Heartless

HeartlessTitle: Heartless
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Date: November 8, 2016
Pages: 453
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
1 Stars

SYNOPSIS

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.


I read the synopsis for Heartless and decided it was a must read for me. Alice retellings tend to be really whimsical and there is something about it that just resonates with me. I also tend to be fascinated with villains, so a story about how the Queen of Hearts got so cold? I’m in!

However, my favorite thing about Heartless ended up being the synopsis. I just didn’t like it! The characters were pretty good, but my biggest issue is that it was boring. I could care less about most of the story. No suspense, not a great plot, and nothing revolutionary.

I kept waiting for that moment when all of the boring stuff is worth it, but it never came. As much as I wanted to love this one, it just wasn’t for me.

Gemina

GeminaTitle: Gemina
Author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff, Marie Lu
Series: The Illuminae Files #2
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Date: October 18, 2016
Pages: 659
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
4 Stars

SYNOPSIS

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The saga that began with Illuminae continues on board the space station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of BeiTech’s assault. Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter, Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum may be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival. The fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.


Gemina was great! While I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Illuminae, it was a very strong sequel. We’re introduced to a new cast of characters (notably Hanna and Nik) and at first it’s not clear how the story relates to Illuminae. Once we get into the action though, the connection is obvious.

My favorite part of Gemina is the suspense and the overarching storyline. I literally freak out reading these books! I’m on the edge of my seat, frantically turning pages and trying to devour every word. It’s great! On top of that, the writing is really awesome. It feels like I’m reading a movie. The personalities jump off the page and the scenes are so detailed, it’s like you’re watching them.

As soon as I closed the book, I wanted more. I can’t wait to see where the story wraps up and I’m seriously hoping this gets optioned as a movie. Have you started this series yet?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildTitle: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Author: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
Series: Harry Potter #8
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Date: July 31, 2016
Pages: 328
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
5 Stars

SYNOPSIS

The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.


This is crazy to me! I have been blogging for quite a few years and this is my first ever Harry Potter review. Now since this is a script, it is very, very different from the first 7 books. I still absolutely loved it, but if you go into it expecting it to be the same you’ll be disappointed.

The story follows Albus, Harry’s youngest son, during his first few years at Hogwarts. We see Harry struggling as a father to connect with a son who is pretty different from him. I don’t want to give any of the plot away, but I will say that it was pretty exciting!

My absolute favorite part, however, was seeing Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny as well as their children. It was such a treat to see Harry & co. all grown up, but still acting in more or less the same ways as they did as children. They are all much more mature, but their personalities hold steady. Similarly, you can see so much of Hermione in her daughter and that was really delightful as well.

While Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is very different from the rest of the series, it is still a great read. I think you’ll appreciate this one a lot more if you’re a fan of the series and are looking forward to spending more time with your favorite characters.

How to Game the Walk of Shame

How to Game the Walk of ShameTitle: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame
Author: Jenn P. Nguyen
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Date: June 7, 2016
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
4 Stars

SYNOPSIS

Taylor Simmons is screwed.

Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip.

Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they’re in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it’s better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.


How to Game the Walk of Shame is my kind of book. I adore the fake-dating trope. There is something about it, that just tends to work for me. I think it allows the characters to fall for each other slowly, and it creates a lot of adorably awkward moments.

Many of the elements of this story have been done before, but it just worked for me. I loved Taylor and Evan and the differences in their personalities. If it wasn’t for their little mix up, they wouldn’t even be friends. But it’s those same differences that make them work. Taylor needs to learn to chill out and enjoy life, while Evan desperately needs direction and some one to push him to do his best.

How to Game the Walk of Shame is not original in concept, but I still freaking adored it. It’s the kind of contemporary that pulls you in and just won’t let you go until you read the last page. If you’re looking for a romantic story you can fly through, How to Game the Walk of Shame is for you!

The Head of Medusa

The Head of MedusaTitle: The Head of Medusa
Author: Michelle Madow
Series: Elementals #3
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing
Date: June 29th 2016
Format: eARC
Source: For Review
4.5 Stars

SYNOPSIS

The epic story of witches, gods, and monsters that USA Today called a "must read" continues in the third book of the Elementals series!

When Nicole Cassidy moved to a new town, she discovered that she was a witch descended from gods. But that was nothing compared to learning that it was up to her and four others with mysterious elemental powers to help save the world from the Titans, who would soon return to Earth.

Now her relationship with Blake -- the fire Elemental -- is finally heating up. But she must remain focused, because Typhon, one of the deadliest creatures in history, has escaped from the weakening prison world. Only one object can destroy him -- the head of Medusa herself.

Follow the Elementals as they journey to the end of the Earth, facing choices that will put their lives and the entire world at risk. Will they all survive the mission? Find out in the riveting third book in the Elementals series, The Head of Medusa.


The Head of Medusa was as exciting as I was expecting it to be! Michelle knows how to write books that just keep you turning pages. The chapters are short and always end on a cliff hanger. Similar to the prior novels, I’m really curious to see where this is going to happen next!

One thing that surprised me with the Head of Medusa is that the story takes a darker turn than the previous novels – I wasn’t expecting that. I suppose things got pretty dark in book 2, but I wasn’t invested in the particular characters that were affected, so it didn’t seem like too big of a deal to me. Book 3 is a different story!

There are a lot of parallels to Rick Riordan’s series, which may bother some people. If you loved Rick Riordan’s work  and are looking for a similar story, I think you’ll love this!

Dream On

Dream OnTitle: Dream On
Author: Kerstin Gier
Series: Silver #2
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Date: May 3, 2016
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
5 Stars

SYNOPSIS

Things seem to be going well for Liv Silver: she’s adjusting to her new home in London; she has a burgeoning romance with Henry Harper, one of the cutest boys in school; and the girl who’s been turning her dreams into nightmares, Anabel, is now locked up. But serenity doesn’t last for long.

It seems that Liv’s troubles are far from over—in fact, suddenly they’re piling up. School gossip blogger Secrecy knows all of Liv’s most intimate secrets, Henry might be hiding something from her, and at night Liv senses a dark presence following her through the corridors of the dream world. Does someone have a score to settle with Liv?


Dream On is even stronger than Dream a Little Dream,. Now that the initial world building is out of the way, we’re able to get a little deeper into the crazy dream world that Gier has created — and it’s awesome. With the way book 1 ended, you might assume that the creepiness is over and I am happy to say that is not the case at all. If possible, Dream On is even more creepy.

Dreams can be very happy and whimsical, but they can also be terrifying. As someone who is prone to nightmares, I enjoyed seeing the darker side of dreams — although, Dream On got much, much darker than my dreams. The elements I loved in Dream a Little Dream are still present (mystery, romance, awesome characters), but what’s really sucking me into the story is the exploration of the dream world.

While it was wonderful getting a more in depth look at the whole shared dreaming thing, I know we’ve just started to scratch the surface. I’m really looking forward to seeing how everything wraps up in the final book and seeing what fun secrets are in store for us!

With Malice

With MaliceTitle: With Malice
Author: Eileen Cook
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Date: June 7, 2016
Pages: 316
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
4.5 Stars

SYNOPSIS

It was the perfect trip…until it wasn’t.

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.

As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.


I really enjoyed With Malice. Our main character, Jill, wakes up to find she’s been in a horrific accident and can’t remember several months of her life. The big question here is “was it really an accident?”

Since Jill has no memories related to accident, she can’t really say and the reader gets to decipher various news stories, police reports, and flashes of Jill’s own memories to try to put together the pieces. It was exciting! For most of the book, I was pretty torn on whether or not it was an accident or intentional. From the information we’re given, it could have gone either way. Unraveling the puzzle pieces definitely kept my attention on the book and me want to keep turning the pages.

I definitely want to pick up other books by Eileen Cook in the future! I just enjoyed this one so much and it was like a breath of fresh air since I read it after finishing a book I wasn’t crazy about. If you’re into thrillers and mysteries, I highly recommend giving With Malice a shot.

Love, Lies and Spies

Love, Lies and SpiesTitle: Love, Lies and Spies
Author: Cindy Anstey
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Date: April 19, 2016
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
4 Stars

SYNOPSIS

Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.


Love, Lies and Spies is adorable. If you like Julianne Donaldson’s Edenbrooke or Blackmoore, you should definitely give this book of shot! Also a good choice for Pride & Prejudice fans. It had all of my favorite elements for a historical romance—a character that is strong and independent who chooses to defy the rules society has set for her, an innocent romance full of good banter, and of course some adventure! I also loved the “fake dating” aspect since that’s one of my favorite tropes.

The novel also had some really terrible characters. Don’t worry, they were the villains so we weren’t supposed to like them anyway. But they sucked so much I just had to mention how absolutely AWFUL they were. I actually didn’t really like too many characters throughout the novel. Our main characters, Juliana and Spencer were great and their best friends were fine, but other than that we just have a lot of sucky and unmemorable people.

My favorite aspect was the romance because it was just so cute and fun to read, but the “spies” element of the novel was a really fun addition. It added an air of mystery and it was really fun to try and guess who the enemy spies were. It was just a really enjoyable read and I highly recommend it for spring/summer.

No Love Allowed

No Love AllowedTitle: No Love Allowed
Author: Kate Evangelista
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Date: April 19, 2016
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
3 Stars

SYNOPSIS

It's all fun and parties until someone falls in love in this modern fairy tale from author Kate Evangelista.

Caleb desperately needs a fake girlfriend. Either he attends a series of parties for his father’s law firm with a pretty girl on his arm, or he gets shipped off to Yale to start a future he’s not ready for and isn’t sure he wants. And sadly, the last unattached girl in his social circle has just made the grievous mistake of falling in love with him. Fortunately, Didi, recently fired waitress and aspiring painter, is open to new experiences. As the summer ticks by in a whirl of lavish parties, there’s only one rule: They must not fall in love!


reallyreally wanted to like this one. But I just didn’t. I enjoyed the writing style and read the book rather quickly, but there were a few little things that just kept me from really enjoying it.

Let’s start with the concept of the book: two people fake date and promise not to fall in love. I love this trope! I’ve enjoyed every single book I’ve read that has this element in it. Well — every single book besides this one. It allows the characters to be together and form feelings naturally, while also  allowing them to resist their obvious attraction (for good reasons).

I liked the fake dating aspect of No Love Allowed a lot. The chemistry between the characters was great! What I didn’t like is all of the dramatics. Caleb just graduated high school. He seems overly paranoid about the people in his high-class society trying to marry him off. I just couldn’t take all of the settling down comments. He just finished HIGH SCHOOL!

If the characters had been aged up and just finished college, I would have found it a lot more believable and enjoyable. While No Love Allowed definitely got on my nerves, I’m actually looking forward to reading more books by Kate Evangelista in the future. I really enjoyed her writing style and I think I’ll enjoy other books by her. This one just wasn’t for me.

Assassin’s Heart

Assassin’s HeartTitle: Assassin's Heart
Author: Sarah Ahiers
Series: Assassin's Heart #1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Date: February 2, 2016
Pages: 420
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
2 Stars

SYNOPSIS

In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.


I thought Assassin’s Heart would be right up my alley. I love revenge stories and forbidden love is usually a nice addition, but this book was a total miss for me. From the very beginning, I found myself wishing the story was something else altogether.

We know from the synopsis that the main character, Lea, loses her entire family because of her boyfriend’s betrayal. This happens in the first few chapters and you know what? I felt nothing. NOTHING. We only saw Lea and her boyfriend, Val, together for a chapter or two and we saw her family very, very briefly. They were slaughtered and I wasn’t sad. I didn’t even feel shocked or angry by Val’s actions. I felt nothing.

This book would have worked a lot better if it was the second in the series and not the first. If book 1 had spent time on world building, learning about the assassin culture, getting to know Lea’s family and watching Lea and Val falling madly in love, followed by Val’s massive betrayal, I would have felt a lot more. I would have been surprised at Val’s actions and saddened by the loss of characters I’d grown to love. Well, I hope I would have anyway. 🙂 Really all depends on how good the writing is!

Since the book is pitched as Romeo & Juliet meets The Godfather, I was expecting a ton of romance and revenge. It was light on romance, and while the revenge theme was present, it was boring. It took roughly 100 pages for our main character to stop traveling alone (boring) and the rest of the book was spent on revenge preparations (surprisingly boring), followed by some action at the end (not boring, but a lot of eye-rolling moments).

I guess you could say I’m not a fan. Since I didn’t completely hate this book, I’m giving it 2 stars instead of 1. It was boring, but it wasn’t completely awful. The sad part is that it really did have potential. I just don’t think it was well-executed.