Source: Purchased

Jan 16

Review * This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston

Reviews 1 ★★★★★

Review * This Is Our Story by Ashley ElstonThis Is Our Story by Ashley Elston
Published by Disney Hyperion on November 15, 2016
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Add to: Goodreads
Five went in. Four came out.

No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the district attorney’s office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As investigates with Stone, the aging prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot, she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own.

What I Thought…

• I could not put down This Is Our Story. It had me from the get go and wouldn’t let go of it’s hold on me.

• I love the way the story was told. There were chapter’s from Kate’s POV and also interludes from the killer’s POV, only we don’t know who it is.

• Nothing is as it seems. There are five boys in the group, one of them is killed and the other four agree to this pact to “protect” themselves. It’s absolutely crazy, but I could totally see this being a real story.

• Kate was pretty awesome. I loved her job in the courthouse and that she was fiercer than I thought she would be.

• There were quite a few plots twists. Some I saw coming, some I didn’t. It was really hard to know what was true and what was a lie.

• Belle Terre is a small town and I loved the mix of small town politics combined with rich people politics. It added another delicious element to the story.

• I was pleasantly surprised that there was a little romance in Belle Terre. I picked up This Is Our Story because of how intriguing the mystery was, and given that half the characters are suspects to a murder I just assumed no romance.

• Kate’s BFF Reagan was the kind of best friend everyone should have in high school. She calls it like it is, but is also supportive.

Overall you should read This Is Our Story. Now. Seriously. The mystery has so many twists and turns – you won’t regret it.


Jan 11

Review * The Sun Is Also a Star

Reviews 2 ★★★★★

Review * The Sun Is Also a StarThe Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on November 1, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 348
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Add to: Goodreads
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

What I Thought…

• OMG! THIS BOOK! So many feels!

• I’m honestly not even sure where to begin. I feel like this book turned my brain into complete mush and I am having a hard time having coherent thoughts. There is just so much to talk about and it’s all amazing.

• Natasha and Daniel were amazing. Natasha is an illegal Jamaican immigrant and while Daniel was born in America, his parents were not. They were modeled after the author’s own relationship which is all kinds of awesome. I loved learning a little bits of information about the Jamaican and Korean cultures, and how they are the same/different here in America. Their families came here for different reasons in different manners and that really shaped the lives of their children.

• At first I wasn’t too sure about the style it was written in. Natasha and Daniel are the two main characters but throughout The Sun Is Also a Star there are other POV’s and little tidbits of information relevant to the story woven through the story. These parts really came to grow on me, especially the informational ones. We learn about the theory behind eyes, and how it came to be that African-American hair care stores tended to be owned by Koreans. It was all so fascinating!

• There is a lot of discussion in The Sun Is Also a Star over destiny/fate and science. I know that I fall somewhere in the middle of both and I loved that Natasha was full of the science of things and Daniel was full of “meant to be”. It was a good mix and I enjoyed how they shifted a little bit in how they feel about things.

• I think my favorite part of the story was how everything was woven in and you see how their chance meeting affected others lives and how those lives affected them. The intertwining was so smooth and really hits home how one small thing can make a difference in the life of someone else.

• Both Natasha and Daniel have someone in their family who is less than awesome. For me, Daniel’s brother was THE WORST. Ugh.

• I also liked how Yoon gave us a little snippet of the futures of not just Natasha and Daniel but also some of the other lives in the story. I really liked the ending, even though I wanted to punch a certain person in the face for his actions because things could have turned out differently, but then again, I think that ending would have been too cheesy for me and this one was better.

Overall if you haven’t read The Sun Is Also a Star yet run to the bookstore pick it up and read it now. It was AMAZING!


Jan 12

Review * Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger

Reviews 3 ★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher via Purchased in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review * Lying Out Loud by Kody KeplingerLying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger
Series: The Duff #2
Published by Scholastic Press on April 28, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 309
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: The Duff
Add to: Goodreads
Sonny Ardmore is an excellent liar. She lies about her dad being in prison. She lies about her mom kicking her out. And she lies about sneaking into her best friend's house every night because she has nowhere else to go.

Amy Rush might be the only person Sonny shares everything with - secrets, clothes, even a nemesis named Ryder Cross. Ryder's the new kid at Hamilton High and everything Sonny and Amy can't stand - a prep-school snob. But Ryder has a weakness: Amy. So when Ryder emails Amy asking her out, the friends see it as a prank opportunity not to be missed.

But without meaning to, Sonny ends up talking to Ryder all night online. And to her horror, she realizes that she might actually 'like' him. Only there's one small catch: he thinks he's been talking to Amy. So Sonny comes up with an elaborate scheme to help Ryder realize that she's the girl he's really wanted all along. Can Sonny lie her way to the truth, or will all her lies end up costing her both Ryder and Amy?

What I Thought…

Lying Out Loud is more about friendship than it is about romantic relationship and I loved that. Sonny and Amy are thick and thin BFF’s and there are some issues that pop up that they have to work through and I love that not only does Lying Out Loud showcase a strong friendship but it shows that sometimes you have to work through things to keep that friendship going, it’s not always easy.

The ending was so freaking good and perfect in the way that endings should be (not everything is tied up in a bow for the characters), but the rest of the book wasn’t as spectacular. It was still good, but not quite as good as The DUFF. Sonny was quite frustrating at times (girl just tell the truth, ok) and that made it hard to like her (and probably why I didn’t like this as much as The DUFF).

Overall if you enjoyed The DUFF I recommend you pick up Lying Out Loud.


Jul 16

Review * Alienated by Melissa Landers

Reviews 2 ★★

Review * Alienated by Melissa LandersAlienated by Melissa Landers
Series: Alienated #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on February 4th 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add to: Goodreads
Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them. Handpicked to host the first-ever L''eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she''ll have inside information about the mysterious L''eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara''s blog following is about to skyrocket. Still, Cara isn''t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L''eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn''t seem more alien. She''s certain about one thing though: no human boy is this good-looking. But when Cara''s classmates get swept up by anti-L''eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn''t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara''s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class. Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn''t just her only friend; she''s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

What I Thought…

• This was a case of Alienated wasn’t really for me. I don’t care much for aliens, but I read and liked Armentrouts Lux series so I though I would give his one a shot.

• Character wise Cara and Aelyx were fine. They weren’t the most memorable, but there was nothing wrong with them. I liked that Cara wanted to support the L’eihr’s being there, even when the majority of people rebelled against it, which of course involved her.

• I found myself having a hard time caring about the story and some of the wierd alien things pulled me out of the story, but that’s on me. I took a chance and it didn’t pay off for me, but I can understand why many or readers enjoyed alienated.

Overall Alienated was an ok read for me, but I would recommend it to anyone who loves science fiction and aliens.


Jul 14

Movie Review * Jurassic World

Movie Review 2 ★★★★★

Movie Review * Jurassic WorldJurassic World Series: Jurassic Park Movie #4
Published by Universal Pictures on June 12, 2015
Source: Purchased
A new theme park is built on the original site of Jurassic Park. Everything is going well until the park's newest attraction--a genetically modified giant stealth killing machine--escapes containment and goes on a killing spree.

What I Thought…

• Jurassic World was everything I wanted it to be. Thrilling dinosaurs. Velociraptors. T-Rex. Chris Pratt.

• Despite my excitement I was a little bit concerned about the genetically engineered dinosaur. It could have gone way wrong, but it didn’t. It was a genius idea that they didn’t let out of control.

• Chris Pratt as the velociraptor whisperer… OMG. Totally badass.

• Kids were cute, just as cute as the original kids in the first movie.

Overall I want everyone to see this movie. Seriously, go watch it.


Jun 18

Review * Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Review * Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarryNowhere But Here by Katie McGarry
Series: Thunder Road #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 26, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 496
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Walk the Edge
Add to: Goodreads
Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

What I Thought…

• I have been a Katie McGarry fan since I first picked up Pushing the Limits at BEA four years ago. I’ve loved all her books (some more than others) and was sad to see that the Pushing the Limits series might not be continuing, but excited that she was starting something new.

• I was a little leery when I found out it was about a motorcycle club, but since it’s Katie McGarry I kept an open mind and I’m so glad I did!

• I adored Oz. He was unapologetic and knew what he wanted and stood by his values. He has a strong sense of family, and is just a little bit messed up.

• It took me awhile to come around to Emily. She was very naive and had determined not to see the other side of things ever. Eventually she came around, but it was frustrating how she never felt that there was a second side to any story.

• Once she found out the secret though I came around to really liking her. With renewed determination she went to go take care of things. (Despite the fact that there were clues I was totally blindsided by both the small secret and bigger secret regarding Emily.)

• Things unraveled slowing in Nowhere But Here, which for the most part I liked, however I prefer my contemporaries to be 300-400 pages and this one is just shy of 500.

• McGarry allows you to see the Reign of Terror through both Emily and Oz’s eyes and I love that it put them in different light. The side that the public fears and the family that they truly are.

• More so than any of her other books the side characters in Nowhere But Here are so strong and I can’t wait to read more books in this series. There was so much tension between Chevy and Violet and I’m dying to know what happened between them. Razor and Brianne’s story is next though so I might have to wait for that one. (Or she might pull a Beth & Isaiah and not have them be together)

Overall I loved Nowhere But Here and if you loved McGarry’s Pushing the Limits series I strongly recommend this one!


Mar 16

Review * The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt

Reviews 0 ★★

Review * The Chapel Wars by Lindsey LeavittThe Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens on May 6, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add to: Goodreads
Sixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance?

And then there's Grandpa's letter. Not only is Holly running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money—fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family's mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and... Dax. No wait, not Dax.

Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there's a wedding chapel to save.

What I Thought…

• I wanted to like The Chapel Wars so much, but I was a bit disappointed.

• My favorite thing about The Chapel Wars was the relationship between Holly and Camille, her best friends girlfriend. Holly doesn’t have any female friends but as Holly’s life changes her and Camille strike up a friendship.

• I also liked that Holly was left in charge of her family’s Wedding Chapel after her grandpa passed away. This might be realistic in the real world (she’s still in high school after all) but it made the book unique and fun.

• Learning about the other side of Las Vegas was cool too. The non-touristy side of Las Vegas sounds awesome and if I ever go back I want to see that side.

• I did not care for Dax at all. He was just meh. I also didn’t like the insta-love between them.

• I also found The Chapel Wars to be a bit slow and boring at times, I just wanted to get on with the cute and fun stuff and there wasn’t as much of that as I was hoping.

Overall The Chapel Wars was a bit of a disappointment for me, but I still plan on reading Going Vintage when I can.


Feb 19

Review * All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Reviews 1 ★★★★

Review * All Fall Down by Ally CarterAll Fall Down by Ally Carter
Series: Embassy Row #1
Published by Orchard on January 20, 2015
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add to: Goodreads
Grace can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.

Now, at age sixteen, she's come back to stay - in order to solve the mystery of her mother's death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.

What I Thought…

• This was one of my most anticipated early 2015 releases. The whole concept sounded awesome and mysterious and something I would absolutely love. And for the most part I did. All Fall Down wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but it was intriguing and mysterious!

Read more »


Feb 02

Review * The Kiss of Deception

Reviews 2 ★★★

Review * The Kiss of DeceptionThe Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Published by Henry Holt on July 8, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 492
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Add to: Goodreads
A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

Read more »


Jan 30

Review * The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark

Reviews 0

Review * The Boy Next Door by Katie Van ArkThe Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark
Published by Swoon Reads on January 6, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add to: Goodreads
Maddy Spier has been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner she spends time in his arms every day. But she’s also seen his arms around other girls—lots of other girls.

Gabe can't imagine skating with anyone but Maddy, and together they have a real chance at winning some serious gold medals. So, he’s determined to keep thinking of her like a sister. After all, he’s never had a romantic relationship that lasted for more than two weeks.

But when their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy’s been hoping for or the big breakup that Gabe has always feared?

What I Thought…

• The Cutting Edge is one of my all time favorite movies. I love figure skating and romance so it sounds like the perfect win, unfortunately The Boy Next Door and I were not a perfect match.

• I really did love the figure skating aspect of The Boy Next Door.

• Maddy was alright except for the over the top swooning of Gabe, her skating partner. I didn’t understand her attraction to Gabe at all. He was a total jerk to pretty much everyone. I didn’t like him at all.

• I did not ship this romance. At all. The romance at the end was way too much, even for me. View Spoiler »

• The storyline with Maddy’s parents and what was happening with her dad was infinitely more interesting than the main storyline of the book. This is a problem.

Overall The Boy Next Door just wasn’t for me.