ARC Review | Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn

31145064Title: Wesley James Ruined My Life
Author: Jennifer Honeybourn
Publication: July 18th 2017 by Swoon Reads
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher
ISBN: 9781250123732
How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)

synopsis
Sixteen-year-old Quinn Hardwick’s having a rough summer. Her beloved grandmother has been put into a home, her dad’s gambling addiction has flared back up and now her worst enemy is back in town: Wesley James, former childhood friend—until he ruined her life, that is.

So when Wesley is hired to work with her at Tudor Tymes, a medieval England themed restaurant, the last thing Quinn’s going to do is forgive and forget. She’s determined to remove him from her life and even the score all at once—by getting him fired.

But getting rid of Wesley isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. When Quinn finds herself falling for him, she has to decide what she wants more: to get even, or to just get over it.


review
I received an ARC of this book from Macmillan Publishers in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Wesley James Ruined My Life is a contemporary paragon.  It’s cute, easy to read and fast-paced. Right from first chapters of this book, I could tell that it’s going to be an enjoyable read. I also can’t help but compare this book to some of Lauren Morrill’s books which are my contemporary go-to books! Indeed, it has the common trope we see in most YA contemps and I guess I could say that it isn’t something that I haven’t read before. But still, I managed to take delight in this quick read.
When the title said that Wesley ruined Quinn’s life, this got me thinking, what exactly did he do to Quinn? And why is she so keen on getting even with him? Turns out, Wesley, or so Quinn thinks, was responsible for her parents divorce. So what’s her big revenge? Get him fired. Okay, that appears to be a bit shallow. The story actually has a lot going on, Quinn’s dad and his gambling addiction, her grandmother’s Alzheimer’s, her dream trip to London and so on but it looks like that Quinn’s priority is getting her revenge on Wesley. With everything that’s happening in the story, it missed out on properly building up the characters. Yes, it’s a light story that you can easily pick up and read but instead of having a character to relate to, it doesn’t allow the readers to do so because we really didn’t get to know much about the characters. And one thing I noticed about this book is it reaches more on the younger readers. Either that or I’m really getting old. 😛
Although Wesley James Ruined My Life lacked in some aspects, I still enjoyed reading this, it was a fun and fluffy read, and if you’re up for a quick read, you should try this one.
Rating:

3h


whatiliked
  • Fast-paced – I picked up this book while I was on a book slump and I really felt accomplished when I finished reading this book. I’m glad the story didn’t really drag, it’s simple but still enjoyable.
  • Re-read worthy – I still can’t get over how quick I finished this book that I’m already thinking about re-reading it in the future. When I’m in a need of a breath of fresh contemporary air, this is definitely one of the books I’d pick up.

end

Book description and cover image from Goodreads

Book Review | Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

31952703
Title: Words in Deep Blue
Author: Cath Crowley
Publication: June 6th 2017 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Format: Finished Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher
ISBN: 9781101937648
How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)

synopsis
Love lives between the lines.
Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.

Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.


review
I received a finished copy of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Books like Words in Deep Blue are the reason why I really enjoy reading contemporary YA. First, you’re only looking for some refreshing light read but then it gives something more, something with greater depth. I admit, I was only after the giddy feeling I know this book would give me based on the synopsis. I’m a total sucker for swoon but this book is more than just a cute romance, it also deals with loss, grief and what comes after.
Rachel likes Henry, her best friend. Before she moves away with her family, she confesses her feelings in a letter to Henry but he never replied. A wild guess here is that the letter never really reached Henry. But, Rachel doesn’t know that. She assumes that Henry is just ignoring the fact. But even so, Henry is crazy in love with another girl, Amy, so there’s that. Rachel comes back to town, and guess what, Henry is still crazy in love with Amy even after she dumps him. Rachel says that she doesn’t have feeling for Henry anymore. And Henry thinks that Rachel changed a lot, she’s rude and shuts everyone out especially him.
Told in alternating POVs of Henry and Rachel, we see how everything unfolds before us in 2 different voices, with some in-between stories, told by an exchange of letters. The thing I noticed about Rachel and Henry is that they both love to suffer. I don’t mean literally but you see them stuck in a situation they’re most likely to suffer but still makes decision that results to even longer suffering. In Henry’s case, it’s Amy. His love for her is blind that even if it hurts, he’s still chasing after her, she’s literally stepping over his dignity but he still see’s her as a saint or something. I really want to hit him in the head sometimes. And with Rachel, it’s her feelings for Henry (obviously) and the loss of her brother, Cal. Instead of facing the reality of his death, Rachel keeps putting it behind and doesn’t really open it up to everyone.
The characters go through a whole lot in this book and it’s done in such a way I haven’t read before. The development is spot on, character and plot wise. I love the originality of having the Letter Library where people can leave messages in between the pages of a book. The side story of George, Henry’s sister, exchanging letters with a certain “Pytheas” is so endearing I wish they have they’re own book. But I guess their exchange would have been enough, I mean it was enough, it made me feel genuine emotions.
In totality, this book is more than just a love story it’s about the many things that makes a love story. Friends who would do anything for you, family that may be falling apart but are always there for you. And words.
“Words matter, in fact. They’re not pointless, as you’ve suggested. If they were pointless, then they couldn’t start revolutions and they wouldn’t change history. If they were just words, we wouldn’t write songs or listen to them. We wouldn’t beg to be read to as kids. If they were just words, then stories wouldn’t have been around since before we could write. We wouldn’t have learned to write. If they were just words, people wouldn’t fall in love because of them, feel bad because of them, ache because of them, and stop aching because of them.”
Rating:
4

whatiliked
  • Diverse characters – With strong voices too! I love George, Martin, Lola, Cal… They seriously should have their own story. Although they were side characters, their
  • Quotes from the book and quotes the book quotes from other books – This story involves a lot of books, a huge part of the plot does. And it’s a total gem for book lovers! It mentions a lot of literary works and how it has been a part of someone’s life. I also liked the some quotes from the book.
“We are the books we read and the things we love.”
“The broken heart. You think you will die, but you just keep living, day after day after terrible day.”  ―Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
“The past is with me; the present is here. The future is unmapped and changeable. Ours for the imagining: spreading out before us. Sunlight filled, deep blue, and the darkness.”

end
Book description and cover image from Goodreads

ARC Review | Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields

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Title: Poison’s Kiss (Poison’s Kiss #1)
Author: Breeana Shields
Publication: January 10th 2017 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher
ISBN: 9781101937822

How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)


synopsis

Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It’s a miserable life, but being a visha kanya, a poison maiden, is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

This rich, surprising, and accessible debut is based in Indian folklore and delivers a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.


review
I received an ARC of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.

I usually don’t read much fantasy books as much as I do contemporaries and mysteries which are my “genre comfort zone”, so having to take a bit of a change of direction with Poison’s Kiss was kind of a journey for me. It takes patience for a reader to see how AMAZING Poison’s Kiss is.

The entire book is told in Marinda’s POV and with that, we get to explore Sundari in her shoes. The narration is told vividly that the world never felt so unknown; it’s like you’re really in it. I also love how the whole story unfolds with loads of twist and turns (some were predictable but most of them are surprising) and a great deal of adventure. The story telling and world building in this book are equally astounding. Marinda’s character indeed shines in the entire story, we get to see how strong and brave her character is as the story develops.

This book did give me THE feels, thanks to swoony Deven. I kind of wanted more of the love story between him and Marinda but we do get just the right amount of that so not to outshine the main plot. And as long as I’d get more of them in the next book, I’m not complaining! And yes, there’s a sequel! I was totally clueless about it when I picked up this book, thus only thinking that it’s a standalone so it really left me hanging in the end but I can totally wait for what happens next!

 

Rating:

4


whatiliked
  • Marinda – Ahhhh she’s my absolute heroine! I just love everything about her. Even though she’s a visha kanya a.k.a. poison maiden (which I really think is badass), that’s not the only thing that defines her character. She’s very compassionate and dearly loves her brother. She’s also brave and smart and it really shines all throughout.
  • Indian folklore – The infusion of indian folklore into YA fiction is something I didn’t expect to love, but this book nailed it and I really learned to appreciate it. Even though sometimes, the terms were a bit difficult to remember, but with such great storytelling, you get to understand the history and all the other details.
  • World Building – I am always amazed with stories in a different world setting and I just love how I get to explore the kingdom of Sundari with clear images of it in my mind. It’s one of my favorite things in this book!

end
Book description and cover image from Goodreads

ARC Review | The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

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Title: The Sun Is Also A Star
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publication: November 1st 2016 by Delacorte Press
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher
ISBN: 9780553496680

How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)


synopsis

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?


review

I received an ARC of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.

After having read Everything, Everything, I since have had a mental note that any book written by Nicola Yoon is one to anticipate. There’s no need to tell that I have high expectations for The Sun Is Also A Star because I definitely do. And now that I’ve finally read it, I don’t know how to begin with sharing how blown away I am with this incredible and one of a kind story.

The Sun Is Also A Star follows Natasha and Daniel and their love story set in a whole day around New York City. Natasha is bound to get deported back to Jamaica after she and her family are discovered to be undocumented immigrants, she’s desperate to stop the deportation and she has less than a day to make it happen. Meanwhile, Daniel has an admission interview with Yale, which he thinks is the beginning of the end of his future. Daniel doesn’t want to become a doctor, he doesn’t even want to go to Yale, so he spends his remaining hours before the interview to do whatever he feels like doing. Their paths cross, and the rest is up to fate to do its thing.

First of all, I just love stories of fate and destiny. I love that it’s something out of our control but still leads us to the moment that’s meant to be. Natasha is a non-believer of these things. She claims she’s a realist and doesn’t believe that things happen for a reason.

Things don’t happen for a reason. They just happen.
For a story that has a lot to do with fate, having a character like Natasha and Daniel made everything more interesting. While Natasha doesn’t believe in fate, Daniel is a romantic. (His Koi No Yokan thing? Ah… SWOOOON! Did I mention he’s Korean? MORE SWOON!) You can only imagine what’s gonna happen next or how the characters will react to the the events in this book. The character development is very natural and not forced that I sometimes forget that everything that’s going on is in a span of a single day. How is that even possible? Don’t doubt fate. Or the author.

Ms. Nicola has a distinct writing style that you can easily identify. It has the effect that will make you guarantee that you are reading a book written by her. The short chapters and the unconventional storytelling are definitely her niche. She just makes it work in every book she writes. I can’t think of a different way Natasha and Daniel’s story be told.

Speaking of the narrative, the book wasn’t only in Natasha or Daniel’s POV, there were a lot of different perspectives coming from people or things they encounter, and what’s great about it is that we get to see what lead them to that exact moment, how their choices and actions affected other people’s fate and just how everything works together and are bound to happen.

Maybe he wasn’t meant to meet Natasha today. Maybe it was random chance after all.
But.
Once they met, the rest of it, the love between them, was inevitable.
The ending just proved how fate worked in Natasha and Daniel’s lives. It’s such a touching moment that I just keep reading it over and over. It’s a beautiful story and the ending was just perfect. Absoultely, incredibly, the best epilogue I’ve read.

The Sun Is Also A Star is a definite must-read. For lovers of swoon-worthy reads like me, this is not to be missed. For those who aren’t, maybe you’ll have a change of heart, just like Natasha? 🙂

Rating:

5stars


whatiliked

  • Natasha & Daniel – Of course, these 2! I love Natasha and Daniel and they will have a special place in my heart for being the most adorable characters ever. Anyway, I noticed how the characters names are somewhat a representation of Nicola and David??? Also, they’re Jamaican American and Korean American respectively and I’m not doubting that this was inspired by the story of how they met, and the rest is an adorable book called The Sun Is Also A Star. 🙂
  • The cover – Unlike some covers that are aesthetically pleasing, this one has a different reason why I like love it. TSIAAS’s cover is some sort of a representation of what the whole book is telling us. I couldn’t find the best words to explain it but the good thing is Nicola already did, in her letter for her readers, she said, “We are-all of us-connected. The threads weave through and around us all. It’s only for us to see them.” I don’t know why but it spoke to me more than what it is, a book cover. I really appreciate the fact that even that single detail is telling a story. Don’t even get me started with the effort put into making it, just go check out the cover making video!

end
Book description and cover image from Goodreads

Book Review | Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

26365537Title: Kindred Spirits
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publication: February 25th 2016 by Macmillans Children’s Books
Format: Finished copy/Paperback, World Book Day Edition 2016
Source: Life and Other Disasters Giveaway
ISBN: 9781509820832
Are You Still There

synopsis‘Everybody likes everything these days. The whole world is a nerd.’
‘Are you mad because other people like Star Wars? Are you mad because people like me like Star Wars?’
‘Maybe.’
If you broke Elena’s heart, Star Wars would spill out. So when she decides to queue outside her local cinema to see the new movie, she’s expecting a celebration with crowds of people who love Han, Luke and Leia just as much as she does. What she’s not expecting is to be last in a line of only three people; to have to pee into a collectible Star Wars soda cup behind a dumpster or to meet that unlikely someone who just might truly understand the way she feels. Kindred Spirits is an engaging short story by Rainbow Rowell, author of the bestselling Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and Carry On, and is part of a handful of selected short reads specially produced for World Book Day.

review

When I heard that there’s a new Rainbow Rowell book coming out for World Book Day 2016, I just knew that I have to get my hands on a copy. I absolutely loved Rowell’s Fangirl, and Eleanor & Park is one of my ultimate favorites and will forever be a book that’s close to my heart. With that being said, I was really expecting a whole lot from this book.
Kindred Spirits is a cute short story about Elena and her experience camping outside the cinema for 4 days for the new Star Wars movie. It’s actually too short of a story that all it took me to finish this book was the time I spent while waiting in line to vote for the national elections. Honestly speaking, I really enjoyed reading this book. It’s from a point of view of a fangirl so I was really able to relate to the character. Although, there were times that I was annoyed with Elena because of her stubbornness but that isn’t a reason enough to not like her character.
I love that it showed how camp outs really happen. It’s not just fun but a lot of discomfort too. This book did justice to how people can be too dedicated to a certain fandom.
All in all, Kindred Spirits is a book worth reading. I guarantee that you’ll ask for more + that plot twist in the end. 😉
Rating:

3h


whatiliked

  • Simply entertaining -It’s a quick and simple read but purely entertaining. There weren’t a lot of characters and the setting was just the streets but that’s already enough for Ms. Rainbow and her words to make such a good read.
  • Fangirl connection – Everyone who loved Fangirl will love this book.
  • Plot twist – TOTALLY UNEXPECTED and HILARIOUS. I don’t know why but I still can’t get over it. 😛

end
Book description and cover image from Goodreads

Blog Tour | Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach [Review + Giveaway]

9781402291449_9b451Title: Anything You Want
Author: Geoff Herbach
Publication: May 3rd 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley
ISBN: 9781402291449

How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)


synopsis

Expect a bundle of joy—er, trouble—in this hilarious, heartwarming story from the award-winning author of Stupid Fast Geoff Herbach.
Taco’s mom always said, “Today is the best day of your life, and tomorrow will be even better.” That was hard to believe the day she died of cancer and when Taco’s dad had to move up north for work, but he sure did believe it when Maggie Corrigan agreed to go with him to junior prom. Taco loves Maggie- even more than the tacos that earned him his nickname. And she loves him right back.
Except all that love? It gets Maggie pregnant. Everyone else may be freaking out, but Taco can’t wait to have a real family again. He just has to figure out what it means to be a dad and how to pass calculus. And then there’s getting Maggie’s parents to like him. Because it would be so much easier for them to be together if he didn’t have to climb the side of the Corrigans’ house to see her…

review

I received a digital review copy of this book from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley for my participation in this blog tour. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Anything You Want is nothing like some other books I’ve read before that deals with teenage pregnancy/parenthood. The proof of it’s rarity lies on the MC.
Never have I encountered such a character like Taco. His name already says says a lot. Well, not literally… but his personality is full of “character”. The first thing I noticed about this book is the way the story is being narrated. It clearly reflects Taco’s personality; naive, unique and optimistic. Seriously, the narration is just bursting with personality and I love it. I’ve had enough of the brooding YA male narrators and that makes Taco a breath of fresh air.
In terms of the plot, I wasn’t expecting anything at all when I picked up this book and that’s why I’m surprised with the depth and message it tries to get across the readers. Anything You Want is not a light contemporary YA. It deals with serious issues like teenage pregnancy, abandonment, depression and a lot more. There were parts where I felt exhausted reading what Taco is experiencing because it’s almost like a cycle of problems that seems to never end but that made me feel more for his character. His journey is truly inspiring. Overall, I really recommend Anything You Want to every YA reader out there.
Today is the best day of your life. So is tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next. No matter what happens, every day you have is the best day of your life.
Rating:

4


abouttheauthor

geoffI am the author of the YA title, Stupid Fast (June 2011 from Sourcebooks Fire). I also wrote The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg, a Novel from Three Rivers Press. When I’m not writing books, I’m writing for Radio Happy Hour or developing ridiculous musical bits.

When I’m not writing, I’m teaching writing at Minnesota State, Mankato, which means I write a lot of comments about writing on student writing.

Writing a lot of writing and reading about writing and writing on reading.

www.geoffherback.com
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Giveaway!
Win (1) of (4) copies of ANYTHING YOU WANT by Geoff Herbach
Open Internationally.

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Blog Tour | The Girl I Used To Be by April Henry [Review + Excerpt + Giveaway]

23018249Title: The Girl I Used To Be
Author: April Henry
Publication: May 3rd 2016 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley
ISBN: 9781627793322

How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)


synopsis

When Olivia’s mother was killed, everyone suspected her father of murder. But his whereabouts remained a mystery. Fast forward fourteen years. New evidence now proves Olivia’s father was actually murdered on the same fateful day her mother died. That means there’s a killer still at large. It’s up to Olivia to uncover who that may be. But can she do that before the killer tracks her down first?

review

I received a digital review copy of this book from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group via NetGalley for my participation in this blog tour. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
I really like books where the title alone already tells something about the story, especially when it comes to mystery reads. And that’s exactly what The Girl I Used To Be did for me.
Olivia Reinhart is an emancipated teen, but prior to that, she was little Ariel Benson, daughter of Naomi Benson and Terry Weeks. She never had a real family after her mother was murdered some 14 years ago, and it was believed that her father did it and fled. But when a new evidence resurfaced that her father was also a victim, she sets out to Medford, the town where her mother grew up, to find out what really happened to her parents.
The Girl I Used To Be was a quick and easy read in terms of the writing style. Although, there were two things to consider why it is so. First, it only has 240 pages. Second, it’s obviously a page turner, (almost every mystery/thriller book is). The chapters were kept short which I really liked, but the pacing was a bit slow. I keep turning each page waiting for something to happen but there really wasn’t much going on.
There were also some things I noticed that bothered me a little bit and it’s how Olivia easily has access to everything she needs to know. All she had to do is ask around and the people will just tell her willingly. She’s a total stranger who’s hiding her real identity for crying out loud. You don’t just answer to people when they ask you about your friends or a murder of a friend, do you? So that’s just some rant. Anyway…
The mystery  in this book is ever present. I like how it didn’t take long to tell what I’m supposed to be uncovering. The book drops the bomb right at the beginning, but as the story goes on things just plateaued out. The suspense was just lacking for me, most of the story is just Olivia trying to figure things out.
Speaking of figuring things out, something I noticed about mystery books is that when it comes to the MC’s hunt for whodunit, they’re always pressing the suspicion on a particular character that is obviously some red herring. And of course, The Girl I Used To Be used that in the plot. The good thing is that it did not spoil the surprise when it comes to the actual reveal. My heart was actually beating so fast when the moment came. But I have to admit, it didn’t last long. I’m not saying I’m disappointed. The Girl I Used To Be is actually a good mystery book but it just lacked in some aspects.
Rating:

3h


excerpt

The Girl I Used To Be
by April Henry
Copyright © 2016 by April Henry
CHAPTER 1
SCATTER MY BONES
The only sound I can hear is my own panicked breathing. I’m running flat out through the forest. Then my toe catches a root, and suddenly I’m flying.
Until I’m not. I come down hard. With my hands cuffed in front of me, I can’t even really break my fall. Despite the plastic boot on my left leg, I’m up again in a crazy scrambling second, spitting out dirt and pine needles as I start sprinting again.
Running like my life depends on it. Because it does.
Three weeks ago, I was living in Portland. Working in a supermarket deli. Slicing turkey breast and handing out cheese samples on toothpicks.
Now I’m hurtling through the Southern Oregon woods, being chased by a killer. And no one knows I’m here.
Because of the handcuffs, I can’t pump my fists. Instead, I have to swing them in tandem. Trying to avoid another fall, I lift my knees higher as the ground rises. I can’t hear my pursuer, just my own panting breath.
If I don’t come back, will Duncan ever know what happened to me? These woods can hide things for years. Will animals scatter my bones, plants twine around my remains?
When I reach the top of the hill, I don’t slow down. Instead, I try to lengthen my stride. It’s impossible to maintain a rhythm. I leap over a log, splash through the silver thread of a creek. My mouth is so dry. It tastes of dirt and the bitterness of fear.
A Steller’s jay startles up from a branch, squawking. If only I could take wing and fly. But I’m stuck here on earth, legs churning, staggering over this uneven ground.
I can’t stop or I’ll die.
The reality is that I’m probably going to die anyway. And if that’s so, I’m going to go down fighting.

abouttheauthor

aprilI write mysteries and thrillers. I live in Portland, Oregon with my family.
If you’ve read one of my books, I would love to hear from you. Hearing from readers makes me eager to keep writing.
When I was 12, I sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He liked it so much he arranged to have it published in an international children’s magazine.
My dream of writing went dormant until I was in my 30s, working at a corporate job, and started writing books on the side. Those first few years are now thankfully a blur. Now I’m very lucky to make a living doing what I love. I have written 13 novels for adults and teens, with more on the way. My books have gotten starred reviews, been picked for Booksense, translated into six languages, been named to state reading lists, and short-listed for the Oregon Book Award.
I also review YA literature and mysteries and thrillers for the Oregonian, and have written articles for both The Writer and Writers Digest.
www.aprilhenrymysteries.com
Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads 

GIVEAWAY!
Win (1) finished copy of THE GIRL I USED TO BE by April Henry
Open to US/CAN Residents Only.
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ARC April | Recap & Wrap-Up

arc april 2

At the beginning of this month, I announced that I will be joining Read.Sleep.Repeat‘s event, ARC April.

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ARC April is an event where the goal is to read all (if possible) your ARCs for the month. On my initial post, I pledged that I’ll be reading 9 of my ARCs for the month. I wasn’t really able to post a weekly progress of how I’m catching up but that’s because I’ve decided to just do a single post to wrap everything up. So… how many books did I actually read?
(See my initial ARC April post here)

ARCs I’ve actually read…

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to achieve my ambitious goal of reading 9 books but 5 isn’t so bad, right? Just don’t compare it to others who’ve gone double digits. LOL. Anyway, I was also able to review all of them as well! So, win-win!
Here are some excerpt from my reviews of the following books (click respective links for full review):
The writing is simple and straightforward, making it even more engaging than it already is and it’s one of the many reasons why I enjoyed this book. There’s something magnetic about it. The storyline is my kind of contemporary – real and fulfilling.

 

The story wasn’t that long, it had brief chapters with amusing titles but, the pacing made it feel like I was reading a 700-page book. The story was going a little slow where I got to the point that I don’t even know where the whole story was going.

 

The story telling was good and easy to follow but the actual story just got really weird and messy halfway through which made me confused in some parts. I didn’t understand some them but I think the problem was on my end. I guess it’s one attribute you can’t take away from the story because it’s supposed to be weird and messy and, it works.

 

The storyline, the continuity and how things are interconnected like a perfectly woven tapestry in this book is one of the things that I find laudable about Suffer Love. I didn’t mind the amount of coincidences long as it brings our two characters together.

 

My thoughts about this book are conflicting. Let’s say The Star-Touched Queen‘s theme is not fitting for my taste BUT the story is my own fantasy realized into a book.

So, that’s it! Did you join ARC April too? How did your month go? Let me know in the comments!
Thank you!

Blog Tour | Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake [Review + Dream Cast + Giveaway]

23197843Title: Suffer Love
Author: Ashley Herring Blake
Publication: May 3rd 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley
ISBN: 9780544596320

How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)


synopsis

Hadley St. Clair’s life changed the day she came home to a front door covered in slips of paper, each of them revealing the ugly truth about her father. Now as her family falls apart in the wake of his year-long affair, Hadley wants everyone-her dad most of all-to leave her alone.
Then she meets Sam Bennett, a cute new boy who inexplicably “feels like home” to Hadley. Hadley and Sam’s connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret about his family that could ruin everything.
Funny and passionate, Suffer Love is a story about first love, family dysfunction, and the fickle hand of fate.

review

I received a digital review copy of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group via NetGalley for my participation in this blog tour. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Suffer Love is one of the books I’ve set my eyes upon on since last year and I’m telling you, it’s worth the wait! This book is definitely my kind of contemporary. It really didn’t take a lot of chapters for to get me hooked on Hadley and Sam’s story. I instantly knew that I wouldn’t be able to put it down.
The storyline, the continuity and how things are interconnected like a perfectly woven tapestry in this book is one of the things that I find laudable about Suffer Love. I didn’t mind the amount of coincidences long as it brings our two characters together.
There is no denying that I’m already going crazy over Sam’s insta-attraction towards Hadley, the chemistry between the two is just too strong. And thank God, there wasn’t a hint of insta-love. But what really made my heart explode for containing too much feels is the slow-burn romance. I can still feel everything fresh from the book. I can’t even compare their love story to Romeo and Juliet simply because it’s epic in it’s own.
But more than just the romance, this book is also about family and dysfunctions. Hadley and Sam both have issues in their families. With Hadley’s parents struggling relationship and Sam’s father abandoning them, it shows how these issues reflect on the characters’ personality and how they deal with it in different ways. It is really evident on how these family issues affect everyone and plays a major role in everyone’s lives. I appreciate how these “dysfunctions” where utilized in the plot to highlight a lot of different aspects and not just something to add to have a bit of drama.
I also love the dual POV that’s alternating between Hadley and Sam. They sound really different in these narrations that I can really feel every word and it pierces through me. I can’t even pick which POV I prefer because enjoyed reading in both.
There’s no reason to even put this book down once you start reading it. The narration will get you engaged, the plot is captivating and gripping and heart breaking… and the characters are just real and raw. I hope that’s enough to make you pick up this book and add Suffer Love on your shelves. Because, I am not kidding when I say that you need to read this book. It’s the perfect read especially for contemporary lovers.
Rating:4h

sufferlovecast


abouttheauthor
ashleyAshley Herring Blake is a poet, teacher, and YA novelist. Her debut novel, SUFFER LOVE, follows two teens as they attempt to wade through an intense relationship complicated by their parents’ infidelities. Ashley lives in Nashville, TN.
www.ashleyherringblake.com
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SUFFER LOVE

This blog post is part of the
Suffer Love Blog Tour hosted by
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ARC Review | Down With The Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

25647300Title: Down With The Shine
Author: Kate Karyus Quinn
Publication: April 26th 2016 by HarperTeen
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via Edelweiss
ISBN: 9780062356048

How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)


synopsis

There’s a reason they say “be careful what you wish for.” Just ask the girl who wished to be thinner and ended up smaller than Thumbelina, or the boy who asked for “balls of steel” and got them-literally. And never wish for your party to go on forever. Not unless you want your guests to be struck down by debilitating pain if they try to leave.
These are things Lennie only learns when it’s too late-after she brings some of her uncles’ moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago.
Lennie didn’t mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles’ moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their “important family legacy,” she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging.
As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year.
Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…

reviewI received a digital review copy of this book from HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Curiosity always gets me to read a book. And that’s the reason why I immediately wanted to read Down With The Shine the moment I’ve learned what’s it about. The story was quite simple; Lennie sneaks in to a party and brings along some of her uncles’ moonshine which they brew and sell for a living. It has been her and her best friend, Dylan’s plan to crash Michaela Gordon’s Labor Day party, but when Dylan was murdered some months ago, she decided to fulfill what they had planned in remembrance of her with one goal, to “own the party”. She expects the moonshine to be a hit – and it was. Everybody wants a taste of her moonshine, but before she lets them take a sip from her jar, she asks them to make a wish, just like how her uncles do it. Little did she know that she’s actually granting wishes – ridiculous, drunk wishes.
Honestly, I was quite put off with the outrageous wishes. Some of them ranges from silly to extremely absurd. Okay, I’ll let that pass considering the circumstances. Circumstances = teenagers + alcohol. (I guess they need a little bit of guideline in making wishes. Check out this video!)
But I admit, the whole idea of Lennie being able to grant wishes amazed me, even when things turned a bit bizarre.
I was in it for the whole story. I wanted to know how Lennie will clean up the mess she made. The story telling was good and easy to follow but the actual story just got really weird and messy halfway through which made me confused in some parts. I didn’t understand some them but I think the problem was on my end. I guess it’s one attribute you can’t take away from the story because it’s supposed to be weird and messy and, it works. But there’s something in this book that I didn’t really buy, and it’s the romance between Lennie and Smith, Dylan’s angsty twin brother. It’s not like they don’t have chemistry, but, Smith is just a bit too much of a mess to be the guy I would root for. Not to mention that there’s a lot of things already going on to even bother about it.
Down With The Shine is the first Katy Karyus Quinn book I’ve read and I’ll definitely look up more of her works. If you’re looking for a contemporary with a touch of magic, this is one book you should pick up.
Rating:3h

whatiliked

  • Moonshine wishes – What’s cooler than having wishes over a jar of moonshine? Then add a whimsy feel to that with the phrase “May all your wishes come true, or at least just this one.” 
  • Magical Contemporary – The typical contemporary setting sprinkled with a whimsical event makes this book an odd one and it’s really something that I enjoyed. It’s not all out fantasy and it’s not your ordinary contemporary read but it’s a mix of both that is surely blended well.
  • Backstory – Down With The Shine isn’t only about Lennie being able to grant wishes through a sip of Moonshine, the story goes way back and I’m really glad to have that included in the book.

end
Book Description and Cover Image from Goodreads