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


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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


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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. 

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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: 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.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

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Title: Traitor to the Throne
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Publication date: March 7, 2017
Publisher:  Viking Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, 
Format: Signed Hardcover, purchased

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Gunslinger Amani al’Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a mythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she’s fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne.

When Amani finds herself thrust into the epicenter of the regime—the Sultan’s palace—she’s determined to bring the tyrant down. Desperate to uncover the Sultan’s secrets by spying on his court, she tries to forget that Jin disappeared just as she was getting closest to him, and that she’s a prisoner of the enemy. But the longer she remains, the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she’s been told he is, and who’s the real traitor to her sun-bleached, magic-filled homeland.

Forget everything you thought you knew about Miraji, about the rebellion, about Djinn and Jin and the Blue-Eyed Bandit. In Traitor to the Throne, the only certainty is that everything will change.

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


My Rants and Raves of Traitor to the Throne

I loved Rebel in the Sands, so I was so happy to dive back into this world. One of my favorite things about Traitor to the Throne is that it quickly picked up where we left off in the previous book. I was so afraid that I would forget the characters and the whole plot, but this was not the case. Alywn Hamilton writes with such great description and drops great hints of the backstory, so I was happily engulfed and surrounded in Amani’s world, thoughts, and motives all over again. 

What I loved most about Traitor to the Throne is that even though I am in love with the old band of characters, I also started fangirling over the introduction of new characters. As I was reading the book, I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who the “traitor” might be, but you guys, there were a lot of revealing twists and turns that I honestly did not see coming. I love how action packed the story is, which honestly allowed the story to quickly flow. I could not put the book down. 

Additionally, Amani continues to be one of my favorite heroines to root for in young adult literature. I love how independent and quick thinking she is. Her motives and actions are always selfless, which usually puts her…uhhh…in not so good situations. And in Traitor to the Throne, she once again proves that she is fierce and badass. 

The only rant I have about Traitor to the Throne is that I wish there were more scenes between Amani and Jin. I love the chemistry and dynamics between these two characters. Their relationship makes my heart ache, in a good way though, and I think they are dynamite on the page. Although the plot rarely portrayed these two on the same page, I was always yearning for them when they were separated and overly excited when they were in a scene together. 

As a second book to the series, Traitor to the Throne did not disappoint. I am definitely excited for Book 3, because OHMYGOD what is going to happen next?

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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: Gilt by Katherine Longshore

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Title: Gilt
Author: Katherine Longshore
Publication date: May 15, 2012
Publisher:  Viking Juvenile
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Format: Hardcover, purchased

ABOUT THE BOOK:

When Kitty Tylney’s best friend, Catherine Howard, worms her way into King Henry VIII’s heart and brings Kitty to court, she’s thrust into a world filled with fabulous gowns, sparkling jewels, and elegant parties. No longer stuck in Cat’s shadow, Kitty’s now caught between two men–the object of her affection and the object of her desire. But court is also full of secrets, lies, and sordid affairs, and as Kitty witnesses Cat’s meteoric rise and fall as queen, she must figure out how to keep being a good friend when the price of telling the truth could literally be her head.

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


My Rants and Raves of (14)

This month, the book club that I am part of picked Gilt as our March read. And even though I didn’t love the book, I still enjoyed it. I love historical novels, but when it comes to King Henry VIII’s life being fictionalized, I usually cringe. He’s not my favorite king to read about, but there’s always something about his selfish choices and his numerous wives that lead to fascinating stories. Gilt was a great book to jump in and focus on the life of his teenage wife, Catherine Howard.

The author, Katherine Longshore, did a great job with sticking to a lot of the historical facts that took place during this time period. I’m one of those people that believes that history affects literature and literature affects history; so of course, this book focuses on the shenanigans that took place during Henry’s reign. Although the book highlights the marriage of young Catherine Howard and Henry, the main focus is wrapped around Catherine’s humble friend Kitty, who I adored. 

I’m not a big fan of Catherine Howard in the first place, so focusing on her marriage to Henry was probably my biggest complaint in the book. Catherine is so young and immature when she marries Henry, so it didn’t phase me that I found her annoying and infuriating in this book. However, her advancement to marrying Henry allows the character Kitty, Catherine’s childhood friend, to shine. I really enjoyed Kitty as a character. I think she is well-developed, and Longshore pays close attention to capturing Kitty as a vulnerable bystander that has a lot of spark and positive qualities, which only made me feel for Kitty’s situation and root for her success in the book. The ending is left open-ended, but I really do wish and pray that Kitty got her happy ending, especially in regards to one of her love interests. 

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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.

If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave: Starfall by Melissa Landers

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Title: Starfall 
Author: Melissa Landers
Publication date: February 7, 2017
Publisher:  Disney-Hyperion
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fi 
Format: Hardcover, purchased

ABOUT THE BOOK:

When Princess Cassia Rose fled her home world of Eturia to escape an arranged marriage, she had no idea her sudden departure would spark a war. Now after two years hiding as a ship hand, she is finally returning to her beloved home, but not in the way she imagined. Shackled by bounty hunters, she is violently dragged back to account for her crimes. Her only solace is that the Banshee crew managed to evade capture, including Kane Arric, her best friend…with occasional benefits.

Meanwhile, Kane and the rest of the crew of the Banshee plan a desperate rescue mission. But when they arrive on Eturia, Cassia isn’t exactly in need of heroics—she’s claimed her birthright as Eturia’s queen, but has inherited a war-torn planet simmering with rebellion. Cassia must make alliances, and Kane, the bastard son of a merchant, isn’t a choice that will earn her any friends. Kane knows he will never find someone to replace Cassia—and is certain she returns his feelings—but how can he throw away his own promising future waiting on a queen?

When the outer realm is threatened by the dangerous Zhang mafia, Cassia, Kane and the rest of the Banshee crew uncover a horrifying conspiracy that endangers the entire universe. In the face of unspeakable evil, Cassia must confront her own family’s complicated legacy on Eturia and decide once and for all who her real family is.

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


My Rants and Raves of Starfall

I swear Melissa Landers should write for a TV show. Her gift for storytelling is so engaging, and Starfall had me on the edge of my seat from chapter 1. There were so many twists and turns that I did not see coming, and I could not have asked for a better story to unfold in the Starflight series. UGH, WILL THERE BE MORE IN THIS SERIES?! PLEASE TELL ME THERE WILL BE MORE!

I love the chemistry between Cassia and Kane. Their dialogue, actions, and feelings toward each other is sizzling, swoony, and oftentimes frustrating (but so, so good). Their friendship, teasing on-and-off-again relationship, and sacrifices that they make for one another throughout the book fueled me to the very end. Their relationship is so imperfect, yet swoony, which made me root for them throughout the entire novel. 

Starfall is so quick-paced and action-packed, but it’s the development of the roguish Kane and the smart, cunning, and fierce princess Cassia that strengthened my love for this book. And I loved that behind Cassia is a gang of misfits who would sacrifice anything to keep her, and each other, from becoming a victim of their enemies. The friendships in this book (and series) are true squad goals, and allow the story to unfold with excitement and adoration. If you’re a fan of television shows like Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and even The Magicians, this book is for you! You will fall in love with the strong friendships, wild escapades, snarky attitudes, and witty dialogue that meshes this novel into a one of a kind sci-fi adventure.

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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.

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.