Tag: YA

Lots of Stabbing & Brutality: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black & Blood & Sand by C.V Wyck

Posted January 15, 2018 by Nick in 3.5 stars, 4 stars, ARC, review / 18 Comments
Lots of Stabbing & Brutality: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black & Blood & Sand by C.V Wyck

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black Goodreads – Amazon – Barnes & Noble I wasn’t planning on reading The Cruel Prince, but then Becky had to come in with her raving review and praise, and I knew I had to see what all the fuss was about. I bought a copy and immediately started reading, and it was pretty much love at first sight. The Cruel Prince was only my first book by Holly Black, and obviously something is wrong with me, because what an incredible book this was! I loved how ruthless this book was. It’s even better because I don’t think I quite expected the book to go so far. It’s bloody, gruesome, and so so twisty! I honestly didn’t see a lot of those twists coming, which is something I love in books. I love being surprised when reading a book and The Cruel Prince did a good job at that. I also found the world building to be absolutely impressive. There’s a lot of underlying politics and hierarchy going on in this world of cunning fae, so you can imagine the corruption, the power imbalance and all the backstabbing that exists in this world. Holly Black did a fabulous job at introducing readers to the world. I was seriously in awe. The pacing of the plot […]

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 / 27 Comments
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 […]

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 / 19 Comments
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 […]

The Contemporary YA I Love: Breaking the Ice by Julie Cross & Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

Posted December 11, 2017 by Nick in 4.5 stars, ARC, review / 11 Comments
The Contemporary YA I Love: Breaking the Ice by Julie Cross & Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

Breaking the Ice was so good, you guys. I’ve loved every book that I’ve read from Julie Cross, and going into this second book in the Juniper Falls series, I had high expectations. I’m a sucker for a good opposites attract story, and I knew that Julie Cross would do the book justice since she’s fantastic at writing scorching chemistry between her couples. Breaking the Ice is definitely at the top of my favorite YA contemporary romances, and favorite Julie Cross books. I knew from the very first page that I would be hooked, line and sinker into this story. Breaking the Ice is told through the compelling voices of Haley and Fletcher, two people who could not be more different from each other. They both find themselves in summer school, and these two kids who’ve never really interacted before are forced to be around each other. I’m sure you can already imagine what ensues! 😉 I loved both Hayley and Fletcher’s characters. They were different, but equally likable. Haley is the popular girl at her school, a cheerleader, and known as the town princess. Fletcher, on the other hand, is the quiet, smart kid who seems to have layers and layers to his character. As a result of his deadly food allergies, he’s been forced to live somewhat of […]

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

Posted December 5, 2017 by Nick in 4.5 stars, ARC, review / 24 Comments
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, […]

My Top 5 YA Contemporaries That Give Me All the Feels!

Posted November 16, 2017 by Nereyda in Favorites / 26 Comments
My Top 5 YA Contemporaries That Give Me All the Feels!

 I feel like YA Contemporary books sometimes get a bad rep for simply being cute and fluffy. First of all, what’s wrong with cute and fluffy?? I personally love when contemporary books find that sweet spot of having that perfect balance between fluffy while still having substance and giving you all the feels. I love YA contemporary books but sadly I haven’t been in love with them recently. I don’t know, it may just be me but I feel like books know try too hard to check off that diverse checklist and sometimes the story gets lost along the way. Here are some of my top 5 all time favorite YA contemporary books that are definitely cute and fluffy while still having substance and give me all the feels. That ‘omg this chemistry is so good I feel it in the tips of my fingers’ good! (Or does that just happen to me???) At first I thought narrowing down my list would be an impossible task but it was surprisingly easy. My Top 5 Contemporary YA Books:   Oh man, I don’t know what it is about this book but I just fucking love it. It was my first Kasie West book and I fell in love. I read this in under 12 hours, which is a huge deal for […]

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 / 9 Comments
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 […]

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

Posted October 30, 2017 by Nick in 3 stars, ARC, review / 13 Comments
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 […]

Absolutely Revolutionary: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Posted October 23, 2017 by Nick in 4.5 stars, ARC, review / 12 Comments
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 […]

A Favorite Series Ends

Posted October 18, 2017 by Nick in 4 stars, review / 14 Comments
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 […]

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

Posted October 16, 2017 by Nick in 4.5 stars, ARC, review / 16 Comments
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 […]

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

Posted October 9, 2017 by Nick in 4 stars, review / 26 Comments
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 […]

Time-Traveling Thieves, Soulmates & Books With Cool Concepts

Posted October 2, 2017 by Nick in ARC, review / 33 Comments
Time-Traveling Thieves, Soulmates & Books With Cool Concepts

I read Julie Halpern’s The F-It List a couple of years ago and adored it. I haven’t picked up anything else by her since, but when I came across Meant To Be, I got curious. Unfortunately, for me, this was one of those books that has an interesting concept that’s just not executed to its full potential. In Halpern’s world, on your 18th birthday, your soulmate’s name becomes etched onto your skin, a phenomenon that’s gone unexplained. Isn’t that such an interesting story line to explore? Anyways, our protagonist, Agatha, wants nothing to do with this soulmate. She wants to make her own choice on her own terms. Agatha wasn’t the easiest character for me to get behind. She has a very dry sense of humor, and is also very sarcastic. Typically, I enjoy these sorts of heroines, but I don’t know, Agatha rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe, because I felt like she tried too hard at times? She mentioned her farts, her giant breasts frequently throughout the story, and it was done in an obnoxious way. I also feel like she thought of herself as above everyone else because she didn’t want to give in to the idea of her soulmate. Her relationship with her best friend was a perfect example of that. She constantly judges her friend […]

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

Posted September 18, 2017 by Nick in 5 stars, ARC, review / 23 Comments
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 […]

The Most Creative 2017 Debut: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Posted September 11, 2017 by Nick in 4.5 stars, ARC, review / 25 Comments
The Most Creative 2017 Debut: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

An Enchantment of Ravens is a stunning debut novel that will lure readers in with the gorgeous prose, and keep them glued to the pages of the book with its vibrant characters. It might be Margaret Rogerson’s debut novel, but she pens An Enchantment of Ravens like a pro and will leave you in awe. This is a YA fantasy novel that will stick with me for a long time. The book shines for its unique take on magic. In Rogerson’s world, humans have the ability to Craft, basically they all have a talent that the Fair Folk are able to purchase. It was refreshing to see this different sort of power dynamics. Margaret Rogerson takes common themes and elements from fae mythology and puts her own twist on them. The magical world was beautifully and subtly built throughout An Enchantment of Ravens, and most importantly, it was easy to envision. Rogerson’s writing is lush, gorgeous, and vivid, especially when it comes to the protagonist, Isobel’s artistic skills. This is the perfect sort of prose for a book like this – it’s poetic, but does not rely on anything that’s overly flowery. The book stands out for its cast of characters. The story opens up with Isobel learning that the Autumn Prince will be visiting her to commission a portrait […]

When An Unnecessary Twist Nearly Ruins A Good Book: What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

Posted September 6, 2017 by Nick & Nereyda in ARC, Audiobook, review / 19 Comments
When An Unnecessary Twist Nearly Ruins A Good Book: What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

Nereyda: I had no intention of reading this book. I haven’t been too impressed with contemporary YA as of late, this author’s last book was a little bit of a letdown (considering all the rave reviews) and this audiobook was narrated by one of my least favorite male narrators. All signs pointed to a no for me… but my brain sometimes (aka almost always) forgets things like this and before I remembered about all the reasons why I didn’t want to read this book, I had already downloaded the audiobook. I don’t like to not review audiobooks I receive for review (unfortunately I don’t have the same mentality when it comes to eARC’s…sigh) so I figured I would give it a try. When I say Nick talking about how much it surprised her in a weekly recap, I moved it up my list. Surprise, surprise, I actually ended up liking this quite a bit… up until the point that I didn’t… but it still wasn’t enough to make me dislike the entire book. Nick: Yeah I’m not sure what exactly prompted me to pick up the book either, but I saw it available in my library’s Overdrive, and decided to give it a shot. I definitely enjoyed What to Say Next more than I liked the author’s YA debut last […]

Oh, My Heart! : Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Posted September 4, 2017 by Nick in 4 stars, ARC, review / 31 Comments
Oh, My Heart! : Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren are a wildly popular duo in the romance community, and with Autoboyography, no doubt the YA community will also go wild for this talented pair. Autoboyography is a lovely, heart-felt book about sexual identity, religion, love and family that teens and adults alike will fall in love with. Tanner and Sebastian could not be more different from each other, but somehow the two meet, and fall in love with each other. The book is predominantly told through the voice of Tanner, a proud bisexual boy who is only out to his family in his new Utah town. He is a total sweetheart, who captured my heart with his easy-going personality and kind soul. He is outgoing, smart, level-headed, and loves like nobody’s business. Sebastian on the other hand is more quiet, and very devoted to his Mormon religion. Tanner and Sebastian meet in Tanner’s seminar class where Sebastian is the teaching assistant. Somehow the book that they have to write in the class turns out to be an autobiographical love declaration for Tanner. The two start a super sweet romance that will absolute charm readers with the shyness, the stolen glances and the blushes. Their relationship had me squealing in happiness, and had my heart swelling because I was filled  with so much joy while reading their interactions. […]

I Expected More: Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh

Posted August 28, 2017 by Nick in 2.5 stars, ARC, review / 18 Comments
I Expected More: Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh

When a book is described as “Pacific Rim meets Korean action dramas”, it’s hard for a fan of both of those things to ignore. Rebel Seoul comes highly recommended from fellow bloggers, which just added to my excitement of reading the book. Perhaps it was my high expectations, but Rebel Seoul wasn’t the book I was led to believe it would be. The premise of the book is certainly interesting. The futuristic/dystopian South Korean setting is fresh and unique, but only bare bones of the world are explored here, which makes it hard to become invested in the story. A lot of the world building, and the history of the war that led to this new Korean society feels like info-dumping, which means the book is peppered with these dense chunky paragraphs explaining the world. It’s not how I personally enjoy reading the world building of a book, and it led to moments of boredom for me. The plot is also slow-paced, which didn’t enhance my enjoyment of the story. You would think that a book that features God Machines, basically robots that help fight in war, and scientifically militarized human weapons, would be intense and action-packed. Unfortunately, Rebel Seoul fails to effectively use them to create a kick-ass story, which is quite the disappointment if you ask me because […]