Genre: YA

More Than Just A Bad Boy/Good Girl Romance: Say You’ll Remember Me by Katie McGarry

Posted January 8, 2018 by Nick in 4 stars, ARC, review
More Than Just A Bad Boy/Good Girl Romance: Say You’ll Remember Me by Katie McGarry

There’s just something about Katie McGarry’s books that continue to attract me to them. I don’t think I’ve read one book from her that I have disliked. With Say You’ll Remember Me by good-luck streak with her book continues. Once again, she has written an addicting story with a wonderful cast of characters. Like with most other Katie McGarry books, Say You’ll Remember Me is told in the dual POVs of two characters who come from different worlds. Hendrix and Ellison could not be more different from each other, but they are both lovely characters who are easy to sympathize with. Out of the two, I do have to admit that I had a soft spot for Drix. His situation is very heartbreaking – he’s been to juvie for a crime he did not commit, and is forced to be the face of the governor’s new Second Chance Program aimed at helping juvenile delinquents. At the beginning of the book, Drix is reserved and quiet, understably so because of his entire situation, but there’s a strength and bravery to him that shined through from the very start. He’s a boy who is loyal to his very broken, but loving family, and would do anything to protect them. Even though he is thrust into the media spotlight, he takes on the Second Chance Program because he knows that it will be […]

It’s Time For Me To Let Go Of This Author’s Books: Love, Life and the List by Kasie West

Posted December 18, 2017 by Nick in 3 stars, ARC, review
It’s Time For Me To Let Go Of This Author’s Books: Love, Life and the List by Kasie West

As much as it pains me to say this, Kasie West’s contemporaries just aren’t as alluring as they used to be for me. Her past few books have been fails for me, but I keep picking up her newer stuff in the hopes that it will live up to some of her old stories. I think it’s time for me to break up with the author. Love, Life, and the List wasn’t all bad – it had some qualities to it that reminded me of the old Kasie West YA contemporaries, but there was still the magic from missing. This is the story of Abby, a teen artist, who hopes to have her art featured at the museum she works at. Only issue? The director doesn’t think her work has pizzazz, or heart if you will. So she goes on a journey, which includes a list, in the hopes of adding more emotions to her art. I liked Abby for the most part. She’s a go-getter when it comes to her goals and inspirations, and you can tell that she’s absolutely passionate about her artwork. The only thing about her I didn’t care for was how hung up she was on her best friend, Cooper. Abby’s dynamic with the secondary cast was what I enjoyed the best in Love, Life and the List. I especially enjoyed her bond with her […]

One of the Worst Books I’ve Read: Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

Posted December 12, 2017 by Nereyda in Audiobook, review
One of the Worst Books I’ve Read: Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

Oh boy. I honestly don’t even know where to start with this book so apologies in advanced if my review is all over the place… there will be ranting and obviously spoilers as well. This book… was so fucking awful I’m kind of a loss for words. I happen to love the hate-to-love trope and the enemies to lover’s trope but it’s so damn tricky to pull off.  Honestly, Penelope Douglas is one of those authors that can pull it off, or so I thought. I loved Rival and I really enjoyed Punk 57 and Bully as well.  I’ve had my eye on Corrupt since it was first announced but I was always a bit weary of it because this one seems to have a darker tone. I wish I would have listened to my instincts and stayed far away from this book… The tone of this book is definitely darker, absurd and at times just plain wrong. There were times when rape was insinuated/implied and although it was never specifically addressed, it was enough for it to leave me with a sour feeling. Michael and his group of friends are the popular ones in high school known as the horsemen (or maybe its horseman?). They can basically get away with whatever they want even years later when they come back to visit occasionally from college. What kind of losers […]

The YA Fantasy I’ve Been Waiting For: Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

Posted December 5, 2017 by Nick in 4.5 stars, ARC, review
The YA Fantasy I’ve Been Waiting For: Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

I’ve been craving a sweeping YA fantasy story since the beginning of the year, and sadly before I read Rosemarked, I could not find it. Then came this brilliant book, which completely swept me off my feet and took me on an amazing journey. Engrossing stories like this are why I simply adore reading. By the end of Rosemarked, I was desperate for the sequel – I mean, isn’t that just a sign as to how amazing this book was? In YA fantasy, I’ve always loved side-characters that are healers. It’s such an intriguing element, especially with the mirroring of reality, but healers are hardly ever the center of a fantasy series, so it was refreshing to see that here in Rosemarked. There’s a lot of rich history, world-building and politics in this book. The author does a stunning job at making her world come to life here with her prose. I sometimes find YA fantasy tedious to read because it can get very entangled quickly, but here everything flows smoothly, and I was able to pick up every detail. Then, there’s the plague itself, the rose plague, which is at the center of this story, and which felt a lot like a character. I thought it was absolutely terrifying, yet intriguing. There was lots to learn about this plague, and I liked how Livia Blackburne, only slowly revealed to […]

The Book That Didn’t Want To Be Read: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Posted November 27, 2017 by Nereyda in Audiobook, review
The Book That Didn’t Want To Be Read: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Guys, I swear this book did not want me to read it! I received the audiobook copy of this book back in May and it wasn’t until recently that I was finally able to finish it. First, I had issues downloading the audiobook, when I finally did download it, my laptop messed up, when I was able to download it, I had to find a way to get it from my barely working laptop to my hardrive to transfer it my working computer. And just when I managed to add it to my phone and almost listen to all of it, I got a new phone. This audiobook is long, almost 24 fucking hours long, but it was okay because the book was really good and the audiobook performance was phenomenal, but I had less than 30 minutes left in the audiobook. I got an iPhone and it’s soooo hard to add audiobooks to this damn thing. Either the files for this audiobook wouldn’t play (all my other audiobooks worked) or only the first half would transfer to my phone. All I needed was the last 30 minutes! I finally caved, got my Audible subscription back and purchased this damn book just to finish it.  So 6 months later, I was finally able to finish Lord of Shadows and luckily it was worth the trouble. I have yet to finish […]

Come For The Wild West Setting, Stay For The Brilliant Characters: Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman

Posted November 9, 2017 by Nick in 5 stars, ARC, review
Come For The Wild West Setting, Stay For The Brilliant Characters: Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman

Retribution Rails is a testament to how brilliant Erin Bowman is at crafting these YA Westerns. She pens a harsh, gritty world, but with sympathetic characters, so deftly. Her stories are easy to sink it, and she keeps you glued to the pages until you turn the last page. If you enjoyed Vengeance Road, then this half-companion half-sequel will absolutely wow you. Though the landscape is a historical one, Bowman finds a way to make readers feel like you are part of the story through her characters. These are characters that brave and flawed, and beautifully realistic. I had high hopes going into Retribution Rails, especially after loving Kate and Jesse from Vengeance Road, and Erin Bowman does not disappoint. Both Charlotte and Reece are complex and layered characters who easily find a way to settle in your heart. Charlotte, with her aspirations to become a journalist, her love for her mother, and her desire to save her father’s legacy, was a fantastic character to become acquainted with. She’s a character undergoes tremendous growth throughout Retribution Rails as she grows to become more compassionate and understanding of those around her. Her courage and sheer willpower will speak to many readers. Though I loved Charlotte, it was Reece who stole the show for me. He had a heartbreaking backstory with him being forced to be part of the Rose Riders, a […]

The Rarity of Platonic Boy-Girl Relationships in YA : Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

Posted November 2, 2017 by Nick in 3.5 stars, ARC, review
The Rarity of Platonic Boy-Girl Relationships in YA : Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

I have such conflicting feelings about Top Ten by Katie Cotugno. On the one hand, I absolutely loved that we got the story between two friends, one with a bisexual character too. And I was hoping that this would  be like what Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg was for me. While there are some very strong elements to Top Ten, I do think the way the book is organized led to some confusion on my part. The book is told in the dual voices of Ryan and Gabby, two unlikely people who unexpectedly forge a friendship that has a lot of ups and downs throughout its progression. I enjoyed both Ryan and Gabby’s voices and I thought Cotugno was very adept at giving the two unique personalities. Gabby is the quieter of the two, the sort of girl who turns out has a very bold and vivacious personality once you get to know her. Gabby also struggles with severe anxiety, that’s explored realistically throughout Top Ten. Ryan is the opposite – he is popular, well-loved and is successful at hockey. It was interesting to me how wildly different these two were as characters, but they still managed to click on a very deep level. Their relationship is not rainbows and sunshine – they fight a lot, and sometimes I felt like it was a bit too much for me. […]

Bikers, Magic & Romantic Drama: Devils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush

Posted October 30, 2017 by Nick in 3 stars, ARC, review
Bikers, Magic & Romantic Drama: Devils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush

Devils & Thieves gave me old-school YA vibes, which I’ve been craving lately. I loved the idea of bikers and magic, and was curious to see how Jennifer Rush would weave them together. Though the book wasn’t without its flaws, I found to be quite enjoyable, and by the end, I was definitely invested enough to want to continue on with the series. The magic system in Devils & Thieves was quite interesting and was was what predominantly got me going through the book. It’s a world in which some people have magic and some don’t. Jemmie, the protagonist, has magic, but hasn’t been able to use it for a while now because it makes her grotesquely sick. This leads her to feeling isolated among her friends in the biker gang, and the story goes deeper into her struggles with this. Her relationship with her father is also a highlight of Devils & Thieves. It’s a contentious relationship as Jemmie is still hurting and angry that her father left her and hasn’t made much of an effort in his daughter’s life. We see that change in Devils & Thieves, and though Jemmie is still incredibly wary, she attempts to repair her damaged relationship with him. Then, there’s her relationship with Crowe, her best friend’s protective older brother, and someone she clearly has history with. Though we’re not immediately privy to […]

Absolutely Revolutionary: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Posted October 23, 2017 by Nick in 4.5 stars, ARC, review
Absolutely Revolutionary: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Dear Martin was one of my most anticipated books of the year. I was nervous to pick it up because there was a lot of hype surrounding it, but also my expectations were ridiculous. I had nothing to worry about because Nic Stone has written what has got to be one of the most brilliant YA books of 2017. I can’t wait for this book to revolutionize YA as I know it will. This book is short at around 220 pages, but it packs such an emotional punch. Dear Martin is a book that’s powerful in its subtlety. I adored the protagonist, Justyce. His voice was just completely captivating from the very start. His thoughts, his struggles, his emotions, were described so deftly. As the book progresses, you get to know Justyce intimately. Nic Stone does a fabulous job at not only building up his character, but also developing him. Even though at first glance, I had nothing in common with him, I grew a very strong connection to him. Justyce is a hardworking boy, who becomes confused, angry and scared for being black in a country that is hell-bent on villainizing black people. Nic Stone writes him in such a way that along with him, you too feel every emotion of his. I loved the boy, and wanted him to find his path, hope and happiness more than anything. […]

A Favorite Series Ends

Posted October 18, 2017 by Nick in 4 stars, review
A Favorite Series Ends

Finishing a series is always such a bittersweet experience. I have loved The Gold Seer trilogy since the first book, so I went into this finale with a lot of expectations, but also a bit of hesitancy as I didn’t want to say goodbye to these characters. Into the Bright Unknown wraps up Lee and her friends’ story brilliantly, and I know for sure that this is one series I will be revisiting over and over again. Without a doubt, this book and this series’ stars are the characters. Lee, in particular, is a terrific protagonist. She has come a very long way since the first book when she lost her parents, went on a long trek and faced danger after danger. She has learned a lot from her experiences, and has become a strong, bright and tenacious young woman. I didn’t just love Lee for her strengths – I admired her even more for how kind and selfless she was. Every action of hers was driven by her love and desire to protect her friends and her family. It’s a quality that makes you root for her through and through. Into the Bright Unknown would not have been a good book had it not been for the secondary cast. They are all so engaging, unique in personality, and make for such a merry band. Along with Lee, they’ve faced […]

What Is Family, Really? Read This Beautiful Story To Find Out

Posted October 16, 2017 by Nick in 4.5 stars, ARC, review
What Is Family, Really? Read This Beautiful Story To Find Out

Quite frankly, I’m of the opinion that Robin Benway can do no wrong. Far From The Tree just went ahead and proved me right in that regards. It’s a poignant and powerful tale of love and family that struck deep with me, and is one of my favorite reads of the year. This is a book of three teens who are each at different points in their lives, but who are linked to each other through their birth mother. Far From The Tree is told in the compelling voices of Grace, Maya and Joaquin, who have grown up in very different homes. Grace has just given birth and has given her baby, who she lovingly names Peach, up for adoption. Though she knows that Peach is growing up in a good home, she’s still struggling with regaining normalcy in her life. Her grief and guilt are palpable throughout the book. My heart would ache with her. Robin Benway did such a lovely job with her characters. She made me feel all of Grace’s emotions, and she made me want to root for her happiness. In an attempt to deal with her sadness, she connects with her half-siblings, Maya and Joaquin, who are both dealing with their own issues. Maya, too grew up in an adoptive family, who has been nothing short of loving towards her. But she struggles day in […]

Underwhelming & Soooooo Annoying: A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor

Posted October 12, 2017 by Nereyda in Audiobook, review
Underwhelming & Soooooo Annoying: A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor

Holy crap, this book was so annoying! If you haven’t noticed by now, I am so out of the loop when it comes to what books are currently out/coming out. I pretty much read what Nick tells me she thinks I will like, a romance book by an author I love or an audiobook that I think sounds interesting. This book fell into the last category. It showed up in my audiobook monthly email and I was like ‘hmmm, this one sounds like it could be pretty good’ *hits download.* Sadly, in this case I was wrong. I found myself in a constant state of annoyance. Annoyance with the characters. Annoyance with the plot. Annoyance with the way the story was told. And annoyance with myself for not being able to DNF this book because I simply had to find out just what the hell happened between Emma and her sister Henri that would make Henri turn into such a rotten bitch and Emma into a doormat. Spoiler alert, the ‘incident’ was so underwhelming and stupid, it just made me more annoyed that I wasted my time listening to this book. The book starts with Emma, her older sister Henri and a boy named Alex stranded on an island. The boat they were in went down and Alex’s cousin died in the accident but the others managed to escape to […]

Imaginative & Addicting: Warcross by Marie Lu

Posted October 10, 2017 by Nereyda in Audiobook, review
Imaginative & Addicting: Warcross by Marie Lu

I’m not normally into sci-fi books like this, but there was something about this book that was calling me. I would like to say that the fact that I enjoyed Marie Lu’s last series was the main reason that I got this book, but let’s be real, that eye-catching cover probably had more to do with it. This book is a little bit longer than I normally like my books to be (especially if they aren’t contemporary books) so I ended up saving this one for last when it came to listening to my audiobooks. Right away, I really fell in love with Emika. There’s just something about a normal girl in a high-tech and advanced world who is just doing her best trying to get by in life. Her mother abandoned her as a child and her father passed away a few years ago, leaving her in a mountain of gambling debt. Emika has a dead-end job but she makes ends meet (barely) by using her hacker skills to be an online bounty hunter, hunting those who bet on Warcross illegally. Emika is actually a really talented hacker and when she accidentally glitches herself into the opening International Warcross Championship, suddenly all eyes are on her. Something a hacker definitely does not want. Within days, all her debts are paid off by Hideo Tanaka, the young billionaire creator of Warcross […]

Girl Power, Girl Power & More Girl Power: Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Posted October 9, 2017 by Nick in 4 stars, review
Girl Power, Girl Power & More Girl Power: Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Can Leigh Bardugo write a bad book? I think not! Once again, she’s written a novel that’s a complete blast to read from start to finish. Though I’m not as excited about this new YA superhero series as a whole, I was itching to get to Wonder Woman for two reasons. Firstly, it’s Leigh’s first full-length book outside of the Grishaverse. Secondly, after that amazing WW movie, I was ready to devour everything and anything Wonder Woman. Thankfully, I was entirely satisfied by this book, and I’m hoping that we’ll get to see Leigh write more books for teen Diana! There are innumerable reasons why this book and I clicked, but mostly, I just loved all the girl power. I have been loving this trend of female empowerment in YA lately, and Leigh Bardugo takes it to a whole other level. It’s a book that focuses 100% of femininity, the power of female friendship and the absolute strength that women wield. Diana, our beloved Amazon princess, is just the perfect sort of heroine for teens and adults to look up to. A lot of Diana’s strength undeniably stems from her powers and abilities, but the emotional strength and intelligence that she exhibits throughout Warbringer make her powerful in all the ways. She’s not an all-perfect specimen though. She falters, and makes mistakes along the way but she rises up from […]

Smart & Brilliant… Yet Pointless: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Posted October 5, 2017 by Nereyda in ARC, Audiobook, review
Smart & Brilliant… Yet Pointless: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

I have such mixed feelings about this book… I don’t even know where to start. In all honesty, I probably should not have read this book. I hated We Were Liars and I had a feeling that this book would make me feel the same way as that one. But,  I am such a sucker for Rebecca Soler as a narrator that I caved and ended up downloading this book when I saw she was narrating it. Despite the fact that Soler was brilliant in her performance of the book (what else is new?), I was not a fan of this book. The sad thing is that it had so much potential and the writing was great, but it just fell flat for me in more ways than one. The book starts with Jules in a luxury resort in Mexico, she’s living the life and soon we find out that it may not be her life she’s actually living. She’s  a con artist and uses other identities to live her life. At the moment she is pretending to be Imogen, one of her old friends. When a cop gets the drop on her, Jules goes into full survivor mode and she escapes while beating up people along the way. From there, the story is told in reverse, each time going back weeks or months back in time. This format was […]

Irritating But Redeeming: Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen

Posted September 28, 2017 by Nereyda in Audiobook, review
Irritating But Redeeming: Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen

I do believe that I downloaded this audiobook by mistake. I was sending Nick a list of the audiobooks I had to listen to so she could pick one for me to listen to next and this one was on the list. Neither of us had heard of it so once I looked it up and read the summary, I knew I must have downloaded this one on accident. Since it wasn’t that long and the summary did sound interesting, I went ahead and kept it on my list. I did struggle with this one a bit in the beginning because Wren was so damn irritating. Also, the narrator’s… raspy/skeaky voice, especially in the beginning was kind of annoying. But I kept with it, and I’m glad I did because seeing Wren grow up was so damn satisfying and totally redeemed the book for me. Wren has been on a downward spiral for the last few years. It was hard for me to figure out at first why the hell Wren was so damn angry and bitter at life. Yes, her parents moved her to a new city/school where she doesn’t know anyone and her name is not the most common, but I just didn’t get why her name was such a big deal for her. As someone with a name that 99% of people NOT hispanic can’t pronounce correctly, […]

I Don’t Know What I Just Read But I Really Liked It: A Semi-Definitive of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

Posted September 26, 2017 by Nereyda in Audiobook, review
I Don’t Know What I Just Read But I Really Liked It: A Semi-Definitive of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

I think I can honestly say that this is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read! I’m not even sure what category this would really fall into, it’s definitely contemporary, it has great friendships, a crazy family, a sweet sibling bond, a super adorable slow build romance, it deals with mental illness (which was done really well) but it also has some quirkiness, some mythology (maybe?), and a bit of silliness all the while hitting you with some hardcore feels here and there. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish and it was such a refreshing story, nothing like what I was expecting! Esther and her twin brother Eugene have grown up on stories of when their grandfather met Death. Since then, it seems her family is cursed. Cursed with their one great fear that will eventually lead to their death. Esther’s mother is obsessed with bad signs that pretty much make her useless. She refuses to pick up her daughter from work because she saw a black cat that day, she has all these good luck omens that are supposed to ward off bad luck but nothing seems to help. Especially when she’s addicted to gambling all their money at the casino. Her father is an agoraphobe who hasn’t left their basement at all in six years. Her brother Eugene has a deathly fear of the […]

A Gorgeous & Memorable Book Every Teen Should Read: Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Posted September 18, 2017 by Nick in 5 stars, ARC, review
A Gorgeous & Memorable Book Every Teen Should Read: Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Trigger warnings: Poignant and heart-breaking, Akemi Dawn Bowman’s winning debut novel tells the story of a half-Japanese half-white teen girl struggling with her identity, anxiety, art and family. It’s a story that shines from every page and stands out among other YA contemporaries. The book world is in for some spectacular books if Starfish is just a glimpse at Akemi Dawn Bowman’s elegant writing. Social anxiety-ridden Kiko has one dream – to attend the prestigious art institute, Prism, to pursue her dream career. Bonus, it will also help her escape her narcissistic mother, whose only impact has been to embed a deep lack of self-confidence in her daughter. Starfish is the emotional journey she goes on as she experiences rejection from her dream school, and decides to get out of her toxic home life with the aid of a friend. It’s a journey that is necessary for her growth, and one that helps her understand her self-value. Kiko is a protagonist who will speak to many teen girls, especially mixed-raced teen girls, who often struggle with their identity, and the gross stereotypes they face from both sides. The subtle racism and the constant “othering” she faces both in her social sphere as well as her own home is infuriating, but painfully realistic. This undeniably affects her at a very core level, and she struggles throughout Starfish to see herself as […]