Undead Girl Gang

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

Synopsis:

Mila Flores loses her best friend and her whole world is ripped open. Everyone is saying Riley committed suicide, but Mila knows her best friend better than that. Riley would never commit suicide. It is also strange that two popular mean girls committed suicide in the same week. Mila sets out to prove that her best friend was not at fault and an investigation should be opened. Before Riley died, her and Mila dabbled in witchcraft. Shortly after Riley’s death, some mysterious book arrives with spells from the occult. It’s the kind of witchcraft the girls have never engaged in, but Mila takes it as a sign. She decides to resurrect her best friend and discover the cause of the three gruesome deaths.

Review:

This is the perfect fall read! It will put you in the mood for Halloween and make you wish you were sitting in a park wrapped in a warm sweater watching leaves blow around you. This is a tale of conjuring the dead and girl power. Strange friendships are formed between the undead and Mila.

June and Dayton are classic “mean girls” before their deaths. But after their resurrection, they learn that popularity is fragile. Both girls have secrets that they have kept to themselves and don’t want to get out. But as their time as the undead winds down, each girl must face up to the facts. If they don’t tell their truths, the mystery of their deaths will go unsolved.

The foursome forms the “undead girl gang” as an unlikely connection between Mila, June, Dayton, and Riley begins to grow. June and Dayton quickly become more likable and light-hearted instead of the stuck up girls they used to be. Riley is also different in the afterlife, she cannot remember what happened prior to her death and she’s not happy to be back. Mila learns to open her heart and tasks risk for the love of her best friend.

While this is a cute story, it is a little predictable. I guessed the “bad guy” in the first third of the book, and believe most people will see the final twist. Especially because Lily Anderson leaves some small hints scattered throughout. However, this story is enjoyable and light hearted.

If you’re looking for a story of witchcraft and strong friendships (both new and old) with a sprinkle of young love then this is the story for you! There is not a strong romance aspect, the majority of this novel focuses on the girl gang. I highly recommend this novel and think it should be added to your fall TBR (to be read) list.

Rating: 4/5

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Royals

Royals by Rachel Hawkins

Synopsis:

Daisy Winters is used to living in her sister’s shadow. Her big sister, Ellie, is dating the prince of Scotland. Ellie’s face is plastered all over magazines and online tabloids follow her life closely. Daisy is used to her sister being in the spotlight and living her own life in the shadows. But once Ellie announces a royal engagement, she encourages Daisy to come join her in Scotland to keep the media frenzy at bay. However, both Ellie and Daisy get more than they bargained for during Daisy’s stay in Scotland.

 

Review:

This story is one cliché after the next. The storyline is predictable, there are no twists or turns you cannot see coming. Both the dialogue and characters are flat. I found myself skimming parts of the book wishing for some action or adventure.

Prince Sebastian and his “boys” are supposed to be shrouded in scandal. I expected some kind of mischief or just general debauchery, but no such things happened. The inside cover promised scandal and boasted about how it followed the Prince, but that is nowhere to be found in this story. There are some “oops moments” but nothing we have not seen in movies or shows before. I feel like Prince Sebastian and his crew is an amateur Gossip Girl.

There are some cute and feel good moments in this book. You do still root for Daisy and Miles and hope for the best. But the build of their relationship is too slow to keep your interest. There are no strong character connections and the arcs are too flat to care. I honestly mixed up the names of Sebastian’s friends because they were all interchangeable to me. No individual stood out enough to make a name for himself.

Take this book at face value: it’s a romantic comedy about a girl getting integrated into royal society to appease her soon-to-be-princess big sister and falling in love with a Scottish guy of her own. If you enjoy a simple story and a tale of quick romance, this is the book for you!

 

Rating: 2.5/5

 

How to Walk Away

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

“It’s the trying that heals you. That’s all you have to do. Just try”

*Spoilers*

Maggie has a picture perfect life. She has a perfect job lined up and an extremely bright future. She has a fear of flying and yet her boyfriend, Chip, is finishing up his pilot’s license. In an attempt to be romantic, Chip decides to take Maggie up in his plane and propose to her.

Maggie’s picture perfect future is ripped away from her with a shocking accident. But her new fiancé, Chip walks away without a scratch. Maggie is left recovering for weeks in the hospital and everything starts to fall apart around her. All of her relationships are called into question. Chip is rattled with guilt, Maggie’s parents decide to take her back into their home, and Maggie’s estranged sister shows up out of the blue. As her recuperation in the hospital lengthens, her chances of making a full and miraculous recovery dwindle. Maggie is caught between wanting her old life back and starting anew. Maggie has to learn how to depend on herself and learn to overcome a new disability and walk away from the things in her life that are holding her down.

I chose this book as my May BOTM and honestly, I was a little disappointed. This book was a little slow and underwhelming for me. I had no idea what to expect going in and I thought this would be an uplifting story, but instead it was predictable.

While Katherine Center’s writing style is wonderful, her character development is not. I found a lot of the characters flat, especially Chip and his predictable actions. The mother/daughter dynamic between Maggie, her sister, and her mother also feels like a stereotype—with one sister being in the spotlight and the other, rebellious sister, is constantly vying for her mother’s love and attention. But these are not the worst relationship clichés in this story. The unhealthiest is the connection between Ian and Maggie. The dynamic of a patient and caretaker falling in love is not story I care to read.

I’m frustrated with this book. In the beginning, Maggie seemed like a strong willed, determined woman. She applied for a job she knew she wouldn’t be qualified for yet she went in with confidence and became a shoo-in. However, the book becomes filled with “fluff” and moments and one-liners that will make you roll your eyes. Maybe I’m too jaded to see this is an uplifting story. And I do appreciate the Epilogue because Center did not make this into the story I thought she would I was pleasantly surprised enough to raise my initial rating from two to two and a half stars.

I think this book is a gamble; either you’ll love it or you’ll hate it. If you want a quick read about a story of love and loss, this will fit the bill. However, of you’re looking for an uplifting story with an empowering main character, you can pass on this book.

 

Rating 2.5/5

 

Love & Luck

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

In the spinoff from the 2016 hit from Jenna Evans Welch, Love & Luck is an adorable tale of letting go and realizing who you have and keep in your life your life makes all the difference.

Addie is a young teen who is learning to live without her best friend, Lina. Lina moved to Italy and left Addie to fend for herself in her final years of high school. She winds up in Ireland because her aunt is getting married and must be in line for the picture-perfect wedding. After the wedding, she wants to travel to Italy to spend time with her best friend because Lina will know how to fix all of her problems. But nothing seems to be going Addie’s way. She has a secret she’s keeping from her mother, best friend, and everyone else. The only person who knows is her brother, Ian.

Ian pushes Addie to confess her secret before it blows up in her face, but she’s not ready to face the potential fallout. Instead, the two siblings fight and bicker. And their fighting threatens to ruin their aunt’s wedding. Their mother gives them an ultimatum. Ian and Addie have to get along in Ireland and then in Italy or both kids are off of their respective sports teams. This pushes Addie to behave. However, Ian has other plans.

Instead of going to Italy, Ian wants to go on a brand band-tour of Italy in anticipation a giant music festival. Addie is torn, should she ignore her brother and continue onto Italy without him? Or should she stay and make sure Ian doesn’t cause more trouble.

Addie learns that letting go of her problems at home is easier with a little help from friends, both new and old, as well as an old guidebook called “Introduction to Ireland for the Heartbroken: Unconventional Guide to the Emerald Isle.” Within the guidebook, Addie finds helpful tips and exercises to let go of grief. And lucky for Addie, most of the spots the author recommends line up with the stops that Ian wants to make as well.

I adored this story. I might have a bit of a bias because I love all things Ireland. But the connection that Welch creates between Addie and Ian is the perfect sibling relationship. There’s a little bit of rivalry, some protective big brother moments, but ultimately the two come together and their friendship is beautiful. It was also great to see some characters from Love & Gelato. We are faintly aware of the Lina and Addie friendship in the first book, but this one fills some gaps we weren’t aware of in the first novel. However, I do not think that reading one book is not a requirement for picking up the other. I do recommend this novel and it is a great read if you want to escape to Ireland!

Rating: 4/5

The Extinction Trials

The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson

This book was an impulse buy for me. I saw the cover, the sticker that said this book is a mix between Jurassic Park and the Hunger Games, and I jumped at the chance to pick this book up. Not only did this book meet my expectations (and the description) but it surpassed them as well.

The Extinction Trials is a gripping tale. In a world that is quickly running out of resources, the powers that be look beyond their land to a territory that is overrun with primitive animals. Time and time again, champions have been sent to Piloria to collect data about the animals on the land and report back. However, most champions are not given the luxury of coming home. But now, the scientists believe they have found a solution and all that is need is dinosaur DNA. Who will be the one to go and retrieve the DNA? Will they make it back alive? Are there other dangers that the scientists aren’t telling the champions?

The story goes between the point of view of Lincoln and Stormchaser (Storm). The story is further split into several parts: the lives of Lincoln and Storm before the trials, the trials themselves, and the island of Piloria.

Lincoln has decided to enter the trials because he needs to money and rations that come with being a winner. Lincoln’s younger sister is dying and is in dire need of medical attention. While his mother can only do so much. Lincoln is the only hope his family has. And he will do whatever it takes to become a champion. Storm, on the other hand, is not sure why she entered the trials. As first, she was excited about eating well. But as the trials progress, she realizes she’s good and could possibly be the champion.

Once on Piloria, all of the trial champions are tested time and time again. The dinosaurs are vicious, they have little supplies, and their designated tasks are deadly. No one trusts each other, as most people have a hidden agenda. Not only are the animals dangerous, but so is the terrain. One wrong step, and you could die. Things are hidden in swamps, cliffs are abrupt, and the dense forest is riddled with secrets. Storm and Lincoln fight for their lives in a living nightmare.

S. M. Wilson has created a wonderful world full of danger—both human and animal. While some of the characters are not entertaining, they are dynamic. We learn what drives each champion; most want to help their families, some just want the fame and notoriety, while Storm wants to learn more about the animals on Piloria. The Extinction Trialsis a quick and gripping read. And one of the best takes on “dinosaur books” I have seen in quite a while.

Rating: 4.5/5

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.

Whiskey Prince Review

Whiskey Prince (Taking Risks #1) by Toni Aleo

Any book that opens with a Sirius Black quote and references Lord of the Rings is a book that I will read! While the story was slow to build and a little predictable, it was not bad. If you’re looking for a cute romance with potential, then this is the book for you!

Amberlyn sets off to Ireland to discover more about her family after her mother passes away. While she’s a little hesitant to give up her life and go, Amberlyn ultimately decides to go along with her mother’s wishes. She discovers more in Ireland than just her family roots. Her mother urged her to do three things while in Ireland: Take a risk; Do Something Drastic; and Fall in love. Will Amberlyn follow her mother’s wishes or will she shy away from the challenge?

On the other side of the Atlantic, Declan is a twenty-two year old who is sitting to inherit the throne of a whiskey empire. But the keys to his kingdom come with a catch, his parents want him to marry and settle down with a nice Irish girl to keep up the O’Callaghan tradition. He needs a wife and time is ticking away. If he doesn’t marry, then he cannot keep the business. But whiskey is Declan’s life. He loves his land and making whiskey. But can he find love outside of the whiskey business?

Whiskey Prince pits Amberlyn and Declan against each other as an unlikely match. Delcan’s family wanted him to find a respectable Irish girl. While Amberlyn’s family knows little about the O’Callaghans because they tend to keep to themselves. The O’Callaghan’s are local celebrities who rarely leave their estate. But when Declan starts frequenting the pub Amberlyn works at, everyone starts becoming curious and the pub receives more business than they are used to.

In a tale of young love and finding yourself in a far away land, you’ll be swept off of your feet with Declan’s charisma and Amberlyn’s sweet naivety. This is one romantic adventure that you don’t want to miss. Young love is in the air, as Declan must decide what is most important to him while Amberlyn learns to let go of what she knows and give into what she feels. Whiskey Prince is charming and will make you smile.

 

Rating: 3/5

The Librarian Review

The Librarian by Christy Sloat

“Don’t you see, in life we have small moments and we have a lot of them. Those small moments are what define us as human beings. They break us, yes, but it’s how we rebuild ourselves after that makes the difference.”


Emmeline (Emme) becomes a Librarian after her grandmother passes away. Emme moves back to her costal Maine hometown and holds off on continuing her college classes to pick up the pieces of her grandmother’s life. Emme was left specific instructions with books under the floorboards in the library that contain the family history and the important work the family does.

Emme is tasked with traveling back in history through books to document the life Jack Ridgewell. But there is a set of rules that she must follow. Librarians enter history to observe and document, but not interfere. Emme quickly finds Jack to be alluring and she cannot resist spending time with him and slowly falling for him. At the same time, she is frustrated by his stubbornness and cannot keep going back and forth between the past and the present.

Emme must decide between her love for one man and the love of her normal life in the present. Is changing the past and present worth the price of love?

Christy Sloat creates a character and a world where every bookworm dreams would become a reality. Sloat manages to create intriguing characters in a well-written story. I adore the concept of this book and having a book boyfriend. The feel-good ending will leave you with a warm light inside. I do highly recommend this quick read. If you have ever dreamed of having a boom boyfriend or girlfriend and the ability to travel though books and time, this is satisfy your curiosity.

 

Rating: 4/5

Fangirl

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

“To really be a nerd…you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”


Cather and her twin sister, Wren, are off to college and being separated for the first time. Wren has decided to request a roommate who is not her sister and becomes paired with Courtney. Cather is reluctantly paired with Reagan. Both girls have different college experiences and grow over their first year of college. And each sister’s roommate helps to shape their college experiences in different ways.

Fangirl primarily follows Cather in her quest to become a writer. Cather is the creator of a well-known Simon Snow fan-fiction. Her fans are all over the world and hang on her every word. But Cather is locked in a race to finish the fan-fic before the final book of the Simon Snow series is released. Cather struggles between what it means to be her own fiction writer and wanting to focus on her fan-fic writing.

Cather retreats into her fan-fiction and often loses herself in the characters. But, when Cather loses touch with her sister and her own life she struggles to return to the characters she knows and loves. Even more difficult, she struggles to write her own stories as she does not understand that the fan-fiction she is writing does not contain her own characters.

Cather comes face to face with problems she never thought she would experience and old troubles that are still haunting her. She struggles to finish her first year of college in the wake of the aftermath of her sisters problems and her father’s issues. She is also introduced to Levi and doesn’t know how to separate fictional feelings from real ones at time. So she introduces Levi to the fictional world she has fallen in love with.

In a story of first love, new friendships, and family drama, Rainbow Rowell creates characters that the reader grows to love and connect with. Anyone who has ever gotten lost in a fictional world or story will understand Cather’s love of Simon Snow and the magical world he comes from. Most of us have had out own “fangirl” moments, so Cather’s obsession with Simon is not something so far removed. I adored this story and Rowell’s writing. This is a beautifully written story that any fan of young adult fiction would love.

Rating: 4/5

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