Review ~ The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett

22595271Title: The Unquiet

Author: Mikaela Everett

Published by: Greenwillow Books; September 22, 2015

Format/Source: E-Arc provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

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For most of her life, Lirael has been training to kill—and replace—a duplicate version of herself on a parallel Earth. She is the perfect sleeper-soldier. But she’s beginning to suspect she is not a good person.

The two Earths are identical in almost every way. Two copies of every city, every building, even every person. But the people from the second Earth know something their duplicates do not—two versions of the same thing cannot exist. They—and their whole planet—are slowly disappearing. Lira has been trained mercilessly since childhood to learn everything she can about her duplicate, to be a ruthless sleeper-assassin who kills that other Lirael and steps seamlessly into her life.

Review:

The Unquiet is one of those books that has a really interesting concept, but I felt like it wasn’t really executed well. I loved the idea of the book. The idea of every person having a double and that double training to take over the other’s life, but it just life me bored and sometimes confused.

Part of the reason I didn’t like this book is the main character. I just didn’t really connect with or like her, at all. She is trained to be the exact copy of the other Lirael. She is trained to assassinate the other Lirael and take her place. I found her to be really flat. She is training to be this other person, so I felt like we didn’t get enough of who she actually was.

I found the concept interesting, but really complicated. Sometimes it felt like I was reading a few different stories at the same time. Overall, I appreciated the concept, but didn’t really like the story as a whole.


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Review ~ Walk On Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson

17564519Title: Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1)

Author: Rae Carson

Published by: Greenwillow Books; September 22, 2015

Format/Source: E-Arc provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

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The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

Review:

Walk On Earth A Stranger was a really interesting story. I loved the concept, but I found a big chunk of the book to be really boring. This book felt more like prequel than the first book in a series. I am, however, excited about book 2 and where the story is going to go from here.

I really enjoyed the character of Lee. She is smart and brave. She is on the run to California to join the gold rush, with her magical ability to sense gold. The ability her uncle wants to use and control. She is able to detect right away that her uncle only has the worst of intentions and decides to run away and hopefully catch up with Jefferson, her best friend, who left days before.

Lee’s journey west was the part of this book I found boring. For long periods of time she was just traveling and even the flashes of action during her journey didn’t really excite me at all. It started to pick up right around the time she found Jefferson and I really enjoyed the story from then on. I did find it really interesting that she managed to make this long journey while hiding her ability and pretending to be a boy.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I enjoyed Rae Carson’s writing style. I have not read any of her other books, but I am looking forward to reading them and reading the next book in this series. The story moved a little slowly, but this is a pretty good book and I would definitely recommend it.


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Review ~ Mirrored by Alex Flinn

24331337Title: Mirrored

Author: Alex Flinn

Published by: HarperTeen; September 15, 2015

Format/Source: E-Arc provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

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In #1 New York Times bestselling author Alex Flinn’s modern and mysterious retelling of Snow White, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and true love doesn’t necessarily mean Prince Charming.

Celine’s life is the stuff fairy tales are made of. She’s beautiful, talented, and brave. Unfortunately, her tale comes complete with a wicked stepmother! When Violet steps into Celine’s life, everything changes and weird things begin to happen to her—bizarre accidents, strange illnesses, and rabid animal attacks. Celine doesn’t feel safe anywhere. It’s almost as if some hateful witch is out to get her.

And there is. Violet has been waiting all her life to have Celine’s father to herself. Getting rid of his gorgeous daughter is child’s play for a witch as powerful as she is. Happy-ever-after isn’t enough for Violet. She wants to be the fairest of them all, and Celine is in the way . . . but not for long.

Forced to take refuge with her friend Goose and his family, Celine gives up everything she loves and goes deep undercover. But will it be enough to fool Violet, or will Celine’s fate be decided by a reflection in a magic mirror? And where do you find Prince Charming in Miami anyway?

Mirrored is a modern retelling of Snow White—told from the points of view of Violet, Celine, and Goose—with all the magic and mystery readers will love.

Review:

Before reading Mirrored, I read Bewitching and really enjoyed it, so I had pretty high expectations for this one. Unfortunately, this book suffered a little because of that. I was kind of disappointed and I just didn’t get drawn in to this book like I did with previous Flinn books.

This book is told in three parts. The first part is all about Violet. She is an ugly child and has only one friend. When that one friend abandons her for the popular girl, she is devastated. Then, my favorite Flinn character, Kendra, shows up to try and save the day. Violet discovers she is  a witch and immediately uses her powers to make herself beautiful. She turns herself into a whole new person, but soon realizes that nothing has really changed and nobody likes her, even with her new beauty. This starts her on a path towards evil.

The second part of the book is the story of Celine. She is the daughter of Violet’s former friend/crush, Greg, and the popular girl Jennifer, that he abandoned her for. Due to some circumstances, Violet and Greg are now married and Celine is now the step-daughter of Violet. Celine is a natural beauty and immensely talented and Violet is as you might expect, extremely jealous. More circumstances lead Violet to wage war on Celine.

The third part of the book is all about Goose. He helped Celine escape from Violet, but now he must find a way to save her life. He is the ultimate unlikely hero, and one of the best parts of the book. He is four feet, five inches tall and is terrified of heights. He has to find a way to rise to the occasion and be the knight in shining armor, even if he doesn’t end up getting the girl.

The biggest turn off of this book was Violet’s obsession with beauty and with Greg. She went to extreme lengths to acquire both. and although, I felt really sorry for her, the obsessions were a little annoying and definitely frustrating. If she wasn’t talking about her beauty, she was talking about Greg, or how much she hated Celine.

Overall, This book was okay and if you are a fan of Alex Flinn, I would still recommend this book. It wasn’t my favorite Flinn book, but I did end up enjoying it.


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Review ~ Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

18304322Title: Dumplin’

Author: Julie Murphy

Published by: Balzer + Bray; September 15, 2015

Format/Source: E-Arc provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 Stars

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Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Review:

This is one of those stories that I connected with on a personal level. I was very much looking forward to this book and it did not disappoint. Dumplin’ is a very real and honest story and I enjoyed it very much.

Willowdean is trying to spend the summer before her junior year as any teenager would. She works nights at a fast food joint, while crushing on her hot co-worker Bo, spending her free time with her best friend Ellen, and avoiding all things beauty pageant.

I loved the relationship between Willow and Ellen and especially their mutual love of Dolly Parton. They are going through something I expect most friendships go through. They are at different places in their lives and it starts to drive them apart. I loved their friendship and I was kind of sad that they were fighting, but I love how they were able to talk and work out their problems because they obviously loved and cared about each other.

She’s always accepted herself and her body. She doesn’t get why it’s such a problem for other people, but she never expected someone like Bo, a former jock and super cute,  to want to be with someone like her. But then he actually seems to share her feelings.  As I expected,  she starts to become insecure about her body, specifically about him touching her body. She worries that when he touches her, he can feel all of her fat and she’s afraid it will repulse him. Then it starts to seem like Bo is keeping her a secret from his family and friends and she calls him out on it. I was very pleased with how their relationship progressed and grew, especially after their big argument. Overall, I loved them as individuals and as a couple.

She feels out of whack and decides that the only way to fix it is to enter the Miss Clover City beauty pageant, that is run by her mom, the former beauty queen. She and her mom don’t have the best relationship, so she immediately accuses Willowdean of trying to make her look bad, as if the whole pageant is a joke. I loved the fights between Willow and her mom. They reminded me of my mom and how much I miss the stupid fights we used to have.

I really connected with this book and especially with this character, but I can understand how she might not be for everyone. I loved how this book ended. It put the biggest smile on my face and overall, I really enjoyed this boook and would most definitely recommend it.


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Review ~ Finding Perfect by Kendra C. Highley

25877185Title: Finding Perfect

Author: Kendra C. Highley

Published by: Entangled Teen: Crush ~ September 14, 2015

Format/Source: E-Arc provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

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How far will you go for perfection?

For “Perfect Paige” Westfield, today is “D” Day. As in, she just got one on her calculus test. With her dreams of Stanford, her reputation, and her parents’ expectations at stake, Paige needs to find a way to save face before everything she’s worked for goes up in flames.

Ben Franklin (yes, he’s related) is from the wrong side of town, with the wrong clothes and the wrong kind of life. He also knows an opportunity when he sees one, and he’ll be happy to tutor Paige—if she makes him into the kind of guy her best friend, the hottest girl in school, will date.

It’s the perfect arrangement. And Paige is determined not even the inconvenient—and utterly imperfect—attraction simmering between her and Ben will ruin it…

Review:

Paige Westfield is perfect. She’s the perfect daughter and perfect student. She’s 4th in her class and has her sights set on Stanford. Then she gets a D on her calculus test after getting C’s on previous tests and papers. Her perfect life alowly starts to unravel and the stress of being “Perfect Paige” starts to weigh very heavily on her.

She practically runs out of the classroom so her fellow students won’t notice her meltdown. Enter Ben Franklin. Yes that’s his name and it cracked me up on many occasions while reading this book. Paige doesn’t really know anything about Ben, because he’s from the other side of town, the poor side, and he’s not one of the popular kids, like Paige and her friends. What she does know is that Ben is 3rd in their class and a math genius. Ben offers to tutor Paige in exchange for helping him land a date with Zoey. the most popular girl in school, and Paige’s best friend. Paige knows that task will be nearly impossible, but she’s desperate to improve her calculus grade, so she agrees to Ben’s proposition. What could possibly go wrong?

Well. the biggest problem with this situation is Paige and Ben. The more time they spend together, the more they realize that they are developing feelings for each other. Ben starts to realize that Paige is not who he expected her to be and even though he does actually like Zoey, he has actual feelings for Paige. Paige is trying to be honorable and hold up her end of the bargain and trying to make Ben more like the kind of guy Zoe would go for, even when she starts to realize that she really likes Ben.

I really felt for Paige in this story. She was under so much pressure to be the perfect student and daughter. Her parents and their very high expectations were the source of so much of her stress. I really connected with Paige because I remember when I was a senior and I remember getting so stressed out and worrying about how my parents were going to react. Paige is that kind of person who wants to please everybody and it eventually gets to her. I love how as the story went along she slowly started to stand up for herself and I loved how she eventually got to a place where she wasn’t afraid to make her own decisions about her life. It’s not always easy to deal with parents who have high expectations.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Ben, but I ended up really loving him. He was raised by his mother and they didn’t have a lot, but they made up for it with love. Ben already has his future planned out. He’s 3rd in their class, he already knows where he’s going to college and now he wants only one more thing out of high school, to land a date with the most popular girl in school. He convinces Paige to give him a makeover to look more like Zoey’s kind of guy, but the more time he spends with Paige, the more he realizes how well they work together. He is obviously torn. He likes Zoey, but then he starts to realize that his feeling for Paige are the real deal.

Zoey was definitely not what I expected. She is very perceptive and she was interesting. I loved her relationship with Paige. I absolutely loved their friendship. I love how supportive they were of each other. Based on the last chapter, it looks like this book will get a sequel featuring Zoey. If/when that happens, I am very much looking forward to it.

One of the big themes of this book was family. You get to see the big difference between Paige’s family and Ben and his mom.  I absolutely loved Ben’s relationship with his mother. They are really close and they can talk about anything and she was such a voice of reason in this story. On the other side, Paige’s relationship with her parents are a little strained. Her parents have such high expectations for Paige and it creates conflict, but in the end they are still family and they love each other.

I loved the writing and the story. The romance was incredibly cute and sweet and the characters were really genuine. I absolutely loved this book and I highly recommend it.


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Review ~ Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru by Tera Lynn Childs

Title: Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru (Creative Hearts #1)

Author: Tera Lynn Childs

Published by: Entangled Teen: Crush ~ September 14, 2015

Format/Source: E-Arc provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5 Stars

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When life gives you a blank canvas, make art.

Sloane Whitaker hates everything about moving to Texas. She hates leaving behind her friends and half her family in New York, starting over senior year at Austin’s NextGen Academy, and having to say she lives in Texas. Most of all, she hates that it’s all her fault. If she wants to earn her way back to the Big Apple, she has to prove she can still be the perfect daughter.

Which means no vandalism art, no trouble at school, and absolutely no Tru Dorsey, her serial screw-up neighbor, who loves nothing more than pushing her buttons.

But from the moment he vaults onto the roof outside her bedroom, there is something about him that makes her want to break every rule. Suddenly it’ s not the ten things she hates about Tru that are at the top of her list. It’s the ten reasons she doesn’t want to be without him.

Review:

Sloane has a pretty good life. She goes to a prestigious art school in New York, her best friends, and her freedom. Then she makes a stupid decision in the name of art, and now she has to deal with the consequences. Her mother moves her to Texas and to a new school for her senior year. Her mother thinks that taking Sloane away from New York and the “bad influences” will teach her a valuable lesson about the consequences of her actions. Of course, Sloane hates the entire situation.

She is given a small reprieve when her mother offers her a deal, stay out of trouble for the first quarter of school and she gets to go home.This deal also means that Sloane has to stay away from Tru, the resident bad boy next door. Only he doesn’t seem that bad and he’s a total flirt.

I really liked Sloane. I loved her passion for art. She is obviously upset with her situation, but I thought she handled it pretty well. If I had been in that situation, I would have handled it way worse. She knows that what she did had serious consequences and she doesn’t just write if off. I love that she didn’t just write off Tru just because her mother wanted her too, especially when he needed help.

Her relationship with her family is strained because her father is a workaholic and had to stay in New York, along with her brother and her mother is acting like a prison warden. I loved Sloane’s relationship with her mother. It was realistic and even though they were fighting, you could tell they loved each other.

I really liked Tru. I appreciated how the “bad boy” of the story wasn’t really that much of a bad boy. He’s just a guy trying to deal with difficult circumstances, although, not always in the best way. He has a difficult home life, but away from home he’s a pretty charming guy. I felt really bad for him and what he had to go through with his parents.

I really loved that the romance wasn’t the main focus of the book. For most of it, Sloane and Tru were just really great friends who flirted a lot. They were obviously attracted to each other, but they both knew a relationship wasn’t what either of them needed at the time. I loved how they went from really great friends to eventually more than friends.

This book was awesome and I really enjoyed it. I had never read any other books by this author before, but I’m definitely going to have to change that now.


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Review ~ Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

25027815Title: Blood and Salt (Blood and Salt #1)

Author: Kim Liggett

Published by: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers; September 22, 2015

Format/Source: Digital galley provided for free via First To Read in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5 Stars

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“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.

Review:

Sometimes you hear about a book and read the summary and you just know, you need that book in your life. For me, Blood and Salt was one of those books and I absolutely loved it. It was creepy and thrilling and I was blown away by the writing. I told myself I wouldn’t read a book about a cult again, but I’m glad I made an exception in this case. I was hooked from the very first sentence and flew through this book, and only put it down if I absolutely had to.

Ash and her twin brother Rhys are on  road trip to Quivera, Kansas to find their mother, who was once a member of a cult hidden behind some very tall corn stalks. When they step through the stalks, they are welcomed with open arms and thrown into the preparations for a ceremony, 500 years in the making. Ash starts to feel like she’s here for a reason, like this is where she is supposed to be, but Rhys wants nothing more than to find their mother and go home. Ash also finds herself drawn to the one guy in the cult she’s supposed to stay away from, Dane, who’s got secrets of his own.

Ash was  a really interesting character. I connected with her really well and I was really drawn to her personality. She was actually pretty funny, but also strong and brave, at least, when she needed to be. She certainly wasn’t a perfect character, but I really liked her as the main character.

My favorite part of this book was the flashback story. I love how the past was seamlessly blended into the present day story. I kind of figured out where the story was going pretty early on, but in this case, it didn’t take anything away from the story. This had a feel of a story within a story and I happen to have a spot spot for those kinds of stories.

The romance was definitely very present in this story, in both the past and present parts of the story and normally I wouldn’t love that, but I found myself really enjoying that part of the story. I ate up every scene between Ash and Dane and I loved all of the interactions of the minor characters.

Overall, I loved this book. From the creepy cult to the romance and all of the thrills and twists. I am very much looking forward to reading the sequel. I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy of this book.


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