ARC review: Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Berube!

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*ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
“You can’t just walk away when someone needs a hero.”
This is Amelinda’s second novel and I have to say that she completely wowed me to no end. I just finished this book less than 20 minutes ago and I’m still reeling from the relentless attacks to my heart so this may be all over the place.
This book follows Skye right as her little sister, Deirdre, goes missing. We get to see how her family is changed completely and how she handles it from there. This book is told in three parts and it weaves through her past with her sister and the present, without her. I really loved seeing how her relationship with her sister developed and finding out what caused it to change so much. It was super easy to see the change in Skye between the past and present and I liked that a lot.
I do have to say that Deirdre overshadowed Skye in most of this novel. I was completely hooked on her character and wanted to dissect her every action completely. I wanted to get in her head and know what made her act the way she did. I can’t even put into words just how intriguing she was, I didn’t dare blink whenever there was a scene with her in fear of missing any little detail that gave away her motivation away.
I don’t have much to say about the first half of this novel except that I had a strong dislike for Skye and how she treated her little sister. It seemed so cruel that it was borderline unrealistic to me. I don’t know if it’s because I adore my siblings and would never EVER complain about them and treat them the way Skye treated hers but I can’t see someone being that cruel in real life. Maybe I don’t understand other sibling relationships? I don’t know. I can’t forgive her cause of her age either since I didn’t act like this when I was a teenager. Anyway, I really disliked her but the story itself was super slow in pace and it didn’t really pick up until the second half.
Skye eventually grew on me but that doesn’t mean I liked her any more than I did in the first half. I respected her as a character but I was not okay with the things she did along the way. That’s not a bad thing at all though, it’s a huge reason why I have so much respect for her. She does what I could never do if I were ever faced with her situation. (Or maybe I would, I don’t know and I never will unless I experience it myself. It’s what I loved most about this book. It made me exhaust every possibility in my head of how the story would unfold while still keeping me on my toes.) She was definitely more intriguing in the last half and I massively enjoyed following her journey.
Also, I have a favorite character and I’m not going to mention their gender or their name so it doesn’t spoil anything. Let’s just say they are not Sky or Deirdre. They were my absolute favorite character in this book and it broke my heart to see the way they were treated. I cried so hard for them, every sliver of pain, no matter how small, that befell them tore me to pieces. I am in love with their character and I wish we could get a book solely following them after the events in this novel. I want to see more of them and their beautiful, kind soul that has now stolen my heart forever. I can’t stop wishing I had the power to hold them and wash their pain away.
I also fell in love with the atmosphere in this novel. I wanted to desperately get sucked into it whenever it was described to me. I really love the way Amelinda’s descriptions bring the world around her characters to life. I am now holding on to hope for fanart of this book. I feel like some scenes would be beyond perfect if they were illustrated. This book is also being compared to Blair Witch Project and now I really want to watch it to tide me over this slump I see coming due to this book. It ripped my heart to pieces and it’s going to take me a while to bounce back from all I just went through.
I honestly can’t wait to see what else Amelinda’s mind has in store for us!

4/5 stars!

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Review: On the Rocks by Kandi Steiner!

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*ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review*
“…I didn’t know I was empty. Not until she poured into my life.”
My love for Kandi and her books knows no end. Every single one of them is a masterpiece that deserves to be cherished long after it has been read and this one is no exception. I keep being blown away by how realistic everything she writes feels. As soon as her characters open their mouths, I completely forget that they were pulled from Kandi’s imagination and not from the streets of the real world.
This book follows Noah, a perfect specimen of a man with a heart of gold who works at a distillery, and Ruby who is engaged to a politician. Sparks fly when she returns to her old town and Noah is reintroduced into her life. Me saying that I was rooting for them from the very beginning would be a huge understatement. I was so invested in their happily ever after (together) that I forgot to blink many times. Also, the chemistry between them was overwhelming in the best way.
Noah quickly turned into the love of my life, but I hope nobody tells Ruby. (That would be awkward.) He’s adorable, sexy, thoughtful, an everything else good in the world. I absolutely loved his strong relationship with his family and I can’t wait to read more about them! He also carves furniture? Uhm. Yes please.
Ruby on the other hand took a while for me to like. I don’t think there was a specific reason but I ended up respecting her choices when it came to taking care of her family. Granted, her decisions made me mad but I didn’t respect them any less.
I will say, even though most of this book made me giddy with butterflies, it packed a few emotional punches that came out of nowhere. One second I was grinning at some banter, and the next I was sobbing from getting punched in the heart with feels. It also has an air of mystery around it which I can’t wait to see how it’s resolved later in the series. I need answers!
“You’re not meant to be a puppet in some man’s sideshow, Ruby Grace. You’re meant to be his entire world.”
DID I MENTION I AM IN LOVE WITH NOAH? My god. Everything he said or did melted my heart so much that I feared to permanently live the rest of my life as a puddle. Check out this other quote out and I dare you to tell me he isn’t dreamy:
“Kissing Ruby Grace wasn’t like kissing a normal girl. It was like kissing a goddess like being hand-picked by the heavens to surrender your heart forever in exchange for just one, tender, earth-shattering moment.”
If anybody has an extra Noah clone, can you please send him my way? (Kandi? You there?) Thanks to Kandi, now I fully expect somebody to put this much thought into describing me someday. Kandi has officially ruined me for anyone and I’m okay with that.
I can’t wait to follow the rest of these characters. I am obsessed with them and I will never be able to get enough.
4.5/5 STARS!

Review: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer!

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*ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*
TW: suicide
“… Good memories didn’t vanish just because there were bad ones in there, too. All those memories are a part of who I am. The good ones and the bad ones.”
Have I mentioned how obsessed I am with Brigid yet?!?! Because I will never grow tired of saying it. I have been team Brigid ever since I read Letters to the Lost (one of the best books I’ve ever read) and I always will be. Her books are always so easy to get lost in that I’m still wondering how she does it. Everything she writes is so… raw. She doesn’t sugar coat the issues she tackles in her books and I admire her that much more for it.
This book is no different. It follows Rob,  a popular jock-turned pariah with a newfound love for books. He and his mom are forced to take care of his father after his suicide attempt goes wrong. We also follow Maegan, an overachiever with her own family drama after her sister comes back pregnant from college. My heart went out to both of them. They both lived such difficult lives at home and it hurt to see them struggle throughout it all.
We meet them shortly before they’re paired with each other on a school project and I just loved them so much. Their friendship was an amazing thing to witness and it made me giddy with emotion.
“The air pressure seems to change in the library, as if even the books demand a special kind of quiet.”
Rob was my favorite character in this book. Mostly because he reminded me of me back in high school when I’d check out at least 10 books every week from the library. Unfortunately, I never managed to form a relationship with my librarian but I lived vicariously through him on that department. Obviously his relationship with the librarian was one of my favorite things ever too.
Fun fact, there were a few popular books mentioned in here and it was pretty exciting to be able to say “Hey, I know that book!,” whenever Rob checked something out from the library.
Another reason I loved him so much was because he wasn’t afraid of his feelings and he didn’t hide them. He was true to them and shed tears whenever the situation called for it. I wish more male characters were portrayed like this because feelings know no gender. They just are and nobody should hide them. If I wasn’t  already there, that creative decision alone would’ve made me a permanent fixture in her corner.
I can’t wait to see if we get another book with this cast of characters and who it will follow! I think I may have an idea but we will see if it happens. I seriously hope so! I can never get enough of Brigid!
“… Sometimes I think everyone needs to take a long look in the mirror before they go making an issue about someone else’s life.”

4/5 stars!

Review: Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson

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*ARC received at Yallwest in exchange for an honest review*
“I let imaginary characters have crushes for me.”
This book follows Haley, who is obsessed with weird facts, and Martin, who has a cousin with the exact same name as him. This is important and a problem because unknown to him, as soon as Martin starts texting Hayley about a project, she thinks she’s talking to his cousin.  This is only possible because both Martins are in the same class with her. I thought that this sounded like an adorable premise and it made me excited to see how their story would develop.
This was Lana’s debut novel and I thought it was very quirky and an interesting read. I really can’t wait to read more of what she has to offer, especially if it’s written with more detail than this one. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVED the fact that it was told solely through text messages but I feel like it could have been done better. Maybe I just ask for too much though. I’m the type of reader that loves as much detail as possible so I was probably bound to not enjoy this format as much as I wish I had. I was confused through most of the novel and it wasn’t exactly fun to read through it but I somehow managed.
This book also had a slow start but it was so funny, that I didn’t really mind. These two said the most hilarious (and relatable things), especially when talking about Hayley’s latest reads. Here’s an example:
“I can’t freak out about where I’m going to college while I’m worrying about whether these two are ever going to kiss.” I relate to that quote so much that it’s ridiculous. I’m more invested in fictional worlds than my own most of the time haha.
The only complaint I have about this book was that I wish it had ended a bit further in their timeline. It felt like it ended in the middle of a scene instead of the end? If that makes any sense. I just felt like I wasn’t satisfied and I’ll always wonder how else it could have ended.
Anyway, like I mentioned before, I can’t wait to see what else Lana has in store for us!

3/5 stars.

 

Review: Professor with Benefits by Hazel Kelly

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*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.*
“… I’m not the kind of girl that needs to be swept off her feet because I don’t wear uncomfortable shoes.”
Wow. Wow oh wow.
Let me just say that this book was many times darker than the previous two and I loved that. It was something I could automatically lose myself into and it brought the story to life in a way that didn’t happen in the last two.
This book follows Sadie, who works at a bookstore and who loves black ALMOST as much as I do, and Kellan, a professor at her school who love science.
I connected with Sadie on a personal level in a way that I couldn’t connect with the others. I loved her dark sense of humor and I could sometimes relate to some of her morbid thoughts about death.
I’m not going to lie, my favorite thing about this book were all the Carter cameos haha. Kellan is Carter’s brother so we got to see him quite a bit.
I don’t have much to say about this book except that it was a bit too cheesy for my taste. I put up with it though because I loved Sadie so much. She won me over almost immediately from the every first page and I can’t wait to see what else this series has in store for us.

4/5 stars

Review: My Best Friend’s Ex by Hazel Kelly

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*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
“It doesn’t matter if I think I could love him better than she did.”
(If you’ve ever seen the person you have feelings for be with someone else, then you know just how hard this quote hit me.)
This was my first read by Hazel Kelly and I felt very, underwhelmed to say the least. Mainly, I want to work for my angst when it comes to books like this but this book didn’t give me that. I really felt like the pacing could’ve been done better instead of starting right off the bat with no build up. I’m sure most people don’t mind but that’s just my personal preference. Although I will say, it made it that much easier and faster to get through.
This book follows Zoey and Logan during their college experience. My memory is already fuzzy but I think we meet Zoey as a freshman while Logan has been there a few years. Zoey has always had feelings for Logan, even after her best friend started to date him but this story starts after they’re no longer together.
I really liked seeing how passionate Logan was with his dreams and aspirations and that’s where most of my enjoyment came from.  I don’t remember if Zoey had any dreams but I didn’t really expect it much. I really loved how she always spoke her mind. Not in the badass ‘idgaf way’ but in the funny, sort of innocent way. I really respected that about her.
I’m sad to say though that I wasn’t attached to them at all.  I was definitely happy for them but I wasn’t as invested in them as I wished I’d been.
I was interested in Zoey’s roommate the most though. She made me laugh so much that I kept anticipating the next scene she would be in. She was hilarious and her maturity showed in everything she said and did. This is why I was way too happy when I found out that the next book in this series was going to follow her. I just love the sense of humor Hazel Kelly writes into her books. It had me busting out laughing when I least expected it.
I really had a big issue with all the drinking that was happening in this book. I kind of get it, it’s college, let loose or whatever, but nobody should be drinking as much as they were. The other main thing that didn’t sit well with me were the conflicts, or lack-there-of. Whenever something seemed to appear as a conflict, it was resolved too fast for it to be called that.
This was mostly a fluff read and I only had a problem with it because I wasn’t in the mood for it at the time. This would definitely be perfect for anyone wanting something light and easy to get them out of a reading slump.

3/5 stars.

 

Review: Violent Ends by Jessica Hawkins!

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*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review*
Ugh!!!!!!
I don’t even know what to say at this point. I should be used to Jessica completely destroying my soul but apparently I’m still not. Fair warning, don’t read Jessica’s novels if you aren’t fully prepared to give up your sanity. I have completely lost it and I don’t even know how good this review will be because of it. How am I expected to live until the next book is released? What am I going to do with my life not knowing WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!?
Since this is the second book in the series, I’m not going to go into the plot but oh my god. I love Natalia so much. I love her and her backbone. She’s not the damsel in distress, even while not being in control of her situation. She makes me so proud that I can’t even handle it sometimes.
And Christiano? Don’t even get me started with that foul-mouthed man. Jesus Christ. I’m surprised Natalia doesn’t literally melt into a puddle from the heat of the STEAMY things that comes out of his mouth. I almost didn’t survive them and they weren’t even directed at me. (Unfortunately.)
From the very first page, I was completely terrified for my life and that proved to be the smartest thing to feel. I’m so wary of Jessica and with good reason!
Also, I was too busy devouring every single word that I kind of forgot to write my thoughts as I went so I’m winging this review to the best of my ability, and it might be a little too obvious…
Anyway, this book was so good that I kept shrieking loudly at everything and I kept scaring my bunny every single time. I feel bad about it but that’s what happens when an author manipulates your emotions so thoroughly.
I was also pleasantly surprised at how funny this book was even while literally seeing the worst of the worst. I loved the hilarious banter between Christiano and Natalia and I. WANT. MORE.
Again, how am I supposed to live without them until NOVEMBER?!?!? My life is looking super defeated after the emotional rollercoaster I was just on. I even have a headache cause of it. My mind is reeling, struggling not to go too crazy, since Jessica hands out the worst cliffhangers anybody could ask for- and not ask for.
I need to lie down, stare at my ceiling, and question all my decisions now.
Yup. I’ve seriously lost it. I can’t even think straight at this point. Especially since I forgot to update my Goodreads when I started reading this and that never happens. Pretty embarrassing. I’ll cut this review here now, if that’s even what this is.
Book 3 can’t come fast enough!

4.7/5 stars!