Review: Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Geekerella

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Title:
Geekerella
Author: Ashley Poston
Publication date: April 4, 2017
Publisher:  Quirk Books
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Anything can happen once upon a con…

When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.

Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

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

a review geekerella

As a modern-day retelling of Cinderella, Geekerella is super cute, funny, and a very fast-paced read. This story is charming and geeky and overall a great book to dive into. Like many retellings of Cinderella, Elle (the main character) has a horrible stepmom, greedy step-sisters, and Elle has the obligations to take care of the household duties. However, Elle also has a bit of freedom: she writes a blog focused on her favorite fandom, Starfield, and she has a job on a vegan food truck. The friendships she creates and the shenanigans Elle participates in this book allows Geekerella to unfold in the most fun and surprising ways. 

I had a hard time connecting with the main character, but I still thought Elle was fun and smart. I love that she is emotionally driven to make her parents proud, and you can definitely tell she is a passionate fan of Starfield, a TV show that brought her parents together. Sometimes I wanted Elle to be more straightforward and honest, but often she came across as too frustrating for me to handle. 

Overall, Geekerella is a total full-on fandom-fanatic package.  The story is action-packed from the swoony (great ab) actor to fandom chaos and all the way to a hilarious and heart-pounding convention meet-up. This story is filled with laughs, uncertainty, and warm fuzzies. I think this book is a great homage to the traditional Cinderella tale and a honorable read to all those who love fandoms and “fangirling.”

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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 and reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari

The Best Kind of Magic
by Crystal Cestari
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy

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Synopsis:
 
Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber’s pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone’s soul mate.

Amber works ather mother’s magic shop–Windy City Magic–in downtown Chicago, and she’s confident she’s seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one–her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor’s son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father’s missing girlfriend, she’s distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can’t see her own match, she can see his–and it’s not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn’t her match?


The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.
 

RANTS AND RAVES MAGIC

I am obsessed with anything related to witches, and The Best Kind of Magic is one of my best “witchy” books I have read in a long time. As a first-person narrative story, told through the eyes of Amber Sand, I was fully wrapped in the thoughts of a teenage protagonist entwined with the realities of high school and the consequences of magic. Even though, at first, I thought Amber was going to come off too angst-y for my liking, I really liked that she matured as the book progressed.

Although Amber does not have the powers of a typical witch, she does have the gift of “matchmaking,” in which she is able confirm with couples if they are perfect for each other.  In The Best Kind of Magic, matchmaking is on the lowest step of the magical realm ladder, but Amber still takes pride in her magical ability. I liked Amber as a storyteller and being in her head throughout the story. She is funny, smart, rational, and has a cautious nature in her reactions to most situations. Amber often questions why people get mad when she tells them that they are not with their soulmate, but as the story unfolds, she starts to empathize with these people and understand heartache more.

I was also a big fan of Amber’s friends, Amani and Charlie. Amani is a great best friend, and as the series continues, I look forward to reading more about her pre-cog gift and how her life unfolds, especially in the romance realm…EEEK. I also liked Charlie because he is classy and mature, and I think he has a good head on his shoulders. I really liked that he doesn’t runaway from his problems or conflicts–instead he faces them with open communication and an open mind.

The Best Kind of Magic
leaves room for all the characters to grow and understand life’s ability to throw you into loops. This story is quick-paced, lighthearted, and often times hilarious, but the book also focuses on serious matters. I enjoyed that the novel does not set up a heroine on her way to a happily ever after ending. Instead, reality is complicated and through Amber’s eyes we see her ponder real life complexities and worries. Amber faces difficulties in a story that questions fate and predestination. Do the “powers-that-be” control our lives or do we in fact have choice to control our own lives? Are there truly soulmates or do we control our own destiny with love? As these themes and questions are explored, the story unfolds in some unexpected turns.

Overall, The Best Kind of Magic is a great introduction into a series that I know I will continue to read. The book has a lot of sassy and sarcastic banter, which I love in young adult novels. There is also mystery, great friendship dynamics, and a slow burn of swoons *sigh*.  I cannot wait for book two to come out; I’m not a big fan of book twists but I’m excited to see how the series continues. 

4 star rating

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

FAVORITE QUOTES

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With rainbows in my hair and stories in my head, I am a writer drawn to magic in the everyday world.

My debut novel, The Best Kind of Magic, arrives May 16, 2017 from Hyperion. Follow Amber Sand, a magical matchmaker who can actually see true love, as she takes off on a fun and romantic adventure toward happily ever after.

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WIN ONE FINISHED COPY OF THE BOOK

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Disclaimer: Open to only USA/CANADA.
Every blog on this tour is running their own giveaway (that’s 19 chances to win). Please feel free to enter each blog giveaway, but if you find out that you have won 2 blog giveaways, we ask that you please decline one of the wins and only claim one copy of the book in order to allow someone else to win their own copy of the book. Good luck!

Book Review: Long Way Home by Katie McGarry

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Title:
Long Way Home
Author: Katie McGarry
Publication date: January 31, 2017
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.

Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.

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


Long way home

The Thunder Road series is quite a reading addiction for me. Katie McGarry has written a group of stories about teenagers caught in the most edgy and excitable situations. The stories center on young couples that are growing up and falling in love, all while they are part of a motorcycle club family. I loved the first two books of this series, so I was so excited to finally get my hands on Long Way Home, which finally gives the much anticipated, fist-clenching, tension-building relationship between Chevy and Violet to unravel.  

Although, this was not my favorite book of the Thunder Road series, Long Way Home still captivated my attention with the character development and high-tension plot. Violet was too angsty for me, but I can very much understand where all her frustration and anger comes. And Chevy is such a good guy all around. Both characters are going through a lot family secrets and adolescent dilemmas, and I think they handle their situations the best way they can, especially as teenagers. 

Katie McGarry has become one of my favorite contemporary writers, and once again she does not disappoint with Chevy and Violet’s story. Overall, I enjoyed Long Way Home, and I am definitely keeping my fingers crossed that more stories are written in this guilty-pleasure series. 

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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 and reviewed it at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

Book Review: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

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Title:
The Diabolic
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Publication date: November 1, 2016
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy

ABOUT THE BOOK:

A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for. Nothing else.

For Nemesis, that person is Sidonia, heir to the galactic Senate. The two grew up side by side, and there’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the Imperial Court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced Senators’ children, and Nemesis must find within herself the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have—humanity. With the Empire beginning to fracture and rebellion looming, that could be the one thing that saves her and the Empire itself.

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


the diabolic

As an avid reader of science fiction books, I could not wait to dive into The Diabolic. However, this book did not live up to the high expectations I had for it. Overall, the book started off very slow for me but I did like the ending (no spoilers though). It took me a good 100 pages to finally enjoy the plot, and even after those pages I still felt like I was walking on eggshells every time I turned the page. Due to all the violence and what I believe to be several “unnecessary” deaths (GRRR!!!), some parts of the story made me irritated, cringe, or want to throw the book across the room.

Also, I was not a big fan of the main character, Nemesis. I cannot put my finger on it, but she just rubbed me the wrong way. For a character that was supposed to hold very “little” emotion, she was an emotional wreck and all over the place. Whenever I started to like her character, she would go and do something that made my “eyes roll.” Ugh, get it together Nemesis.

But in the end, I did not walk away from The Diabolic with regret. I mean there has to be a reason why I gave the book a 3-star rating, right? Well, you guys, I was utterly in love with the character Tyrus–a very smart and calculating person with the most swoony lines and scenes. Tyrus carried me through this book and I’m most grateful for his rebellious actions. If the book was solely told through Tyrus’ voice, I would probably have given the book 5 stars, and none for you Glen Coco…I mean Nemesis. 

Even though The Diabolic was slowly drawn out in the beginning, overall I liked where the book went in the end, and I would LOVE to read more of Tyrus in future books. 

3 star rating

My Rating: 3 out 5 Star

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 book as a gift from a friend and 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 Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

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Title:
The Names They Gave Us

Author: Emery Lord
Publication date: May 16, 2017
Publisher:  Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Format: e-ARC from Netgalley; physical ARC blogger exchange

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

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


My Rants and Raves of Emery Lord

When summer hits, my “READ ALL THE CONTEMPORARY BOOKS” alarm goes off. From there I’m in the world of swoons, tears, laughter, and sometimes heartache. And when I want to read the most realistic and heart-fulfilling contemporary book, I always turn to the QUEEN OF CONTEMPORARY WRITERS, Emery Lord. Emery Lord is one of my favorite contemporary authors, at least in my top three, so suck it (Pam Beasley quote there, sorry, I had to do it). And once again Emery’s words have made my eyes water, my heart ache, and my soul feel like it needs a giant hug. So friends and fellow book lovers, I’m going to tell you this now, Emery Lord’s The Names They Gave Us is going to put you on an emotional, reading roller coaster but luckily there is the comfort of campfires and s’mores to warm up the pages. 

One of my favorite parts about reading Emery’s books are how relatable her characters are. Once again she has created a main character, Lucy, who is realistically flawed and easy to connect with.  Throughout The Names They Gave Us, Lucy questions her motives and choices when it comes to awkward, stressful, and guarded social situations. As the daughter of a preacher, she questions God but at the same feels shameful with her intentions. Although it’s heartbreaking to a see Lucy struggle throughout the pages, it is also reassuring to see a character encounter and confront the unfair realities of life. 

I don’t want to give too much away from this book’s plot, because I honestly think, everyone will come into this book with differing world views and then leave this book with a different emotional contemplation. The Names They Gave Us is not a “cancer” book, but the novel does bring in the emotional charge that comes with cancer: a brutal black hole that inevitably swallows up happiness and light. The solidity of cancer tests the main character’s willpower, her faith, her family, her friends, and her future. In The Names They Gave Us, cancer is the driving force that sets the main character on a new path: a path that brings her to a summer camp which helps her meet a diverse group of people, adapt to new beginnings, and a new perspective on life.

At camp, Lucy is able to “people watch,” ponder and observe past lives and choices, and contemplate her own future. Overall, this novel is an emotional package about self-discovery, forming meaningful friendships, and finding ways to emotionally cope and face difficult situations. In The Names They Gave Us, Emery writes with such raw passion and puts so much courage and sincerity in her characters; in the end, she has created a story about honesty, compassion, forgiveness, and fully living. 

In The Names They Gave Us, there’s a part where the young camp counselors gather around a campfire and discuss their highs and lows of the week. So I thought I would break the rest of my review down into the high and lows of the book. The highs are my most beloved topics that the Emery Lord touches on and lows are self-explanatory.  

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Biracial relationships.
Teen pregnancy.
Lucy and Henry Morris Jones IV
Stories within stories.
“Posy and the Dreaming Tree”

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cancer sucks
Cancer Sucks!
CANCER SUCKS!
CANCER REALLY SUCKS!
CANCER REALLY, REALLY SUCKS!!!

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

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

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Title:
The Pearl Thief

Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publication date: May 2, 2017
Publisher:  Disney-Hyperion
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Synopsis:

Before Verity . . . there was Julie.

When fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in the hospital, she knows the lazy summer break she’d imagined won’t be exactly like she anticipated. And once she returns to her grandfather’s estate, a bit banged up but alive, she begins to realize that her injury might not have been an accident. One of her family’s employees is missing, and he disappeared on the very same day she landed in the hospital.

Desperate to figure out what happened, she befriends Euan McEwen, the Scots Traveller boy who found her when she was injured, and his standoffish sister Ellen. As Julie grows closer to this family, she experiences some of the prejudices they’ve grown used to firsthand, a stark contrast to her own upbringing, and finds herself exploring thrilling new experiences that have nothing to do with a missing-person investigation.

Her memory of that day returns to her in pieces, and when a body is discovered, her new friends are caught in the crosshairs of long-held biases about Travellers. Julie must get to the bottom of the mystery in order to keep them from being framed for the crime.

In the prequel to Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this exhilarating coming-of-age story returns to a beloved character just before she learned to fly.

Goodreads| Amazon |Barnes & Noble | iBooksThe Book Depository


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The Pearl Thief is the first  Elizabeth Wein book I have read and it will not be my last. I really enjoyed how Wein’s storytelling realistically situates you in the main character’s mind, which is filled with so much passion, snark, love, innocence, and freedom. The plot of The Pearl Thief not only provides a tone of mystery and stealth, but I was also in awe of the limits that Wein pushed against in regards to the main character’s coming-of-age story. 

As the main character in The Pearl Thief, Julie is one of my new favorite YA heroines. Wein’s writing immediately swifts you into the historical ambiance of an early 20th-century Scotland setting, told through Julie’s perspective, a teenage girl exploring her adolescence through a lens of fear, courage, curiosity, and change. Julie is a full on whirlwind; in the very beginning of the book, she makes a threat that if anyone ever arranges for her to be married, she would run away. HA, right then and there, I knew Julie was going to win my heart in this story. I loved how feisty, funny, and daring she is throughout the novel. If I lived in the late 1930s, I definitely would have tried to befriend her. In the end, I appreciated Julie as a character because she has so much strength, spunk, and will to educate herself and defy social norms. 

Because of Julie’s liveliness and strict determination, this story is engaging and fast-paced. The Pearl Thief has a mysterious tone with a full investigation of a missing person and thefts. In addition to the stealthy tone, it was very refreshing to read a young adult character who is exploring her sexual fluidity, while also trying to understand the ills of the world. Julie is situated in a time where women were pushing the boundaries of the patriarchy, and she was also recognizing the terrible discriminatory labels, stereotypes, and assumptions that were unfairly placed on people due to their social status, religion, gender, race, and way of living. If you love reading historical novels with witty and quirky characters with a dash of sleuthing, The Pearl Thief is for you.

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My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Giveaway Pearl Thief

3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE PEARL THIEF, US Only.
Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter:

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About the author Pearl Thief

Elizabeth


I was born in New York City in 1964, and moved to England when I was 3. I started school there. We lived practically in the shadow of Alderley Edge, the setting for several of Alan Garner’s books and for my own first book The Winter Prince; that landscape, and Garner’s books, have been a lifelong influence on me.

My father, who worked for the New York City Board of Education for most of his life, was sent to England to do teacher training at what is now Manchester Metropolitan University. He helped organize the Headstart program there. When I was six he was sent to the University of the West Indies in Jamaica for three years to do the same thing in Kingston. I loved Jamaica and became fluent in Jamaican patois (I can’t really speak it any more, but I can still understand it); but in 1973 my parents separated, and we ended up back in the USA living with my mother in Harrisburg, PA, where her parents were. When she died in a car accident in 1978, her wonderful parents took us in and raised us.

I went to Yale University, spent a work-study year back in England, and then spent seven years getting a PhD in Folklore at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. While I was there I learned to ring church bells in the English style known as “change ringing”, and in 1991 I met my future husband there at a bell ringers’ dinner-dance. He is English, and in 1995 I moved to England with him, and then to Scotland in 2000.

We share another unusual interest–flying in small planes. My husband got his private pilot’s license in 1993 and I got mine ten years later. Together we have flown in the States from Kalamazoo to New Hampshire; in Kenya we’ve flown from Nairobi to Malindi, on the coast, and also all over southern England. Alone, most of my flying has been in eastern Scotland.

We have two children.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

TOUR SCHEDULE PEARL THIEF

Week One:

5/1/2017- YA and Wine Blogger Post
5/2/2017- Beauty and the Bookshelf– Review
5/3/2017- The Blonde Bookworm– Review
5/4/2017- The Autumn Bookshelf– Blogger Post
5/5/2017- Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile– Review

Week Two:

5/8/2017- Booklove– Review
5/9/2017- Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Blogger Post
5/10/2017- Mundie Moms Review
5/11/2017- YA Books Central– Spotlight
5/12/2017- History from a Woman’s Perspective– Review

NOTE: Thank you to Disney-Hyperion  and Rock Star Book Tour 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: A Million Junes by Emily Henry

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Title:
A Million Junes

Author: Emily Henry
Publication date: May 16, 2017
Publisher:  Razorbill
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy 
Format: e-ARC from Penguin’s First to Read site

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Romeo and Juliet meets One Hundred Years of Solitude in Emily Henry’s brilliant follow-up to The Love That Split the World, about the daughter and son of two long-feuding families who fall in love while trying to uncover the truth about the strange magic and harrowing curse that has plagued their bloodlines for generations.

In their hometown of Five Fingers, Michigan, the O’Donnells and the Angerts have mythic legacies. But for all the tall tales they weave, both founding families are tight-lipped about what caused the century-old rift between them, except to say it began with a cherry tree.

Eighteen-year-old Jack “June” O’Donnell doesn’t need a better reason than that. She’s an O’Donnell to her core, just like her late father was, and O’Donnells stay away from Angerts. Period.

But when Saul Angert, the son of June’s father’s mortal enemy, returns to town after three mysterious years away, June can’t seem to avoid him. Soon the unthinkable happens: She finds she doesn’t exactly hate the gruff, sarcastic boy she was born to loathe.

Saul’s arrival sparks a chain reaction, and as the magic, ghosts, and coywolves of Five Fingers conspire to reveal the truth about the dark moment that started the feud, June must question everything she knows about her family and the father she adored. And she must decide whether it’s finally time for her—and all of the O’Donnells before her—to let go.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository


My Rants and Raves of A Million Junes

Last year, Emily Henry’s debut novel, The Love That Split the World, won me over. It was beautifully written, the story was intense and intriguing, and honestly that book still sits well in my heart. And you guys, Henry’s new novel, A Million Junes, is just as impeccable. The novel is a meshing of generational curses, smart and quick-witted dialogue, and eccentric magic.

In A Million Junes, Emily Henry’s words are lyrical. She writes at such an elegant and wistful pace that I often forgot I was reading a book. Not only do her words melodically carry you through a world that merges reality and fantasy, but her writing transcends you into alternate worlds where memories exist by the seed of a dandelion. Henry’s storytelling took me on a collision course of in-between worlds that carry the reminisced emotions of comfort, laughter, heartache, and sorrow. A Million Junes is mesmerizing and thought-provoking and truly a gem to read. 

In reference to the main character, Jack “June” O’Donnell IV often wears her heart on her sleeve. Her sarcasm and wit have no filter, which carries well-needed humor in a story that is filled with grief and haunting despair. June’s attitude and opinions change as the story progresses, and I like that her growth is driven by both emotion and reason. And when this sassy, passionate teenager meets Saul, an enemy to her family, I love that June’s world is set into a whirlwind of challenges and transformation. 

The friendship that develops between June and Saul is beautifully weaved through white lies, snarky jokes, and good rapport. Their chemistry and fast-paced repartee are both heartwarming and hilarious. After their first encounter with one another, I wanted every page dedicated to their conversations. EVERY! SINGLE! PAGE! 

After reading A Million Junes, I hugged the book to my heart. I am 100% sure that this book will be one of those novels that I reread, because I will forever want that enchanting feeling back in my soul. I truly think A Million Junes will be my cure for future reading slumps. I love that this book exists and I love what it stands for. A Million Junes carefully situates two characters in a familial feud that darkens the pages with curses and haunting memories, but, in the end, it manifests that sorrow into experiences of forgiveness and moving forward.

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NOTE: Thank you to Penguin’s First to Read program for providing me an e-galley/e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.