macie finds that secrets are worth more than money in Witchtown.

Secrets have their own power.
I feel like the blurb did not do a good job describing this book, so I'll do a little intro.

Following the Second Inquisition, witch havens were established as places where both natural and learned witches placed on the National Witch Registry lived openly as witches. Macie and her mother, Aubra, had spent the past decade inserting themselves into these havens only to rob them blind. In the last haven, Macie made the mistake of breaking one of the fundamental rules for being a con, she formed an attachment and fell in love.

Shortly thereafter, Macie and Aubra fled and sought refuge in the utopian haven of Witchtown. Aubra promised Macie, that this would be the last heist, and afterward, they would settle down and establish roots, the way most witches did. However, as their time in Witchtown grew shorter, Macie began to doubt her mother's promise, and also suspected that her mother was harboring a much bigger secret, which involved both her and her mother.

I enjoyed my trip to Witchtown, and found this to be an entertaining tale with filled with some really great characters and some captivating magic.

Things I liked:

  • The main character, Macie, was quite complicated. She was struggling with the life she knew and the life she wanted. In Witchtown, she found a solid group of friends, who believed she was good. They supported her and were there for her when she really needed them. This was a huge change from how she was treated by her mother, and she began to rethink a lot of her ways and beliefs as a result of coming to Witchtown. 
  • There were some great secondary characters too. I found Tayla and Kellen to be pretty awesome friends, who really showed Macie that she could trust other people. They opened her up to letting others in. Both Tayla and Kellen were keeping some major secrets, but in the end, they were there to help Macie uncover a huge secret, which was standing in the way of her happiness. 
  • I liked Witchtown. This town was billed as a utopia, and it did not disappoint. Witchtown was green and self-sufficient. The citizens lived in harmony and were always there to lend a helping hand. It's no wonder that Macie grew to love and care about this town and the people in it, because it seemed like such a charming place. 
  • This is a lighter type paranormal. There is conflict and tension and even some violence, but it's never too much or too heavy. I felt that the relationships Macie was building in Witchtown played a bigger role in this story, and therefore, were featured more prominently. 
  • I cannot forget the romance. This was sort of a twofer. We get one romance in the form of flashbacks, and a second that plays out real-time in the story. Both were important with respect to Macie's personal journey, and I always love a good romance. 
  • The ending was strong for me. Although there were still some unresolved plot points at the end of the story, this did not detract from my enjoyment of how Oakes left the story. It was in a neat enough bow and filled with sufficient hope and promise, that I was left happy. 
Overall: a lighter-side paranormal with enough magic and mystery to entertain.

**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book.

Do you have a favorite witch book?
Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Blog Tour: Tied Up In You - Erin Fletcher

Tied Up In You
Erin Fletcher
Series: All Laced Up, #2
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Everyone says hotshot goalie Luke Jackson is God’s gift to girls, but the only girl he wants is his best friend, Malina Hall. He’s always known how brilliant she is, but now that he’s “accidentally” kissed her, he can’t stop thinking about her…or wanting to kiss her again.

Problem is, things have been a little…awkward since the kiss. Because she likes him, too? Hopefully, but even if she did, their futures—and the ridiculous schedules that come with them—are in the way. And now one of his teammates is showing interest, and the guy has more in common with Malina than Jackson ever will.

As her best friend, Jackson should get out of the way. But if there’s one thing he’s learned from hockey, it’s that you have to go for what you want, even if it means falling flat on your face. And he’s definitely falling for Malina.

Disclaimer: This book contains a hot hockey player who goes after what he wants, a super-hot, super-distracting shirtless workout, and the kind of best friends to lovers romance every girl in the friend zone has dreamed of.

If I had to sum up my thoughts about Tied Up in You, it would be that it was terribly cute.

I love friends to more books, especially when the hero and heroine have shared a long friendship. Malina and Jackson had been friends since they were small children. They shared a past and knew each other so well. Therefore, there was a lot of that awkward getting-to-know-you stuff out of the way.  BUT we also had all that push and pull and resistance to the attraction, as they didn't want to complicate their friendship with romance. I expected this, and part of the fun with this type of story, is the stuff that plays out as they try to deny and fight their true feelings, which resulted a few really amusing scenes that arose as Malina and Jackson worked through their emotions. 

I really liked the way Fletcher incorporated the auxiliary characters. Malina had a fabulous best friend, Izzy, who more or less stole every scene she was in, and I adored her. I also loved Malina's family. Her relationship with her mother and Tutu (that's Hawaiian for grandmother) really tugged at my heartstrings. I will say it right now: the way to my heart is through the grandmother, because I become a total sap for every grandma I encounter in a book. I had a fabulous Oma, who doted on me and treated me like a princess. So, I guess they just remind me of her. Speaking of Tutu, I loved getting a little lesson in Hawaiian culture from her. It was a nice touch to pepper the story with some Hawaiian words, crafts, and food. Jackson also had a great relationship with his mother and sister, and there was an ease to their relationship that helped me understand Jackson a little more. 

These two did run into a few roadblocks, but the drama was low, which is the way I like my drama. And the drama arose, because they each want the best for each other. But fights are ok, as long as they make up, and I got a sort of grand gesture out of it, so a total win for me. 

I love sports romances, so a hockey playing hero is totally my style, but I could not have asked for more in a heroine. This girl was a STEM princess, and that whole girl in science thing, is a conduit to my heart. This girl with her love of astrophysics just made me giddy. I love seeing smart girls score the jock, and I like seeing that there is more to the jock than meets the eye. 

Overall: A sweet and adorable friends to lovers story, which left me with a gleeful disposition. 

**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book.


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Erin is a young adult author from North Carolina. She is a morning person who does most of her writing before sunrise, while drinking excessive quantities of coffee. She believes flip-flops qualify as year-round footwear, and would spend every day at the beach if she could. She has a bachelor's degree in mathematics, which is almost never useful when writing books.


Have you been to Hawaii or had any Hawaiian food?
Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Tessa at Wishful Endings that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I can't wait for A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland!

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares
Krystal Sutherland
Series: n/a
Release Date: September 5 , 2017
Publisher: G.P. Putnam and Sons Books for Young Readers
Waited on by: Sam
From the author of Our Chemical Hearts comes the hilarious, reality-bending tale of two outsiders facing their greatest fears about life and love one debilitating phobia at a time.

Ever since Esther Solar's grandfather was cursed by Death, everyone in her family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime. Esther's father is agoraphobic and hasn't left the basement in six years, her twin brother can t be in the dark without a light on, and her mother is terrified of bad luck.

The Solars are consumed by their fears and, according to the legend of the curse, destined to die from them.

Esther doesn't know what her great fear is yet (nor does she want to), a feat achieved by avoiding pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces, and crowds are all off-limits. So are haircuts, spiders, dolls, mirrors and three dozen other phobias she keeps a record of in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares.

Then Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, an old elementary school classmate. Along with her phone, money and a fruit roll-up she d been saving, Jonah also steals her list of fears. Despite the theft, Esther and Jonah become friends, and he sets a challenge for them: in an effort to break the curse that has crippled her family, they will meet every Sunday of senior year to work their way through the list, facing one terrifying fear at a time, including one that Esther hadn't counted on: love.

The number one reason why I want to read this book is because it is written by Krystal Sutherland. I so adored Our Chemical Hearts. It was a little different from the books I normally love, as this one sort of broke my heart into a thousand pieces, but it did so in such a lovely way. So, as with any great book, I am hoping that Sutherland can deliver another stupendous reading experience for me.

In the synopsis for this book, the words "curse" and "hilarious" jumped out at me, and I knew I could enjoy it. I kind of like the idea of such an odd start to the friendship too. I don't know if I had ever befriended a person after they robbed me. And to have someone there, trying to help you conquer your fears one by one sounds pretty fantastic to me.

I am totally looking forward to this one, and know I will be reading it come September.

What are you waiting on?
Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Book Tag: Mid-Year Book Freak Out

We are halfway through 2017, and I have read a lot of books, which I would like to reflect on. This tag is based on the books I read between January and June of this year. I have really been enjoying seeing others bloggers' answers for this tag, and now I submit mine.


Best Book You've Read So Far

I sort of do terrible with superlatives, because it is so hard to pick just one. I have been so book-blessed this year! Here are a few of the best books I have read so far (in no particular order)

Best Sequel You've Read So Far

We all know I have issues finishing series, so it should come as no surprise that I have only read about 5 YA sequels. I would say the best of the bunch was Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor. I enjoyed this second trip into the Dim, and found the time period they visited quite interesting. Tesla is actually in this book, and he is one of my favorite scientists. That sort of gave this book an edge over all the others.

New Release You Haven't Read Yet, But Want To

I feel like a broken record, but this is an ARC I had wanted sooooooooo bad, and was not lucky enough to get. I have only read stellar reviews for this book, so it just makes me want it more. I really hope to read What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum, and gosh darn it, I am determined to read it before the end of this year.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of 2017

There are so many incredible books coming out from many authors that I love. These are a few I am excited about, which I hadn't already mentioned in my Top Ten Tuesday
  • Warcross by Marie Lu - I am a solid Lu fan. She authored one of my favorite series (Legend) and early reviews are great for this book. 
  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green - Oh, how I missed Green! It's been quite a while since we have had a new JG book or movie. This one sounds like it is going to be great. 
  • Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson - This is the sequel to The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You and is inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest. So, based on its predecessor, I am hoping for great things. 

Biggest Disappointment

This book was still good, but it was disappointing in that it did not have the same magic for me that the previous book did. I really loved Passenger, and part of what won my heart, was the dynamic between Etta and Nicholas. They were apart for most of the second book, Wayfarer, and I really missed them being together. Again, it was still good, but it could have been better for me.

Biggest Surprise

I had a few nice surprises, mostly in the form of books I liked a lot more than I expected. One that I want to show some love to is Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant. This book surprised me, because I had zero expectations going in, and ended up reading a story that I loved so much and left me extremely happy.

Favorite New Author (Debut or New to You)

I have been trying to read a lot of debuts this year, and I have been delighted to get to know some of these new authors. I also finally discovered the greatness of an author, who I had heard so many good things about. So, here are two new favorite authors:
  • Bonnie Pipkin - I read her debut, Aftercare Instructions and was so impressed with the story and the writing. It is among one of my favorite books this year. 
  • Cath Crowley - I had seen a lot of love on blogs for Crowley, and now I finally get it! Words in Deep Blue is another of my favorite reads. Crowley won a part of my heart with that book, and I now have a mission to read her back list. 

Newest Fictional Crush

I read a ton of romance novels, so there is practically a daily crush, but here are three that came to mind first. They all seem to have a similar precious-cupcake vibe to them, which is probably my type since I was burned by all those bad boys when I was younger. 😆

Newest Favorite Character

This one was easy for me: Alosa from Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller. She was such a standout heroine for me. A complete package! Smart, sassy, and a pirate to boot. Loved her and cannot wait to read more of her adventures.

Book That Made You Cry

I am a super sensitive reader. I cry a bunch, both happy and sad tears. Some of the books that reduced me to tears have already been mentioned, and here are a few more books that moved me. All were stories dealing with grief, with the exception of The Radius of Us.

Book That Made You Happy

I love books that make me happy, so I have a long list, but two instantly popped into my head.

Favorite Book to Movie Adaptation You Saw This Year

Confession: I think it has been over two years since I last saw a movie. I find the theatre expensive and I always fall asleep as soon as the lights go out, so I just don't go. I do really want to see Before I Fall based on the book by Lauren Oliver. It's my favorite Oliver book, and when LO was talking about it at BookCon back in 2016, she seemed really excited about the adaptation. Maybe I will catch it on cable or something.

Favorite Review You Have Written

My favorite is probably one of my shortest. I like it, because it was fun to do. It was my review for Maud by Melanie J. Fishbane. I wanted to do three gifs and three quotes that captured my reaction to this precious book, and I was really happy with how it turned out.

Most Beautiful Book You Have Bought/Received This Year

I don't get a lot of physical books. My haul really comes from BEA every year. I would say that Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi is one of the most striking books. I was really caught up in that cover when I saw it.

Books You Need to Read By the End of the Year

Well, I just did a whole post about some books I want to read by the end of this year, and there are a bunch of sequels I hope to get to soon too, but I cannot think of a specific book I need to read.

How is your reading year so far?
Let us know in the comments!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: Wesley James Ruined My Life - Jennifer Honeybourn

Wesley James Ruined My Life
Jennifer Honeybourn
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Sixteen-year-old Quinn Hardwick’s having a rough summer. Her beloved grandmother has been put into a home, her dad’s gambling addiction has flared back up and now her worst enemy is back in town: Wesley James, former childhood friend—until he ruined her life, that is.

So when Wesley is hired to work with her at Tudor Tymes, a medieval England themed restaurant, the last thing Quinn’s going to do is forgive and forget. She’s determined to remove him from her life and even the score all at once—by getting him fired.

But getting rid of Wesley isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. When Quinn finds herself falling for him, she has to decide what she wants more: to get even, or to just get over it.
Once upon a time, Wesley and Quinn were super close friends, but right before his family moved away, Wesley put a set of events in motion that ruined Quinn's life. Fast forward five years, and Quinn's life is sort of like this:

This girl was dealing with a lot of heavy things, but she had one thing she was looking forward to: the band trip to London. She grew up with her beloved grandmother telling her stories about her life back in England, and Quinn could not wait to journey there and see those places and things in real life. She was working at Tudor Times in order to earn the money for her trip, and all is going swimmingly, until Wesley James moved back to town.

This was the type of fun and easy contemporary romance that I generally gravitate towards, and I really enjoyed this friends-to-enemies-to-lovers story. I am a fan of a would-be couple with history, and these two had a lot. We got small glimpses into their past together as children, and there were some very sweet moments that they shared.

At times, I thought Quinn should build a bridge and get over it. She was really hard on Wesley, and even tougher on him as she tried to deny the attraction and attachment. However, I empathized with her because of all the drama and stress that was in her life. I also really shared that grandma connection with her. I had an Oma, who told me stories of her life back in Germany, and it was very painful when the dementia set in, and the grandmother who I adored and referred to me as her "little stinker" disappeared. So, that really hit home with me, and I may have shed a tear or two during the grandmother parts.

I am glad to say that there were plenty of sweet and fun bits to keep me from getting too sad. And there was Wesley. He was such a prince charming and all around good guy. He kept working at rekindling his friendship with Quinn, and I believe he really missed her. I totally would have loved to have had a friend or boyfriend like Wesley. There were a few really swoony scenes (wish there were more) that I thought were magnificent and totally awwww-worthy.

The real fun was found at Tudor Times. The place was filled with a bunch of quirky and rather wacky characters, and I found myself looking forward to going to work. I also thought many of Quinn's inner monologues were amusing, especially when she was trying to battle her burgeoning feelings for Wesley.

 I have been reading a bunch of reviews, and some take issue with the "conflict" that turned Wesley from friend to foe, but keep in mind, Quinn was 11 when this all went down. I could see an 11 year needing something or someone to blame for what happened, and this made sense in her 11 year old mind. I could also understand her holding onto that scapegoat, because life was hitting her from all sides.

I am all about endings, and Honeybourn did right by me. There were a lot of loose ends tied up in the final chapter, and the epilogue was so sweet, my face sort of hurt from the huge, stupid grin I was wearing.

Overall: A fun and amusing tale of hate to love, with an ending that I found picture perfect.

**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book.

In this book, both Quinn and Wesley work at a theme restaurant called Tudor Times. I actually love these kinds of places, though I have not been to many. I once ate at one when I visited Ireland (in a castle no less).

Do you like theme restaurants?
Let us know in the comments!