Book Review: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

WhatifitsUsWhat If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

Published by HarperTeen on October 9, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 437 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

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Book Review: For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

ForaMuseofFireFor a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

Published by Greenwillow Books on September 25, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 512 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Jetta’s family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick—a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the souls of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood. But the old ways are forbidden ever since the colonial army conquered their country, so Jetta must never show, never tell. Her skill and fame are her family’s way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage, and where rumor has it the Mad King has a spring that cures his ills. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues Jetta. But as rebellion seethes and as Jetta meets a young smuggler, she will face truths and decisions that she never imagined—and safety will never seem so far away.

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Book Review: Odd One Out by Nic Stone

OddOneOutOdd One Out by Nic Stone

Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on October 9, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 320 Format: Hardcover Source: Library

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Courtney “Coop” Cooper
Dumped. Again. And normally I wouldn’t mind. But right now, my best friend and source of solace, Jupiter Sanchez, is ignoring me to text some girl. 

Rae Evelyn Chin
I assumed “new girl” would be synonymous with “pariah,” but Jupiter and Courtney make me feel like I’m right where I belong. I also want to kiss him. And her. Which is . . . perplexing.

Jupiter Charity-Sanchez
The only thing worse than losing the girl you love to a boy is losing her to your boy. That means losing him, too. I have to make a move. . . .

One story.
Three sides.
No easy answers.

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Mini Reviews: The Vanishing Throne & The Fallen Kingdom

When I fell head over heels for The Falconer I knew reading the next two books would happen sooner rather than later. Now it’s time to share my thoughts on them…

Vanishing Throne_final front cover.pdfThe Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May

Published by Chronicle Books on June 21, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk, Historical

Pages: 458 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Everything she loved is gone.

Trapped. Aileana Kameron, the Falconer, disappeared through the fae portal she was trying to close forever. Now she wakes in an alien world of mirrors, magic, and deception—a prisoner of the evil fae Lonnrach, who has a desperate and deadly plan for his new captive.

Tortured. Time after agonizing time Lonnrach steals Aileana’s memories, searching for knowledge to save his world. Just when she’s about to lose all hope, Aileana is rescued by an unexpected ally and returns home, only to confront a terrifying truth. The city of Edinburgh is now an unrecognizable wasteland. And Aileana knows the devastation is all her fault.

Transformed. The few human survivors are living in an underground colony, in an uneasy truce with a remnant of the fae. It is a fragile alliance, but an even greater danger awaits: the human and fae worlds may disappear forever. Only Aileana can save both worlds, but in order to do so she must awaken her latent Falconer powers. And the price of doing so might be her life…

Off the back of that massive cliffhanger, The Vanishing Throne drops readers into a dark future. Aileana is struggling with some serious trauma at the hands of Lonnrach and the horrible reality that is now Scotland. Aithinne was a delightful addition to this cast of characters and made for an understanding companion for our heroine. Kiaran was as broody as ever but slowly showing his emotions and his relationship with Aileana expands exponentially. This one delves deeper into fae lore, the Seelie and Unseelie courts, and Kiaran’s backstory with some seriously twisty revelations that left me and Aileana reeling. There was plenty of battles, swordwielding, and Derrick humor so the quick paced story flowed wonderfully. Overall a solid sequel with lots of action and emotional stakes.

thefallenkingdomThe Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May

Published by Chronicle Books on June 13, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk, Historical

Pages: 389 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

She’s on borrowed time…and she has only one chance to set things right.

Find life.

Deep in a forest, Aileana Kameron claws her way out of the earth. Back from the dead with no memory of who she is or what has happened to her, the Falconer now possesses even greater otherworldly powers and a ruthless instinct to kill—and the one piece of knowledge that can change everything.

Find Kiaran.

Two fae monarchs, Aithinne and Kadamach, stand on the brink of war, and according to an ancient curse, one must die at the hand of the other or all the worlds will perish. Once, Kadamach was known as Kiaran, and he was mentor, protector, and lover to Aileana. Now, under the grip of the curse, his better nature seems lost forever.

Find the book.

Aileana’s only hope lies in the legendary Book of Remembrance, a book of spells so powerful that it can break the fae curse and even turn back time. But the book has been lost for centuries, and many are looking for it, including its creator, the Morrigan—a faery of terrifying malevolence and cruelty.

Sacrifice everything.

To obtain the book and defeat the Morrigan, Aileana must form an unthinkable alliance, one that challenges every vow she has made to herself—even as the powers that brought her to life are slowly but surely killing her.

The Fallen Kingdom was a nonstop, high stakes, wild ride that surpassed all my expectations. Want to know how emotionally devastating this book was? I ended up sobbing so much my face hurt the next day. It definitely leans into the dark vibes as the apocalypse cometh and all of the characters are struggling to hold it together. The fae lore is explored even more and Elizabeth May was not messing around when it came to research and ripping out hearts. Honestly it still pains to think about what went down in this book. I just love these characters and this story so much even though it wrecked me. Obviously I totally recommend this entire trilogy and think everyone should suffer with me.

Have you read The Falconer trilogy? Enjoy fae books?

Let me know in the comments below!

Mini Reviews: The Dragon Pearl & The Vanishing Stair

Today I’ve got two mini reviews for you as I reflect on recent reads. Check out my thoughts below!

DragonPearlDragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Published by Rick Riordan Presents on January 15, 2019

Genres: Children’s, Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology

Pages: 304 Format: Hardcover Source: Library

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.

When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.

Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.

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Book Review: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

KingofScarsKing of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Published by Imprint on January 29, 2019

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 528 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

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Book Review: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

TrulyDeviousTruly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 16, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery

Pages: 420 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder. 

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Mini Reviews: The Wicked King & The Falconer

I’m in a bit of a fae phase at the moment and I’ve got two mini book reviews to share with all of you.

TheWickedKingThe Wicked King by Holly Black

Published by Little, Brown and Company on January 8, 2019

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Pages: 322 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself that strong.

Jude has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were biddable. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her, even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a faerie world.

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Mini Review & Top Food Picks: Love à la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm

lovealamodeLove à la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm

Published by Disney-Hyperion on November 27, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 304 Format: Hardcover Source: Library

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

Take two American teen chefs, add one heaping cup of Paris, toss in a pinch of romance, and stir. . . .

Rosie Radeke firmly believes that happiness can be found at the bottom of a mixing bowl. But she never expected that she, a random nobody from East Liberty, Ohio, would be accepted to celebrity chef Denis Laurent’s school in Paris, the most prestigious cooking program for teens in the entire world. Life in Paris, however, isn’t all cream puffs and crepes. Faced with a challenging curriculum and a nightmare professor, Rosie begins to doubt her dishes.

Henry Yi grew up in his dad’s restaurant in Chicago, and his lifelong love affair with food landed him a coveted spot in Chef Laurent’s school. He quickly connects with Rosie, but academic pressure from home and his jealousy over Rosie’s growing friendship with gorgeous bad-boy baker Bodie Tal makes Henry lash out and push his dream girl away.

Desperate to prove themselves, Rosie and Henry cook like never before while sparks fly between them. But as they reach their breaking points, they wonder whether they have what it takes to become real chefs.

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Mini Reviews: The Rising Gold & The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

I’m trying to catch up with reviews before the end of the year so I’m sharing my thoughts on two YA titles that came out in October. Check them out below!

TheRisingGoldThe Rising Gold by Ava Jae

Published by Sky Pony Press on October 2, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction

Pages: 424 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

A new world ruler is crowned. 

Plunged into a crumbling world of foreign politics that is desperate for a leader, Eros chooses a loyal prince to help him navigate the hostile sands of Safara. But not everyone is happy to see a half-blood become the most powerful person on the planet.

A queen must restore her nation.

In power once more, Kora faces new challenges and a difficult decision that puts someone close to her in mortal danger. The wrong choice could destroy her relationships, her right to rule, and her life.

A rebellion is brewing.

With their world collapsing around them, new threats spreading across the globe, and their loved ones at risk, the people of Safara―Sepharon and human alike―depend on Eros and Kora to fix their bleeding world. But with generations of hate stacked against them, the two young monarchs may be doomed to fail.

Full of complicated romantic and familial relationships as well as a compelling scifi storyline, The Rising Gold is a wonder of a finale. I adore Eros and Deimos together and their scenes are incredible throughtout whether it’s soft relationship stuff or trying to hold Safara together. Kora has her own path trying to do right by her people while not losing her brother in the process. Dealing with difficult political situations and taking on systemic opression lifts this story up to another level and I absolutely recommend picking up this series!

TheLadysGuidetoPetticoatsandPiracyThe Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

Published by Katherine Tegen Books on October 2, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Historical Fiction

Pages: 450 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

A year after an accidentally whirlwind grand tour with her brother Monty, Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.

But then a window of opportunity opens—a doctor she idolizes is marrying an old friend of hers in Germany. Felicity believes if she could meet this man he could change her future, but she has no money of her own to make the trip. Luckily, a mysterious young woman is willing to pay Felicity’s way, so long as she’s allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as her maid.

In spite of her suspicions, Felicity agrees, but once the girl’s true motives are revealed, Felicity becomes part of a perilous quest that leads them from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.

Ah the return of Mackenzi Lee and her sassy/saucy characters, this time with Felicity at the helm. Her determination and drive fuels the story and all of her faults are on full display. The pace of this one is significantly different and a little repetitive but bright spots are the edition of Sim and Johanna. Of course Monty and Percy make standout appearances but the ladies are clearly running the show. I loved all of the medical and dragons stuff too! If you loved Gentleman’s Guide, defintely pick this one up!

Have you read either of these books? Started these series?

Let me know in the comments below!