Thursday, June 28, 2018

Review: The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara

Publication Date: June 19, 2018
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ TBD

Synopsis: A clever, romantic novel based on the true story of a girl who disguised herself as a boy to sail with the infamous pirates Anne Bonny and Calico Jack—and fell in love with Anne Bonny.

There’s no place for a girl in Mary’s world. Not in the home of her mum, desperately drunk and poor. Not in the household of her wealthy granny, where no girl can be named an heir. And certainly not in the arms of Nat, her childhood love who never knew her for who she was. As a sailor aboard a Caribbean merchant ship, Mary’s livelihood—and her safety—depends on her ability to disguise her gender.

At least, that’s what she thinks is true. But then pirates attack the ship, and in the midst of the gang of cutthroats, Mary spots something she never could have imagined: a girl pirate.

The sight of a girl standing unafraid upon the deck, gun and sword in hand, changes everything. In a split-second decision, Mary turns her gun on her own captain, earning herself the chance to join the account and become a pirate alongside Calico Jack and Anne Bonny.

For the first time, Mary has a shot at freedom. But imagining living as her true self is easier, it seems, than actually doing it. And when Mary finds herself falling for the captain’s mistress, she risks everything—her childhood love, her place among the crew, and even her life.

Breathlessly romantic and brilliantly subversive, The Unbinding of Mary Reade is sure to sweep readers off their feet and make their hearts soar.

My Rating
3/5 stars

My Review
The Unbinding of Mary Reade is the perfect YA novel for all history fans.

After Mary's brother dies, her mother tries to pass her off as her deceased brother in order to get some money from Mary's grandmother. But when a maid in her grandmother's manor discovers her secret, Mary decides that she would rather prefer a life at sea. When a pirate ship attacks, Mary spots a woman among the other pirates, Anne doesn't have to hide the fact that she's a woman, unlike Mary. Intrigued, Mary decides to shoot her captain and join the life or piracy.

This novel is definitely focused on the history accuracy of the true story of Mary Reade with a little fictional twist, as well as the budding romance in Mary's life. The only thing thats missing is adventure. If you're like me and you need some good action, then this might not be the book for you.

Mary is a great main character. She is a very complex main character and its absolutely wonderful to watch her grow into herself and go throughout her life with her. I really loved the fact that she is based on a real character, it made her that much more interesting to read about.

Overall, I loved the storyline, I loved the history aspect and I loved Mary's character. The only thing I wish was different was increasing the amount of action just to keep the speed of the story going.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: The Lantern's Ember by Colleen Houck

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
Publication Date: September 11th 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genera: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ TBD

Synopsis: Welcome to a world where nightmarish creatures reign supreme.

Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil. It’s difficult for him to remember much about his mortal days. So, he focuses on fulfilling his sentence as a Lantern—one of the watchmen who guard the portals to the Otherworld, a realm crawling with every nightmarish creature imaginable. Jack has spent centuries jumping from town to town, ensuring that nary a mortal—or not-so-mortal—soul slips past him. That is, until he meets beautiful Ember O’Dare. 

Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack’s warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire—and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
Series: Untitled #1
Publication Date: September 4th 2018
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genera: YA, Fantasy
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ TBD

Synopsis: Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.

Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far.

But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again.

Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
Series: Three Dark Crowns #3
Publication Date: September 4th 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genera: YA, Fantasy
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ TBD

Synopsis: #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake returns with the highly anticipated third book in the Three Dark Crowns series!

Katharine sits on the throne, Mirabella and Arsinoe are in hiding, and an unexpected renegade is about to wage a war of her own. The crown has been won, but these queens are far from done.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Review: Chemistry Lessons by Meredith Goldstein

Publication Date: June 19th, 2018
Publisher: HMH
Genera: YA, Contemporary
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ TBD

Synopsis: For seventeen-year-old Maya, the equation for happiness is simple: a dream internship at MIT + two new science nerd friends + a perfect boyfriend = one amazing summer. Then Whit dumps her out of the blue. 

Maya is miserable until she discovers that her scientist mother, before she died, was conducting research on manipulating pheromones to enhance human attraction. If Maya can finish her mother’s work, maybe she can get Whit back. But when her experiment creates chaos in her love life, she realizes that maybe love and loss can’t be understood using the scientific method. Can she learn to trust the unmeasurables of love and attraction instead?

My Rating
5/5 stars

My Review
Chemistry Lessons is the perfect contemporary novel for all my fellow scientists out there, whether you're still in high school thinking about a career in science, or you are already in the field.

Maya has been putting off going through her recently deceased mother's research notes since they were passed down to her based on her mother's will, but after Whit dumps Maya for another girl, her aunt mentions a secret research project her mother started before passing. Maya picks up her mother's reach on human pheromones and how they can help attract two people together. But the best science experiments have many trials, and as the experiment begins Maya has to get in tune with her emotions and find out what she really wants from this experiment.

I am actually very impressed with the way this book turned out. I read a few reviews before starting this book, and not all of them were favourable, but I'm glad I didn't pay too much attention to them because I ended up absolutely loving the book. I think this book really played close to my scientist side and had many aspects that I could relate to, which is one of the main reasons why I liked it so much.

I really enjoyed Maya as the main character. She is young, but already a science prodigy. While is very smart and kind, there are definitely times where is a bit naive and lets her emotions cloud her judgement, but for her age and situation I wouldn't blame her for it, its exactly how a person her age would respond to her situation. Maya goes through quite a bit of character development, both in her personal life and in her scientific research about how to properly conduct an experiment and ethics.

The storyline was really well written. The beginning was a bit slow, but the book is short enough that you can finish it in a day and get to the good parts very quickly. I thought the book had a fantastic middle and end. And while the book was slightly predictable, there were moments that definitely took me by surprise.

Overall, I definitely recommend this book to all my science friends who also love to read. Maya is a great main character, and Chemistry Lessons a super cute novel perfect for the summer.

Happy Reading,

Friday, June 8, 2018

Review: Tell Me No Lies by A.V. Geiger

Series: Follow Me Back #2
Publication Date: June 5th 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ TBD

Synopsis: Love. Obsession. Jealousy. Murder.

No one knows what happened to pop icon Eric Thorn. His Twitter account? Frozen. His cell phone? Cracked and bloody, buried in the snow. 

Agoraphobic fangirl Tessa Hart knows the truth, but she's finally left her #EricThornObsessed days behind. She has no intention of ever touching her Twitter app again. But Snapchat... That's safer, right?

After months of living under the radar, Tessa emerges from hiding, forced to face the deadly consequences of her past. But in the interrogation room, answers only lead to more questions in the pulse-pounding conclusion to the Follow Me Back duology.

My Rating
4/5 stars

My Review
Tell Me No Lies is a fast paced read with twists and turns in every chapter. I could not put this book down.

Everyone thinks that Eric Thorn is dead, and that Tessa was the one who killed him. In reality, Tessa and Eric escaped the clutches of Blair, Tessa's creepy stalker, as well as all the other crazy Eric Thorn fans by running away to Mexico. Everything is working out great for them, until Eric's celebrity friend comes back to life after faking his own death, and is now asking Eric for help. The only problem with returning to the spotlight is that everyone is after Eric and Tessa, and the people who were once close to them can no longer be trusted.

I absolutely loved the first book in this series, and this one definitely didn't disappoint. Just like the first book, I read this one in a day because I could not put the book down. It is a fairly short read, but theres so much action in every chapter that you just cant put it down.

I really liked both Tessa and Eric. Tessa had such a huge character development in the first book, I never thought that she could top it in the second book, but she definitely did. Tessa continues to impress me, especially as she's working through her problems and comes to terms with her own issues. Their romance is absolutely wonderful, I shipped them from beginning to end.

Overall, I loved the pace of the book, the characters and all the plot twists that I didn't see coming. This book was definitely a lot more unpredictable than the first, and the character development was phenomenal. I will be looking forward to reading more book from this author in the future.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Manson

Publication Date: September 13th, 2016
Publisher: Harper
Genera: Nonfiction, Self-help
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ TBD

Synopsis: In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F**k positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Mason doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—"not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault." Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

My Rating
4/5 stars

My Review
It is very rare for me to read a self-help book. What's even more rare is me actually liking a self-help book. So you can see my surprised when I actually really enjoyed this book.

Mark Manson definitely wrote a thought provoking book. It opened my eyes, help me face the fact that my past breakup was my fault just as much as my ex's fault, and definitely left me feeling a lot happier and with a new outlook on life.

My favourite part in this novel was the stories that Mark included. Throughout the novel there are multiple short stories inserted to prove a point about the lesson that Mark is trying to teach, and I think he not only picked the perfect stories to explain his point of view, but he also picked stories that leave an impression and make you remember them for a long time.

Overall, reading this self-help book makes me want to start reading more of these, even though I'm not always a huge fan. Great job.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
Series: Mirage #1
Publication Date: August 28th 2018
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genera: YA, Science Fiction, Fantasy 
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ TBD

Synopsis: In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancĂ©, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection...because one wrong move could lead to her death.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Review: Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

Series: Flame in the Mist #2
Publication Date: June 5th 2018
Publisher: Putnam
Genera: YA, Fantasy 
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ TBD

Synopsis: The highly anticipated sequel to Flame in the Mist—an addictive, sumptuous finale that will leave readers breathless from the bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn.

After Okami is captured in the Jukai forest, Mariko has no choice—to rescue him, she must return to Inako and face the dangers that have been waiting for her in the Heian Castle. She tricks her brother, Kenshin, and betrothed, Raiden, into thinking she was being held by the Black Clan against her will, playing the part of the dutiful bride-to-be to infiltrate the emperor's ranks and uncover the truth behind the betrayal that almost left her dead.

With the wedding plans already underway, Mariko pretends to be consumed with her upcoming nuptials, all the while using her royal standing to peel back the layers of lies and deception surrounding the imperial court. But each secret she unfurls gives way to the next, ensnaring Mariko and Okami in a political scheme that threatens their honor, their love and very the safety of the empire.

My Rating
4/5 stars

My Review
Smoke in the Sun is a fantastic sequel to Flame in the Mist. This story is a lot different than the first book, but the action and the amazing characters are still the same. I am very sad to see this series come to an end.

Mariko never thought that she would find her place pretending to be a man in a group of outlaws that live in the forest, but she did and she couldn't be happier, that is until her brother and her betrothed find her and take her back with them, along with Okami, the traitor's son and the man who stole Mariko's heart. Imprisoned for crimes against the crown, Okami only has a few days before the new emperor kills him, it is up to Mariko to fool everyone at court, and devise a plan to get Okami out without anyone noticing.

I absolutely loved Mariko as a main character in the first book, and I am so happy to say that she definitely doesn't disappoint in this book. Even though she's in a different setting now, and rather than act like a boy she must act like a lady, she is still the same brilliant and powerful Mariko. She's able to devise crazy plans, is a strong feminist and is incredibly determined. Watching her grow as a character has been absolutely amazing.

The other thing I absolutely loved about this book was that there was no second book syndrome. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, there is occasionally a trend in sequels where the lead couple finally get together at the end of book one, only to go through huge problems in book two and end up constantly fighting. Thankfully we have none of that in this book. Mario and Okami's love for one another is just as strong as in book one, and while there is definitely challenges to their relationship (like Mariko having to pretend she doesn't know Okami in front of the emperor) there is not one moment where their love for one another diminishes. 

The pacing of the story was a tad slower than the first, not as much action, especially in the beginning, but it does pick up near the middle and end of the novel.
The world building was just as wonderful as ever. By the end of the novel I could almost navigate the castle in my mind because the descriptions were that amazing.

Overall, I am very sad to see this story come to an end because I have definitely fallen in love with Okami and Mariko. This story has a wonderful history background, fantastic world building and characters that you wont soon forget.

Happy Reading, 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. With this amazing meme, you can check out which books I've gotten.

From Raincoast
Blanca & Roya by Anna-Marie McLemore
The biggest lie of all is the story you think you already know.

The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan.

But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price we pay to protect our hearts.

Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd
Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love. But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human. Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittora, the evil witch who spelled her into existence. That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood—and Anouk is accused of the crime.

Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away. If they fail, they will lose the only lives they’ve ever known…but if they succeed, they could be more powerful than anyone ever bargained for.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd, Grim Lovelies is an epic and glittering YA fantasy. Prepare to be spellbound by the world of Grim Lovelies, where secrets have been long buried, friends can become enemies, and everything—especially humanity—comes at a price.

From Hachette
Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart
In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace–someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.

Campfire by Shawn Sarles
While camping in a remote location, Maddie Davenport gathers around the fire with her friends and family to tell scary stories. Caleb, the handsome young guide, shares the local legend of the ferocious Mountain Men who hunt unsuspecting campers and leave their mark by carving grisly antlers into their victims' foreheads.

The next day, the story comes true.

Now Maddie and her family are lost in the deep woods--with no way out--being stalked by their worst nightmares. Because there were other, more horrifying stories told that night--and Maddie's about to find out just how they end...
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