This Is Not The End by Chandler Baker

Disclaimer: I received this book from an auction (no I did not buy it as it is an arc. It was included with other items in the package). All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 5/5

 

Genre: YA Contemporary

 

Recommended Age: 16+ (death, sex, violence, disabilities, suicide, resurrection. Trigger warnings.)

 

Pages: 384

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: I wonder if for the rest of my life, I’ll be haunted by beautiful days.

On one cloudless, radiant summer afternoon, Lake Devereaux lost everything. The car crash claimed the lives of her best friend and boyfriend, the people who had become her family after her own fell apart. But she doesn’t have to lose them both.

The development of resurrection technology has changed the world. Under the new laws regulating the process, each person gets one resurrection to be used or forfeited on their eighteenth birthday. Mere weeks away from turning eighteen, Lake faces an impossible choice.

Envisioning life without one of the people she loves most is shattering enough, but Lake carries an additional burden: years ago, under family pressure, Lake secretly—and illegally—promised her resurrection to someone who isn’t even dead yet.

The search for answers about her future draws Lake more deeply into the secrets of her past until she begins to question everything about those closest to her. Betrayals and hurts both new and old threaten to eclipse the memories she once cherished.

Then Lake meets a boy unlike anyone she’s encountered before, who unflinchingly embraces the darkest parts of her life . . . and who believes that all resurrections are wrong.

Which path is the right one? And how can Lake start to heal when she can’t move on?

Okay why isn’t the resurrection of the dead played up more for this book?? At first glance it appears to be just a normal YA Contemporary book and then BAM resurrection pops up and you’re like “wahhh” and the author is like “yea!” lol. Anyways, I absolutely loved this book. It was sad and romantic, but not too cheesy or too gushy. There was teen angst but also grief and moral compass finding. There was sibling issues but at the core it was much deeper. This book was so amazing and so well thought out. The writing was superb, the character and plot development were on point. I feel that I know each character personally and I crave more from this story.

 

The only issue I have is with the choice that was made at the end. It left me wanting more and a little confused on how parents can just do that, but that’s spoilery and I’m not about that life.

 

Verdict: A beautiful tale that blows Me Before You out of the water!

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City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from OwlCrate and Scholastic from BookCon as part of an arc drop. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 5/5

 

Genre: MG/YA Fantasy

 

Recommended Age: 12+ (ghosts, death, scary moments, slight violence)

 

Pages: 272

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.

 

Another book that wowed me. I am a lover of ghosts and all things paranormal. And, don’t laugh at me, but I actually believe in ghosts. So this book was right up my alley in regards to that. But going into it I was worried that the book would be really dumbed down because this book appeals more to the middle grade genre, but I was mistaken. This book is phenomenal and probably ranks up there with This Savage Song for me. While the characters were younger than my normal reading characters, they had a maturity about them that made the book very enjoyable for me personally. The book was well thoughtout and researched. The book had a campfire feel to it but it wasn’t too scary for younger readers in my opinion. The characters were all very well developed for the genre and the plot and pacing were superb.

 

The only downside I had to this was that I felt the book ended too early. I really want to continue my adventures with Cassidy and Jacob and I hope that Schwab writes another book for this series.

 

Verdict: Basically, this is another Schwab book – fantastic and must-read material.

The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

Disclaimer: I received this book from KidLitExchange and Bloomsbury. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 3/5

 

Genre: YA Fantasy?

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (violence, assault, murder, cult like behavior, creepy kids, and confusion)

 

Pages: 432

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: Every Christmas, Wren is chased through the woods near her isolated village by her family’s enemies—the Judges—and there’s nothing that she can do to stop it. Once her people, the Augurs, controlled a powerful magic. But now that power lies with the Judges, who are set on destroying her kind for good.

In a desperate bid to save her family, Wren takes a dangerous undercover assignment—as an intern to an influential Judge named Cassa Harkness. Cassa has spent her life researching a transformative spell, which could bring the war between the factions to its absolute end. Caught in a web of deceit, Wren must decide whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal the Augurs’ fate.

 

Okay this book is strange and I’m not sure if it’s in a good way. For the sake of order I will say what I liked about it first. I liked that it’s strange and interesting. I feel this will be a big selling point of the book and that maybe there will be people who will understand this book and explain it to me.

 

However, I really didn’t like this book. Nothing was explained until about halfway through the book and even then not all of my questions were answered. The world building was nonexistent and I’m not even sure if this book is a fantasy, a contemporary, a dystopian, high fantasy, etc. The book tended to repeat itself… A LOT. The book was just confusing and frustrating to me. The characters weren’t developed at all and when I got to the end I still struggled to remember who was who. And the book was weirdly paced. While I felt that the book happened pretty fast, the book was also really slow?? I’m so confused by the book and I’m confused on how to even talk about it.

 

Verdict: If you’ve read this book please explain it to me!

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Nyan

Disclaimer: I received this book at Bookcon from the publishing company because I got lucky! Thanks! All opinions are my own!

 

Rating: 5/5

 

Genre: YA Fantasy

 

Recommended Age: 17+ (rape, torture, lgbt+, political intrigue)

 

Pages: 336

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.

But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.

 

Oh wow. Those were the words I was thinking immediately after finishing this book. It blew me away with how amazing and awesome it was! The character development was amazing, the plot was so well developed and easy to follow along with, and the pacing was on point. The writing was also fantastic and the book was just A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! I think this is one of my favorites of 2018 and I’m super stoked for when the book finally releases!

 

The only issue I had is that I felt that the some of the time shifts were a little awkward, but I was also on very little sleep when I read this book so it was probably me being weird.

 

Verdict: Amazing, fantastic, unique, and definitely should be on your TBR this October!

Love and Other Carnivorous Plants by Florence Gonsalves

Disclaimer: I received this book through KidLitExchange and Little, Brown Books! Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 3/5

 

Genre: YA Contemporary

 

Recommended Age: 16+ (sex, lgbt+, eating disorders, fixation, self-destructive tendencies. Please be aware there are some possible triggers for those who have eating disorders).

 

Pages: 352

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: Freshman year at Harvard was the most anticlimactic year of Danny’s life. She’s failing pre-med and drifting apart from her best friend. One by one, Danny is losing all the underpinnings of her identity. When she finds herself attracted to an older, edgy girl who she met in rehab for an eating disorder, she finally feels like she might be finding a new sense of self. But when tragedy strikes, her self-destructive tendencies come back to haunt her as she struggles to discover who that self really is.

 

I have to say that this book, while sad and destructive, is so beautiful at the same time. The book revolves around a girl who’s fighting an eating disorder on top of all these other stresses in life. And when she meets someone she cares for? She has a whole new set of issues to conquer. The book did marvelous in pacing and the book’s writing was also well done. I personally liked the sarcastic humor in the main character.

 

However, I feel like we were missing the story. The main character really proved herself to be an unreliable narrator and it felt like she was cherry picking what she would tell us. It doesn’t feel like a complete story to me and that’s just weird in a book.

 

Verdict: Beautiful, but not quite whole. Is this a larger meaning about life in general?

Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

Disclaimer: I bought this book on my own. Yay me! No disclaimer needed =).

Rating: 3.5/5

Genre: YA Fantasy

Recommended Age: 15+ (violence, disease, concentration like conditions, overthrowing the kingdom)

Pages: 390

Author Website

Amazon Link

Synopsis: A healer who cannot be healed . . .

When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she fully succumbs. Now she’s destined to live her last days in isolation, cut off from her people and unable to practice her art—until a threat to her village creates a need that only she can fill.

A soldier shattered by war . . .

Broken by torture at the hands of the Amparan Empire, Dineas thirsts for revenge against his captors. Now escaped and reunited with his tribe, he’ll do anything to free them from Amparan rule—even if it means undertaking a plan that risks not only his life but his very self.

Thrust together on a high-stakes mission to spy on the capital, the two couldn’t be more different: Zivah, deeply committed to her vow of healing, and Dineas, yearning for vengeance. But as they grow closer, they must find common ground to protect those they love. And amidst the constant fear of discovery, the two grapple with a mutual attraction that could break both of their carefully guarded hearts.

This smart, sweeping fantasy with a political edge and a slow-burning romance will capture fans of The Lumatere Chronicles and An Ember in the Ashes.

I love books with new concepts and this one was definitely one of those. Not a lot of books take place from the perspective of a doctor, but this one did and it was fabulous! I loved Zivah and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. The book was very good at character development and plot development. The plot was always intriguing and the writing was really good. You can tell the author is very intelligent and that she knows how the brain works.

However, I do feel that the book had some pacing issues and it failed to hold my interest as it kept repeating itself in my opinion. The book also had a problem with time. It moved inconsistently and sometimes scenes would take place over a matter of weeks or they would take place over a matter of hours.

Verdict: Overall, the book is really good, but it just failed to catch my attention.

Seer by Ashley Maker

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author and my friend Mary Ellen. Thanks! All opinions are my own!

 

Rating: 3.5/5

 

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance/Dystopian/Science-Fiction

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (romance scenes and violence)

 

Pages: 344

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: When Clare Palmer accepts a scholarship to attend Evergreen, she thinks she’s escaping her insane, estranged father, while also getting the chance to go to the school her late mother graduated from. Instead, she finds herself trapped in a scientifically-enhanced, combat-obsessed society called the Corasha who view her as a dangerous outsider.

Clare views herself as an outsider, too. Unwilling to accept the outrageous claims of those around her, she’s ready to get out of Evergreen at the first opportunity, until unwanted and unstable visible abilities begin to surface, confirming she’s a Seer, a biological anomaly that’s both prized and guarded by the Corasha. The only person who knows about her phasing is Kade, the attractive yet infuriating mentor she’s now indebted to, but trusting him comes with a price her heart might not be willing to pay.

Surrounded by dangerous secrets and hidden agendas, Clare must figure out who she can trust—and fast, because there’s a war coming, and the last thing she wants is to become a weapon in the wrong hands.

 

Oh wow! I don’t think I’ve read a paranormal romance in quite a long time (and I’m not sure if this qualifies as a paranormal romance or if it’s more scifi-y but I’m gonna go with it)… probably since Twilight? Anyways, I went into this kinda blind and I felt for my first trip back into the genre I thought it was really well done. I’m really into conspiracy theories and plots within plots so this one definitely grabbed my attention. I also really enjoyed the world building aspect and the character development.

 

 

However, I did feel that the book had uneven pacing. It was fast in some parts and then tremendously slow in others. The main character was a tad annoying for me and she really didn’t seem to want to figure out what was happening on her own. While this book was very entertaining for me generally, I felt that Clare’s personality really put me off this novel.

 

Verdict: Unique and amazing story within a story that deserves to be read.

Tiny Infinities by J.H. Diehl

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book through KidLitExchange. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 4/5

 

Genre: MG Contemporary

 

Recommended Age: 14+ (divorce, grief, drugs, drug usage, abuse, mental illness, and slight obscure mentions of sex)

 

Pages: 352

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: When Alice’s dad moves out, leaving her with her troubled mother, she does the only thing that feels right: she retreats to her family’s old Renaissance tent in the backyard, determined to live there until her dad comes home. In an attempt to keep at least one part of her summer from changing, Alice focuses on her quest to swim freestyle fast enough to get on her swim team’s record board. But summers contain multitudes, and soon Alice meets an odd new friend, Harriet, whose obsession with the school’s science fair is equal only to her conviction that Alice’s best stroke is backstroke, not freestyle. Most unexpected of all is an unusual babysitting charge, Piper, who is mute—until Alice hears her speak. A funny and honest middle-grade novel, this sharply observed depiction of family, friendship, and Alice’s determination to prove herself—as a babysitter, as a friend, as a daughter, as a person—rings loud and true.

 

This is another book that will probably be one of my favorites of 2018, but it’s for a different reason. It’s a cute middle grade contemporary that talks about divorce and could be a huge help for kids in a similar situation. It’s funny, it’s charming, the characters are well developed, and the book is very well structured and developed.

 

However, I feel like there’s more to the story than what the young readers read. From my grown-up perspective it felt like there was a whole hidden world going on that the book hints about. The book deals with a lot of issues throughout the book but never resolves them in the end. I don’t normally do this, but because of my concern about the book and about younger readers reading the book I will talk about spoilers:

 

SPOILERS FROM HERE DOWN

 

The mother has an obvious dependence on her medication and it hints at it being oxy, which a lot of people get dependent on. The mother seems to exaggerate her injuries so she can continue using the medication. The mother leaves the child entirely on her own and stops caring for the house in general. The neighbor man is a very loud and boisterous character and while the young girl’s selective mutism isn’t ever fully explained the father seems to be the cause of it. Whenever he yells or lashes out at the family they seem to cower. In a couple of points during the book when the neighbor man has had a particularly volatile episode the family members aren’t seen in the book for a scene or two. The neighbor man makes a comment about one such disappearance as the wife and the children left without the neighbor man to her family in North Carolina. The oldest child of the neighbor man openly talks about an obscure mention to him being the product of a one night stand between his parents. The father of the main character seems to be the most competent adult, but he fails to intervene to help the main character. In my opinion if this was a real story CPS should have been called a long time ago on the family and it concerns me that at the end of the book the neighbor man apologized once but still had an eerie vibe to him, the mother was still dependent on drugs, and the family was fractured and left to deal with a dependent mother while the father lives elsewhere. Sure, he says he will come everyday to mow and make the children’s lunches, but he’s left three of his kids with an addict who has shown herself to be incapable of caring for her own children. This book really concerns me and really intrigues me and I’m not sure if this is a healthy book for a child to read or if it’s so obscure in these issues that it’s okay.

 

Verdict: I have feelings about this book.

July 2018 TBR!

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Hey guys! Just popping in here real quick to share with you my TBR for this month:

 

The monthlong books I’ll be slowly chipping away at are:

 

The Bone Season (for #countdowntopriory)

Threatening Souls (for #halflostbutterflyreadalong)

LikeL1k3 (for #literaryllamabookclub)

Children of Blood and Bone (for #tonightshowsummerreads)

 

The books I’ll be reading for my readathon (July 7-8) are:

 

City of Ghosts

This Is Not The End

Girls of Paper and Fire

Rosemarked

Furyborn

 

The e-books I’m reading this month are:

 

Seer by Ashley Maker

 

The hard-copy review books I’m reading are:

 

Red Agenda by Cameron Poe

The War Outside by Monica Hesse

Darkwater Secrets by Robin Caroll

The Einstein Code by J.D. Welch

 

The KidLitExchange books I’m currently reading are:

 

Tiny Infinities

The Wren Hunt

Love and Carnivorous Plants

 

And a book I’m reading for fun is:

 

The Librarian of Auschwitz

 

Does that sound like a lot to you? Because I’m internally freaking out! I think I’ll make it but it’s always so scary at the beginning of each month. Hopefully I’ll make it though.

We Own The Sky by Sara Crawford

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 4/5

 

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (some sexual references)

 

Pages: 510

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: 16-year-old musician, Sylvia Baker, has always been different. She’s the only one who can see the “flickering people.” When she sees a gorgeous flickering man named Vincent, she learns that they are Muses.

With his help, she finds herself creating exquisite songs that she loves almost as much as songs by her favorite bands–Radiohead, M83, and The Black Keys–and she is falling in love in a way she never knew was possible. While trying to maintain her newfound friendships and her band, she falls deeper into the world of the Muses.

When the original Greek Muses wake to find a world in which the internet has given everyone the tools to be an artist, a battle between traditional and new methods of creation ensues. As Sylvia discovers how she is connected to the world of the Muses, she learns that this war may put her music, her love, her very life at stake.

 

Let’s start this off by saying this was a beautifully unique and moving book. I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved by a book that revolved around music except for Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. I thought it was well written and amazing. The characters were amazingly well constructed and complex. I loved the plot, I thought it was creative and well developed, and overall I felt that the book was one amazing song in itself.

 

The only tiny issues I had with the book are that Vincent gave me creeper vibes and I just couldn’t shake them. And the pacing was a bit sporadic at times. There were also some jumps in the scenes that didn’t make sense, but I don’t think they mattered overall for the book.

 

Verdict: If you’re looking for the perfect song, read this book.