Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Review: One Paris Summer By Denise Grover Swank

One Paris Summer
My Rating: 5 Stars
Date Read: July 2016

Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Paperback, 272 pages

Summary From Goodreads

Most teens dream of visiting the City of Lights, but it feels more like a nightmare for Sophie Brooks. She and her brother are sent to Paris to spend the summer with their father, who left home a year ago without any explanation. As if his sudden abandonment weren't betrayal enough, he's about to remarry, and they’re expected to play nice with his soon-to-be wife and stepdaughter. The stepdaughter, Camille, agrees to show them around the city, but she makes it clear that she will do everything in her power to make Sophie miserable.
Sophie could deal with all the pain and humiliation if only she could practice piano. Her dream is to become a pianist, and she was supposed to spend the summer preparing for a scholarship competition. Even though her father moved to Paris to pursue his own dream, he clearly doesn't support hers. His promise to provide her with a piano goes unfulfilled.

Still, no one is immune to Paris’s charm. After a few encounters with a gorgeous French boy, Sophie finds herself warming to the city, particularly when she discovers that he can help her practice piano. There’s just one hitch—he’s a friend of Camille’s, and Camille hates Sophie. While the summer Sophie dreaded promises to become best summer of her life, one person could ruin it all.

 My Review: 

*I received a free copy of this book from book look bloggers in exchange for an honest review*

I really enjoyed this book. It was like Anna and the French Kiss meets Cinderella {minus the wicked step mother bit} but it still manages to be a unique and fun story. Just like with Anna and the French Kiss, I was scolding Sophie for not wanting to be in Paris. {I mean, yeah, I know that the circumstances were not ideal for her, but come on. It's Paris for crying out loud... But that aside...

I loved that in this story there was a good relationship between Sophie and her step mom {instead of the hate/hate relationship that can sometimes happen with step-parents. I really disliked Dale and Camille. Camille was petty and mean spirited. And Dale was a dou--- jerk. Dale was a jerk.

Sophie was such a relatable character. She can be awkward and she's definitely unsure of herself at times, which can make her come off as immature. But I think she does the best that she can in the situation that she'd been put in.

I liked Matthieu, he was tres swoony and mysterious... Although I was a bit skeptical of him and his reasons for keeping their relationship hush hush... I think that Sophie had waaaay more patience with him than I would have.

All in all, this was a sweet, summertime read that is perfect if you are looking a good contemporary novel.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Review: Everland by Wendy Spinale

By Wendy Spinale
My Rating: 4 Stars
Date Read: June 2016
Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Hardcover, 312 pages

Summary From Goodreads:
London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders -- the German army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.

Unsure if the virus has spread past England's borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a daredevil boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook?

 My Review:
It seems to me that there has been an influx of Peter Pan retellings as of late. And I can't help but wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that Once Upon A Time has made it so popular with the whole #CaptainSwan thing. I don't know. Some of the retold versions are superb (like Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell) and others are just kind of... meh. I personally like it when they don't stick straight to the original... I love when things are shaken up, and have been twisted and things happen that I don't expect. Read on to find out where this book falls on my loved It/Meh list.

This one actually ranked pretty high on my "like list" It had twists and turns, and it was a little darker, and more violent than the original Peter Pan Story. It was set in a Dystopian world, and it had bits of Steampunk thrown in as well {which I was surprised that I liked, because usually steampunk is just not my cup of tea} It's the Peter Pan we all know and love, but with so many different things thrown in there as well.

There were Cogs and Doc, who, at first, I was comparing to the dwarves from Snow White... And while that still holds true, now I realize that they were more like the fairies from the Tinkerbell movies. I liked that Bella {Tinkerbell} Was this sassy little 12 {maybe... I don't remember her age now} year old, but she had a heart of gold, and only wanted to be seen as an equal to all the other Lost Boys.

I didn't really *get* why they needed the "Pixie Dust" other than the  fact that they were just using it to make the story more similar to Peter Pan... It was kind of weird, and if they'd left it out, I would have been okay with it...but oh well.

I had a love-hate relationship with Gwen. I liked her, and the fact that she was so fiercely protective of her brother and sister, and even Bella and the Lost Kids... But at sometimes she came off as a little bit whiny... which I suppose is normal for a 15 (16? I don't remember... I'm so terrible) year old who has the weight of the world on her shoulders.

Usually I'm a bit skeptical of Peter Pan... I mean, he's okay and all in the original... But in most retellings he's kind of.. I don't know, sketchy? Like he has a hidden agenda or something. But I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with him in this version. He's not just this goofy, care free kid. He's got all of the lost kids counting on him to keep them safe.

Then we have Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer (Captain Hook for those of you who didn't know) I'm rather fond Captain Hook (or at least the one that has been made so popular by Once Upon A Time... Ah, that dashing, rapscallion scoundrel with his guy-liner and sassy attitude.. oh my, I can't even *SWOON* *INSERT HEART EYES HERE* 

What? Oh, yeah, I'm getting distracted again, sorry... As I was saying. I have a fondness for the good ol' Captain now, and whenever there's a story, I hope that he gets to be the good guy and at least get a chance at a happily ever after. Well, that's not really what he gets here, but we also get to see more than just the surface. He's not just a bad guy. He's got his reasons for doing what he does.

This is the first book in a trilogy I believe... I'm not sure how their going to intertwine the stories, but I'm curious. When it ended, it was pretty much tied up the way it should have been, so maybe it's going to be a different fairy tale with new and old characters... I don't know, I guess I'll have to wait and find out.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Review: Nobody's Lady by Amy McNulty

Nobody's Lady (Never Veil #2)
Nobody's Lady
By Amy McNulty
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Date Read: June 2016
Publication Date: April 12, 2016
Paperback, 300 pages

Summary From Goodreads

For the first time in a thousand years, the men in Noll’s village possess the freedom to love whom they will. In order to give each man the chance to fully explore his feelings, the lord of the village decrees all marriages null and void until both spouses declare their love for one another and their desire to wed again. What many women think will be a simple matter becomes a source of village-wide tension as most men decide to leave their families and responsibilities behind.

Rejected by the lord and ashamed of her part in the village’s history, Noll withdraws from her family and lives life as an independent woodcarver. This changes when her sister accuses her of hiding her former husband Jurij from her—and when Jurij eventually does ask to move in. Determined not to make the same mistakes, Noll decides to support her male friends through their new emotional experiences, but she’s soon caught up in a darker plot than she ever dared imagine possible from the men she thought she knew so well. And the lord for whom she still has feelings may be hiding the most frightening truth of them all.

My Review

*BOOM* That was my brain exploding, okay? I didn't review the first book, because I couldn't get my thoughts to make any kind of sense, so we'll see if I can do any better here.

This book was sooo confusing at times, and I had a hard time keeping track of what was going on. And it was kind of weird too... But I still really liked it. Makes perfect sense, right?

I got sucked into Noll's world once again, and I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat, trying to figure out what in the heck was going on. There were lots of twists and turns. It was kind of crazy all the things that were going on, and sometimes it was hard to keep track, which is why I didn't give this book a higher rating even though I really liked it... That and the fact that I found some of the characters a little annoying and in need of an attitude adjustment.

The ending of the book killed me just a little, and also left me a little confused... So now I can't wait to get the next book to see how everything is going to work itself out.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Review: The Avery Shaw Experiment

The Avery Shaw Experiment
By Kelly Oram
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Date Read: May 2016
Publication Date: February 14, 2014
Paperback, 230 pages

Summary From Goodreads:
When Avery Shaw’s heart is shattered by her life-long best friend, she chooses to deal with it the only way she knows how—scientifically.

The state science fair is coming up and Avery decides to use her broken heart as the topic of her experiment. She’s going to find the cure. By forcing herself to experience the seven stages of grief through a series of social tests, she believes she will be able to get over Aiden Kennedy and make herself ready to love again. But she can’t do this experiment alone, and her partner (ex partner!) is the one who broke her heart.

Avery finds the solution to her troubles in the form of Aiden’s older brother Grayson. The gorgeous womanizer is about to be kicked off the school basketball team for failing physics. He’s in need of a good tutor and some serious extra credit. But when Avery recruits the lovable Grayson to be her “objective outside observer,” she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for, because Grayson has a theory of his own: Avery doesn’t need to grieve. She needs to live. And if there’s one thing Grayson Kennedy is good at, it’s living life to the fullest.

My Review:
What I want for once, is a book where the super brainy girl is also super confident in herself, and isn't socially awkward. Like, for real...But anyway. I thought it was super cute, despite the fact that I got just an eensy bit annoyed at how hung up she was on Aiden. I really loved Grayson. Sometimes the things he said made me want to smack him, but other times I was swooning or laughing right along with Avery. I liked that he pushed her to come out of her shell, but at the same time he respected her, and when she got too stressed out, he backed off. It was super sweet, and a super quick read that I definitely enjoyed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Review: The Star Touched Queen

The Star Touched Queen
By Roshani Chokshi
My Rating: 2.5 Stars
Date Read: May 2016
Publication Date: April 26th 2016
Hardcover, 342 pages

Summary From Goodreads:
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself

My Review:

I hate Maya's father. Really, truly hate him. The comment that he made about "even a favored daughter is still just a daughter." ugh.

This book was kind of strange...It was like A Court of thorns and roses mixed with The Wrath and the Dawn plus some Indian mythology, and Hades and Persephone, and Horoscopes. And all of  those are things that I really like... But it seemed like there was too much going on, and I was just so confused. I don't even know how to review this one... I hated how terribly Maya was treated. Because she had a bad horoscope, because she was a girl... I just... that was really frustrating. I loved the way Amar talked about Maya. That was beautiful. But I didn't like the total insta love. I felt like we never even got to learn anything about him, he was just kind of...there. And the magic, and the dimension/time traveling left me confused, like I had missed something. I don't know. This one wasn't for me, but I know lots of people who enjoyed it. Give it a try, and let me know what you think of it!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)A Court Of Mist And Fury
By Sarah J. Maas
My Rating: 5  {Gajillion} beautifully splendid stars from the Night Court
Date Read: May 2016
Publication Date: May 3rd 2016
Hardcover, 624 pages

Summary From Goodreads:

Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

My Review:

Just a bit of a heads up, I will be fangirling about this book, and talking about things and it might get kind of spoilery from here on out. So, yeah... you've been warned.

First random thoughts I had while reading this book:

So the Beast we thought was the Beast in the first part of this Beauty and the Beast story is not actually the real Beast at all, is he? hmmmm

Hot Darn. Holy freaking ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!! This book is beautiful and brilliant and heartbreakingly perfect.

I have so much love for this book you guys. So. Much. Love. And I just cannot even. The average rating for this book on Goodreads is 4.77 and the average rating on Amazon is 4.8... So I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. It's fan-freaking-fantastic.

I was a little hesitant to read this book at first, which is so weird, because I absolutely, positively ADORED the first book. But I kept starting it, and putting it down, then picking it back up. I couldn't get into it right away like I had the first book, and it was a little discouraging... Not to mention the fact that I went into reading this book with the mindset that it was a YA novel. So it kind of took me b surprise when about 20 pages in there was a scene that seemed like it came straight out of a Romance novel. It wasn't so off putting to me to make me stop reading it, but this is just my caution for others who might be a little more... sensitive as far as risque scenes go.

Rhysand: Oh my holy crab cakes........ I love Rhys. I was so confused. I kind of liked him in the first book, but then I also hated his guts. But in this book he totally and completely redeemed himself. Oh wow. I haven't loved a "bad guy" this much since Aaron Warner from The Shatter Me series. His character is just so complex. I loved it. I loved getting to see who he really is, and what he was hiding behind that heartless facade. He is so much more than a heartless son-of-a-*bad word removed*. He's actually very thoughtful and selfless. And will do whatever it takes to protect the things and people he loves.

Now that I know Rhysand's story, I want to re-read the first book, just because when I do, I will be seeing things from a different perspective. I won't be thinking that he's a heartless monster. I know what his motives are, and I know how he is really feeling about things.

I loved how he was so protective of Feyre, like when he came to her rescue when she was having a panic attack at her wedding, and when Tamlin locked her away in his castle. But at the same time he respected her. He never told her no, she couldn't do something because he was afraid she'd get hurt {even though I'm sure he wanted to at times} He helped her grow, he pushed her out of her comfort zone, and made her a better, stronger person. He loves her, he wants what is best for her, he wants her to fight beside him, and he'd never tell her that she couldn't do something. SPOILERS: She's the love of his life, his mate, the High Lady of the Night Court, his equal in every way.

My favorite parts of this book were the ones with Feyre and Rhys. That might have been part of the reason why it took me so long to get into it. The first however many chapters where it was Feyre and Tamlin and Ianthe really struggled to keep my attention. I was annoyed at Ianthe and Tamlin, and even Lucien. I wanted him to step up and be the friend that Feyre needed. It wasn't until Rhys swooped in that first time and called in his bargain with her {And he was really just saving her, even if she didn't realize it at the time} that I really got hooked into the book. It was great. I found myself antsy when she wasn't with Rhys.

I was kind of tremendously annoyed with Tamlin, and I knew when I started reading this book that something was going to be different. I hadn't read any reviews or spoilers, but I just had this feeling that something was a changing.. And I was right. I was kind of sad at first, because I wanted so much to love Tamlin as much as I did when I read the first book. But I didn't. I would have fought harder against Tamlin and his rules and expectations if I were Feyre... She just saved EVERYBODY gosh dang it! She should be awarded some freedoms, and definitely not locked away for her own protection! Not to mention the fact that when the whole topic of a High Lady came up, Tamlin was just like "Ah, nah homie, there's no such thing as a High Lady. Never has been, never will be."{well obviously he didn't say it quite like that, but you get the idea.} He was just being so selfish. I mean, yeah, I get that he's under a lot of pressure, and people are watching him and judging his every move, but still. Some of the things he did and said made me want to scream. Like when he *SPOILER* paired up with the freaking bad guy to get Feyre back. *END OF SPOILER*

I'm going to compare this to the Shatter Me Series again. I liked Tamlin and Feyre together in the first book. It made sense for them to be together at the time. But in this story, Feyre has changed. She's not the innocent human she used to be. She's seen things and done things that have forever changed her. She needs someone who understands and is okay with that. Someone who is going to try and help her figure things out. Kind of like the whole Warner-Juliette-Adam relationship in the Shatter Me series. Tamlin and Adam wanted a Damsel in Distress. Someone who they could protect and make them feel like they were doing something good. But when the Damsel in Distress figures out that she can kick some booty and take care of herself, that makes them feel... inadequate. Sure they think they still love her {and they actually might} but it's doomed to never work out because they're always trying to push the girl back into being complacent, and keep the attitude that she needs the guy to save her... Well, yeah, anyway.

I think you've had enough of me babbling about, haven't you? Fine, be that way. I will just leave you with my final thoughts all wrapped up in a pretty little bow:

 This book was so amazingly beautiful, and if you haven't read the first one then you definitely need to. There's so much character development and world building. And there's just enough action, and plot twists to keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time. Not to mention the super swoony romance. It's got something in it that everyone will enjoy, and I absolutely cannot wait until the next book comes out. Especially with the way that the second one ended.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Review: The Season Of You And Me by Robin Constantine

The Season of You & MeThe Season of You and Me
By Robin Constantine
My Rating: 5 Stars
Date Read: May 2016
Publication Date: May 10th 2016
Hardcover, 352 pages

Summary From Goodreads:

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.

My Review:

I've been having a tendency to fall into book reading slumps lately... And it kinda, sorta, really sucks. I'll pick up a book, read a few pages, then put it down and walk away from it. But when I picked this one up, I finished it in one sitting! It was glorious!

I thought the idea of this story was pretty interesting. It was new to me because I'd never read anything similar. I was a little bit hesitant, because I was having horrible thoughts like: WHAT IF THIS IS LIKE ME BEFORE YOU?!?! I CAN'T HANDLE THAT KIND OF HEARTBREAK!! I know, I know, I was just being over dramatic. There was nothing to worry about, this book was perfectly adorable.

I love, love, loved Bryan. He was just so sweet, and he didn't spend too  much time feeling sorry for himself...

I liked Cassidy, too... But I found myself getting annoyed with her quite a bit because she was just so obsessed with her ex-boyfriend, Gavin. I mean, even when she knew she liked Bryan, she couldn't stop thinking about Gavin. I just wanted to shake her and yell "NO! You like Bryan, you go be with BRYAN! Gavin is a jerk face butt monkey, and you need to stay away from him." There was also a time that she handled something very poorly, and it made me cringe: 

That was the time that she was going on a date with Bryan, and Gavin showed up, and she introduced Bryan as her ride... she could have at least introduced him as her friend.. I'm cringing just thinking about that.

Anywho, this book has some of the best relationships I've seen in a while. I loved Cass and Bryan together. Their relationship was super believable and adorable, and AGH! I just love them together.

The relationship she had with her family was great, they were always there to support each other. Even her mom and dad got along okay, even though they were divorced. And I especially loved her relationship with her half brother Hunter. He adored her, and I'm pretty sure that the feeling was mutual.

And her relationship with her friends-old and new. It was always entertaining.

I loved the descriptions of the beach, and the bed and breakfast... ah... I wanted to be there, I felt like I was  there. It was so beautiful.

I was a bit unsure of the whole #wheelchairperk thing at first... but then I realized that my friends and I are always putting hashtags in front of things just to be silly. But I noticed that quite a few people were really annoyed at the fact that it was in there like that.

For some reason, the song that popped into my head while I was reading this book was Somewhere in My Car by Keith Urban... Don't know why, it doesn't really have anything to do with the book, but that's the song that I thought of while I was reading it. Check it out below, and let me know what you think: