ARC Review: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

How to Make a Wish

GoodReads Summary:

All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

My Review:

From the first moment that How to Make a Wish was announced I was incredibly excited to read it. I had read Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake and fell in love with her writing style and story telling. And while this review is coming out on the day How to Make a Wish is published, I read this novel over two months ago when I received the ARC.

How to Make a Wish grabbed me from the first sentence. A story of loss, love, acceptance, and future, Ashley weaves an intense tale of two teen girls finding each other at the right moment. Of complex stories that intertwine. Of having to handle that moment of “coming-out” to her family and friends.

I like both character’s right away and their “meet cute” was the perfect way to start their relationship.

With Grace launched into the adult world too soon, having to take care of a mother who is unpredictable, she is resentful that she doesn’t get a normal childhood. She is also looking toward her future, thinking about college, worried about her mother, worried about her best friend, feeling helpless. She is a very well-rounded character.

Eva on the other side is suffering the death of her mother and mentor. Forced to move to a town and in with a family she doesn’t know. Finding connection with Grace’s erratic mother.

On a deep scale, this book is about relationships; coming to terms with who an individual is, who a person wants to be, acceptance, love, friendship.

My Rating: 5 out of 5

I’d like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group for providing me with an ARC of this novel. Receiving this novel for free does not sway my review. Blog Signature

Book Review: The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L Armentrout

The Problem with Forever

Goodreads Summary:

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

My Review:

Something I have always loved about Jennifer L. Armentrout is her ability to take mental illness and weave them realistically into lives of her characters. Having seen her a few times in person, she is incredibly passionate about mental illness and being true to them when writing stories. She has previously written two other stories about mental illness, both of which I loved- Scorched and Frigid.

The Problem with Forever is about a Malory who grew up in the foster care system with abusive foster parents. She shared that home with a boy- Rider- whom was like a protector. Eventually Mallory is adopted by a new family, but she still has to deal with the after affects of the abuse and foster care system.

Mallory and Rider are both complex characters, each with their own coping mechanisms. The importance of this story is the acknowledgement  of these complexities and how their family and friends supported them, but also how they supported each other. This novel also sheds light on old “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” idea. All people come from different backgrounds, and, especially given today’s issues, it’s important to not judge before knowing someone.

Rating: 4 out of 5Blog Signature

 

Book Review: The Ending I Want by Samantha Towle

 

The Ending I Want

Goodreads Summary:

From the New York Times Bestselling author of The Mighty Storm, comes a heartfelt new standalone novel…

Taylor Shaw had the perfect life—until she was sixteen. That was when everything changed. From that moment on, life went from bad to worse…to the worst.
After recovering from a brain tumor, months later, she suffers the tragic loss of her whole family.
Since that fateful day, she’s been coasting through life.

Now, the brain tumor has returned, and Taylor decides she’s had enough. She’s going to take her fate into her own hands.
No more hospitals. No more surgeries. No more anything.
She’s going to join her family.
It’s her decision.
What she longs for.
The ending she wants.

She just has a list of things to do before she goes.
First, go to England.
Second, kiss a stranger…

Only, Taylor didn’t expect Liam Hunter, the stranger—with his handsome face, his six-foot-three of gorgeousness, and his oh-so-hot English accent—to change things.
To change her.
To change the ending she wanted.

What is a girl, who is standing on the edge of nothing, to do when offered the chance of everything?

My Review:

As I’m sure you’ve seen through my other review, I generally love everything I read. Even the other book by Samantha Towle I absolutely adored (and then convinced Veronica to read it). However, this books was extremely problematic for me. I think it had more to do with the fact that, while contemporary isn’t my favorite genre, it felt unrealistic.

I had a difficult time with the two main characters, Taylor and Liam. To me their relationship doesn’t make sense. I get wanting to do things for yourself and on your terms. I get that potentially meeting someone can change your plans. But the way Liam and Taylor met, their adventures, it all felt fake. And maybe I am being a skeptic here. I know I’ve read other novels where events and meet cute was just as exaggerated. Sometimes it works really well, other times it doesn’t.

In the end, this felt like a mix between Me Before You and 50 Shades of Grey.

Rating: 2 out of 5Blog Signature

 

 

Book Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)

Goodreads Summary:

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

My Review:

This series continues to get better and better. Mass’ writing has evolved over time and Empire of Storms is at the top.

As the second to last novel (that we know about because last year we received exciting news about novellas), Empire of Storms picks up right where Queen of Shadows finished. Between the first and the fourth book, Celaena Sardothian has evolved into her true self, Aelin Galathynius. She has used everything she went through to become the true Queen of Terrasen. And in EOS, Aelin must now gather her army and prove she is more than her enemy.

Old friends come back and new faces appear. EoS is a continuous adventure, switching perspectives of several different characters. We learn new back stories. Discover devious plots. Hearts change. Maas weaves secret after secret through the pages and when events happen, it usually blew my mind. And the end completely threw me for a loop. I didn’t see any of it coming.

I would put Sarah J Maas in the same story telling category as JK Rowling and JRR Tolkien. She is a story teller, a world builder.

Rating: 5 out 5Blog Signature

 

 

Blog Tour Release Day: ROSEBLOOD by A.G. Howard

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Synopsis:

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic ROSEBLOOD.jpgtalent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

Amazon * B&N * iBooks * Audible

Goodreads * YouTube

About A.G. Howard

ag-howardA.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would’ve happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.

When she’s not writing, A.G.’s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

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1 Winner will receive a signed ROSEBLOOD poster and mask courtesy of A.G. and Rockstar Book Tours. US Only. Ends January 17th at midnight.

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Book Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

GoodReads Summary:

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

My Review:

So this is the followup to Bardugo’s Six of Crows which I absolutely loved. And Crooked Kingdom was just as good, though not better. We again follow the rogue Kaz Brekker and his band of miscreants. This time they are seeking revenge on their double crossed deal with Ja Van Eck- “We are going to take Van Eck’s money, and then we’re going to take his reputation.”

Bardugo does a good job of wending the story long, telling if from the perspective of each member in the group. And along the way things go wrong. Plans must change. Surprises arise. The writing is just as good, but I do have to say the story felt slower than Six of Crows. There isn’t as much action. You get more personal with Nina, Matthias, Inej, Kaz, Jesper, and Wylan, more of their backgrounds that was missing from the first novel.

Six of Crows was better, in my opinion, due to the fact that it was more fast paced. I will say that Bardugo does a great job of holding back details and surprising the reader just when you need it. Don’t think you’ll get through this book scot-free without deaths. There are some and they hit pretty close to home.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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ARC Review: The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

The Lovely Reckless

GoodReads Summary:

I’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

My Review:

I received this book through Miss Print‘s ARC Adoption Program. And I have to say when I received it I was so excited to read it. The synopsis sounded amazing and I know Kami Garcia is a fantastic writer. Her Beautiful Creatures series is just that, beautiful.

But as you can see I haven’t posted a review in a while.

There have been many changes in my personal life, ups and downs, that have lead to me reading less. And while these changes were occurring, I was reading The Lovely Reckless. So my feelings on this book, I think, are a bit biased because of my personal life.

I do have to say The Lovely Reckless was enjoyable, but not as enjoyable as other contemporary books have been for me. I enjoyed Frankie’s character growth over the course of the novel, but I felt disconnected from her. I also had a difficult time with the Frankie/Marco instalove story. It felt a little like  Romeo and Juliet? I guess when you’re that young (I am 28) and you have stopped caring about life and people, instalove does happen. But I felt disconnected with that too.

I did enjoy the background characters more, though I was disappointed with how lacking the parent existence was as well as Frankie’s attitude toward them when she did speak to them. Lexi was funny and I really enjoyed how loyal she was to Frankie. Cruz was super cute.

But overall the story just felt lacking. And again I think, due to personal circumstances, I liked this book less than I would have at another time. Due to this I did not finish it. And I hate DNFing a book. There have been few books that I’ve done that to and it guts me.  Don’t let my attitude toward this book stop you from reading it. I know so many people who enjoyed it immensely.

Rating: DNF

Thank you to Miss Print and her ARC adoptions for the opportunity to read this novel. Receiving this novel for free doesn’t sway my opinion.

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