Wicked Saints

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Wicked Saints is a story of good and evil and the balance between. Nadezhda Lapteva, Nadya, is a young cleric who can communicate with the gods. She can hear them speak to hear and is granted their powers to ultimately do good. High Prince Serefin Meleski is a powerful blood mage. He has been on the front lines of war trying to capture and take Nadya back to his kingdom. However, both Nadya and Serefin have a common enemy. Though their ideals conflict, both must come together and fight to save their lands.

The story alternates points of view between Nadya and Serefin. We get to see both sides of the story–those who believe in the divinity and the gods as well as those who believe in the power of their own blood magic. I will admit that this book is dense. There a lot of names to remember, such as those of the gods and goddesses that Nadya can talk to. Blood magic is also a complicated subject. Some can write their own spells while others need them written for them. Some are more skilled than others as well. Because there are two elements of magic, it can be difficult to keep the details straight.

My biggest issue with this book is the predictability of the characters. For instance, Malachiasz continuously gives Nadya hints about who he truly is and what he truly wants. Even Nadya and Serefin are predictable. You know the paths that they will choose because they are confident in who they are and what they stand for.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. Some parts were slow to build and the characters were a little predictable. But I am excited to see where this series goes next.

Rating: 3.5/5

*Wicked Saints is available Tuesday, April 2, 2019*

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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Pretty in Punxsutawney

Pretty in Punxsutawney by Laurie Boyle Crompton

The description of Pretty in Punxsutawney offers a mashup of the movies Groundhog Day and Pretty in Pink. I feel like this is an adequate description of the story, and if you walk in with these expectations, you will not be disappointed.

At the beginning of the summer, Andie and her family move to a new town. She spends the summer obsessing over Colton, a soon to be senior and football star who works at the local movie theatre. Andie is a movie buff, but the main reason she spends most of her summer at the theatre is in hopes of having Colton fall in love with her. Finally, at the end of the summer, Andie is ready to make her senior debut at her new school with Colton by her side. However, Andie’s first day at her new high school proves to be anything but typical. After an embarrassing first day, Andie is given the chance at a do-over. But the day keeps repeating, and Andie must find a way to break this curse or she’l be a first-day senior for the rest of her life.

The story gives a huge nod to filmmaker John Hughes and his classic 80s movies. From Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Weird Science, to The Breakfast Club and more, many of the themes, characters, and issues presented mimic Hughes’ classics.

Andie finds that her new school is separated into different cliques. Just like students coming from different backgrounds and leaving as friends in The Breakfast Club, Andie hopes to knock down social barriers. She spends each repeated day trying to find a new way to impress Colton, but she quickly learns that not every social clique is what it seems. The cheerleaders are nice, they’re driven by the sense of being a team and like to give back to the community. The goths are kind and love to laugh. The popular girl is struggling with personal issues and her body image. The nerdy girls are more caddy than you’d expect. Each cycle through the same day opens Andie’s eyes a little more about how Punx High works and the type of person Andie wants to become.

Overall, this is a cute book but it’s not very memorable. I feel like it tries too hard to bring nostalgia for a few 80s classics and blurs the lines into something that has already been done, and done well. The storyline is predictable because the setup is there from the beginning. The main character is likable but frustrating because she’s blinded by some good looking guy and she forgets who is is. This is a quick read that would be ideal for someone who wants a taste of a modern day Pretty in Pink meets Groundhog Day meets The Breakfast Club. Or, you could spend an afternoon watching the movies this book is molded after.

Rating: 3/5

Pretty in Punxsutawney is available today, January 15, 2019.

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

The Dead Queens Club

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin

Synopsis:

If your school’s homecoming king had a little too much in common with Henry VIII, would you survive with your head still attached?

You’d think being the new girl in a tiny town would equal one very boring senior year. But if you’re me—Annie Marck, alias Cleves—and you accidentally transform into teenage royalty by entering Lancaster High on the arm of the king himself? Life becomes the exact opposite of boring.

Henry has it all: he’s the jock, the genius and the brooding bad boy all in one. Which sort of explains why he’s on his sixth girlfriend in two years.

What it doesn’t explain is why two of them—two of us—are dead.

My best friend thinks it’s Henry’s fault, which is obviously ridiculous. My nemesis says we shouldn’t talk about it, which is straight-up sketchy. But as the resident nosy new girl, I’m determined to find out what really happened to Lancaster’s dead queens…ideally before history repeats itself.

Review

The description of this book drew me in, on goodreads, someone mentioned that this book was a cross between Henry VIII and Mean Girls. I think I went in with too high of expectations because of this, or maybe the writing was too convoluted to understand. Either way, I was not impressed by this one.

Cleves is obsessed with her best friend Henry. He’s everything she’s not. Henry is cool and popular and people are inherently drawn to him. Perhaps because he oozes charm, or he’s good looking, or people just seem to trust Henry. But Henry also has a bad streak with his ex girlfriends. They always seem to cheat on him or break his heart. So Henry enlists the help of Celves to get back at them, through pranks to embarrass the girls. 

But Cleves is uprooted to Henry’s town and thrown into his school and inner circle. Cleves becomes torn between what Henry has told her and what her new friends tell her about events in their small Indiana town. 

There is a lot of back and forth in this book, but it is not done well. You get confused because there are not distinct chapters distinguishing the past and the present. Instead, flashbacks are in the middle of chapters and you have to pay attention to what is taking place. 

This book is also a giant cliche, every high school troupe you can think of rears its head at some point. From the girl swooning over her best friend, to the popular jock getting together with the cheerleader. If you like (pointless) high school drama, then this is the story for you. 

I don’t believe that there are any twists or turns in this book. You can see the ending coming from the beginning. There are attempts at high-stake action, but they all fall flat. The characters are predictable and this makes the plot seem boring. But, everything also feels drawn out. I stopped reading so many times because I was either bored, not invested, or rolled my eyes so much I got a headache. I cannot recommend this book. 

Rating: 2.5/5

The Dead Queens Club has an expected release date of January 29, 2019.

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Some Girls Bind Review

Some Girls Bind by Rory James

“You’re everything you need to be right now and it’s enough.”

Some Girls Bind is a story about secrets. Everyone has something that they are afraid to share with the world, especially when they’re in high school. Maybe it is a personal issue that one person is hesitant to tell another, or maybe it is a family secret that someone is trying to conceal from the world. But this tale looks into how each of us gets by with something to hide and the every day consequences of keeping a secret. 

Jamie is a high school teenager. Jamie’s group of friends get together and share their secrets or what is plaguing their minds. But Jamie does not feel comfortable coming forth just yet. 

One of Jamie’s close friends, Levi, came out to his group of friends. Levi felt that he could share with his friends and as a result, each of the friends picked up his secret and carried it with them. In turn, the rest of the friend group took turns sharing their secrets. Everyone except for Jamie. 

Jamie is gender fluid or genderqueer and they are still trying to figure out what that means and how it is going to effect Jamie’s every day life. Jamie knows that their preferred pronouns are they/them because the terms are gender-less. They also know that binding themselves is what feel normal and it is something that they have done since the age of 14. Jamie struggles with what it means to be gender fluid because Jamie was taught to be a girl, but they know what something doesn’t feel right with that label. Jamie also thinks that binding your chest is that “girly,” as this sentiment is repeated throughout Jamie’s internal dialogue moments. But when Jamie looks in the mirror, it is not a boy and it is not a girl that is reflected back. Jamie sees Jamie.  

While we are introduced to the rest of Jamie’s friends, the story focuses primarily on Jamie. But there is also an undertone of Levi’s struggles. Jamie shields herself with Levi, because Levi has come out to more people, Jamie can gauge everyone else’s opinions on what it is like to deviate from the norm. Personally, I have an issue with this friendship. I understand that Jamie is struggling, but is feels like Levi is being used in a way he shouldn’t. I feel like this hinders the LGBTQ+ undertone that the author sets of accepting people for who they are and being supportive of one another. 

Overall, I did enjoy this book. It is a quick read but it is a “feel good” story. Jamie finds themselves, first sharing with a close friend, then going on to seek out other genderqueer peoples in the community until Jamie becomes comfortable enough to share with the people in her life what her secret is. I like that no one makes a big deal of Jamie’s secret and instead accepts Jamie. I believe this is a must read and a great addition to every reader’s TBR list.

Some Girls Bind by Rory James is set to publish on February 1, 2019

Rating: 4/5

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Bring Me Home Review

Bring Me Home by Bree Howland

Synopsis:

While Kailey was growing up, she was sure of two things:

1. She wanted to devote her life to helping animals.
2. She would never be without her best friend Cole Martin.

When her father had them pack up and move two provinces away two years before graduation, it felt like the rug was pulled out from under her.

Now she’s in college, finally pursuing her interest in veterinary medicine. Even better, Cole is at the same school. But Cole has changed and so has she. Gone was the innocence of childhood friendship and easy conversations.

Between new friends, unexpected feelings, and a road trip, Kailey’s first year in college will be more eye opening than she ever imagined.

Review

I LOVED this book. I want to start out by stating that I am usually not a romance reader, but this is a story that should be on everyone’s TBR list. It’s not cheesy and it will not make you roll your eyes into oblivion. It is a sweet story that will make you believe in love and happy endings. I binge read this book in one sitting because it was that good. I suggest curling up in a warm blanket and settling in while reading this book, because you will not want to put it down.

Kailey (Kail) and Cole are wonderful characters. Their friendship and love feel real and in no way forced. All of Howland’s characters have great chemistry. You can picture yourself in college along side Kail and her friends and you can easily fit into the friend’s adventures and witty banter.

This is a beautifully written story that will leave you wanting completely satisfied. There’s friendship, true love, cute animals, and an atmosphere of pure delight. Whether you’re an avid reader of romance stories or a fair weather fan, you will find something in the story to connect to or believe in. I cannot recommend this book enough!

Rating: 5/5

I received this ARC from the author, Bree Howland, in exchange for an honest review

Bring Me Home will be available on January 1, 2019 

Preorder Links!

*Bring Me Home is also available on Kindle Unlimited!

About the Author

Bree Howland lives in Atlantic Canada with her husband and two fur children, two finicky felines. When she’s not working, her life revolves around reading, writing and taking care of her foster cats. You will more than likely find her curled up somewhere quiet with a book or scrolling aimlessly through Twitter.

Be sure to check out Bree’s website and social media pages: Website; Twitter: Instagram; Goodreads

Fortunate Felines Rescue

If the story alone is not enough to convince you to buy and read this book, all proceeds from Bring Me Home go to the Fortunate Felines Rescue. If you would like more information about this organization, check out their Facebook or Instagram pages. 

Be sure to check out all posts on the Bring Me Home Blog Tour!

The Darkest Star

The Darkest Starby Jennifer L. Armentrout

“That was what I wanted at some point in my life, for someone to look at me like I looked at tacos.”


Synopsis:

In the aftermath of the Lux war that changed the face of the Earth, there is still a stark divide between humanity and Lux, an alien race inhabiting the planet. As tensions rise in a small town, a string of murders take the town by surprise. The murders are suspiciously supernatural and the bodies are left where they are sure to be found. Seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher must decide what secrets are worth keeping and which ones she’s willing to share with those closest to her. As Evie gets mixed up with the Luxen, and a new guy, Luc, in her life, she questions everything she’s ever known. In a race to find answers, Evie and her friends are met with new threats and more questions at every turn.

 

Characters:

The characters are brilliant and dynamic, each in their own ways. As a reader, you know something is amiss about some of the characters and their physical traits. But we’re not told until well into the storyline the mystery we keep guessing at.

Luc is a mysterious bad boy with captivating violet eyes. He is tough, powerful, and everyone seems to be afraid or at least apprehensive of him. But there is more to Luc than meets the eye.

Evie is a painfully naïve teenager who gets more than she bargained fro when she joins her best friend, Heidi, at a club in town. This club, Forsaken, is special because this club allows humans and Luxen to intermix without judgment. But Evie’s life changes the moment she walks through the big red doors.

Sylvia & Jason are Evie’s parents, but both held secrets from her. Jason died during the war, and Evie and her mother moved

The rest of Evie’s friends fit into categories we know, without being a boring sterotype. You have the overprotective, semi-jealous friend, James. James is leery of Luc and everything unraveling, but he’s still supportive of Evie. April is loud and brash, quick to jump to her own conclusions even without having all of the facts. Zoe is calm and open-minded, and will do anything to ensure Evie’s safety. Heidi and Emery are more free-spirited, but both know more than they let on.

 

Review:

As a caveat: it has been quite some time since I’ve read a book by Armentrout. I forgot that I read part of the Luxen series until I read this book. However, I don’t think that reading the original series is a requirement to enjoy this spin-off series, as the characters in the Origin Series are not main characters in the original series.

I immensely enjoyed this book. While parts of the writing style read like the way a teenager would speak, I think this adds to the main character’s internal dialogue. You genuinely become immersed in Evie’s thoughts and the world in which she is living. Yet, Armentrout is still not predictable. The Darkest Starwill take you on an adventure of twists and turns. Once you think you have it all figured out, you’re thrown another curve ball. I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to read the rest of the series.

 

 

Rating: 4/5

**I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

The Darkest Star will be available on October 30, 2018 by Tor Teen Publishers.

 

You’re You Book Review

You’re You by Mette Bach

 “All that really matters is what’s in your heart.”


 

Freyja is a high school senior who identifies as queer. Her girlfriend, Rachel has brought out the best in her. Both girls have started a YouTube channel where they talk to other queer teens and constantly remind them how welcomed and loved they are in the community. Freyja is also the president of her school’s gay-straight alliance club (GSA) and does what she can to advocate for the others in the group. But, Rachel breaks up with Freyja and Freyja must figure out her life when Rachel is all she has ever known.

However, Freyja comes off as bossy and the other members of the GSA want to focus on more than just social justice and activism. They want to have fun and enjoy themselves.

In an attempt to try something new and push herself out of her comfort zone, Freyja volunteers and joins the local food bank to help others who are less fortunate. There, she meets Sanjay and begins to question not only herself but her sexuality and everything it means to be queer. She is afraid to be judged and is terrified of labeling herself as anything other than “queer”.

Mette Bach has created a character that can easily be identified with. We all question ourselves constantly. And sometimes, a small label can make or break us. But, the story feels like a cliché. Freyja is not a dynamic character. One guy should not be the reason that she feels like her life is falling apart when nothing is going wrong in her life. The other characters also feel like stereotypes—the overly gaygay guy; the cliquey teenage girls who rather take selfies than do volunteer work.

I am torn about this story. I love the concept and it is well written. But this will not do wonders for the queer community as it is riddled with clichés and stereotypes.

 

Rating: 2.5/5

*I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

 

Summer Constellations

Summer Constellations by Alisha Sevigny

 “You dazzle me more than any stars.”


 

 Summer Constellationsis a tale of young love and determination. Julia has grown up on her family’s campground and will do anything she can think of to save it from being sold and commercially developed. She is a lover of astronomy and likes to take time to gaze at the stars from her quiet home. She is the youngest of two and has a mother with a determined spirit. But there is more to her family than meets the eye. Her little brother is sick and his health seems to be rapidly deteriorating over time. Buried under medical bills, Julia’s mother sees selling the campground as a way to satisfy medical debts.

The main developer has a reputation for buying low and selling high. But his son and prodigy, Nick does not want to follow in his father’s footsteps. Instead, Nick grows close to Julia and does what he can to devise a plan and save the campground.

Rightfully so, Julia is suspicious of Nick’s intentions and is not sure what to make of his helpful nature. Is there something Nick wants in exchange for all of the help he has given? Does Nick have ulterior motives? But, Julia also cannot help developing feelings for Nick because he’s the only one who understands her and does not walk on eggshells around her bother. Julia must decide what is more important, falling in love or the family campground.

In this heartwarming story, Alisha Sevigny manages to create characters that the reader will fall in love with. This is more than your average teenage love story. This is a tale about love, loss, letting go, and there is even an exciting treasure hunt and race to save a young boy. Sevigny has a winner with this story. It is the perfect summer romance.

 

Rating: 4/5

*I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

If you would like more information about the book or the author, you can start here.

Summer Constellations is available now.

Salt Review

Salt by Hannah Moskowitz

Salt is a story of four children on the ocean looking to finish what their parents started. There are monsters at sea, but not everyone is privy to this information. Only those who have taken on slaying the sea monsters know their true horrors. Many have lost their lives at sea protecting others and these four children must forge the unknown waters of the Mediterranean in search of their parents and a hidden treasure.

With the help from their parent’s journal, Indi, Beleza, Oscar, and Zulu come face to face with true horrors at sea and on land. The siblings must protect themselves and hold on to the only lives they have ever known or risk being torn apart.

This was a quick read and you’re easily transported to that little boat the kids are sailing. Each character has their own distinct personality; from the bossy big sister to the carefree youngest sister, and the big brother who wants to escape the life he knows to the younger brother who is reckless and lives on adrenaline. I am surprised how well developed these characters are for how short the story is and how young they are.

My one criticism of this book is that the characters are not relatable. But, I think that has to do with the characters being younger. There are some aspects that can be related to, such as wanting out of the life you’re currently in and starting anew. However, the other characters feel like novelties that cannot be touched.

Overall, I would recommend this story. It can reasonably be knocked out in a few hours. This is a fun tale and I am looking forward to reading more from Hannah Moskowitz.

 

Rating: 4/5

*I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

If you would like more information about the book or the author, you can start here.

Salt is expected to be released on October 30, 2018.

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