Book Review: Get it Together, Delilah by Erin Gough

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Title: Get It Together, Delilah
Author: Erin Gough
Publication date: April 4, 2017
Publisher:  Chronicle Books
Genres: Young Adult, Contempoary, Romance, GLBT+
Format: e-arc from Netgalley

ABOUT THE BOOK:

A story about falling in love, literally.

Seventeen-year-old Delilah Green wouldn’t have chosen to do her last year of school this way, but she figures it’s working fine. Her dad is on a trip to fix his broken heart after her mom left him for another man, so Del’s managing the family café in his absence. Easy, she thinks. But what about:
– homework and the nasty posse of mean girls making her life hell
– or how one of Del’s best friends won’t stop guilt-tripping her
– and her other best friend is so in love with his tutor he might go to jail for her if Del doesn’t do something

But who cares about any of that really, because above all else, she can’t stop thinking about beautiful Rosa who dances every night across the street until one day Rosa comes in the café door . . .

And if Rosa starts thinking about Del, too, then how in the name of caramel milkshakes will Del get the rest of it together?

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


My Rants and Raves of Delilah

***Please note that this review contains some spoilers.*** 

At the very beginning, I found Get It Together, Delilah to be a constant page-turner. Plus I was instantly in love with the cute and creative cover. I really enjoyed how Erin Gough’s storytelling wraps you up in the aroma of coffee, but in the end, I had hard time connecting with the main character and rationalizing some of her actions. 

Get It Together, Delilah spans over about four months, in which the main character, Delilah, takes on an overwhelming amount of responsibilities. For me there were some missing pieces in this book, and some situations that did not add up. For example, while her dad was off on “vacation,” I kept wondering, where is the adult that Delilah’s dad thinks is running the café with Delilah’s help? Is her dad even communicating with him? Did I miss something? Did I read over the explanation? My mind was always screaming, where is the parental responsibility in this book?!

In regards to the main character, I was a fan of Delilah’s confidence and her straight-forward attitude. But as the story progressed, Delilah started irritating me. She began taking on too much and everything started slipping through the cracks for her. In the second half of the novel, I felt that she was overbearing at times, inconsiderate of other people’s opinions and feelings, and she never rationalized situations too well. 

Delilah also makes too many assumptions when it comes to her friends and their actions, and often fails to communicate with them to know the actual truth. At times, Delilah frustrated me, and then I wanted to scream the book’s title, and say “OMG, GET IT TOGETHER, DELILAH!” When it comes to the girls she has crushes on, she is often inconsiderate of their feelings, and sadly only focuses on her own needs and wants. I’m not too sure if it’s my age showing (i.e. I’m not a teenager), but I at least think Delilah was smart enough to use common sense. 

One of my favorite things about the novel was the relationship that starts between Delilah and Rosa. Their interactions are so awkward and cute. I was cheering on their relationship the entire time. In all honesty, I think it was their realistic and adorable relationship that saved this book for me. 

Get It Together, Delilah contains a cast of memorable characters who become Delilah’s support group. I loved the quirky friendships in this novel, and how much love and support they give to each other. Although Delilah was not my favorite person in the last half of the book, I think Get It Together, Delilah realistically portrays the hardships and harassment that young adults face in and outside of school; especially those who have found themselves but society fails to accept them for who they are. This is definitely a book I would share with high school and middle grade students; I feel like they would relate to Delilah’s struggles and frustrations more than I could. 

1 star rating

My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

 

 

 

NOTE: Thank you to Netgalley and Chronicle Books  for providing me an e-galley/e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

Character-Inspired Tea Pairings: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

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Title: Hunted 
Author: Meagan Spooner
Publication date: March 14, 2017
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Format: Physical ARC

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


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I wrote my review on Hunted last week (check it out HERE), and was deeply inspired to write another post, pairing characters with tea blends. In Hunted, tea plays a small role as the remedy for comfort, because it warms the soul, calms the nerves, and steadies the mind. Below I have picked my three favorite characters in Hunted and paired them with what I think are the perfect tea flavors based on their personalities and traits. Enjoy!

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RUBY SPICE CIDER TEA BLEND: Yeva is one of my favorite heroines in YA literature, because like this spice cider tea, Yeva’s personality is vibrant. She is a fighter and a survivor. I love how badass, daring, and determined is she throughout Hunted. And in comparison to this noted tea, Yeva is sweet and fierce. 

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LAPSANG SOUCHONG TEA: The tea blend of Lapsang Souchong tastes rich and earthly, with a strange aroma that is wild like Beast. Just as Beast has two competing personalities (the wolf and man), this tea blend has the dual taste of sweet and smokey.  Beast’s mannerisms often hint to a helpful and playful personality, but like a majority of black teas, he is also strong and bold.  

Doe Eyes Tea

NIRVANA GREEN TEA: Yeva (“Beauty”) is a hunter, and like any hunter, she has her most loyal friend and canine companion, Doe-Eyes. Doe-Eyes is always happy to see Yeva, and with every tail-wag, she brings content to Yeva’s life. In comparison to the Nirvana Green tea blend, Doe-Eyes is also sweet, fun, and energetic. 

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I cannot wait for everyone to read Hunted. Once you have read it, please feel free to stop by and comment what tea flavors you would match to your favorite characters. I would love to see what you come up with and maybe even try out some new tea blends. 

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

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Title: Hunted 
Author: Meagan Spooner
Publication date: March 14, 2017
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Format: Physical ARC

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


My Rants and Raves of hunted

Hunted is the fairy tale that I want to read to my future children. It is the retelling that I want every girl to read, and realize, “when the world pushes me down, I can lift myself up.” The author, Meagan Spooner, has molded a beloved classic story, “Beauty and the Beast,” and has shaped it into a book where Beauty (Yeva), a beloved sister and a devoted daughter, sets out into a wilderness where only beasts are guaranteed to survive. And as the heroine of the tale, Beauty is a fighter: a fierce, fearless, and determined woman with a good heart and a quick reflex to persevere. 

One of my favorite aspects of Hunted is the pacing. The story does not move too quickly, with one action domino-ing into a quick reaction. But the story also does not linger with the slow steady steps to a happily ever after ending. Instead, Spooner’s “Beauty and the Beast” retelling, purposely chimes like a steady hand playing Claude Debussy’s “Clair De Lune.” Spooner’s words hit all the high and low notes at the precise duration and location. The book reads like a sheet of music with a steady and heart-lifting tone. 

I also enjoyed how Hunted bridges the reader between reality and the enchanted unknown. As snow hides and blankets the pawed-footprints of a predator, the wind whispers the sad melodies of cursed beasts and creatures who yearn to be saved even if the risk of death lingers in between the whirlwind of snowflakes. Spooner creates a fantastical world that is both pleasing and awe-inspiring to the senses. The world of Hunted smells of musky fur, tastes of crisp air, and crunches with the sound of dried pine needles, all while the sharp bitter frost aches your bones. And although the Beast’s forest is wild and his castle is crumbling, I loved that it is Beauty’s presence that tames his surroundings into a eyeopening world of loyalty, understanding, and compassion.  

This novel will make you believe that magic and fairy stories are real. Hunted is assorted with a dynamic cast of characters; characters who are vulnerable, feral, bewitched, haunted, or even tricksters. The world-building is lush and the characters are so sharp and primitive. I loved every aspect of Hunted, and I cannot wait for readers and dreamers to experience it. 

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NOTE:  I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I received this physical ARC copy through a blogger exchange. I reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

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Title: The Bone Witch
Author: Rin Chupeco
Publication date: March 7, 2017
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: e-ARC/Netgalley

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


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This is a story about a girl named Tea.
No, not like the drink, but “Tey-uh,” instead.
She loved her brother, Fox, so much, that she raised him from the dead.

Now necromancy is not a praised trick.
Instead of being in awe of her magic,
Her village called her a bone witch.

Though her witchcraft could help heal sickness and hearts,
A bone witch was feared most of all,
Because no one understands their darkness and their art.

Tea is forced to leave her village, family, and friends.
She is taken under the wing of another bone witch,
Where she starts a new life with a darkening power to spin.

Summoning the dead can be seductive and dark.
Tea is told by strangers that she is soulless from the start.
But our heroine is fierce and remains protective over her heart.   

With the rare gift of death magic, Tea can control others’ minds.
She has the ability to conquer monsters, dragons, the Faceless, and spies. 
But her gift comes with limitations, and love and trust is not easy to find. 

Although this story is very slow in pace,
It is the love interests that might keep you vested and make your heart race.
Or maybe you will fall for the boy who loves to dance and dress in lace.   

Tea’s story is filled with twists and turns; a bewitching tale so deep.
She’s infatuated with a Prince, so prepare yourself for a romance that slowly reaps. 

And I promise you this, when you begin The Bone Witch, you will find no time to sleep. 

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NOTE: Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire  for providing me an e-galley/e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Review of The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

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Title: The Shadow Queen
Author: C.J. Redwine
Publication date: February 16, 2016
Publisher:  Balzer + Bray
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance
Format: Hardcover (purchased)

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


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Confession time: I have met C.J. Redwine over ten times (probably even more, but hey, who’s counting?). I love going to C.J.’s events and hearing her talk about her books, life, and her writing shenanigans. I’ve met her hilarious husband, while purchasing her first book; during our first meeting, he showed me his tattoo of the barcode for one of C.J.’s books (yes, he is just as awesome as C.J.). But even though I am a huge fan of the wonderful and passionate C.J. Redwine, and I own all of her books, this is the first book of her’s that I have read, and you guys, I loved it!!!

You guys, whenever I’m in Nashville for a book event, I make sure I am in C.J.’s audience. She’s a great public speaker, and even though she has faced many difficulties in her past, her power and fierce attitude shine bright when she talks about her work, and I love that about her. First off, I have heard C.J. talk about the beginning formation of The Shadow Queen at least 3 times. I know it started off after viewing The Huntsman starring Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth. I know that this is a planned series of 10 books, 4 confirmed to be published, and each book can be read separately. 

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Fantasy books and retellings will always be dear to my heart. They are my escape from reality. They are my dreams manifesting into unknown worlds filled with feisty and independent princesses, talking animals, and die-hard adventures. Fortunately, The Shadow Queen contained all the elements I love about fantasy books and MORE. 

The main character of The Shadow Queen, Lorelai Diederich, is now one of my favorite literary heroines. She is fiery, caring, and dedicated to righting the wrongs of her kingdom. Throughout the story, she stays faithful to her mission to save her kingdom, but she also faces each obstacle she encounters with relentless strength and  diligence. As a princess, a sister, a friend, and a warrior, she offers a lot to the story. Lorelai loses so much in this book, but instead of wallowing in self-pity, SHE PERSISTS! 

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And not to give too much away, but I love how magic and magical beings are immersed in this Snow White retelling. We have everything from poisonous apples, transforming dragons, mind-speaking pet birds, and terrorizing ogres. Magic is cherished in this book, and even though it may be used by some as a selfish means, it is also the perfect resource to conquering evil. 

Last, even though one of my favorite characters dies in this book (WHY?! THERE WAS SO MUCH POTENTIAL and DEVELOPMENT THERE!!), I really enjoyed this book. I honestly cannot wait to start The Wish Granter and read C.J. Redwine’s new twist on an old fairy tale. 

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NOTE:  I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds. I reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Review of Unrest by Wendy Higgins

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Title: Unrest
Author: Wendy Higgins
Publication date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Format: Kindle (Purchased)

About the Book:

New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins brings you the second book in this thrilling apocalyptic world…

Being on the run in the desert means food and sanctuary are hard to come by, but Amber Tate and her crew are not about to give up. Not after having the things they love brutally ripped from them by an unknown enemy who sent their world into the apocalypse.

Survival takes precedence, but once safe shelter is found, their guards fall and the emotions they’ve been holding in are finally released. Anger, insecurities…lust. In their tight quarters, Amber, Rylen, Tater, and Remy can’t escape it. The past must be faced, and passions run even stronger in the darkest of times.

In the midst of unrest, their worlds are rocked again when they discover the truth about the war that’s ruined their lives. They thought finding out the enemy’s identity would give them the edge; instead it’s revealed terrifying dangers they never thought possible.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N 


My Rants and Raves of Unrest

Wendy Higgins has a natural talent for writing engaging books, and her latest edition to the Unknown Trilogy, Unrest, proves how amazing of a storyteller she is. I swear this story sucks you in, and with every page you cannot look away. Unrest is action-packed, conspiracy driven, and contains just the right amount of romance to make your heart ache. I savored every word of this book, and afterwards immediately looked up the release date for Book 3 (which, by the way, is currently November 2017). 

One of the reasons I love this series is because of the focus on the brother and sister relationship between Amber and her brother Tater. As individuals they are fierce and strong, but as a duo they are stronger, fiercer, and smarter. I like that they have their differences, but as family they are connected on a deeper level to protect and take care of each other. They don’t always agree on things, but their sibling-love shines more brightly with every struggle they face. 

Additionally, I love this series because of the science fiction vibes behind the pages. Conspiracy theories and well articulated action-packed scenes are my favorite story-driven devices used in apocalypse books. Higgins’ craft provides so many twists, turns, and “oh-shit” moments throughout the book. I love how in one moment I’m one the edge of my seat and the next I’m in the character’s minds thinking about curing UTIs. When faced with outsiders taking over your country, Higgins proves that survival is more than finding allies. Her characters realize survival takes love, guts, strength, and the dependence on the knowledge of the past, nature, and the resources that surround them. 

And last, I’m not going to lie, but the number one reason I love this series is due to the sizzling connection between Amber “Pepper” and Rylen. When you’re facing an apocalyptic catastrophe, falling in love is probably not the first thing on your  survival list. But sorry not sorry, their infuriating crush slowly rolling into sexy times was always going through the back of my mind as I read this book. I love how endearing their friendship is depicted. They depend on each other for balance to stay sane and safe in their ruined world. And even though I might be focused on the idea of more smoochies, I just think these two belong together. 

Now give me book three, please! 

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NOTE:  I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review; I reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

ARC Review: Cashmere by Temple West

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Title: CASHMERE
Author: Temple West
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: In Medias Res Publications
Pages: 460
Genres:  Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Synopsis:

This high-stakes sequel to Velvet proves that when you’re the only human caught in a paranormal war, high school can get a little tricky. With Adrian’s brother trapped in hell, the Praetorian Guard has made Stony Creek their base-of-operations, but Caitlin has a bad feeling they’re more interested in her than in finding Lucian. Caught in a sea of conspiracies and lies, Caitlin and Adrian perform a risky magical procedure in an attempt to protect Caitlin from compulsion.

Relieved that her nightmares have ended, Caitlin is disturbed to find that something even stranger has taken their place.

Determined to get on with her life, even amid a crazy paranormal manhunt, she applies for a competitive summer fashion internship in New York. Searching desperately for answers about what Caitlin might be, how Adrian’s father is involved, and where Lucian has been kidnapped to, Caitlin and Adrian must rely on each other to survive. But when the truth finally comes to light, the consequences are unimaginable.

And the question still haunts them both: even if they survive, how will they deal with the fact that Adrian is immortal and Caitlin is not?

Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Rants and Raves of Cashmere

You know how some people think that vampire books are overrated, especially young adult vampire books? Well, those people are wrong. When I go into fantasy or paranormal books, I’m always looking for three things: 1. Well-developed characters; 2. Great world-building; and 3. Originality–and the possibility of a new spin on old ideas. Temple West’s Velvet series has all of these qualities, and Cashmere, the second book to Caitlin and Adrian’s love story, does not disappoint.

As an avid follower of Temple West’s social media accounts, I could definitely tell West puts a lot of herself in her writing. She’s creative, a designer, a storyteller, and someone that wants to give the world a badass heroine worth rooting for. Yes, the main character, Caitlin, has her flaws, but what teenager doesn’t. Caitlin’s character shines more brightly when she is stubborn, ranting, and articulating her next move. Even if that next move is mending a friendship, designing her prom dress, or understanding the role she plays in the paranormal world she is currently accepting as reality. Caitlin is a “think-before-I-act” type of person, which makes me love her even more.

I like West’s writing, because she writes with a rhythm that allows you to get lost in her words and world-building. In Cashmere, she puts you in the characters’ heads, and you get the grit, the raw emotions, and even the messed up dreams that might characterize your subconscious as a Star Trek character (HAHAHA). I do not know how West does it, but she can take the most scary and uncomfortable scenes and add a dash of silliness that equates into the most powerful and memorable chapter.

In Cashmere, West brings back a lot of familiar characters from Velvet, but she also introduces some new characters. Kalare is definitely my new favorite character. Kalare adds so much sass and smarts to each scene she is in. This girl can rock a leather jacket, a designer dress, and some hilarious sarcasm.

The main rant I have about the book is that I thought some of the chapters could have been condensed. Some scenes, close to the end of the book, run too long for my comfort. I love when action, even if it is the characters plotting their next move, carries the flow of the story. However, sometimes I found the story stuck and I wanted to skip to the next chapter (I might just be a little impatient, hahaha). Overall, I really enjoyed Cashmere and the unique vampire twist West has given her series. Now I need book three! 

NOTE: Thank you to Temple West for providing me an e-ARC of Cashmere. I was not asked to write or promote a review of the book. To see my original post as a host for the Cashmere blog tour, in which I shared an excerpt and my favorite quotes, go HERE. All statements and opinions stated in this post are my own.