Review: Empress of a Thousand Skies

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Empress of a Thousand Skies by: Rhoda Belleza

My Rating: 5 Stars

Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an wants vengeance.

The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, Rhee has spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne – and her revenge.

Alyosha is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.

Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.

The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding – even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee’s name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Empress of a Thousand Skies was taking the book community by storm. Not surprising considering that synopsis. Coupled with all the 5 star author reviews. I was hesitant to pick it up. While I enjoy Sci-Fi, I have found that the most popular YA Sci-Fi has not been for me. I was in the bookstore and I saw Empress of a Thousand Skies. I started to skim and knew that I needed to buy this book. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

Rhee is preparing for her coronation. She has finally come of age to take the throne. While preparing Julian’s (her best friend) father comes to see her. Much to Rhee and the readers surprise he attempts to kill her. In self defense Rhee murders him and creates a ceremonial killing. To let whoever sent him know that she’s coming from them. Before the whole ship blows up she is rescued by a stranger.

Aly is quite disappointed to hear that Rhee was murdered. Her murder disrupts a peace treaty between all the planets. After filming an episode for DroneVision Aly and his partner Vin go to investigate a mysterious space pod. While Vin goes off, Aly comes across the pod and opens it. Much to Aly’s surprise there is a grown man murdered in a ceremonial killing. Aly realizes that Rhee is alive and attempts to connect his superiors. After being chased by unknown droids Aly is framed for murdering Rhee.

Empress of a Thousand Skies really surprised me! I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. The writing is in third person in the points of view off Rhee and Aly. There’s a planet map and a character list. It is divided into parts and in the beginning of the those parts there is a text of history. Which gave some interesting incite and provided for extra world building.

Once I begun reading I had my doubts. Rhee wasn’t exactly that likable and she could be really stupid. Every time I would think to myself ‘Huh that doesn’t make any sense’ or ‘This is really dumb’. I swear it was like the author could read my mind! Belleza would then come in to show and explain us why that certain thought process was written as such. This is how the whole book went for me. I came to appreciate this because it made the characters feel real and flawed. Not Mary Sue’s or Special Snowflakes.

My favourite thing about Empress of a Thousand Skies was how well the diversity was done. Aly is a black and Rhee is Chinese. Black stereotypes was actually used as a plot device to propel the war to come. Aly dispels all these stereotypes and I really felt for him. Rhee also mentions who everyone hints at her too small eyes and make other jabs at her.

Sometimes it felt like I was reading about our world. Belleza did an amazing job showing how fear, racism, and hatred can propel a war. And how easy it is for some people to believe everything they are told. 

Religion does play a huge part of the story. As there are so many races’ each one has their own religion and belief system. A part of the peace treaty is respecting each planet’s religion rather than colonizing them. 

Another plus is that there’s barely any romance! It is hinted but the romance takes a backseat for the plot. This is a journey book. There’s a considerable amount off travel/running away. I felt that it was done well! As it was actually fast paced. To be honest a lot of the plot is predictable. But I still found myself enjoying it and was eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

You know all those cheesy future movies which always show a cell-phone in the brain? Belleza actually does that. The Cube is inserted into the brain and has some cell-phone features. You can call people and even message them. You also have to update it. What’s most interesting is that you can replay memories. Rhee does this quite often.

Now of course once she escapes Rhee has to deactivate her Cube. Rhee begins to experience ‘Organic’ memories. Like flashbacks coming to her whenever she thought of something. It was really interesting to read about her comparisons of the Cube vs. Organic memories. Similar to how we discuss people missing out on experiences for their phone. The Cube becomes a huge plot point as it can be hacked.

Belleza doesn’t hesitate to kill off characters. There are 4(?) characters killed off in Empress of a Thousand Skies. I did think some of these characters would play an important role. I was surprised when they were killed off. I wonder how many people will die in Blood of a Thousand Stars?

Despite what the synopsis says Aly and Rhee do not meet each other. They vaguely look at each other but never actually interact. They happen to be in the same places at the same time but again no interaction. I really don’t understand why the synopsis states as such. 

Rhee spends a majority of her story arc consumed by revenge. Her point of view is written formally. Rhee’s family is a huge part of her arc, as she believes they were murdered. Her sister in particular was in a lot of flashbacks. I enjoyed reading about the flashbacks as they give some more insight into her past.

Rhee has a crush on Julian and the two have known each other since they were children. Surprisingly Julian will likely make an appearance in Blood of a Thousand Stars. He comes in the last chapter. Considering that she killed his father it would be very interesting to see where their relationship goes.

Rhee has a crew of sorts. The guy who saved her (Dahlan) brings a few people to help Rhee in her quest to take the throne. Dahlan himself is consumed by revenge. They each have that in common. Which made for an interesting relationship between the two. Rhee grows a bit past her revenge and chooses to act instead of chasing various people.

Aly’s point of view is much more chill than Rhee’s. There are made-up swear words and he uses them often. Aly is actually a refugee from one the planets that used to be at war with Rhee’s planet. His family also plays a huge role and why he does not want to go back home. There are some flashbacks about his family and his time in a refugee camp. I felt that they were well written and I enjoyed reading it!

Vin who is his co-worker on the tv show DroneVision is vital to the story. It is revealed that Vin is in fact a spy and has had suspicions of the attack on Rhee being staged. Aly doesn’t exactly take this too well. But I really couldn’t blame him as it was a lot to take in. Still their friendship was fun to read and well written.

Aly meets a girl whose name is Kara while on the run. Kara is looking for her mother who was a scientist. She went missing along with other important people at a summit meeting. The two make an alliance to help each other. It’s through Aly’s point of view that readers find out about the Cube experimentation.

I am giving Empress of a Thousand Skies an extra star for all the issues that Belleza discussed. Without getting preachy.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Empress of a Thousand Skies! I will definitely be reading Blood of a Thousand Stars. I highly recommend it for everyone.     

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Review: Can You Keep a Secret?

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Can You Keep a Secret? by: Sophie Kinsella

My Rating: 5 Stars

Meet Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets:

Secrets from her boyfriend:
I’ve always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken.

Secrets from her mother: I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur.

Secrets she wouldn’t share with anyone in the world: I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is.

Until she spills them all to a handsome stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger.…Until Emma comes face-to-face with Jack Harper, the company’s elusive CEO, a man who knows every single humiliating detail about her…

Beware spoilers ahead!

I have been a fan of Kinsella’s since Finding Audrey. Naturally I went through all of her books and tried to decide which one to read. Can You Keep a Secret? stood out the most. I am happy to say that I loved it!

Emma has gone to represent her company Panther Cooperation in a meeting. As per Kinsella books the meeting turns into a disaster whilst Emma spilling a product on one of the other company’s worker. Emma goes back in a bad mood and has quite a bit to drink.

The plane she is on experiences turbulence. Out of panic (and she’s drunk) Emma tells all her secrets to another passenger. All’s fine until Emma goes to work on Monday to find out that the passenger is the CEO of Panther Cooperation.

Can You Keep a Secret? was so funny and relatable! The writing tense is in first person all from Emma’s point of view. There are numbers for the chapters. As well as emails and notes. 

I related to a lot of Emma’s work woes. It’s really hard to prove yourself in a workplace that doesn’t appreciate you. Emma’s co-workers like Artemis reminded me off some of my co-workers. There’s always that one person that’s just fake. On the bright side Katie was fun to read about! She was actually really sweet and a good friend to Emma.

Emma lived in an apartment with two flatmates. Lissy and Jemima. Lissy has been Emma’s best friend since they were 7. Lissy and Emma constantly support each other throughout Can You Keep a Secret? There friendship was absolutely adorable! I’m a bit conflicted about Jemima. She definitely thought she was helping. But Jemima’s suggestions were terrible. And didn’t really make sense. I do have to give Jemima props for trying to help.

Emma’s family play a huge part in Can You Keep a Secret? Emma feels that she’s disappointed her parents. Her cousin Kerry always tries (and succeeds) to one up Emma. Nev (Kerry’s husband) also pokes at Emma about her career changes. Emma is able to sort everything out with her family.

Prior to Can You Keep a Secret? Emma begins dating a co-worker named Connor. Connor works in another division at Panther Cooperation. During the plane ride Emma realizes that she doesn’t really have feelings for Connor anymore. Emma is in denial about this. She breaks up with him much later on.

I personally found Connor to be annoying! Emma asks Connor to keep their break-up to himself for the time being. Seeing as they work together. Instead at a party (while drunk) announces their break-up. Their office blames the whole situation on Emma as she is the one to dump him. And he doesn’t even apologize! It didn’t help that the co-workers didn’t bother to see it from Emma’ point of view.

Connor also tries multiple times to confront Emma about who she is dating. He acts like a martyr and always has a way of patronizing Emma. I also found him to be totally inconsiderate. To try and look professional during a staff meeting Connor shuts down Emma’s point. Just because Jack Harper was present. I honestly don’t understand why Emma blamed herself for everything. Connor has a brain too. He can realize himself that not all women keep secrets.

As far as Emma’s secrets go I didn’t find them that bad. Some of them were really dumb while the others hilarious! What was troubling is how easy it was for Emma to lie. And she did so constantly. Emma did develop and started actually admitting the truth. She even started to stand up for herself! Emma stood up to Kerry and Paul (her boss). I especially liked how she handled Paul. And in the end it paid off as she got promoted.

I really liked Emma and Jack’s relationship! When Jack appears in at the Panther Cooperation, he spends quite a bit of time poking fun at Emma’s secrets. It was honestly so assuming! Through their relationship they grew. Jack learned to become more open. And Emma learned to stand up for herself and be honest. They made a really good couple. Also Jack’s actually American. Can You Keep a Secret? takes place in London.

I didn’t have any problems. Expect for Connor but I think it was well handled. And blissfully she broke up with him early enough. 

Overall I loved Can You Keep a Secret?! I highly recommend it.     

Review: Always and Forever Lara Jean

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Always and Forever Lara Jean by: Jenny Han

My Rating: 5 stars

Lara Jean is having the best senior year. And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.

Life couldn’t be more perfect!

At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks…until she gets some unexpected news.

Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

Beware spoilers ahead!

Lara Jean and her boyfriend Peter are in their last year in high school. Lara Jean is hoping that she’ll get into UVA. As she’ll be with Peter but also remain with her family while she’s at college. Her father’s relationship with Ms. Rothschild is going well. In fact Ms. Rothschild has become apart of the family.

Lara Jean is preparing for her classes trip to New York City, college, and the inevitable good-byes to her teachers and classmates. Unfortunately not everything goes according to Lara Jean’s plan. Throughout this book Lara Jean has to decide what she wants in life and how will she and Peter navigate their relationship.

When I heard that this book would be released I was overjoyed! This is my favourite contemporary series! I am glad to say that it was wonderful! Just like the previous books it is written in first person all in Lara Jean’s point of view. And there are chapter numbers. There are text messages, admission emails, and a letter of sorts at the end of this book.

I loved everything about this book! From the trip to New York City, the wedding, as well as Lara Jean and Chris’s spontaneous road trip to North Carolina. I especially love that in every book Lara Jean develops. There’s no reset button just growth.

Like the previous books there is such a large emphasis on family. Margot, Kitty, their father, and Lara Jean are a very close knit family. Ms. Rothschild and Peter are additions to their family. Partway in the book their father proposes to Ms. Rothschild with Lara Jean, Kitty, and Peter’s help.

Margot doesn’t quite like that Ms. Rothschild has such a huge role in their family. As she was in university for most of this book, Margot gets the shock when she sees how close her father is to Ms. Rothschild. For the majority of the book Margot has a very strained relationship with Ms. Rothschild. Margot doesn’t have a problem with Ms. Rothschild as a person, just that she didn’t expect her father to ever get married. Despite this Margot remains supportive of her father and his decisions. The two do make-up and it was beautiful!

Applying for college was a huge part of this book. All of Peter and Lara Jean’s friends are going their separate ways. The seniors all plan to have one last get-together before that happens. They have the trip to New York City, seniors week, and some plans after graduation. It was so much fun to read about, but also had a bittersweet feel to it. Kind of reminds me of my high school days. 

As foreshadowed in the synopsis Lara Jean doesn’t get accepted in UVA. This obviously puts a strain on her relationship with Peter. The two come up with another plan instead. They plan to spend their first year apart but in their second year Lara Jean will transfer to UVA.

Peter’s family is actually a huge part of this book. His father actually make’s an appearance and it attempting to get back into Peter’s life and good graces. Due to his insecurities with his father Peter felt that Lara Jean would dump him  Further proven to him when Lara Jean made a scrapbook so that he could take it to him in UVA. Peter thought that this was Lara Jean’s way of saying good-bye. The two make-up (of course) and decide to face any obstacles that come in the future together.

I was actually happy that Peter’s family life came in. And that this time it was his insecurities that drove them apart rather than his relationship with Genevieve. It has been heavily implied that Peter has many insecurities. And I have always assumed that his parent’s divorce had more of an effect on him than he implied. I felt that it was done well.

Lara Jean is really upset that she didn’t make it into UVA. She won’t get to be with her family nor will she be in school with Peter. Once Peter lays out the new plan to Lara Jean she has a purpose. Though she is very depressed and instead of meeting with her future peers (one of the those college freshmen get-together’s) Lara Jean puts all her energy into planning the wedding. Surprisingly Lara Jean gets accepted into UNC. When Lara Jean tells Chris, she (Chris) tells Lara Jean that they should go a on spontaneous road trip to North Carolina.

The road trip was a blast to read about! Chris and Lara Jean saw UNC (which was beautifully described), they meet new people, ate new food, and just had fun. Of course when the two arrive home they get into trouble. Lara Jean’s family is overjoyed that she got into UNC. Her family urge her to choose what she wants and that they’ll always support her.

Now I know that there were some people that weren’t happy when this book was announced. But I personally felt that this book was necessary. Unlike P. S. I Still Love You, Always and Forever Lara Jean felt like a conclusion book. Lara Jean has a last hora with Chris (I like to imagine that they’ll still keep up in the future), has last conversations with Lucas, John, Genevieve, and Stormy (who sadly passed away in this book), and her father gets remarried (the wedding planning and the wedding itself was awesome)Even the drama was realistic and well done. 

Overall Always and Forever Lara Jean was a beautiful conclusion to the series. I recommend this series to everyone. 

Review: The Lonely Ones

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The Lonely Ones by: Kelsey Sutton

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Purchase links: Amazon    Barnes and Noble   Penguin Random House   Indie Bound

Fain hasn’t always been lonely. Her family used to be close; she used to have good friends. But as circumstances—and people—changed, Fain was left behind. That’s when the monsters appeared.

While her parents argue and her peers and siblings either pick on or simply ignore her, Fain spends time in a world of her own making. During the day, she crafts stories of fantastical adventures, but in the darkness of night, these adventures come to life alongside a legion of imaginary creatures, with Fain as their queen.

In time, Fain begins to see possibilities and friendships emerge in her day-to-day, but when she is let down by the one relationship she thought she could trust, Fain must decide: remain queen of the imaginary creatures, or risk opening herself up to the fragile connections that can only be formed in the real world?

Told in lyrical free verse, The Lonely Ones reminds us of the need for imaginative play and the power of true friendship.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via Penguin Young Reader’s Group and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I am also participating in the Blog Tour for this book. 

I heard about this book from an email from Nichole at YAReads BlogTours. Nichole emailed asking whether or not I would be interested in participating in a blog tour for The Lonely Ones. At first I was skeptical as I have been hearing about all these blogger scandals. I checked out the website and I realized that I had heard about this blog before. I read the synopsis and I agreed. I thought that I wouldn’t enjoy the book once I started reading it. I am happy to report that I loved this book!

When Fain was younger her family used to be happy and close. Then one day her father lost his job as a car seller. Her mother was in law school at the time and she dropped out because of the bills. Then the fighting started. Her older siblings Dana and Tyler moved on. Tyler started dating and going to parties. While Dana became externally glued to her phone. Only her younger brother Peter interacted with her.

Upon moving the situation only worsened. The fights continued. Her father still had difficulty finding a job. Meanwhile her mother worked in a fast food restaurant. Dana and Tyler continue on as they were earlier and Peter continues to play with Fain. Fain despite having Peter feels alone. Her voice isn’t heard over the fighting and no one notices her. Then one day while she was sleeping some monsters come at her window and invite her to play. These monsters later become the only friends she has.

One day a new boy comes to their school. Much to Fain’s surprise the new boy Matthew actually talks to her. Fain’s not used to people interacting with so she has a hard time answering simple questions because she is in awe that someone actually saw her and is now speaking to her. Matthew continues to hang out with Fain. The two form a friendship. Fain’s neighbour Anna is another person who sees her and they occasionally talk. Eventually becoming friends. For awhile Fain stops talking to the monsters. And circumstances have it that Fain and her siblings become close again.

Then Matthew and Anna hurt her and she goes right back to the monsters. But this time she has her siblings by her side. And she’s okay with that. Eventually Anna and Fain make up and then she has Anna by her side as well. By the end of the book Fain has stopped talking to her monsters. Her family is happy and she has a real friend in Anna. 

The most interesting thing about this book is the writing style. Each chapter is short and formatted the way a poem is written. There are chapters titles that go along with the poem format. This was quite unique and enjoyable! The book is short and I had it finished in two hours.

The author did an excellent job with the characters! They are completely realistic and so are there interactions with one-another. While Fain’s family wasn’t happy all the time they were there for each other. Her friendship with Anna was sweet to read about! I connected with Fain. I understood where she was coming from. It was interesting to read about the monsters and the stories Fain wrote. I was happy when Fain stopped seeing the monsters and became friends with Anna and her family. It was also nice that there wasn’t a romance!

This book is about finding our own voice. And understanding that while you may feel like you don’t matter there is always someone who cares about you. It’s about family. No matter how tough your current situation is there is always someone by your side.

Overall this was a wonderful and touching book! I recommend it to everyone because this is an important read and everyone will be able to connect to Fain. Also keep a tissue box with you while reading.  

Review: Lady Renegades

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Lady Renegades by: Rachel Hawkins

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

From the  New York Times bestselling author of Hex Hall comes the sparkling finale in the beloved Rebel Belle series.
 
Just as Harper Price starts coming to terms with her role as David Stark’s battle-ready Paladin, protector, and girlfriend—her world goes crazy all over again.  
 
Overwhelmed by his Oracle powers, David flees Pine Grove and starts turning teenaged girls into Paladins—and these young ladies seem to think that Harper is the enemy David needs protecting from.  Ordinarily, Harper would be able to fight off any Paladin who comes her way, but her powers have been dwindling since David left town, which means her life is on the line yet again. 
 
Now, it’s a desperate race for Harper to find and rescue David before she backslides from superhero to your garden-variety type-A belle. 
 
New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins brings the fun once again in the finale of this pitch-perfect romantic paranormal comedy series.

Beware spoilers ahead!

After I finished reading Miss Mayhem I was in shock. That cliffhanger was horrible! Then I read the synopsis for this book and just about died. I was so happy when this came in the mail early and I got to read it immediately. I am happy to report that this was an awesome conclusion!

The book begins with a prologue in Davids point of view. David’s head always hurts now. At this point he has avoided contact with everybody and really misses his home. At the time leaving seemed like a really good idea. Harper would get to live her life rather than be held back protecting him. But now he’s not so sure.

David’s lost a lot of weight and  he now wears sunglasses everywhere. So that people won’t notice his eyes. His powers have gotten stronger. Sometimes he’ll get in his car without thinking about anything just drive. It’s almost like he knows but doesn’t know where he wants to go. Some gut feeling. He has so many nightmares that he’s not sure whether they’re supposed to be visions or just nightmares. Sometimes he’s even had them while being awake. And all those terrible things he’s done to those girls haven’t left his mind.

We are then taken to the first chapter in Harper’s point of view. It’s summer and Harper and Bee are now lifeguards. With nothing to do over summer Harper decided to become a lifeguard so that she could save people and it’ll keep her busy. Bee became a lifeguard as well to keep Harper company.

Harper isn’t having any fun though. The most that happens in the pool is that some of the younger kids goof up and could hurt themselves. No one has drowned. She spends most of her time sitting on a high chair and reading some books.

They have a fairly normal day at work. When the two of them are ready to go home Harper realizes that she forgot her book. She goes to look for it and finds it in her locker. Then the lights go out. Harper assumes that maybe someone is playing a prank on her. But once she starts calling out to the pool clean-up people and they don’t answer she starts to get worried.

After awhile she realizes that she isn’t alone and whoever is in the room with her hasn’t shown his/her face. Harper mentally prepares herself for a fight. Apparently there is a female with her and the two start fighting. The girl reveals that she’s a Paladin as well. Harper is utterly shocked. Then she realizes that David must have turned her into a Paladin. She asks the girl about David. The girls reveals that yes it was David who turned her and that David sent her after Harper. The girl reveals that David told her that Harper is going to kill him.

During the fight Harper’s powers stop working. Having no idea what to do Harper still continues to trudge on until she is beaten. Right before the girl slits Harper’s throat Bee enters the room. Bee and the girl fight for a bit. But then all of a sudden the girl screams in pain and runs away. Bee and Harper have made it out of the fight alright. The two decide to go and check on Ryan to make sure he’s okay.

Man was this book an emotional ride! I am so happy that this book was short so that I could read it faster! This book took place around a few weeks. What was interesting is that David’s point of view comes in a few times. Which are written in third person. His point of views tended to be creepy and terrifying. There are some new characters which are introduced. And an old one comes in this book as well. Let me tell you I was surprised that Blythe was actually a main character for this book.

Bee, Harper, and Blythe take a two week road trip to find David and get him back to normal. Meanwhile Ryan stays behind to keep on eye on their home. The only who knows how to help David is surprising Blythe. Hence her appearance in the book. At first Bee and Harper aren’t comfortable with having Blythe around. But seeing no other options they suck it up. Not without coming prepared though.

This book was really fast paced and pretty short. There’s action and magic pretty much non-stop. The Paladin girls story line was interesting. But it did become annoying having these girls attack Harper repeatedly. Luckily Bee and Blythe were there to help. There are some major reveals.

You get to read about Aunt Jewel again. Which was of course lovely! It was nice how much she supported Harper and helped her as much as she could. Bee and Harper’s friendship is a big part of this book. I loved the two of them together! It was very interesting to read about Blythe. It was nice to read about her interactions with Bee and Harper and how Blythe actually became their friend. I grew to like her as well. She is one of the more developed characters along with Harper.

There was Harper’s usual snark and determination in this book. It was interesting to read about Harper’s journey. Harper takes a back seat when it comes to being the group’s leader. Blythe was the leader. I liked reading about how Harper dealt with it and every other situation in this book. I liked how the author showed us that not everything goes according to plan. Despite the fact that this is a fantasy this can be applied to everyday life.

While David’s point of views come in a few times, David himself doesn’t come in a lot. Nor does Ryan. This didn’t bother me at all. It was nice to read about all the girl power that went on in this book.

The ending was a bit predictable. I’ve seen this from the first book. But it didn’t bother me because it was handled well and some of it wasn’t predictable. In fact I actually liked the ending. As far as the romance goes Harper and David’s relationship doesn’t really come into play. But Bee’s and Ryan’s relationship does. I think that if you are a fan of Harper and David you will like the ending.

Overall this was an awesome conclusion to a wonderful series! I recommend this series to anyone looking for a girly fantasy, anyone looking for light fantasy, and fans of the author. I am definitely looking forward to the authors upcoming middle grade series Journey’s End.

Review: My Senior Year of Awesome

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My Senior Year of Awesome by: Jennifer Digiovanni

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

It’s the final semester of senior year, and everyone at Harmony High can’t wait to find out the results of the Senior Superlative votes! But the balloon bursts in Sadie’s face when she discovers she’s been voted “Most Likely to Get Married” to Andy – a boy she’s never dated or ever thought of as a potential boyfriend. Completely and utter mortification sets in.

To prove high school means something more than a Senior Superlative award, Sadie and her best friend Jana decide to create their own list of awesome non-academic achievements to be completed before graduation.

Yet, the harder Sadie works to show everyone she’s not the least bit attracted to Andy, the more appealing he becomes. Typical for the girl who can’t seem to achieve anything important, even the completion of one lousy college application.

When senioritis kicks in and the school year dwindles down to mere weeks, Sadie decides to risk her good girl reputation to prove that an Awesome Achievement means much more than any Senior Superlative vote. By the time Sadie realizes her epic screw-up, she just might have lost her chance at the prom date of her dreams.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I can’t exactly remember how I heard about this book. I’m pretty sure that I saw it pop up on GR. Once I read the synopsis I was sold! This sounded similar to Smart Girls Get What They Want so of course I wanted to read. When I started reading it I found out very quickly that this wasn’t like Smart Girls Get What They Want but enjoyable nonetheless.

The book begins with Sadie walking down the hall to class. On the way she runs into Andy and is stuck talking to him. Sadie isn’t the biggest fan of Andy. While she knows that he’s nice she also finds him annoying and he is a major math nerd. Once they go their separate ways Sadie makes her way over to the Senior Superlative board.

Sadie sees her best friend Jana and they make their way over. A lot of people stare at the two of them and Sadie assumes that this is because Jana must have won the fashion award. Jana replies that she didn’t win and instead Sadie won. Sadie makes her way over to the board. She is shocked and mortified to see that she won ‘Most Likely to Get Married’ to Andy. Sadie turns around and asks Andy if he had anything to get with the votes. He replies that he didn’t. Once her classmates start to laugh she angrily yells that she isn’t dating Andy nor does she like him.

For most the day Sadie is miserable and it doesn’t help that her classmates have been talking about her and Andy. Jana distracts her by making these lists. Sadie’s grandmother has this book called Fill It In which contains various lists. The latest one is an achievement list. Both the girls realize that they haven’t really achieved anything in the 3 years they’ve been in high school. Deciding to find ways to fill out the list the two of them come up with some risky and silly things to do.

I was not expecting to like this book that much! The writing style was good and the author portrayed high school realistically. I liked how before some chapters they were these lists that Sadie filled out. It was cool and fun to read!

I loved the friendship between Jana and Sadie! Their friendship was amazing and I wish there was more friendship in books! And I was so happy that the family relationships were well done! There wasn’t any issue in between all the families unlike most contemporaries. In fact Sadie is quite close to her mother.

Andy was so sweet! I liked how he wasn’t super hot and that he was nerdy. In most books the love interest is always described as good looking. In this book it focuses on the beauty inside. Which was a nice change. The romance was very slow burn. Sadie spent most of the book being awful to Andy so that she could prove that she doesn’t like him. But after spending some time with Andy she realizes that she does have feelings for him.

There was a bit of mystery in the book. Sadie is convinced that someone rigged the vote. At first she thinks it was Andy. But after awhile it becomes apparent it Andy had nothing to do with it. It is revealed who did it and it wasn’t for the purpose to humiliate to two of them.

Some of the things that Sadie and Jana did for their list was stupid. At some point in the book Sadie royally screws up her relationship with Andy. She does make up with him though. At first I was mad at her but then I realized that everyone makes dumb mistakes. I liked how Jana and Sadie tried new things for their list. For example joining the track team and auditioning for a play. I don’t think I would ever do that. I admired them for it. There was a lot of risk taking involved even if some the things they did were really dumb.

Overall this was a really good book! I recommend it to everyone because anyone can find something they liked in this book! I look forward to reading the sequel My Disastrous Summer Vacation!

Review: Seven Ways We Lie

Seven Ways We LieSeven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—whether it’s Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage; or Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via Netgalley and ABRAMS Kids in exchange for an honest review.

I had first heard of this book through Anna’s review . Click on her name to read her review! When I read her review I liked the sounds of the plot. But I didn’t think much of it afterwards. I went through Netgalley and saw it there. At that point I forgot what happened in it and what was mentioned in the review I read. On a whim I requested it. I am very happy I did so because this book was lovely!

This book is written in first person and it switches between seven people’s point of views. I know that is sounds like a lot to take in but the author pulled this off.

The first point of view we get is Olivia. All the students are being called for an assembly. The vice principle announces that the school has received word through an anonymous person that a teacher is having an affair with a student. The students are in shock and the assembly is dismissed.

Olivia and one of her best friends Juniper exit the assembly in a trance. They have no idea who the teacher and student could be. They meet up with their other friend Claire and they agree to see each other in a bit.

Claire has convinced them to run for student president along with herself. Olivia has no interest in doing so but agrees because it is what Claire wants. When they reach the room the other candidate Matt has not shown up. Olivia is sexually active and Claire tends to get into a fight with her about it. Which is what happens the minute they see that Matt hasn’t shown up.

Juniper disrupts the two and they all agree to leave. Lately Olivia and Claire have been arguing a lot. It started some time after Claire broke up with her long time boyfriend Lucas. Olivia has tried calmly explaining to her that it is her choice to be sexually active but Claire doesn’t seem to get it. Juniper and Olivia hope that this will all work itself out so that they can go back to being good friends.

I am going to stop right there. There are seven different characters so instead of focusing on the point of views I’ll tell you a little bit about the characters.

Like I mentioned earlier Olivia is sexually active. She is not ashamed of being so in fact she’s quite comfortable with it. The way she sees it it’s her body and she can make her choices based on that.

I was surprisingly comfortable with reading Olivia’s point of view. I would say that she was one of my favorite point of views to read about. Which lead to me loving her character!

Matt has had this crush on Olivia for a very long time. Even though he hasn’t talked to her once. He thinks it doesn’t make any sense but can’t stop himself. When his best friend Burke signs him up for student president he actually has a chance to talk to her. To help things even more the two are partnered up for an english assignment. Now all he has to do is make decent conversation with her without offending her.

Matt was sweet. And I liked how despite the fact that he has this huge crush on Olivia he doesn’t kiss up to her. He speaks his mind.

Kat (Olivia’s twin sister) would much rather play games and perform in theater rather than do anything else. She skips school whenever she feels like to stay at home and play games. She isn’t the best sister or daughter but she does not care. She is drained every single day. And it doesn’t help that her sister keeps trying to talk to her about her problems. As far as Kat’s concerned their family has never been the same since their mother left and does not contact them.

I was surprised yet again that I grew to love Kat’s character! I didn’t like her at first because she was so mean to Olivia but she grew on me. As I continued to read I understood her better.

Lucas (Claire’s ex-boyfriend) is Mr. Sociable and Mr. Smiles. He’s nice to everybody and very sociable. He collects friends like a reader would collect books. He doesn’t seem to like being alone. He is also the school’s drug dealer. There’s more to his break-up with Claire than anyone knows.

To be honest I didn’t like Lucas. I was put off with his friend collecting habit. I did start feeling bad for him later on but that’s about it. Although I can’t deny that he wasn’t realistic.

Valentine’s mother is the school’s guidance counselor. He was the one who reported the student teacher affair. He was passing by one day and overheard a conversation. A girl was explaining that she was being very careful about their relationship. He got scared and ran before he could find out who the girl was as well as the teacher she was talking to. He is not good with people. He would much rather read books or do his homework then interact with his fellow peers. As far as he’s concerned the people he goes to high school with are all stupid.

I found myself liking Valentine! While I like interacting with people there are times when I would much rather be home and just relax. Other times I have no interest in leaving my house. His point of views was by far the most interesting to read about!

Claire has been a mess since her break-up. She has started feeling insecure about her looks after the break-up. She has a feeling that Lucas had feelings for someone else. Which would explain his line when he was dumping her “You can’t compare…” She also feels like her friendship with Olivia and Juniper won’t last very long. They seem to keep secrets from her and tell each other.

When I first started reading Claire’s point of view I actually liked her. It wasn’t mentioned that she compared herself to Juniper and Olivia, just that she was insecure about her looks and where she stood with her friends. Then it switched gears and she was jealous of Olivia and Juniper. I also felt that her character was for the sake of a plot device. I think that the author could’ve done more with her character. Despite this she was very realistic.

Juniper may look like she has it all together but she does not. Lately she’s been feeling depressed, and lonely. She has also started drinking a lot. It seems to make her forget what’s bothering her. She also starts focusing on her school work to avoid everything that’s making her upset.

Junipers point of view was weird to read about. It seemed to be written like a poem. Her character remains a mystery for the majority of the book. You do get to understand her which was nice. She had a lot of depth. She was also very understanding. I liked her!

Everything about this book was realistic! Even some of the smallest things like how the students reacted to taking a survey about the student teacher affair. All of the main characters are someone you have met in your life. Even if they aren’t appealing.

I loved how the author was able to create a distinct voice between the characters! Some of the chapters were written differently to show us the character. The student teacher affair was also very well done. I liked how it wasn’t romanticized but instead acknowledged as unprofessional. You do find out who the student and the teacher is. I found that the characters reactions to this revelation were realistic.

Overall this was a fantastic book! I recommend this to everyone because there is something in it that you will all like and relate to!

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