Book Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

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goodreads summary:

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

my review:

Rating: ★★★☆☆

~ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review~
I’ll start with what I did like so it’s not lost in whatever comes next. The style of writing made it easy to read, it’s light and fluffy, and serious when it needs to be. Mercedes was an interesting main character, I didn’t like her, but it was nice to read a YA contemporary that’s quite different. Firsts make a lot of promises and the potential was so obvious.

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BOOK REVIEW: City of Wolves: Fated Mates (Shifter Book 1) by Avery Burch

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Barnes & Noble summary:

She’s an elite. He’s a wolf and an outcast. Their forbidden passion will move worlds.

Everyone knows that wolves love with a passion that can be dangerous. They imprint on a woman and never let her go. From the moment they love their female, they will kill for her, and die for her.

[…] When Zac and Lyla meet, they know love is hopeless, but their powerful attraction is simply too great. Fighting to overcome the ruthlessness of their society, Zac and Lyla learn that true love can overcome any obstacle, but not without dire consequences.

my review:

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

~ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review~

Oh man, I’m so disappointed with this. I was currently in a reading slump and I was hoping this could pull me out of it. But it didn’t. It was terrible.

Shifter is paranormal dystopian novel which revolves around Lyla, an elite class member which rules over Manhattan, and Zac, an outcast orphan looking for an adventure, who is also a wolf and is always on his guard from the elite regime. When they meet, the fight over the barriers from their society, but not without terrible consequences.

Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: City of Wolves: Fated Mates (Shifter Book 1) by Avery Burch”

BOOK REVIEW: Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine

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Author Bio

goodreads summary:

Iris’s father, Ernest, is at the end of his life and she hasn’t even met him. Her best friend, Thurston, is somewhere on the other side of the world. Everything she thought she knew is up in flames.

Now her mother has declared war and means to get her hands on Ernest’s priceless art collection. But Ernest has other ideas. There are things he wants Iris to know after he’s gone. And the truth has more than one way of coming to light.

my review:

Rating:★★★★☆

~ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review~

The title, Fire Colour One,  refers to the Yves Klein painting FC1, I googled it- it looks cool, but the book is Iris who lives with her mother, Hannah, and stepfather in America until Hannah announces one day that they are returning to the UK to see Iris’s father, Ernest, who is dying. Hannah is desperate to get her hands on Ernest’s art collection. Iris has no recollections of her Dad other than what her mother has told her. She has grown up with the knowledge her father wanted nothing to do with her. Gradually, Iris and Ernest start to bond and Iris hears Ernest’s side of the story, and the life he has lived ever since her mother left him years ago.

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BOOK REVIEW: Never Never By Brianna Shrum

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GoodReads Summary:

James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.

When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child—at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.

[…] This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

Except one.

My Review:

Rating: ★★★★☆

~ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review~

Never Never is a new imaginative take on how Captain Hook came to be. This isn’t the story we all grew up knowing, and completely different from the much loved Disney movie. There are similarities which quickly overpowered by the differences. I quickly came to despise Peter Pan, and become sympathetic to Hook and his need to revenge, but as the novel unfolded I found myself pulling away from Hook.

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BOOK REVIEW: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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Author Bio

GoodReads Summary:

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common.

But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

My Review:

Rating: ★★★★★

(spoilers in review)

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a story of two friends, Ari and Dante, who meet at age 15 and forge a friendship through a summer of sheer boredom. Their developing friendship is sweet and playful, making it an amazing story of friendship which later develops into love.

The story is narrated by Ari a loner who lives in a state of constant anger: at the secrets his family keeps from him, at his father for not being open. Then he meets Dante, who is his opposite. Dante’s quick to laugh, an artist and a philosopher. Except as it turns out, they are not so different after all. Ari learns to let go of his anger and goes through a series of moments of self-discovery. It’s very interesting to see that Ari’s narrative is somewhat unreliable because it is very clear that Ari represses his feelings because he doesn’t know them either – and his actions speaks louder than his words.

However, I really wished there had been more of a development with Ari and his brother. The mystery behind his brother was really interesting and I wished it was followed through to the end. The ending of the book also felt rushed and abrupt.

Overall, Aristotle and Dante is an engaging coming-of-age story and a thoughtful exploration of identity and sexuality. This story is heart warming and an extremely worthwhile read.

BOOK REVIEW: The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen

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goodreads summary:

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend . . . if she can survive.

my review:

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

~ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review~

All signs point to The Queen of the Tearling to be one of the best books ever. An epic fantasy with a huge film adaptation with Emma Watson as the potential main star/ producer and one of the highest sums ever paid to a debut author– When I began to read this book, I started thinking this was going to recieve 5 stars from me.

But then I read the book.

Johansen’s writing is decent but the novel is filled with moments where nothing happens yet everything is described in excruciating detail – The actual storyline took up 40% of the book while the rest of the space was filled with as many words as possible so that there’s enough to make it to the end.The potential in Johansen’s future-medieval world is endless, and yet the history and implications literally made no sense.

I wanted a world of magic, creatures, witches, and everything that relates to “fantasy”. Instead, what I got is is an unlikeable, problematic heroine. The author has stated that in TQOFT she wanted to create a strong heroine who isn’t perfect but it seems through the attempt to create an “imperfect” character they literally did what they didn’t want to achieve: fairly typical, bland YA protagonist.

The world building is confusing as hell. This is a weird attempt of making a dystopian world, that is somewhat set in the medieval ages. Apparently, for some reason, the story takes place a couple of hundred years from now, where technology and human advancement don’t exist anymore. This book has the church, doctors (actually there’s only two) but these people fight with swords and the feminist movement just doesn’t exist anymore. So are you telling me that hundreds of years from now, we’re going to abandon technology and human rights for all this?? How are these people surviving so easily with no electricity, but they have copies of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Humanity is far too advance to not use such things any more, and it should be much more difficult for them to start from scratch. It didn’t make sense how people knew these things existed, but wouldn’t use them, yet heroin and organ transplants were common

I also have the biggest problem with Kelsea. As Queen, she should have some common sense but in reality, Kelsea sends soldiers in search of books, putting her kingdom at risk if the enemy attacked. Okay, I love books and would defend them at any cost but I would at least wait until I’ve settled down or at least fixed some problems in my kingdom first (I should also mention there in an impending war but no this girl would rather sit down and copy books than actually address the kingdom’s current problems with her advisors.) Her guards are as equally clueless as Kelsea. They literally don’t know how to protect her. She gets kidnapped, almost killed by an assassin, and knifed in the back. But her guards are literally no where to be seen?

Throughout the book, Kelsea does nothing but complain about how boring, ugly and fat she is and longs to be pretty. She becomes envious of those who are naturally beautiful or older people who are comfortable with how they look. In response, Kelsea finds it fun to mock everyone for how they look…

What does she see when she looks in the mirror? Kelsea wondered. How could a woman who looked so old still place so much importance on being attractive? (…) she saw now that there was something far worse than being ugly: being ugly and thinking you were beautiful.

Because how dare anyone who isn’t conventionally attractive have confidence in themselves and want to look good (like shut up kelsea you took her damn crown first wtf) There are just so many things wrong with that one sentence. I hate the way Kelsea is written in a way that there is no possible way we are supposed to hate her. Everyone on the planet likes her, except anyone who is evil. Every single person values her courage and genuinely treats her like everything she does is so amazing. When the author literally created a world where everyone has problems is so unlikeable, it makes her look good.

In most fantasy novels, its common to attack religion but honestly, there is a point where you say you should probably stop.

“(…) If you can tolerate my arguments, you’re free to minister to or convert any other occupant of this Keep, not excepting the pigs and chickens.”
“You make sport of my religion, Lady,” (…)
“I make sport of all things inconsistent, Father.”

*

Andalie pursed her lips (…), “I’m not a religious woman, Lady. I’m sorry if it pains you, but I believe in no god, and even less do I believe in any church.”

*

“How do you expect anyone to believe in your God in these times?”
“I believe in my God, Majesty.”
“Then you’re a fool.”

We get it, you don’t believe in God, and you think everyone who does is stupid. But it doesn’t need to shoved into my face every 5 seconds. (I remember in my update, I made comment about it seems silly that only Christianity seems to be the only surviving religion but honestly, I’m glad Islam wasn’t involved in this novel, because I wouldn’t have wanted see how she portrayed Islam in this if this was how Christianity was being treated.)

Overall, a disappointing read to something that had the potential to be amazing.