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Book Review: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L Armentrout

If there's no tomorrow

If There’s No Tomorrow

Release date: September 5th 2017

4 stars

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications and to maybe let her childhood best friend, Sebastian, know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be one of opportunities and chances. Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything. Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian could never forgive her for what happened. For what she let happen. With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

Jennifer L Armentrout has been a favourite author since I fell in love with the Lux series and as long as books like this one keep coming out, that isn’t going to change. It didn’t take long to get sucked into the plot, feel a connection to Lena, and just generally fall in love with this book.

Lena was a character I liked immediately. She started off pretty early talking about books so that is always a way for a character to win my heart. It was her senior year and she was looking forward the parties, volleyball games, and just having an epic last year before her group of friends graduated. When the tragedy alluded to in the synopsis happened, we saw Lena struggle with guilt and grief. It was hard to read but also very realistic. It was Lena’s struggle to move on and her grieving that was her story arc.

I really enjoyed Lena’s relationship with Sebastian. It was the familiar plot of best friends where one was in love with the other but they were still great together, either as friends or maybe one day more. I loved how supportive he was of her.

This was a very, very emotional book. It didn’t take long for the waterworks to start and once they did, they were impossible to stop. There was also laughter, the book wasn’t all darkness and sadness. I love when Jennifer L Armentrout’s characters are bookworms because they often read books that actually exist and it’s always fun to see them reading books that I also love.

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

 

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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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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

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

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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Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

Every time I think it’s getting warmer so I can start to read outside, Mother Nature tricks me and it gets cold again. And rainy.

Currently reading: If Birds Fly Back

Finished reading: dividing-edenavengedThe Gauntletdreamfall

Reviewed: Girl out of waterEliza and her monsters

What I’m hoping to get to next week: gentlemans-guideArt of starving to read

avengeddreamfall to review

Books read it 2017: 73

Debut authors read in 2017: 21

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Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

Well, hockey playoffs didn’t last too long in this house. More time to read:)

Currently reading: dreamfall

Finished reading: Four weeks Five PeopleGirl out of waterEliza and her monstersAntisocial

Reviewed: WarbringerDefy the Stars

What I’m hoping to get to next week: avengedThe Gauntlet to read

Girl out of waterEliza and her monsters to review

Books read it 2017: 69

Debut authors read in 2017: 21

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Book Review: Vigilante by Kady Cross

vigilante

Vigilante

Release date: March 28th 2017

4 stars

It’s senior year, and Hadley and her best friend, Magda, should be starting the year together. Instead, Magda is dead and Hadley is alone. Raped at a party the year before and humiliated, Magda was driven to take her own life and Hadley is forced to see her friend’s attackers in the classroom every day. Devastated, enraged and needing an outlet for her grief, Hadley decides to get a little justice of her own.
Donning a pink ski mask and fueled by anger, Hadley goes after each of the guys one by one, planning to strip them of their dignity and social status the way they did to Magda. As the legend of the pink-masked Vigilante begins to take on a life of its own, Hadley’s revenge takes a turn for the dangerous. Could her need for vengeance lead her down a path she can’t turn back from?

I’ve read a lot of books dealing with this topic recently but I thought this one managed to still stand out with its revenge plot and with the addition of self defense classes. I liked that the book didn’t just deal with Hadley’s revenge but with Hadley’s own guilt about that night and her finding a way to move on after her friend’s death. It was the story of Hadley wanting to make sure no other girl was hurt the way Madga was and that no boy would get away with hurting another girl.

Hadley was dealing with a lot of guilt over, in her opinion, being a horrible friend both on the night Madga was raped and afterward. She had to see the four boys in class every day, joking, walking around because there had been no consequences for what they’d done to her best friend. When the opportunity arose for her to humiliate one of the guys, I could understand why she took it. She wanted justice for her friend and if the court wouldn’t do it, she would.

I really liked seeing Hadley reluctantly reaching out to other girls and slowly realizing she had new friends. It had been just her and Madga for so long that Hadley didn’t really interact with many other people. I liked the group of girls she started to hang out with, girls she convinced to join a self defense class and who were more than willing to help Hadley keep other girls safe. The self defense classes were a great addition as it gave very good advice and it allowed some very important points to be addressed in a natural situation.

With the book being so short, the main focus stayed on Hadley’s revenge and guilt, which meant a lot of the supporting characters didn’t get a lot of opportunities to develop. There were a few things I had to overlook, like Hadley being able to so easily get away with being the Pink Vigilante when she was targeting the boys who’d hurt her best friend, but it wasn’t hard to do(no more so than accepting a pair of glasses or a hood can hide Supergirl or the Arrow’s identities).

This is an important book and the way it was written, especially the self defense classes, was great in the way where I could picture the moves the girls were doing without needing graphics.

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

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February Wrap-Up/ March TBR

We’re now two months into 2017 and I’m loving all the books that are coming out.

February Wrap-Up:

nemesis Nemesis – Brendan Reichs. 3.5/5 stars. I liked the darkness and the twists but it felt a little too uneven in the pacing.

wayfarer Wayfarer – Alexandra Bracken. 4.5/5 stars. Review. I enjoyed this one even more than the first. The addition of new characters plus more focus on characters from the first book were fantastic.

conjurers-riddle The Conjurer’s Riddle – Andrea Cremer. 3/5 stars. Other than the Nightshade series, I’ve had a hard time getting into her books and I just can’t put my finger on why.

kings-cage King’s Cage – Victoria Aveyard. 4/5 stars. Review. I liked this one more than Glass Sword but still less than Red Queen. I did think that, despite the slow pacing, it did move key points of the plot forward and it had some great character moments.

goodbye-days Goodbye Days – Jeff Zentner. 4/5 stars. Review. This book was heartbreaking, terrifying and one to remember.

secret-path Secret Path – Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire. 4/5 stars. This is one I recommend pairing with the CD while reading for the best experience and most impact.

just-another-girl Just Another Girl – Elizabeth Eulberg. 3/5 stars. Review. I really liked the concept of this book but I just couldn’t get into one of the POVs no matter how hard I tried.

heartbeats-of-wing-jones The Heartbeats of Wing Jones – Katherine Webber. 4/5 stars. Review. I loved the dynamics between so many of the characters and the hint of magical realism.

etiquette-and-espionage-big Etiquette & Espionage – Gail Carriger. 3.5/5 stars. I liked this more than I thought I would. It’s a fun read.

piper-perish Piper Perish – Kayla Cagan. 3/5 stars. I found I cared more about the supporting characters than the main character so it made the story a little hard to get into.

strange-the-dreamer Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor. 4/5 stars. Review. I loved the magical world and the characters. It is the type of book I find better to read slowly because it’s very intricate and could be easy to get lost if I read too fast.

star-cursed Star Cursed – Jessica Spotswood. 3/5 stars. I think I would have liked it more if I had skimmed through the first book before starting this one. It was so long since I read the first that I got a little lost.

vigilante Vigilante – Kady Cross. 4/5 stars. This was definitely one of those hard to read books that feel so important as you’re reading. It makes a lot of good points that won’t be easy to forget(and shouldn’t be).

curtsies-and-conspiracies Curtsies and Conspiracies – Gail Carriger. 3.5/5 stars. Still a fun series. Lots of action.

queens-of-geek Queens of Geek – Jen Wilde. 4/5 stars. Really cute and easy to relate to. I loved getting to see the two POVs of two girls having very different experiences at the comic convention and loved seeing all the references.

things-i-should-have-known Things I Should Have Known – Claire LaZebnik. 4/5 stars. I absolutely loved the dynamics between the main character and her sister, the two brothers they become friends with, and thought the author did a good job depicting the struggles the main character’s family was going through.

the-guy-the-girl-the-artist-and-his-ex The Guy, the Girl, the Artist, and his Ex – Gabrielle Williams. 3.5/5 stars. This was a really fun book to read and I enjoyed the heist. It crammed a lot into its few pages, maybe at times a little too much.

March TBR:

royal-bastardsupside-of-unrequitedthe-crowns-fatehundred-lies-of-lizzie-lovett

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Book Review Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

goodbye-days

Goodbye Days

Release date: March 7th 2017

4 stars

Can a text message destroy your life?
Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.
Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?

I haven’t read The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner but I’ve heard really amazing things so I was excited to see if this one would also be amazing. It didn’t take long to get absorbed into the story and for my eyes to start tearing up. I felt for Carver also immediately. It was a hard book to read, not because it was bad, but because the subject matter is all too real these days.

Carver was an easy character to relate to. The guilt and heartbreak and loneliness Carver felt after the accident as he struggled to grieve without three key people in his life that would normally be a huge part of his support system was so hard to read but also reflected just how close the four friends were. I loved getting to see the flashbacks to see the moments of friendship between them and it made it all that more sad when the present came back and they were gone. Carver’s journey of working through his guilt and saying goodbye to his friends was the main arc of the book and so well done.

I found it hard to get angry at any of the characters, even the ones who were unfairly blaming Carver. Everyone was grieving and looking for someone to blame. The sadness of the present was off-set nicely by the more humorous flashbacks, showing the friendship of the squad and showing just how important the four were to each other. I was so glad that Carver had people on his side in the present and those relationships were amazing as they progressed. I liked the sibling dynamic between him and his older sister, the kinship between him and Jesmyn, and Carver with Blake’s grandmother.

The book was so much more than I’d thought from the synopsis. It was a celebration of friendship, of a bond that went so deep it wouldn’t be forgotten. It was about overcoming guilt and moving on. It was about learning how to say goodbye to someone you didn’t want to say goodbye to. It was heart-breaking and heart-mending. It was brutally honest. It was all too real in a world where text messaging is such a popular way to communicate.

After this book, I will definitely be reading The Serpent King.

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

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Book Review: The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

You I've Never Known

The You I’ve Never Known

Release date: January 24th 2017

4 stars

For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.
Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.
Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.
What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?

I’ve really enjoyed the Ellen Hopkins books that I’ve read, though the size of the books are usually a little intimidating when I first start. I’m always surprised at how fast I can read through her books. This book had a dual perspective, some great characters, and the typical Ellen Hopkins writing style that is very easy to fall in love with reading.

I liked going back and forth between the two girls, Ariel and Maya’s, stories and POVs. They were both good characters with interesting stories that were also relatable. Their POVs worked well in contrast with each other, complimenting instead of inhibiting the other’s voice. Ariel’s father wasn’t a great guy and when she started to have feelings for her best friend, she feared he would kick her out if her father found out. Maya lived with a strict mother and ended up getting pregnant by an older guy after clubbing with a fake ID.

The story was very character driven by the journeys of these two girls. I do wish there had been more of a surprise with some of the twists. It didn’t take long to figure out where they story was going, but it was still a good read nonetheless. Their journeys felt very personal, even more so than the other Ellen Hopkins’ books I’ve read. Their stories were about identity, how to come to terms with it, exploring boundaries. As someone who loves character driven stories, this was a really good read.

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

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