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Monday, February 11, 2019

Release & Review - The Last 8 (The Last 8 #1) by Laura Pohl

Image and blurb from Goodreads

Title: The Last 8
(The Last 8 #1)
Author: Laura Pohl
Publication Date: March 1st, 2018
Category/Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

A high-stakes survival story about eight teenagers who outlive an alien attack—perfect for fans of The 5th Wave 

Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn't among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it.

When Clover hears an inexplicable radio message, she's shocked to learn there are other survivors—and that they're all at the former Area 51. When she arrives, she's greeted by a band of misfits who call themselves The Last Teenagers on Earth.

Only they aren't the ragtag group of heroes Clover was expecting. The group seems more interested in hiding than fighting back, and Clover starts to wonder if she was better off alone. But then she finds a hidden spaceship, and she doesn't know what to believe…or who to trust.

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3.5 "Diverse Teen Independence Day” Stars

ARC via NetGalley

Thank you, Sourcebooks Fire

Trigger warning: suicide.

I wanted to rate this book higher, and I would’ve had it not been for the last few pages and how suicide was portrayed near the end.

First of all, this author is Brazilian, so HECK YEEESSS!

I’m going to be the first to admit I’m not a huge sci-fi fan. I know nothing about Star Wars, Star Trek or other TV shows/movies referenced in the book aside from Will Smith’s Independence Day. That one I’ve watched a hundred times—it’s a great movie.

Having said that, I love stories about the end of the world and alien invasions, especially when the characters are so diverse, so I was really excited about this one. Besides, it’s written by a Brazilian author, so, again, YEEESS!!!

It took me some time to get into The Last 8 because I kept expecting more details that would make me feel truly immersed in the world and what was happening. Like the blurb says, aliens invade, everyone is dying and shit is happening, but I didn’t really feel much while I was reading. This is partially because Clover, the main character, is a more practical and less emotional person, but it’s also because the writing didn’t dive deep enough into the setting and the world.

Things really got interesting for me when Clover met the group of teens called The Last Teenagers on Earth and they decided to do something about the aliens. The action scenes were great, especially the ones with Clover doing amazing things while piloting a plane. There were also some really good moments as Clover spent time alone with some of the other teens and opened up to them, or let them open up and listened.

I also enjoyed the big twist that came into play a little after the halfway mark. I could see some of it coming, but not all of it, so I ended up being surprised! Yay!

Now, I have to say that while I LOVE and LIVE for a diverse group of characters (and the diversity here was AMAZING!!!!!!!), they weren’t distinctive enough as individuals. The story was told from Clover’s perspective, so we didn’t get a chance to really get to know the other teens (the last survivors), and while the author tried to give them different jobs/activities, in the end they pretty much sounded the same to me. I kept trying and failing to remember who they were and what they did. The one I liked the most ended up not having the best ending, so…*sad face*

Now, none of the things above would’ve kept me from rating this 4 stars or more, but the thing that bothered me the most was how suicide was portrayed in the end. ***SPOILER ALERT*** I hated how Violet’s suicide was used as a plot device to get Andy to do what needed to be done. It felt manipulative and as if it was the act of a hero, which is a message that bothers me a lot. I thought Clover’s struggle with wanting to end her life throughout the book was handled with care and made sense given all that had happened. And for her to have come so far, decided to fight for her life and for the friends she made, and then simply encourage Violet to use suicide to force Andy to do what needed to be done…that felt wrong and out of character. I wish the author had picked a better way to handle that situation—Violet could’ve easily been hurt/killed by one of the aliens and Andy would’ve reacted the same. What Andy needed in order to access her power was to lose Violet, and given the fact that they were surrounded by aliens that wanted all of them dead, she didn’t really need to kill herself. ***END SPOILER**

With that said, there were some great moments in this book, especially with the action scenes, that reminded me of Independence Day. After all, who doesn’t like to see a group of diverse teenagers and an adorable dog (OMG, MY HEART!) fighting to save the planet from creepy aliens?

*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

*Grabby Hands* Release & Review - 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

Image and blurb from Goodreads
Title: 99 Percent Mine
Author: Sally Thorne
Publication date: January 29th, 2019
Category/Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: William Morrow Paperback
Crush: a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that's inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

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4.5 “Perfect is overrated” Stars

After reading Sally Thorne’s “behind the book” section, I feel a little mad at myself for being mad at her for taking so long to write something new. After all, I’ve been waiting since 2016 for another book.

I know a lot of people have been disappointed by 99 Percent Mine, but I’m not one of them. I loved this book from the first chapter to the very end, which includes two epilogues (one for 99 and another for The Hating Game).

Don’t get me wrong, everyone’s entitled to their opinions, but I don’t get the big shock about Darcy not being the conventional heroine when Lucy from THG was just as quirky. That’s how Sally Thorne writes. Her main characters sound a little confusing at times, but they’re so interesting that I happily ignore that. Besides, they always make me laugh.

Sure Darcy was careless about her health and a little spoiled, but she was also a loyal friend, a supportive person and someone who had been mistreated for a big part of her life, so I wasn’t surprised she had issues. Everyone does. Even Tom, who was supposed to be perfect, had baggage.

But what really kept me up until 4 am was the amazing chemistry between Darcy and Tom. And the angst. Damn, I love angst. And the BFFs to lovers trope. I love that so much. And the slow burn--everyone knows how I feel about this.

I loved this book so much.

I loved alpha both of them were and how incredibly hot and desperate they were for each other.

I could feel Darcy’s love for Tom from the very start, as well as his love for her. And while I’ve seen some people complain about the “other woman” aspect, let me tell you that there isn’t one. Not really at least. It’s pretty clear from the start what the situation between Tom is really like, and Darcy is respectful until she doesn’t need to be anymore. There was no instance when I felt they were considering cheating as an option, and I truly appreciated that.

I only wish Darcy’s relationship with her twin brother Jamie had ended differently—with him at least acknowledging how crappy and unfair he was to her and doing something to change that. I know he has issues, too, but it was awful to watch him talk to her the way he did.

But overall, 99 Percent Mine was definitely worth the wait for me. I don’t know if Sally Thorne is planning on writing another book, but I will be here, anxiously awaiting.

*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

*Grabby Hands* Release & Review - The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

Image and blurb from Goodreads

Title: The Wicked King
(The Folk of the Air #2)
Author: Holly Black
Category/Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: January 8th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Adults

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

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4.5 “Scheming and Twists in the faerie world” Stars

These first days of 2019 haven’t exactly been the best reading-wise. I’m not saying that because of Wicked King (hello, I’m rating it 4.5 stars), but because Holly Black’s sequel is the first book I’ve managed to finish since the year started.

On one hand, that sucks, because I’ve DNF’d a lot of books already. On the other hand, at least my first read of the year was a great one! For starters, Wicked King is better than Cruel Prince, which was already a good book.

Again, though, the romance (full of sexual tension and hate-me-love-me-can’t-have-me angst) was still a little too on the background for me. I still love Jude and how badass she is; Cardan and how you can never really tell what he’s hiding behind his don’t-give-a-crap attitude; and all the other characters that scheme and twist reality even though they can’t lie. But I wanted more Cardan and Jude. A lot more than the amazing scenes we had between them. That’s my only complaint, to be honest.

The plot was once again full of twists and turns, though Jude seemed to be more on the receiving end of those twists and turns than in Cruel Prince. Still, I love being surprised, and the last part of the book did that to me time and time again. I will say that Jude and Cardan’s choice near the end was a obvious one; one she should’ve come up with before he did and a lot sooner in the book (or so I kept trying to tell her), but I was still surprised by what Cardan did in the last chapter.

Taryn still annoyed me too much—I don’t know why Jude insists on protecting the sister who clearly doesn’t care for her at all. Locke was still useless. Madoc and Jude still reminded me of Olivia and Papa Pope’s troubled complex relationship. So none of those things changed much since the first book.

In a way, Wicked King kept the same elements I noticed in Cruel Prince (both the ones I liked and disliked), but it still read somewhat better than the first title in the series. Maybe it’s because I’m still thinking about that “Tell me you hate me” scene.

*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Review - The Hardest Fall by Ella Maise

Image and blurb from Goodreads
Title: The Hardest Fall
Author: Ella Maise
Publication Date: April 18th, 2018
Category/Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

The first time you meet someone, you make eye contact. You smile, say hello. Should be simple, if you’re anyone but me. The first time I met Dylan Reed, I found myself making eye contact with a different part of his body. You see, I’m very good at being shy, not to mention extremely well-versed in rambling nonsense and, unfortunately, rather highly skilled at making a fool of myself in front of a guy I’m attracted to.

At the time, I knew nothing about him and thought none of what I said would matter since I’d never speak to him again. Turns out, I was very wrong. He was the star wide receiver of the football team, one of the few players expected to make it into the NFL, and I ended up seeing him all over campus.
I might have also propositioned him, run away from him, attacked him with a cooking utensil…and…uh, maybe I shouldn’t tell you all of it. It’s pretty normal stuff, things you’d expect…from me. Eventually, the time came when I couldn’t hide anymore—not that he’d have let me even if I tried.
Before now, he never knew I was secretly watching him. Now that we see each other every day, he knows when I have a hard time looking away. It doesn’t help that I’m not the most subtle person in the world either.

He smiles at me and tells me he finds me fascinating because of my quirks. I can’t even tell him that I think my heart beats differently whenever he’s around.

He thinks we’re going to be best friends. I think I have a big thing for him, and the more I get to know him, the more I don’t care that I’m not allowed to be his friend, let alone fall for him.

The thing is, that’s exactly what I’m doing—what we’re doing, I think.



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3.5 “New Adult Slow Burn” Stars

Right about when this book came out, I tried reading it, but it might’ve been the wrong time because I didn’t connect with the writing and decided to save it for later. Now, after seeing tons of readers recommending The Hardest Fall for slow burn fans, I gave it another choice and I really enjoyed it.

It’s been a while since the last time I read a romance about college students, and this book had so much of the things I love in NA. The writing wasn’t exactly my favorite, but I loved Dylan and Zoe’s relationship—especially because it was easy to see Dylan’s feelings, and I always LOVE when the hero is the one waiting for the heroine to catch up and admit her feelings for him.

Dylan was an amazing hero. He was alpha, but not an asshole; he was sexy AF and he never made fun of all of Zoe’s quirks or disrespected her in any way. Despite being a football player, he wasn’t portrayed as a man-whore. In fact, he made it clear from the start that he was a one-woman kind of guy and he showed that repeatedly. He adored Zoe and he wasn’t shy about showing anyone he felt that way, which only made him more appealing. I absolutely loved Dylan.

Zoe was also a great character. She was a little much at times, but she had some great moments and her reaction when one of her friends was attacked won me over, because she pushed fear away and was brave enough to protect the person she loved.

Overall, this was a sexy read with a slow burn romance and a book-boyfriend material hero, so I’m happy I didn’t give up on this story.

*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Release & Review - Luna and the Lie by Mariana Zapata

Image and blurb from Goodreads
Title: Luna and the Lie
Author: Mariana Zapata
Publication Date: December 12th, 2018
Category/Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

The problem with secrets is that they’re too easy to keep collecting.

Luna Allen has done some things she would rather no one ever know about. She also knows that, if she could go back in time, she wouldn’t change a single thing.

With three sisters she loves, a job she (mostly) adores, and a family built up of friends she’s made over the years, Luna figures everything has worked out the way it was supposed to.

But when one of those secrets involves the man who signs her paycheck, she can’t find it in her to regret it. Despite the fact that he’s not the friendliest man in the world. Or the most patient.

Sometimes there are things you’re better off keeping to yourself.

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3.5 “Slooow burn office romance” Stars

I heard MZ was releasing a new book about the time she made an excerpt for Luna and the Lie available. Of course I read that as soon as I found it online and then the waiting began. It was painful, I'll tell you that. Unfortunately for me, the week the book came out life was kicking my ass, so I had to wait until now to read it. The good news is that I enjoyed it, despite it not being my favorite read by MZ, who's one of my favorite romance authors.

The Queen of Slow Burn delivered the kind of romance she's famous for, but Luna and the Lie might've been a LITTLE too slow for me.

Look, I'm not complaining about the formula MZ uses for her books because I'm a HUGE fan and I live for slow burn, but at times it felt like this book was a little too much about Luna and her struggles and a little less about the romance.

On one hand, I loved Luna, so I enjoyed the scenes about her life and her relationship with the side characters. I know she isn't as outspoken as most of MZ's main character, but let's give the girl a break because everything in her life and past was so messed up and she never ran away from dealing with all that mess. She was a strong person, and I admired her for that. 

On the other hand, I thought some of those scenes about Luna and her life could've been replaced with interactions between Luna and Rip, especially because I feel like Rip needed more time to win me over. I love a grumpy hero as much as the next MZ fan, but Rip was a little too alpha at times. Besides, I needed more groveling after what he said to Luna.

So, while I read this pretty fast for a book so long and I was still left wanting more, I can't say it's my favorite MZ book.
*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

*Grabby Hands* Release - The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

Image and blurb from Goodreads
Title: The Simple Wild
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Category/Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Atria Books

Calla Fletcher wasn't even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.

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4.5  “Two love stories” Stars

Damn. How did I not know about this book before now?

The Simple Wild has quickly earned a place in my "best romance reads of the year" list, and I had the feeling that it'd get a spot after reading the first chapter. Funny enough, the first chapter isn't even about Calla's love story--nope, it's about her parents' tragic love, and that's why I say this is a book about two love stories.

First, let me say part of what kept me turning page after page so fast was that I wanted, NEEDED to know what would happen to Calla's parents. That love story tugged at my heart in a way that was actually painful (and it wasn't even the main love story). But it's not my fault the author decided to bring such angst with those two. I can't resist angst.

Everything was so tragic and messed up. I resented Wren, Calla's dad, for marrying a woman he knew wouldn't adapt to his lifestyle and still wanted to hug him because he loved Susan, Calla's mom, so damn much that he couldn't not marry her and take what little time they had together. Then I resented Susan for making Simon, Calla's stepdad, feel so much like "her second choice" when the man was amazing and so madly in love with her. But then, I wanted to hug her because I can't blame her for loving Wren so much two decades simply couldn't erase that love.

Damn... just thinking about them and how tragic and complicated and messed up the whole thing is makes me want to cry.

I did cry when that thing in the end happened. No spoilers, but it was beautiful and painful and I felt my heart breaking in tiny pieaces.

I was probably more obsessed with Calla's parents love story than anything else, but okay.

Now, Calla's relationship with her father sick father was another gut punch. Someone should've warned me this book would be that painful.

Wren was not an easy man to forgive, considering he was the one who decided to step back and not be in his daughter's life. Sure he later explained why, but it was still no reason to do what he did, so I got Calla's pain. Still, the man was dying and he was really, really good to Calla when she was there with him, so, yeah, again, I both resented and wanted to hug him.

Then comes Calla and Jonah and all the instant hatred and banter that was clearly just amazing chemistry and I'm dying because the romance is also slow burn and they're pranking each other and OMG, they finally kiss!

This book was almost too much. It was also almost a five-star read, if nothing for one little thing: I didn't like how Jonah was obsessed with poking fun at Calla's style and make-up obsession. Look, I'll be the first to say I don't understand how some people choose to wake up hours earlier so they can apply the perfect make up every single day before they step out of the house, but that's not my problem. Nor it's Jonah's, and the way he went about this was annoying and problematic. So, no, Jonah, you don't get to force Calla to wear less make-up just because you want her to by being an ass about it.

So, had that make-up BS not been part of the story, The Simple Wild would've been a five-star read for me, because it gave me two love stories to obsess over and it broke my heart and put it back together with that adorable ending.
*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Release & Review - My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Image and blurb from Goodreads
Title: My Favorite Half-Night Stand
Author: Christina Lauren
Publication Date: December 04th, 2018
Publisher: Gallery Books
Category/Genre: Adult Romantic Comedy

By the New York Times bestselling author who “hilariously depicts modern dating” (Us Weekly), My Favorite Half-Night Standis a laugh-out-loud romp through online dating and its many, many fails.

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship...but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Perfect for fans of Roxanne and She’s the Man, Christina Lauren’s latest romantic comedy is full of mistaken identities, hijinks, and a classic love story with a modern twist. Funny and fresh, you’ll want to swipe right on My Favorite Half-Night Stand.

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3.5 “BFF + TBBT vibes” Stars

I wish I could say I loved this as much as Christina Lauren’s last releases. I didn’t, which is sad, because I’ve become a fan of these two amazing authors and I was dying, I mean DYING to get my hands on a BFF to lovers romance.

For some reason, this book and I didn’t connect on that next level that is necessary for me to really, really love something. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood to read it (despite anticipating this and a BFF to lovers read for weeks), because when I think about the elements in the story, I truly appreciate them—especially the way the romance developed.

I feel like Christina Lauren added something different to the BFFs that fall in love dynamic by making both Millie and Reid unaware of their feelings for each other for most of the book. It wasn’t the typical “one loves the other and is just waiting for the other to get with the program” dynamic I normally see (and love) in books with this trope. Millie and Reid were surely attracted to each other, but they fell in love slowly and together while navigating the awkwardness that comes with falling for your best friend. That was fresh and interesting take, and I’m mad at myself for not appreciating it as much while reading.

Something else I loved about this book was the group of friends Millie and Reid had. Though I wish their personalities were a little more distinguishing—it took me a while to get who they were as individuals—I got some serious The Big Bang Theory vibe from this group. Was I the only one? And though I know TBBT is problematic, I still enjoyed their dynamic.

Speaking of problematic…Well, part of why I can’t rate this book a little higher was how bothered I was about the fact that Reid seemed to want to push Millie to change and become more open. I didn’t approve of the way he acted toward the end, and it felt a little too much like he was forcing her to talk about things she wasn’t comfortable or ready to talk about. I loved Millie because I identified with her in the sense that I’m also very private and keep my feelings and thoughts inside, so it irked me that Reid reacted the way he did.

 So, while there was tons to like about this book, I feel like I couldn’t connect with the romance in the level I wanted, which makes this my least favorite book of all the amazing stories these two authors have released in the past couple of years.
*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.