Review: Freeks

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Freeks by: Amanda Hocking

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…

Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.

When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.

But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodes are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.

Bestselling author Amanda Hocking draws readers inside the dark and mysterious world of Freeks.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via St. Martin’s Griffin and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I am also participating in the blog tour. I had heard about this book through Netgalley. I was scrolling one day and came across this book. It sounded good and some of my friends were reading it. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this book!

The book is written in first person all in Mara’s point of view. Before every chapter there is a picture of a tarot card with the date and the year. This book does take place in the eighties.

The book begins with Mara and the circus traveling to their newest location. Mara’s mother and her boyfriend Gideon have a bad feeling about this location but they need the money. One of their former members lives in said town and promised them a good deal.

Mara would love the idea of living a normal life. While she likes her family on the circus, she would like to stay in one place and maybe start a family of her own. Whenever Mara reaches a new town she explores it the night before any of their performances.

While exploring the town and taking in all the houses Mara runs into this girl dragging her drunk boyfriend. Mara offers to help said girl. Later the girl invites Mara into the party where Mara meets the girl’s brother Gabe. She is instantly attracted to Gabe and spends the night with him.

The next day Mara’s mother is asking her whether she has seen one of their members and her roommate Blossom (I think that’s her name). Mara has not. This is actually quiet normal for Blossom to disappear and come back again. Which is why Mara doesn’t worry about her. On the other hand Mara’s mother has weird vibes about the town and sends Mara and Gideon to inform the police. Informing the police doesn’t really go anywhere but at least Mara’s mother is appeased.

As the book continues weird things start to happen to the circus crew. A majority of their powers aren’t working properly. More people have gone missing. Something seems to be only targeting and killing the circus crew, specifically those who are the most powerful. Mara actually starts having these nightmares about a woman screaming something at her in another language. And the town is just giving off weird vibes. The town thus far has do nothing to help. It’s up to Mara, the circus crew, and Gabe to figure out what’s going on.

To be honest I wasn’t sure what to except about this book. I had heard about Amanda Hocking before but have never actually read any of her other books. I was kind of surprised that I enjoyed this!

I really liked basically all of the characters! Mara’s voice felt real to me and I understood her longing to live a normal life. I have actually forgotten all but three characters names, so I don’t remember Mara’s friend’s names. Which sucks but is also not surprising seeing as I read this back in October 2016 and didn’t take any notes. I apologize in advance for any confusions.

I liked the relationship Mara had with her mother. It wasn’t complicated but instead the pair were quiet close. Mara and Gideon had a good relationship as well. Now you would think that they’d have an awkward relationship seeing as he is dating her mom, but surprisingly they were close as well. Gideon genuinely cared for Mara and all of the other performers.

The powers were really cool to read about! I actually didn’t hear about some of the powers so that was nice. Mara’s mother could predict the future using tarot cards and allowing the spirits to speak to her. This did have a negative affect on her physically and mentally. This was the same with all of their powers. I found this to be very original as I have never read about paranormal powers having negative effects on the people themselves.

Mara’s friends were nice and they all had a good relationship with one-another. Mara also becomes friends with Gabe’s sister whom I loved. As for Mara and Gabe’s romance it was very quick. It wasn’t insta-love so much as insta-attraction. Normally I don’t like reading about rushed romances, but I didn’t mind it in this book. I really liked Gabe so maybe that’s why I let it slide. There is an LGBTQIA romance as well. Both the characters are already dating before the book takes place so you didn’t get to see their romance develop.

The setting was fantastic! This was my first eighties book and it certainly won’t be my last. I also felt I was walking right next to Mara as she took in the town and described the circus and some of the places she went to.

I did not see any of the plot points coming! I found it very original and entertaining to read about. Note this book is more focused on the characters and the setting. It’s a decent pace but not a whole lot happens right away.

I only had one problem with this. In the beginning I found that not much happened in the book (which I mentioned above). It took awhile for some of the characters to go missing and for the circus to realize that there was something up with the town. After some time I got used to it. I started to get sucked in because I really enjoyed reading about the characters.

Overall this was a good standalone! I recommend this to anyone looking for a character driven standalone. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for this author.  

Review: All the Feels

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All the Feels by: Danika Stone

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life…and her last tangible connection to her deceased father. Thus, when her favorite character, Captain Matt Spartan, is killed off at the end of the last movie, Liv Just. Can’t. Deal.

Tired of sitting in her room sobbing, Liv decides to launch an online campaign to bring her beloved hero back to life. With the help of her best friend, Xander, actor and steampunk cosplayer extraordinare, she creates #SpartanSurvived, a call that ignites the fandom. But as her online life succeeds beyond her wildest dreams, Liv is forced to balance that with the pressures of school, her (mostly nonexistent and entirely traumatic) romantic life, and her disapproving mother’s new boyfriend. A trip to DragonCon with Xander might be exactly what she needs to get away from it all… and figure out what (and who!) she really wants.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I am also participating in the Sunday Street Team for this book. 

I had heard about this book through GR. At the time I didn’t really pay attention to it. Then when I joined the Sunday Street Team for the author’s other book Edge of Wild I noticed that the author was having another book coming out this year. Honestly the first time I read the synopsis I thought I would hate this book because at the time it sounded really dumb. But I decided to give it a shot. There are a lot of books that I now love and at one point I thought I would hate. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this book!

The book begins with explaining us a movie. The only thing you know is that it’s an alien movie. The main character whose name is Spartan is trying to kill the aliens. With him is a little girl who is attempting to help him. When the two reach an escape pod Spartan tells the girl to run while the countdown is going off. The girl is able to reach the pod and escape. Meanwhile Spartan dies in the explosion.

We are then taken to Liv and Xander. The two are both in shock. Although Liv is in much worse shape. Xander gently tells her that they need to leave the theater and guides her out. He goes to get the car meanwhile Liv waits inside. She has an emotional outburst and takes it out on the workers. Eventually she leaves still very upset. The minute she reaches her house she goes to Twitter and tells some of her friends that Spartan died. Spartan could have made it out  as there was one more pod left.

The following week Liv remains depressed. Xander has tried his utmost to help her and get her out of the house. Her mother has tried to same although she doesn’t do it very nicely. Then one day when her mother’s boyfriend comes over and Liv’s mother wakes her up. Liv changes and goes downstairs to find her mother and her boyfriend going out somewhere. Liv’s mom asks her to tag along but Liv declines noticing that Gary (the boyfriend) doesn’t want her to come. They leave and she opens the fortune cookie’s they left her. Taking the fortune as a sign Liv comes up with #SpartanSurvived and enlists Xanders help.

Wow I seriously did not expect to enjoy it that much! The book is written in third person which I found surprising considering it’s a contemporary book. But luckily I liked the writing style! I found that it suited the story. It is divided into two parts. Before Dragon Con and during Dragon Con. There are text messages, twitter conversations, and some fanmade pictures! This was really cool! I’ve never read a book that’s formatted this way. The chapter titles are quotes from things like Harry Potter and Doctor Who. I think that added a nice touch the to overall story.

I completely understood where Liv was coming from! While I haven’t been an active member in fandoms I have loved so many tv shows and books, and mourned the characters that died. While I never let it take over my life I can see why some people would.

Liv’s only connection to her father was through the Starveil films and when Spartan died her whole world feel apart. It wasn’t much help from her mother who viewed fandoms to be dumb and also internet friends. She isn’t close to her mother because of this. Xander and his girlfriend Arden helped whenever they could. 

Xander and Liv’s friendship was adorable! He was so sweet to her and understanding. He agrees to help her with #SpartanSurvived and eventually gets sucked into the fandom. This in particular was amusing to read about. I was really glad that for a majority of the book they remained friends. The romance was really slow burn but I liked it.

I thought it was brilliant when Liv came up with #SpartanSurvived and it was awesome watching it grow and become such a big deal to the fans that Liv talked to! I would never have come up something like that. And I absolutely loved reading about Dragon Con! It was amazing and I so need to go there one day!

The author did an excellent job writing about being in a fandom! It was so much fun reading and it reminded me about how I converse with my friends on GR! While Liv loved Starveil Xander loved steampunk and cosplays. The author did a good job fleshing out the two different fandoms.

The characters in this book was realistic! Liv eventually finds the confidence to get out there and explore the real world and try to make friends with people in her classes. Xander was her support system as was the other fans of Starveil. She grew into a strong and likable character! Xander was a doll! I loved how he said things like ‘dearest’. He’s so different than the other male love interests. It was refreshing reading about him.

I only had three problems with this book. I would have liked to see her of Liv and her mothers relationship. When she goes to Dragon Con you’re not shown her mothers reaction and I really wanted to read about that. And when she reached Dragon Con Liv only called her mother once. I’m surprised that her mother never called her. And like most contemporaries Xander and Liv get into a bit of a fight which I didn’t understand. Thankfully it was resolved quickly. While the epilogue was sweet I felt that it was rushed and somewhat unnecessary. Nonetheless I still liked this book!

Overall I enjoyed this book! I recommend it to all fangirls and fanboys. And anyone trying to understand fandoms.   

Review: The Lies About Truth

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The Lies About Truth by: Courtney C. Stevens

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.

As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she’s unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she’ll always be trapped in the past.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I had heard about this book through Twitter. There was a giveaway going on and I entered. Now I didn’t win the giveaway but this book was always in the back of my mind. After reading several reviews I decided to buy it. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

The book begins with Sadie walking to the beach. Going to the beach in shorts is apart of Sadie’s list of goals that she made with her therapist Fletcher. So far she’s managed to do it until she sees whose on the beach. Gina who is her former best friend calls her over. Seeing no other choice Sadie follows suite and the two talk. Their conversation goes as it normally does. Gina tries to get Sadie to keep in touch, she apologizes profusely, and assures her that Gray (Sadie’s ex boyfriend) and her aren’t dating.

Gray joins the conversation and it just goes south from there. He can’t look Sadie in the eye. She has a few scars from the accident and he simply cannot bear to look at her because it reminds him of their best friend dying. Sadie takes that as her cue to leave. Once her old friends are out of sight she writes in the sand her goal list. Then she jogs back home.

At home her mother gives her a letter that came for her in the mail. Noticing Sadie’s expression she asks what happened. Sadie tells her that she ran into Gray and Gina and that it didn’t really go well. Her mother then mentions that she was talking with Sadie’s dad and they have decided to put Sadie back in school in the fall. She further explains that they found homeschooling necessary because of the therapy sessions and surgery. But now Sadie is better and should go back to school. Sadie argues but her mother points out that Sadie isn’t happy at home and that she can’t spend the rest of her life avoiding people.

Sadie says that she’ll think about it and her mother leaves. She decides to open the letter. It has no return address just her name typed up. Once she has it open she is shocked at what she reads. It was something she wrote years ago. Sadie has this blue ostrich toy. Trent had won it for her and they named it Big. Her mother then pointed out to her that there was a hole in the bottom of the toy. Trent then suggested that Sadie put papers in Big. Much to Sadie’s surprise the words on the letter are one of the papers she put in Big years ago.

Sadie thinks that her parents are behind this and confronts them. It becomes obvious that her parents aren’t behind it. Her father brings up going to school again and Sadie storms off to her bedroom. She immediately checks Big for the paper and finds it. Sadie doesn’t have any idea who is doing this and how the person even got the paper, but she intends to find out.

I honestly did not expect to enjoy this book! When I started reading it I thought that I rate it 3 stars. But as I continued to read on I found myself enjoying it immensely! The book is written in first person all in Sadie’s point of view. There are letters, emails and flashbacks that come in this book.

A year prior to The Lies About Truth Sadie, Max, Gina, Trent, and Gray were in a car crash. Trent was killed. Sadie who had forgotten to put her seat belt on went flying out of the window. Sadie has some scars on her and she went through several surgeries to look somewhat the same. Max’s vocal chords are not what they used to be. He has a hard time speaking and it usually comes out as horse. While Gina and Gray didn’t have physical injuries they were scarred as well.

Max’s family moved to El Salvador for a year (his family comes back in the beginning of the book). Sadie stopped keeping with Gina and Gray. After she saw Gray (her boyfriend at the time) kiss Gina. Sadie kept up with Max through emails. Sadie pretty much stopped getting out of her house. She’s very conscious about her scars and she now has social anxiety. So she can’t be in a crowd. Sadie’s parent decide to put Sadie through a Social Experiment. To get her ready for school. At first Sadie does not want to participate but it becomes very obvious that she has no choice and decides to go along with it.

I liked how the author showed the readers the aftermath of the car crash. It’s true that there isn’t only injuries especially if you lose a loved one. The grief was messy and dealt with very well. I understood Sadie’s need to forgive Gina and Gray but at the same time she couldn’t bring herself to do it. It was realistic. The relationship between all four of them was also dealt with well. There were a lot of Before and After’s which was to be expected.

I liked reading about Max and Sadie. They had a nice relationship and it was sweet to see it unfold with the emails. I also liked reading about Sadie and her parents. They were an amazing support system! I also liked reading about her therapist Fletcher and the goals she set for herself. A lot of the people Sadie met were nice and supportive. This is probably one of the most realistic contemporaries I have ever read.

I liked how there was a strong focus on forgiveness and finding the strength to move on. The flashbacks were also sweet. You saw what all the characters were like before the accident including Trent. The mystery aspect wasn’t that great. But it didn’t bother me and I understood why the person did not. What is nice about this book is that I got to relax and turn off my brain and just enjoyed the ride. I also liked how everything came to a full circle at the end. 

I did have one problem with The Lies About Truth. I couldn’t relate to the characters. I felt that they were defined by their lies, regrets, and mistakes. Sadie was defined by the relationships she had with the people around her. I didn’t know any one of the characters. I honestly thought that because of this I wouldn’t rate it higher than 3 stars. But much to my surprise the plot sneaked up on me. I’m not sure when this happened but it did.

Note this is a really slow contemporary. This didn’t bother me but it might bother some readers. It takes a very long time for anything to really happen. Including the mystery with the letters. It also deals with a lot of grief so if you don’t like that I would skip this book.

Overall this was a fun ride. I recommend it to fans of contemporary and people who like reading books dealing with grief.  

Review: No Love Allowed

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No Love Allowed by: Kate Evangelista

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

It’s all fun and parties until someone falls in love in this modern fairy tale from author Kate Evangelista.

Caleb desperately needs a fake girlfriend. Either he attends a series of parties for his father’s law firm with a pretty girl on his arm, or he gets shipped off to Yale to start a future he’s not ready for and isn’t sure he wants. And sadly, the last unattached girl in his social circle has just made the grievous mistake of falling in love with him. Fortunately, Didi, recently fired waitress and aspiring painter, is open to new experiences. As the summer ticks by in a whirl of lavish parties, there’s only one rule: They must not fall in love!

Beware spoilers ahead!

This book was recommended to me by Irena! Click on her name to read her review. 

I had heard about this book through Netgalley. I tried requesting it but got denied. Back in 2015 I went on the Swoon Reads website and read the sample. It was around 48 pages long. At the time I found that I didn’t really like it. While it was engaging and I liked the characters I didn’t like the writing style. I saw Irena’s review and decided to give it another go. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

The book begins with Caleb dumping his girlfriend Amber. When they started dating he made it very clear to her that he wanted a no strings attached relationship. At the time Amber agreed and they begun dating. Then at a party Amber tells Caleb that she loves him. Caleb realizes that he needs to act fast. So he told her to meet him at a restaurant. The break up isn’t really going well. Amber has burst into tears  And now everyone is looking at him. To calm things down Caleb asks for water.

Diana ‘Didi’ is not having a good day. Her mother forgot to pay the electricity and her alarm clock didn’t go off. Waking up late she couldn’t find her lucky boots and took some clothes that looked relatively clean. And the bad day seems to continue. That rich brat has successfully caused that girl to cry.

While Didi is giving them their water she hears her name being called. She turns around and trips on her untied shoe laces sending the water tumbling down on the girls head. The girl makes a big show of calling Didi names and shrieking. Blissfully she leaves. This leaves Caleb and Didi together to clean up the mess. Didi’s worsens and she angrily quits.   

Caleb decides to take a smoke break. He runs into Didi and she takes a drag. Then all of a sudden Didi jumps into the water. Terrified Caleb jumps after her and the two talk. After a very personal conversation the two go their separate ways.

When Caleb arrives home his father surprises him. Now of course his father is usually very angry so that’s not out of the ordinary. It’s what his father says that surprises him. Apparently after the break up Amber ran straight to her father. Who then called Caleb’s father. Caleb’s father tells him that this is the last straw and that he won’t allow Caleb to take his gap year across Europe.

Caleb has been looking forward to taking his gap year because he can take a break from responsibility and going to law school. Caleb then negotiates with his father. He explains that he can’t change what happened with Amber but he can do whatever his father asks to make it up to him. Caleb’s father then says that he wants to have Caleb intern at his firm. And on top of that Caleb will have to attend all the functions.

Caleb calls an emergency meeting with his cousin Nathan and their friend Preston. As the three of them talk, Preston points out that the only reason Caleb’s father is only caring about Caleb’s date record because Amber’s father is one of his clients. He’s afraid of losing an important client. Caleb realizes that because he is single all the women will try to set him up with their female relatives. Nathan offhandedly mentions that Caleb needs to find a fake girlfriend. Caleb decides to ask Didi. 

I honestly did not expect to like it this much! When I read the beginning for the second time I thought that I would rate this three stars. The book is written in third person, switching between Didi and Caleb’s point of view. It’s written in third person for the sake of being vague. Specifically with Didi’s character. The second time around I actually liked the writing style. 

The only reason Didi agrees to be a fake girlfriend is because she was bored and wanted to get a glimpse of Caleb’s world. Didi isn’t exactly poor but her family aren’t rich either. Her father left her and her mother when she was eight years old. Her mother juggles many jobs to pay for Didi’s medicines. Didi works as well but for the duration of the book she doesn’t have a job. It is implied for a majority of the book that Didi has a mental illness. But it isn’t until the end where it’s revealed what her mental illness is. Didi has an excellent relationship with her mother; they’re close. 

Caleb is rich. He’s got life pretty easy. When he was 12 years old his mother committed suicide. He doesn’t know what happened his father refuses to talk about it. Since then his father has buried himself in his work. He became cold and ignored Caleb. Caleb has vowed to never fall in love least he turns out like his dad. While Caleb isn’t close with his father he is close with his cousins Nathan and Natasha. And their mutual friend Preston.

I really loved how No Love Allowed focused on family relationships! I loved Natasha and Nathan! Whenever they came in I started laughing. I liked Preston even if he was very quite. And Didi’s mom was sweet.

I enjoyed reading about Didi and Caleb’s relationship and their characters! I liked how honest and loyal Caleb was. And I liked how Didi wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and let her emotions show. Even if she was surrounded by the very rich fake crowd. Their friendship was sweet and I liked seeing them becoming something more.

I only had two problems with No Love Allowed. I wish that Didi’s mental illness was revealed earlier so that I could learn about it and see more of Didi’s growth. And I didn’t like how things ended with Caleb and his father. They got into an argument but Caleb’s father actually started being nice to him and you never see where that goes.

Overall this was a really fun book! I recommend it to contemporary fans.  

Review: The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions)

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The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions) by: Amy Spalding

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

A ridiculously cute, formerly famous, new guy dropping into your life? It’s practically every girl’s dream.

But not Jules McCallister-Morgan’s.

I realize that on paper I look like your standard type-A, neurotic, overachiever. And maybe I am. But I didn’t get to be the editor of my school’s long-revered newspaper by just showing up*. I have one main goal for my senior year — early acceptance into my first choice Ivy League college — and I will not be deterred by best friends, moms who think I could stand to “live a little,” or boys.

At least, that was the plan before I knew about Alex Powell**.

And before Alex Powell betrayed me***.

I know what you’re thinking: Calm down, Jules. But you don’t understand. This stuff matters. This is my life. And I’m not going down without a fight.

* Okay, I sort of did. But it’s a sore subject.

** I mean, I guess everyone knows about Alex Powell? Two years ago, you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about viral video boy band sensation Chaos 4 All. Two years ago, Alex Powell was famous.

*** Some people think I’m overreacting. But this. Means. War.

Filled with tons of romance, rivalry, and passive-aggressive dog walking, Amy Spalding delivers a hilariously relatable high school story that’s sure to have you falling for The New Guy.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I had heard about this book through Netgalley. It sounded interesting and I requested it. After some time had passed I completely forgot that I requested it. When I went into my Netgalley account I saw that I was denied for this book. That’s when I remembered this book even existed. I decided to give it a go because I liked Jules. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

The book begins with Jules as she is given information on the new student. Must to her shock and surprise the new student is famous pop star Alex Powell. Jules assumes she’s imagining things until she shows the picture to her best friend Sadie. Sadie is just as surprised as Jules. After having a brief conversation with Sadie, Jules goes to meet Alex and give him a tour.

When Jules meets the student she realizes that it really is Alex Powell. Deciding to pretend not to know about his former music career, she introduces herself and begins the tour. While giving Alex a tour Jules finds out that Alex is quite nice. He didn’t make fun of her when her skirt got caught in the door. In fact he seems to like her. Jules manages to get through the tour without too many hitches and the two of them go their separate ways.

By the time lunch arrives everyone’s heard about Alex. Much to Jules surprise and her friends Alex ends up sitting with them at lunch. Sadie and Em (Jules friend’s) are convinced that Alex likes Jules. Over the course of a few weeks Alex and Jules become close and Jules starts developing feelings towards Alex.

Of course this completely goes against all of Jules plans. She wanted to start dating boys when she was in college not in her senior year. Luckily some of her goals are achieved. Mr. Wheeler chooses her to be editor of the school newspaper. Something that Jules has always wanted. And while Alex wasn’t apart of the plan she doesn’t mind.

For weeks now there’s been a flyer in all of the students lockers talking about TALON. Jules assumes that it must be a club but is still surprised that she hasn’t heard about it. Then on a faithful Friday TALON is revealed. It’s a news channel for the school. And the one who founded TALON is none other than Natalie, who Jules was competing for the editor of the newspaper. Much to Jules shock TALON is reporting what the newspaper team is supposed to put on the newspaper. And on top of that Alex has joined. Jules cuts off all ties with Alex and vows to restore the newspaper to it’s former glory.

I was actually surprised that I liked The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions)! When I read the synopsis on Netgalley I thought it sounded odd. The synopsis didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t get why Jules disliked Alex and whatnot. Of course all that came together once I started reading. The book is written in first person in Jules point of view. The chapters are very short so it’s pretty easy to fly through this book. I liked the writing style! It had the right about of emotion in the right places. There’s a large focus on school and journalism which was nice! You don’t really read about journalism in most YA books.

I really liked Jules character! It was nice to read about a girl who knew what she wants and has goals set. In a way she reminded me of Harper from Rebel Belle. Also she has two moms! And the relationship with them was awesome! Very rarely I have read in YA a female character close to her mothers. The truly were an awesome support system. The friendships were nice! I liked the newspaper friends and Sadie and Em! As was the determination that Jules had to save the newspaper. All in all Jules was a nice character who did most things with good intentions. I also liked Natalie’s character. She was complex and smart.

I had three problems with this book. When Alex is first introduced I did like him. He was sweet and his interactions with Jules was funny. Once he joined TALON I started to lose interest in him. Then when he started coming in again I started to like him again. But then he and Jules had a secret relationship, which I did not get. I understood why Jules wanted to keep them a secret but I was surprised that Alex went along with it. Their interactions lacked substance. I never felt anything when I read about them.

This is a revenge story. There are some sabotages pulled on both ends. While I usually don’t enjoy revenge stories I was looking forward to seeing what each group came up with. Honestly I found most of it to be lame. Towards the end of the book it started to get interesting.

The book did end on a good note and Jules apologized to Natalie. Then the two of decide to collaborate on a project. While I liked the ending I didn’t like the miscommunication. Had the characters started communicating with each other the conclusion would’ve come much faster.  

Note most of the book is spent on taking down TALON. So Jules ends up forgetting to get back to her friends and starts to talk to them less. Then when she secretly started dating Alex she also forgets to spend time with her friends. And was unsympathetic towards their problems. She was so caught up in a boyfriend and balancing school that she forgot to balance her friends. Now this didn’t bother me because Jules wasn’t trying to do it on purpose and she was new to dating as well as coming up with revenge strategies. I’m mentioning this because I know it bothered other readers. So maybe now that you know it might not bother you.

Overall this was a good book! I will definitely keep a lookout for this author. I recommend it to fans of contemporary books, and fans of the author. 

Review: Winds of Salem

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Winds of Salem by: Melissa de la Cruz

My Rating 2 of 5 Stars

From Melissa de la Cruz, New York Times bestselling author of Witches of East End and the Blue Bloods series, comes the third novel featuring the fascinating, spellbinding Beauchamp family. This final piece of the Witches trilogy wraps up the story of the magical Beauchamps, with plenty of the sorcery, romance, and plot twists that have brought readers back to Melissa’s series time and time again.

“Move over, zombies, vampires, and werewolves, and make way for witches. Melissa de la Cruz, author of the best-selling Blue Bloods series, ably sets the stage for a juicy new franchise with Witches of East End…De la Cruz balances the supernatural high-jinksery with unpredictable twists. ”
—Entertainment Weekly

Freya Beauchamp has been kidnapped and sucked into the past, forced to relive the horrors of Salem and return to the witch-burning hysteria that gripped the small Massachusetts town. Freya’s family is determined to save her, but the Passages of Time are closed to the Beauchamp family, leaving them stuck in the present, centuries from Freya. Joanna, Freddie, and Ingrid must find another way back to save Freya before it’s too late. Because this time, when Freya is hanged, she’s not coming back…ever.

The Beauchamps are sure that their nemesis, the trickster god Loki, is behind the brewing hatred in Salem and Freya’s kidnapping—but is the witch hunt just a way for the power-seeking Putnam family, whose daughter Ann was one of the first accusers, to settle scores and consolidate their hold on the lands and power in town?

Black magic, time travel, romance, mystery, history, and adventure are served up in a cauldron of bubbly magic in the latest installation of the New York Times bestselling series Witches of East End.

Beware spoilers ahead!

After finishing Serpent’s Kiss I was really excited to read this! I wanted to know how it ended and what really happened the day Bofrir was destroyed! Sadly I didn’t enjoy this book.

The book begins with a recap summarizing the events of Serpent’s Kiss. We are then taken to the first chapter. Freya arrived in Salem half dead. A maid Mercy took her in and since then she has been a maid for the Putnam’s. Freya has tried remembering where she came from and her family but she gets nothing. Freya enjoys working as a maid and is thankful to the Putnam family. She also practices her magic and uses it to help people. 

Back in present day Ingrid has not stopped trying to find a way to get Freya back. She has been looking into the Salem witch trials and reading everything that she can. While doing this she has been ignoring Matt and pretty much everyone around her. Much to her surprise her ex-boyfriend Troy (Thor) comes back into her life. He wants her back in his life and helps with finding Freya. Ingrid’s been getting quite insecure about her relationship with Matt. She’s immortal and he’s not. Ingrid doesn’t know how she’ll deal when Matt is dead.

Freddie has been adjusting to his marriage with Gert. It hasn’t been that easy because Gert’s in school and he’s stressed about Freya. The pixies now live with him and are working on finding his trident. The pixies haven’t been helping his marriage either. In their attempts to help them Freddie assumes they’ll get him a divorce.

Joanna and her husband Norman are on good terms again. Now with all of their powers draining it has taken quite an affect on her body. Joanna and Norman decide to look for Norman’s brother Arthur who can time travel. They don’t end up finding him so they visit The Oracle. The Oracle says that there is a solution for getting Freya back. But it comes with a deadly price.

The book takes place in present day during New Years and in Salem in Spring. It divided into parts, giving us what’s going on in present day and in Salem. You get to read about Norman’s point of view. And their power is dwindling. 

I’m going to talk about the things that I liked than move on to my dislikes. I was happy that Norman and Joanna were back on speaking terms. They were so sweet together! As usual the family relationship was well done in this book! I’m glad that Ingrid worked everything out with Matt. The pixies were sweet and very funny! And it was nice to read about Tyler again! The ending was so sad but beautiful in it’s own right.

Like the other books this was a slow book. But it was so slow that I couldn’t wait for it to be over. I thought it was because I was going through a reading slump but as I continued to read I really started to feel the pages. I ended up skimming most of it. The Salem parts of the book was written so odd that I skimmed every chapter. And it was pretty boring. I’m not even sure if that’s how people spoke in those days.

Freddie and Gert’s marriage was terrible. I understood that she was in University and one semester away from getting her degree but she didn’t even try to make the marriage work. In the end Freddie was the one always trying to be good husband and help around whenever Gert needed it. At some point Gert up and leaves him and wrote on a note that she needed to study. She didn’t even bother to tell him and talk it out with him. Freddie actually ends up cheating on her. I know Freddie was stressed as well but he really shouldn’t have resorted to cheating.

The worst part about this book was the mystery behind the bridge and the lame almost fight scenes. Apparently it wasn’t Loki who destroyed the bridge and stole it’s power but another god and for such a stupid reason. The almost fight scenes never happened and I would have much rather read about a fight scene then a lame conversation.

Overall this was utterly disappointing. I still do recommend the series. I really hope that Triple Moon will have a better ending.  

Review: Serpent’s Kiss

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Serpent’s Kiss by: Melissa de la Cruz

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

The intriguing Beauchamp family, introduced in the New York Times bestselling Witches of East End, returns in Serpent’s Kiss, with dizzying plot twists and spellbinding magic.

Joanna and her daughters, bookish Ingrid and wild-child Freya, are just settling into the newfound peace that has been cast over their small, off-the map town of North Hampton. With the centuries-old restriction against practicing magic lifted, casting spells, mixing potions, and curing troubled souls has never felt so good for the three witches. That is, until everything gets turned upside down–from Joanna’s organized kitchen to Ingrid’s previously nonexistent love life to Freya’s once unshakeable faith in her sexy soul mate, Killian Gardiner.

When Freya’s twin brother, Freddie, suddenly returns, escaped from Limbo and professing innocence on a long-ago crime, Freya should be ecstatic. The golden boy can do no wrong. Or can he? Freddie blames no other than her fiance Killian for his downfall, and enlists Freya’s help to prove it. Now Freya doesn’t know who to believe or trust.

And for the first time in–well, forever, really–Ingrid is also busy in love. Matt Noble, the handsome and charming police detective, has won her heart. But can romance work between a virgin witch and a mortal who doesn’t believe in magic? Things get even more complicated when it appears Ingrid is harboring the prime suspects in Matt’s police investigation.

To add to the chaos, a dead spirit is attempting to make contact with Joanna–but does it mean to bring harm or help? Joanna asks her sort-of ex-husband Norman to help figure it out, only to accidentally invite him to a Thanksgiving dinner with a dapper gentleman she’s recently begun dating. As the witches pull together to discover the serpent within their midst and the culprit behind Freddie’s imprisonment, everything is thrown into peril. Will the discovery come too late to save those they love most? Melissa de la Cruz weaves all this and more in a blockbuster sequel that is not to be missed by her fans, and one that is sure to enchant new readers of the series.

Beware spoilers ahead!

After I finished Witches of East End I was eager to start the sequel! That ending was truly cruel. I am happy to report that I enjoyed this book as well!

The book begins with a recap summarizing the events of the last book. We are then taken to the first chapter in which Freya is working with Killian at the bar. It’s been a month since the events of Witches of East End and Freddie has returned from Limbo. Freya has convinced her brother to give her some time in looking into Killian. So far she hasn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary and she’s starting to wonder whether Limbo has deluded her brother.

The two of them continue to working together until the bar is empty. They leave and Frey accidentally falls. In the nick of time Killian catches her but not before Freya notices something in Killian’s expression. Freya then begins to wonder whether there is some truth to what Freddie is saying.

This book was so good! Unto the characters and their story lines!

Freya spends the majority of the book trying to see whether or not Freddie is right that Killian framed him for the destruction of Bofrir bridge. Once Freya starts digging into the case she finds out that there’s more to the story then what Freddie remembers. She begins to lose trust in Killian and Freddie, fearing Bran has returned and disguised himself as both of them.

Ingrid and Matt have finally started dating. But the relationship isn’t really working out. Matt doesn’t believe in magic and Ingrid doesn’t know how to prove to him that she’s a witch. And when a few pixies ask Ingrid for help, Ingrid keeps this a secret from Matt and her family which is proving to be difficult. Her mother despises pixies and people have been getting robbed by the pixies. Matt knows that Ingrid knows who the robbers are but doesn’t tell him. This is a pretty big dent in their relationship.

Joanna notices that all the objects in her house have been getting moved around. And some of the furniture has been getting rearranged. One day Joanna is trying to garden but the flowers die in her hands. She then realizes that a spirit is trying to contact her. While looking into the spirit Joanna, she has been seeing Harold a nice widow and her kind of husband Norman has been trying to win her back.

Freddie gets his own point of view. So far he has just been adjusting and hoping that Freya can clear his name. He can’t risk leaving because if the Valkyries find him they’ll take him back to Limbo. To kill time he plays video games and dates some girls through dating websites. He is very interested in Hilly (short for Hilary). In fact he believes that he’s in love with her.  Somehow his fear of the Valkyries finding him is diminished as he continues to win Hilly’s father’s approval.

As usual the family relationship was well done in this book! Matt and Ingrid’s romance was sweet to read about. And how she kept on going to Hudson for advice on her relationship. Freddie was interesting to read about. I really didn’t like how he didn’t even think about seeing the rest of his family but was fine was seeing Hilly. Freya was put in a very tough situation trying to keep Freddie’s arrival a secret and making her look into Killian. Norman was nice to read about as well.

There are some new characters introduced in this book. Hilly and her family. Harold who is Joanna’s boyfriend. And Jean-Baptiste who is the god of memory. And the Beauchamp’s god father.

I was honestly surprised that Freya actually started looking into Killian. I thought that she would just continuously try and convince Freddie that Killian was innocent. She loves her brother as much as she loves Killian so she worked really hard trying to find clues. The Salem witch trails is pretty important in this book. Joanna assumed that the spirit contacting her was in the Salem witch trails. It was pretty interesting to read about.

Along with the recap there was a family tree attached at the end of the book. It definitely proved useful as I kept on looking at it for spoilers.

I only had two problems with this book. While I was reading it I felt that it was slower then the first book. While yes things are being revealed light and right I felt no suspense. But I was engaged and intrigued. And like the last book the ending felt rushed and there was a cliffhanger. Nonetheless I enjoyed this book!

Overall this was a great book! I recommend it to those looking for some light fantasy. I am looking forward to finishing the series.