Review: Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Kate in Waiting by Becky AlbertalliKate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 20, 2021
Pages: 400
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theater rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.

But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off script. Matt Olsson is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.

Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship.

I don’t think I’m ever going to read a Becky Albertalli book that I don’t like. Her books are just so… Amazing. Incredible. Insanely good. Like. I could go on. And Kate in Waiting was no exception. I devoured this book. I read it in three days. I just couldn’t put it down! It had a diverse cast of LGBTQ+ characters, a little bit of mental health rep, and some great Jewish rep. Not to mention a great plot. Basically, it had everything I love!

I don’t know how she does it, but Becky always manages to write such relatable characters. I always feel like I’m standing right there with them. Kate was great. I related to her on so many levels, even just with small things, like hating the rain and being a zombie demon after taking Xanax and not getting enough sleep. Anderson was amazing and so, so sassy. I felt so bad for him after that one scene (not gonna spoil it), but I understood why everyone involved behaved/acted/responded the way they did. Noah had my heart from the very beginning. He was just so adorably dorkish. I predicted what would happen with him and ____ (Sorry, no spoilers, hehe) less than a quarter of the way into the book and I definitely had a !!!!!!! moment when I found out I was right.

I need to shout-out Kate’s relationship with her brother, Ryan. I love the way Becky handles sibling relationships in her books. Media always makes siblings hate each other; they either fight all the time or they just ignore each other. And, yeah, that’s relatable for some people. But some people do get along with their siblings, and it’s a breath of fresh air to see that.

Sending a shout-out to Matt, Raina and Brandie and basically everyone in this book. Seriously, how does Becky Albetalli always write such amazing characters???

Also, shout-out to the Dear Evan Hansen reference and what I think was a Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda reference.

So.. Yeah. I loved this book. More than words can say. I loved everything about it. The only negative thing I can say is that I want more of these characters and this world, but I’m pretty sure it’s just a stand-alone. So that’s disappointing, haha.

But yeah. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves books about friendship, first love, and high school or musical theater. Also for anyone who likes LGBTQ+, mental health and Jewish rep. If you’re new to Becky Albertalli, this is a great book to pick up. And if you’ve read and loved her other books, then I can promise this one won’t disappoint!

Kate in Waiting releases tomorrow, so there’s still time to pre-order!!! Go do that, right now! You won’t regret it! And if you pre-order, you can get this adorable necklace!!!


Review: The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn SkyeThe Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye
Series: The Crown's Game #2
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 16, 2017
Pages: 415
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.

Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.

For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.

With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.

It physically pains me to write this review. I don’t WANT to be writing this review – I don’t even know how to start. Those of you who follow my blog and social media know that I LOVED The Crown’s Game SO SO much! The characters felt real, the plot was filled with magic and mayhem, and the writing was lush and gorgeous. Skye’s writing was still lush and gorgeous, but this book just… crashed and burned.

This book had hardcore Second Book Syndrome – despite being the conclusion to a duology. It was slow and it dragged and, to be painfully honest, I was bored. If this WAS book two in a trilogy, I think I could have tolerated some of what happened a lot better. But knowing it was the conclusion, it was just disappointing. I feel like nothing was accomplished in this book and there was barely a plot, more like little mini plots all strung together to scrape a second book out. It felt forced and unnecessary, and I really felt like The Crown’s Game could have just been a stand-alone.

The characters fell REALLY flat to me. Like, they were NOTHING like they were in The Crown’s Game. It felt like everyone was acting out of character in so many ways. And then there were the ships… I shipped everyone with everyone in book one. As I said in my review for The Crown’s Game, “I just had SO MANY FEELS that, honestly, any of those ships would satisfy me. Normally I’d pick an OTP for a book, but that’s impossible to do with The Crown’s Game because all the characters are so epic, I just love all the potential pairings!”

But in The Crown’s Fate? I didn’t ship ANYONE because my ships were either almost completely separated from each other throughout the book (i.e: Vika and Nikolai) OR the characters were so OUT of character, I didn’t like them enough to ship them (Nikolai with anyone). And that takes me to Nikolai and his plot.. WHAT THE ABSOLUTE EVER-LOVING EFF??? *Takes deep breaths* I just can’t. I can’t without spoilers, so I just can’t… But also that ending?!?!?!?! Vague spoilers in the next paragraph, be warned:

All was just forgiven and everyone moved on?!?!? Okay, not gonna lie, I’m happy they worked it out and it was a HEA. But it was tied up WAY too neatly and WAY too easily and there were NO consequences for ANYTHING that happened and how can that just be forgiven????? *Rips hair out!!!!*

The only thing I really liked was all the Russian myths and legends coming to life. Except that was barely mentioned and nothing came of it, so… Total let-down *Sighs.*

Overall, I didn’t enjoy this book. I still LOVE The Crown’s Game, but I’m gonna pretend that it was a stand-alone and that this book never happened. I didn’t like the direction the plot (what plot?) went, and I didn’t like the totally out of character characters. I didn’t like that I had to hate characters I loved the first time around. This book was frustrating and disappointing and I seriously struggled to finish it, which is very upsetting and heartbreaking for me.

Would I recommend this book? I don’t know… I DO recommend The Crown’s Game because it was AMAZING and my opinions on The Crown’s Fate won’t change how much I love The Crown’s Game. But I don’t think I can recommend The Crown’s Fate. It was just… heartbreakingly disappointing. Then again, I’ve seen mixed reviews – people either LOVE LOVE LOVE it, or they don’t. So.. Maybe you’ll love it? Maybe I’m just in the minority with this opinion? So if you truly loved the first book, then go ahead and give this one a shot.


Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky AlbertalliThe Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 11, 2017
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

This book was so freaking adorable!!! Describing a book as “down to earth” like you would a person seems weird, but that’s exactly what this book is – down to earth. The characters were incredible and beyond relatable. The writing was magnificent. And the plot was intriguing and held my attention until the very last page. Becky Albertalli is an incredible story teller. Much like her first book, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, this was an adorable coming-of-age story that everyone should read!

For me, Molly is the most relatable character I have ever come across. I don’t talk much about myself or my personal life, but like Molly, I’m fat, Jewish and have anxiety. Those three things alone make her incredibly relatable, but there were other things mentioned throughout the book that made her EVEN MORE relatable. I’m not ready to specifically name/discuss those things, but if you’ve read the book, Molly could be my Personality Twin. I felt like I was her, or she was me, or something like that. She is now one of my favorite characters of all time.

I loved how complex Molly and Cassie’s relationship was. It’s very common in YA novels for the siblings to not get along at all, to despise each other. I’m not saying that doesn’t happen in real life. But sometimes, siblings DO get along. Or get along sometimes, but not always. And I loved that this book showed that. It showed how close Molly and Cassie were, but also showed that siblings can fight and drift and still love each other. It was so refreshing to see and I wish more YA books showed that.

Molly, Cassie, Olivia and Mina are squad goals. Cassie and Mina were adorable together and I loved the way they made sure to include Molly and Olivia in almost everything they did. But I also liked the way they showed the ups and downs of friendship and the whole “balancing friends and boy/girlfriends” thing. Because it CAN be a balancing act and it’s not always easy.

Reid was AMAZING. He was kind, sweet, nerdy and funny. I wish I had a Reid in my life. I loved the progression of his relationship with Molly and how neither one played games. They were very real with each other.

Just like with Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I loved that Molly and Cassie’s parents were THERE. Unlike so may YA books where you never see the parents and wonder if the main character even has any, Nadine and Patty were there for Molly and Cassie. They set boundaries and rules and punished the girls when they did something wrong. But they were also fair.

I don’t know what else to say about this book. This review doesn’t do the book justice AT ALL. All I can say is it was effing fantastic and if you don’t read it, you’re missing out. So go buy it and go read it ASAP.


Review: The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Shadow Queen by C.J. RedwineThe Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine
Series: Ravenspire #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on February 16, 2016
Pages: 387
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

The Shadow Queen was one of my most anticipated books of 2016. I attempted to read it months ago when it first came out, but my reading slump was in full force. I was really worried my slump would effect how I felt about this book, so I put it down each time I tried to pick it up. But in the last few months, my reading slump has finally trickled off and I was finally able to pick this up and get past the first chapter and I’m SO glad I waited! I was able to truly enjoy it – without fear of my reading slump – and I LOVED LOVED LOVED IT!!!

I LOVED Lorelai. She’s so fierce and fiery. I kept picturing her as Adelaide Kane in Reign (AKA: Mary, Queen of Scots). She pushed forward despite the tragedy and loss she faced. She never lost sight of her end-goal and what it meant for not just her, but everyone in her kingdom. She’s definitely one of my favorite characters of 2016!

Leo was the comical relief of the book. He kept Lorelai focused, while keeping her from drowning in the tasks she had to face. I was incredibly shocked with the twist in his story, though. I kept thinking it was a fake-out, that it couldn’t be true. But, sadly, it wasn’t a fake-out. I also loved Gabril and everything he represented. He was like Lorelai’s rock. Several times, I feared for his safety and sanity. But I’m satisfied with how his story ended.

Kol was.. Whoa. I don’t even know where to begin without risking spoilers. He was incredibly (mentally) strong, despite the events that unfolded in the beginning of the book. And he went through a lot of strife – more than what one person should have to deal with. But time and again, he pushed through. I loved where his story ended!

Trugg and Jyn were epic. They were the perfect “I hate you but I want to kiss you” couple. They were also super loyal and willing to sacrifice everything to protect Kol and their people. I kept picturing Trugg as Kellan Lutz.

Irina reminded me a LOT of Queen Levana from the Lunar Chronicles. It’s crazy how convinced she was that she was in the right, that everyone betrayed her and she’s justified in seeking her revenge – and that makes her the scariest type of villain there is, because there’s no reasoning with her or convincing her she’s wrong.

This book was such an emotional rollercoaster. One second I was ready to cry, the next I was laughing my butt off and then I was ready to cry again. Sometimes I wanted to happy-cry and sometimes my heart broke so hard for the characters. It was just incredibly tense and very heart-in-your-throat and I loved every single second of it! I wish there was a sequel, but I’m very satisfied with how it ended.

Overall, if you couldn’t tell, I ADORED this book. It had gorgeous writing, epic world-building and characters that I cared about with all my heart. I highly recommend it for those who love fairy tale retellings (it’s a Snow White retelling!) and for fans of CJ Redwine, a master storyteller and an author who is now forever on my auto-buy list!


Review: The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine (Giveaway)

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine (Giveaway)The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 10, 2016
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: the author
Buy on Amazon

Cassidy Emmerich is determined to make this summer—the last before her boyfriend heads off to college—unforgettable. What she doesn’t count on is her boyfriend breaking up with her. Now, instead of being poolside with him, Cass is over a hundred miles away, spending the summer with her estranged father and his family at their bed-and-breakfast at the Jersey Shore and working as the newest counselor at Camp Manatee.

Bryan Lakewood is sick of nevers. You’ll never walk. You’ll never surf. You’ll never slow dance with your date at prom. One miscalculated step and Bryan’s life changed forever—now he’s paralyzed and needs to use a wheelchair. This is the first summer he’s back at his former position at Camp Manatee and ready to reclaim some of his independence, in spite of those who question if he’s up for the job.

Cass is expecting two months dealing with heartbreak.
Bryan is expecting a summer of tough adjustments.
Neither of them is expecting to fall in love.

Robin Constantine was one of the first authors I worked with back when I was a newbie blogger. Her book, The Promise of Amazing, was one of the first books that made me fall in love with YA contemporary (I was more of a sci-fi/fantasy/supernatural/dystopian fan before that). I’ve been a huge fan of Robin and her books ever since. But I must say… The Season of You and Me was by far my favorite of her books! And that’s saying A LOT, considering how much I adored her other two!! Everything about The Season of You and Me – from the epic plot to the amazing/lovable characters – had me hooked!

Cassidy (Cass) and Bryan were amazing. I loved their chemistry right off the bat! I loved how strong they both were, despite the adversities in their lives – especially Bryan, who never wanted anyone to feel sorry for him or treat him differently. And Cass never did. Of all Robin Constantine’s characters and relationships (from all her books), they’re definitely my OTP!

I loved the cast of secondary characters in this book, as well. Everyone had a part to play and everyone felt realistic and important. I especially liked the friendships – something Constantine has always been great at writing.

One of my favorite things about this book? The functional step-family dynamic. This is something we rarely – if ever – see in Young Adult fiction and it was just SO refreshing. Usually the main character hates her stepmom/dad or vice versa or the step-siblings despise each other and make things difficult for each other. That was NOT the case in this book and I really, really loved that. We rarely even see “normal” families (“normal” being subjective, of course) that are functional in YA, but we NEVER see families with step-parents/siblings that are functional. It was just.. Perfection.

I also loved the setting and plot of this book. Sometimes, books set during summer vacations or summer camp settings are very cliche, over-emphasizing the idea of fresh starts and getting away from whatever is plaguing the main character (so, basically, “sun, fun and freedom!”). While some of that did happen with Cass in the beginning, it quickly became more than that and it just felt.. Right. I know that’s vague, but… I can’t explain it. So I recommend you go and read it so you can see just what I mean!

Overall, I (obviously) highly recommend this book! If you’ve read Robin Constantine’s previous books, you’ll love it! And if you haven’t, I definitely recommend you read all three! You don’t have to read her other two books to read this one, but I guarantee if you read this one, you’ll want to read the other two! She’s that awesome! I’m so excited to see what she does next – though I can’t help but cross my fingers for another Cass & Bryan book!


And now for an epic giveaway! Thanks to Robin, I have a signed ARC of The Season of You and Me (US Only) for one lucky follower! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below!

-Giveaway is US only

-Winner has 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond, a new winner will be selected.

-You must be 13 or older to enter OR have your parents’ permission.

-I am not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.

-I reserve the right to change any rules as I see fit for each individual giveaway

With that being said, I wish you luck! May the odds be ever in your favor!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye (Blog Tour + Giveaway)The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
Series: The Crown's Game #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 17, 2016
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.


Find out more about The Crown's Game and the Pre-order here!

The Crown's Game Blog Tour Banner 
Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye (May 17, 2016, Balzer + Bray) I absolutely LOVED this book, so, I’m BEYOND excited to be a part of this blog tour! I hope you enjoy my review!


The Crown’s Game was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016 and it definitely did NOT disappoint! If anything, it exceeded my expectations – by a LOT. The characters were amazing, the writing was epic and the plot was filled with magic and mayhem.

Vika was powerful and confident in her abilities. She reminded me a LOT of Alina from the Grisha trilogy. But her confidence made her a bit careless – made her feel she was a shoe-in as The Imperial Enchanter. She never even considered that there might be another enchanter out there who could best her. I loved her command of the elements, though. That was pretty awesome!

Being an orphan who had to fight for everything made Nikolai strong and determined. He has every reason to fight and win – and every reason to fear losing. The way his story ended though… HOLY CRAP!!! I did NOT expect what happened to happen! And I can’t wait to see how it’s resolved in the second book!

I really liked Pasha. He reminded me of Charles in Reign. He’ll do his duty, but he’d rather not. He’s a bit aloof. There were some moments near the middle/end where he was really awful and it really upset me, but looking back, I understand why he behaved that way and what caused him to behave that way, so I feel like I kind of forgive him now. Sort of. He still needs to earn back his brownie points!

I loved the way Vika and Nikolai one-upped each other with their powers. It’s like magical banter and more hilarious than verbal banter could have been. I definitely shipped them a LOT, but not in the beginning. Only because I actually really loved the idea of Vika and Pasha together and I shipped them until the half-way point in the book, roughly.

Plus, at times, I seriously shipped Nikolai and Renata. Their relationship gave me major Kaz/Inej feels. So when I was shipping them, it was easy to forget about my Nikolai/Vika feels. But really, I think I’d be happy with any combination of Vika/Nikaolai, Vika/Pasha, Nikolai/Renata. I just had SO MANY FEELS that, honestly, any of those ships would satisfy me. Normally I’d pick an OTP for a book, but that’s impossible to do with The Crown’s Game because all the characters are so epic, I just love all the potential pairings!

Yuliana was wise and stubborn. She’s outspoken, but she knows just the right thing to say to make every outspoken thing she says count. Also, the fact that Yuliana can handle the viciousness of the Game with a “fierce and wistful,” smile makes me just a touch afraid of her! She can also be incredibly convincing, borderline manipulative. I think she means well, but she’s steadfast in her loyalty to her country and she’ll do whatever she has to to ensure its safety, even if it means her brother’s well-being is secondary.

In two weeks, I’ll be posting for my stop on the Tsar’s Guard Parade blog tour. My post includes five random thoughts that I had while reading The Crown’s Game. I don’t want to go into too much detail on those points now because I don’t want to get repetitive. But I’ll briefly mention them here: If you were a fan of the Grisha trilogy, I HIGHLY recommend The Crown’s Game! Also, if you loved A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray! Are you a fan of Anastasia? Because I had SO MANY ANASTASIA FEELS!!! So if you love Anastasia, that’s another incentive to read The Crown’s Game right there! Finally, if you’re a fan of Fairy Tales (specifically Russian ones), there are several Fairy Tale references in The Crown’s Game! So that makes it a MUST READ for Fairy Tale fans!

This book is a FAST read, mostly because once you pick it up, you won’t want to put it down! I read the first 315 pages in 13 hours, with breaks only for food and to take care of my dog! Every time I thought “one more chapter,” I ended up desperate to see what happened next. The pacing was always on point, never slowing.

Near the end, my state of mind/statuses/comments dissolved into a lot of “OMG” and “WTF” and “!!!!!!!!!!!” My poor heart just couldn’t handle all the revelations, twists and unexpected craziness! And then the ending (like, the absolute ending) was… Holy amazeballs!!! So intense and epic and WHY DID I READ THIS BOOK SO EARLY?!?! NOW THE WAIT UNTIL BOOK TWO IS EVEN LONGER!!!! GAH!!! I NEEDS IT!!!

*Clears throat*

Anyway, if you couldn’t tell from my review (Um. Seriously?), I LOVED this book. I don’t even think “loved” is a strong enough word. It’s absolutely one of my top favorite reads for 2016 (and it’s only March!!) and I HIGHLY recommend it! Seriously! Add it to your TBR! If you have an ARC, READ IT NOW! It’s amazing and I’ll definitely be pushing it on as many people as I possibly can! Evelyn Skye is an amazing writer and story teller and I absolutely can’t wait for book two (and what a long wait that will be.. SOBS!)!!! I also can’t wait to see what else she writes outside of the Crown’s Game world. She’s definitely a debut author to keep your eye on!


And now for the giveaway! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Evelyn SkyeAbout the Author:
Evelyn Skye was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When she isn’t writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies. THE CROWN’S GAME is her first novel.

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Tour Schedule:

Monday, February 29: Bookish Lifestyle – Review + Pinterest Boards
Tuesday, March 1: One Less Lonely Blog – Review
Wednesday, March 2: It Starts at Midnight – Review
Thursday, March 3: Stories & Sweeties – Review + Russian Tea Cake Recipe
Friday, March 4: The YA Book Traveler – Review + Dreamcast & Book Trailer
Saturday, March 5: Pandora’s Books – Review
Sunday, March 6: Seeing Double in Neverland – Review
Monday, March 7: Out Of Time – Review + Song
Tuesday, March 8: Book Nerd Addict – Review + Favorite Quotes
Wednesday, March 9: Paper Fury – Review + Reasons to Read This Book!
Thursday, March 10: A Reader Under The Sea – Cover Recreation
Friday, March 11: The Broke and the Bookish – Review


Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara RaaschSnow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on October 14th 2014
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Buy on Amazon

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

I basically read Snow Like Ashes in one day. I couldn’t put it down. I was so absorbed in this world that when I DID put it down, it felt like I was being yanked back to reality. I credit Sara Raasch’s epic world-building skills for this! The characters were a bit iffy for me, but the plot was intriguing and I really enjoyed it.

Meira was kind of frustrating. In the beginning, she was incredibly bad-ass – She did what no one else had managed to do for 16 years. But later on in the book, she acted like a toddler having a tantrum. She whined and complained a LOT. She was so focused on the idea of doing something to make her important to Winter, to make her belong and feel needed. Yet when she was presented with something that she could do to help the kingdom, she balked at the idea and the way her life would change. I understand why she was upset, but she was also getting what she wanted. I grudgingly admit that, by the end of the book, she came into her own. The revelation, though, was something I guessed at VERY early on, so I wasn’t surprised, but it was awesome getting that confirmation that I was right.

I both liked and disliked Mather. Weird, I know, but it’s basically the Meira situation all over again. He had moments where he was epic and awesome and he had moments where he tried so hard to be gallant, but came off all moody and tortured – like he was making this big sacrifice. When I finished the book, I really shipped him and Meira, but the more I think about it, the more I’m not sure. His behavior at the end of the book was… I’m not even sure what the word is, honestly. But I didn’t like it.

I REALLY liked Theron. I think he’s the only character that I really liked for the majority of the book, to be honest. He was funny and sarcastic, he stood up to his father and he owned his leadership role. I don’t really ship him and Meira, but I loved their chemistry.

Sir really ticked me off, especially in the beginning. I hated the way he treated Meira and the way he was so cold and distant. His actions made a little more sense once some of the revelations came to light. I was SHOCKED when one thing happened to him, but I’m satisfied with where his story ended. I will say, though, that Sir’s attitude was what first tipped me off to the revelation with Meira.

There were a LOT of secondary and tertiary characters in this book, between Meira’s group and the eight kingdoms, so it’s hard to talk about everyone. I’ll just say this: many of them lacked enough character development/growth to satisfy me, but I’d still love to learn more about them.

Despite how quickly I read this book, the pacing was definitely a little slow. I think that’s mostly because, as I mentioned earlier, Raasch does a LOT of world-building and she has a lot of description and background information mixed in. But I kind of liked that – It really made me feel like I was a part of the story. With eight kingdoms and all the history we were given, there was a lot of information to keep track of, which was a bit difficult at times. And as I mentioned previously, I wish there had been a little more character development to balance the world-building – not that there wasn’t some, but I would have liked to see more.

There were a LOT of parallels with this book and the Throne of Glass series. I think that, more than anything, kept me intrigued. I found myself saying, “Oh, that reminds me of this from ToG!” every few pages. The major parallels were with King Angra and the king of Adarlan, as well as the work camps and Endovier.

Overall, I definitely recommend Snow Like Ashes to fans of high fantasy, especially to fans of the Throne of Glass series. Though the pacing is slow, due to all the world-building (which was actually epic and worth the slow pacing) and the characters needed way more character development/growth, this was still an awesome book with an intriguing plot.


Review: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Dumplin’ by Julie MurphyDumplin' by Julie Murphy
Published by Balzer + Bray on September 15th 2015
Pages: 384
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

When I first heard about Dumplin’, I was really excited to read it. I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about it (based on early reviews) and how deeply it effected some people. Sadly, though, this book ended up being completely underwhelming for me.

I loved how unapologetic Willlowdean (Will) was about her fatness. She cares what people think, but only to a certain extent. She’s got that “I’m fat. Don’t like it? Don’t look” attitude that I wish I had. I could really relate to a number of things she dealt with, like not wanting to get out of the pool when a lot of people were around and not wanting to go shopping, especially at a store where you knew you’d never fit into anything. And don’t even get me started on trying to pick out Halloween costumes…

Yet, despite the fact that I could relate to a lot of what Will was going through, I still found myself disconnected from her. Her character growth had this weird up-and-down progress – sometimes, it seemed like she was growing and maturing and then, out of nowhere, she would take a huge step back. I didn’t completely mind this, because it felt very realistic – in life, we all have our ups and downs! But otherwise, her character just felt flat.

To be honest, I felt disconnected from all the characters. I couldn’t tell Amanda and Hannah apart for much of the story. Ellen was a pretty crappy friend to Will (though Will wasn’t much better to Ellen). Bo had some epic moments where I adored him, but otherwise I didn’t really care one way or another about him – and I’m not convinced of the chemistry between him and Will. I just didn’t see any sparks fly. I could see them as friends and, maybe over time, they could become more. But I just didn’t see that instant connection that most YA couples have. Same with Mitch. I sort of liked Millie, but I feel like we didn’t get to know her enough.

Will’s mom really annoyed me, though, I’ll definitely say that. I wish I didn’t know what it felt like to have a fat-shaming family member, but I do. So her words stung and I really wanted to slap her. Also, Callie. She reminded me of all the bullies who taunted me all throughout elementary, middle and high school.

Basically, what I mean when I say I felt “disconnected” from the characters is that.. I could relate to a lot of what they were going through, but I never felt like I was being pulled into the story. I liked some of the characters, but I never really cared what happened to them.

The ending was very underwhelming and felt very open-ended. I felt like a lot of the storylines were left dangling, like there was no sense of finality to the book. Honestly, I was shocked when I reached the last page – I kept trying to swipe my iPad, thinking there HAD to be another few pages.

Overall, I definitely love the body positivity message this book sends and I had so many moments where I could relate to Will. The pacing was perfect – I read 80% of the book in just a matter of hours. And it wasn’t necessarily a bad read… I just didn’t connect with the story as I’d hoped to. But I seem to be in the minority when it comes to this book – the majority of my friends and fellow bloggers LOVED it. So I still definitely recommend it! I’m still excited to read Murphy’s other book, Side Effects May Vary, and I’m excited to see what her third book will be about, as well.


Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund HodgeCrimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 5, 2015
Pages: 448
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

When Rachelle was fifteen, she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

I had the most frustrating love/hate relationship with this book imaginable – More so than with any book I’ve read recently. One minute, I wanted to DNF; the next, I felt the book was picking up and getting better. The back-and-forth of those two sentiments was so frequent, I sometimes felt like a ping pong ball! The plot was intriguing, but the pacing was slow and I couldn’t really connect with any of the characters (though some of them had their moments). Yet there was something about this book that kept me reading. I’m not sure what or why or how, but for whatever reason – and despite it taking eight days for me to finish the book – I kept pushing until the very last page.

I didn’t like nor dislike Rachelle; however, as silly as this is, I kept tripping over the pronunciation of her name and it slowed me down and really annoyed me. I know, I know, that’s REALLY silly, but.. I can’t help it! I also didn’t like nor dislike Armand, though I didn’t appreciate the insta-love between him and Rachelle. I don’t mind insta-love when it’s well-done, but I just felt like it wasn’t believable – at least, not in the beginning. If it had happened a bit slower, I think I would have liked it more. I could see the potential chemistry between Armand and Rachelle, but I didn’t see it when the insta-love first started to kick in.

I adored Erec in the beginning – he and Rachelle had a hilarious rapport. However, by the end… Gah! I can’t go into detail because of spoilers but… While I wasn’t surprised with the way Erec’s story ended, I was definitely a bit upset! On the flip-side, I really liked Amelie! I actually liked her more than Rachelle! There were a ton of other secondary characters, but none were memorable or notable. However, the one intriguing thing about the characters in this book (even the ones I didn’t care for as much)? They all reminded me of the “wolf grandmother” from the original Little Red Riding Hood, in that everyone had secrets and no one was who you thought they were. So that kept me guessing/on the edge of my seat a bit.

My biggest issue with this book (besides not connecting with the characters) was the fact that, in the beginning of the book, we were thrown into the world and we were hit with a lot of terminology. I was honestly so confused, I didn’t understand what was going on at all. I think if I re-read the book, I would understand it a LOT better. But just based on the first read, I was totally lost for at least half the book and that was super frustrating.

Finally, as someone who read Cruel Beauty, I can say that, though I liked the fairy tale and Greek myth that Cruel Beauty was based on a whole lot more than I did the fairy tale that Crimson Bound was based on, I still found Crimson Bound to be a lot better than Cruel Beauty. With Crimson Bound, I was more intrigued by the plot and more invested in the characters. That’s still not saying much, since I spent a great deal of this book debating whether or not I should DNF. But I still enjoyed it more than Cruel Beauty, overall.

I also want to point out that Fairy Tale Retellings and Greek Mythology retellings are my Book Drug of Choice. They’re my absolute favorite thing in the world!!! So the fact that I didn’t enjoy this (or Cruel Beauty) as much as I had hoped is.. Well, disappointing, to say the least. However, Rosamund Hodge is such a GORGEOUS writer! Her writing is smooth and melodic and it just sucks you right in! Her writing, more than anything, kept me from DNFing Crimson Bound (and, back when I read it, Cruel Beauty). It was just… beautiful. And for that reason alone, she’s staying on my To Read list for all future books – I’m beyond excited for her new 2016 release, Bright Smoke, Cold Fire!!

So if you loved Cruel Beauty, I definitely recommend Crimson Bound. Or if you love Fairy Tale Retellings or, specifically, Little Red Riding Hood, I say give this book a chance! You might enjoy what I didn’t and you might fall in love with the characters and plot.


Review: The Secrets of Attraction by Robin Constantine

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Secrets of Attraction by Robin ConstantineThe Secrets of Attraction by Robin Constantine
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 28, 2015
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: the author
Buy on Amazon

Set in the same world as The Promise of Amazing, this smart, surprising, and romantic follow-up to Robin Constantine's debut novel follows two New Jersey teens as they become friends and fall in love. Perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins, Sarah Mlynowski, and Jennifer E. Smith.

Madison Pryce thinks she's got everything figured out—she's working on a portfolio for a summer art program and hanging with her friends. Plus she has her hot boyfriend, Zach. But then a visit from a family friend turns Maddie's life upside down.

Jesse McMann is still reeling from a breakup that shattered his heart and his band. Then pride (and some goading from his bass player and fellow barista) forces him to find a new drummer—and the inspiration to write music again.

Kismet arrives in the unlikely form of Grayson Barrett, who tries out for Jesse's band, and whose girlfriend is BFFs with the cute girl who orders a chai latte after yoga every Thursday: Maddie. What Jesse and Maddie thought they knew about the secrets of attraction and the rules of romance changes once they start falling for each other.

I absolutely adored Robin Constantine’s debut novel, The Promise of Amazing. So when Robin approached me about reading/reviewing The Secrets of Attraction, I pounced! The prospect of jumping back into this world was too enticing to pass up; We could delve deeper into the mind/character of Maddie, while still seeing old favorites like Wren, Grayson and Jazz. We also met some amazing new characters. And, as expected, Robin Constantine created a gorgeous plot with epic characters.

I liked Maddie in The Promise of Amazing because she was a good friend to Wren, but that was about all I had to say about her. It was interesting getting to see things from her perspective this time around. She’s dealing with a lot of stress, from family drama to love life drama to summer design school program drama. She also has a major, shocking revelation to deal with. She’s hilariously blunt almost all of the time, but she can also be pretty harsh at times. She was a really impulsive, emotional character; something would happen and she would make a snap judgement and just be angry at everyone instead of trying to talk to them rationally. At times, her snap judgements really ticked me off. I get that she was going through a lot, but a few times, if she had just talked to the person she was upset with, a lot of drama could have been avoided.

Jesse was hilarious, adorable and totally broody. I’m a huge Gayson fan, but man, Jesse was an epic, swoony love interest. I loved all the crazy nicknames he gave people! There were a few moments throughout the book where I wanted to smack him upside the head for the way he behaved, but most of the time, I just wanted to smack some sense into Maddie for pushing him away. His grand, romantic gestures made me swoon!

I loved, loved, loved Jazz in this book. I feel like we learned a lot about her and I’m really hoping we get her story next! I also loved seeing Wren again, though since this wasn’t her story, she was definitely more in the background.

Tanner was a frustrating character. Sometimes he was gross and annoying, sometimes he was a horrible friend to Jesse (though Jesse wasn’t always a great friend to him, either) and sometimes he was this amazing guy who came through for everyone in the end. I loved his interactions with Jazz! It was also great seeing Grayson again! While it felt like Wren was always in the background, we saw a lot of Grayson and I loved it!

The Hannah/Duncan story line is hard to discuss because I’m still conflicted with how I feel about the whole thing. On the one hand, you can’t help who you do and don’t love and it wasn’t fair of Jesse to be so angry. On the other hand, Duncan was his friend and he basically betrayed Jesse. I felt bad for Hannah in the beginning, too, but by the end, I was a bit frustrated with her.

Though I’ll always ship Wren & Grayson the most, Maddie and Jesse made an adorable couple. They’re both artists in their own right and they complement each other perfectly. And though the plot of The Promise of Amazing was definitely closer to my heart and more personal, The Secrets of Attraction was amazing and the plot was really intriguing. Maddie and Jesse both had their trust broken and it took a lot for them to come together. I also love when a book is narrated by an artist – be it an artist who draws/paints, a musician or a writer; they see the world in a different light and it’s always interesting to see things from their eyes. Also, the yoga scenes kind of made me want to take up yoga, haha.

Overall, this was a really awesome, adorable and enjoyable book by an author that I absolutely adore! my fingers are crossed for a Jazz book and I can’t wait to see what else Robin writes in the future! So if you loved The Promise of Amazing, I definitely recommend The Secrets of Attraction! And if you haven’t read The Promise of Amazing, I highly recommend that, too!