Monday, June 18, 2018

"The Wall of Winnipeg and Me" by Mariana Zapata

Genre: Contemporary/ Romance
Format: Paperback (Library Edition)
Publication: February 2016
Cover Rating: 2/5 Stars

From Goodreads: Vanessa Mazur knows she's doing the right thing. She shouldn't feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she's beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn't find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He's asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants? 

My Thoughts: First of all, huge thanks to my lovely friend Anna over at Annaberry Reads for recommending this one to me!

When I picked this up from the library my first thoughts were "Holy cow this book is huge for a contemporary romance!", I figured it would take me a while to read it (especially since I've become a slow reader thanks to my little), but I was wrong. I read it in four days. It was so good and well paced, I didn't even think about it being 673 pages long.

The thing you need to know about The Wall of Winnipeg and Me is that it is very character driven. There's not a lot of action going on, but we get to know the characters so well we feel like they're  our friends by the end of the book which is what I love. In that sense, it reminded me a little of Thoughtless but without all the angst.

I'm also going to gush for just a second on how freaking awesome Vanessa is. Rarely do we see a heroine like her in novels- one that we can actually relate to and who's not perfect. Not to mention, Vanessa takes NO crap from anyone which I loved. She is definitely a character I would want to hang with and watch Dragonball Z with 😂

I really believe the only reason I'm not rating this one five stars is because Aiden just wasn't my type and I didn't feel quit as connected to him as I should have. To me, Aiden took the strong SILENT type to a whole other level, and honestly he doesn't get a lot of dialogue in the book. At least, it didn't feel that way for me. Some of his exchanges with Vanessa and personal moments felt a little awkward and that threw me out of the novel, but it was never enough for me to think "Oh, I"m not enjoying this." I knew I wanted to continue reading to find out what happened between these guys and how Vanessa's life turned out.

Bottom Line: I would definitely recommend this one to anyone who loves a contemporary novel!

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

"This is Not a Test" by Courtney Summers

Genre: YA... something?
Format: Paperback
Publication: June 2012
Cover Rating: 5/5 Stars

From Goodreads: It's the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won't stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn't sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she's failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she's forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group's fate is determined less and less by what's happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

My Thoughts: This book has been sitting on my shelf for SIX years! I've been trying to clean up my TBR books lately, and I knew this was one I really needed to read.

Honestly, I'm not sure how I felt about it. This is Not a Test is well written, and it kept me turning the pages... but I was left with the impression that this is NOT a Zombie novel. To me, this was more of a novel about a girl dealing with mental illness and PTSD from living in an abusive home, with zombie's in the background. It had some really good Zombie moments, especially towards the end, but ultimately I couldn't list this one as a YA Horror novel. I'm sure when I picked this up I was looking for something more like The Forest of Hands and Teeth (which is an EPIC Zombie YA), but TINAT just doesn't fall in that category.

Besides the non-zombie feel, I had three other big issues with this one. The first was that Sloane was annoying for a Zombie Apocalypse world. The truth was, I just didn't see her surviving as long as she did. If you read it, the reasons would become obvious. The second was that I felt zero chemistry between her and the other characters, which made for a lot of boring and forced interactions. And my last issue was that nothing really seemed to happen until the last 30 pages or so. They're basically all just hanging out in the school, doing nothing.

So, why did I keep reading? Despite my issues, the author really does have a seamless writing style. Everything flowed together perfectly and it kept me reading, even though there wasn't too much going on. I also really thought she had a strong understanding of PTSD and mental illness. And even though this won't be listed as one of my favorite books, I did enjoy the ending. It saved the book from becoming a one star for me.

Bottom Line: Of course, all of this is just my opinion and just because I wasn't a fan of it doesn't mean you won't be. I feel like the author should have either went all in for the Zombie novel or either all in for the PTSD/ mental illness novel and left out the zombies. But together it just didn't really work for me.

My Rating: 2.5/ 5 Stars

Monday, June 11, 2018

"Starry Eyes" by Jenn Bennett

Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Hardback
Publication: April 2018
Cover Rating: 5/5 Stars

From Goodreads: Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars? 

My Thoughts: I loved, loved, LOVED this book! I'm not even sure where to begin with my gushing! The characters, the story, the chemistry, and the setting! It was all perfect. I was quickly sucked into it and I did not stop reading until I turned the last page. Finding the perfect YA contemporary book can be a bit tricky for me. Some of them are just way too cheesy and too much of a guilty pleasure for me. However, Starry Eyes was exactly what I wanted: a good summer adventure with some really well written romance!

The relationship between Zorie and Lennon is so intense and realistic, I feel like I know them now. I was so sad to finish this one because I knew I would be saying goodbye to them. I wanted more! Not only of Zorie and Lennon, but also their parents. And okay, yeah I wanted more of Lennon too because I wanted to go cradle robbing for him 😂

And while the chemistry was FIRE, my other favorite aspect of this book was the setting. I so badly wanted to go camping and just be out in the wilderness when I was reading this book. It made me remember the simple joy of being unplugged and just enjoying nature.

Bottom Line: If you love contemporary novels at all, READ THIS. Even if you're not a huge YA fan, I still highly suggest this one! It's definitely going on my favorites shelf.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

"Listen to Your Heart" by Kasie West

Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Hardback/ Library
Publication: May 2018
Cover Rating: 2/5 Stars

From Goodreads: 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.

My Thoughts: This was my first Kasie West book, but it won't be my last! While I wasn't a fan of the cover (the heart shaped floats were a little too much for me), I really did enjoy the story! I read it in one weekend (which is fast for me these days as most of my time is spent chasing my toddler around) and I absolutely loved snarky Kate's character and how she handled the situation of falling for her best-friends guy. I won't spoil it for you and tell you what she did, but just know that Kate's character is so refreshing and loyal to not only her friends, but also herself. I also really enjoyed the other characters in the novel, like Frank (who has the BEST wit), Alana, and of course Diego *swoon*. Overall Listen to Your Heart is the perfect fun, light-hearted summer read that I was looking for.

Bottom Line: I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good YA contemporary novel. Also, side note: If you have younger teens this would be perfect for them as well as there is no adult language our explicit scenes in this novel.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Monday, June 4, 2018

"War Storm" by Victoria Aveyard

Series: Red Queen #4
Genre: YA Dystopia
Format: Hardback
Publication: May 2018
Cover Rating: 5/5 Stars

From Goodreads: 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. 

My Thoughts: This is hard to say, so I'm just going to come right out and say it: For me, the final book in the Red Queen series was just... meh. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't good either. Red Queen was simply amazing. The world building, the plot, the characters and their chemistry... not to mention that WTF moment at the end of the book. It was all it was hyped up to be plus more. However as the series went on each book got less and less amazing for me. I stuck with it simply because I fell in love with these characters in the first book. So by the time War Storm came out, I was ready for it to be over. I just wanted to know what happened in the end to Mare, Cal, and Maven. I also didn't really feel like it should have been a 600 + page novel. It definitely had that dragged out feel. It was the end that really got to me though. I wasn't satisfied with it, and I wasn't happy about how things were left with Mare, Cal, and Maven. I'm not going to get into the spoilery parts, but I just wasn't happy about it.

Bottom Line: In the end I am glad I read I this series. I loved the characters so much and I can tell the author really took the time to plot her books. But I wouldn't have read another book in the series if this one wasn't the last. I definitely feel like the whole series could have been condensed into three books.

My Rating: 2/5 Stars

Thursday, May 17, 2018

"The Prophecy" by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series: Titan #4
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance/ Mythology
Format: Kindle
Publication: March 2018
Cover Rating: 5/5 Stars

From Goodreads: History is on repeat… 

Seth never thought he’d have a future. But now he’s on the brink of having it all with Josie: A tomorrow. A family. A forever. And all that's standing between him and that forever is the Titans. If he helps Josie entomb them -- without killing them, a nearly impossible task for him -- everything he could ever want will be in reach. But he soon realizes that as a god, every little choice he makes can reshape the world for the better… or worse. And in meddling with the Titans, Seth may have just set into motion catastrophic consequences that will force the Olympians to enter the mortal realm and reshape the delicate balance of power that keeps the world from total collapse.

A price must be paid… 

Entombing the Titans is Josie’s top priority. After all, it was what she was born to do. But the plans her father put into play to help her are no longer an option, and the odds she and Seth face in forging their own path are grim. The escalating violence between halfs and pures only increases the danger closing in on them and their friends. Josie knows their chances of succeeding in their task are slim at best -- and if they fail, they might lose everything. But she also knows she's not fighting just for herself -- she's fighting for the man she loves, for their future, for the world. Together with the Army of Awesome, Josie and Seth will face the unthinkable. And to win this war, the ultimate sacrifice must be made.

For the end is here and the Prophecy will be fulfilled….

My Thoughts: I can't believe this is the end! Ugh, so many tears! SO MANY! This was the absolute perfect ending for not only the Titan series, but also for the Covenant series as well- unless of course, JLA wants to write more (pretty please?). Honestly, I didn't want it to end. I've loved these character so much, way back when I discovered them on Goodreads in 2011. This entire series is so unique that you get sucked in instantly and end up falling in love with all the characters in it. I just can't believe I'm never going to read another Covenant novel! Also, side note: This is definitely a book you want to have emotional support nearby for! And tissues. Lots and lots of tissues!

Okay, okay. So enough moping about it ending. The Prophecy was everything I wanted it to be. Josie is once again our kick butt heroine and Seth is Seth in all his amazing-ness. However, I feel like the characters have really grown up in this final installment and we see that on a new level. And while the Big Bad is still out there (and we do get some serious action scenes), this last book is more focused on wrapping everything up and the emotions behind what has been going on. The gang is on a ticking clock trying to find a way to entomb the Titans once more and nothing is going as planned. While I really loved the entire book, what I was super proud of was Josie. I'm not going to get into any spoilers, but Josie's character goes through so many changes and she has so many things thrown at her, and yet she comes out of it stronger and WISER. She makes the right decisions for her and I was so proud of her character for that. Of course, I think the same can be said about Seth. He's come a long way since his days in the Covenant series for sure.

The bottom line is, JLA is Boss/ Queen and the collection of both the Covenant and Titan novels is one of my favorites and I definitely recommend them to everyone!

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

"War Storm" Release Day!!!

Guess what?! It's release day for Victoria Aveyard's War Storm!!! 
Guys, I can not wait to read this book! It's so lovely. I mean, just look at it! And it's HUGE! 672 pages to wrap up everything! I don't know if I can handle it ending! I mean, I can, but what if it's upsetting?! I will definitely be needing some emotional support, I'm sure.  If you didn't preorder it make sure you get out today to buy it! 

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