Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Review: Puck (A Twisted Lit Novel) by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Title: Puck (A Twisted Lit Novel) 
Author: Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
Expected publication: November 15th 2016 by Doublet Press

I was very excited to jump into Puck, the new story on Amy and Kim Shakespeare retellings aka Twisted Lit series. I'm glad to inform that I wasn't disappointed.

Puck as you'd expect, is a really good heroine. She's had a tough life, and it has made her maybe a bit too cynical. But she was still likable, and it might have to do with her awesome sense of humor.

The story revolves around a group of misfits thrown into the wild mountains of Utah for a rehabilitation camp of sorts. As you could imagine, Puck was very wary of everyone, maybe I was a little bit too, but it took less than a quarter of the story for me to see so many good qualities in the group that I ended up loving every single one of those guys.

There is a twist in there that I don't think I saw coming even though in retrospective I think I should have. But that's the thing about this retellings, they are much than that you forget you already are supposed to know the story.

The only thing that semi-bothered me about it was that Puck's relationship with Paula, her foster mom, wasn't as explored as I would have liked. It would have been great to glimpse a little bit more about their relationship and how it grew to the state it is in now. Because it is quite refreshing (and hopeful) to meet a good foster mom. 

But all in all I really enjoyed the book. The parts where Puck was in the camp were all very entertaining and sometimes laugh out loud funny. Puck was a satisfying read after the long wait. :)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: The Stranger Game by Cylin Busby

Title: The Stranger Game 
Author: Cylin Busby
Expected publication: October 25th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Goodreads . Amazon

It’s been quite a while since I last read a thriller, so I was very excited to dive into The Stranger Game. This book is about a girl who disappeared four years ago and when she turns up, there is a bit of strange things going on, which make her sister start to doubt her authenticity.

I liked that the book focused on the sister’s relationship more than anything else. It’s rare nowadays to find a YA book that is not trying to push a romantic interest into the story, but that was not the focus of this story. I liked that.

And actually, I though the book was very interesting and compelling. It took no time for me to invest myself in the mystery of what had happened.

Right away I had my theories, and they proved to be somewhat true. But that’s what bothered me, the “plot twist” was so over the top, so dramatic and unbelievable that I couldn’t help but literally roll my eyes at the pages. That’s why I just *had* to knock a star off the rating. I feel like the story had so much potential, but after the twist is revealed everything turned too ridiculous. 

And the ending felt quite rushed, and wrapped in a little tight bow, too happy for what a story like this should have been, I was not pleased.

But honestly, it was good enough to kept my interest through beginning to end. I can’t complain of the pace or the characters, because it was all very interesting. I certainly would advise you to give it a try, especially if you don’t read thrillers often. It’s a perfect book to start your new favorite genre.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Review: Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton

Title: Diplomatic Immunity 
Author: Brodi Ashton
Expected publication: September 6th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Goodreads / Amazon 

Diplomatic Immunity is the tale as old as time of poor scholarship girl that falls for the cute rich boy. And like in all these cases, the strong headed heroine struggles to admit her feelings and therefore unravels a whole curse of sometimes fun, sometimes annoying situations.

Things I liked: 
That the story was set in Private School. I love Private School, maybe cause I never went to one, but is my guilty pleasure to read about the equestrian class.

That the hero was from Spain and had a cute accent.
I adore when we go out of our way to include other countries representation of people, just like America is in real life.
That it had a healthy family dynamic.
The heroine actually got along with her parents perfectly, and she loved her little autistic brother with whom she hangs out a lot.

Things I didn't like:

The heroines obsession with winning.
Ok I can get behind a healthy competitive personality, I am actually super competitive, but when she failed to realize she was hurting lots of people and still meant to do it, that's not ok.
That the story drags on. 
Yes, it's a bit on the repetitive side, this one. Especially going on and on about how the hero is great but has a girlfriend. Lol.

Despite my mild annoyance at some of this, I still managed to finish the book, which left me with quite a feeling of satisfaction so I figure it was worth it. And if your're into an international, posh cast of characters you might like it too. AND if you are into journalism you might even love it.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Review: Conspiracy Girl by Sarah Alderson

Title:  Conspiracy Girl 
Author: Sarah Alderson
Published February 12th 2015 by Simon & Schuster
Goodreads .  Amazon

Why didn’t I know about this book sooner? Was my first thought upon finishing Conspiracy Girl by Sarah Alderson. It was that amazing.

Honestly it was action-packed and the pace was neck-breaking. It even starts right away with a break in, one that happens to be in the bunker-style apartment of Nic, a girl who was the lone survivor of a horrific crime where her mother and stepsister were murdered. And not even in the next chapter we are introduced to the conflict. Now Nic has to trust Finn—the same young computer genius that is responsible her mother’s murderers walked free—to help her figure out who is following her and what do they want. What this ensures is an awkward, uncomfortable but very, very interesting story development.

The mystery/thriller aspect of this book is also awesome, though I did figure out what was happening, in no way did it deter me from reading along excitedly. Mostly because the main characters, Nic and Finn were so likable.

I loved Nic’s confidence and her strong willed nature. She had a horrible family tragedy but she still worked to move on one step at the time. And her relationship with her dog Goz was the cutest.

And then Finn was dreamy too. He is not only a genius but a good-hearted one that wants to make the world better and safer. His relationship with his grandma and his nieces was also so charming and adorable.

What I loved the most about this book was that it is so young-adult feel, but yet is not. What I mean is that it has the essence of the awesomeness that is the YA genre even though the ages of the characters don't match people's assumption of YA, and not to mention there is not a high school in sight. *Claps*

I would recommend the book to everyone honestly, but especially to those who love thrillers, well-crafted and lovable characters, and fast-paced stories. This one is a must re-read for sure! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Review. PS I Like You by Kasie West

Title. PS I Like You
Author. Kasie West
Expected publication: July 26th 2016 by Point
Goodreads /  Amazon

What I love about Kasie West is that she is has stuck to her formula of clean, cute stories that leave you feeling good.

Here is another example of a perfect teen romance. If there is someone who can pull off this type of contemps is Kasie West and that's why she has amassed a fan base like she has right now. PS I Like You is a story about a pair of anonymous pen pals, as in letter-writing people who have no idea who they are talking to, who realize they have a lot of things in common.

In this case the identity of the people is easy to guess from the start, which makes it all funnier actually, because they are as unlikely and mismatched as they come. Our main girl, Lily, she is the quirky hipster girl that doesn't realize she is cool. And our main guy is the popular jock but with a secret depth.

I liked the book. I thought it was cute and a very quick read, but I really think this one will appeal to the younger fans of Contemporary YA, I'm not sure anyone older than fifteen will be very into it. It was a little bit on the tween side, this one. 

But as always, the quality of the writing and the sweetness of the story cannot be denied. A good little summer read from a fan-favorite author.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

On The Jellicoe Road FREE AUDIOBOOK right now.

Hello, it's me. 

I have been mostly silent but I am back with AWESOME news. I've posted about this on my Facebook and Twitter pages but I don't want anyone to miss this.

ON THE JELLICOE ROAD. Yes, the one and only. Yes, the best Young Adult ever published. Is currently this week's FREE AUDIOBOOK as part of the Audiobook Sync program.

SYNC is a summer program that aims to connect teens and young adults with free copies of audiobook versions of some of the most well-loved, life-changing and critically acclaimed YA books.

So I strongly encourage you to check their program out. I have been a fan for years and I've gotten some AMAZING titles. 

If you need further convincing, here is my review of On The Jellicoe Road Audiobook.

But hurry, 'cause the last day to get it is July 21, 2016.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Review: On the Jellicoe Road Audiobook by Melina Marchetta

Title: On the Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta
Narrator: Rebecca Macauley 
Goodreads .  Amazon

A revelation.

That’s what this audiobook was to me. Even after many, many years of reading the book again and again. I used to think I had it memorized even, but then it's like you hear someone else’s voice, saying all those sentences that bring so many great and incapacitating new emotions that it was almost like lighting stroke my heart.  

I am pretty sure there are quite a few poor souls out there that have not come across this book, or audiobook, yet. So I’m going to review it again, in the hopes to make you pick it up and make this world better.

On The Jellicoe Road goes beyond any realm or genre in literature. It surpasses boundaries and defines a whole new category of incredible, tremendous, fantastic and wonderful. It’s one of the wildest emotional rides your heart can take. The story is so deep, so clever, so thoughtful and perfect that it’s life changing. It certainly was for me.

One of the most common complains I come across when I recommend this book is people not getting it. At first it is confusing, but not because it’s bad narrative, because it’s mysterious. You will want to figure this book, but you won’t be able to at first, because like I told you before, it’s clever. It’s intelligent and it knows deep and dark things you will only get to know as you read along.

What is magical in all of this, though, is that you don’t even have to know what is going on to be pulled in. To get engrossed. To become obsessed. Because this is one rich story, and Melina Marchetta is probably one of the most powerful story tellers of our time.

The audiobook, like I suspected, is amazing too. The narrator did a wonderful job at conveying the emotions we needed. She did a great job of representing the turmoil inside Taylor Markham, her confusion and pain, her annoyance and her spirit. And it is not even one of those high budget audiobooks that seem to be the regularity now. No, it’s simple but engaging. And to hear a story like this, a story I hold so dear to my heart, in the voice of someone else but me was so gut-wrenching that I spend half the time crying my eyes out.

And in the aftermath I can’t recommend it enough. For the people that have never read this book, to the ones that will be introduced to it for the first time, for everyone. This is it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Review: No Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista

Title. No Love Allowed 
Author. Kate Evangelista
Published April 19th 2016 by Swoon Reads
Goodreads  .  Amazon

I hate to be blunt and say it, but I wasn't expecting much from No Love Allowed. I picked it up because I needed something to read in a short flight and the description reminded me of Pretty in Pink one of my favorite movies, and The Distance Between Us, one of my favorite books. So I thought hey, let's do it.

I'm glad I did because it was an adorable novel, going way deeper than I thought it would. From topics of suicide to bipolar disorder, it was all a roller coaster ride. I had a bunch of feelings reading through it, mostly I was torn between desperate worrying and having fun.

I thought the characters were well crafted. Especially those main two, who honestly stole my heart. The were the epitome of cute couples. I wanted them to win from the start, it's impossible to to root for them to work out after witnessing their connection and chemistry through all the conflict they were thrown into.

Overall a great read with quite a few surprising turns and a true description of mental illness. And a treat for all of us hopeless romantics.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Review: A Walk In The Sun by Michelle Zink

Title. A Walk In The Sun Author. Michelle ZinkExpected publication: May 3rd 2016 by HarperTeen[ goodreads ] [ amazon ]___________________________________________

What I loved about A Walk In The Sun is that it transported me to another place, and I don't mean only to a hard-lived, sun-kissed farm; but to the thrill of being young and in love. It's the story about a girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. Rose's mom just died and her dad is in such a depression that she has to take over all the chores at their farm, all by herself.

That's how she meets Bodhi, the recently hired hand that's going to help her run the farm this summer.

And that's where the similarities with those Harlequin novels you're thinking about, end because this is not a story about the rich daughter of the boss falling for the working class guy. This is more about finding love when (and where) you didn't expect it.

A Walk In The Sun did a fantastic job at portraying the hardships of loss and death and sadness, but also at reminding you that there are always new beginnings. A story for those who love the hard beautiful farm life, and the hard beautiful romance of first love.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Taming of the Drew by Stephanie Kate Strohm

Title: The Taming of the Drew 
Author: Stephanie Kate Strohm
Published April 5th 2016 by Sky Pony Press

If maybe at times a bit slow, there’s still no denying that there are a lot of fun parts in this book, made up of awesome pranks and laugh-out-loud lines. Like any other Shakespeare retelling, it includes our fair share of nerdiness we all love.

I have to admit that I thought Cass, the main character, was a bit annoying with how she misjudged almost everything that happen. I just couldn’t believe she could be so clueless about it. But fortunately her behavior was canceled out by her cool, fun personality.

Also the cast of characters were a nice addition.  I liked that none of them were the classic theater nerd we see every time.

And let’s not even get into Drew, who knew beards were hot? I mean I guess lots of people find them hot but I was never one of them, especially in seventeen-year-olds. But anyway, Drew was that misjudged guy that everyone thinks is annoying but is just misunderstood, shy and kind of nerdy too. He also had a lot of allergies and I liked that we have something in common. Lol.

The whole taming of the Drew aspect was fun but semi cruel. I liked it. Overall this one adds for a really cute, summer romance perfect for younger readers that like contemporary.

And if you look closely at the cover you’ll get a hint of a cool turn hobby our main characters enjoy.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Review: You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

Title: You Were Here 
Author;  Cori McCarthy
Expected publication: 
March 1st 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire
Goodreads  . Amazon

First of all I want to point out that this novel is multicultural. Yes, you read that right so let's all give a big round of applause... keep going because it deserves it…

Okay that's enough, thank you.

So I sort of, kind of knew a little bit about what this story was about before I started it. I knew it was about a girl grieving her late brother in some rather dangerous ways. That's all I knew and that was enough to make me go, "yes! I need this!"

But like the song goes, if I had known then what I know now, I would have been ten times more excited because I think this just became my favorite novel of the year. You read that right, my favorite novel I read in 2015 (though is published in 2016) I loved it. I LOVED IT. I wasn't expecting so much more than just a tragedy, but it was MUCH MORE. The tragedy was just a vehicle for living and forgiving and finding love and reconnecting with new friends.

I loved that the story was told in five different points of view, from each of the five friends that made the story what it is. It never felt confusing or unrealistic, it was unique and it made me understand each of them and loved them individually. It added so much instead of taking away. I loved that they all had a different way to show me who they were. Cori did a fantastic job with these POV, I can't tell you how impressive it was how she managed to keep all the characters true to themselves and honest enough for me to care about and enjoy.

And that's just the writing. The setting was a whole other monster. I loved each different place she took her story to. I loved the graphic detail that took me there. Then there was the fun. This novel was so fun--sad, too, and crazy, and funny and romantic-- but fun above all. It reminded of one of my favorite books, Grafitti Moon by Cath Crowley for those interested, and that's always a good thing. It was amazing, even now, weeks after I first read it, it makes me crack a smile just to remember everything that happened. 

Now excuse me while I'm off to get me a physical copy of this one. It's one for keeps, folks. One to reread.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Review: The Leaving Season by Cat Jordan

Title: The Leaving Season Author: Cat JordanExpected publication: March 1st 2016 by HarperTeenGoodreads   Amazon

The Leaving Season is a coming of age story. I read a lot of those so I can be very picky about them, but I have to say I loved this one. The first third of it, we are presented with the golden couple, Middie and Nate. Middie is completely submerged in her love for Nate, everything about her life revolves around Nate, who she thinks is perfect. And who knows, he might actually be, but I'm sick of girls defining who they are because of the guy they are with. So I didn't care very much about this part.

Then on the second third, when tragedy strikes, Middie is forced to deal with a life without Nate. I'm not glad something happened to him, but I couldn't help but be happy that Middie was about to embark on a life-changing journey. She somehow manages to do so with the help of Lee, Nate's slacker best friend. This was my favorite part of the novel because I finally got to see who Meredith (Middie) was, and I liked her. I loved her. She was in control of her life for once and I rejoiced in watching her honestly grow in giant leaps. I also really liked Lee, not only because he was funny and understanding, but because he played such an important job in showing Meredith that she didn't need anyone to define her.

But then of course we have to have conflict and  it comes in the last third. And I was crushed. Meredith took twenty steps backward and returned to the blind person she was. I was so sad to see her turn into that girl again, I knew she had to realize everything she did was wrong and it was annoying that it took so long for her to come to senses.

But she finally did. 

So I think after all it was a great read. I can't say I didn't enjoy it because it had parts that were absolutely brilliant, if only a bit unrealistic, but it's clear Jordan can tell a story, and a good one at that. I was very emotionally attached to this novel and to me that's a win itself. Definitely recommended.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Review. The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire #1) by C.J. Redwine

Title. The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire #1) Author. C.J. RedwineExpected publication: February 16th 2016 by Balzer + Bray[ goodreads ]  [ amazon ]________________________________

Though fantasy is not my thing, The Shadow Queen proved what I've always known but sometimes need a reminder of, a good book is always entertaining, no matter the genre. And The Shadow Queen definitely was.

I loved the story. Yeah, I know it's supposed to be a retelling of Snow White but what I liked about it was that it was also original and unexpected. I swear I wasn't reading the same story I knew as a kid, even though I was, it was new.

The author added a lot of new layers to the story, like our MC possessing magic just like the wicked witch. And our hero being half dragon, which absolutely rocked.

The characters were awesome. Each of them have all the qualities a good character should have, honest and awesome. I loved everyone, even the annoying wicked witch, she was very well crafted to make you believe she wasn't just evil, but misunderstood and angry. It all made sense.

The world building was very good, I could paint a perfect picture of the setting. It added a lot to the sense of Magic the whole story transmitted. And I would honestly think (even if I am no way an authority in Fantasy) that the Shadow Queen is going to be a hit this year.

ps. How awesome is the author's last name?

pps. I'm not sure about it being a series, I thought it ended perfectly! No cliffhanger, no need to take it somewhere else, but well let's see.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: Remembrance (The Mediator #7!) by Meg Cabot

Title: Remembrance (The Mediator #7!) 
Author: Meg Cabot 
Expected publication: 
February 2nd 2016 by William Morrow
Goodreads !  Amazon  

So I realize you and I don’t know each other, that’s why it’s hard to explain how in love with The Mediator series I am, because if you have met me it would be so obvious. Probably every person I know knows that I love books, and pretty much everyone knows that The Mediator is my numero uno. It’s the series that got me hooked on Young Adult. It’s how I discovered God’s gift to YA, Meg Cabot. I have pretty much memorized each book on the series thanks to the number of times I have re-read the books in the last decade.

This is my obsession.

And I knew that Meg had plans to write another Mediator book for a long looong time. I have been waiting anxiously to revisit my favorite cast of characters and the gorgeous setting they live in. And it’s finally time.

When I started reading I decided I was going to write from the point of view of someone that is not familiar with the story. Just to see how I would enjoy it. But that thought flew out the window with the first sentence I read. I was transported to the golden days of my youth when the feeling of bliss reading gave me was nearly too much for my sanity. I swear it was so good.

Suze’s voice is still so inherent Suze, so familiar and true, that I can’t help but wonder if Meg even realizes it’s been nearly a decade since the last book. It was a big part of why reading Remembrance was so magical.

But then of course Meg seemed to have read my thoughts exactly. I wrote this pre-review on goodreads almost two years ago, when she said she started writing the novel, and every question I had, every thought, was answered to my highest expectations.

It’s not every day you get a wish come true, that’s why I was thankful to have this novel, even if it sucked. It didn’t. It was perfect. It was the same Suze that I have loved forever. The same Ackerman family, that has grown to be the best adoptive family in the world, I was so happy to see Suze’s stepbrothers had turned into brilliant men that I might have shed a tear of two. I knew Jake and Dave had it in them, but even Brad? I won the lottery. And CeeCee and Adam? The same loving, supporting friends. Father Dominic? AMAZING. Paul? He’s still a jerk but still I was infinitely happy to see him! He’s sort of the comic relief too, and I’ve always felt bad for him as a teenager. Now he’s an adult so it made it harder to sympathize with him, though I could never hate him.

Even the ghost busting was turned to the next level. The stories were harder and sadder. The villains ages above the crimes everyone in the previous books ever committed. Which made it easy for me to invest myself in the mystery and not only in the excitement of seeing my old pals.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t focus a whole chunk of my brain on them. Namely Jesse. Jesse who has been my boyfriend for longer than half my life. Jesse who loves kids and medicine as much as I do. Jesse who speaks softly in Spanish. Jesse who makes every other guy on earth pale in comparison. He was exactly the perfect guy he has been for almost two centuries. I can’t even keep on writing because I’d cry and my mom is watching because I’m supposed to be happy right now (I’m writing this review as everyone else is celebrating that the new year is coming in just a few hours).

So anyway, you see why I am biased and would never write a perfectly coherent review for this book. But what I hope I transferred to you is this… Is not for nothing I have kept this series by my side for such a long time. It’s full of everything that makes Young Adult great. It’s a classic. It’s something you can’t miss.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Review: The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt

Title. The Distance from A to Z Author. Natalie BlittPublished January 12th 2016 by HarperCollins[[ Goodreads ]] [[ Amazon ]]

I picked up this book because I read that it was about baseball and french and romance. It wasn't until I was actually reading that i remembered that I actually hate the French language and I can't stand baseball. Okay well, not entirely true, I liked French until it got hard and I dropped it, and I liked baseball when I was young, before I understood that the Cubs never win. 

So moving on, I was a little reluctanct once started. But thankfully the sweet romance and the cute story saved it. They more than saved it actually, because the book made me remember that maybe French and even the Cubs, aren't so bad. 

I have always been a fan of "enemies" turned "lovers" so to speak, and Abby and Zeke won me over immediately. Even if at times it was a little infuriating that Abby kept driving Zeke away for dumb stuff, I was almost like is this a Pride and Prejudice retelling? Why are you so proud girl? Thankfully it all worked out and I applauded and swoon at the end like the romantic I am.

Definitely a cute, romantic story for those of us who need a break from real life heartbreak and are up for a sweet story of opposites-attract-while-learning-the-most-romantic-language-in-the-world.

PS. It's only $1.85 on kindle right now!