The Bad Boy’s Girl by Blair Holden | ARC Review

Title: The Bad Boy’s Girl

Author: Blair Holden

Publisher: Trident Media Group

Series: The Bad Boy’s Girl #1

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Release: February 21, 2017

Pages: 395

A Wattpad Story with 160 Million reads online! This new edition contains never before seen, exclusive content!

Tessa O’Connell is a girl as ordinary as they come-or so she thinks. Her aim for senior year is to keep her head down yet somehow manage to convince her childhood love Jay Stone to love her back. What she isn’t prepared for is for Jay’s brother, Cole to return to town and change the life she’s always been seemingly content to live. Tall, gorgeous as all hell and a bad boy with ocean blue eyes and the perfect edge of adorability, he was her greatest tormentor, her number one enemy. But the guy that’s come back is like no one Tessa’s ever come across. He challenges her, he tests her limits, he forces her to bring out the girl she’s long ago buried under a veil of mediocrity and most of all he compels her to consider that perhaps the boy that infuriates her to the point of no return might just her guardian angel.
Warning: The story comes with a bad boy notorious for making you swoon, inducing hysterical laughter and making you question whether you could purchase a clone on eBay.

This was one of the hardest contemporary YA books I have ever read. It took me so long to finally finish this because so much of the plot surrounded around absolutely nothing. Our characters are just hanging out going to high school, which is fine but where is the plot? I couldn’t find it if I tried.

Also, as a warning this book has a lot of fat-shaming. I hated that. In fact, I almost quit immediately after reading the prologue because our main character, Tessa, used to be overweight and basically says she lost a bunch of weight so she could get the guy she likes to finally see her. What? No, that’s gross and harmful to me. To make matters worse, she constantly refers to herself as “Fatty Tessa” Are you kidding me? Why would you refer to yourself like that? I know some people are really insecure about these types of things, but why write a character like this where young girls are going to be exposed to this? Even when Tessa gains a bit more confidence she still refers to her past self as Fatty Tessa. That was just unacceptable and a big part of why I started knocking off stars.

Another thing I didn’t appreciate was that Tessa flung “panic attacks” around all willy nilly. Every time she was going to freak out about something she would say she was about to have a panic attack. If she had anxiety of some sort, I think it could have been explained better.

The only saving grace about this book was the love interest, Cole Stone. He was such a softie at heart that I couldn’t help fall in love with him. In fact, I can’t believe it took Tessa as long as she did to realize she loved him too. He was so sweet to her and determined to show her he had changed. Cole’s flirtatious banter with Tessa is what I really liked though, so that’s another plus.

Overall, this book was a hot mess filled with too many stereotypes and not enough plot.  In fact, the book could have ended at 65% and I would have liked it much more.Plus, don’t get me started on that terrible ending that completely ruined Cole’s character for me. I don’t know if it was added just for shock factor or there was a cliffhanger needed to get you interested in a sequel, but I wanted to throw my Kindle and cursed myself for not just DNF-ing sooner.

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. 

2 stars because I loved Cole

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera | ARC Review

Title: They Both Die at the End

Author: Adam Silvera

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Release: September 5, 2017

Pages: 384

Format: eARC

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day. 

TRIGGER WARNINGS: death, suicidal thought/suicide

They Both Die at the End literally tells you the ending to the story yet you can’t help holding out hope that it’s somehow a trick or a lie. I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t say this was me the entire story, but still crying at every turn anyway. The book centers around two boys who receive the alert that they will be dying within the next 24 hours. No one knows how or when, but no one can stop it either. While this can be a blessing for some people to say their final goodbyes and get things in order, how absolutely terrifying at the same time, right?

Rufus Emeterio and Mateo Torrez couldn’t be more different at the start of the novel. Rufus is almost fearless and seems ready to take his exit, while Mateo has been sheltered and led his life being afraid to take chances. When the two meet on the Last Friend app (an app bringing people together to spend their “End Days” with) a truly beautiful friendship blossoms. Rufus pushes live and take chances. Mateo helps Rufus make amends and become a person he’s finally happy with being. Both these boys are so complex you feel like you really know them. Seeing their connection become what it does was really special and organic. I am really happy with the outcome.

The only complaint I have with this book is that I wish it was somehow longer. I got invested with the random stranger POVs and would have liked to see the ending fleshed out a bit more. However, the ending (and last sentence) still gutted me and in a way was perfect. I don’t know how Adam Silvera comes up with these gut-wrenching stories, but he pulls on some major heartstrings. This novel was beautiful and truly makes you realize that you need to live your life to the absolute fullest. No more playing around. Take risks. Do something you’ve already been afraid to do. Life is way too short.

An eARC was provided in an exchange for review by the publisher and eldeweiss. All opinions are my own.

It Started with Goodbye by Christina June | ARC Review

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Title: It Started with Goobye

Author: Christina June

Publisher: Blink

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Retelling

Release: May 9, 2017

Series: Standalone

Pages: 272

synopsis2

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

A modern play on the Cinderella story arc, Christina June’s IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE shows us that sometimes going after what you want means breaking the rules.

review

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for review. This is no way influenced my opinions.*

When I saw this on Netgalley I just had to “wish for it” immediately because I love contemporary retellings! It Started with Goodbye is a Cinderella retelling. Once you begin this book you can immediately start seeing the parallels. It’s actually quite fun making all the connections. Tatum has one stepsister ,Tilly, who isn’t “evil” but she is distant and they do not really get along. Her father is absent because he is away on business so this leaves her alone under the very close watchful eye of her stepmother, Belén. To help make sure Tatum is on the right track during the summer Belén brings her mother, Blanche “the fairy godmother”, a quirky abuela who seems to be the only one in Tate’s corner. Tatum starts her own freelance graphic design business online and quickly gets some new clients. One of them being, SK. SK! Tatum and the mysterious Sk begin a penpal-esque friendship and it is adorable. SK is adorable and exactly what Tate needs to show her she has more people in her life that are there for her.

What I really enjoyed about this book was that it was so much more than just a romance story (though I could have used a little more romance 😉 ). This book was surrounded by building friendships, new relationships, and mending familial relationships. It was very much family and friend centered and I appreciated that. Tatum needed some mending and this showed her maturity. She admitted when she was wrong and didn’t act out. She accepted responsibility for her actions (even though she didn’t do anything wrong in the first place) and paid her dues. I really respected her.

Now, the romance. Ah, you can quickly see who the mysterious SK would be right from the beginning, but who else he ended up being really surprised me. I loved the cute little surprise and the way he swept Tatum off her feet. I may or may not have swooned myself. Okay, I am lying I totally did.

While I wish there was a tad bit more romance, but I still loved how family oriented this book was. It was cute and just the right amount of fluff.

If you like modern retellings, definitely pick this one up!

rating23Star

Gilded Cage by Vic James | ARC Review

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gildedcageTitle:  Gilded Cage

Author: Vic James

Series: Dark Gifts #1

Publisher: Del Rey Books

Release: February 14, 2017

Genre: Young Adult  Fantasy

Pages: 368

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Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

review

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own*

Reading the synopsis, I couldn’t wait to read this book. I wanted to get lost in world of magic, but that’s not what I got. I got confusion and a lot of info-dumping with switching POVs.

This book takes place in an alternate England where those born without Skills are to serve their slavedays for 10 years to the Equals (those with Skills). The slavedays can be completed anytime during one’s life after 10 years old. I found this disturbing though I understand the importance to discuss this issue. I just didn’t feel like it was executed properly. It felt a little sloppy.

Though the plot was promising and interesting (I loved the concept of the Skills) this book suffered some detachment issues. No one character really shone any light or held any emotional connections. The romance (if you want to call it that) suffered as well. We see two characters who don’t even interact with each other seem to have developed feelings behind the scenes? Show me their attraction. Don’t  just tell me. I didn’t buy their crushes on each other for one second so I didn’t even care for what happened at the end.  I could blame it on my mood, but I did not enjoy this book. If I can’t find any connection to at least one character, the experience is fraught.

This book suffered with too many POVs. I think I would have liked it better if it just focused on Abi and Luke. In fact, those were the POVs that gave me the most story. When you bring in a brand new POV 40% in the story for only one chapter I will most definitely wonder “what was the point in that?” I am not one to complain about too many POVs because I read A Game of Thrones and it works when everything serves a purpose. However, most of them just seemed to be thrown in there randomly and too convenient (example: Bouda). Bouda didn’t serve much purpose for me and I found myself skimming her chapter almost entirely.

I really wanted to like this book. The premise sounded interesting and fun. but there was too much info-dumping that wasn’t smooth. Plus, correct me if I’m wrong, but there wasn’t much diversity in this book? I think I found only one PoC and his role was very minor. Sadly, this was a miss.

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1half

 

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

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everthehuntedTitle: Ever the Hunted

Author: Erin Summerill

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Series: A Clash of Kingdoms #1

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Format: Kindle (eARC) 400 pages

Release: December 27, 2016

synopsis2

Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.

review

*Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review*

Ever the Hunted tells the story of Britta Flannery whose father was killed and she embarks on a quest to find his murderer, which just so happens to be her longest friend who had left fifteen months ago. Britta journeys across Malam’s borders into Shaerdan tracking her once-friend, Cohen Mackay. In a world of magic, Britta is about to uncover some startling secrets she never knew about herself.

I really enjoyed Ever the Hunted. Though it had its problems and it took me about halfway to really get into the story, it was entertaining. The magic system and world-building wasn’t something we haven’t seen before, but it has potential. The story is easy to get into and quite enjoyable. Though this books ending is a not-so-cliffhanger, it still leaves you wanting more. I cannot believe I have to wait for the sequel now!

What I really liked about this book was how believable and relatable the characters were, especially Britta. She is a normal 17 year old girl who feels like an outcast. She lost her family, her home, and is just trying to survive. She feels remorse, confusions, struggles with what she should do. Plus, she harbors feelings for the guy who is wanted for her father’s murder. Cohen and Britta’s connection is so swoon-worthy! I couldn’t help root for these two because they were best friends first. They knew each other. They had a history. Even though this book doesn’t centralize their romance and instead focuses on other issues, you can appreciate the romance scenes. I couldn’t help giggle every time Cohen showed up. You can’t blame Britta for falling for him.

Though the ending got a little predictable and felt a bit rushed, it was a great book. I enjoyed myself even with the few flaws I found. The book was a little slow at the beginning, but it’s an excellent start to what I assume will be a great series. I cannot wait to read more.

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3Half