Friday, February 2, 2018

Review | Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings 
Published by Harlequin Teen on January 16th, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy 
Pages: 512
Format: ARC
Source: Kindly provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads: 
Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she's just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.

But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder's all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situation and at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi's past.

Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their shipor just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

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It was extremely difficult to finish this book but here I am writing this review feeling almost at a complete loss on how to even begin. I guess I'll start off by saying that this wasn't necessarily a bad book to read, but it did lack some of the depth I needed in order to really get into a book. 

Zenith centres around a young woman named Androma, otherwise known as Andi and/or the Bloody Baroness, and her crew of girls aboard the Marauder spaceship. Pretty early on in the story, she is captured by someone from her past who gives her the option to go to prison or help rescue the prince.

It was a generally okay book to read. It didn't stand out compared to other sci-fi, fantasy, books but it wasn't dull in comparison either. It was like any other typical YA book in this particular sub-genre. It, at times, desperately tries to stand out and feel more but in the end it just fell in comparison to other well known books. 

Most of it felt rather unoriginal, the work was filled with massive amounts of information (at times it felt like too much to even handle). From characters with blue scaly skin, to random planet names, to escape pods that don't function when necessary (isn't that the function of an escape pod?), this story never lacks telling you the most useless information or the most bizarre nonsense. It feels as if Alsberg and Cummings are trying way too hard to write a typical sci-fi fantasy adventure that feels both whimsical and adventurous but still find a way to somehow make it original. It tries to be everything it really isn't, it's like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. 

Everything is rather underwhelming. The writing and dialogue was weird. The romance, like the rest of this story, was pretty bland. I couldn't stand Andi or Dex. Andi was a contradiction wrapped in a riddle, waiting to be solved. She is supposed to be this cold-blooded killer that enjoys brutally killing people but then we see Alsberg and Cummings contradict that when she begins to feel a sense of guilt over the people she supposedly murdered. All of the characters were immature and annoying. None of them were even interesting or at least intriguing in the slightest. 

Impenetrable shield on the Marauder spacecraft but that doesn't stop one of the best crew from being captured and taken over so easily in, seriously, like a chapter. I still don't understand the purpose of naming off all of these random things (like the shield) if it's not going to come in handy. Another thing I didn't understand was why (and how) this spacecraft only had a crew of four people. I mean it's common sense to know that a spacecraft, especially with the way the Marauder was described, would definitely need way more than four people in the entirety of its crew. 

The ending was so abrupt that, for a few minutes, I flipped back and forth believing that either I accidentally skipped a few pages, possibly didn't see the rest of the ending (grabbing two pages instead of one), or maybe there were pages missing. I have read webcomics posted online that are better than what was written and executed here in this story (i.e. Helios:Femina and Empyrea). 

Nonetheless, if you like unoriginal books with a not so thought-out world then this would be the perfect book for you. 


About The Author:

Sasha Alsberg is the #1 New York Times Bestselling coauthor of Zenith, the first book in The Androma Saga. When Sasha is not writing or obsessing over Scotland she is making YouTube videos on her channel, Abookutopia, and studying history at university. She lives in Massachusetts with her two dogs.

Lindsay Cummings is the #1 NYT Bestselling co-author of Zenith: The Androma Saga. She is also the 24-year-old author of The Murder Complex duopoly and The Balance Keepers trilogy for HarperCollins. She lives in North Texas, where she writes full time. Lindsay is represented by Pete Knapp at Park Literary & Media. Find out more about Lindsay and her books, and get writing/publishing advice on her website.  

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday {26}

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"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, Hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating. 

To Right the Wrongs
Sheryl Scarborough 
Publication Date:
February 7th, 2018
                           Tom Doherty Associates

Summary from Goodreads:
Barely three weeks after catching the killer of Erin's mother and their biology teacher, Erin and her crew are back, up to their elbows in forensics projects. But this time it's with the full approval of their parents.

With Uncle Victor at the helm, Erin and her best friends, Spam and Lysa, are prepping a new classroom for CSI summer camp, where they will serve as camp counselors. Meanwhile, Erin's super-hot new boyfriend, Journey, is graduating, just in time for him to take a position as Victor's intern in the new CSI lab on campus. Journey and Victor are going to take another look at the evidence in the murder trial that sent Journey's father to prison. The girls are under strict orders not to meddle with the murder case, but that's easier said than done...

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Review | Meet Cute: Some People are Destined to Meet - YA Short Story Anthology

Meet Cute: Some People are Destined to Meet 
by , , , , 
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on January 2nd 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Short Stories, Holiday
Pages: 224
Format: Physical ARC
Source: Kindly provided by Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. 

Summary from Goodreads: 
Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of "how they first met" from some of today’s most popular YA authors. 

Readers will experience Nina LaCour's beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard's glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon's imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno's story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick's charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants. 

This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.

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The complete anthology of short stories about "how they met" was so adorably cute! MEET CUTE was such a fluffy and fun anthology to read. 

SEIGE ETIQUETTE by Katie Cotugno                 2/5
I don't know why I didn't necessarily like this story as much as the others. Maybe it was because I recently reviewed Cotugno's latest book, Top Ten. It fell like I was going back and forth way too much. Besides one of my major negatives for ANY book has to be adultery/cheating of any kind. 

PRINT SHOP by Nina LaCour                     4.5/5
Such a cute and fun filled story! I loved the aspect where Evelyn (a.k.a. Evie) wanted to work somewhere - specifically the Print Shop - where it didn't work digitally, they didn't have a website. I can definitely relate. In today's society, technology is everywhere. I would love the opportunity to work somewhere where it doesn't, much like the store in this story, work digitally. Overall, this was an absolute delight to read. 

HOURGLASS by Ibi Zobol                                      3.5/5
A diverse story filled with romance as a young girl struggles to get out of her small town and attend a university that understands her and where she can be herself. Of course, drama soon occurs and Cherish soon finds herself betrayed. 

CLICK by Katherine McGee                     5/5
This was such a moving story. It didn't solely focus on the romance, it also showed in a way life. It shows how many people want and wish they can control their lives, paths, and how everything ultimately turns out in the end. However, we can not control everything in life, we can only control ourselves. A story about love, life, acceptance, moving on, and learning to live every day to the fullest. 

THE INTERN by Sara Shepard                      4/5
Focusing more on family than on the romance. It was a beautiful story entering around a young girl who, in the face of loss, works at her father's company. I can't say too much without spoiling it so all I will say is that it is such a profoundly moving (and emotional) story to read.

SOMEWHERE THAT'S GREEN by Meredith Russo      2.5/5
I am truly at a loss for words. This story is definitely one of my least favourite from this anthology. I loved the fact that the main character of this story was transgender. We sadly don't get to see a lot of that this often. However, the story felt confusing (to say the least) and was extremely difficult to stay interested in reading. 

THE WAY WE LOVE HERE by Dhonielle Clayton                 4.5/5
This was such an interesting story to read. I almost immediately adored the plot, characters, and writing style. Definitely one of my favourite stories in this anthology. 

OOMPH by Emery Lord                          4.5/5
Oh my gosh, this was such a cute story! Lord's writing style was a breath of fresh air. She finds a way to immerse you in the story and make you want more all in a single interaction between two marvellously written characters. I will definitely be checking out some of her other works. 

THE DICTIONARY OF YOU AND ME by Jennifer L. Armentrout              5/5
This was by far my favourite story featured in this anthology. The plot, the characters, and just the overall setting made it an absolute blast to read. I wish the story was a bit longer or if even (fingers-crossed) Armentrout writes a spin off regarding these characters - like it's their children telling the story now. I don't know, I just want to read more about these adorably cute characters. 

THE UNLIKELY LIKELIHOOD OF FALLING IN LOVE by Jocelyn Davies              4/5
This was such a unique story to read. I adored the idea behind it, a statistics project based on the likelyhood of seeing the same person, and I also liked the characters. It was an overall great short story. 

259 MILLION MILES by Kass Morgan         4/5
Another fantastically written futuristic story. This meet-cute story definitely captured my attention. With a unique and intriguing plot to the main character's point of view, this story definitely succeeded in making me want to know more about these characters and what happens next. Especially since that ending was so different compared to the way the other stories ended. 

SOMETHING REAL by Julie Murphy                 4/5
A fun, cute, short story that really hit the mark. It was well written and captivating to read. Having never previously read any of Murphy's work before, I can definitely say that this has peaked my interest and I will be picking up her previous work sometime in the near future. 

SAY EVERYTHING by Huntley Fitzpatrick             2/5
It was a cute story but it just wasn't for me. It left me at times feeling bored and uninterested. I don't know if it was the POV in this story or the writing style but something just didn't work for me. 

THE DEPARTMENT OF DEAD LOVE by Nicola Yoon        3.5/5
This was such an interesting story. I mean the idea itself was so creative, a bunch of people devoted to helping others experiencing heartbreak. However, there were times where I felt a bit bored with the story. 

In the end, this was probably the best anthology I have ever read. It truly deserves to be read. 



“Siege Etiquette” by Katie Cotugno

You’re getting another beer in the kitchen and watching two badly dressed sophomores try not to be too obvious about the fact that they’re staring at you, when the cops show up outside Madison Campbell’s house.

“Uh-oh,” Jay says when he spies them. You follow his gaze through the living room window where, sure enough, two cruisers are gliding to the curb with their lights flashing, silent as sharks. “Friends are here.” Right away he heads down the stairs to the basement, motioning for you to follow without actually waiting to see if you do. Boyfriend or not, you guess you can’t really blame him. After all, it’s not like you get in trouble anymore.

“Everybody down,” Nicole calls from the hallway, flicking the kitchen lights off so you’re plunged into darkness, save the glow of the water dispenser on the front of the stainless-steel fridge. Nicole’s parents are both law professors an hour away from here at Cornell, and firm believers in the importance of exercising one’s constitutional rights: Never, never open up the door to the police unless they have a warrant, you’ve heard them say over a number of bagel breakfasts at Nicole’s kitchen table, same as other parents would remind you to make sure to be home by curfew. “Somebody get the rest of the lights!”

“Are you serious?” a panicky-looking freshman asks as everyone dashes for cover—into bedrooms and under coffee tables, inside the immaculately organized pantry. “You’re not going to let them in?”

“Do you want to go to jail?” Nicole snaps, which seems a little dramatic. “Turn off the music. They’ll be gone in a minute.”

You’re not entirely sure about that, actually, but before you can register your concerns, the bell is ringing; the police are knocking hard and insistent on the front door, glowing flashlights visible through the frosted glass. The combination of noise and sound sets something off in you, a cold animal panic. Suddenly it feels very important to hide. You scurry up the short flight of stairs off the foyer and through the closest door, shutting it firmly behind you before turning around and realizing that a) it’s the bathroom, and b) Wolf Goshen is sitting on the edge of the tub in the dark.

“Hi,” he says.

“Um,” you say. Fuck. “Hi.”

“Sorry,” Wolf says, standing up and wiping his hands on his jeans. “I can get out of here, if you have to—I mean, everybody was just yelling to hide and stuff. I kind of panicked.”

“No, I don’t need to—” You exhale, heart pounding with a savage ferocity wholly disproportionate to the seriousness of this situation. That happens to you sometimes, now. The cops are still ringing the doorbell. “I mean, that’s why I’m in here, too.”

“Oh.” Wolf nods, shoving his hands into his pockets. “Okay.”

You look at each other for a moment. You breathe. Wolf has been in your class since kindergarten, but you’ve never actually talked to him before. He only ever comes for half the year because of some arcane agricultural law that lets him be homeschooled for the fall semester so he can help his parents at their farm, thirty miles outside Ithaca, one of the last working family-owned operations in the entire state of New York. Every autumn you forget about him and every January he shows up at school again, blinking and dazed, like he’s spent the last six months wandering dumbly through a cornfield. You’ve never seen him at a party before in your life.

“I came with my cousin,” he explains, like he can see you wondering, as if he thinks you’re going to ask to see his pass. You think he might be afraid of you. You’d probably be afraid of you, if you were Wolf. “You know Jared? He dates Madison now. So I came with him.”

You nod, not particularly caring. God, this whole night sucks. You’re about to make an excuse and get the hell out of here, but before you can come up with something plausible the beam of a flashlight shines directly through the bathroom window, and like an instinct you’re grabbing Wolf’s arm and jerking roughly, pulling him back into the shadows beside the tub.

“Sorry,” you say once the light has moved away again. “Close call.”

“It’s okay.” Wolf sits back down on the edge of the bathtub.

When you were little kids he was notorious for falling asleep at his desk every day during free read. His fingernails were always too long. You remember not wanting to get stuck next to him in line or at lunchtime or in the Starlab, a traveling planetarium that came to school every year, all of you crawling into a big inflatable tent in the middle of the gym to look up at the constellations. “Don’t be giving that boy a hard time, Hailey,” your mom scolded when you came home and complained about it. You were already popular back in elementary school, and she was worried it was going to turn you mean.

Copyright © 2018 by Alloy Entertainment, LLC

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Review | Roomies by Christina Lauren

Roomies by Christina Lauren
Published by Gallery Books on December 5, 2017
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult, Adult 
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback 
Source: Bought at Indigo

Summary from Goodreads: 
Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

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This was such a sweet book to read! 

Roomies centeres around a young woman named Holland, who is an aspiring author. Having been surrounded by music all of her life, thanks to her uncle and his husband, she has an amazing sense of hearing to pick out musical talent. With her uncle under pressure to find a talented musician to fill in for the one who quit suddenly to make his latest production amazing, Holland has an idea that no one can turn down. The subway musician, who she ended up developing a crush on, will be the perfect person to fill in the currently empty spot...but she has to first convicce her uncle to listen to him play. 

Calvin McLoughlin, a Juilliard trained immigrant from Ireland, has been waiting for his big break since Juilliard. Believing that Calvin could be the perfect fit, Holland quickly introduces Calvin to her uncle. To no one's surprise, Calvin amazes everyone with his musical skills. Knowing how extremely talent Calvin is, they offer him a position however due to Calvin's lack of a visa he is unable to accept. 

So Holland's uncle can have the perfect musician for the show, she presents Calvin the idea of them getting married so he can stay in the country and also be a part of this major production, a dream he thought would never happen. Calvin agrees and they almost immediately get married and move in together, in Holland's apartment. With the way they talk and act, they not only begin to fool those around them...but also each other. 

I absolutely loved Holland's insecurities and doubts. To me, it made the character so much more real. Even though she kept believing that others would look at her and wonder why Calvin would be with someone like her when he could have anyone, as well as whether or not Calvin is with her only for the green card. Only in the very end did she start to believe in herself and thank that she deserved to have happiness and be the main character in her own life. 

The chemistry between Holland and Calvin was amazing. Even though there were ups-and-downs in their relationship, it literally made everything fit so much more perfectly together. It felt believable in a way I didn't think possible - especially in the end. 

This was such a perfect book to read! I just picked it up a few days ago, to commemorate me finishing my exams, and finished reading the whole thing yesterday. It was such an addicting book that immerses readers and makes them fall for every single character. There were a few steamy scenes but it was nothing like Christina & Lauren's previous work, Beautiful Bastard. I can not say enough how much I enjoyed reading this and how much I would recommend it! 

If you're looking for a heartwarming ad adorable book to read this holiday season then look no further. Roomies is the romantic contemporary book you're definitely going to want to read. 


About The Author:

Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties/soulmates/brain-twins Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced fourteen New York Times bestselling novels. Their books have been translated into 31+ languages. (Some of these books have kissing. Some of these books have A LOT of kissing.)

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