Author: Arielle (page 1 of 20)

BOOK REVIEW: It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood

BOOK REVIEW: It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina KenwoodIt Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

From debut author Nina Kenwood comes a tender, funny, and compulsively readable novel about first love and its confusions, and all of the awkwardness of teen romance.

When her parents announce their impending divorce, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting, or at least mildly upset. Then Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward. She’d always imagined she would end up with Zach one day―in the version of her life that played out like a TV show, with just the right amount of banter, pining, and meaningful looks. Now everything has changed, and nothing is quite making sense. Until an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.

It Sounded Better in My Head is a compulsively readable love letter to teenage romance in all of its awkward glory, perfect for fans To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Emergency Contact.

Review

I decided after finishing this book that I need to be more…true to myself(?) with ARC ratings this year. I sometimes tend to rate higher than what I actually feel because I have this weird sense of guilt when I rate them under a four and I don’t think that’s fair to anyone, really. However, with this book specifically, I think it’s truly a case of “it’s not you, it’s me.” This book had a lot of parts that gave me butterflies and made my heart race and other parts that were so….truthful, that I had a lot of appreciation for it. However, it just wasn’t for me. I have been mostly avoiding YA contemporaries lately and this just kind of reaffirms that I can’t read them like I used to. I’m pretty sure that if I had read this in high school or even during my first few years of college, it would have been a five star read.

Even though I can appreciate the conflicts in this book, it’s getting harder and harder for me to put myself back in those shoes and deal with some of the other immaturities that realistically come from being that age.

What I liked: Natalie the main characters has PCOS (which is an aspect of life that I don’t think I’ve ever read about a young character suffering through), which made her acne bad. When I say bad, I mean BAD. I mean like physically scarring but also emotionally scarring in a way that changed her entire personality to that of a shut in during high school basically. You read about bad acne and typical puberty problems in a lot of YA books but this is the worst of the worst. That felt SO real and I felt for her so hard. But again, there were some aspects where I was trying to put myself in my mom’s shoes more and trying to decide how I would have handled things for my own daughter if she had been suffering through that. We get first relationships, all of the messy bits that that can entail, we get college acceptances and failures, and friendships tested. We get all of that stuff in the realest way possible and while I LOVED that, I just couldn’t love the book as a whole.

Again, I think a ton of people will really, really enjoy this. For being Kenwood’s debut novel I really am impressed! I just…probably should finally take a break from YA contemporaries for real this time, lol.

Huge thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinions!

BOOK REVIEW: The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne

BOOK REVIEW: The Stars We Steal by Alexa DonneThe Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.

Review

Man am I bummed about this, you guys. For those of you who didn’t know, this is a loose science fiction re-telling of Persuasion by Jane Austen. I personally have never read it before but I HAVE read and loved For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund which was also inspired by the book. After finishing that I watched the movie from 2007 just to see how the Austen version went. Basically, this story is one of the move FRUSTRATING (but ultimately rewarding) cases of slow-burn/second chance romances that you will ever see in your entire life.

This version had a LOT of potential and I still think that a lot of people will really like this. I personally think that I would have liked it more if it had even been a duology. Even though the world building and plot were pretty well formed and made sense, there was still so much MORE that could have been delved into if there had just been even one more book.

The concept of this book is that the inhabitants of Earth who had the means to do so, left in a fleet of space ships based on different nationalities after another Ice Age came on and froze the planet solid. Our main female protagonist, Leo, is considered a princess even though her family is just about destitute an the title is only really that–a title. Her aunt, who is captain of a much larger ship that is doing really well and has quite a bit of wealth, allows them to dock there.

Said Aunt is about to be hosting an event called the Valg Season which allows young people from all the different ships a chance to come together to find a suitable partner from a different bloodline. Surprise, surprise, Leo’s old love (who she had been engaged to for a hot second years ago before she was talked out of it by her father, aunt, and cousin because he was poor) shows up. Only now, he’s got money and is suddenly the heir to a ship. The two are at each others throats understandably after what happened in the past and there is a lot of tension due to a number of different things that go down.

As much as the small snippets of them reconnecting had my stomach fluttering, I wanted more. More, more, more. There wasn’t enough of them reconnecting because too many other things were going on with different political aspects involving her aunt’s ship and the fleet in general. I didn’t learn nearly enough of what their past was like, or even who they had been as people to compare to the people they had grown to be in each others’ absence. Again, if this had been more than one book, I think everything could have been executed perfectly with a better balance between the two things. Either way, it was still a quick read and I did still enjoy myself.

Huge thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. ♥

BOOK REVIEW: Whatever It Takes (Bad Reputation Duet #1) by Krista & Becca Ritchie

BOOK REVIEW: Whatever It Takes (Bad Reputation Duet #1) by Krista & Becca RitchieWhatever It Takes (Bad Reputation Duet #1)
by Krista & Becca Ritchie
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

I HAVE A BAD REPUTATION.

Call me what you want: Bad Boy Next Door. Trouble. That Kid Who Can’t Do Anything Right.

When Willow moves into my neighborhood, nothing should have happened. She’s geeky. Shy. A true wallflower.

Willow is a good girl.
Too good for me.

And how the hell was I supposed to know that she’s related to Loren Hale—yeah, that douchebag celebrity that lives on my street. The same guy I've been pranking by spray painting vulgar words on his mailbox and worse. Much worse.

Don't ask me why I do the things I do.
Don't ask me why it had to be her.

I'm cursed. Simple as that. But here's the thing about people who are cursed—they break everything they touch.

And yet. . .I still want to touch her. ​

Whatever It Takes is the first book in the Bad Reputation Duet and can be read and enjoyed without reading any of Krista & Becca's other novels.

Review

Oh Garrison, my heart. My heart hurts for you so much.

People, I have been dying for this couple’s story since the Ritchie’s posted the Wattpad chapters about them. Before this book was a for sure thing and those were taken down, I read them several times over. There was just something special about the quiet, nerdy girl from Maine who learned she was Loren Hale’s half-sister and took a leap of faith to meet him and move close to him to get to know him. Something about the damaged, “bad boy” who you could tell had a heard of fucking gold but had been raised in a HORRIBLE household with shitty friends and just wanted more, more, more out of life. The way these two form a tentative friendship over Tumblr and other nerdy things called to me and I needed to know more. When we found out we’d be getting that, I was ecstatic.

This book is told in a series of chapters set both in the present day with Willow going to school in London and Garrison working for Connor at Cobalt, Inc. and in the past with chunks of those very same chapters from Wattpad where the two first meet and get to know each other. Because I already knew *those* chunks, the ones that really got me were the present day chapters because that’s when you can really see Garrison struggling. Let me just tell you, I pray to God that Loren and/or Ryke beat the shit out his brothers in the second book, I really do. My heart was in my throat every single time he interacted or even THOUGHT about them. Like I can just FEEL his inner self silently screaming, knowing that while they are his flesh and blood, they are the worst part of his life. I want to slap that mom across the face.

ANYWAY, I can’t wait to see more of their relationship actually starting romantically and I am so glad we don’t have long to wait to see how things pick up with Garrison in the next book in the present day because my boy is hurting in more ways than one and I want to see the gang rally around him to help heal him. *sobs* THEY’VE DONE IT AGAIN, PEOPLE.

Huge thanks to Krista and Becca Ritchie and to Kandi Kane PR for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review! ♥

BOOK REVIEW: Between Burning Worlds (System Divine #2) by Jessica Brody, Joanne Rendell

BOOK REVIEW: Between Burning Worlds (System Divine #2) by Jessica Brody, Joanne RendellBetween Burning Worlds (System Divine)
by Jessica Brody, Joanne Rendell
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Les Misérables meets The Lunar Chronicles in the out-of-this-world sequel to Sky Without Stars that’s an “explosion of emotion, intrigue, romance, and revolution” (Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Caraval series).

A thief.
An officer.
A guardian.
All from different backgrounds, but sharing one same destiny…

The planet Laterre is in turmoil. A new militant revolutionary group has emerged calling themselves “The Red Scar” and claiming responsibility for a spate of recent bombings. The infamous rebels known as the Vangarde believe that in order to bring about a peaceful revolution, their charismatic leader, Citizen Rousseau must be freed from prison right away. Otherwise the bloodshed will only escalate.

Soon Marcellus, Chatine, and Alouette all find themselves pulled into battle with extreme consequences.

Marcellus is determined to uncover his corrupt grandfather’s plan to seize Laterre—even if that means joining the Vangarde.

Aloutte, trying to unearth the truth about her past, becomes a captive of Marcellus’s grandfather, the general.

Chatine, who is serving time on Bastille, hopes to escape the brutal and horrifying reality of the prison moon.

But the failed attempt to break Citizen Rousseau out of prison launches Aloutte, Chatine, and Marecellus into the middle of a dangerous war for control of Laterre. And in the midst of it all is the legend of a secret and dangerous weapon that could mean complete and absolute power to any that wields it.

Review

The beginning of this book started off for me, pretty similarly to the first. There was a lot of information that I had to remember again and people to get to know all over again. I remember at one point thinking “man this is another one of those long books that might not need to be so long. It’ll probably only be a 4.” And like the first book, the last 25%, maybe even 50% delivered enough excitement, intrigue, and emotions that bumped that rating up for me.

The stakes in this book are obviously a lot higher than in the first. Marcellus has agreed to secretly work with the Vanguard, Alouette is trying desperately to find out who her mother was and how her life came to be what it was in the Refuge, and Chatine is initially stuck serving her prison sentence on Bastille.

Things kind of go to shit for all of them at least once during this book but somehow, most of those situations end up working themselves out and they find themselves together, working towards the same cause. We get to see one of the other worlds and meet some great new characters along the way (I HAVE A NEW SHIP THAT BETTER SAIL IN BOOK THREE).

The one thing in this book that bothered me that my mind has been at war with itself on is Marcellus. There were a LOT of instances where his weakness pissed me off. And then I would get pissed off that that pissed me off because since when does every main male character in a young adult book have to be strong/brave/reckless. They don’t! I mean, even though Marcellus has been being groomed to take command by his dickhead grandfather for basically most of his life, it seems like he hesitates a LOT in this book. His grandfather is constantly besting him (but I mean…why wouldn’t he?! He’s old and ruthless and again, is a major dickhead who has been at it for YEARS) and belittling him, and it isn’t until the end of this book that we see Marcellus have a good stick-it-to-him moment. Basically, he’s just a normal, young, REALISTIC guy and I need to learn to let go of him not having some insane hero-complex. On the flip side of that though, was Alouette and Chatine. Holy moly did I like Alouette a million times better in this book. And let’s face it, Chatine was always my favorite anyway. But these ladies kicked major ass here and were so brave and had great character development. I was so genuinely happy and impressed. And the few new bits of new information we learned about their pasts!! AHHHH. Like let’s just say this book leaves us on a major cliffhanger and I don’t know how to deal. Very highly recommend!

Huge thanks to Edelweiss and Simon & Schuster for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinions. ♥

BOOK REVIEW: Starsight (Skyward #2) by Brandon Sanderson

BOOK REVIEW: Starsight (Skyward #2) by Brandon SandersonStarsight (Skyward #2)
by Brandon Sanderson
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

All her life, Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot. Of proving she's a hero like her father. She made it to the sky, but the truths she learned about her father were crushing.

Spensa is sure there's more to the story. And she's sure that whatever happened to her father in his starship could happen to her. When she made it outside the protective shell of her planet, she heard the stars--and it was terrifying. Everything Spensa has been taught about her world is a lie.

But Spensa also discovered a few other things about herself--and she'll travel to the end of the galaxy to save humankind if she needs to.

Review

“You know the worst part about being in charge, Spin?”
“No, sir.”
“Perspective. When you’re young, you can assume that everyone older than you has life figured out. Once you get command yourself, you realize we’re all just the same kids wearing older bodies.”


I’m currently sitting here, drinking my coffee, trying to decide how I want this review to start. Even though this was a perfect second novel in a series to me, I just didn’t fall as hard as I did for book one. And that’s fine. I mean, book one SHOULD be the intense one to get you hooked into the world, into the characters, into the plot. I guess I maybe just wanted a tad bit more and now I’m left sad and a little empty over the thought that we might have to wait a good amount of time for the third book after that cliffhanger!

This book brings us out further into the universe in a way that I wouldn’t have expected. That part to me, was great. While it was a bummer that we weren’t with the Skyward flight much at all, Spensa gained some new friends and perspective that was really important. Honestly, I thought her character development from page one of Skyward to the end of this book was incredible. She used to be so quick to put up a fight about ANYTHING to opening her heart and mind up to the fact that the universe is as much bigger place than she ever could have imagined and that the alien’s that inhabit that space aren’t all going to be either good or bad.

Spensa’s new “squad” was a delight. The concept of Morriumur in general and their *want* to please their family enough to be born with their personality and traits, Vapor (again, in general really), THE KITSEN and Hesho (cries)…omg…even though it said they were like tiny space foxes I honestly envisioned them as little hamsters, lol. And of course the other human, Brade. Like wtf girl. I get that if you’ve spent that much time with the Krell and are basically brainwashed that that mindset isn’t just going to go away but I was really not expecting her betrayal. Damn her. Ummm let’s see. I hope the real Alanik wakes up and I want, NO NEED to know more about her planet and the fact that they may have a human refuge on there. My heart was broken over M-Bot and I need that whole situation fixed. DOOM SLUG(s)?????? Did NOT see that coming. I really thought that Spensa would find out that they were basically using people/ cytonics to hyperjump and that the screams were them dying. Nope. And again, that ending. Wtf man. I haven’t read a book with a cliffhanger in what feels like so long and I can’t handle it. I need to know what’s coming next. Sanderson I don’t want to rush you but…don’t keep a girl waiting for too long!

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