I dare you to pick this book up…oooooo

Title – Dare You To Lie

Author – Amber Lynn Natusch

Rating – 4/5

Release Date – September 4th, 2018

Format – ARC from publisher

Happy New Year friends! I hope your 2019 is full of lots of good books and creative blogging ideas!

This novel follows Kylene Danners who is forced to move back in with her grandfather in her old small town after her FBI agent dad is framed and arrested for murder. Kylene wants to figure out the truth; she KNOWS her dad would never murder someone in cold blood. All she wants is to study her father’s case and prove him innocent, but an event from her past continues to cast its shadow over her. Someone won’t let her forget a photo scandal that happened years ago and her determination earns her many threats. Kylene is not the type of girl to back down, and this will get her in trouble.

This book was amazing. It’s a sort-of high school drama so if that’s not what you’re looking for then this book will not be for you. I think that this read is the perfect “easy read” with enough substance to keep you intrigued…maybe a good reading slump read?

It took me forever to read this book because of school, and I think I would have been able to enjoy it more if I had read it in a way smaller period of time. This is definitely a good and fast-paced enough book to be able to read in a few sittings.

My favourite thing about this book was Kylene. She is quite the original YA character; she’s feisty, knows what she wants, and is very determined. I loved her attitude and how real she was in terms of doing the human thing and letting her emotions get the best of her actions. Her sarcastic humour and witty remarks made me love her so much because I saw a bit of myself in her.

The gradual reveal of information surrounding the cases of both Kylene and her father added a lot of dramatic effect to the story which was something that kept it addicting to read. The FBI and legal case aspect of the book was really cool to me too because I’ve never read a book with either of those things in it so prominently.

I adored the characters in this book. Other than Kylene, Garrett and Tabby are such gems and I love them so much. Garrett is such a sweet and caring friend and everyone definitely needs a friend like him. Tabby’s from Canada (which is cool since I’m from Canada yay!!) and the stereotypes surrounding her were hilarious and added another funny aspect to the novel.

We didn’t see as much as I would have liked to between Kylene and her dad which is understandable because of their circumstances but I am really excited for the next book to see what happens with them.

Overall I really loved this book and it says on Goodreads that this book is “Hometown Antiheros #1” so my fingers are crossed for a sequel. I definitely recommend this read to everyone and especially those looking for a quick read!

Have you picked this book up? What did you think? Are you planning on picking it up? Let me know in a comment! 

Not so high stakes… (spoiler-free review)

Title – Mirage

Author – Somaiya Daud

Rating – 3/5

Release Date – August 28th, 2018

Format – ARC from publisher

Hello friends! As you may or may not know I have been swamped with school work since it’s my senior year and I’m out here trying to get into university haha. That’s why I haven’t been reading and therefore haven’t been active on here! One of my goals for the new year is to manage my time better and schedule a little bit of time a day/week for the things I love like reading and blogging! I’m hoping that in the new year I can share more of my reading life with you and be more active on this platform that I adore so much!

Mirage by Somaiya Daud is a novel following sixteen year-old Amani, a dreamer who is unfortunate to live in the horrific Vathek empire. Amani thinks a lot about life before the invasion and thrives off of old poems and the hope that one day Dihya will remove her from her current desolate planet. One day this hope comes true, but in a way worse way than Amani had ever wanted. She is kidnapped and forced to be a body double for a half-Vathek princess. Amani is taken from everything she knew; her humble beginnings culminate in a huge Vathek palace as she is left wondering if her family is still alive and when, if ever, she will see them again.

Right when I read this synopsis I thought of The Diabolic with the whole body double for a princess thing. Now, I may be wrong since I haven’t read The Diabolic, but I couldn’t help but think throughout this whole book that there is potential for it to be similar to The Diabolic. I don’t know if the author meant for that, but maybe if you’re a fan of The Diabolic then maybe this book is for you?

The book had a lot of potential to be something that keeps readers on the edge of their seats but it honestly didn’t live up to that for me. I was really underwhelmed by the “plot-twists” and I felt like a lot of it was way too predictable and not as high-stakes as I feel it should have been.

I didn’t feel too much for any of the characters except Amani’s family which sucks because they aren’t even close to being main characters. The romance was also pretty insta-lovey to me which just made the characters involved seem even less realistic which reaallly  sucked. A lot of things between characters (and in the plot too honestly) worked out way too conveniently for my liking which also detracted from the high-stakes novel I was expecting.

I’m going to get into some positive things but the last thing I had a problem with was how it didn’t make sense that the world was advanced enough to have holoreaders but not some sort of security cameras in the halls of their palace… I don’t know, maybe this is just a problem because I’m overthinking it but I just thought it was kind of funny.

One of the things I loved about this book was the love that Amani has for her culture. Her connection to her background and how deeply rooted she is in her culture was just so beautiful and a really nice addition to the story.

The imagery in this read was also very nice and the way that the different locations that were travelled to were so real. I was able to vividly imagine them in my head as if I was watching a movie which was a really great addition to the reading experience.

The dynamic between Maram and Amani was really enjoyable to read about and seeing them interact with one another especially surrounding their circumstances was really intriguing.

Overall this book was decent but I just think it wasn’t for me. I do think it set up really well for a sequel but I don’t think I’ll be picking that sequel up. I think this book would hit right for other people, so I do recommend that you give it a read if it’s been on your radar!

Have you read this book? What did you think? Are you planning on picking it up? Let me know in a comment!

I mean, it was pretty epic… (spoiler-free review)

Hey friends! Long time no see, eh? Really long story short: I’ve been really overwhelmed with school, work, and university applications (you know, all the things that come with being a high school senior) and haven’t had any free time. I’ve only read one book since August (oops) and am just now getting enough free time to finally sit down and prepare a blog post for you guys! I have some reviews already planned out so I’m hoping that’ll get me back on my feet here enough to at least put out a new blog post per week. Thank you for your understanding; I appreciate all of you!

Anyways, now onto the review!

Title Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

Author – Morgan Matson

Rating – 4/5

Release Date – May 3rd, 2011

Publisher – Simon & Schuster

Format – Paperback

Amy can’t drive. Well, she can, but ever since the accident she freezes up at the mere thought of getting behind the wheel. The problem is, she’s moving across the coutnry and she has to find a way to get there. Then Roger comes along, an old family friend who just happens to be able to drive Amy where she needs to go. Amy and Roger depart on a road trip that entails way more than they bargained for.

As a fantasy reader I am always very hesitant to dive into a contemporary read here and there. I think I’ve found my kind of contemporary author in Morgan Matson though because her books are amazing! She just has this writing style that makes you really be able to put yourself in the story as the characters which pulls you right in and makes the story so addicting!

Amy is such a relatable character in my opinion. As someone who can tend to be awkward and shy, I found myself identifying with Amy’s situation a lot which was really cool. All of the characters in the novel generally felt very realistic. They all showed emotions very relevant to their situation and they never felt very dramatic or cliche. The fact that the characters felt so realistic made it pretty tough to read through Amy’s flashbacks because they were very personal and sad; I think I even teared up a few times.

Something that made this reading experience really unique were the multi-media aspects. The playlists and the photos added so much to the story and I think that if you’re able to focus on reading while listening to music (which I unfortunately cannot) then I’d highly suggest to listen to Roger’s playlists as you read along and follow him and Amy on their journey!

Slow-burn romance always gets me and this book did exceptionally well at it. You could feel the tension building up throughout the book and the relationship was just so cute.

Another thing that I thought added a lot to the story were the side characters. I wish we got to see more of them because they were all so fun to read about. Lucien and Bronwyn especially were the most kind-hearted characters ever and I’m so happy that Amy and Roger got to meet and spend time with them.

I’m really happy that I picked this book up and am really looking forward to reading more of Morgan Matson’s books!

What’s your favourite Morgan Matson read? Can you focus on reading while listening to music? What have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments; let’s chat!

I hope I FALL for these books! (Autumn Reads 2018)

Hi friends! I’m posting on a Wednesday? WHAT?

Do not fear, I’m not changing my posting schedule. I’m just going to be doing this thing where I’ll have my regular post on Saturdays and then when I have time I’ll be giving you guys a sort of “bonus” post on Wednesdays when I have some spare time! That way I’m under no pressure to post twice a week (although I wish I had time to) and I can keep blogging fun while also living a busy life woot woot.

Since the first official day of Autumn is this Saturday I thought it would be fun to make a tentative Autumn TBR. I say tentative because I’m in my last year of high school and even though one of my goals is to start making more time to read, I don’t really know how that’s going to work out.

I’m going to be sharing books from my TBR that I really want to get to this Autumn season (but not including ARCs because I made a commitment to read those so they’re being read this Autumn by default ha. Oh, also, Kingdom of Ash is a given because I will be starting that right when it comes in the mail).

  • Dracula by Bram Stoker. I for sure want to read this one this Autumn. I read Frankenstein last October to put me in the Halloween mood so I’m going to be doing the same this October with Dracula, yay.
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. I’ve been wanting to start reading Cassandra Clare’s books for forever and what better time to start them than this Autumn. This book gives me such Autumn vibes and I cannot wait to read it.
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I’ve also been wanting to read this one for a while and based on the synopsis I feel like it would give me many Autumn vibes as well, yay.
  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. I feel like this book would be super creepy and perfect to read in Autumn!
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. This is a book on my shelf that literally screams “READ ME IN AUTUMN” and when a book yells at me, I must listen.

I feel like this TBR is way too big, but all I can do is try. In all honesty though I don’t think I’ll be getting to all of these books this Autumn lol.

Have you read any of the books on my list? If you have, let me know your spoiler-free thoughts! What are you wanting to read this Autumn? Let me know in a comment!

Since I don’t read contemporary… (spoiler-free review)

Title – Since You’ve Been Gone

Author – Morgan Matson

Rating – 5/5

Release Date – May 5th, 2015

Publisher – Simon & Schuster

Format – Paperback

Sloane. Gone without a trace…except a list of thirteen tasks for Emily, Sloane’s best friend, to complete. Tasks that Emily would never do by herself. Emily bumps into Frank at the beginning of the summer and he ends up helping her complete the list, which she hopes will lead her to Sloane. Emily has an unexpected summer full of things that she never would have expected. New friends. New things. What will this lead to?

As you may be able to tell from the books I review, I do not read contemporary and when I do I don’t expect much. Morgan Matson is an author that really changed the way I saw contemporary, as something I can enjoy rather than something I will waste my time reading and end up giving it a low star rating.

Morgan Matson’s writing style is so easy for me to get into and the way she formats her stories with flashbacks thrown in here and there to give more background are my favourite thing. The flashbacks allow for so much depth to be added to the story and give you the background on the characters that you need to be connected to them.

Morgan Matson also creates very relatable main characters. I always find that my problem with contemporary novels is that I cannot connect with the life of the main character whatsoever because they are so out there, but Matson creates exceptional relatable teen characters. Emily, the main character in this novel, is so similar to me in that we are both awkward in social situations, don’t like change, and don’t often step out of our comfort zone. Seeing so much of myself in Matson’s main characters makes me be able to put myself in the story and be so much more engaged.

Matson creates amazing secondary characters as well. Sloane, although not present in the majority of the novel (making appearances mostly in the flashbacks) was so real to me and I felt like she so much a part of the main storyline because of how Matson wove Sloane’s character in with Emily’s. Sloane became a “main” character through the list and through Emily’s motivation to complete the list (which is what she would do if she was Sloane/what she would do if Sloane was with her). I think everyone should have a friend like Sloane because she is such a positive influence (usually) on Emily and really makes Emily live up to her full potential.

Frank Porter was an interesting male lead character because he is not the typical YA guy. He focuses a lot on his academics and is not very athletic which was really cool to see for a change in YA. I really appreciate Frank and honestly need him as a friend.

The friend group that Emily forms through chance was so cool to see because it felt so natural. It sends a really good message to the reader that stepping out of your comfort zone can be a positive thing and does not have to be scary.

I’ve been reading Matson’s books in publication order and I can truly see the development she went through as a writer. Each one gets so much more enjoyable and smoothly written. They are thought-provoking reads, yet don’t feel that way which I feel is very hard to write so I really admire Morgan Matson and am looking forward to reading more of her novels.

As a side note: I ordered Morgan Matson’s new book Save the Date and it came as a signed first edition which I screamed when I saw. I think it is so cool to get unexpected things like that and it is so cool that I have a copy like that of one of my new favourite author’s books!

Do you enjoy contemporary novels? What are some of your favourites? What are your thoughts on Morgan Matson’s novels? Let me know in a comment!

WAVEing goodbye to my feelings (spoiler-free review)

Title – These Rebel Waves

Author – Sara Raasch

Rating – 5/5

Release Date – August 7th, 2018

Publisher – Balzer + Bray

Format – ARC from publisher

Adeluna. A soldier who fought for Grace Loray as a child, sent out by her father to be a rebel and resist the oppressor Argrid. In the present day Lu struggles with her memories and adjusting to life without war. When an Argridian politician vanishes during tense peace talks Argrid calls for justice, but Lu believes something more dangerous is lurking under the surface. Devereux. A pirate outlaw known as a steam raider trying to make a living in Grace Loray by selling the island’s magic plants on the black market. When steam raiders are blamed for the vanishing of the politician, Vex is a new target. He agrees to help someone find the politician, but things don’t go as planned. Benat. A heretic and crown prince of Argrid who holds a forbidden love of Grace Loray’s magic. When his father offers for him to take away the Argridian fear of magic, Ben has to question whether or not it is a trap. What are Grace Loray and Argrid going to to do protect peace…or harbour war?

If I’m being honest the beginning was so confusing and definitley did not hook me at all. I didn’t know what was going on since there were multiple perspectives and I felt like I knew absolutely nothing about the world. It honestly felt like a sequel to me at the beginning which really reminded me of Onyx and Ivory at the beginning. What it also reminded me of was the ending of that book where it got so good, everything connected and started making sense, and I realized that it was all a writing tactic.

The characters in this novel were my favourite part. Lu was so badass and intelligent. Vex was so funny and his humour made me laugh out loud; he really reminded me of Nikolai which made my heart melt. I felt like we didn’t get too much of Ben but after the ending I have a strong feeling that we will get a lot more of him in the next book (which I am very eagerly anticipating). Vex’s crew (Edda and Nayeli) were also so hilarious and made me laugh so much and I’m glad we got to see quite a bit of them. Teo was the sweetedt kid ever and I wanted to just give him the biggest hug and make his life perfect (seeing him sad broke my heart). Cansu and her raiders were soooooo cool and I really enjoyed the little parts they were in the book. The characters were all very realistic because of their variety of human emotions that they were not afraid to show.

My favourite thing about multiple POVs is when the characters are separate and then eventually they intertwine which is exactly what this book did and I was so happy with how the book ended up by around 60 pages in. The way the POVs all worked out made the story so addicting because you could see the little snippets of connections and you just wanted to keep reading so that you could see the POVs collide and for the characters to finally interact with one another.

Trudging through the beginning was so worth it because after that confusion the details seamlessly come together to make such a smooth and action-packed story that is so nice to read through. The thing that set this off was a plot-twist which was insane and changed the entire course of the book, keeping me on the edge of my seat.

The world was such an amazing fantasy world. The magic system with the plants wa sso unique and the way it intertwined with the politics of the world through the syndicates, the council, and the different countries made me so content. I love political stuff in books so the treaty and threat of war between Grace Loray and Argrid was amazing.

I can’t say much more without spoiling things, but this is one of my new favourites and I think I will be reading many more pirate books!

Have you read These Rebel Waves? Are you planning on reading it? What are your favourite pirate books? Let me know in a comment!

What thorns? The ones in my heart? Oh, that’s fine, this book is worth it! (spoiler-free review)

Title – Heart of Thorns

Author – Bree Barton

Rating – 5/5

Release Date – July 31st, 2018

Publisher – Katherine Tegen Books

Format – ARC from publisher

Mia wants revenge. Revenge againts the Gwyrach, the evil creatures that killed her mother. In this world only women have magic and even though it isn’t all of them, they are all suspected of possessing it. The half-girl half-god Gwyrach are feared, hated, and hunted. Mia is set on searching the four kingdoms to find the one who took her mother’s life when her father changes her plans when he announces that she will marry Quin, prince and heir to the throne. Mia is thrown into a future that she never wanted, so she plans an escape, but something she cannot run away from is a truth about herself.

Wow, guys!! This book was amazing and so addicting! Mia was such a fantastic and unique main character because she has an intense fascination with human biology! I’ve never seen a main character in a fantasy novel with that kind of main character so this was so cool! Mia’s family dynamic was so mysterious and her connection to her mother was outstanding. The whole thing with her mother’s journal revealing itself to her made me choke up because it was like the mother was with her even though she’s physically gone.

The magic system in this book was really cool because it’s exclusively for women. In their case it is a negative because all women are suspect and have to wear gloves and are kept very secluded (ex. not aloud to make physical contact for the most part). It made me really sad because there was no way to really prove you aren’t a Gwyrach and since they’re so dangerous everyone fears all women.

The writing was very detailed and laced with humour which I loved. There were intersting chapter titles which was so cool since I feel like I don’t read many books where the chapters actually have names instead of numbers.

The romance in this novel made me so happy since it was slow-burn (which means no insta-love yeaaahhhhh).

Quin is my new favourite because he’s so sweet, resourceful, and just all-around perfect.

The plot-twists were pretty crazy and the ending was even more crazy. It set up perfectly for a sequel which I really hope there wil be.

Have you read Heart of Thorns? Are you planning on reading it? Let me know in a comment!

It’s so hot that summer’s literally melting away?! (summer wrap up 2018)

Hello friends! I start school next week and I’ve been internally screaming since the beginning of August. I mean, where did the summer go? I feel like I just finished my last exam yesterday… The only reason I “like” school is because I like how it forces me to have a routine and eat proper meals haha.

Anyways, I’m going into my last year of high school (eek) and I can’t believe it! I still don’t really know what program I want to go into for university so if you did uni or are in uni tell me about your program, I need help ahhhh. I was thinking something science/math related but I don’t know and I’m stressing out.

Speaking of, since I’m going into my senior year and I’m taking literally all the most difficult course I could have, I think I’m going to be cutting down my posting to once a week. So when school starts I’ll just be posting on Saturdays. Who knows though, maybe I’ll have time to post on Wednesdays sometimes too, only time will tell. I think I’m going to try Saturday’s in September and if that’s not working out I’ll switch back to Wednesday’s. I’ll let you guys know, but it’ll be either of those days for posting!

So I didn’t do much this summer. I spent two weeks with my family and extended family over the summer which was nice since I actually had the guts to book off some time from work haha (side note, I’m finding it really hard to type with long nails help me lol). Other than that I just worked and sat around my house. I wish I did more but I guess it was pretty relaxing.

In terms of reading, things didn’t go as well as I’d hoped they would. I wanted to finish all my ARCs and start The Infernal Devices series but I didn’t accomplish either of those things. I wanted to read all the books but for the last half of the summer my brain decided to go into reading slump mode and I ended up watching all the episodes of CBC marketplace that I could find on YouTube (which were really good if you’re wondering). So in conclusion I watched way more YouTube than I did reading which sucks but I guess there’s always other time to read. I want to dedicate like 20 minutes or something a day to reading during the school year so I don’t make excuses and end up reading like 3/4 of a book a month like I did last year lol.

So, enough rambling (sorry), here’s what I read in the months of July/August!

  • Contagion by Erin Bowman (spoiler free review here )
  • Sea Witch by Sarah Henning (spoiler free review here )
  • Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton (I don’t have my review up for this one so keep an eye out for it early September, but I adored this book)
  • Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson (spoiler free review
  • These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch (see the brackets beside Heart of Thorns, it’s the same situation for this book oops)
  • Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (same situation as Heart of Thorns and These Rebel Waves oops)
  • Mirage by Somaiya Daud (same as Heart of Thorns/These Rebel Waves/Since You’ve Been Gone haha sorry)

See? I didn’t read as much as I could’ve. I mean, I still did read a lot but I definitely did not read as much as I wanted to, darn reading slump. Fun fact: my first post on this blog was about how to get out of a reading slump haha.

What did you read this summer? Any new favourites? Do you get into reading slumps often? Let me know in a comment!

Second chance reading (spoiler-free review)

Title – Second Chance Summer

Author – Morgan Matson

Rating – 5/5

Release Date – May 8th 2012

Publisher – Simon & Schuster

Format Read – Paperback

A summer of second chances. Taylor runs away from her problems, so second chances are a must for her. Severed friendships and relationships get a revamp when Taylor travels with her family to their old lakehouse at Lake Phoenix. All the people she left behind and the ends she left untied are dealt with this summer which is difficult for Taylor as she deals with the fact that this is her last summer together with her entire family.

If I’m being honest, I didn’t think I would enjoy this book, simply because I did not enjoy Morgan Matson’s first book (also the first book of hers that I read). I guess her writing got way better though because I LOVED this book!

The beginning of this novel was quite vague and mysterious and left me wanting more which was good because it made me want to continue reading. It paid off though and I appreciate how Matson formatted this book since discovering the main character’s past through flashbacks was so interesting!

I saw so much of myself in the main character (completely separate from the fact that her name is also Taylor haha), especially with how close she is to her dad and how much she cares about him. A lot of the father-daughter moments had me tearing up because sicne her name is the same as mine it was so crazy when I put myself in her shoes (it was like my life was her life at that moment). I really loved this about the book because on a personal level it really affected me.

I didn’t just connect to the main character, I really connected to Henry’s family situation. I adored Henry as a character and I easily empathized with him because I feel like I can relate to his situation. It made me really sad but it made it even easier for this book to weave its way into a permanent place in my heart.

This novel is quite different than all of the YA fantasy that I read because it focuses on the value of family and friends and the fact that we should always let the people we love know that we love them and care about them. I feel like most fantasy books don’t have a family aspect, so this contemporary novel really satisfied my love of family dynamics in novels.

I don’t want to say much about the plot (other than the vague synopsis I gave) because I feel like it is so much better to go into this one not knowing much. It teaches you about the value of the time you have with your family and really hits you hard. As you’re going through the book you kind of know the outcome but don’t want it to be true, so when it does happen you’ll find yourself sobbing (believe me, not many books make me cry, you’ll need tissues)!

Have you read this one yet? What are some of your favourite contemporary reads? Let me know in a comment!

I really can’t wait…but I can? (Can’t Wait Wednesday)

Hi friends! I’m back with another Wednesday meme post. This week I’m doing Can’t Wait Wednesday which is where I’m going to talk about books I’m excited for but have yet to read! Today I’m going to be talking about Kingdom of Ash and the Throne of Glass Compendium.

If I’m being honest I don’t really know if/when the Throne of Glass compendium is coming out (I should probably look into that lol), but I’m excited for it! It’ll come out eventually (I think) and when it does my heart will be so happy. I think it’ll be so gorgeous and really helpful if I want to reread a book in the middle of the series (because let’s be real, who can remember all the intense detail that makes up the Throne of Glass world). It will also be such a nice addition to my collection since I adore Sarah J. Maas’ books with my entire being and I need all the books !! Actually, side note and (maybe) unpopular opinion, I won’t be picking up Catwoman because I think I’d hate superhero books; I’ll stick with superhero movies since I adore those. Anyways, the Throne of Glass compendium will fuel my obsession and probably make me reread the books so much since I’ll just flip through it, get hit with memories from when I read the books, and give into my addiction of reading them.

So, Kingdom of Ash… I think this book has caused me to have the most conflicting feelings I’ve ever had on something. I feel one of these all the time when I think of this book (which is very often): immense excitement because I need to know what happens after the craziness that was Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn, pure terror at what could happen to all of my babies, intense sadness because my favourite series is coming to an end, and denial that my favourite series is coming to an end and any day now Sarah will release a statement saying she’s working on a new book in the Throne of Glass world. Yeah, a lot of emotions eh? The Throne of Glass series is my favourite thing ever and I adore everything about it ahhhhh help, I’m obsessed. I am so sad that this series is coming to an end but I am so excited to finally get my hands on this book (it is also such a gorgeous book which pushes me towards being excited about it more than anything).

This post probably didn’t contain a single coherent thought because when I talk about Sarah J. Maas’ books I don’t know how to articulate my feelings (since I literally have so much love for these books). Literally any time I talk about these books I feel the urge to drop everything and just reread them all HELP. It takes so much self control not to just keep rereading the books over and over again…I need that kind of self control when it comes to book buying haha.

What books are you looking forward to reading (whether they’re released yet or not)? Let me know in a comment!