May 18, 2018

Blog Tour: Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson

Author: Jennifer Donaldson
Publisher: Razorbill
Number of Pages: 336
Amazon | Goodreads

Synopsis:
"Gabe and Elyse have never met. But they both have something to hide.
Quiet, shy Elyse can't believe it when she's cast as the lead in her Portland high school's production of Romeo and Juliet. Her best friend, Brynn, is usually the star, and Elyse isn't sure she's up to the task. But when someone at rehearsals starts to catch her eye--someone she knows she absolutely shouldn't be with--she can't help but be pulled into the spotlight. 
Austin native Gabe is contemplating the unthinkable--breaking up with Sasha, his headstrong, popular girlfriend. She's not going to let him slip through her fingers, though, and when rumors start to circulate around school, he knows she has the power to change his life forever. 
Gabe and Elyse both make the mistake of falling for the wrong person, and falling hard. Told in parallel narratives, this twisty, shocking story shows how one bad choice can lead to a spiral of unforeseen consequences that not everyone will survive."
I went into this book completely blind to the plot of the book and even what genre it was. All I needed to see was the cover and I knew that I had to read this book. Thankfully, the plot ended up being even better than I hoped. 

I'm not the biggest fan of taboo relationships but with Elyse's home life, it created a very interesting dynamic and background. Gabe's story was the one that had me hooked from the very beginning, I could have read an entire novel on just his story. I actually read this book in one sitting--in one night, I was completely absorbed by the story. These two different lives that just flow together so well create a stunning book. 

Overall, the plot is wonderful and the writing is excellent. There are parts however that are exaggerated and then left unsettled and details that seem important but end up being passed over. In the overall picture, it didn't make a difference, but it did leave me a little confused and questioning at points. 

Jennifer Donaldson's combination of stellar writing and a dark, enthralling plot creates a 2018 must-read. I highly recommend picking up this book if you enjoy thrillers and a little bit of mystery.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars!

*A copy of this novel was provided in exchange for an honest review.


I actually also created a Pinterest board for this book. You can check it out here but this is a little teaser:

   

Stop by my Pinterest to see the rest!



Jennifer Donaldson graduated from Reed College and received her MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently lives in Austin with her family.

Author Links:
Goodreads | Twitter






Don't forget to stop by the rest of the tour!

WEEK ONE
May 14 – Brooke Reports – Playlist
May 15 – Lindseyybooks – Review + Insta Photo
May 16 – Lo’s Lo-Down on Books – Review
May 17 – Novel Grounds – Book Aesthetic and Creative Instagram Picture
May 18 – Little Bookworm Reviews – Review + Book Aesthetic

WEEK TWO
May 21 – Just Add a Word – Review + Book Aesthetic
May 22 – The Nerdy Girl Express – Review
May 23 – The Lovely Books – Review
May 24 – Next Book Review – Creative Picture
May 25 – Snarky Yet Satisfying – Creative Instagram Picture

WEEK THREE
May 28 – Coffee Cocktails and Books – Review + Book Tag
May 29 – HelloJennyReviews – Creative Bookstagram Picture
May 30 – Young Adult Reads – Review
May 31 – Seeing Double In Neverland – Review + Creative Photo


May 1, 2018

Top Ten Books I'd Slay a Lion to Get Early

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

There are so many new books coming out in 2018 that sound phenomenal. Some of these books I would actually do a lot to get my hands on this very minute. Luckily some of these books are coming out within a few weeks but others I'll be waiting much longer. :(

**These aren't in any particular order!

10. War Storm by Victoria Aveyard
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Series: Red Queen #4
Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 672
Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:
"VICTORY COMES AT A PRICE.Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive."
9. Legendary by Stephanie Garber
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Series: Caraval #2
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Number of Pages: 416
Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:
"A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.
After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.
The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval...the games have only just begun."
8. Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Publisher: Speak
Number of Pages: 352
Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:
"Megan Harper is the girl before. All her exes find their one true love right after dating her. It’s not a curse or anything, it’s just the way things are, and Megan refuses to waste time feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theatre, and fulfilling her dream school’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible. 
But her plans quickly crumble when she’s cast as none other than Juliet–yes, that Juliet–in her high school’s production. It’s a nightmare. No–a disaster. Megan’s not an actress and she’s certainly not a Juliet. Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright who agrees to help Megan catch the eye of a sexy stagehand in exchange for help writing his new script. 
Between rehearsals and contending with her divided family, Megan begins to notice Owen–thoughtful, unconventional, and utterly unlike her exes, and wonders: shouldn’t a girl get to play the lead in her own love story?"
7. Almost Impossible by Nicole Williams
Release Date: June 19, 2018
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 256
Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:
"When Jade decided to spend the summer with her aunt in California, she thought she knew what she was getting into. But nothing could have prepared her for Quentin. Jade hasn't been in suburbia long and even she knows her annoying (and annoyingly cute) next-door neighbor spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E. 
And when Quentin learns Jade plans to spend her first American summer hiding out reading books, he refuses to be ignored. Sneaking out, staying up, and even a midnight swim, Quentin is determined to give Jade days--and nights--worth remembering.
But despite their storybook-perfect romance, every time Jade moves closer, Quentin pulls away. And when rumors of a jilted ex-girlfriend come to light, Jade knows Quentin is hiding a secret--and she's determined to find out what it is."
6. The Fall of Innocence by Jenny Torres Sanchez
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Publisher: Philomel Books
Number of Pages: 320
Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:
"For the past eight years, sixteen-year-old Emilia DeJesus has done her best to move on from the traumatic attack she suffered in the woods behind her elementary school. She's forced down the memories--the feeling of the twigs cracking beneath her, choking on her own blood, unable to scream. Most of all, she's tried to forget about Jeremy Lance, the boy responsible, the boy who caused her such pain. Emilia believes that the crows who watched over her that day, who helped her survive, are still on her side, encouraging her to live fully. And with the love and support of her mother, brother, and her caring boyfriend, Emilia is doing just that.
But when a startling discovery about her attacker's identity comes to light, and the memories of that day break through the mental box in which she'd shut them away, Emilia is forced to confront her new reality and make sense of shifting truths about her past, her family, and herself."
5. Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 320
Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:
"The summer after her freshman year in college, Mariam is looking forward to working and hanging out with her best friends: irrepressible and beautiful Ghazala and religious but closeted Umar. But when a scandalous photo of Ghaz appears on a billboard in Times Square, Mariam and Umar come up with a plan to rescue her from her furious parents. And what better escape than New Orleans?
The friends pile into Umar's car and start driving south, making all kinds of pit stops along the way--from a college drag party to a Muslim convention, from alarming encounters at roadside diners to honky-tonks and barbeque joints. 
Along with the adventures, the fun banter, and the gas station junk food, the friends have some hard questions to answer on the road. With her uncle's address in her pocket, Mariam hopes to learn the truth about her father (and to make sure she didn't inherit his talent for disappearing). But as each mile of the road trip brings them closer to their own truths, they know they can rely on each other, and laughter, to get them through."
4. Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Number of Pages: 352
Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:
"They say Château Beaumont is cursed. But servant-girl Lucie can’t believe such foolishness about handsome Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont, master of the estate. But when the chevalier's cruelty is revealed, Lucie vows to see him suffer. A wisewoman grants her wish, with a spell that transforms Jean-Loup into monstrous-looking Beast, reflecting the monster he is inside. But Beast is nothing like the chevalier. Jean-Loup would never patiently tend his roses; Jean-Loup would never attempt poetry; Jean-Loup would never express remorse for the wrong done to Lucie. Gradually, Lucie realizes that Beast is an entirely different creature from the handsome chevalier, with a heart more human than Jean-Loup’s ever was. Lucie dares to hope that noble Beast has permanently replaced the cruel Jean-Loup — until an innocent beauty arrives at Beast’s château with the power to break the spell."
3. Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Series: Heart of Thorns #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books 
Number of Pages: 464
Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:
"In the ancient river kingdom, touch is a battlefield, bodies the instruments of war. Seventeen-year-old Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood.
Not women. Demons. The same demons who killed her mother without a single scratch. 
But when Mia's father suddenly announces her marriage to the prince, she is forced to trade in her knives and trousers for a sumptuous silk gown. Only after the wedding goes disastrously wrong does she discover she has dark, forbidden magic—the very magic she has sworn to destroy."
2. Losing the Field by Abbi Glines
Release Date: August 31, 2018
Series: The Field Party #4
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Number of Pages: 336
Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:
"Losing his dream, his ultimate plan, and his future- Nash Lee never expected to be facing a life without football. One wrong move and it had all changed. Going back to school for his senior year no longer appealed to him. He’d rather not leave his house. Walking back into Lawton High School, seeing pity in everyone’s eyes was just another reality in his nightmare.
Revenge wasn’t a pretty thing. Tallulah Liddell had found it was rather controlling. The way you looked at life changed completely when you clung to the ugly notion. But she’d done it anyway. From the last day of her junior year when Ryker Lee had made a fat joke about her and Nash laughed with him, she’d been driven by pain. It wasn’t like no one had made fun of her weight before. She was used to that. What had hurt so deeply was Nash’s laughter. He’d always been the one person to notice her, include her, not treat her differently. But that one moment had changed it all. From the time she walked out of the school building to the moment she returned for her senior year Tallulah had been determined to lose weight and finally be the size her peers considered acceptable.
What she wasn’t expecting on her return was to find a broken Nash Lee who no longer smiled, rarely spoke, and didn’t care about anything or anyone around him. He was just existing. But the pain in his eyes she understood all too well. He was alone. He no longer fit into the perfect package."
1. My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Publisher: Crown BYFR
Number of Pages: 304
Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:
"Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soulmate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her 18th birthday, and Raj meets all of the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Worse, Raj is crowned chair of the student film festival, a spot Winnie was counting on for her film school applications. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.
Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek, and one of the few people Winnie can count on to help her reclaim control of her story. Dev is smart charming, and challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope to find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy, and her chance to live happily ever after? To get her Bollywood-like life on track, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star."

What books are you looking forward to?

Apr 28, 2018

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Tor Books
Series: Shades of Magic
Number of Pages: 400
Goodreads I Amazon

Synopsis:
"Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive."
This book has been on my TBR list for over two years, so I was really looking forward to reading it when I got my hands on it. I really enjoyed the originality of this fantasy in that the magic was very complex, and the author created multiple different worlds within the novel in order to develop a very interesting plot. It was almost as if Schwab had created four different dimensions, but the rulers were each aware of the others' existence. I thought the conflicts that this created were very interesting. 

I loved the two main characters, Kell and Lila, because they were very strong and determined but where Kell was methodical, Lila was very impulsive and devious. I really enjoyed the dynamic between the two that this created because it allowed for a lot of humor and banter which I really enjoyed. This book is definitely filled with a lot of action, but it is more focused on the political dynamic and conflicts between the worlds which sounds boring, but it is really interesting!

The pacing of the plot is really well done because I did not feel as if the relationships between the characters were being rushed, and I think that is what I loved most about the book. It felt very realistic. Also, the descriptions of the magic and the action scenes were amazing, and I could not even try to put the book down during those scenes.

Overall, I really loved this book, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good fantasy novel. This is listed as a Young Adult novel, but I would definitely say that it could pass for an adult novel just without any mature content. My immediate instinct was to go find the second book, and that is what I am currently reading.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!