Book Review

Book Review: Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Point
Release Date: May 29th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West’s adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere.

CUTE AS EXPECTED.

Found myself another charming Kasie West read. Definitely would put it up higher on my list of my favorites of hers.

I thought the romance was super cute. It did take some time for me to get on board with the relationship because I saw it going in a totally different direction (and that was just me choosing the wrong guy haha). But, once I saw how well they worked together they were utterly adorable. I like how the feelings developed and interactions. It was everything I’m looking for when I read a rom-com by West.

The podcast story line was fun. I’ve read one other book that has a radio theme and found that to be such a bust. This worked out well and allowed for growth in the main character, Kate. I thought her changes over the book were positive and I was really able to see that she was growing up. I love seeing these story lines in high school books. There’s so much to work through during those years!

The family and friend dynamic brought another good level for this book. I love when there’s an interesting family (this one all living on the same property). Added plenty of high-jinks and giving more layers to the characters.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses

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Book Review

Book Review: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Sci-fi / Fantasy
Length: 512 pages
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 5th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Our heroes are back… kind of. From the bestselling co-authors of the Illuminae Files comes the second book in the epic series about a squad of misfits, losers, and discipline cases who just might be the galaxy’s best hope for survival.

First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.

Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.

And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.

Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.

When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.

Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well. 

WHAT JUST HAPPENED.

I’m pretty sure I said that out loud multiple times while reading this. But also, I don’t know how to write a full review without shouting spoilers at you, so bear with me. STILL SPOILER FREE. Just…seriously…GO READ THIS SERIES ASAP PLEASE.

Okay okay, this book was glorious and also destroyed me.

I absolutely loved getting to know all of the characters more. I felt that was missing from Aurora Rising and appreciated the depth and back stories that were added to each of the squad. I have a love for each of them in their own ways and I usually have a main character I don’t like…I can’t hate anyone from Squad 312.

I was especially smitten with getting more of Auri and Kal because woo-wee I am low-key [let’s be honest — high key] ObSeSeD with Kal. NOT TO MENTION, his narrator, Steve West, is also a minor obsession. I will listen to any book he reads. The audio books for this series are fantastic with a full cast, sound effects, and just making you feel like you are sitting there truly listening to the characters. I would highly recommend this as an audio book if you haven’t tried (and are curious about them) before!

A many many things happened over the 500 pages. So much that I can’t recount it all, other than saying, it was intensely filled. There was maybe one slow-ish portion for me, but that was it. Everything hit its markers and kept me reading as fast as I could. I loved the character progression and where this story is going.

AH I DON’T WANT TO FORGET TO MENTION. I have a new ship. And I can’t say that ship because it would spoil some things, but if you’ve read it, and know who I’m referring to, lets discuss. Because I love them. Their dynamic and intensity. The banter and forced proximity. Oooooh boy I hope this is going in the direction I’m imaging or book three might sink me.

I honestly can’t tell you how it ends, because I don’t know how it ends. How twisted is that? And hopefully that sentence made you want to pick this series up because it’s faaaabulous.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sci-fi
  • Language: not very much
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; fade to black scenes, closed door scenes
  • Violence: plenty, and fairly gory/bloody; weapons, explosions, physical, torture, guns, magic

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Far From Normal by Becky Wallace

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 240 pages
Author: Becky Wallace
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: September 22nd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From Stealing Home author Becky Wallace comes a Devil Wears Prada-inspired YA romance, in which “normal girl” Maddie must repair the image of Major League Soccer’s bad boy to ace her internship. A perfect read for fans of Morgan Matson and Miranda Kenneally.

Maddie McPherson is sick of Normal—both her hometown of Normal, Illinois and being the ‘normal’ sibling. But when she lands a summer internship with a sports marketing firm, she finally has a chance to crawl out of her genius brother’s shadow. Not to mention, a glowing letter of recommendation could secure her admission to her dream college.

But Maddie’s nickname is “CalaMaddie” for a reason, and when the company tasks her with repairing the image of teen soccer phenom Gabriel Fortunato, she wonders if she’s set herself up for embarrassment. Gabriel is a tabloid magnet, who’s best-known for flubbing Italy’s World Cup hopes. As Maddie works with him to develop “pleasant and friendly” content for social media, she also learns he’s thoughtful, multi-talented, and fiercely loyal—maybe even to a fault. Falling for a footballer is exactly how CalaMaddie would botch this internship, but with the firm pressuring her to get the job done, perhaps her heart is worth risking?

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

UTTERLY ADORABLE.

I basically read this in one sitting because of how flippin’ precious it was. I was completely smitten with this book and am going to sing its praises in this review.

Originally concerned about the length (under 300 pages), I didn’t know what to expect for my first book by Wallace. BLOWN AWAY sounds about right now. I found this quick, fast-paced young adult rom-com exactly what I needed at the time and had me grinning and laughing throughout. Don’t let the length deter you, this is an absolute gem.

Madeline was a great main character. She was under some intense pressure from multiple forces in her life and at only 17! I liked the way she handled herself, but also still felt like a teenager. It was a great combination that made me feel for and understand Madeline’s motives.

Now the precious soccer player, Gabe? I am SO HERE FOR bad boys with a heart of gold. I’m easy to please when it comes to books with this nature. Gabe and Madeline’s relationship moved well and the pace was steady and absolutely sweet. I love the little dates they went on and the support they were both giving each other.

I love the Devil Wears Prada aspects and started to see them more after I finished it when I sat there unable to think about anything else. There’s plenty of allusions that are fun and quirky that make me think this should be a movie, and that I also need to re-watch TDWP.

AH. I am just in love with this book. Think its the perfect, sweet, YA rom-com you should definitely read if you’re even the tiny bit curious. I can’t wait to read more books from her!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: bike crash

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Hunter and the Mage (The Raven and the Dove #2) by Kaitlyn Davis

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 495 pages
Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: September 21st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Return to the world of The Raven and the Dove, where winged people rule the skies, a lost kingdom lives at sea, and two star-crossed lovers hold the fate of each in their palms. Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo!

A mage written in prophecy…

When Lyana wakes in the Sea of Mist, adventure is the first thing on her mind. But between her unruly new magic and an unyielding young king, the world below comes with more responsibility than she ever dreamed. An entire civilization exists within the fog, and its survival depends entirely on her.

A hunter forged in blood…

Adrift at sea on a ship full of strangers, Rafe fights to cope with his new reality. He’ll do anything to return to the sky and the people he left behind. When a surprising offer comes his way, he instantly accepts, sparing no time to consider the consequences.

Loyalties are tested and an ancient war begins anew…

With rebellion in her heart, Cassi defies her king and befriends the prince she’s been ordered to kill. Oblivious to the threat, Xander welcomes her into his inner circle, determined to rescue his mate. As one works to help and the other to hinder, an ancient enemy stirs, forcing Cassi to choose between trusting the man who broke her heart and turning her back on everything she’s ever known.

Thank you to the author for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

ANOTHER GREAT BOOK.

I just really love this series y’all.

Admittedly yes, there’s some book two syndrome here, but nothing that truly detracted from this well built fantasy. By the time the ending was coming up things were wild and I was asking myself [again] how I was supposed to wait for the next book!

I love all of these characters. They each have a unique voice in their point-of-view chapters and it’s easy to know who’s speaking. Everyone has differing strengths and weakness that shape choices and desires. Even with characters I feel like I shouldn’t love, I find myself cheering on their future character arcs because everyone is that compelling. Lyana, Rafe, Xander, and Cassi all have these amazing and well thought out stories that I am so here for to see how they unfold.

One of my favorite aspects was how the prophecy rolled out. I tend to find these kind of gimmicky, but this was written beautifully. It even surprised me how things were unveiled, who was who, and how it all came about. I’m curious how more of the prophecy will unfold and love where it’s going.

I wish I had a few more romantic interactions (which, we know I’m a sucker for). Characters were more split up and facing their own challenges and I missed some closer interactions. Everything is so magical on screen that I crave more! [And I’m staying away from names since this is a second book and I don’t want to spoil ships/connections/friendships/etc.].

This indie series is magical, action-packed, and definitely one I would recommend picking up!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical, magical, elemental, natural disasters, weapons

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