Review: The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones!

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*ARC provided by Novl in exchange for an honest review*
“A Demon was knitting outside the hospital.”
A little backstory: I’m currently sporting super puffy eyes since I just finished reading this about an hour ago and I haven’t stopped crying… I’m only here typing this because I wanted my feelings to be fresh or else I would still be curled up in a corner of my room, ignoring the world as I mourn the loss of my heart. Emily has blown away every expectation I had for her and I won’t be able to heal from it all for a while yet.
This was a super highly anticipated read for me since it seemed right up my alley. The cover pulled me in but that premise made me stay. It was deliciously dark, intriguing, and unique. Even though I was basically in love with it already, I kept putting it off because I was so scared that all of my own hype over it would be my downfall. I soon found out, after reading the first chapter, that I shouldn’t have been worried. Another reason I forced myself to (wo)man up was because the book was already released and my scaredy-pants hadn’t even opened it yet. As soon as I cracked this baby open, I was dead to the world. I gladly lost track of time and I only mention this because it’s been TOO long since a book has managed to do that to me.
This book takes place in a world where humanity knows that Demons exist. They trade wishes in exchange for human parts and we follow Dee as she gives up her own heart to one. She makes the deal in order to escape her home life and aside from both of us being Latinas, (she’s technically half but whatever) I related to Dee in that aspect. I would absolutely sell my heart to escape my own home life as well which hit close to home. This fact by itself already had me feeling protective over her and the rest of the book only intensified those feelings.
I started this story as a hesitant reader and ended it as a protective mother to a few characters. I grew unbelievably attached to all of the heartless and one who still had her heart. There’s James, the adorable artist. Gremma, the beast (not in an unflattering way) with cool weapons. Cal, the genius. Cora, the fierce leader, and, Riley, the bomb enthusiast. And, of course, I can’t forget about the Daemon himself who made deals with them. I grew attached to him as well and I’m not sorry about it. I have so much love and respect for these characters that I just wanted to reach into the pages and take them out so we can all live under one roof.
The plot line was not what I expected but I still loved it beyond belief. I completely REFUSE to acknowledge the utter despair and heartbreak that the last few chapters were drowned in. You can say I’m in denial but then I’ll say that I don’t know what you’re talking about. Those last few chapters never happened so your point is not valid. I need to forget them or else I will be crying myself to sleep every night for years to come.
Emily, you have become a Goddess in my eyes and I am forever grateful for your creative mind. You created a world that will never leave my side. Thank you so much for creating a novel that I will treasure with my life. This was about 400 pages of grief, laughter, tears, joy, and everything in between.
Now, I leave you with a question: What would YOU trade your heart for?
My answer? Read this book and then I can tell you </3
Leave your hearts at the door before Emily wrenches it out herself in the most painful way imaginable.
“Their fingers tangled, wrists pressed together.
No pulse between them.”
6/5. Heartless. Stars.

 

Review: What Goes Up by Katie Kennedy!

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*ARC provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review*
“For everything that went up, something had to come down. Eddie just didn’t know why the thing that went down was always him.”
This was the first book I’ve read by Katie Kennedy and I’m glad to say that I consumed it like there was no tomorrow. I even debated whether sleep and work were important enough to make myself stop reading. I admit, I was extremely nervous before diving into this book. For one, I am not one that is interested in anything related to space and these characters already sounded super smart which left me intimidated.
We follow Rosa and Eddie as they apply to a secret NASA program named Interworlds Agency in the middle of Iowa. This is a world where humanity has been able to confirm intelligent life in other worlds and are looking for a way to communicate with them; Rosa and Eddie are trained to be among the teams that help that procedure along.
This book is told in the third person but the chapters rotate between Rosa and Eddie’s POV. They never ceased to amaze me with how unbelievably smart they were.
My heart went out to Eddie, time and time again. His backstory was one of the most tragic in this story and it sparked a massive feeling of over protectiveness in me. I wanted to chase all of his pain away so only happiness remained in his eyes. I was deeply invested in this character development the most.
Like I said, I never cared for space but these characters made me WANT to be into it just because they were. I cared about them so much that I was basically interested in whatever they were interested in. They felt incredibly real to me and I couldn’t help but experience their emotions as my own.
The only reason why this isn’t a full 5 star review, was because I felt like the stakes weren’t as high as I’d expect for a novel that dealt with other worlds. I get that there’s so much you can do with YA but I still would’ve loved to have seen the characters go through worse situations. On the other hand, my expectations didn’t impact my reading experience whatsoever and for that, it almost gets the 5 stars.
This story was the perfect blend of humor, heartbreak, and adventure. I cried with joy and I cried with sorrow and then pride. The ending was even more emotional and it left me a crying and blubbering mess. It was interesting right from the start and I loved that the pace picked up right away. I can’t wait to read more by Katie and hopefully revisit these spectacular characters in the future.

4.5/5 stars!

Review: Lucky in Love by Kasie West

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*ARC provided by Scholastic in exchange for an honest review*
This is the third book I’ve read by Kasie West and unfortunately it wasn’t up my alley. I think my excitement over a new West novel might have been my downfall.
This story follows Maddie as she’s getting ready to graduate high school and is on the look out for acceptance letters from colleges. She works at a zoo and we see her turn 18 early on in the novel. She ends up celebrating it by buying a lottery ticket. The lottery ticket turns out being the winning ticket and it flips her entire life upside down. She was invisible at school and now she isn’t so we get to witness how the spotlight mends and breaks certain parts of her life.
Every word out of her mouth made me reel with disappointment and rage at every turn of the page. She was beyond naive and every one of her decisions/actions made my stomach clench with anxiety. I wanted to shake some sense into that girl far too many times to count and it wasn’t a fun experience. On the other hand, I really liked that the chapters were short. It was easy to get through without tearing my hair out over my dislike of Maddie.
I also didn’t like how this book was immensely predictable. No character managed to capture my interest except for Seth and the zoo animals. He was the only one that actually made me laugh every now and then and made the book a little bit entertaining.
I love YA, but sadly, this book was a bit TOO juvenile for me. My favorite part out of the entire novel were the last 2 chapters. I couldn’t help but wish the entire book were as cute as the very last chapter.
Even though I didn’t like this novel, it doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on Kasie. I am still holding on to hope that I will like the rest of her novels as much as I loved The Fill-In Boyfriend.

2.5/5 stars

Review: The Dragons of Nova by Elise Kova & Release Day Signing Photos!

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My review:

*ARC provided by Keymaster Press in exchange for an honest review*
“Your song will flat, I fear, since I have heard the truth of its melody.”
(I am still in shock over this book… I have no idea how to make my emotions known but I will definitely try for all of you.)
This is the sequel to the beauty that was The Alchemists of Loom. (If you haven’t read it yet, go go go!) I have to take a second to praise Kova’s sequels for never EVER falling flat to her readers but doing the exact opposite. I already know that I will always love anything from Elise Kova but this book took my awe to a whole new level. I will always treasure Air Awakens with my entire being but I think DoN has officially become THE book I’ll recommend from Elise until my last breath. I think a lot of it has to do with this being an adult novel/series. It didn’t restrain the force that is Elise Kova and boy, did it pay off. This book to her epicness to new heights and I can’t wait to see what she does with book 3!!!!
“No half measures.” Yveun might speak the words, but Elise Kova is the embodiment of such a phrase. Her writing is beyond savage and unusually tender at the same time. She played my emotions like a ukulele and I loved every second of it. You can do that anytime, Elise!
This novel takes place in a new setting, Nova, the Dragon Land, and I loved witnessing Ari and Cva switching roles because of it. Ari is now the one out of her element and the journey she let us see through her eyes was nothing short of interesting.
As greedy as I’ve become for every detail of these characters, I was also equally greedy for details of the world around them. This rarely happens since I’m usually too focused on the characters to even think about the setting. Leave it to Elise to explode my expectations.
We are introduced to new POV’s and I honestly couldn’t choose a favorite. But if I really have to, my favoritism lies between Cvareh and Petra!! I am afraid to admit that I didn’t notice how much I missed my baby Cva until my first sighting of him in this book. I swooned and died on the spot, only to be resurrected by his adorable quirkiness. That man is something else, and I love him beyond belief. Also… Holy Gods. I appreciated Petra in TAoL but I ADORE that woman now. She’s my role model from now on and I will live only to make her brutal majesty proud. Arianna also blew me away in this novel. She is the definition of BADASS but she took it to- you guessed it-new heights. The character developments were beyond magical and oh so fulfilling.
Another thing that I deeply appreciate about this series is how diverse it is. It’s navigated in a subtle and perfect way, just how diversity should always be handled. The chapters were short so even though there are a few characters to keep track of, it was fairly easy to devour.
The ending has me super excited -and nervous- about what is to happen but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t pumped for the most part!!

6.5 stars!!!


Dragons of Nova (2)

As many of you know, I spent release day with Elise Kova herself! (Which is why this review is being posted the day after.) My friend Myranda took me with her to the San Mateo signing and I am forever grateful! I went Live on my Instagram for a bit of it but here are some pictures I took! This was my second time meeting her and I also got to see some of my other fellow book-loving friends! Elise Kova’s signings are always extremely laid back and it just feels like a reunion with best friends. She had some pre-order swag available so if you are ever on the fence about going to her signings, (I don’t know why you would be in the first place) go for the swag!

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She caught me taking selfies with her in the background so this happened:

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Can you tell I’m trying not to laugh? Haha


And then we had a Tower Guard group shot!

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And last but not least, selfies with the Dragon Queen!

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This was such a fun event and I can’t wait for the next! Thank you Elise for writing and making me cry with every book you put out!

Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett!

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This was my first read by Jenn and I really can’t wait to read more from her.
This time, I’ll start with what I didn’t like so I can only focus on the good after. The only thing that made me feel robbed as a reader was the fact that the dust jacket gave the entire plot away. Usually, I don’t care, but it gave away a major plot twist and I’m not a happy camper about it. It could’ve done without it. So, my advice to you, is to NOT read the dust jacket (if you haven’t already) nor the Goodreads synopsis. Because of this, I already knew everything that would happen in the second half of the book and I don’t like being proved right when it comes to reading.
With that said, I would like to go on to everything I loved about this book.
The premise was so intriguing that I had to read it as soon as I got home from buying it. I am always interested in books revolving around friendships that originated on the internet since it’s relatable in this time and age. Even more for me because I actually met an Alex online that yes, I had a crush on, and would have loved to meet in person one day. But sadly, we fell out of touch and that was that.
This book was super cute and adorable from the very beginning which blew my expectations (which were quite ‘meh’ to begin with due to the synopsis telling me everything) away because it only got even more adorable from there.
We follow Mink, a film fanatic who has just moved to California where her online crush, Alex, coincidentally lives. She’s not stalking the guy, if that’s what you were thinking. She has her reasons and I really liked digging into her past which isn’t spoken about much. My favorite part of this book, besides the romance, was watching the dynamic between Mink and her dad. It always makes me feel a pang of jealousy whenever a main character is close to one (or both) of their parents because that is so far out of my reality that it astounds me. We get to see her character develop in a believable pace and I enjoyed watching it play out; She’s the type of person to keep everything bottled up due to her dislike of confrontation and watching her open up was a treat within itself. I quite enjoyed being in her head and I thought this book was too short for me even as it almost reached 400 pages.
I also loved, loved, loved, Porter beyond belief!!!! Porter is the security guard at Mink’s new summer job and I couldn’t get enough of the two. Porter is a guy that loves with everything he has and will do everything he absolutely can in order to protect them. He’s an amazing listener and his humor was always making me cry from laughter. He’s a surfer, loves quizzes, and is part Hawaiian which was a delightful addition to the story; We learned quite a bit of their culture through him. I would like to meet my very own Porter, if that isn’t too much to ask. Please and thank you! Also, his dynamic with his family was super sweet to witness.
The diversity in this book was phenomenal and it made California sound like a magical place. From someone who has lived here her entire life, I don’t know if I would call it ‘magical’ but it does have a certain charm. At least, some places do. I also really loved how my beautiful home town, San Jose, made a few cameos throughout the story. It made me yearn for more details of it since I miss living there and added to reading my experience.
Moving on to Alex. I liked seeing the messages he would send Mink and I could tell just how important she was to him. Their relationship was cute and it made the story even more enjoyable. The ending left me a smiling maniac and questioning why my life isn’t as cute as Mink’s…

4.8/5 stars!

Review: We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan!

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*ARC provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review*
“We never get lost
And
When I wake
I fear that our love will never be
Found.”
This was my first book by Sarah and Brain I was quickly blown away by them. I’ll admit, I was intimidated by this book as soon as I found out that it was written in verse. I’ve never read a book like this and honestly, it was way out of my comfort zone. I always feel like I won’t understand what the authors are trying to tell me but I’m glad this wasn’t the case here. I finally made up my mind to binge read this before I fell asleep yesterday and I ended up reading it in less than 2 hours. Because of that, I have officially fallen in love with verse books and I can’t wait to get my hands on more like it. I loved that the writing worked completely in its favor. It didn’t impede the message of the book to get lost in translation and it made me feel just as much as any regular written book ever has.
This book is dual POV and it was separated into 3 parts. It follows Nicu, an emigrated Romanian and Jess, as their lives entwine when they are both sent to the same place after getting arrested for stealing.
My heart was completely stolen by Nicu from the very beginning and it’s not just because he was the male lead. The way he expressed himself quickly told me that he had one of the sweetest and purest of hearts that I’ve ever come across. His verses were written in poor English which helped bring the story, and his background, to life even more beautifully than it already was. I loved seeing how carefully he chose his words and they were never, ever without a deep meaning. His humor made me smile until it hurt every single time and I just couldn’t get enough of him. I saw him as a little brother and I wanted to reach into the pages to comfort him at every turn. I was also really impressed by how Sarah and Brian didn’t need to tell us which POV we were reading. Jess and Nicu had their own unique voices that were easily distinguishable.
This story deal with a lot of racism, abuse, and mostly everything in between. It tore my heart out whenever anyone so much as thought something negative towards Nicu and it made me tear up more times than I could count.
The only reason I didn’t give this book a 5/5 was because I didn’t care much for Jess. Don’t get me wrong, I sympathized with her situation a lot but I feel like her character wasn’t as interesting as Nicu. I really liked her relationship with Nicu but I feel like she disappointed me more than not. They both had ugly lives at home and it had my stomach turning with a bad feeling in my stomach throughout it all.
With that said, I absolutely despised every other character in this story. I won’t go into detail but let’s just say that I went into a murderous rage every time anybody besides Nicu and Jess were being mentioned.
Now that I have read this from cover to cover, that title is killing me inside. I will always cry and die a little bit every time I hear/see it from now on. Thank you, Sarah and Brian, for writing a book that will stay with me forever. Also, one more comment…. SEQUEL?!?!??!
“And I dreaming of you last night,
But my eyes don’t close for sleeping,
And it raining in my stomach,
And it storming in my heart.”
4.5/5 stars!

4.5/5 stars!

Review: Breaking by Danielle Rollins!

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*ARC provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review*
This was my first book by Danielle and I am abso-freaking-lutely a fan of hers now! As soon as I read that this was a suspense/thriller type of book, I was all for it. No questions asked. The dark undertone that it seemed to ooze with every page made me too giddy for words and I wanted it to last a lifetime.
Going in, I knew NOTHING about this world and I just found out that I read the ‘second’ book in the series. They actually seem to follow different characters so I don’t feel like I’ve spoiled myself too much. No harm done! This news made me really happy because I’m dying to know more about this world and now I can read a ‘prequel’ as I hope for a continuation to this one. I seriously can’t wait to get my hands on it!! I feel like my prayers have been answered and I don’t have to wait for a release.
This book follows Charlotte as she tries to dig through the aftermath of the suicides of her two best friends. We get to witness as her world is torn from under her feet and she starts to question everything she thought was true. I have never read a story like this one and Charlotte was a unique main character, in my opinion. I loved seeing how she reacted to everything around her and she made me proud at times.
There were quite a few characters that I did not like but I won’t name them in order to keep myself from spoiling anything. But I will say that I really liked Zoe and the dynamic she had with Charlotte. It took me a while to actually get to that point but I am glad I did.
This entire story made me feel like I was walking through a field of landmines where the only way to get answers was to step on each of them . It ripped out many tears from me because there were some brutal events that I couldn’t stop envisioning. They were horrendous and it took a while for me to collect myself before forcing myself to continue with the story.
With that said, there was also a lot of badassery and savagery that I didn’t know I was in store for. A lot of other things caught me by surprise, and I am glad I didn’t know about them, because I would’ve been too intimidated to read this if I had. I really hope I can read more books as dark -and darker- as this one.
The only critical comment I have for this novel was that a few things were anticlimactic when it was built up like crazy. I still liked the story a lot but I would’ve loved for some secrets to have had more ‘unf’ to them in order to make the story a true 5 star read. Besides that, this is a story that I deeply cherish because it appealed to my dark side and I can’t wait for the next one!

4.5/5 stars