Hi and happy Sunday! I’m here again with another installment of Sneak Peek Sunday, and today I’ll be discussing The Antidote by Shelley Sackier. I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the publisher!
Title: The Antidote
Author: Shelley Sackier
Expected release: February 5, 2019
My rating: 3/5 Goodreads stars
Magic is not allowed, under any circumstances — even if it could save someone’s life. Instead, there are herbal remedies and traditional techniques that have been painstakingly recorded in lieu of using the mystical arts. Fee knows this, so she keeps her magic a secret.
Except her best friend, Xavi, is deathly ill. He’s also the crown prince. Saving him is important, not only for her, but for the entire kingdom.
Fee’s desperation to save her friend means she can barely contain the magic inside her. And after the tiniest of slips, Fee is thrust into a dark and secretive world that is as alluring as it is dangerous.
If she gives in, it could mean she can save Xavi. But it also means that those who wish to snuff out magic might just snuff her out in the process.
I have to be real with you guys, I didn’t really like this book. It wasn’t really my cup of tea. I found the world to be a bit confusing, and I couldn’t really parse out who I was supposed to ship together and who I wasn’t supposed to like other than Princess Quinn.
Part of what was confusing to me was the world itself. I didn’t really understand the rules. It seems like part of it was a fake country, but they also had the same rules as an old European country, but also they had magic? I felt this wasn’t explained very well and I felt confused the whole time reading it.
I think another part that made me iffy on this book was the dialogue. I felt that it was very stilted and didn’t work in some parts. It didn’t always move the scene forward, and I felt that I got minimal information from it.
In the end, I didn’t quite like this book. It wasn’t my cup of tea, but I think you should give it a try!! My opinion isn’t the end all, so you should read it for yourself.
I’m so excited to be on this blog tour! Here is one of my highly anticipated reads, Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Soloman. Last year, Soloman debuted with her novel You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, which was also featured right here! Check that out here. I was lucky enough to win an ARC in Rachel’s newsletter.
Title Our Year of Maybe
Author: Rachel Lynn Soloman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Expected publication: January 15, 2019
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
My rating: 4/5 Goodreads stars
Aspiring choreographer Sophie Orenstein would do anything for Peter Rosenthal-Porter, who’s been on the kidney transplant list as long as she’s known him. Peter, a gifted pianist, is everything to Sophie: best friend, musical collaborator, secret crush. When she learns she’s a match, donating a kidney is an easy, obvious choice. She can’t help wondering if after the transplant, he’ll love her back the way she’s always wanted.
But Peter’s life post-transplant isn’t what either of them expected. Though he once had feelings for Sophie too, he’s now drawn to Chase, the guitarist in a band that happens to be looking for a keyboardist. And while neglected parts of Sophie’s world are calling to her—dance opportunities, new friends, a sister and niece she barely knows—she longs for a now-distant Peter more than ever, growing increasingly bitter he doesn’t seem to feel the same connection.
Peter fears he’ll forever be indebted to her. Sophie isn’t sure who she is without him. Then one blurry, heartbreaking night twists their relationship into something neither of them recognizes, leading them to question their past, their future, and whether their friendship is even worth fighting for.
Rachel Lynn Solomon lives, writes, and tap dances in Seattle, Washington. Once she helped set a Guinness World Record for the most natural redheads in one place. She’s the author of You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone (out now from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse), Our Year of Maybe (1/15/19), and Today Tonight Tomorrow (2020). A short story of hers will appear in the anthology It’s a Whole Spiel (Penguin Random House/Knopf, fall 2019).
This was such a fun read!! I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I absolutely loved Rachel’s debut, You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone and I had high hopes for this one. One of the main characters and I even share a name!
I love the dual POV in the book. I felt that Rachel really got into their heads, and it was well written. Sometimes I felt more connected to Sophie, but other times I felt more connected to Peter. I wish I could meet them IRL! I especially liked the new dance friends that Sophie makes. They reminded me a little of Bebe and Denice from Eleanor & Park.
There are a lot of different elements in this book, from religion to sexuality, Soloman writes in a respectful but real way. I’m always captivated by her writing. Each piece is woven in with skill that I admire greatly.
I really like her realistic portrayal of sexual health and masturbation in this book. This is also done in You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, and it needs to be done much more often in YA. This fights against the stigma, especially for women, in a positive way, and this definitely won points in my book.
Religion is another theme embedded within this novel. I like how Peter wants to find his and what it means to him while Sophie doesn’t really practice. It provides a good picture of how people approach this topic. I related to Peter when he talked about being caught between worlds, how he didn’t feel like he was enough of something to really claim the label. I often feel this way toward my race (Asian) because there is such a stigma and discussion about what makes someone “truly” something.
For the sake of keeping this from getting too long (seriously, I could wax poetically about this book all day), I’m going to wrap it up here. I really hope you guys read this amazing book!
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the books!
He is the earth, and I am the moon.
I have never been enough, and he has always been too much.
There’s something else, though, something that takes me a few moments to identify—a pang of missing. Like I miss Sophie even though she’s right here, gliding along the ice in her gray beanie, fiery hair peeking out from beneath it.
Prize: One (1) SIGNED copy of Our Year of Maybe.
Terms & Conditions: US only, please read the terms on the rafflecopter
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope the holiday season has treated you well. I’m here with a new review of one of my anticipated reads of the year. Seriously, guys, if you haven’t added this to your TBR, you need to right now. Thank you to the publisher for sending a copy for review! This had no influence on my reading and reviewing of this book.
Title: We Set the Dark on Fire
Author: Tehlor Kay Mejia
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Expected release: February 26, 2019
My rating: 5/5 Goodreads stars
In this daring and romantic fantasy debut perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and Latinx authors Zoraida Córdova and Anna-Marie McLemore, society wife-in-training Dani has a great awakening after being recruited by rebel spies and falling for her biggest rival.
At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children. Both paths promise a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class.
Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her pedigree is a lie. She must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society.
And school couldn’t prepare her for the difficult choices she must make after graduation, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio.
Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or will she give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?
Once I opened this book it was really hard to set it down. I was swept up into the world of Medio immediately, and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen.
Dani was fun to watch grow. Her strength and evolution throughout the bus was compelling. I love how she wasn’t afraid to stick up for herself, but knew when to back down. She knew her weaknesses, and while they seemed like a setback, they proved to be a strength in the end.
I didn’t know what to think of Carmen the whole book. She seemed on the fence, never truly committed the whole time. That’s all I’ll be able to say about her without giving much away.
One of my favorite parts of the book were the Latinx elements. They were rich within the story, and slipped in flawlessly and respectfully. I couldn’t imagine a better setting.
There were so many twists and turns in the plot. I didn’t know who to trust! Everyone seemed suspect, and I didn’t even know who I wanted to win. I wish we got to know Alex more, and I hope that we do in the second book. I loved it so much, I am already dying to read book two!!!!!!
Make sure to get that pre-order because you’ll want to read it as soon as it comes out.
Hey there! I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season. I’m writing from my home in West Michigan, and I’m glad to finally be home after such a long, hard semester. I’m super excited to bring this review to you of Maureen Johnson’s newest book in the Truly Devious series — The Vanishing Stair which is set to come out January 22 of 2019. If you wanted to read my review of Truly Devious first, look no further than this link! Without further ado, here is more about the book.
Title: The Vanishing Stair
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Katherine Tegan BFYR
Expected Release: January 22, 2019
My rating: 5/5 Goodreads Stars
All Stevie Bell wanted was to find the key to the Ellingham mystery, but
instead she found her classmate dead. And while she solved that murder, the crimes of the past are still waiting in the dark. Just as Stevie feels she’s on the cusp of putting it together, her parents pull her out of Ellingham academy.
For her own safety they say. She must move past this obsession with crime. Now that Stevie’s away from the school of topiaries and secret tunnels, and her strange and endearing friends, she begins to feel disconnected from the rest of the world. At least she won’t have to see David anymore. David, who she kissed. David, who lied to her about his identity—son of despised politician Edward King. Then King himself arrives at her house to offer a deal: He will bring Stevie back to Ellingham immediately. In return, she must play nice with David. King is in the midst of a campaign and can’t afford his son stirring up trouble. If Stevie’s at school, David will stay put.
The tantalizing riddles behind the Ellingham murders are still waiting to be unraveled, and Stevie knows she’s so close. But the path to the truth has more twists and turns than she can imagine—and moving forward involves hurting someone she cares for. In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel of the Truly Devious series, nothing is free, and someone will pay for the truth with their life.
This book was so epic! I couldn’t put it down once I got into it. I got it when I was in the middle of homework, and it took everything in me to not stop what I was doing and dig right in. I absolutely loved getting back into this world and re-familiarizing myself with the characters.
The book picks up right around where Truly Devious finishes. I was anxious to see what had happened to Stevie after that jaw-dropping ending. I thought this book would be the end in a duology, but there definitely will be a third book, and OH MY GOD THAT ENDING!!!!!!!!!!!!
One of my favorite parts about this book is how well it does with representation and how respectful it is of it. You can tell this was written sensitively, and all of the characters are genuine. There is pan rep, Asian-Am rep, and so many others. I really love how this is not The Thing, but A Thing. There needs to be more stories with characters doing things and living their lives — not just about their race/gender/sexuality/etc.
I also really liked how openly Stevie deals with her mental health. There is one part where she has to give herself points for doing small tasks, and that’s a really healthy coping mechanism discussed. I think this part is well written and written true to experience.
Overall, this was an amazing book! I cannot wait for the third book, and I can’t believe it’s going to be about a year until the next one!!! I highly, highly recommend you get yourself a copy. I would not miss out on this sequel!
Did you know Maureen Johnson is going on tour for this book?! I’m so sad this isn’t coming anywhere near me, but be sure to check out the stops and dates along with the other authors going with her! Check it out here.
Hello there and happy Sunday!! I’m happy to be here again with another book that will come to you this Tuesday. Thank you to the publicist for sending me an early review copy! This in no way affected how I read and reviewed this text.
Title: The Perfect Candidate
Author: Peter Stone
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Expected release: October 2, 2018
My rating: 3/5 Goodreads stars
From debut author Peter Stone comes a heart-stopping, pulse-pounding political thriller that’s perfect for fans of Ally Carter and House of Cards.
When recent high school graduate Cameron Carter lands an internship with Congressman Billy Beck in Washington, DC, he thinks it is his ticket out of small town captivity. When he lacks connections and Beltway polish he makes up in smarts, and he soon finds a friend and mentor in fellow staffer Ariel Lancaster.
That is, until she winds up dead.
As rumors and accusations about her death fly around Capitol Hill, Cameron’s low profile makes him the perfect candidate for an FBI investigation that he wants no part of. Before he knows it—and with his family’s future at stake—he discovers DC’s darkest secrets as he races to expose a deadly conspiracy.
If it doesn’t get him killed first.
This book was pretty good overall, but slow paced in the beginning. It was really hard to get into at first, so I think that’s why I rated it lower than a four. I had a hard time getting used to Cameron’s voice, and I didn’t quite mesh with it.
This story starts right away with Cameron taking a taxi into Washington D. C. I really liked that Stone included a character from Cameron’s past so it threw a potential ally to him. Right away you could tell that Cameron was an outsider to this world. Something that confused me was why he arrived later than his housemates. Right away I liked his housemate Zeph. I could tell he would be a fun character throughout the novel.
The mystery portion of the book doesn’t start until a few chapters in, and I was curious to see how things would go down. I was sad to see Ariel go because she was a cool character, but I knew going into it to not get too attached to her.
I feel like the investigation portion of the book could have been more compelling. I wasn’t as invested as I felt that I should be. I think part of it could have been that I didn’t really connect with Cameron’s voice.
Something really surprising was the ending. I think this leaves the opportunity for a sequel in the least, if I got the final reveal correctly.
Overall, this book wasn’t too much for me, but I really think this could be a good book for someone else. I recommend you give it a try!
Hi!! I know I haven’t been very active, but I’m breaking my silence to talk about this truly incredible book I read. Minutes ago I finished reading A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh. This is the author’s contemporary being released this October. Let’s jump right into it!
Title: A Very Large Expanse of Sea
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Expected Release: October 16, 2018
My rating: 5/5 Goodreads stars
It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.
Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.
But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.
Wow, I don’t even know how to begin to articulate how much I love this book. It is one of my tops reads this year for sure. It is incredible and raw and nothing I’ve read before in my life.
Shirin is a character I fell in love with right away. Sure, she could have handled her relationship with Ocean much better, but to be frank, I’m not sure I would have done much different in her position. It’s very hard to get out of your own head a lot and to have to do it while facing so much prejudice is harder. I know that Shirin acts immature, but isn’t that the point of the story? Isn’t she supposed to grow from the events in the story? She’s also only 16. She’s had to deal with a lot in those years, and it’s not getting any easier throwing in the hardships of being a teenager in general. She’s someone you can relate to even if you don’t directly identify with her background and heritage.
Ocean was a lovely character contrast for Shirin. He was constantly breaking down her barriers which forced her to rethink the way she viewed the world. It was great seeing how their interactions pushed both characters to face things they were afraid to. For Shirin, it was her anger at the world. With Ocean, he had to see the uglier side of the world that he hadn’t been privy to from his place of privilege.
The breakdancing aspect of the book gave space for Shirin to be herself and let go of things. I know it’s something the author loves deeply and it is conveyed well through Shirin.
This story was very personal, and you can tell by the rawness of the emotion and how real they felt. That’s not to say that every story isn’t personal to the author, but this one especially shines through as one.
I can’t wait for you all to read it this October! Make sure to go pre-order yourself a copy and give them both a lot of love!!!
Hi there! I’m back again here (for once), and it’s with a review of a book due out this September. First and foremost, thank you to The Novl for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review. This in no way affects the way I read and will review it.
Title: The War Outside
Author: Monica Hesse
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Expected release: September 25, 2018
My rating: 3/5 Goodreads stars
It’s 1944, and World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado–until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan.
Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a “family internment camp” for those accused of colluding with the enemy. The teens discover that they are polar opposites in so many ways, except for one that seems to override all the others: the camp is changing them, day by day and piece by piece. Haruko finds herself consumed by fear for her soldier brother and distrust of her father, who she knows is keeping something from her. And Margot is doing everything she can to keep her family whole as her mother’s health deteriorates and her rational, patriotic father becomes a man who distrusts America and fraternizes with Nazis.
With everything around them falling apart, Margot and Haruko find solace in their growing, secret friendship. But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone–even each other?
There were a lot of good things about this book, but it wasn’t quite the book for me. I really love historical fiction. History is something that always fascinated me, and it was one of my favorite subject in high school. That being said, there were some really cool things about this book that made me keep reading.
This is set in an internment camp that actually exists. The author’s note in the back of the ARC provided a lot of really cool facts about the camp and what it was used for. I love the amount of research and detail that went into this book. It shows through the writing how much labor went into ensuring historical accuracy. Not only that, but this is an internment camp that isn’t talked about often enough in American history. I like that Hesse decided to shed light onto something that is otherwise brushed aside. It gives space and exposure to something that needs it. I wanted to know more about Crystal City the more I read about it through Haruko and Margot, and it compelled me to look a little deeper.
Another part I liked about this book was the dual POV. The story is told from Haruko and Margot’s points of view. They guide the reader first hand through what it was like to experience the internment camp. I can only imagine the feelings they have are very real. It was interesting to see them come together despite their obvious differences. I think they came together because of their differences.
One thing I disliked about this book was that I didn’t feel too attached to either of the main characters. While their voices are strong and the emotion very real, I couldn’t quite buy into either of them.
Overall I recommend this to people looking for a change. I think this one is worth reading purely to learn more about the time period within America with a setting that isn’t explored often enough. This might not have worked too well for me, but it might for you!!
It’s Sunday again, and you know what that means — ARC review!! I am so grateful to all of the people who share ARCs with me and send them in for review. It’s one of my favorite parts of being a blogger and reader. You know what my most favorite part of this is though? Getting to meet other bloggers, readers, and writers. I have made so many amazing connections because of this wonderful community. One of the people I’ve met is Cori. She is one of my favorite people in the world. She creates such well-crafted stories that I get immersed every time. It’s thanks to her that I’m able to write this review for you today! This was given to me in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Now a Major Motion Picture
Author: Cori McCarthy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Expected release: April 3, 2018
My rating: 4/5 Goodreads stars
Fandom and first love collide for Iris on the film set for her grandmother’s famous high-fantasy triology—perfect for readers of Fangirl!
Unlike the rest of the world, Iris doesn’t care about the famous high-fantasy Elementia books written by M. E. Thorne. So it’s just a little annoying that M. E. Thorne is her grandmother—and that Iris has to deal with the trilogy’s crazy fans.
When Iris gets dropped in Ireland for the movie adaptation, she sees her opportunity: if she can shut down production, the Elementia craze won’t grow any bigger, and she can finally have a normal life. Not even the rascally-cute actor Eamon O’Brien can get in her way.
But the crew’s passion is contagious, and as Iris begins to find herself in the very world she has avoided her whole life, she realizes that this movie might just be amazing…
I packed this in my spring break bag and didn’t get to it until the last day. I knew it was something I *wanted* to get to so I’m glad I had it with me. This novel jumped in on the action right off the bat. We’re immersed in Iris’s world at the start of her trip to Ireland. I loved the whole scene at the airport! It’s something I would have done myself if I’m completely honest.
There were so many references in this book I felt out-nerded. It was awesome. I feel like if I had a background in the different fandoms, I would have enjoyed the book a little more, however this didn’t hinder my reading altogether. It was more like I was missing out on an inside joke that I had a vague idea of what it was. I got a lot of them because LOTR and a lot of fantasy is immersed in pop culture, so I could make my way through the references easily.
At times I wasn’t sure I liked Iris. Every time I feel this with a character I have to remind myself that they have to be flawed to a) grow and b) be truly human. Too often we expect characters to be perfect and without the flaws that we have, especially women. It’s something that I’m trying to counteract by remembering that people aren’t, in fact, model citizens. And that’s totally okay. Iris grew on me over the course of the entire book. She ends as such a different person, and I loved that. She has problems with self-confidence because she feels that she’s living in two shadows — her dad’s and her grandma’s. Going to Ireland helped Iris discover herself and who she wanted to be.
Iris’s passion for music and desire to work with it is something that a lot of people face. It’s hard to tell others that you want to do something without a direct profession to point to when the obvious ones (i.e. writer, musician) don’t make a lot of money. This is something that a lot of people ask themselves many times and I really like how this is handled in the book. There are so many different answers to one question that people overlook, and I think this is emphasized well.
This book made me want to go to Ireland so bad!! I’m hoping to study abroad there, and I fell in love with it more and more with every turn of the page. The descriptions of the locations were gorgeous and vivid; I could see them clearly. Ireland lent a beautiful atmosphere to the story as a whole.
Overall, I highly recommend this to people who are looking for a different fantasy to fall into. It’s lovely and gorgeous.
Hi guys! I’m here to wrap up the year with one last review. Be sure to check this one out right as the new year begins 🙂
Author: Sara Holland
Expected Release: January 2nd, 2018
My rating: 5/5 Goodreads stars
In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.
No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.
But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.
I finished this book last Wednesday, and OMG!!! I can’t get this story out of my head. I love it so much. I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL THE SECOND BOOK OMG SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ME DETAILS ABOUT IT I’M DYING OVER HERE!!!!!!!!!!!
Here are a few things I had to say on Goodreads in my initial review:
BUCKLE UP KIDS BECAUSE THIS IS GOING TO BE ONE HECK OF A YEAR! I absolutely loved this book; it was unputdownable. I can’t get over the lush world that Holland creates between these covers, and I am DYING to know what happens in book two already!! (Seriously, if you know anything pls send them to me!!!)
There are a lot of characters, but that doesn’t make it confusing. Jules was an awesome character. She was strong, confident, and strong willed sometimes to her disadvantage. However I don’t think this takes away from her, it just adds to it.
I can’t wait to see what becomes of Ina in the second book! We don’t see much development of her character, but toward the end of the book we get to understand more of who she is. I want to know more. I also want to know how Caro develops too. I like the way Holland left them at the end of the book, but I’m excited for the direction she may take them in.
Something that confused me a little bit was the whole concept of blood = time and how it worked within the world. I wasn’t sure how the whole system worked, but I feel that it worked itself out as the book went on. I wish there was a more articulate way to express my exact confusion, but this will have to do.
The fairy tale elements within the book worked well. I like the different fragments that were included and how Holland created it. This isn’t a huge part of the story, but it gives a lot of back story and is one of the key details.
Overall I highly recommend this one. This gave me a lot of Red Queen and Strange the Dreamer vibes so if any of those are what you’re into, you may like this one!