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Book Review: Warcross by Marie Lu



Release date: September 12th 2017

4 stars

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.
Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

I have never played the kinds of games mentioned in this book, or even anything similar, so I was a little worried going in that it might be hard to lose myself in the story. But it’s Marie Lu and I’m pretty sure she could write any plot and have me get lost in her words and her story. The plot focused a lot on gaming and technology but it didn’t stray off into an area I, as a non-gamer, couldn’t understand. I enjoyed all the action of the game, the saboteur plot, and the dynamics between the team Emika was chosen to be on as a part of her cover in the Warcross Championships.

Emika was an amazing character. I loved how hard she fought even when it seemed like there was no hope. She refused to give up. She was protective, determined, and smart. She was a brilliant hacker, which helped her a lot of the time but also got her into trouble. Turned out glitching her way into the Warcross Championship was a good thing for her since it led to a job offer and we got to see her at her best, tracking down information on a threat to the Games. With the plot being very heavy on the Warcross game and the set-up to the Championships, Emika was really the only character to get a lot of development. We saw her go from someone who barely trusted anyone to opening up to her team and relying on people other than herself.

I’m excited to see how the supporting characters development in this series. I really liked Emika’s teammates in the Warcross Championships and hope we get to see a lot more of them. They didn’t have a whole lot of screentime(pagetime) but still made an impression. I also liked the flirty banter between Emika and Hideo. It should be interesting to see how all the relationships between these characters progress in the series.

The plot had a lot of action, fast-paced, but still detailed enough so that a non-gamer like me could understand the happenings of the game as they were playing it. It sounded like a cool game. The whole book felt like it would look fantastic on the big screen(if they didn’t ruin it). I ended up finishing this in under two days because I just didn’t want to put it down. I had so many theories and I needed to know if they were right. Plus with Marie Lu, I never want to stop reading until the book is finished.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

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May Wrap-Up/June TBR

How is it June already? Seriously? Where is this year going? So many books have come out that I want to read and so many more are coming out. I need a time turner.

May Wrap-Up:

dividing-eden Dividing Eden – Joelle Charbonneau. 3.5/5 stars. I really loved the siblings battling for the throne and the different ways they planned their strategies. The world-building seemed to lack a little but I’m hopeful to see more in the next book.

If Birds Fly Back If Birds Fly Back – Carlie Sorosiak. 3.5/5 stars. I really liked seeing the two main characters bond over their need to get to know an elderly gentleman and how it played into their separate journeys.

Honor Girl Honor Girl – Maggie Thrash. 3.5/ stars. It was interesting but I do find I get more distracted while reading graphic novels for some reason.

gentlemans-guide The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Mackenzi Lee. 4/5 stars. Review. I loved the setting, the sass of the characters, and the growth arc.

Art of starving The Art of Starving – Sam J Miller. 4/5 stars. Review. This book reminded me of We Are The Ants in some ways, as in it made me question if certain things were actually happening or if they were all in the main character’s mind.

Signs point to Yes Signs Point to Yes – Sandy Hall. 3/5 stars. This was a cute, easy read. Very good for the summer or for a light read mood.

this-is-how-it-happened This Is How It Happened – Paula Stokes. 4/5 stars. Review. Paula Stokes just keeps getting better. I loved the main character and the whole premise.

Ginny Moon Ginny Moon – Benjamin Ludwig. 4.5/5 stars. Review. I don’t venture outside my reading YA comfort zone often but when I do, I love it when it’s books like this that keep me up until 3am.

They Both Die At the End The Both Die at the End – Adam Silvera. 4/5 stars. I think Adam Silvera likes getting me attached to amazing characters only to break my heart. So mean.

Project Semicolon Project Semicolon – Amy Bleuel. 5/5 stars. This is one of those life-changing types of books where I can’t rate anything but top marks.

Little Wrecks Little Wrecks – Meredith Miller. 3.5/5 stars. My enjoyment of the 3 different girls’ POVs was uneven so that played into my overall enjoyment.

Who's that girl Who’s That Girl – Blair Thornburgh. 4/5 stars. Review. This one surprised me with how much I ended up liking it. I just fell in love with the characters.

Bad Romance Bad Romance – Heather Demetrios. 4.5/5 stars. Review. Heather Demetrios is another one who just keeps getting better. This book was terrifying in all the right kind of wake up calls ways.

after-the-game After the Game – Abbi Glines. 4/5 stars. I think of the three in this series, this one is my favourite. It got to me.

Letters to the Lost Letters to the Lost – Brigid Kemmerer. 4.5/5 stars. I’m so sad it’s over but so happy there’s a companion coming. These characters were amazing, their journey was great, everything was great.

Everything All At Once Everything All At Once – Katrina Leno. 4/5 stars. This is a great summer read that reminded me a bit of Since You’ve Been Gone crossed with The Loose Ends List.

Scrappy Little Nobody Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick. 4/5 stars. Love Anna Kendrick. She’s perfect.

June TBR:

Internet FamousWarcrosslucky-in-loveDress Codes for Small Towns

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Weekly Reading Recap


So many books to read, it’s hard to choose.

Currently reading: Words in Deep Blue

Finished reading: Scrappy Little NobodyEverything All At OnceLetters to the Lostafter-the-game

Reviewed: Who's that girlBad Romance

What I’m hoping to get to next week: Internet Famouslucky-in-love to read

Letters to the Lostafter-the-game to review

Books read it 2017: 90

Debut authors read in 2017: 26


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Book Review: Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

Bad Romance

Bad Romance

Release date: June 13th 2017

4.5 stars

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.
Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it’s too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she’s unable to escape.
Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

I absolutely love Heather Demetrios, she’s become an auto-buy author, and as long as books like this one keeps coming out that won’t be changing. I loved the way this book was written, where future Grace was recounting the downfall of her relationship with Gavin. I loved the strong relationship between Grace and her two best friends, Grace and her sister, and Grace and her group of friends. It wasn’t an easy read, it dealt with a lot of issues, and was a very worthwhile read.

Grace was a character I felt an instant connection with due to her quirkiness and her love of Broadway. She had a huge crush on Gavin so when he started paying attention to her, she fell hard and fast. He was an escape from her bad home life and she felt a gratitude toward him for that and for picking her out of all the other girls. Grace was smart, funny, was full of theater references, had big dreams, and it was hard watching her be manipulated by Gavin.

There were some great female friendships in this book and I loved them. Grace’s two closest friends were always there for her, ready to support her, ready to tell her the hard truths she needed to hear, ready for whatever Grace needed. Her sister lived away at college so we saw less of their relationship but her sister was still a great support system. I also loved the addition of Grace’s male friends who showed that there were still good guys left and they all weren’t like Gavin and her stepfather.

I loved all the theater references through the whole book. I’m a huge Broadway fan so that was fun plus it made sense since Grace wanted to direct plays. She had dreams and plans on how to achieve them so when she would prioritize Gavin over herself, it was frustrating but also easy to see how she was manipulated into it. This book showed how easy it can be to get into an unhealthy relationship and how hard it is to get out of one. It didn’t pull any punches or sugarcoat anything and is definitely one I will remember.

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


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Weekly Reading Recap


This week has been full of reading books and listening to Broadway music. It’s been a good week.

Currently reading: after-the-game

Finished reading: Bad RomanceWho's that girlLittle WrecksProject Semicolon

Reviewed: Ginny Moonthis-is-how-it-happened

What I’m hoping to get to next week: Everything All At OnceLetters to the Lost to read

Who's that girlBad Romance to review

Books read it 2017: 86

Debut authors read in 2017: 26

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Book Review: This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes


This Is How It Happened

Release date: July 11th 2017

4 stars

When Genevieve Grace wakes up from a coma, she can’t remember the car crash that injured her and killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTube star who had just released his first album. Genevieve knows she was there, and that there was another driver, a man named Brad Freeman, who everyone assumes is guilty. But as she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread—that maybe she had something to do with what happened.
As the internet rages against Brad Freeman, condemning him in a brutal trial by social media, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house, where she can hide from reporters and spend the summer volunteering in beautiful Zion National Park. But she quickly realizes that she can’t run away from the accident, or the terrible aftermath of it all.

Paula Stokes has been on my auto-buy authors list for a while and books like this one is the reason why. Her ability to write characters that are easy to relate to, flawed and lovable, relationships that are sweet and believable, and plots that are addicting to read, is why she has become one of my auto-buy authors and when this book comes out in physical form, I will be buying it.

Gen was a character I found easy to relate to, not because I’d ever been in her situation, but because I could see myself having the same sort of reaction if I were to ever be in her situation. Her whole world had been flipped upside down with the accident and the loss of her boyfriend and with the media and his fans and everyone wanting answers, there was no time for her to really grieve his death. She was grieving and she was scared and the flashes of memories were leading her to a conclusion she had no idea how to deal with. She went through a lot and she grew a lot through the book.

The book dealt with grief but it also dealt with internet shaming and how easily it can destroy a person’s life. The use of online articles and their comments section, the way people happily tore apart the guy accused of the accident even before all the evidence was in, was something to can be found online on most sites on any day. I found it very easy to understand why Gen would be terrified of her memories making her wonder if she was the cause of the accident, to have the online mob turn on her.

I also really appreciated the family dynamics in this book. Her parents were divorced and Gen hadn’t really gotten to know her father’s new wife so going out to stay with them to escape the media circus gave her the chance to warm up to her. Both her parents were doctors so she felt a lot of pressure to be perfect and it made admitted when she had made mistakes very difficult. It was very clear how much they did love each other though. I really loved her friendships with the two teens on her stepmom’s team at the Zion National Park.

Paula Stokes has definitely done it again. Every time I read a new book by her, it’s even better than the last. I didn’t think it would happen this time with how much I loved Girl Against the Universe and those two are very, very close. It’s definitely one of those situations where either could eek out top spot depending on my mood that day.

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


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Book Review: Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

Ginny Moon

Ginny Moon

4 stars

Meet Ginny. She’s fourteen, autistic, and has a heart-breaking secret…
Ginny Moon is trying to make sense of a world that just doesn’t seem to add up….
After years in foster care, Ginny is in her fourth forever family, finally with parents who will love her.
Everyone tells her that she should feel happy, but she has never stopped crafting her Big Secret Plan of Escape.
Because something happened, a long time ago – something that only Ginny knows – and nothing will stop her going back to put it right…

I love a book with a unique narrator and this one certainly had a very unique narrator in Ginny Moon. This was a book that was so easy to start, thinking I would read a few chapters before going to bed, and then suddenly it was three am and I was turning the last page. Ginny Moon’s unique voice made this a book that was impossible to put down and one that will be memorable.

The story unfolded in a way that gave the sense that the author has personal experience with autism. Ginny was written in a way that never made her feel less than or like there was something wrong with her. She simply was Ginny Moon. She loved Michael Jackson. She need to have nine grapes with her breakfast. I thought the author did a great job showing Ginny’s frustration at not being able to make the adults understand her, as well as the adults’ frustrations at their inability to make Ginny understand when she was doing something dangerous.

The book also showed the love of a family, that family doesn’t have to be blood-related, and how a family can change with a new addition. The family dynamic was the second most intriguing aspect of the book(with Ginny Moon being the first) and was a huge part of the reason I kept reading until the very last page even when I should have gone to bed. This is a book I can easily see myself recommending to anyone looking for a great read.

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


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Weekly Reading Recap


May has been full of TV cancellations, cliffhangers, and character deaths. I am consoling myself with books.

Currently reading: Project Semicolon

Finished reading: They Both Die At the EndGinny Moonthis-is-how-it-happenedSigns point to Yes

Reviewed: gentlemans-guideArt of starving

What I’m hoping to get to next week: Little WrecksWho's that girl to read

Ginny Moonthis-is-how-it-happened to review

Books read it 2017: 81

Debut authors read in 2017: 24


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Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week is a Top Ten Mother’s Day theme freebie so I chose to do Top Ten YA Books I would recommend to my mom. My mom tends to prefer fantasy over everything else, and especially loves when the main character finds out he or she has a magical ability and a destiny. She will try Sci-Fi and dystopian but isn’t one for contemporary unless it’s extremely engaging. Luckily there’s quite a bit to choose from. She also prefers all the books being released before she starts a series.

10. Ginny Moon Ginny Moon – Benjamin Ludwig. I just finished this one and it’s already making a recommendation list. My mom loved Room by Emma Donahue so I think she would enjoy this one.

9. throne of glass Throne of Glass series – Sarah J Maas. This is a recommendation for later when it’s closer to all the books being released and I know she won’t catch up before the last one comes out. She would love the characters and the world.

8. young elites The Young Elites – Marie Lu. I think my mom would enjoy the darker tone of this series and all the twist that happen through the books.

7. red queen Red Queen series – Victoria Aveyard. Again, this is one completely up my mom’s alley but only once it’s closer to being finished. She would love the whole red blooded girl with powers rising up against the silvers plot.

6. Sabriel The Old Kingdom series – Garth Nix. To me, this book just screams “read me” to my mom. The Old Kingdom is definitely a world she will fall in love with.

5. the crown's game The Crown’s Game/Fate – Evelyn Skye. Just a duology when she prefers long series but I know she would love the magic and the dueling in this book.

4. falling kingdom Falling Kingdoms – Morgan Rhodes. My mom loves the show Game of Thrones but found the books too detailed and too long. This series has a similar vibe as G.O.T. but without feeling like it’s dragging on and on.

3. challenger deep Challenger Deep – Neal Shusterman. Even though she doesn’t read a lot of contemporary, I think this is one she would stick with right to the end. It’s engaging and very insightful. Plus it’s Neal Shusterman.

2. orphan queen The Orphan Queen Duology – Jodi Meadows. This is one I know she would love for the magic, the rebellion, the underdog story line. She might not like that there’s only two books though.

  1. snow like ashes Snow Like Ashes series – Sara Raasch. I love the intricate world building and I think my mom would fall in love with it as well. Plus the main character is exactly what she looks for in a book.



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Book Review: Avenged by Amy Tintera



Release date: May 2nd 2017

4 stars

Emelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister, Olivia, from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory.
But just because Em and Olivia are out of Lera doesn’t mean they are safe. Their actions over the past year have had consequences, and they are now targets of retaliation. Olivia will destroy everyone who acts against Ruina. Em isn’t as sure.
Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. Lera may have destroyed the Ruined for decades, but Em knows that Cas is different. And now that he’s taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement.
Em is determined to bring peace to her home. But when winning the war could mean betraying her family, she faces an impossible choice between loyalty and love. Em must stay one step ahead of her enemies—and her blood—before she’s the next victim in this battle for sovereignty.

Picking up where Ruined left off, Avenged showcased the bond between Em and Olivia, their struggle to lead the Ruined, their battle between each other in regards to their very different strategies in how to handle the people of Lera, and all that was just in their two POVs. We also got some POVs from Cas as he tried to maintain control of his kingdom and of Aren, who was a personal favourite so him getting more page time is always an added bonus.

As a reader who is always huge on the dynamics between characters, I loved the four separate POVs and seeing how all the characters were interacting with each other. Each character had their own story arc and the romance that was brewing between Em and Cas was still present but stayed in the background for a lot of the plot. Instead the focus was on rebuilding and revenge. We got to see a lot of different strategies in different groups playing out and loyalties being tested with surprising alliances being made. I really enjoyed trying to determine who to trust, who would make which move, and what would happen in the end.

I actually found myself enjoying this book even more than Ruined, so if that continues that can only mean great things for the third book. Since it is a sequel, I don’t want to give away too much. This is a great fantasy series with amazing characters and very addicting to read.

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


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