Book Review: Love and First Sight by Joshquist

love-and-first-sight

Love and First Sight

Release date: January 3rd 2017

3.5 stars

Love is more than meets the eye.
On his first day at a new school, blind sixteen-year-old Will Porter accidentally groped a girl on the stairs, sat on another student in the cafeteria, and somehow drove a classmate to tears. High school can only go up from here, right?
As Will starts to find his footing, he develops a crush on a sweet but shy girl named Cecily. And despite his fear that having a girlfriend will make him inherently dependent on someone sighted, the two of them grow closer and closer. Then an unprecedented opportunity arises: an experimental surgery that could give Will eyesight for the first time in his life. But learning to see is more difficult than Will ever imagined, and he soon discovers that the sighted world has been keeping secrets. It turns out Cecily doesn’t meet traditional definitions of beauty—in fact, everything he’d heard about her appearance was a lie engineered by their so-called friends to get the two of them together. Does it matter what Cecily looks like? No, not really. But then why does Will feel so betrayed?

I was a little hesitant going into this book but I ended up finding myself getting sucked right into the plot and into the lives of the characters. It was easy to read and was a great choice to pick up after having read quite a few heavier books in a row.

Will was very likeable and I fell in love with his sense of humour. The book was very focused on Will’s journey of attending high school for the first time and a new procedure that would allow him to see, and what that would mean for him. He had the chance to see but would it change him? I enjoyed reading about him with the group of friends he found at his new school. They were a bunch of misfits that just really fit well together.

I liked the connection between Will and Cecily. To me, it didn’t matter if they stayed friends or became lovers as long as they stayed together in some way. They just got each other. Mrs Everbrook, the journalism teacher, was amazing and I loved that she didn’t treat Will any differently than she treated her other students.

Another thing I liked was that the surgery aspect was only introduced after we really got a sense of who Will was, about a third or so into the book. The procedure would have many risks and be life-changing. The way it was described when Will could see for the first time was amazing. There was enough science and medical explanation to feel realistic but stopped before it got too complicated.

Overall, it felt like the author did a lot of research for this book and it showed. It was a very good choice as I really needed something a little lighter to read and this delivered.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Leave a comment

Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books

Book Review: Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

long may she reign

Long May She Reign

Release date: February 21st 2017

4 stars

Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.
Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.
Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.
As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

This book was very different from most of the fantasy books I’ve read and I found myself enjoying most of the differences. I liked that it used science instead of magic and that, along with Freya struggling with her sudden royal ascension, the main plot was a bit of a murder mystery. Sometimes it felt a little slow in between the pockets of action but I still enjoyed the slower parts as they involved Freya doing experiments or political discussions. They held less action but they still felt important to the overall story and I liked that.

Freya was a character I found myself relating to quite easily. She just wanted to run her science experiments instead of attending public events and when she was suddenly the queen, it wasn’t an easy transition into the role. She wanted to rule with logic and with heart, doing what was best for all her people instead of just the royal court, and she was willing to do that even if it meant angering her council. The most prominent relationships Freya had in this book were with her best friend and her cat. There was a bit of romance but it stayed mostly in the background and focused more in the friendships and the mystery.

The story turned out to be much lighter than I expected considering the mass murder and the whole murder mystery theme. It didn’t go until details about the mass murder and Freya’s investigation was kept on the more scientific side instead of going into something darker. As a bookseller, I really appreciated this since it made the book something I could easily recommend to a younger reader.

It was nice that this was a standalone. I love series but sometimes it’s nice to finish a book and have the story complete and it’s hard to find fantasy standalones. Another aspect of this book that I appreciated as a bookseller. The ending did feel a little anti-climatic since I had figured out who the poisoner was but overall, I still enjoyed the book.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

2 Comments

Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books

Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:

wild-beauty

Wild Beauty

Release date: September 26th 2017

Goodreads: Anna-Marie McLemore’s debut novel The Weight of Feathers garnered fabulous reviews and was a finalist for the prestigious YALSA Morris Award, and her second novel, When the Moon was Ours, was longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Now, in Wild Beauty, McLemore introduces a spellbinding setting and two characters who are drawn together by fate—and pulled apart by reality.
For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.
The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

Why I’m excited: I really, really enjoyed The Weight of Feathers so I’m excited to see what the author will do in this book. It already has me intrigued and I know this author is capable of creating a magical world.

2 Comments

Filed under book-related, books, waiting on wednesday, WoW, ya books

Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

I’ve been managing to still do a lot of reading while watching all the award contenders for the movies. Really hoping to catch La La Land soon.

Currently reading: the-wish-granter

Finished reading: love-and-first-sightblood-for-bloodbeastlong may she reign

Reviewed: frost bloodallegedlya-list-of-cages

What I’m hoping to get to next week: blood-rose-rebellionhunted-spooner to read

long may she reignlove-and-first-sight to review

Books read it 2017: 10

Debut authors read in 2017: 4

1 Comment

Filed under books, reading recap, talking books, TBR books, wrapup, ya books

Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week’s topic is Top Ten underrated gems I’ve read in the last year or so. I chose underrated to mean under 3000 Goodreads ratings and nothing within the last three months.

10. 9780399175411_OutrunTheMoon_BOM.indd Outrun the Moon – Stacey Lee. I loved Mercy Wong, her will power, her “bossy” cheeks, and everything about her.

9. girl who fell The Girl Who Fell – Shannon M Parker. This book was terrifying in the way such a good, smart girl got involved with the wrong guy and how easily he manipulated her.

8. love and other unknown variables Love and Other Unknown Variables – Shannon Lee Alexander. I fell in love with these characters and they broke my heart.

7. front lines Front Lines – Michael Grant. This idea of an alternate history where girls where allowed to join to fight really intrigued me and it delivered.

6. hot it feels to fly How It Feels To Fly – Kathryn Holmes. I got so invested in these kids’ stories and I wanted to see them heal.

5. lies about the truth The Lies About Truth – Courtney C Stevens. Sadie’s growth through this book was a huge highlight of my reading year.

4. don't touch Don’t Touch – Rachel M Wilson. Caddie’s story was one I could relate to and found very memorable.

3. me since you big Me Since You – Laura Weiss. This is has stayed with me since I read it and I don’t see it going away any time soon.

2. georgia peaches Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit – Jaye Robin Brown. I really liked the balancing the main character did through this book between her faith, being herself, and compromising to get her voice heard.

1. shutter Shutter – Courtney Alameda. I loved how creepy this book was. It was like watching one of the scarier episodes of Supernatural.

6 Comments

Filed under books, top ten, top ten tuesday, ya books

Book Review: Frostblood by Elly Blake

frost blood

Frostblood

4 stars

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable, and she’s not sure she’s willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon.
All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king’s tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

I went into this book with a little hesitation because it sounded similar to a lot of other YA books I’ve read recently. Thankfully, once I started reading it I found the author really took the story and made it her own. It was fast-paced, had a lot of world-building woven through the story, and had great characters.

Ruby, the heroine of the story, was someone I definitely wanted to root for. She was very sassy and acted tough even when she was frightened. She was much stronger than she believed she was and was someone I could believe would come out the other side of the fight. She was a survivor. I liked her transition from the beginning and thinking little things like practicing her Fireblood powers wasn’t a huge deal; to the middle and blaming herself for not having better control on her powers; to the strong young woman we see at the end, ready to fight and kill the Frostblood king.

I really enjoyed the supporting cast of characters in this. Everyone served a purpose and there were a few standouts where I can’t wait to see where the plot of the series takes them. The chemistry between Ruby and Arcus, a temperamental Frostblood was very apparent and I loved the way they bickered with each other, the way they slowly began to trust each other and believe in each other.

The fast-paced made this a quick read. Everything that was happening was making me want to read more, from Ruby’s training with her powers to the Gladiator-style battles in the arena, to Ruby’s mission to kill the Frostblood king. A lot of time was spent on Ruby’s training so if the reader wasn’t enjoying that part, it might feel long or slow but I really enjoyed that part. Everything about it made me want to pick up the sequel when it comes out.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

2 Comments

Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books

Book Review: Allegedly by Tiffany D Jackson

allegedly

Allegedly

Release date: January 24th 2017

4 stars

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.
Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.
Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.
There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

I went into this book knowing it was going to be a heavy read and was expecting some twists and turns. The book didn’t shy away from the horrors of what Mary went through after she was accused of killing a baby in her mother’s care, the deaths threats, the abuse and lack of care she suffered at the group home. It was the kind of book I had to read slowly, both because of the heavy content and because I was constantly questioning the narrative and didn’t want to miss anything.

Mary was a very interesting character. She was failed by so many adults in her life and was just trying to survive until she could find a way out. She was extremely smart but because of what she’d been accused of not many adults saw beyond her alleged crime to see the girl. When Mary found out she was pregnant, for the first time she had reason to speak up about what really happened that night.

There weren’t many bright spots in the supporting cast, not that they were badly written characters but they were horrible people. The other girls in the home were bullies, the women who ran the home only did enough to stay open, Mary went through many social workers who took little interest in her case. There were a couple women who gave her hope and treated her with kindness, a highlight in her story.

I loved the way the author used devices like police interviews, newspaper and book exerts, court depositions to show what had happened the night Mary allegedly killed baby Alyssa and how people believed she was guilty. I finished this book quickly, not because it was an easy read, but because I wanted to know the truth. It was definitely a book that will stay with me.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

1 Comment

Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books

Book Review: A List of Cages by Robin Roe

a-list-of-cages

A List of Cages

4.5 stars

When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian–the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.
Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kind hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives.

I had heard a lot about this book before I picked it up so there were some definite high expectations going into it. And this book every single one of them and surpassed them. It sucked me in, broke my heart, repaired it, had me laughing, had me crying, had me yelling in rage. It had great characters, great friendships, just everything I could have wanted.

The book alternated between the two POVs of Adam and Julian. Adam was a senior while Julian was a freshman. Julian had stayed with Adam and his mom for a while after his parents’ death before his uncle came forward and they lost track of each other. Their friendship, the protectiveness Adam felt toward Julian, was just amazing. They were very opposite with Adam being very open, outgoing, and people seemed to flock toward him while Julian was reserved, secretive, and sought to be alone. I loved seeing them reconnect and connect in new ways that was beneficial to them both.

I fell in love with the supporting cast of characters. Adam’s group of friends were so amazing. Definitely the type of group I would want to be in the middle of if I could. Some were more prominent than others but they were all around a good group of friends and often added a lightness when the plot was getting heavy. Adam’s mother was so present through the whole book and the guidance counselor also had an important presence. It was great to see adults caring about the boys to contrast the ones who didn’t care.

This book didn’t hold back at all. It took on a heavy subject that isn’t easy to write or read about but happens and handled it with sensitivity. What Julian went through was horrifying and he was failed by so many people before someone finally took interest in him for the right reasons. There were so many great quotes through the whole book and between the characters and the writing, I found it impossible not to get completely absorbed into Julian and Adam’s story.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

1 Comment

Filed under book-related, books, favorite book, reviews, talking books, ya books

Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:

gentlemans-guide

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

Release date: June 20th 2017

Goodreads: An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.
Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.
But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.
Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.
Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

Why I’m excited: I really loved MacKenzi Lee’s retelling of Frankenstein with This Monstrous Thing and I love the setting of this one already. Lee does relationships in all areas very well so I expect big things.

4 Comments

Filed under books, waiting on wednesday, WoW, ya books

Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

For some reason this week felt really long but at least it made me feel like I got a lot read:)

Currently reading: long may she reign

Finished reading:yellow brick war frost bloodallegedlya-list-of-cages

Reviewed: the-hate-u-giveby-your-side

What I’m hoping to get to next week: beastlove-and-first-sight to read

allegedlya-list-of-cagesfrost blood to review

Books read it 2017: 6

Debut authors read in 2017: 4

4 Comments

Filed under books, favorite book, talking books, TBR books, wrapup, ya books