Review: The Queen and the Cure by Amy Harmon

34845313The Queen and the Cure (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles #2) by Amy Harmon

Published May 9th 2017

“There will be a battle, and you will need to protect your heart.”

Kjell of Jeru had always known who he was. He’d never envied his brother or wanted to be king. He was the bastard son of the late King Zoltev and a servant girl, and the ignominy of his birth had never bothered him.

But there is more to a man than his parentage. More to a man than his blade, his size, or his skills, and all that Kjell once knew has shifted and changed. He is no longer simply Kjell of Jeru, a warrior defending the crown. Now he is a healer, one of the Gifted, and a man completely at odds with his power.

Called upon to rid the country of the last vestiges of the Volgar, Kjell stumbles upon a woman who has troubling glimpses of the future and no memory of the past. Armed with his unwanted gift and haunted by regret, Kjell becomes a reluctant savior, beset by old enemies and new expectations. With the woman by his side, Kjell embarks upon a journey where the greatest test may be finding the man she believes him to be.

untitled1

An ARC of this book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review

Dear Amy Harmon, why must you shatter my soul like this?

If you’ve been following me on any of my social media since August, you’ve probably seen how much I’m obsessed with The Bird and The Sword. That book is everything I want in a book and more. I’ve read it six times since August and I’ll still reread my favorite parts whenever I’m sad.
So you can imagine how I lost my mind when I heard there was going to be another book in the series. A book with a focus on Kjell, one of the most infuriating and well written characters I’ve ever read about. I knew I was going to fall in love with this book. I knew I was going to drown in the ocean of feels that Amy had created. And I did drown in the feels.

The Queen and the Cure was amazing. I loved everything about it. It was perfect. Amy creates such amazing characters with a well written plot. The world building is extraordinary and I’ve fallen in love with the fairytale-like setting that Amy has crafted.

Kjell is such a complex, flawed, and wonderful character. I could go on and on about him but I implore you to read this book to experience his story for yourself.
I was not expecting to love Sasha as much as I did. She’s such a well written, empowering character and I loved getting to know her.

Overall, if you haven’t read The Bird and the Sword Chronicles, you should. You need to read these books. If I could only read one series for the rest of my life, I’d probably pick this series.

2326664723266647232666472326664723266647

22465605

Review: Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh

29743029Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh

Published May 9th 2017

From debut historical novelist Jenni L. Walsh, Becoming Bonnie is the untold story of how wholesome Bonnelyn Parker became half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo!

The summer of 1927 might be the height of the Roaring Twenties, but Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She’s a sharp girl with plans to overcome her family’s poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. But when Roy springs a proposal on her and financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas’s newest speakeasy, Doc’s.

Living the life of a moll at night, Bonnie remains a wholesome girl by day, engaged to Roy, attending school and working toward a steady future. When Roy discovers her secret life, and embraces it—perhaps too much, especially when it comes to booze and gambling—Bonnie tries to make the pieces fit. Maybe she can have it all: the American Dream, the husband, and the intoxicating allure of jazz music. What she doesn’t know is that her life—like her country—is headed for a crash.

She’s about to meet Clyde Barrow.

Few details are known about Bonnie’s life prior to meeting her infamous partner. In Becoming Bonnie, Jenni L. Walsh shows a young woman promised the American dream and given the Great Depression, and offers a compelling account of why she fell so hard for a convicted felon—and turned to crime herself.

untitled1

I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

When I started this book, I was deep in a reading slump and I was having a really hard time finishing books and even finding the incentive to read. Becoming Bonnie got me out of my slump and I never wanted to put it down.
I’ve always liked the story of Bonnie and Clyde so this book was right up my alley. I had pretty high hopes when I started this book and I was pleasantly surprised how Becoming Bonnie not only lived up to my hopes but surpassed them as well. I loved this book so much more than I was expecting.
Bonnie’s character development was awesome. The author did a great job of showing how Bonnie went from someone who would never step foot in a speakeasy to a girl who helped break her boyfriend out of jail.
I thought Jenni did a great job of merging history with fiction and creating such a fun, engaging book.
Overall, I loved this book and I can see myself rereading it in the future. I really enjoyed everything about this book and I cannot wait for the next book.

2326664723266647232666472326664723266647

22465605

 

 

 

Review: Unfiltered by Lily Collins

32737127Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me. by Lily Collinsiew

Published March 7th 2017

In this groundbreaking debut essay collection, featuring never-before-seen photos, actress Lily Collins—star of Mortal Instruments and the upcoming Rules Don’t Apply—is opening a poignant, honest conversation about the things young women struggle with: body image, self-confidence, relationships, family, dating, and so much more.

For the first time ever, Lily shares her life and her own deepest secrets, underlining that every single one of us experiences pain and heartbreak. We all understand what it’s like to live in the light and in the dark. For Lily, it’s about making it through to the other side, where you love what you see in the mirror and where you embrace yourself just as you are. She’s learned that all it takes is one person standing up and saying something for everyone else to realize they’re not alone.

By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Lily’s honest voice will inspire you to be who you are and say what you feel. It’s time to claim your voice! It’s time to live your life unfiltered.

untitled1

Unfiltered has become such an unexpected favorite of mine. I wasn’t very familiar with Lily Collins prior to reading this book but now I’m such a fan of hers.
Lily is very open and honest in Unfiltered and I really appreciate how sincere she is. I was able to relate to her a lot and she also showed me a few new perspectives on things.
Lily talks very openly about her past with eating disorders and I think her story can be very empowering to others who have/are struggling with that disorder and are looking for representation and a voice.
I really loved how Lily talked about normal, everyday things that happen to many people and put an inspirational spin on it. She talks about a few situations she’s dealt with when it comes to her dating life and I really liked how she gave advice after her stories through out the book.

Overall, I really loved Unfiltered and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a quick non-fiction read. I think this would be especially great for young girls because Lily is such an inspirational, classy role model.

2326664723266647232666472326664723266647

22465605

Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

25203675The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Published April 26th 2016

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

untitled1

Where has this book been all my life?

I’ve had this book for about three months and I was always meaning to read it but it just got put off for one reason or another. The publisher sent me an early copy of the sequel, A Crown of Wishes, so I took that as a sign that I should finally read The Star-Touched Queen. I’m so glad I picked this book up.
I’m blown away by how amazing this book is. I loved everything about this book. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a book and more.
From the first few pages of The Star-Touched Queen, I fell in love. The writing is so beautiful and poetic. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book with more beautiful writing.
The characters are so well written and the dialogue between Maya and Amar had me feeling all the feels. I could go on and on about Amar and how amazing he is. Seriously. He has a way with words.
I want to reread every scene with Maya and Amar every day. I want to make wallpaper out of their dialogue so I can look at it all the time. I just love them so much.

Overall, there’s nothing about The Star-Touched Queen that I didn’t love. I read the whole book in one day and I’m so glad I have the sequel. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read and I kind of want to buy an ebook of it so I can take it with me everywhere and reread my favorite scenes.
I don’t often rave about a book to the point I’m annoying everyone around me but I can’t stop talking about The Star-Touched Queen. I highly recommend it.

2326664723266647232666472326664723266647

22465605

 

 

 

Review: Making Faces by Amy Harmon

27237358Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Published October 12th 2013

Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have…until he wasn’t beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast where we discover that there is little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

untitled1

Dig my grave because this book killed me.

I read one of Amy’s other books, The Bird and the Sword last year and it became a favorite of mine right away. Like, I read The Bird and the Sword three times in a month. I’m obsessed with that book.
I was hesitant to pick up another book by Amy because I didn’t want to hype myself up so much that I let myself down. The Bird and the Sword is very big shoes to fill and I didn’t want to be disappointed because I got my expectations sky high. However, I shouldn’t have siked myself out. Making Faces is absolutely incredible and I highly recommend it to everyone.

Making Faces has all the feels. I laughed, I cried, I had every emotion possible. This book has left a permanent imprint on my life.

The characters in this book are complex, well written, and each of them will teach you something.
Fern has bright red hair and was never highly favored in high school. She wasn’t outwardly pretty and she didn’t have a lot of friends besides her cousin, Bailey. Fern had some amazing character development even though it was subtle. She was an amazing character from the moment she was introduced so for her to have character development and become even better, I thought that was outstanding. Fern loves to read and write romance and there one poem she wrote towards the beginning of the book that has really stuck with me. It resonated with me very deeply and I’ve been thinking about it a lot.
Bailey is Fern’s cousin and best friend. He has muscle dystrophy, which is a disease that causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle. For most of the book, Bailey is in a wheelchair and Fern cares of him and helps him a lot. There’s some flash back chapters so we get the chance to see how Bailey’s disease has affected his life and how it’s changed him as a person. Bailey is a one of a kind character. He’s extremely witty, caring, and is fully aware of his future. His voice in this novel is unique and I promise you’ll love him if you read this book.
Ambrose is a star athlete and he’s friends with Fern and Bailey. Ambrose doesn’t take a lot of notice of Fern and he’s caught up in his wrestling. His mother is near the towers during 9/11 and it’s not long after that he and his four best friends decide to enlist in the military. As the
synopsis says, “five young men go off to war, and only one comes back”. Making Faces deals a lot with Ambrose’s PTSD, guilt, and pain. I felt like representation of Ambrose’s condition was very well done and much needed.

Overall, this book is nothing short of perfect. It’s complex, has outstanding characters, and diverse. Amy Harmon is such an incredible writer and even though I’ve only read two of her books, I’m so glad I have discovered her books. Both books that I’ve read have made a massive impact on my life and I’ll never forget them. Making Faces is a book that comes along once in a life time and I’m so glad I read it. I highly recommend reading Making Faces.

2326664723266647232666472326664723266647

22465605

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

32075671The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Published February 28th 2017

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. What everyone wants to know is: What really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could destroy her community. It could also endanger her life.

untitled1

If you read one book in 2017, read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

The Hate U Give is ground breaking, unique, heartbreaking, and honest. It gives a much needed voice to people who haven’t been heard.
The characters are well written and complex. Starr has shown me a perspective I haven’t seen before and I will always appreciate new perspectives.
I also love how much this book focuses on family. I felt like that was such an important aspect of this book and I don’t often see YA books that show such strong family dynamics.
I went into this book thinking it was going to be super intense, super dark 100% of time. And it is dark and tense but it shows other aspects of Starr’s life as well. It shows her friendships and her family. There’s actually some witticism and I felt like it added to the realism of the story.

Overall, I could go on and on about The Hate U Give but my main point is that you need to read this book. This isn’t just a book for teens, this is a book for everyone. And this is one of the most important books I have ever read and everyone should experience it.

 2326664723266647232666472326664723266647
22465605

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

28245707Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde 

Expected publication: March 14th 2017

When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Jason Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

untitled1

This was such an unexpectedly great book. I’m so blown away by how much fun this book was to read.
Super adorable romance, really diverse and relatable characters, wonderful writing, this book has it all.
The plot of this book is pretty cool but the characters are what makes this book so fantastic. I really loved the positive representation that these are character provided and how relatable they were.
I loved the fandom aspects of this book and it was so awesome that it was set at Comic-Con.
I really enjoyed all of the references and how fangirly the characters were.
Overall, Queens of Geek is super fun and wonderfully diverse. It’s relatable and has so much positivity. I’d definitely recommend it.

2326664723266647232666472326664723266647

22465605

ARC Review: Bull by David Elliott

30969875Bull by David Elliott

Expected publication: March 28th 2017

Minos thought he could
Pull a fast one
On me,
Poseidon!
God of the Sea!
But I’m the last one
On whom you
Should try such a thing.
The nerve of that guy.
The balls. The audacity.
I AM THE OCEAN!
I got capacity!
Depths! Darkness! Delphic power!
So his sweet little plan
Went big-time sour
And his wife had a son
Born with horns and a muzzle
Who ended up
In an underground puzzle.
What is it with you mortals?
You just can’t seem to learn:
If you play with fire, babies,
You’re gonna get burned.

Much like Lin-Manuel Miranda did in Hamilton, the New York Times best-selling author David Elliott turns a classic on its head in form and approach, updating the timeless story of Theseus and the Minotaur for a new generation. A rough, rowdy, and darkly comedic young adult retelling in verse, Bull will have readers reevaluating one of mythology’s most infamous monsters.

untitled1

I received an advance readers copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book but I absolutely loved it. I loved the concept and Greek mythology and most of all, I loved Poseidon. I thought he was so hilarious and he reminded me of Deadpool with his sass and snark.
I haven’t read a lot of books in verse so I can’t confidently say this book is really well written but I personally thought it was great.
The humor in this book is more on the dark side so if you’re not into that, you might not enjoy this book as much as I did.
Overall, I loved this book and read it in one sitting. I laughed a lot and I loved the modernization of Greek mythology.

2326664723266647232666472326664723266647

22465605

Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

30256248By Your Side by Kasie West

Published January 31st 2017

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

untitled1

I’m a massive fan of Kasie West’s books so I had no doubts that I wouldn’t love this book. I have yet to read one of Kasie’s contemporaries and not fall in love with it. And By Your Side was extra special to me.
I loved the writing, the plot was super cute and fun, I really liked the characters (Jeff was so dumb though), but what I loved most about this book was the representation of anxiety disorder in the main character. I wasn’t expecting that aspect of diversity in this book and I was really thrilled to see such a common mental illness being represented in a main stream YA novel. I really related to Autumn because of that. I really loved how the plot didn’t focus on her anxiety but it was definitely part of Autumn’s life. It showed how she managed her anxiety and how it affected her life. It felt really authentic. I felt like Kasie normalized anxiety disorder in By Your Side. I also loved how supportive Autumn’s family was (her mom even encouraged her to take time off from school) and how Dax always tried to help instead of freaking out about it.

Overall, I loved By Your Side. It was a cute, fluffy YA with a great representation of anxiety disorder. I definitely recommend this book.

2326664723266647232666472326664723266647

22465605

ARC Review: Making My Pitch: A Woman’s Baseball Odyssey by Ila Jane Borders

31380080Making My Pitch: A Woman’s Baseball Odyssey by Ila Jane Borders

Expected publication: April 1st 2017

Making My Pitch tells the story of Ila Jane Borders, who despite formidable obstacles became a Little League prodigy, MVP of her otherwise all-male middle school and high school teams, the first woman awarded a baseball scholarship, and the first to pitch and win a complete men’s collegiate game. After Mike Veeck signed Borders in May 1997 to pitch for his St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League, she accomplished what no woman had done since the Negro Leagues era: play men’s professional baseball. Borders played four professional seasons and in 1998 became the first woman in the modern era to win a professional ball game.

Borders had to find ways to fit in with her teammates, reassure their wives and girlfriends, work with the media, and fend off groupies. But these weren’t the toughest challenges. She had a troubled family life, a difficult adolescence as she struggled with her sexual orientation, and an emotionally fraught college experience as a closeted gay athlete at a Christian university.

Making My Pitch shows what it’s like to be the only woman on the team bus, in the clubhouse, and on the field. Raw, open, and funny at times, her story encompasses the loneliness of a groundbreaking pioneer who experienced grave personal loss. Borders ultimately relates how she achieved self-acceptance and created a life as a firefighter and paramedic and as a coach and goodwill ambassador for the game of baseball.

untitled1

This book was amazing. As an avid sports fan, especially of baseball, I loved reading about Ila’s experiences. Ila described her games so fantastically, I felt like I was listening to the games on the radio. I was so emotionally invested in her journey and I rooted for her every moment I was reading.
As a female sports fan, I’ve experienced the sexism that is in men dominated sports and I can’t imagine everything Ila has gone through. I’ve never met Ila, and I doubt I ever will, but I’m incredibly proud of her and everything she’s accomplished. She didn’t let the sexism stop her and she’s extremely inspiring.
Making My Pitch is an insightful look into baseball and what it takes to be a pitcher. It showcases how unnecessarily difficult it is for women to break into the sport, even when they have the skill and talent to be one of the best.
I definitely recommend this book to any sports fan, especially young women. Ila tells it like it is and will show you a new perspective on baseball. She’s inspiring and brave and I’ll always remember her story.
 2326664723266647232666472326664723266647
22465605