#BookReview Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I have been eying Throne of Glass for YEARS. Quite literally, since this book has come out I’ve been wary to touch it. It’s so well hyped and sometimes that hype doesn’t live up to all of it’s praise. Not too long ago, I came across this book at a local discount store and I jumped on it. Why not just give it a try and see if it’s like what everyone says? AND IT IS. At least for me, anyways. It was so worth the hype.

Throne of Glass features Celaena, a young adult who was raised and trained by an assassin when she was found dying along a river bed. She paid her dues, and has now unsuccessfully escaped to a worse life in a mine. When the Crown Prince Dorian comes and collects her to be the King’s Champion, everything changes. Calaena must go through a series of test to prove herself worthy, but that’s not all she faces. There’s something evil lurking in the castle, and the old spirits and fae lore are whispering at her to help fix the problem. On top of all that, the handsome Captain of the Guard Chaol and Crown Prince Dorian both appear to be transfixed on our murderous leads. Annnnd, are some of these friends Calaena has made truly trustworthy? Or will they be the foe we’re all worried about?

This book has a lot going on but it’s super easy to follow. It’s definitely a young adult or even new adult novel, but the typical tropes always get me grinning along the way. The old nostalgia I got in high school for The Hunger Games, Twilight, and Divergent – that sense of being apart of something and reading something many others have enjoyed – came back and made this book all the better.

Are there “problematic” parts of this book? Yeah, sure. Would a trained, rough and tough assassin act like a teenager? Maybe not. Did some of the rules for the competition seem to change throughout the book? Yes. Did any of that bug me? Not really. For me, this book was lots of fun and the little problems it had didn’t really phase me. I glossed over a lot of it, because this was fantastical, full of action and had those darn romance triangle tropes that I fall for EVERY SINGLE TIME. If you’re going into this book wanting to analyze all the faults, go for it. I just wanted a nice escape. Reading the other reviews, especially the bad ones, has me scratching my head. I’ve yet to meet an eighteen year old assassin who had a really tough life and actually seen their behaviour. Can’t a teenage protagonist who’s finally “free”, to a degree, be allowed to be a teenager? But, if you take a peek at the good reviews, people say the farther you get into the series the better it gets. So I’m pumped. Get me these books ASAP!

Ah, oh well. Either way, this book was a fun ride for me! Calaena was head strong, sassy, a hard worker and loyal. Chaol was super hot and my goodness she better end of with him. Dorian’s character grew a lot from the first to the last page, and I am beginning to like him more. Nehemia seemed sketchy at first but I am curious how her story would grow. Is Nox gonna come back? Because Nox seemed sweet. Also, there’s gotta be more to Cain and his back story, I’m nosy. And Elena! More lore please? SO MUCH GOOD STUFF.

Also, no cliffhanger in this book! Sarah does not want to torture me with a cliffhanger, it’s great! And the cover is absolutely stunning! I got the second cover, with the blue illustration instead of the girl – it’s crazy cool!

If you get the same copy I did, there’s a little Q&A at the back. I was surprised this book was based off Cinderella, but I was also really intrigued. It’s amazing the ideas we can get from other works and how they can mold and change over time.

Here’s my recommendation:
If you like popular YA books and diving into the hype: GET THIS BOOK.
If you’re looking for Game of Thrones: THIS IS NOT YOUR BOOK.
If you’re looking for something full of fantasy, has a fast pace, has lots of YA fun (romance, drama, the likes): THIS IS YOUR BOOK.

What I would like to see out of future books:
This book seemed to be more New Adult. The descriptions of the brutality was wicked and definitely for an older crowd. But, the talks about sex was nil. Not an exact quote here – Dorian sees many women – come on Sarah, we know what you meant. If you can talk about a man being sliced to bits and eaten then we can hear that Calaena has some sexy feelings for the boys.

Overall, I really liked this book! I want the rest of the series now. I’m pleasantly surprised and want to pick up more by Sarah.

Five out of five stars.

 

If you haven’t checked this book out yet, here’s where you can find it:
Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
B&N
Kobo
Indigo

Find out more about Sarah J Maas:
Goodreads Author Page
http://sarahjmaas.com/
Twitter – @SJMaas

If you’re looking for more fun YA novels to add to your TBR, here’s some other books featured on my blog you might enjoy:
#BookReview Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
#BookReview White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
#BookReview The Great Grain Elevator Incident by Kevin Miller

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#BookReview Hart & Soul #1: Kill The Story by Jahnna N. Malcolm

Oh man! I got so excited when I hit the jackpot and found a lot of books from my childhood at a local book sale. I found the first four books in this series and scooped them up instantly. I remember always wanting to read these from the library but I always maxed out the number of books I could have out. I never actually ended up reading this series even though my heart was set on them. So, fast forward many, many years and I finally get to experience the books that all of the ‘popular’ kids were reading.

This book was so pleasant and clearly written back in the eighties and nineties. AND I LOVED IT. It’s so nostalgic for me, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much.

Amanda Hart is a writer (and the editor-in-chief for her school’s newspaper). She is going to release a series of stories about the sororities present in her city and someone is NOT happy. They are going after her with vicious notes and threats. When Amanda and her team call upon a courier service, along comes Mick Soul with his handy dandy bicycle. He gets attacked when trying to deliver a copy of their story, and suddenly Hart and Soul wind up working on the mystery together. Mick enrolls in her high school to help figure out who is threatening her… because what else is a bicycle courier supposed to do in his spare time? School? Pfft, no!

It’s a “will they, won’t they” sort of duo – like Bones and Booth, Ross and Rachel, Jane and Rafael, etc. Hart and Mick have so much chemistry for a middle grade (almost YA) novel that it’s unbelievable. Seriously, I just need to finish the series to know if they end up together because they are super flirty in this book!

There’s a good cast of characters filling up the typical high school tropes: Jason the nerd who wants his story in the paper, Pepper the best friend, Josh the tech geek, Whitney the mean girl, and so on.

My one big flaw is as followed: you can kind of figure out what’s going to happen by the end but it’s not really hinted at. I love when mystery books leave you little hints here and there, but there’s not much until the end. I had a pretty good inkling of what would happen based off reading way to many mystery books and watching too many mystery shows, but I wanted to work my way through this mystery with Hart and Soul. It doesn’t ruin the story by any means, but I’m a picky reader like that.

Side note, this is my FAVOURITE line in the whole book:
“What a slime!”

Seriously, that’s a Briar insult from my childhood. Score +1 for that gem!

Overall, this book is cute and fun! I love a good throw back and I’m so glad I found this book. I will 100% be continuing this series, especially since I have the next three books on my shelf. Hopefully I managed to score the rest of the series! This book is an absolute delight and I 100% recommend it either for middle grader/YA readers or some of you as old as me who want a childhood nostalgia trip.

Three out of five stars!

You can find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Noble

If you love middle grade novels, check out some other fantastic books featured on my blog:
#BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop
#BookReview Monster Blood (Goosebumps) by R.L. Stine

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#BookReview The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give is a powerful and moving novel, that is an essential read (in my humble opinion).

YA is powerful. It used to just be my escape from the world, back when I was in high school. I was lifted away to fantastical realms where the girls were in love triangles and were “special”. Their love interests were vampires, werewolves or sorcerers and the girls were fairies or the chosen ones. Nowadays, we still have those escapism books but YA tackles the tough issues too. I went into this book based on a recommendation from my little sister (it is her favourite book and she wants me to watch the movie), and I knew it would be a smash if she loved it.

So, the actual story: Starr lives in a poor neighbourhood but gets to go to a fancy prep school. One night, she goes to a party where shots start ringing. Her old bestie, Khalil, helps her escape and they get into his car. As they drive off, cops pull them over. This isn’t good, because we all know how some white cops get when they pull over people of colour. And, to no one’s surprise, this cop is just like “those cops”. Khalil, unarmed and just trying to check on his friend, gets murdered cold blood. This ignites a war in the city, one that will leave you breathless and heartbroken.

This book opened my eyes a lot. It has a strong voice and makes you see things you might not have seen before. You see everything on the news and you know not every story is accurate. There are fifty sides to every story and you don’t get to hear all of one side. This book did that for me. As a reader, we get to see all of one side and all of the reactions and consequences of one person’s decision.

My emotions were all over the place with this book. You feel so whimsical at times, seeing Starr and her relationship and feelings. She’s your typical teenage girl experiencing life. And then you hear about the horrors of her life, and you feel empathy and just want to give her a hug. But then there’s the brutality, and your heart aches and you get angry over how things are going down. Why aren’t there consequences for these things? Why does none of it make sense?

Even the side story of the racism among friends hurt my soul. I was so confused on the other girl’s perspective on why she was right, yet I know there are people like that out there. It wasn’t just one out of tune joke, it was many.

This book is 100% worth your time. It is a longer book (almost 500 pages, wow. And I binged that in a day!) and that is the only negative I could see – it’ll take a while to read. That being said, it’s an important story and there isn’t anything I would remove from this book. It’s just the perfect length and gives enough information to make you understand all of this story.

As I said, YA is powerful. Having YA introduce and discuss these topics is a thing of wonder. Literature is powerful and it’s giving people a voice. A voice that may not be able to be shared without these forms of mediums. Thank you Angie Thomas for sharing an important story and making it so well written and so darn good. Now give me more books like this, ASAP!

Also: Tupac being the one to inspire this title blew my mind. I never connected the dots until the book pointed it out! I’m impressed x5.

Five out of five stars.

If you haven’t already checked this book out, you can find it on:
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Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Indigo
Kobo
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Here are some other books on my blog that you might enjoy if you liked The Hate U Give:
#BookReview #BookTour Baller Boys by Venessa Taylor
#BookReview I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan
#BookReview Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles

 

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#BookReview The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

To begin this review, I have to admit I’m a little biased. I have always enjoyed Kelley Armstrong’s books and doubly so because she’s Canadian (represent!!). My review will absolutely reflect that I thoroughly enjoy her writing style and I am always down for a reading ride in her books.

So, off to the races…

This book is unique and different. It’s not the typical Kelley Armstrong book I have come to expect, but I did enjoy going off the beaten path.

Riley is our lead, and the poor girl just witnessed a murder. She was just getting set up to babysit and suddenly masked men came in and murdered the parents of the little girl she was babysitting. She didn’t see it happen, she hid under the bed, but it was still brutal and horrible for her. She was even under the impression people made fun of her for hiding under the bed with the little girl, even though that’s what saved them both.

Riley’s parents decide she needs to take part in a little therapy retreat in an old warehouse (it has been renovated, but it’s still a warehouse with no windows… definitely not my ideal place to stay). When she gets there, she meets some new friends and comes across some old ones. Good old Max is there, a strange fellow who she has seen and briefly talked to before. He’s… different (you’ll find out why in the book, no shame in me ruining the “plot twist” that isn’t a plot twist for you). All of these kids have mental health issues – cutting, anxiety, PTSD, narcissistic personality disorder, etc.

Everything seems like it’s going to be a normal day at a therapy retreat… until it’s not. Masked intruders come in and say they are holding them hostage, and chaos ensues. Death, murder, lots of pain and psychological horror gets thrown at the kids until the amazing plot twist at the end.

So, what did I think?

You need to suspend your belief a LOT for this book, but it’s a psychological YA thriller so it should be expected. Being locked in a warehouse without windows? Creepy and seems illogical. Masked intruders – highly unlikely. Lots of fake outs – even crazier. A daughter of a police officer is as good as a SWAT team – hmmmm. Does that affect my view of the story? No. I was along the ride and was able to suspend my belief. This book wasn’t meant to be “realistic” in whole, it’s a thriller.

To be honest, this book was wild. I didn’t know what way this book was going to end. Once the plot twist was coming into view, I could totally sense it buuuuuut… it’s not what you think during the first couple of chapters in this book. I really liked that it wasn’t there from the beginning but you could connect the dots if you paid attention enough. Well played Kelley!

So you add in intensity and thrills, a fast paced writing style that leaves you hooked to every word and a character that isn’t the perfect Mary Sue/Mary Jane and you’ve got yourself a good one. But there’s more… Kelley throws in an interesting romance (because most YA these days has to have some sort of romance in it). At first I wasn’t sure about the romance since it seemed force, but by the end I was totally fangirling and loved every second of it. Somehow it works, even if it seems like a bad idea.

Other points: I have no idea if the mental health portions of this book are well represented. I have my own dabblings with OCPD but none of the mental health issues shown in this book. So, as always, buyer beware.

Overall, this book was one epic journey! I enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to someone wanting to jump into a more mature YA novel with psychological thrills.

Five out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on:
Amazon.ca
Kobo
Indigo

 

Here’s some other YA novels you might enjoy if you like The Masked Truth:
#BookReview A Woman of Valor by Gary Corbin
#BookReview Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda
#BookReview Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Steifvater

 

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#BookReview Cress by Marissa Meyer

W-O-W-Z-A.

I love fairy tales and their adaptions, but Marissa Meyer takes this to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL. I haven’t been this glued to a series in a very long time (almost a decade… back when I was in high school). It’s seriously amazing that Marissa can pull my attention so well. Seriously, I just ordered the last book of this series. I have read almost an entire series in a few months, which is super rare for me as a reader. And, I have to say, this series pulled me out of my reading slump. It made me fall in love with reading again, so it’ll have a special place in my heart.

Onto the review:

I did not enjoy this book as much as the first two, but it was still mind-blowing. The first half of the book did not pull my attention as much as I wanted it to, but I still love our little Crescent Moon… I mean, Cress. I even had to laugh because Cress and her lover boy gave me serious Tangled vibes. I’m not sure if that was intentional or not, but I dig the giggles!

This book moves faster than the last two. There’s twists and turns in almost every chapter and kept me thoroughly hooked. It was disappointing when I had to put the book down because I knew something else was going to happen.

I also really enjoyed this book address Cress and her instant love for her rescuer. It felt like a parody as it was also participating fully in the narrative. At times, I felt like it was insta-love but then it’d go and make fun of it. By the end, Cress isn’t fully in love with Captain Thorne so it did actually pay off. I’m rather impressed with how this YA tackled that trope. Seriously, Marissa got some real respect from me.

And then, the ending. This book leaves on a bit of a cliffhanger (which I hate, by the way), but it did it in a very good way. The book had giggles but it also had absolute terror – murder, genocide and the likes. It seems weird to put that in a review about a fairy tale adaption, but it’s true. There were some really bad scenes in this book to show how cruel Levana is. With one book left, Winter is going to have some seriously work to do (but we all know Marissa is a genius, so she’ll be just fine).

To top it off, this book had some seriously amazing one liners thrown in. Kai talking about his wedding vows was killing me – remove love, respect and joy – like, Marissa, you’re killing it!

The most frustrating parts of these books for me is the last section of the books either “extra content”. I always think I’m getting 400-500 pages full of Lunar plot, but it seems like half the book is reader questions and Q&As with authors. It makes me feel a little cheated, but it obviously doesn’t affect the story at all. It’s just a pet peeve of mine.

In the end, this book was another epic-ly fun read for me. I enjoyed every second of this book (even if it didn’t live up to my super high standards). I absolutely will be reading Winter (it’s being shipped as I type this!) and I can’t wait to see what else Marissa does in her writing career. Books like these make my heart sing – they make my love of reading SO much stronger. But, she does raise my standards a lot higher for other authors…

P.S. Thorne gives me Han Solo vibes and we all know I love Star Wars. ❤

Five out of five crescent moons!

 

Check out this book on:
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Amazon.ca
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Check out my reviews of the last two books in this series:
#BookReview Cinder by Marissa Meyer
#BookReview Scarlett by Marissa Meyer

And if you enjoy YA fantasy and romance, check out some of these that are also featured on my blog:
#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
#BookReview Virals by Kathy Reichs & Brendan Reichs
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop

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#BookReview Aftermath by Clara Kensie

Aftermath by Clara Kensie is a Young Adult novel following the “aftermath” of a teenage girl’s abduction.

This book was a hard read – it’s emotional, raw and enraging (at times). Clara Kensie has written one magnificent story in the form of a young adult novel. Honestly, it was written beautifully but the subject matter was so tough, serious and so full of pain.

The plot of the story is as followed: Charlotte was abducted by her “Keeper” about four years ago. Somehow, she gets lucky and gets her escape through some paramedics who found her in the “Keeper’s” attic. Suddenly, she’s thrown back into society and to a life that has changed. Her parents are divorced, her sister didn’t follow their “Dream Book” and her friends have all moved on. Her Mother wants her to go into hiding and never leave the house again while her Father wants her to become an international, superstar ambassador. All the while, Charlotte is trying to grasp how to be normal again once a man destroys your safety and sanity.

This novel is a YA. At first I struggled to figure out if it was, but it only hints and briefly talks about how painful Charlotte’s journey was. The R rated comments are very rare, and only said once or twice so the reader gets the point of what happens. I’d say this is on the higher end of YA though, because Charlotte was raped (and some more spoiler-y things happen that are some really tough pieces of content for potential thirteen year olds).

Clara made me really feel for Charlotte the entire time. I watched her journey and felt her pain. Somehow, she made me really connect with this family and understand why she did and said what she did. She made it believable, which can be very tough to do!

While the story is sad, Clara also brings hope into the story. It hides in the back like a shadow, but it’s still there. All around, this book is very powerful and a really good story to tell. It started out so rough for me and I wasn’t sure if I’d actually like it, but I did! Clara left so many bits and pieces that turned out to be clues to some of the story’s bigger plot twists. I didn’t see half of them, which is a feat all on it’s own. But it’s all there for the reader to unwind!

Overall, this book is utterly amazing! I’m impressed by Clara’s writing and by this story. It was emotional and gripping, but it is totally worth your time if you find this book. Seriously, it’s an amazing story and it’s important to hear.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out this book on:
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Amazon.ca
Indigo
Kobo

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out some other books you might enjoy:
#BookReview If We Had Known by Elise Juska
#BookReview Someone You Love Is Gone by Gurjinder Basran
#BookReview My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh

 

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#BookReview Seizure by Kathy Reichs

I was absolutely thrilled that I bought the first two books in this series together, because I NEEDED to continue this series. The first book, Virals, was an absolute hit for me and Seizure continued the insanity!

This time around Tory, Ben, Shelton, Hi and Cooper are off on another adventure…. except… get this… PIRATES. The loss of LIRI absolutely sucked because the loss of potential science plots devastated me. So I was reading it, hoping that somehow these authors had some cool science-y plot to follow and NOPE! But they got the next best thing – pirates and treasure!

LIRI is going to be shut down, so the Virals need to acquire some funds to try to help their parents keep their jobs. Otherwise, all of them will be moved around the continents and might never see each other again. This is a big problem since they are Virals with their crazy powers. In walks a famous myth about a female pirate and her treasure. And, of course, she buried it near the home of our lead characters! Our Virals decide to go on a treasure hunt, and get in LOTS of trouble along the way. And I mean A LOT.

I loved the sense of adventure in this book! I was hooked to every word and it was really difficult to put the book down. There’s a good mix of 75% action and 25% goofy, high school drama. Tori takes on Madison in this book and the drama is hilarious. I’ve never considered these books to be “serious” or “realistic” books (come on… Tori’s eyes turn yellow and she has magical powers), so I absolutely loved the angst that was added in this book. Also, cue in potential love triangle? Or square… Either way, I see one coming. It’s a YA book, you KNOW the romance is gonna be thrown in there eventually.

So, what are my cons?
1. Kit seems mighty dumb in this book. Did he really not notice Tori sneaking away so much? I know he works a lot and is busy… but dude. Kit is related to Tempe and he’s this dumb?

2. The bad guys were predictable and also dumb. I’m honestly not sure how Kathy could change this (I don’t have any constructive criticism about this, to be honest) but I have to say it. It was one of my cons.

But along with the cons, I have some mighty pros:
1. This series isn’t focused on romance like most YAs. There is a pinch (and I mean a PINCH, like a pinch of salt. Very little) but the story mostly focuses on friendship and adventure. That makes this book way more fun when you’re not worried about who’s gonna kiss who.

2. Riddles, myths and legends make everything more interesting. Some of the riddles are easy to solve, but some of them were a little more difficult.

3. This book has comedy in it! There’s some seriously funny quotes lined in this book that made the action and adventure just feel more fun. I’m tired of mopey YA books, we need more positivity in this world!

4. This book is super knowledgeable. Various animals species, the Gaelic language and more science-y info is shared with the reader. Kathy Reich’s books are always smart! It’s just another reason to love this series.

Overall, this book was AWESOME! It was a fun read for me and I really want to continue this series. It’s closer to PG-13 mainly because of the language (a couple swears) but the fun could easily be read by middle grade.

Five out of five stars!!

 

Check out this book on:
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Amazon.ca
Kobo
Indigo

 

Check out the first book, Virals, by clicking the links below:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Looking for something else to read? Here’s some other books I’ve reviewed that you might enjoy:
#BookReview Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
#BookReview Virals by Kathy Reichs & Brendan Reichs
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller

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#BookReview Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

Christmas time is here! Holidays are so much fun: snow, Christmas songs, Hallmark movies, and lots of lovely books to read all curled up in a blanket with some tea and my animals. To celebrate, here’s a review of a holiday inspired book!

 

I bought this book WAY back in 2012 when it came out. WAY back meaning I can’t believe it sat on my shelf for this long with me staring at it and debating whether I should read it or not. I finally decided to pick it up for two main reasons:

A) It’s almost Christmas time and I wanted some holiday cheer.

B) Apparently there’s a movie adaption? And, I kinda want to see it. It’s important to read the books first so I can thoroughly ruin the movie for myself and anyone I attend it with.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book: I have read most of John Green’s novels so I knew what I was in for with his reading but I had never read anything by Maureen Johnson or Lauren Myracle. And, let me say, I will definitely be reading more by Maureen Johnson in the future. Her story was the absolute best in this little trio of stories. John Green’s was okay (it was definitely not TFIOS, but who was expecting it to be?) and Lauren Myracle’s was a little weaker than Ringo Blue’s (clap and a half for those who understand the reference).

Maureen’s was a beautifully crafted little love story that made my heart warm and grow like the Grinch’s. John’s story was a continuation that felt like the weaker sequel and Lauren’s felt like a middle grade addition to a YA series. All of the stories were beautifully written, but Maureen’s was for my type of reader. My friend was absolutely obsessed with Lauren’s, so it’s definitely a personal choice on which story you’ll like more. It’s another one of those anthologies you come for one author and you discover another.

The Jubilee Express is Mauren’s lovely addition. Jubilee (who some people call Julie, but Jubilee is way cooler and yes it’s a type of party) gets stuck on a train when her parents are arrested for fighting over a Christmas village (is Jubilee my own child? This sounds like something I am going to do in my adult future, just saying). She meets a man on the train who she befriends (who will later be featured in story #3) and then finds her way through the city. She meets a boy (because it’s a romance novel, so obviously she’s gotta have a love interest) and they fall into a pond and almost freeze to death (drama alert!). She stays at the boy’s home (said boy’s name is Stuart, why am I still calling him the boy?) and meets his Mother and little sister. The boy (I’ve committed, no turning back now) has an ex and it ended badly, all the while Jubilee has an dumb-face boyfriend who deserves a good dumping. The two then kiss and it’s romantic and ooey gooey. It’s a YA romance gallore!

A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle by Paul Orange (again, I’ve committed to this pun so it’s time to rock and roll) continues the previous story with different characters. 3 previously unknown characters are watching James Bond movies. Introduce our two key characters: Tobin and Angie (also known as The Duke). Turns out these two kinda have crushes on each other, and as the three characters try to make it to a breakfast joint to meet cheerleaders, they realize this. It was cute, but not as addicting as the first novel. It was almost… predictable. I wasn’t entirely sure where Maureen’s was headed, but John’s story screamed FRIENDZONE ALERT all over the place.

The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle is what took me the longest to get through. In one day I flew through the first two stories, but then along came this story. Another continuation, but… different. It had a different tone than the previous two. I did not enjoy the lead character, I did love the pig and I felt bad for Jeb because he deserves someone who’s more considerate than his current girl, Addie. Like… dude, you almost lost your friend’s pig. That’s cruel. This book was packed full of the middle grade drama I don’t miss from back in the day. Lauren’s writing was still absolutely beautiful, but this story was not for me. I was kinda sad this book ended on this specific story because it felt like the weakest for me.

Overall, I did enjoy this book and I would love to read some more Christmas-y YA love stories. I also highly recommend Maureen now because OMG she’s good.

Four out of five stars!!

Check out this book on:
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Amazon.ca
Kobo

Christmas themed books are AMAZING. Here’s some holiday books I’ve read, check them out – you might like them too:
Book Review: Happy Ever After in Christmas by Debbie Mason
#BookReview Schmuck the Buck: Santa’s Jewish Reindeer by EXO Books

 

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#BookReview White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Many, many years ago I saw this book at a local Wal-Mart and had one of those “OMG I NEED IT” moments. I bought this book, put it on a bookshelf, buried it in said bookshelf, and then lost it until I reorganized my entire house. When I reorganized all of my books I decided to put this book on the “Read Next” physical shelf. WHY DIDN’T I DO THIS SOONER?!

Seriously, this book is an absolute GEM and I’m hitting myself (figuratively speaking) for not reading it sooner. It’s everything I love in a YA – potential love triangle, crazy fantasy, typical friend and families woes – and it has an epic cover! It was a home run! It hit it out of the park! It was the best YA book I’ve read in a good while! I loved every second of it! And gosh darnit I need the next book and I don’t have it!

On top of all of that, my friends have been telling me for years to read books by Jennifer L. Armentrout and THEY WERE RIGHT!

So, let’s get down to business….

The positives:
Gargoyles. Yes, you heard me right. FREAKING GARGOYLES. If there’s one set of monsters I haven’t read about in my reading life, it’s them! We have people who turn into gargoyles – so right off the bat I’m impressed because it’s something different. Then you have to throw in the demons who are the greatest foes of said gargoyle people. Now, before you get all excited over this, the gargoyles change forms like a shapeshifter so they do survive out in public. But, the public also know about gargoyles? It’s kind of confusing for me, but she makes it work.

I liked that this book had lots of romance and flirting it in. I love a good romance story! There’s just enough action and adventure to keep the plot going – so it felt like a good mix.

On an even brighter note, Jennifer has an amazing writing style and tone. I got addicted to this book SO FAST that it was unbelievable. I couldn’t put it down and it was almost making me mad! It’s a great story to binge! I absolutely want to read the rest of this series and whatever else Jennifer spits out of that brilliant mind of hers.

And then there’s Roth. He’s super hot, he’s funny, he’s slightly inappropriately and I love him. Zayne kinda bores me but whatever. We’ve got two hot guys and I have already picked my side! Also… Bambi. A giant snake tattoo demon creature. Yup, this book is that cool.

The negatives:
In typical YA fashion, the heroine is the master of the universe. She’s the special one everyone’s been waiting for. Am I tired of this trope? Yup. Did the story suffer because of it? Nope! So, essentially, it doesn’t really affect the story at all but I did get a little judgey because OF COURSE she’s the answer to everyone’s problem.

The virgin side of the story had me feeling cringy and icky. When your adoption/step father like figure starts talking about your sex life and not in a “Birds and the Bees” or “Stay Safe” kind of way, I always get creeped out. I get that’s apart of the prophecy in this story but… EW!

Additionally… there is a fair bit of slut shaming and women against women vibes. I hope that disappears in the next book but… ya never know.

Overall, I think this was a fun YA ride. I don’t take it to be some seriously, Oscar-winning drama book but I don’t think we’re meant to. It’s a lot of fun and whisked me away from my real world for a few hours.

Five out of five stars!

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Indigo
Kobo

 

If you enjoy YA books with romance and fantasy, check out these other books you might enjoy:
#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
#BookReview Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Collection 2: #TopTens – Young Adult Part 1

 

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#BookReview Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Steifvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue was an intriguing novel.

It’s my own fault that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I could have. It has been YEARS (and I mean, literally years – probably five?) since I’ve read the first two books in this series (The Raven Boys and The Dream Theives) so I don’t remember much of what this series is all about. But, I really love Maggie Stiefvater so I wanted to continue on with this series! It’s safe to say that I was REALLY lost about what was going on.

What I got out of this book was: witches, fantastic friendships, parental drama, ghosts and death, and a giant cave.

I really enjoy Gansey in this series even though I’m not quite sure about what his character is supposed to be. He’s not the love interest, he’s not the typical best friend side character and he has no typical trope about him. I love that aspect of these characters (Maggie is great at not making a typical trope-filled book) but I’m still just so unsure. I love him, but… I need to know what happens in this last book to see how it all plays out.

Noah the ghost interests me too. What was going on with him and Blue? He’s still her energy but he is also acting very strange. Something is up with these ley lines! I want to know more. I’m too analytical for books like this – I need to know everything now.

The plot itself just confused me. The screaming man, the man they found in the cave, the lady at the end… Don’t stop this series if you intend to keep reading it. That’s my biggest suggestion. Reading other reviewers’ reviews helped a lot but I really should have re-read the series to make sure I knew what was going on. It’s a real shame too, because Maggie has a beautiful writing style and her prose is to die for! She’s fabulous.

I did binge this book in one sitting. Since I forgot most of what happened in the previous books, I knew that if I put it down I would never pick it back up. The binging was okay, but I’d rather have read it in bits and pieces.

My biggest praise is the cover. My gosh, all of the covers for this series fall into the realm of absolutely beautiful!

Overall, this book is marvelous but didn’t hit high with me. Hopefully one day I will be able to jump back into this whole series and mass read the entire set. Maggie is such a good writer but it’s a shame that we had to wait for her books. That’s what really did me in – waiting for books to come out and then not being able to afford them so I had to wait until I could. One day Maggie! One day I will read this excellence in full and understand the whole darn thing!

Three out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

Check out some other reviews you might enjoy:
#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop
#BookReview Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads