Archives

Review: The Society by Jodie Andrefski

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 Society by Jodie AndrefskiThe Society by Jodie Andrefski
Published by Entangled Teen on May 3, 2016
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

What starts as a simple revenge plot turns deadly inside Trinity Academy's gold-plated secret society, and seventeen-year-old Sam Evans must decide if vengeance is worth the price.

Trinity Academy's gold-plated secret society is about to be turned upside down. Seventeen-year-old Sam Evans plots revenge on her ex-bestie, Jessica, who happens to perch at the top of the Society's social ladder--and helped put Sam's dad in jail. Sam may no longer be cool enough to be invited to rush the Society, but she's tech-savvy enough to know how to use it in her plan.

Sam fake taps three "initiates" to do her dirty work, each none the wiser that they're merely puppets in a quest to dethrone Jessica. Convinced Sam is losing it, her best friend Jeremy distances himself, which just fuels Sam's manic personality. But after Sam meets a hot stranger in a coffee shop, she's sure the gods might finally be taking pity on her. Everything seems to be coming together-revenge, romance, respect-until she's confused by her growing attraction to Jeremy and her plotting starts to derail.

Get-backs can be a bitch, and things nosedive when Sam realizes her plan isn't as flawless as she thinks-and if she's not careful she could be joining her dad behind bars. With one girl hospitalized and another student in a coma, Sam is forced to re-examine her motives and decide who and what she's willing to sacrifice in the name of vengeance.

Warning: This review WILL have some minor (or major, depending on how you feel) spoilers, since the book came out two years ago and certain aspects are hard to discuss WITHOUT some spoilers. You’ve been warned.

The Society has been on my TBR for over two years. I don’t know what exactly made me finally pick it up, but I’m glad I did. It was a fast, easy and enjoyable read. Not gonna lie though, I was hoping for a little bit… MORE. The author’s note indicates the whole book was a moral lesson about bullying, which I’m conflicted on… It’s an IMPORTANT lesson, but I kind of just wanted a fun, creepy thriller, à la The Skulls, not a moral lesson.

I’m still torn, re: how I feel about Samantha. In the beginning, I liked her voice and personality, and I didn’t blame her for wanting revenge on the ex-best friend who made her life a living hell. I usually don’t like the “best friends to enemies” trope because plenty of people stop being friends and DON’T torment each other, yet this trope tends to be over-used in YA – like, 80% of the time, the “mean girl” is the main character’s ex-best friend. In the beginning, I was sympathetic toward Sam, who was angry and hurt and confused. As time went on, however, I actually felt sort of bad for Jessica. NOTHING excuses bullying, but for some reason, I wanted her side of the story. I wanted to know WHY she did what she did, and why she turned so completely on Sam. It just felt like there was more to it than we knew. I REALLY wanted more closure with Sam and Jessica, too. We didn’t get that and I really wanted it.

I really liked Sam’s relationship with Jeremy, and how organic it felt. The “best friend to boyfriend” thing didn’t feel forced, and they faced some hardship. The whole Ransom thing, though, was… weird. I understand why Sam pulled away from Jeremy – and why he pulled away from her – but the Ransom thing was just really random and maybe a little unnecessary? I don’t know, I’m still sorting out how I feel about it all.

Throughout the book, I developed some weird theories and none of them panned out, which was a bit of a surprise because I’m usually at least half right. I was positive there would be some huge twist and shock at the end, and there wasn’t. That was a bit of a let-down. I do like how it ended, though – I know that’s probably contradictory, but there it is. I guess a big shocking twist would fit if this HAD just been a fun, creepy thriller. Since it wasn’t that kind of book, the way it ended felt right for the tone of the story.

I’m conflicted on whether to recommend this or not, and who I would even recommend it to. If you like a good old-fashioned revenge story, you’ll probably enjoy this. If you like books about secret societies, I wouldn’t recommend this one, because it was less about the secret society and more about bullying, cliques and (like I said before) revenge.

three-stars

Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

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: Sea Witch by Sarah HenningSea Witch by Sarah Henning
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on July 31, 2018
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

Everyone knows what happens in the end. A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss. But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends. One feared, one royal, and one already dead.

Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch.

A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain.

This book was my number one most anticipated read of 2018, so I was REALLY excited to finally read it! It had a little bit of a slow start, but it picked up in a MAJOR way. And the ending was INSANE!!!! From roughly page 275 until the end, I was just on the edge of my seat, freaking out, and going “OH CRAP OH CRAP OH CRAP!!!” the whole time. The characters in this were amazing!! I LOVED Evie. She was strong, fierce, and loyal. I loved her friendship with Nik, and her relationship with Iker. I loved the dynamic the three of them had, and the way Annemette effected that dynamic. It’s hard to go into further details here without spoilers so I won’t, buuuuttt…. !!!!!! As far as Annemette goes, there was one twist I saw coming from a mile away, and another that completely blew my mind, but made total sense once it was revealed.

Throughout the book, there were several references to the Disney version of The Little Mermaid, and I was ALL FOR IT!!! I especially loved the character parallels. Again, I can’t go into further detail without spoilers, but if you read this book (and you should!!!!), you’ll see what I mean!

This book honestly just made me feel ALL the feels. The hardest part was the ending. I loved Evie SO MUCH and I desperately wanted her to have a happy ending. But since this was a villain origin story, I knew that could never happen. Still, I was intrigued with the way her story ended, and completely satisfied.

Overall, if you love The Little Mermaid, villain origin stories, or fairy tale/classic retellings, this book is perfect for you! I highly recommend it! It was a fun, fast read and Sarah Henning is definitely on my radar! I’m excited to see what she does next!

four-stars

Review: #Murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil

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: #Murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil#Murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil
Series: #Murdertrending #1
Published by Freeform on August 7, 2018
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

WELCOME TO THE NEAR FUTURE, where good and honest citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the suburbanized prison island Alcatraz 2.0.

When eighteen-year-old Dee Guerrera wakes up in a haze, lying on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse, she realizes she’s about to be the next victim of the app. Knowing hardened criminals are getting a taste of their own medicine in this place is one thing, but Dee refuses to roll over and die for a heinous crime she didn’t commit. Can Dee and her newly formed posse, the Death Row Breakfast Club, prove she’s innocent before she ends up wrongfully murdered for the world to see? Or will The Postman’s cast of executioners kill them off one by one?

This was my first Gretchen McNeil book, but it definitely won’t be my last! It was The Hunger Games meets The Purge meets The Breakfast Club, with a hint of Criminal Minds mixed in. It was creeptastic, suspenseful, and had me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading. Honestly, I read it in three or four reading sessions over the course of just four days – the fastest I’ve read a book in a VERY long time.

Dee was super badass. Nyles was SUPER cocky and annoying, but in a hot British kind of way. Griselda was a tough bitch who hardened her heart/emotions to the situation she was in and the people she was around – and rightfully so. Ethan was a little cinnamon roll – I absolutely adored him and his movie-loving self and I AM NOT OKAY WITH HOW HIS STORY ENDED!!!! Mara was…. Whoa. I can’t because spoilers, but whoa…

I know we didn’t see a lot of Monica, for obvious reasons, but I was really intrigued by her character. I’m not sure why, but I kept picturing Monica as Megan Fox in Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. But nicer, since she’s described as being nice and actually got along with Dee.

This whole book was creepy and suspenseful. The “Death Row Breakfast Club” concept was incredible, and the Disney Princess thing was sick and twisted but also highly entertaining (I’m a horrible person, aren’t I? Haha). The ending was insane – I was 50% shocked and 50% not surprised. It was like a puzzle – it all came together and made SO MUCH SENSE. I’m 100% excited for the second book, and 100% frustrated we have to wait a whole year to get it!

I HIGHLY recommend this book for anyone who likes all the things I mentioned above: The Hunger Games, The Purge, The Breakfast Club and Criminal Minds. Also, for those who are fans of mysteries and suspense thrillers – you won’t want to put this book down!

four-stars

Review: City of Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

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: City of Bastards by Andrew ShvartsCity of Bastards by Andrew Shvarts
Series: Royal Bastards #2
Published by Disney Hyperion on June 5, 2018
Pages: 377
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Tilla, bastard of House Kent, has it made. Safe from her murderous father in the dazzling capital of Lightspire, she lives a life of luxury under the protection of the Volaris King, alongside her boyfriend Zell and best friend, Princess Lyriana.

So why isn’t she happy? Maybe it’s the whispers and stares that follow her wherever she goes, as the daughter of the traitor waging war against Lightspire. Or maybe it’s the memories of her beloved brother, Jax, who lies cold in his grave even as she tries to settle into a life in the city's prestigious University.

Then, Tilla stumbles upon the body of a classmate, a friend. The authorities are quick to rule it a suicide and sweep it under the rug, but when Tilla herself is attacked by a mysterious man with terrifying powers, she’s convinced of a conspiracy. Her friends beg her to stay silent; what she's suggesting is impossible... and treasonous.

But Tilla can't, won't, let it go. And the deeper she digs, the more questions she uncovers. How is the West beating the supposedly invincible Lightspire Mages in battle? Is it connected to the shadowy cult wreaking havoc in Lightspire? Nothing is as it seems in the glorious capital, and Tilla’s presence might just be the spark that sets the Kingdom aflame.

CITY OF BASTARDS GETS ALL THE STARS!!!!!! SO MANY STARS!!!!!! SO GOOD!!!!!! WHAT EVEN JUST HAPPENED HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!

This was my immediate reaction on Twitter upon finishing City of Bastards. And then this happened:

 
I just finished this book a few days ago and…. Yeah, I still haven’t processed everything that happened and I’m still in shock and I truly don’t know if I can articulate my feelings in regards to this book. So bear with me!

I really loved Royal Bastards, so I had high hopes for this one, but I was also cautious going into it because I didn’t know if this was meant to be a duology or a trilogy, and I feared Second Book Syndrome. After finishing the book, I discovered it’s going to be a trilogy; however, there isn’t a single trace of Second Book Syndrome in this book. It exceeded my expectations and was EVEN BETTER than Royal Bastards! The writing was epic, the characters had awesome stories and growth, and the world building was incredible.

I absolutely adore Tilla. She’s come so far, yet has so far to go. I liked that she was so conflicted over being in Lightspire – she wanted to enjoy it, yet she missed home. It felt realistic. Through it all, she stayed true to herself and trusted her instincts. I really liked Ellarion and the easy friendship (maybe more?) he and Tilla formed. He was funny, sarcastic and strong. The way his story ended was heartbreaking, though… I’m anxious to see what it means for him in the third and final book.

I wasn’t as big a fan of Zell this book, and I’m not sure why. I think it was a combination of things, some of which I can’t discuss because spoilers. Maybe part of it was because I liked Ellarion so much and kind of shipped him and Tilla instead.

Lyriana probably had the most character development/growth out of everyone because of everything she went through. My heart broke for her throughout the book, but especially at the end. Like with Ellarion, I’m anxious to see what it will mean for her in book three.

Right off the bat, I REALLY like Markiska. Everything about her friendship with Tilla broke a lot of YA stereotypes and it was just epic. She was also such a badass! And then… The way her story ended… Grrr!!!

I also want to mention Marlo, because I adored him and Garrus. Also, Marlo reminded me of someone from the Karen Chance/Cassie Palmer books, and I can’t quite put my finger on who now… Or maybe he reminds me of Willy the Snitch from Buffy, except more badass… Still trying to figure this one out! Either way, I loved his character and the way his story ended!

I don’t know why, but I had major The Magicians vibes while reading this. I haven’t read the books, and only watched part of season one, but the comparison kept popping into my head – something about the “University” kept triggering the comparison. I’m still confused by this, but I’ll throw it out there for anyone who DOES like The Magicians – this book may interest you because of that!

The ending of this book was… I just… I can’t. I have no words. It was… explosive (hahaha). It was epic. It was crazy and insane. It was shocking and jaw-dropping… I just can’t. I can’t think of a better way to explain it. It was just… Whoa. And I REALLY NEED BOOK THREE RIGHT NOW PLEASE AND THANK YOU!!!!! I seriously don’t know if I can wait until 2019!!! *SOBS!!!!!!*

Overall, I really, really, REALLY enjoyed this book. It was even better than book one, and exceeded my expectations. It was more intense with higher stakes, and each character had more to lose. Highly recommend this for fans of Royal Bastards (you’re gonna LOVE IT even more than book one), The Magicians (still not sure about this comparison, but I’m still mentioning it), and fans of royalty, court life, magical universities and mystery/intrigue.

five-stars

Guest Review: Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen

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.

Guest Review: Reign the Earth by A.C. GaughenReign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen
Series: The Elementae #1
Published by Bloomsbury on January 30, 2018
Pages: 438
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands.

But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.

This intense, richly drawn high-fantasy by the author of Scarlet will hold readers spellbound.

A message from Meredith: Hey everyone! Today, I have Lissa here with a guest review for Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen!

You can find Lissa on Twitter!

Without further adieu, here’s Lissa’s review! Enjoy!

~*~*~*~*~

I adored A.C. Gaughen’s Scarlet trilogy, in all its dark, and brutal glory. It has been a long time since we have had a new book by this author, so I was alternately ecstatic and concerned in the lead up to the release; however, any fears I had as to whether or not I would love it were unfounded.

A.C. Gaughen has a unique ability to write complex and emotional characters in such distressing situations, without making the squeamish (i.e. me) turn away. The intensity of her writing creates such vivid scenes, I am thankful I can hide behind the distance pages (as opposed to movie images) give me.

Shalia’s sacrifices and loses tore me to pieces, and the brief moments of happiness she was allowed were a trickle compared to a waterfall. I need the next book ASAP! Highly recommend this one.

five-stars

Guest Review: Girls Can’t Hit by T.S. Easton

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.

Guest Review: Girls Can’t Hit by T.S. EastonGirls Can't Hit by T.S. Easton
Series: Boys Don't Knit #3
Published by Feiwel & Friends on April 18, 2017
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

A funny, feminist teen story about knowing when to train . . . and when to fight.

Fleur Waters never takes anything seriously - until she turns up at her local boxing club one day, just to prove a point. She's the only girl there, and the warm-up alone is exhausting . . . but the workout gives her an escape from home and school, and when she lands her first uppercut on a punching bag she feels a rare glow of satisfaction. So she goes back the next week, determined to improve.

Fleur's overprotective mum can't abide the idea of her entering a boxing ring, why won't she join her pilates class instead? Her friends don't get it either and even her boyfriend, 'Prince' George, seems concerned by her growing muscles and appetite - but it's Fleur's body, Fleur's life, so she digs her heels in and carries on with her training. When she finally makes it into the ring, her friends and family show their support and Fleur realises that sometimes in life it's better to drop your guard and take a wild swing!

A message from Meredith: Hey everyone! Today, I have Jessica here with a guest review for Girls Can’t Hit by T.S. Easton

You can find Jessica on Books 4 Jessica and on Twitter!

Without further adieu, here’s Jessica’s review! Enjoy!

~*~*~*~*~

I am usually a fan of YA sport books, especially when it involves women in sports. Or at the very least the sports YA books I have read have been pretty good for the most part. However, I have to say Girls Can’t Hit did not exactly pack the punch (you see what I did there) I was expecting. This isn’t to say the book is completely bad, but maybe it just wasn’t as interesting as I was hoping it’d be.

T.S. Easton’s Girls Can’t Hit is the story of Fleur Waters, a young woman living in the UK who is tired of her parents fighting, her mother’s overprotectiveness, and so many other things in her life. So when she visits a boxing club in her area and decides to take it up, despite her mom and traditional boyfriend’s protest, she stars to enjoy herself. Not only that, this new sport may be exactly what Fleur never knew she needed.

Let me begin with the good. I did like when the author delved into Fleur’s backstory and some of her life outside of boxing. While I didn’t enjoy all of it, I really especially enjoyed Fleur’s complicated relationship with her parents. How we get to see the struggles inside her family and how boxing makes that more complicated is a treat to read. I also really enjoyed Fluer’s friends and seeing her relationship with them. Both Pip and Blossom are interesting characters that really shined in their personalities, especially Blossom as she is a very feminist character.

The second thing I really liked in this book were the messages. There is a strong feminist theme throughout the book regarding women and boxing. However, there are also discussions of feminism and what it means to be a feminist all sprinkled throughout the book. Something I really appreciated was the discussion of how being a feminist can be different for different people and there isn’t just one way to do it. Blossom is a character who goes to marches and is very passionate in her activism through debating, petitioning, and fighting on a larger and wider scale with traditional activism tactics. Fluer is also a feminist, but contributes to her activism by researching about female boxers and trying to make boxing a more inclusive places for women. It may be a more niche approach, but it is still a feminist movement and cause either way you look at it. Both girls are feminist and both do what they can to help spread a message of equality & anti-patriarchy.

Finally, I really liked seeing Fleur’s passion and effort involving boxing. While some of the boxing scenes were parts that I feel are better seen than read about, the parts involving seeing Fleur train in a variety of ways and work hard to get better were what I really enjoyed. We get to see Fleur train more and more as the book goes on and learn more about boxing, especially when it comes to women in boxing. I really appreciated seeing the character development of Fleur and even learning more about a sport I don’t know too much about along with our main character.

Now onto some things that got me discouraged. There were only two, but they did cause me to rate this book a few stars lower than I wanted to.

The first is the battle scenes. The battle reenactment scenes were not very interesting or intriguing in the slightest. I really did not care for them and the character arc with Pip involving the battles was pretty dull and not something I really cared for.

The second thing was the actual boxing scenes. While I have enjoyed the sports books I read in the past, I don’t recall many of them going into so much detail about the actual games or practices. Or at least not in so much dry detail. I do like sports YA books & wish there were more female lead sports books. However, the actual scenes involving any fights and some of the technicalities involving the training were just not grabbing me as much as I hoped they would. It is similar to watching a comic book show and wanting to like the fight scenes, but finding the more emotional and character driven parts more epic. This isn’t to say that I don’t think any kind of action scenes are bad or not intriguing, it just may be that in this case with this book it wasn’t my cup of tea. Which I do find sad because I should really enjoy the actual fight scenes in a book involving boxing, but just could not get into them. There may be another reader out here who can, but just not this reader.

Overall, this was a decent story with a unique premise, interesting characters, and good development/arcs. I sadly couldn’t get into some of the story involving the battle scenes and physical fight scenes, but I don’t think that makes this a bad book. I think this book is one that would especially entertain YA sports fans, boxing lovers, and feminist alike. I still recommend this story to readers and even though it wasn’t as good as I was hoping it would be, that doesn’t make it a bad book or something not worth checking out.

three-stars

Guest Review: Animus by Antoine Revoy

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.

Guest Review: Animus by Antoine RevoyAnimus by Antoine Revoy
Published by Macmillan on May 8, 2018
Pages: 224
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

The residents of a quiet Kyoto neighborhood have slowly come to realize that inauspicious, paranormal forces are at play in the most unlikely of places: the local playground.

Two friends, a young girl and boy, resolve to exorcise the evils that inhabit it, including a snaggle-toothed monster.

Beautiful and eerie, ANIMUS weaves an entrancing spell out of childish curiosity, folklore, friendship, and fears that lie deep in the human heart.

Writer/Illustrator Antoine Revoy has a long-held passion for all forms of comics―graphic novels, manga and bandes dessinées―fostered by his childhood living in Paris, France and Tokyo, Japan. Antoine's clients include Der Spiegel and New York Times, and his work has received acclaim by the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, and Spectrum. Antoine currently teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in Providence, RI, with his wife, illustrator Kelly Murphy. www.revoy.net.

A message from Meredith: Hey everyone! Today, I have Jessica here with a guest review for Animus by Antoine Revoy

You can find Jessica on Books 4 Jessica and on Twitter!

Without further adieu, here’s Jessica’s review! Enjoy!

~*~*~*~*~

I normally do not get the chance to read many graphic novels. I do enjoy them and wish I had the opportunity to read more, but my access to graphic novels that I want to read vary and I usually end up purchasing other books instead. However, when I am able to read graphic novels I always hop on the chance. I am happy to say that when I received Animus for review I dove right into the book and not only found the story exciting, but the illustrations to be some of the best and most creative illustrations I have ever seen in this genre.

Animus by Antoine Revoy is about a two young children named Hisao and Sayuri living in Japan. One day they come across a playground and a young ghost in a mysterious mask. The ghost, named Toothless, starts to explain the mysteries of the playground and causes one of the local children to disappear. It is up to Hisao and Sayuri to discover Toothless’s secret and how to stop these strange events from occurring.

There are many things that I really liked about Animus. The first being the illustrations. The designs of the playground and the terrible &/or strange things that could happen due to using the equipment were stunning. From monsters coming to life and trying to grab a character to seeing the dreams of a cat…these graphics were nothing less than extremely creative and wondrous. I had an issue regarding the story that I will discuss later, but I have to say that even with that issue the graphics were so interesting to look at that I still was finding myself enjoying the book despite my problems. It is a little difficult to talk about pictures as you need to see them to fully understand the creativity and detail that was put into them. However, I think that if there is any reason to read this book the graphics and design of the illustrations alone should be enough.

The second things I really liked was the creativity of the story. The story & the mysteries of the story were unlike anything I’d ever read before. I especially loved the unique aspects regarding the playground equipment and how each piece of equipment could cause a different thing to happen like going up or down a slide could impact someone’s age or a sandbox causing someone’s worst fears to come to life and try to attack the person in the sandbox. The imagination that was put into this part of the book was spectacular & something that really made me want to keep reading.

Sadly, there were also some pieces of the book that I was not so keen on and that kept me from giving this book a 5-star or even a 4-star rating.

The first negative of mine was the story itself. While I did find a lot of parts of the novel to be interesting and intriguing, the story overall became more & more confusing as I went on. I was confused by how many missing characters there were, connections, to the supernatural aspect and real world part of the book, and more. This only got worse also as I read on. As I said before, the graphics really helped me to keep enjoying the book even as I was confused. However, the fact that I was getting very confused with what was happening and feeling so jumbled is what caused me to not be able to give this book as high of a review as I wanted.

The next thing that I really didn’t like in this book was the ending. I usually say that I can’t give much away about an ending due to spoilers, but in this case I feel I can’t give much away about an ending because I really can’t say with 100% certainty that I know what happened in the end. The book’s ending felt very odd to me and mixed my other concerns about the book all together from the confusion regarding the characters, timeline, events in the story, etc. Now when I am confused about a storyline I feel that it is something that shouldn’t be taken so seriously or that should be seen as something that should make a reader not want to pick up this book. I don’t feel that just because I was confused about a story, doesn’t technically mean that everyone will be. I just wanted to show a concern that I had for that book (that maybe you will have too) and my reasoning for the rating I am giving this book. Which includes both the good and the bad. And in this case it was just a bad point for me, but maybe not for another reader.

Overall, this book had excellent illustrations and an imaginative story. While it does get a little confusing (specially towards the end) I do not think that should technically discourage someone from reading the book, unless that sort of thing really upsets you and you really think my views will match with yours. I do think people should read this book for themselves and see how they feel, but for me I just thought it was good. It wasn’t terrible or amazing, just a decent graphic novel with some good creative elements mixed in.

three-stars

Review: Renegades by Marissa Meyer

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: Renegades by Marissa MeyerRenegades by Marissa Meyer
Series: Renegades #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 7, 2017
Pages: 556
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

From #1 New York Times-bestselling author Marissa Meyer, comes a high-stakes world of adventure, passion, danger, and betrayal.

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone... except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice — and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

HOLY WOW WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG TO READ THIS WONDERFUL EPIC AMAZING BOOK?!?!?!?!?! This book absolutely just blew my mind!! Like, I’m a HUGE fan of the Lunar Chronicles series, but I’m 98% sure I enjoyed Renegades more than any other Marissa Meyer book I’ve ever read. It was just complete and utter perfection. I loved the writing, the characters, the plot, everything about this book. I have few – if any – complaints, to be honest. So get ready for a gushing review because I’m gonna gush and ramble and I’ll attempt to keep it spoiler free, but no promises.

I LOVED LOVED LOVED Nova. Like, one of my favorite “villains” ever. She was spunky and fierce, and I loved everything about her Anarchist persona, Nightmare. Her powers, her background – even just the name Nightmare and the feelings it evokes. When I pictured her in my head, I pictured Mal from the Descendants movie, purple hair and all. I 1000% loved the idea of the amusement park being Nightmare’s stomping ground/hide-out, even if it actually wasn’t. It just felt very fitting for the character.

I also really loved Adrian. I loved the way he created The Sentinel as a way to prove himself. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I loved him as Sketch. Sketch’s powers are very cool and VERY useful. But I loved that the superhero had a secret identity, haha.

Right off the bat, I loved the idea of Nova and Adrian being potential love interests – very Romeo & Juliet. How much more star-crossed can you get than superhero versus supervillain? I seriously can’t wait to see what happens when their secrets are revealed to each other – it’s gonna be CRAZY!!!

Another fun Disney comparison? The Detonator reminded me of a weird combination of Shego from Kim Possible and Harley Quinn from the Suicide Squad movie. Also, I KNOW we weren’t supposed to like her, but I kind of did. Like, I hated her for some of the crap she pulled, but I was also intrigued by her and wanted to know more about her, her background, etc.

I absolutely loved Hugh (Captain Chromium) and Simon (The Dread Warden). I loved them individually as people AND I loved their superhero personas. I also LOVED them as a couple – they were so cute together! TBH, this book had a LOT of ships and I want ALL of them to sail or I’ll be SUPER upset!!!

I could talk about each character in this book individually because I have something to say about all of them, but I honestly just loved them all. I loved Adrian’s team the most, of course. I was intrigued by the fact that some of the Renegades weren’t actually the good guys – they SHOULD have been villains, but they somehow became “heroes.” It’s going to be very interesting, especially going forward – if there REALLY is a huge “Renegade versus Anarchist” battle brewing, which side will these wayward Renegades be on…?

The ending was effing INSANE for SO many reasons. I may have discussed minor spoilers throughout my review, but I’ll steer clear of major spoilers and just say OMFG WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?!??! But also I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I SERIOUSLY CANNOT wait for book two! I NEED it in my hands NOW!!! I can’t wait to see what happens next. I know I said (above) that I can’t wait to see what happens when Nova’s and Adrian’s secrets are revealed to each other, but I especially can’t wait to see Adrian’s reaction when Nova’s secret is revealed…!!!!!

So… I mean, yeah. This review didn’t do this book justice. I just loved it so much, it’s hard to put it into words. This review was probably a ramble-filled mess and completely unprofessional and maybe didn’t make a lot of sense. But, like, just read the book. That’s the bottom line. It’s SOOOO GOOD!! Seriously.

five-stars

Review: To Right the Wrongs by Sheryl Scarborough

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: To Right the Wrongs by Sheryl ScarboroughTo Right the Wrongs by Sheryl Scarborough
Series: Erin Blake #2
Published by Tor Teen on February 27, 2018
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Barely three weeks after catching the killer of Erin's mother and their biology teacher, Erin and her crew are back, up to their elbows in forensics projects. But this time it's with the full approval of their parents.

With Uncle Victor at the helm, Erin and her best friends, Spam and Lysa, are prepping a new classroom for CSI summer camp, where they will serve as camp counselors. Meanwhile, Erin's super-hot new boyfriend, Journey, is graduating, just in time for him to take a position as Victor's intern in the new CSI lab on campus. Journey and Victor are going to take another look at the evidence in the murder trial that sent Journey's father to prison. The girls are under strict orders not to meddle with the murder case, but that's easier said than done...

I’m torn between giving this book 3.5 stars or 4 stars. When I finished book one, To Catch a Killer, I REALLY wanted a sequel. I do love that To Right the Wrongs tied up some loose ends, but it also left a few things dangling. It makes me wonder if there will be a book three – and I’m totally okay with that! Despite some hiccups with this book, it was still really enjoyable and the ending had me like WHOA!! But also… totally called it!

I’ve never been a huge fan of Erin. I love the forensic sleuth side of her, but otherwise she’s just.. childish and selfish. I understood her reasoning for her behavior, but that didn’t make it okay. I was disappointed with the way she treated Journey in this book. It felt like their relationship took a backseat to everything else. Part of that was definitely Journey’s fault – he was very distant with Erin, behaving as if he didn’t trust her and he should have. I still 100% shipped them, but I really wanted MORE from them as a couple, and I’m disappointed we didn’t get that MORE.

Also, side-note: I had MAJOR Rob (1-800-WHERE-R-U) vibes from Journey.. Anyone else read those books and notice that? Just me?

I liked Lysa and Spam a LOT more in this book than I did in book one. In book one, they kept oscillating between acting like loyal friends, and acting as if Erin was purposefully leaving them out of things. But in To Right the Wrongs, they worked WITH Erin, and they both definitely had a lot of character growth because of that shift in attitude.

I really didn’t trust ANYONE in this book. Like, it would be faster to list the people I DID trust 100%. But as I got further into the book, I started looking at each suspicious character in a more critical way. And then I was able to narrow down who I thought was TRULY suspicious, and who seemed like they were suspicious just to throw readers off the mark. In the end, my instincts regarding the person I was MOST suspicious about turned out to be correct. And when the big reveal happened, I was just like “I KNEW IT!!!!!!!”

There are several characters I’d like to mention by name, and discuss in greater detail, but that would end up being super spoilery and I’m trying to keep this review to a spoiler minimum. But let’s just say: I despised Blankenship until the end; I didn’t trust Arletta Stone or the coach, and was shocked by the way their stories ended; I loved Lyman, though we were clearly supposed to be suspicious of him; and I was indifferent to Clay but had this weird gut feeling…

Anyway, that’s all on that subject, lest I spoil everything with my vague descriptions.

Overall, this book definitely started out slow. And I honestly enjoyed To Catch a Killer a LOT more. However, To Right the Wrongs was still very intriguing. It kept me on the edge of my seat, trying to guess who the killer was and how things would end. The characters all experienced a lot of character growth, and the book definitely tied up a lot of loose ends. I’m anxious to see if there will be a third book in this series, because I love the forensics and Nancy Drew/Veronica Mars feels. Also, the “90s/00s feels – by that I mean, as stated in my review of To Catch a Killer, “It completely reminded me of a 90s/00s teen novel, and I LOVED IT!”

So if you love books about forensics, Nancy Drew, Veronica Mars, or thrillers in general, I HIGHLY recommend you pick this series up! It’s definitely a wild ride and, slow bits aside, will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.

three-half-stars

Review: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

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: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani ChokshiAru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
Series: Pandava Quartet #1
Published by Rick Riordan Presents on March 27, 2018
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she'll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru's doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don't believe her claim that the museum's Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it's up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

I’ve been excited for this book ever since I saw it described as “Percy Jackson meets Sailor Moon.” First of all, you guys know I’m a HUGE fan of books with mythology and mythology retellings. And I’ve loved Sailor Moon ever since I was a little girl. Not only do I 100% support these comparisons, but I also had MAJOR Hocus Pocus vibes (lighting the black flame candle = lighting the Lamp of Bharata) and – weirdly – A Wrinkle in Time vibes. I don’t totally get why I had A Wrinkle in Time vibes because I read it in elementary school and remember VERY little about it. But, for whatever reason, it kept coming to mind.

So yeah… Between all those spot-on, epic comparisons and the gorgeous world and mythology, this book definitely did NOT disappoint. Roshani Chokshi’s writing is absolutely gorgeous and lyrical, and her characters are fierce – I was rooting for them right from page one!

I loved Aru and Mini. They were strong, fierce female heroines. They both made mistakes and had some fumbles, but they always got right back up and pushed forward. I love the way their friendship evolved from beginning to end, and can’t wait to see what happens next for them in book two.

Boo reminded me of Zazu from Lion King. I also had major Mulan/Mushu vibes with the whole “I’ll restore my honor!” thing.

I loved the way this book ended, and what it means for the second book. I’m hoping we’ll get some more background info on Aru’s mom, the Sleeper, and the original Pandava Brothers. I’m anxious to see the rest of the reincarnations of the Pandava’s, too. With the Sailor Moon comparison, I can’t wait to see them all together. I’m curious to see the dynamic and how they work together, if they clash, etc… You know, I’ll just admit it: I’m hoping for a Sailor Moon/Sailor Mars dynamic between Aru and one of the other girls, haha. The Moon/Mars dynamic always had me hysterical!

I know my review was a bit babbly and all over the place, but hopefully I got my point across – I LOVED this book! I had a really hard time articulating why, but it was just really fantastic. It comes down to the mythology, the comparisons, the writing, the world, and the characters. It was all just magical and wonderful and I REALLY need book two in my life ASAP!!!

So, overall, if you love books about mythology, I HIGHLY recommend this book. Also, if you’re a Sailor Moon fan, you’ll love the girl power!

Side note: A great side-effect of reading and loving Aru Shah and the End of Time? It FINALLY has me in the mood to re-read The Star-Touched Queen. You see, the first time I read TSTQ, I was going through some very stressful, upsetting Life Stuff. I should have LOVED TSTQ!!! But my Life Slump made it difficult to focus and I couldn’t get into ANY of the books I read during that period in my life. I’ve been meaning to re-read TSTQ for a long time now, with the hope that I’ll enjoy it more now that my Life Slump has eased up. The fact that I loved Aru Shah has me VERY hopeful that I’ll love TSTQ this time around!

four-stars