ARC Review: You’d Be Mine

youdbemine.pngAuthor: Erin Hahn

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Genre: YA contemporary

Pages: 304

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis:

“Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk”

This book is a well written mixture of a cute summer story with deeper elements that I loved! I had a really fun time reading this book and it took only a few pages for me to be pulled into this story.

The characterization and development in this story are extremely powerful and well written. I enjoyed Annie’s character throughout the entire story; she was strong, witty, and I couldn’t help but love her as much as all of her fans did. Her friend group’s constant banter and dynamic as perfectly written! I swear, I was awkwardly trying not to laugh while reading this book in public more than once. On the other hand, I didn’t like Clay very much at first. He was hard to understand, broody, and acted like a total jerk in the beginning of the story. I had a hard time relating with him even when reading from his point of view, I understood even less while I was in Annie’s. He was a frustrating character BUT once the author starts dipping into his backstory he’s more tolerable. The way Clay and Annie are written is realistic but it takes a long while to understand their minds. I’m not mad about this, it brilliantly avoided major information dumps, but you have to be persistent with Clay before he makes sense as a character.

The romance took me a long time to get warmed up to. It felt forced to me and the chemistry felt off but, like Clay, I did grow to enjoy it a lot more. I feel like the path this book takes forces the reader to see how people changing can effect everything. It’s one of my favorite things about the book actually, seeing how a few steps in a better direction can change a person’s entire life. I was shocked by how deep this book got. It features a lot of darker subjects I hadn’t been expecting it to explore but I’m glad it did. It’s more than a fluffy contemporary and dives into alcohol abuse, emotional trauma, and what life means for people who have to deal with the aftermath of death.

The atmosphere that was developed in this book was so gripping! Erin Hahn created a bubble of a world and brought it to life. The characters, world, and plot all twisted together in a way that I could imagine this being a true story about someone I would never meet otherwise. I love how Hahn created so many deep plot lines that the world building became was subtle and perfect.

All in all I really enjoyed this book! The writing as beautiful and I loved the story that was told. I’ve never been much of a country music fan but I still felt immersed in this world of music I hadn’t given much thought to before. It’s a wonderful debut that’s easy to fall in love with.

Release Date: April 2nd 2019

Thank you very much to Goodreads and the publisher for hosting the giveaway where I won a copy of this lovely ARC!

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Waiting on Wednesday: You Owe Me a Murder

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that is all about sharing and putting a spotlight on upcoming unreleased books that readers cannot wait to get their hands on. My TBR pile is overrun with books that haven’t been released yet, but my choice for this week that I’m specifically looking forward to is…

You Owe Me a Murder by Eileen Cook

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I actually hadn’t realized that I have already read a book by this author until very recently, because what really drew me to the book was it’s synopsis. This story sounds dark and already has me impatiently waiting to see how this turns out!

Synopsis:

“17-year-old Kim never expected to plot a murder. But that was before her boyfriend dumped her for another girl. Now, Kim’s stuck on a class trip to London with him and his new soulmate and she can’t help wishing he was a little bit dead, even if she’d never really do that.

But when Kim meets Nicki, a stranger on the plane who’s more than willing to listen to Kim’s woes, things start to look up. Nicki’s got a great sense of humor, and when she jokes about swapping murders, Kim plays along—that is, until Kim’s ex-boyfriend mysteriously dies.

Blackmailed by Nicki to fulfill her end of the deal, Kim will have to commit a murder or take the fall for one.”

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Product Review: Once Upon A Book Club’s YA box

I’m so glad I got the oppurtunity to try out Once Upon A Book Club’s YA crate; this book onceuponabookclub.pngbox is like no other and the concept alone makes my nerdy heart sing. Every month there is both a YA book selected and throughout the book items you read about have been brought to real life. As you go along in the story there are tabs that tell you when to open your wrapped present that had a matching page number, the item in the package is always a lovely replica of whatever has been mentioned in the story. There’s jewelry and all sorts of other goodies brought to you right from the page. The idea is that you’re making the story come alive in a new way… and it’s fantastic. I was very graciously given their October 2018 box in exchange for promotion however I see fit, and I couldn’t help but review their box!

The book of the month provided in October was The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankstein which I wasn’t a huge fan of ( my review can be found HERE ) but that didn’t stop this reading experience from being something of its own entirely. The promise of unwrapping gifts in the future made me even more excited to keep reading and made the story more enjoyable. It felt magical to be holding the same items that the characters were and it really made the story come alive. All the items included were high quality and captured the vibe of the story perfectly.

The packaging in this box was adorable. The book, along with a quote card, came unwrapped while everything else was. All the items were well sealed in an assortment of bags and wrapped boxes all with pages numbers printed on them.  When I first opened the box I was drawn to all the fun colors, wrinkle paper, and adorable packages. This box is pure fun and a bookworm’s reading dream.

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This company made reading a lot of fun, there’s no denying that. The extra element of the packages made the concept very unique and added extra magic to the typical reading experience. I would caution you however, to only purchase on months the book sounds like something you’re going to love. The experience I had while reading something I wasn’t a fan of made it harder for me to push through, but I think finding a month where the book sounds right up your alley would make this experience even better.

Both Young Adult and Adult crates sell on their website retail for $34.99 each plus shipping. Besides those boxes which can also be subscribed to, they also offer special edition boxes that you can keep your eye out for!

Thank you to Once Upon a Book Club for giving me your October YA crate in exchange for a review.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Wild Savage Stars

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that is all about sharing and putting a spotlight on upcoming unreleased books that readers cannot wait to get their hands on. My TBR pile is overrun with books that haven’t been released yet, but my choice for this week that I’m specifically looking forward to is…

Wild Savage Stars by Kristina Perez

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Never has a book ending shattered me more than Sweet Black Waves did. For anyone else who has read it, you know how brutal it is. I don’t know how I’m going to survive all the way until August 2019 for this sequel. I just want Branwen to be happy and for everything to be okay, but after the ending of the first book I don’t know if I can trust that this sequel won’t break my heart just as much.

Synopsis:

“Branwen has a secret powerful enough to destroy two kingdoms.

Her ancient magic led to a terrible betrayal by both her best friend, the princess Essy, and her first love, Tristan. Now this same magic is changing Branwen. Adrift in a rival court, Branwen must hide the truth from the enemy king by protecting the lovers who broke her heart―and finds herself considering a darker path.

Not everyone wants the alliance with Branwen’s kingdom to succeed―peace is balanced on a knife’s edge, and her only chance may be to embrace the darkness within…”

Ahh… I can feel the pain this book will cause me already (good fangirl pain, but pain none the less).

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Book Review: Blanca and Roja

blancaandroja.pngAuthor: Anna-Marie McLemore

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

Genre: YA fantasy, YA retelling

Pages: 375

Rating: 3/5 stars

Synopsis:

“The biggest lie of all is the story you think you already know.

The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan.

But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price we pay to protect our hearts.”

This book was beautiful in every sense of the word. The writing was poetic, the characters were fascinating, and the story was gripping. But, as much as I enjoyed this book there were some serious issues that bothered me inexplicably. Rating this book is extremely difficult for me! It would have easily been a five star read had there not been so many issues.

Starting on a positive note, the characters in this book were amazing. The story follows four main characters who I love with all of my heart: Blanca, Roja, Page, and Yearling. All four of them are wonderfully developed. That being said, I feel like I didn’t quiet know them. I enjoyed their perspectives and they felt stunningly real BUT they felt closer to strangers than book characters should, ya know, considering I’m reading from their brains and all.

The plot in this book was a wonderful twisted fairy tale retelling that was creatively woven into something new. The story itself is immersive, fascinating, and well thought out. After a certain part it’s easy to fall into this story. That being said, it does take a while to get there. This book was hard to get into and a large part of that was due to how the chapters are written. The alternating point of views in such rapid succession made it hard to get into the story and enjoy it quickly. Jumping between the characters made the beginning slow and awkward. On top of that, the character’s perspectives were easy to mix up since they all sound virtually the same. It was aggravating that despite there being FOUR point of views it felt like they all thought the same way, which is unrealistic and frustrating. I was constantly forgetting what character I was reading from and the constant changing made that no easier. This book’s biggest downfall was it’s formatting more than anything.

Another aspect of the story that was confusing was the magic system. It was never clearly defined and left me really puzzled on what could happen and what couldn’t. It’s never clear and It bothers me SO MUCH!! The world was hard to understand and I couldn’t get a clear picture of the plot because the magic system was a muddled mess without a clear set of rules. The magic system made the ending disappointing for me and left me feeling cheated of something more. This book could have easily torn my heart out but was crafted in a way that left a bitter taste in my mouth.

I really did enjoy this story. It was fast, gripping, and as I said: beautiful. Unfortunately I just cannot overlook all the issues I had with it or say much about it besides the problems. Its the type of story that’s best understood through your own eyes, meaning that you have to enjoy it for yourself. There’s some great aspects of this book, like the romance, and then a lot of no so great aspects. If you enjoy YA fantasy there is little doubt in my mind you wouldn’t enjoy this book- I’m even sure you’d love it. I was so close to adoring this book had there not been some particular aspects that pushed my buttons.

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November 2018 Wrap-up

november2018.pngAlthough I never set monthly TBRs for myself I did give myself a bit of a challenge this November… my goal was to read 10 books in an effort to catch up with my Goodreads challenge and I’m happy to report that I did it! So, without further ado, here are the books I read this month and some fun statistics about my reading:

 

 

Books Read In November:

 

Total Pages Read: 4,072

 

Favorite Book of the Month:

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Least Favorite Book of the Month:

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I’m so proud of myself for managing to read ten books this month! It’s more than usual for me but I loved reading so much. I’m secretly hoping I’ll be able to read even more in December BUT in reality exams are on the horizon… at least I’ll have all break to dive into my TBR pile.

What books did you read this month? Any recommendations? Let me know!

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Book Review: Archenemies

archenemies1.pngAuthor: Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

Genre: YA dystopian

Pages: 474

Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis:
“The Renegades Trilogy continues, in this fiercely awaited second installment after the New York Times-bestselling Renegades by Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles.

Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But they each other’s worst nightmare.

In Renegades, Nova and Adrian (aka Insomnia and Sketch) fought the battle of their lives against the Anarchist known as the Detonator. It was a short-lived victory.

The Anarchists still have a secret weapon, one that Nova believes will protect her. The Renegades also have a strategy for overpowering the Anarchists, but both Nova and Adrian understand that it could mean the end of Gatlon City – and the world – as they know it.”

I am so blown away by this book! Marissa Meyer made this sequel everything I wanted and more and now I’ll be forced to wait a painful year for the final book in this trilogy… I think my heart is going to burn up with anticipation.

Archenemies was a MASSIVE step forward for this story. It takes the story beyond anything Renegades did as it pushes new political and personal issues to the forefront. Suddenly the world isn’t completely captivated by who is deemed good or bad, but instead it twists the views of who can be considered a hero and how morals can play a part in that. Marissa Meyer is artfully weaving this universe and pulling on my heart strings in the process. Gatlon City feels deep, authentic, and well orchestrated to the point that it feels like the perfect puzzle of a city – and Marissa is waiting to drop the final pieces into place.

Of course, I adored the characters in this story. I’m constantly intrigued by Nova’s character and seeing where she will drive the story since she is constantly throwing me off. One second I understand her and the next she’s a stranger driven by morals I could never understand… but that’s what makes her unique. She and Adrian, unknowingly, drive the tension in this story and it’s so freaking perfect. As much as I love Adrian (which is A LOT) I still feel like he’s too good to be true. He feels so perfect that it’s off. Sure, he has the whole Sentinel secret identity thing going on but I want more from him. I want to hear about how he grew up and I want to see more development for his character in the final book. But besides Nova and Adrian I finally began to learn about the side characters. To be perfectly honest I had forgotten their names and powers because they were pretty forgettable BUT their larger role in Archenemies was refreshing and I’m beginning to actually care about them just a little bit.

One of my favorite things about this book was the relationship between Adrian and Nova. Their slow burn, sorta there but sorta not, romance in book one had my blood pounding and this book keeps their dynamic going in a fresh way. I love seeing these two characters together because despite their differences they compliment each other well. Their banter was funny and their attempts at flirting were even funnier. Nova and Adrian have an extremely authentic awkward teen romance going on that I adore. It has the perfect balance of cute moments and cringy “why did I say that” moments that are in tune with the characters.

This book was miraculously both character driven and plot driven … and it read beautifully. I don’t have much preference for what drives the story but I haven’t seen a book written quite like Archenemies was. The characters move the plot points to suit their needs and also are forced into scenarios due to the world. The balance was amazing and made the story fun to read. I would say this story is more character driven and less action packed than Renegades but I loved them equally. This book finds its focuses on other topics but leaves off in a way that ensure plenty of battle and drama to come in the conclusion.

In the beginning I was never sure if I would even like the first book in this trilogyIt didn’t seem like the type of story I would enjoy… but I’m really glad I picked it up now because these books are creative, funny, and well developed. Archenemies was a ride from start to finish and leaves off with a promising finale for this trilogy that I know will shatter my heart.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Finale

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that is all about sharing and putting a spotlight on upcoming unreleased books that readers cannot wait to get their hands on. My TBR pile is overrun with books that haven’t been released yet, but my choice for this week that I’m specifically looking forward to is…

Finale by Stephanie Garber

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The cover for the final book in the Caraval trilogy was just released last month and my excitement for this last book skyrocketed! I’ve loved the first two books in this story and I can’t wait to see how Stephanie Garber wraps the whole thing up. There’s so many loose ends that I’m eager to see tied together!

Synopsis:

“It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.

Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finaly, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win…and those who will lose everything.”

I tore through the previous books close to their individual release dates… and now I have to wait all the way until May for the conclusion… my heart cannot take this suffering.

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