Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Fame, Fate, and The First Kiss,” by Kasie West

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  • Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
  • Pub Date: February 5th, 2019
  • Genre: YA Fiction, Romance
  • Publisher: Harper Teen
  • Product #: 9780062675804

Aww, this book was so adorable. I truly enjoyed reading this book. Reading a Kasie West book always makes me lighthearted and happy 🙂

In this book, we follow the story of Lacey Barnes who just get this gig in an upcoming movie that will make her career flourish as an actress. She’s a seventeen-year-old actress with dreams of becoming a superstar one day. In this film that she’s working on, she’s working with famous actor Grant James, which will bring people to see the movie and at the same time make people notice her.

In this book, Lacey is faced with what any teenager would face being in her position. She’s still trying to finish school while at the same trying to find chemistry with her co-star and living under the roof of an overprotecting dad. Her career seems to take more of her time though, so that’s why her dad hires a tutor to help her with her school work so she doesn’t fall behind. Enter tutor, Donovan, he’s a student from the school who choose to sponsor her independent study and he’s the cutest guy ever.

Lacey is very funny, determined and strong-minded. There are people who believe she might be a nobody and that are trying to ruin her career but she wants to prove to everyone that she can make it. She made me laugh so much and she’s such a witty and easygoing character. I fell in love with her immediately.

This book talks about insecurities, how to deal with divorced parents, friendships, how to handle fame, and more. I did like the spot that Kasie gave the superstar main actor, Grant James, because the fact that he was famous, she still showed him down to earth and vulnerable. Amanda is another one of Lacey’s co-stars who like Grant, but she isn’t snobby either, which is normally to be expected but in this case, it wasn’t. She was a great friend to Lacey and enjoyed their friendship.

West’s writing is still beautiful–it manages to pull you through and she makes the book stick with you even months after you’ve finished reading. This book was also original in its own way. Normally when authors write about movie stars or the filming of a movie, they usually make the not known star fall for the very popular one and in the process manages to make everyone else look very snobby and entitled. This read was such a refresher for me and I cannot wait to read her next one! I seriously own all of her books, she’s such a good writer.

If you like Morgan Matson, Jennifer E. Smith, Jenna Evans Welch, Ashley Poston, Becky Albertalli, etc., I would recommend you reading this book. If you are 12 years old and older you could also read it. Also, I want to thank you for taking the time to read my review. I truly appreciate it.

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Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “King of Scars,” by Leigh Bardugo

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  • Rating: 4/5 stars
  • Pub Date: January 29th, 2019
  • Genre: YA Fantasy
  • Publisher: Imprint
  • Product #: 9781250142283

Finally finished reading this book last night, so technically it’s my last book of January. I was super excited to see where the story took Nikolai in this duology and I got to read through it last night.

I want to say that this story took longer to develop than others I’ve read by Leigh Bardugo. I love all of her books and I was very excited about this one. However, I was not as impressed with this books as I was with the other ones.

In this story, we follow king Nikolai trying to save Ravka after the darkling incident and this is after Six of Crows as well. Six of Crows is this other duology that came after the Grishaverse series and I would highly recommend reading Six of Crows duology before reading this one because this one contains a MAJOR Crooked Kingdom spoiler. Like HUGE! So, if you haven’t read those yet, please do. They are, by far, my favorite books by Leigh Bardugo.

As mentioned previously, Nikolai is trying to bring Ravka back together after defeating the darkling. There are still some enemies that loom nearby, trying to kill him and take control over Ravka. There is also still danger for the Grisha everywhere outside of Ravka, so we see that take place in this book. There are multiple POVs in this book and all of them seem to flow along with the book. Nina is a soldier of Nikolai sent to save Grisha from all over, so we get to see her in this book too. And I promise you she is amazing as always! So sexy. Zoya is Nikolai fierceless commandant, at some point, I did feel like both of them were going to kill each other.

Leigh’s writing is still great. I do have to admit that you have to brush up on their languages before reading this one because it did get confusing at some point. However, Bardugo manages to bring you through her story and you feel everything the characters are feeling. Her world building was okay, it could’ve been better but I feel like the reason she didn’t focus so much on making her world perfect was that she had five other books to back her up. So, if you read her other books before this one, you are most likely to really enjoy the scenery of this one without too much explanation.

I would recommend this book to anyone who’s read her other books if you like Jay Kristoff, A Curse so Dark and Lonely, The Gilded Wolves. If you are 12 years old and older.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “A Curse So Dark and Lonely,” by Brigid Kemmerer

Wow, guys. Just WOW.

5/5 Stars

This book was soooo not what I was expecting it to be. There’s more to be discovered at every angle of this book. Characters surprise you out of nowhere and scenes that you didn’t think where true or that could happen, happen. This whole book was amazing!

So, it is divided into two POVs. Rhen, who is our cursed prince and Harper, who is our heroine. Now the chemistry between these two is intense right off the bat. This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling but is one of the best ones so far. I love Beauty and The Best and when the Disney live-action remake came out, after watching the movie, I spent days reading retellings of the story. This one is just perfect.

It follows the storyline better than A Court of Thorns and Roses ever did, but it is not as intense as Anne Rice books. Rhen is a prince cursed by an evil enchantress to turn into a beast every change of season, the way to break the curse is for a girl to fall in love with him. His commander and only friend Gray (swoons internally) has the ability to travel between their world into the regular today world–the world that you and I live in. When he goes to our dimension (for lack of a better word) his plans to bring back a girl doesn’t go as planned and instead he ends up fighting with Harper which somehow they end up back in the Beast’s realm.

Here, Harper tries everything she can to go back her world, but not everything seems as easy as it looks. I love the modern twist that this book has to the “Belle” of the story because Harper is the shit! Like this girl is just soo strong, not physically, but with her personality. She does not fear her “captors” and once she learns about the situation and what’s been going on on that side of the world she shows compassion and offers to help. What I love about Harper is how determined she is. She is hotheaded, stubborn, and confident. Everything about her is just power. She acts like a true warrior and for to be thrown into this scenario without previous knowledge, she handles everything so well.

Rhen, on the other hand, is more calculated, controlled. He thinks about everything and is always analyzing the different odds surrounding him. When the enchantress cursed him, she not only cursed him but also his kingdom. This is NOT a spoiler, I promise. The difference between the beast’s curse and Rhen’s curse is that Rhen loses consciousness when he turns into a beast, and he does so at every end of the season. All he knows is that the beast wants to kill. So, to protect his kingdom, he closed off all the barriers surrounding his kingdom and stayed locked inside the castle for five years, never coming out to aid his people for anything. So, his people are defenseless while a neighboring kingdom is taking control of his people. 

Now, Rhen’s only hope is Harper and both of them as well as Gray have to come together and form a plan to stop the curse and save his people. Everything in this book is so intense. Besides the fact that Harper decides to help Rhen and Gray, she has her own troubles to worry back at home and yet she perseveres. Every single one of her actions are not anticipated and I loved her for it. In the beginning, she does not fear Rhen, even though he’s the big, mean prince. She gives as good as he takes and she does not back down. The things she did for his people, I’m not sure I would’ve done it if presented by the same scenario.

I also love that Harper is not a princess in distress, she doesn’t need a prince to save her and I LOVE the ending, like from the romantic point of view. I can’t say too much, but I’ll tell you that I look forward to reading the other books on this series and cannot wait to see what comes next.

I would recommend it to 12-year-olds and older. If you retellings, like Braswell, Valentino, Howard, and Henning (these are last names of authors who write fairy tale retellings in YA). Guys, read it. This novel is just so entertaining.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “The Gilded Wolves,” by Roshani Chokshi

4.5/5 Stars

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Exquisite. This book is exquisite. That’s the word that comes to mind as soon as I finished this book. I loved it. Roshani Chokshi did so good and this coming back novel, I’m in love.

The Gilded Wolves is more of a Six of Crows meets Grim Lovelies and I was very impressed by it. If you’ve seen my profile picture in any of my book social media you would see that the book that I hold in my hand is Six of Crows, which is to say that I love that series. When I started reading this book and saw that it was written in the different point of views of the different characters in the book, I saw the immediate pattern of Six of Crows. However, where Six of Crow was dark and sinister, The Gilded Wolves was dark but in a more subdued way.

The Gilded Wolves is set in the late 1800s in Paris, France. Here we follow the stories from the point of view of five different characters, well, four mainly, but we get a sneak peek of a different character at the end. Severin, Laila, Enrique, Zofia, and Hypnos. These characters are brought together because they were lost looking for something that each of them couldn’t find on their own. That’s why Severin forms a team of sorts and with each of the other’s abilities, they can come together to reach their unified goal.

The writing quality was a ten out of ten. I have to give that to Roshani, her writing was beautiful. Throughout her whole story, you get pulled out into the world that she creates and you don’t get lost. Everything makes senses. Despite the different points of view, you never get lost, you understand everything that she’s playing out in the story.

The Character development was alright. I wished she would’ve delved deeper into the emotions of some of the characters. For example, the character Tristan. I felt like there was so much missing from him that we didn’t know. Like the thing with the birds (If you read the book, then you’ll know what I’m talking about). I don’t know, I just feel like her characters, all of them, were a little bit standoffish, not just in the book, but even to us readers, if that makes any sense.

The character that I related to the most had to be Laila. She’s adorable and strong in ways that the others are not. Her qualities and personality really sparked my interest and I like how much she moms everything. I’m always the mom of my group of friends, so I really liked her.

The intellectual depth of this book blew me off. Like Roshani did such great research, and I’m not sure if she went to Paris to do actual research for this book, but this story really grabs France essence and I love it. While reading the book I felt like I was the one with Severin and the girls running down the streets of Paris instead of reading a book. I feel like this book is very original in its essence, but when it comes to the way the story was portrayed I felt like it really compared to Six of Crows, and I haven’t read Grim Lovelies yet to really compare it to that, but I have a feeling that they are about similar patterns.

Anyways, I would recommend this book to anyone 12 years old and older. If you liked the Sic of Crow series. Grim lovelies, for all of you squad-loving people. This is a squad you’ll want to be a part of.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Evermore,” by Sara Holland

4/5 Stars

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This book follows Jules as she flies from Everless because of terrible unforeseen consequences. It seems that what her father and Liam warned her about was true after all. Now she goes on a search to find out who she truly is and how she can destroy the evil. This book is told from her perspective only.

The author’s writing style is great. She uses very good descriptions to make us feel what the characters are feeling. She brings the feelings of the characters alive, if that makes any sense. Her writing is beautiful and melodious and very easy to follow. Mater of fact, if you an author in training and you would like to know how to develop characters emotions and how to compare/relate them to stuff, then you should most certainly read this book because of what a great job she does with that.

The world building was great too. She managed to pull us in to the world without being overwhelming but at the same time giving us enough information for us to get the concept of it.

Because a joke from someone you love has no teeth at all

For the characters, Jules is still her same old self. She is more determined to fulfill her destiny and find out who she is. Liam is as great as ever, still sexy. But her characters are very rich in personality and they have different qualities that separate them from one another. Jules is still learning throughout this story, and I like that the author made her vulnerable, even to her own powers–regardless of whether she is a powerful long forgotten alchemist. Sara also kept it PG-13 for the most part so parents, don’t worry, nothing too bad in here.

Anyways, I would recommend it to anyone that likes time stories. Like Passenger by Bracken, Timekeeper, TMI, Ash Princess, etc. Anyone 13 year-old and older can read it.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Everless,” by Sarah Holland

4.5/5 Stars

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This book is a great way to start the year! My goal this year is to read 100 books. I know, pretty bold of me, seeing as I work full time and go to school full time. But I’m excited about this new year and I cannot wait to read some incredible books that I know are waiting for me in 2019.

Anyways, I’m so glad I picked up this book for my first book of the year because I enjoyed it so much. It was such a simple book and it was very refreshing. It was a fast read for me but with enough content to satisfy my appetite.

The story follows the narration of our main character Jules, she was banished from Everless with her father, both of them ran from the castle to run from evil hands. Unfortunate circumstances have her coming back to the castle as a servant and there she

Jules is very determined and hard headed and most of the time, hard-headed people annoy me in books–but in this case, it works in her favor. Because of her determination, she gets to find out who she is and discover the dangers that looms inside the kingdom.

There are so many things going on and not too many at the same time. It’s like information brought to you is satisfying but not enough. Which is a good thing because the author won’t let you put the book down.

The princess, the queen, Roan, Liam, and every other character is very well developed. The ending of the book is very unexpected. Liam was that unexpected character that you hate to love. And, honestly, Roan is too convenient. He’s like too good to be true. But I’m glad the book ended the way it did.

The actual ending, like in the final chapters, that I didn’t like. I was expecting more from the author. Like, I was expecting that killer cliffhanger that would have me dying until I finally read that other book. But, overall, this story about time stealing, lies and deceit is very interesting and I would recommend it if you liked Wayfarer, Wintersong, Timekeeper, and Ash Princess. Twelve-years-old and older can read it.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “The Darkest Star,” by Jennifer L. Armentrout

4/5 Stars

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I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was for this book. As soon as I heard that JLA was coming with a new book, I almost died (but I didn’t because I had to read this book). Also, it got even better when I heard that it was a spin off of the other series she wrote, which was the series that made me fall in love with her. The Lux series for anyone who’s asking.

Anyways, this spin-off is based on one of my favorite characters from that other series and his name Luc. I mean, he’s not the main character, but he’s our love interest, which is all we care about. Lol. He’s adorable, infuriating, and awesome at the same time. Evie, on the other hand, she’s super nice and funny.

This review will make more sense if you read the series prior to this one–I recommend it but it is not necessary. In the world that the book is based on, everyone knows about the aliens now. A lot has changed 5 years after the invasion, and there’s something bigger coming along. This book, however, is not very descriptive in terms of the story line. I believe JLA could’ve created a better story line, if that makes any sense. However, everything else in terms of world-building, character description, etc., was great. She’s an amazing author, and I loved the book. It felt good to jump back into the Luxen world and refresh my memory on things.

I would recommend this book to anyone 14 years-old and older. Read if you like Alien book, if you liked her other series, if you like Colleen Houck, Cassie Clare.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Seafire” by Natalie C. Parker

4.5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Amazing story. I’ve been looking for a story like this for a while, I’ve been meaning to join a sea adventure as great as this one for the longest time and I’m so glad I finally found it. The Dustjacket of the book describes it as a mix between Wonder woman and Mad Max Fury and that’s exactly what you are going to find. An even mix of sisterhood and action, packed with the right amount of adventure–it’s seriously like reading a “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie.

Caledonia Styx is our main character and it’s written in a third person narrative. She’s Captain of the Mors Navis, a ship with the finest crew on the ocean. 54 girls all under her command and that’s no small job. She’s a very strong woman and with her crew she becomes fierce. Besides her being in charge of a ship and in charge of 54 girls, she’s also very vulnerable. You can notice that she’s still young and that she has so much to learn but I like how she redeems herself. She’s always thinking about the safety of her crew and always puts the needs of her crew before hers. Her decision-making skills are incredible. She’s super smart and you can recognize it in the way she commands her crew and the way she leads them through the sea.

The technical terms are kind of hard to follow, there are many fishermen and boat terminologies that if you haven’t watched Pirates of the Caribbean or read about ships before, you’d be lost. I found myself googling many words because I didn’t know what she was talking about, but nothing that I couldn’t tolerate. Matter of fact, I preferred those terms because I learned more words.

The only reason I didn’t give a 5 was because of the love interest and romance displayed throughout the book. There’s this guy who comes along as the prisoner and I don’t think that the author gives them much of a connection before they actually kiss. There weren’t many moments before the kiss were Cala and Oren connected, it felt sudden and there wasn’t much build-up to the moment.

Other than that the whole story was amazing, the cliffhanger was tolerable, characters were amazingly written and world-building was consistent and manageable to understand. I will for sure be looking forward to her next book in the series. I would recommend to any 12 years old and older, if you like Pirates of the Caribbean, Sea adventures and anything boat related. Oh, if you like Wonder Woman and Mad Max Fury, this is the book for you as well.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Smoke in the Sun,” by Reneé Ahdieh

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

4.5/5 Stars

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Wow, once again mind-blown by the beautiful Reneé Ahdieh and her amazing writing. Even though half of the time throughout this books I had no idea what she was saying because many of the words used to described things were in a different language–though there’s an intensive glossary in the back–I didn’t get lost, not even once.

Here we follow the story of Mariko and Okami as they were dragged to the place following immediately after the ending of the last book A Flame in the Mist. In this book, we get different perspectives from various different characters and its written in the third person. Following the ambush of the Black Clan, Mariko has to figure out a way to save Okami and has to find a way to become someone of importance for the Black Clan. There’s political turmoil from within, family’s betrayal, broken hearts, and desperate cries. But at the end, we find our joy.

Mariko is not the same girl we started with in the first book, though in the first book she always seemed full of conviction, in this book we see it being part of her core. Spending time with those men in the woods taught her to believe in herself and to become stronger than she’s ever been before. We see her beeing tested throughout this book time and time again, yet Mariko’s resolved never faultered. She believed in a cause, and one cause only, and she would go to unknown lenghts to regardless of the consequenses, to save her people, to save Okami. She make sure they followed through. That’s something I admired from her in this book, in this story she had to make a choice for herself, could’ve chosen an easier route, but yet she didn’t. She choose to fight, and I truly apprecite divergence.

Ahdieh manages to bring one more time her beautiful writing in this one, and every once in awhile throughout this book I felt like I was reading a beautifully written folklore book that a grandma from Ireland was reading to her children. You know, the kind that passes by generations and that have the kids enthralled all the way to the end of the story. I honestly think she did a great job with world-building and the fact that she used the characters native language throughout this book made the story more diverse, made the story different. The way she portrayed the characters never felt lacking of anything. Renee made you feel the way the characters felt when you read them, if that makes any sense and each of thier thoughts were easy to follow.

If I do have to complain about anything I would say that the book felt a little bit rushed. There are moments throughout this book that I think she could’ve prolonged and/or moments that she could’ve added. There’s still some questions that I need answers to. Some scenes, especially in the last fifty pages or so felt rushed, and the book itself wasn’t very long, so I wouldn’t have mind if she were to add a couple pages to end just so that it can be more solidify. The didn’t necessarily end with a cliffhanger which is why I am confused as to whether there’s going to be another book or not.

Anyways, I would recommend this book if you liked her one, A Flame in the Mist, if you like Mulan, if you like Asian characters, if you like Mulan, oh, an if you like Mulan! There are some sensored sexy scenes in this book, so I would recommend it for ages 14 and up!

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Legendary,” by Stephanie Garber

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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I just finished reading Legendary by Stephanie Garber and OMG it was such a huge improvement from the first one. If you read my review on Caraval which I wrote about more than a year ago, you know I did not like that book at all. I felt like it lacked character and purpose and the actual main character Scarlett truly pissed me off.

In this book, we follow the story of Scarlett’s sister, Tella. Donatella decides its time for her to play the game of Caraval herself this time instead of participating because in doing so she would finally be reunited with her mom who left them a long time ago. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still the conniving lies, mysterious people, and treatures adventures full of pain, loss, and sacrifice, but somehow in this book there seem to be more of a purpose. In this story, the players of the Caraval tell Tella that this time Caraval is much more than a game–the game is real this time and maybe that’s why I liked it even better.

We immediately see the differences between the two sisters in this story. Where Scarlett’s decisions were all made out of fear, Tella’s were made out of finding out what came next, her fear pushed her to be more. There wasn’t one time throughout this whole book where I felt annoyed by Tella’s decisions if anything I found myself agreeing to many of the decisions she made and found myself nodding along with her statements while playing the game. Tella is a super strong character, stronger than Scarlett for sure, but after reading this book, I do have to give Scarlett some credit because she did play out of love for her sister when it was her turn in the past book.

We are introduced to more characters in this book, there are some that we already know and that we get to know more intimately, and we are introduced to the Fates in this story who are some sort of immortal beings that ruled the earth centuries ago, who are also apparently evil creatures. Oh, and you won’t believe who’s Tella’s love interest on this one, it made me laugh with her at the end so hard LOL!

The reason I wanted to read this book was that of the letter on the last page of Caraval, the one that Tella’s friend wrote to her, and Garber didn’t disappoint. I have to hand it to her, that women can write! Her world building was beautiful–the way she describes the places and buildings throughout the book made me want to read every single detail of it (because sometimes I do skip details LOL), her descriptions were life if you were able to read music without actually listening to the sounds. The story felt so alive, she made you feel as if you were in the story with the character. Hell, I found myself playing along–participating in Caraval–with Donatella trying to figure who is Legend (which we do find out who he is in this book but I won’t tell you muahaha imagine evil laugh here) trying to find a way of not dooming the whole to the hands of the fates, trying to save herself and also trying to find her mother.

There are many things going on in this book but never once did I get lost nor did I feel like I should put the book down because it got too overwhelming–if anything every chapter of the book made me want to finish it faster, hence why I finished the book at 3 a.m. (not ashamed). Congratulations Stephanie on this beautiful masterpiece, you managed to make me truly enjoy this book and I cannot wait to read the next one, especially with that little teasing note that you left at the end of this one! How dare you?! LOL

I would recommend for ages 13 and up! Read if you liked Caraval, Ace of Shades, Six of Crows, and Crooked Kingdom! You’ll truly enjoy this one!