Review: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

26047679Title: The Forbidden Wish

Author: Jessica Khoury

Published by: Razorbill; February 23, 2016

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

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

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She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world…

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years — a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes. 

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

My Review

It was quite a while before this book was released that I first heard about it. And from the beginning, I was seriously excited about the world that would be created and anxious to see what twist the author would put on the story of Aladdin, one of my favorite stories. What the author manages to create is a breathtaking world, full of interesting characters and my new favorite version of Aladdin. 

The Forbidden Wish tells the story of Aladdin, a boy from the streets, and Zahra, the most powerful Jinni, and how their love changes everything around them. I love that this story has some of the elements of the story we already know, but it’s presented in a new way. Khoury has said that this is a story she has been wanting to tell, and you can definitely sense that in her writing. This whole book felt special and beautiful.

All Zahra wants is what any Jinni would want, her freedom. She is banished to a city no longer inhabited and she stays there for many, many years, until a magical ring leads Aladdin there and he becomes her new master. They return to his city, a place where Jinn are hunted and considered enemies. The King of the Jinn has been searching for his son, who was captured, and offers Zahra a deal. If she can find and free the prince, she receives what she wants most, her freedom. The closer she gets to completing her mission the more she starts to realize her feelings for Aladdin, and she can’t have her freedom and be with him, so she must decide what matters more.

I absolutely loved Zahra. I loved her voice in this story. I loved her spirit and determination. She has been through a lot in her very long life. The last time she felt love for a human, it resulted in very bad things happening and that definitely still has an effect on her and her relationship with Aladdin.

It did take me a little while to get on board with the romance between her and Aladdin, but once I was in, I was hooked. Even though I knew it was going to happen, didn’t register for me right away, which I almost think worked out really well. It wasn’t rushed at all, and it never felt forced or fake, it felt real and very beautiful.

The Forbidden Wish is a beautifully written story that will make you fall in love with Aladdin all over again, and you will also fall head over heels for the Jinni from the lamp. If you’re as big a fan of re-tellings as I am, you’re not going to want to miss this story.

Happy Reading!

Release Blast: Call Me, Maybe by Ellie Cahill ~ Review & Giveaway


Ellie Cahill

Releasing on February 9, 2016


“Ellie Cahill is definitely one to watch!” raves bestselling author Cora Carmack, and this steamy, upbeat modern romance about connecting in all the best ways proves it once again.

Clementine Daly knows she’s the black sheep. Her wealthy, powerful family has watched her very closely since she almost got caught in an embarrassing scandal a few years ago. So when Clementine’s sent on a mission to live up to the Daly name, politely declining isn’t an option. Of course, the last thing she does before boarding the plane is to grab a stranger’s phone by mistake—leaving the hunky journalist with herphone. Soon his sexy voice is on the line, but he doesn’t know her real name, or her famous pedigree—which is just the way Clementine likes it.

Despite all the hassles, Justin Mueller is intrigued to realize that the beautiful brown-eyed girl he met at the airport is suddenly at his fingertips. They agree to exchange phones when they’re both back in town, but after a week of flirty texts and wonderfully intimate conversations, Justin doesn’t want to let her go. The only problem? It turns out that Clemetine has been lying to him about, well, everything. Except for the one thing two people can’t fake, the only thing that matters: The heat between them is for real.


*E-arc provided by the pulisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
I was really excited to read this book. When I first heard about it, I thought it sounded really interesting. The writing was good and the characters were interesting, but the story was just okay, for me. The romance was really sweet, but happened way too quickly.

Clementine comes from a very rich and prominent family. In the past, she narrowly escaped a scandal, and is now banned from social media by her family. She follows these new rules, except in the case of her book blog, which she runs under a fake name.

After a chance encounter in an airport, she ends up with a stranger’s phone, and even though she knows there isn’t anything compromising on it, she becomes a little anxious over it. The person now in control of her phone just happens to be the hot guy she tripped over at the airport, and he just happens to be a journalist. Because of what happened in her past, she is very wary of trusting this new guy.

They spend most of the week exchanging texts and calls, but it felt, to me, like they didn’t really communicate all that much. And then when the week was over and they met face to face, it was almost a full blown relationship. I was hoping for more of them getting to know each other while they were apart.

Overall, I liked this book, but it didn’t really blow me away like I was hoping it would. The actual romance in the book seemed to happen way too quickly, probably a case of too short a book, not enough story time. Towards the end, everything seemed to go at super speed. The good thing about this story was that I actually really liked both main characters, and I found their stories interesting.

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Ellie Cahill is a freelance writer and also writes books for young adults under the name Liz Czukas. She lives outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her husband, son, and the world’s loudest cat.

Review: Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

22663629Title: Shallow Graves

Author: Kali Wallace

Published by: Katherine Tegen Books; January 26, 2016

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

My Rating: 4 Stars

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When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.

My Review

Shallow Graves is one of those books that will grab you from the very first sentence. It’s probably one of my new favorite opening lines, ever. From there, the book goes in quite a few different directions and while it left slightly confused, at times, I found this book to be very compelling and extremely entertaining. It features some beautiful writing and a very diverse cast of characters.

Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave a year after she died. She’s not exactly dead, but she’s not really alive, either. She also now possesses the ability to sense if someone has killed, and her world is now open to all of the monsters, she didn’t know existed. She is now on a mission, to figure out what she is, how she died, and how she came to be the way she is now.

Breezy was an interesting character. She was incredibly brave, considering the circumstances. She was smart, she tried to explain everything, almost like a scientist. She did, however, purposefully put herself in danger a few times, which worried me a little.

The thing that made me take a star off for this book, was the plot. This is almost two different stories, from beginning to end. On the one hand, Breezy is trying to figure out what she is and how she fits into this world of monsters that she is now a part of. She is also focusing on the past, and trying to figure out who killed her, and how. It did throw me off, just a bit.

I loved that there is no real romance in this book. It’s more of a past tense situation, where she is remembering something that happened, prior to her death. With everything going on in this book, a romance would have felt insincere and forced. The only bad thing about that is, we didn’t really get to fully know some of the minor characters. There was some potential there that wasn’t fully met.

I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it. The writing is fantastic and the main character is amazing. 

Happy Reading!

Review: 14 Days To Die by A.B. Whelan

26262230Title: 14 Days To Die

Author: A.B. Whelan

Published by: inMotion Capitol; January 13, 2016

Format/Source: E-arc provided by the pulisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: 3 Stars

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To what extent would you go to avenge your husband’s infidelity?

Stay-at-home mom Sarah Johnson has the perfect family—a handsome, hardworking husband and two healthy and beautiful children. At least, that’s what she’s been telling herself for years. After the tragedies in her youth, Sarah deemed living a lie easier than dwelling on the past and facing her everyday failures. To avoid any kind of confrontation at home she doesn’t read her husband’s emails or spy on him like most jealous wives do. She wouldn’t jeopardize her comfortable but dull life for anything.

But Sarah’s world is about to crumble around her when she receives a phone call from a man with a heavy foreign accent telling her that her perfect husband has put a price on her head. She is offered two weeks to come up with a counteroffer or die. Why would her model husband Mike want her dead? Hasn’t she been the perfect wife? Or has her karma finally caught up with her—making her pay for her former transgressions? The final countdown begins and now Sarah has to race against time to find out what went wrong in her marriage and find a way out of this nightmare.

So the game of life or death begins. Secrets are unveiled. Emotions are unleashed. Actions are taken.

Will there be a winner in this dangerous game when no one can escape the twist of fate?

My Review

I was really looking forward to reading this book. I thought it sounded like a really interesting story. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work, for me. I just didn’t really connect with the story, but judging from all of the 4 and 5 star reviews, others didn’t seem to have the same problem. It didn’t completely work for me as a book, but I think the story would be perfect as a movie.

I didn’t really connect with Sarah, or like her even, until the second half of the book. Her life and marriage are seemingly perfect, until it isn’t anymore and she spends a lot of this book wondering where she went wrong. She finds out this horrible thing and tries to come up with a way to survive. She definitely has an interesting personality, but it took me a while to care about what happened to her.

Parts of the book seemed to go slowly and others seemed to go at super speed, especially in the last 15%. There were a few things that happened in the book that seemed not entirely realistic, but it wasn’t all that unbelievable. I did, however, find it to be kind of predictable. There were a few twists that I didn’t see coming, but I figured out most of it pretty early on.

Overall, I thought the story was okay and if the premise sounds interesting to you, I would recommend it.

Happy Reading!

Review: The Girlfriend Request by Jodie Andrefski

28356657Title: The Girlfriend Request

Author: Jodie Andrefski

Published by: Entangled: Crush; January 11, 2016

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

My Rating: 3 Stars

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Updating best friend to girlfriend is more than a change of status…

Emma has been best friends with Eli since she moved to his neighborhood ten years ago. Tired of being cast in the role of the girl next door, Emma creates a fake Facebook profile in the hopes of starting an online friendship with Eli, which would hopefully lead to more. Like…way more. From friend request to In a Relationship–it all seemed so completely logical when she’d planned it.

Eli can’t figure out what Emma is up to. He’s pretty sure she’s the one behind the Facebook profile, but then again, why would she do something so drastic instead of just admitting she wants to be more than friends? And who the heck is this new guy he saw her with? Eli starts to think that just maybe…he missed his chance with the girl next door.

Two best friends, one outlandish ruse. Their status is about to become way more than It’s Complicated…

This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one fake Facebook profile, two best friends who secretly crave each other, and a dreaded sex talk with parents…boy crush in the room included. Pushing a relationship beyond the friend zone has never been so crazy…

My Review

Emma has been in love with her best friend, Eli, for the last ten years. She can’t seem to get the nerve to just tell him how she feels, so she comes up with the crazy plan to create a fake profile. She hopes that when he realizes how much they have in common, he will finally see her as more than just a friend. 

This plan goes to hell pretty quickly. Eli is a pretty smart guy and he figures out pretty quickly that Emma is behind the fake profile. Now he starts to wonder if she did it because she has feelings for him or if she is playing some kind of prank on him.

Mostly this book just left me feeling very frustrated,]. Eventually they figure stuff out and ultimately, they are super sweet and cute, but the whole middle part of the book annoyed me.

They could have solved all of their problems with a good heart to heart. Emma had so many chances to come clean, and so did Eli. But their silence just led to more lies and more stuff that they had to work through. 

I liked Eli and Emma as characters, but they definitely both had me frustrated and wanting to yell at them. The ending was super sweet, unfortunately, it did’t really make up for the rest of the book.

This has probably been my least favorite crush book and I’ve loved most of the ones I’ve read. I wouldn’t not recommend this one, but I would say expect some frustration.

Happy Reading!

Review: Not Okay, Cupid by Heidi R. Kling

28356550Title: Not, Okay Cupid

Author: Heidi R. Kling

Published by: Entangled: Crush; January 11, 2016

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

My Rating: 4 Stars

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Her wicked revenge, or his wicked heart…

Hazel McCallister loves her life. Perfect grades. Perfect best friend. Perfect boyfriend. Until her perfect boyfriend cheats on her with her perfect best friend. Now Hazel’s in free fall—until her best friend’s brother, Felix, gives her the perfect idea. Reclaim her power by taking revenge on her cheating ex.

Felix James loves his life. Casual relationships. Loads of surfing. He’s as drama-free as they come. But he can’t stand by when his sister steals her best friend’s boyfriend, and the dude insists it was Hazel’s fault. So Felix vows to help turn Hazel into a girl her ex can’t resist—so then she can break his heart.

With an alliance in place, Hazel’s revenge is all but assured. But with each piece of payback, she feels a stronger attraction to Felix, even though revenge will turn her into a girl Felix could never be with. And soon Hazel has to make an impossible choice: revenge…or Felix, the boy who’s stolen her heart.

WARNING! This book contains betrayal, revenge, and that most tempting vice of all, the bad boy you know you can’t have.

My Review

Not Okay, Cupid is another super sweet, super swoonworthy, teen romance from Entangled’s Crush Imprint. Hazel and Felix set out for revenge and end up with a lot more than they bargained for. I really enjoyed this book. I liked the characters and the writing did a great job of bringing them to life.

A week before Valentine’s Day, Hazel walks into the cafeteria looking for her boyfriend Jay and best friend Kimmy, only to find them together, looking very much like a couple in front of the whole cafeteria. At first she tries to convince herself that she can’t be seeing what she thinks she’s seeing, but the closer she gets to them, the more obvious it is.

Kimmy’s brother Felix, who also witnesses the scene in the cafeteria and has his reasons for being upset, comes up with a way for Hazel to get her revenge. Together they pretend to be a couple to get Jay jealous. The plan starts to work beautifully, at least until Felix and Hazel start to realize they have feelings for each other.

I absolutely adored Felix and Hazel. I loved how well interacted. Their relationship started out very playful and turned out to be so sweet. I think they complemented each other very well.

I really enjoyed this book and I am very much looking forward to reading more books by Heidi R. Kling.

Happy Reading!

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

23395680Title: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)

Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers; October 20, 2015

Format/Source: I bought the hardcover.

My Rating: 5 Stars

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This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

My Review

I’m going to try and keep this short and sweet. There isn’t much I can say that hasn’t already been said. I absolutely loved this book. It was different and interesting and really cool.  The characters were great and the writing was spectacular.

I loved Kady. I thought she was really interesting. I loved how feisty she was and how she refused to leave things alone, when she knew the truth was out there for her to find.

I also really loved Ezra. I loved how he didn’t give up on Kady, even when she was ignoring him.  He deals with a lot during the story and manages to get through it all.

The format was absolutely brilliant. The story is told through files, gathered by the Illuminae Group, that cover surveillance footage, interviews, private chat messages, and so on. This is such a multi-faceted story that a regular format just would not have worked.

Overall, I really loved this book. I am a huge fan of sci-fi, so this book was right up my ally. I am very much looking forward to book two.

Happy Reading!

Review ~ This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

24529123Title: This Is Where It Ends

Author: Marieke Nijkamp

Published by: Sourcebooks Fire; January 5, 2016

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

My Rating: 4 Stars

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 10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

The auditorium doors won’t open.

Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.


This Is Where It Ends is one of those books I feel weird for saying I really enjoyed, but I did. It is compelling and haunting and it totally sucked me in. It features an incredibly diverse cast of characters and beautiful writing.

The story is told from the perspectives of four different students, each with a connection to the shooter. They all have very strong feelings for him, both good and bad. It features very diverse characters, both POC and LGBTQ characters, and it does play a small role in what is happening in the story.

We also get little snippets of texts, tweets and Facebook posts, although I didn’t really feel those were necessary. I don’t think they really added anything to the story, except trying to build the tension, and not really succeeding, in my opinion.

I liked that two of the characters were outside of the actual shooting, it allows for a bigger picture. We get to see what’s happening outside of the auditorium, as much as inside. The confusion and fear from outside of the auditorium comes across very well.

The big thing this story was missing for me was the shooter’s perspective. We only see him through the eyes of the other characters. Their hesitation to believe he is capable of doing this horrible thing, and other’s belief that he is. I would have liked to see how he saw himself and how his ind worked.

I think reading from his perspective, from before the shooting and leading up to it would have added another level to the story, and would have made it absolutely amazing. That was the only thing I would change about this book. It’s obvious that he is troubled, but I don’t think it came across as well as it could have.

Because we don’t have his perspective, we get glimpses of him through memories and flashbacks, which kind of took something away from the story. I think the flashbacks kind of messed with the real time format. It kind of broke it up and didn’t really feel natural.

That being said, I really enjoyed this book. I had high hopes going into it, and I was not disappointed. If you don’t have a problem reading books with tough subjects, then this is a book for you. This is Marieke Nijkamp’s first novel and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Happy Reading!

Review ~ Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson

23245337Title: Dreamland

Author: Robert L. Anderson

Published by: HarperTeen; 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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Odea Donahue has been able to travel through people’s dreams since she was six years old. Her mother taught her the three rules of walking: Never interfere. Never be seen. Never walk the same person’s dream more than once. Dea has never questioned her mother, not about the rules, not about the clocks or the mirrors, not about moving from place to place to be one step ahead of the unseen monsters that Dea’s mother is certain are right behind them.

Then a mysterious new boy, Connor, comes to town and Dea finally starts to feel normal. As Connor breaks down the walls that she’s had up for so long, he gets closer to learning her secret. For the first time she wonders if that’s so bad. But when Dea breaks the rules, the boundary between worlds begins to deteriorate. How can she know what’s real and what’s not?


I was really excited to read Dreamland. I am fascinated by the idea of people walking in dreams. I read a book series a few years back that had a similar concept and I really enjoyed that series.  I didn’t end up loving this one, but I enjoyed it and would love to read more about the world in this book.

Dea has to walk people’s dreams or she gets sick. There are very strict and specific rules she is supposed to follow. But, then she decides to go against the rules and puts herself and others in danger. This was a case of a young heroine being young and immature. She and her mother got into an argument and she breaks the rules just to get back at her mother.

That part of the book kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I did appreciate how she grew up by he end of the book. Dea makes a lot of mistakes, but she also learns from them. 

This books features a little bit of insta-love and I don’t think the mystery aspect of the story needed to be such a big part. I enjoyed the twist at the end and only wish we could have gotten more of that part of the story. This is one of the few stories that I think could have benefited from an extra hundred pages.

Overall, this was a good book and I’m hoping it gets a sequel, because the world that was built in this one has a lot of potential.

Happy Reading!

Review ~ Proof Of Forever by Lexa Hillyer

18520642Title: Proof of Forever

Author: Lexa Hillyer

Published byHarperCollins; June 2, 2015

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

My Rating4 Stars

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Before: It was the perfect summer of first kisses, skinny-dipping, and bonfires by the lake. Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe knew their final summer at Camp Okahatchee would come to an end, but they swore they’d stay friends.

After: Now, two years later, their bond has faded along with those memories.

Then: That is, until the fateful flash of a photo booth camera transports the four of them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen—the summer everything changed.

Now: The girls must recreate the past in order to return to the present. As they live through their second-chance summer, the mystery behind their lost friendship unravels, and a dark secret threatens to tear the girls apart all over again.

Always: Summers end. But this one will change them forever.

My Review:

Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe ended their final summer at Camp Okahatchee as best friends, with a promise to stay that way. But life gets in their way and two years later, back at Camp for a reunion, these former best friends are now strangers. And they want nothing to do with each other.

One of the four suggest digging up a box the former friends buried, but they’re caught sneaking around and use the photo booth as their cover. When the flash goes off and they leave the photo booth, they quickly realize something’s different. They are transported two years into the past and realize they will have to work together to recreate that summer, in order to get back to the present. But how do they recreate a summer from the past when they’re all so different in the present.

I loved how different the girls were. They are all dealing with things in their own lives and that makes some of them question their quest. If they don’t like what they’re going back to, should they try to go back? Now that they are sharing this experience, they finally start to piece together what went wrong that summer, and how they went from best friends to strangers.

Their quest was lots of fun and lots of hi-jinks. Add in a little summer romance and a few personal revelations and you end up with a really fun book about friendship and summer and second chances. Proof of forever is definitely a perfect summer book. I never went to a summer camp growing up, but I felt like I got a taste of it, with this book.

I was really impressed with this book. It made me laugh, smile, and even cry, a few times. I am such a sucker for books about best friends who find their way back to each other. These girls were the kind of friends anyone would be lucky to have. I definitely recommend this book and I highly suggest you don”t wait until next summer to dive into this book.

Happy Reading!