book review: holding up the universe by jennifer niven

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Publisher: Penguin Books (UK)
Release date: October 4, 2016
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 400
Rating: 4 stars
Goodreads Blurb:

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

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book review: when the moon was ours by anna-marie mclemore

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Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release date: October 4, 2016
Genres: YA, Magical Realism, Fantasy

Pages: 288
Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads Blurb:

When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves.

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

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book review: the star-touched queen

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Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Blurb:

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

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Book Review: The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey

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Publisher: Random House Children’s

Release Date: April 28 2015

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads Blurb:

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

My Review

Disclaimer: This book was provided by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Warning: This review contains some spoilers!

Two different worlds are layered on the mortal world and they coexist because of the magic that hides the truth from mortals. But Echo, an honorable pickpocket, know of the Avicen’s and the Drakharin’s existence. The Avicen have feathers instead of hair and the ability to use/command magic. The Drakharin are kind-of a cross between human and dragons. Their fierce and brutal and at war with the Avicen. When the Ala, Echo’s Avicen guardian, discovers proof of the existence of a mythical creature named the Firebird – Echo is thrust deeper into the world of the Avicen and Drakharin. With so many lives at stake, Echo agrees to find the Firebird which will end the war between the Drakharin and Avicen. But soon Echo is forced to confront the all-to-real possibility that the only way to survive is to make allies with people she doesn’t even know if she can trust.

Echo is officially one of my favorite main characters. She is playful, laidback, and a honorable thief but her unwavering loyalty and bravery in the face of danger are some of her most commendable qualities. She is everything that I didn’t expect and I was so impressed by her ability to adapt to any circumstance she’s placed in.

Rowan, Echo’s original love interest proved to be disappointing. I felt like he was a very two-dimensional character in that there didn’t seem to be a lot to him. His only purpose for existing seemed to be to incite some angst. I also didn’t really understand why he helped Echo but then decided to come after. In the end, he was never really that loyal to her.

Ivy, Echo’s friend isn’t that interesting either. She seemed to be more of a plot device than anything else. She didn’t really have much of a role and I didn’t understand why it was truly necessary for her to be there. I suppose like Rowan, she was part of the cast of friends.

Caius is another of my favorite characters. Although he initially seems like an unfeeling brute, other sides of him are revealed as the story progresses. The romance between him and Echo unfurled painfully slowly and at times it was driving me crazy because I just wanted them to get together already! However, the love triangle between him, Rowan and Echo is never the main focus which is great considering how everyone is at war.

The romance between Dorian and Jasper is truly beautiful too so kudos to the author for pulling it off so well. For one thing, it initially seems like the most unlikely thing that could happen but through the course of the book they end up falling for each other. The author doesn’t just force an insta-love between them and it takes them time to overcome the prejudices surrounding their races (Dorian is Drakharin but Jasper is Avicen). Jasper is also one of those cocky, funny characters that I love seeing in books so the dialogue exchanged between him and Dorian is hilarious and flirtatious.

Overall I loved this book so much and I’m so glad it’s part of a series!

Book Review: Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger

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Publisher: Scholastic

Release Date: April 28th 2015

Genre: Contemporary, YA

Rating: 3.5 stars

Goodreads Blurb:

Sonny Ardmore is an excellent liar. She lies about her dad being in prison. She lies about her mom kicking her out. And she lies about sneaking into her best friend’s house every night because she has nowhere else to go.

Amy Rush might be the only person Sonny shares everything with— secrets, clothes, even a nemesis named Ryder Cross.

Ryder’s the new kid at Hamilton High and everything Sonny and Amy can’t stand—a prep-school snob. But Ryder has a weakness: Amy. So when Ryder emails Amy asking her out, the friends see it as a prank opportunity not to be missed.

But without meaning to, Sonny ends up talking to Ryder all night online. And to her horror, she realizes that she might actually like him. Only there’s one small catch: he thinks he’s been talking to Amy. So Sonny comes up with an elaborate scheme to help Ryder realize that she’s the girl he’s really wanted all along. Can Sonny lie her way to the truth, or will all her lies end up costing her both Ryder and Amy?

My Review

Warning: There are spoilers! 

The book started off well but then it started to go downhill.. 

Sonny is this compulsive liar who ends up falling for Ryder Cross (the guy who she thought she can’t stand)..The only problem is that Ryder is into her best friend Amy. So of-course Sonny has to concoct millions more lies to get Ryder to like her but hate Amy. 

Maybe I expected too much of this book…but there’s basically no plot. (Sometimes this actually works out great but not in this book.) There just wasn’t enough happening and I got bored. The storyline was pretty predictable too but I stuck with it just to see if things would happen the way I thought they would…and they did.

Apart from Sonny, the rest of the characters weren’t really that great. (And Sonny isn’t likeable either.. but she is quirky and flawed so that’s something!) Ryder was annoying and assumed things too easily. His banter with Sonny was cute but their interactions in real life kind-of sucked and even when they were supposedly boyfriend/girlfriend, I still felt like it was very one-sided. Amy was kind-of spoiled and she couldn’t seem to stand up for herself. She annoyed me because she often fixated on her own problems when Sonny was freaking homeless because her mother abandoned her.

Amy and Sonny’s friendship was the best part of the book but of-course it got messed up because of Sonny’s lying and obsessive crush on Ryder. 

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BUT I’d still recommend this book because it was interesting and the premise is pretty original…so go read it and tell me what you think!!