Lies My Memory Told Me by Sacha Wunsch

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What if you had the ability to view other people’s memories? I’m in!

Thank you Inkyard Press for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Enhanced Memory changed everything. By sharing someone else’s memory, you can experience anything and everything with no risk at all: learn any skill instantly, travel the world from home, and safeguard all your most treasured secrets forever. Nova’s parents invented this technology, and it’s slowly taking over their lives. That’s where Nova comes in. She can pick up the slack for them—and she doesn’t mind. She knows Enhanced Memory is a gift, and its value outweighs its costs. But Kade says Nova doesn’t even know the costs. Kade runs a secret vlog cataloging real experiences, is always on the move, and he’s strangely afraid of Nova—even though she feels more comfortable with him than she ever has with anyone. Suddenly there are things Nova can’t stop noticing: the way her parents don’t meet her eyes anymore, the questions no one wants her to ask, and the relentless feeling like there’s something she’s forgotten. But there’s danger around every corner, and her own home might be the most dangerous place of all.

I had high expectations for this one. The premise was so unique and sounded amazing, but was not executed well. The writing was extremely basic and juvenile and very repetitive. I got bored quickly and even predicted the entire rest of the book. This was a hard pass for me.

2/5 Stars

Small Favors by Erin A Craig

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This year, all my book choices have been on a whim. I picked this up during my quick weekend beach trip and I’m so glad I did!

Thank you Delacorte for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Ellerie Downing lives in the quiet town of Amity Falls in the Blackspire Mountain range–five narrow peaks stretching into the sky like a grasping hand, bordered by a nearly impenetrable forest from which the early townsfolk fought off the devils in the woods. To this day, visitors are few and rare. But when a supply party goes missing, some worry that the monsters that once stalked the region have returned. As fall turns to winter, more strange activities plague the town. They point to a tribe of devilish and mystical creatures who promise to fulfill the residents’ deepest desires, however grand and impossible, for just a small favor. But their true intentions are much more sinister, and Ellerie finds herself in a race against time before all of Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves go up in flames.

Erin is such a beautiful writer. This story was gorgeous and captivating from the moment I started reading it. Oddly enough, I have had a dream that is somewhat similar to the relationship Ellerie has with her twin brother in this story. That made me swoon all the more for it. The characters are well developed and you feel so attached to them from the get-go. It’s unique yet I think will be loved by anyone who reads it! Highly recommended!

5/5 Stars

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin

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I’m a huge weather nerd – so this book was a must-read for me!

Thank you Sourcebooks Fire for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: For centuries, witches have maintained the climate, their power from the sun peaking in the season of their birth. But now their control is faltering as the atmosphere becomes more erratic. All hope lies with Clara, an Everwitch whose rare magic is tied to every season. In Autumn, Clara wants nothing to do with her power. It’s wild and volatile, and the price of her magic―losing the ones she loves―is too high, despite the need to control the increasingly dangerous weather. In Winter, the world is on the precipice of disaster. Fires burn, storms rage, and Clara accepts that she’s the only one who can make a difference. In Spring, she falls for Sang, the witch training her. As her magic grows, so do her feelings, until she’s terrified Sang will be the next one she loses. In Summer, Clara must choose between her power and her happiness, her duty and the people she loves… before she loses Sang, her magic, and thrusts the world into chaos.

I thought this was such a unique story; I loved it! This is a contemporary young adult fiction book with a touch of magic and fantasy that was so well done! I think it helps that I’m a science geek and environmentalist by trade. I was just utterly engulfed in the story and it had the cutest touch of romance. This is a perfect read for any time of the year!

5/5 Stars

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

There’s something about reading a young adult fiction book in the summer that just completely captivates me. This one is no exception!

Thank you Delacorte Press for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Evie Thomas doesn’t believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually. As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything–including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he’s only just met. Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it’s that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk?

THIS BOOK. ALL THE FEELS. I jumped into this one without having read the synopsis, and I think that made this book all the better. You’ll laugh, cry, swoon, and cheer throughout the whole book. It’s utterly beautiful and I wish more books were like this. I feel like Nicola is the Sarah Dessen of this generation! Also, be sure to read the Author’s Note at the end – it’s a tear jerker, but also wonderfully beautiful.

5/5 Stars

Once Upon A Con Series by Ashley Poston

I’m totally a geek and not afraid to shout it from the rooftops. I mean, my blog name may just be a dead giveaway at that! This series has been on my wish list for forever as a series I wanted to read, and now I’ve finally got the chance to!

Thank you Quirk Books for my gifted copy of the series in exchange for my honest review.

I will be sharing my thoughts on all three books in the series in this post so I will break it down by each one. I’m sharing in celebration of Ashley’s latest installment in the series, “Bookish and the Beast” that was most recently released! I’ll start from the beginning…

Synopsis: Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first. Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. 

As you can tell, the first book in the series is a retelling of Cinderella, and I’m totally here for it! Even if you’ve seen or read Cinderella, this retelling captivates you just as much as if it was your first time hearing the story. Not only is it an ode to a beloved classic, but it’s a coming-of-age story for those who are just coming into their true identities. As I am now comforted in my nerdy loves, I wish I had a book like this when I was in high school. I loved it.

5/5 Stars

Synopsis: Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed. When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

The second installment in the series is a retelling of The Prince and the Pauper, a story that isn’t talked about much these days. I think that may have been a flaw in my reading for this one. Since I watch Cinderella all the time with my four year old daughter, Geekerella hit home to me a little more than this one. On the other hand, I did love that this is a story that isn’t overdone so it made it really unique. I didn’t fall in love with the characters as much as I did in Geekerella, but I just fell in love with the way Ashley tells her stories even more reading this next book in the series.

4/5 Stars

Synopsis: Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills. On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read. When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual. But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.

This is a retelling of, you guessed it, Beauty in the Beast. I was totally hoping that she would choose this story for one of the books in the series because, why not?! I absolutely loved the characters in this book. I think these were my favorite characters in the whole series! The romance is innocent and adorable and I almost wanted a whole series spin-off on just this book.

5/5 Stars

In all, this is an adorable series to pick up whether you are a geek, love classic fairy-tales, or just love awesome young adult writing! Ashley even has some short stories that are just as adorable and super fun to read: Once a Princess and Once at Midnight. This is a perfect series to start off your summer reading!

Tell Me When You Feel Something by Vicki Grant

With summer coming up, I’m getting my young adult fiction vibes. I LOVE reading young adult novels in the summer time. I mean, yes, I love reading them at all times, but there’s something just so addicting about a good YA summer book!

Thank you Penguin Teen for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: It seemed like a cool part-time program — being a simulated patient for med school students to practice on. But now vivacious, charismatic Viv lies in a very real coma. Cellphone footage just leads to more questions. What really happened? Other kids suspect it was not an intentional overdose — but each has a reason why they can’t tell the truth. Through intertwining and conflicting narratives, a twisted story unfolds of trust betrayed as we sift through the seemingly innocent events leading up to the tragic night. Perhaps simulated patients aren’t the only people pretending to be something they’re not . . .

I really wanted to like this one so much! I thought it was such a cool premise, but there were way too many characters and such short snippets of what truly happened. If there were two points of view with more in-depth details, this would be so much better. It was tough to stick this one out all the way through. There also should be multiple trigger warnings for this one.

2/5 Stars

The Ivies by Alexa Donne

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Hello to all my Karen McManus fans out there – I have a new book for you to checkout!

Thank you Crown Publishing for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Everyone knows the Ivies: the most coveted universities in the United States. Far more important are the Ivies. The Ivies at Claflin Academy, that is. Five girls with the same mission: to get into the Ivy League by any means necessary. I would know. I’m one of them. We disrupt class ranks, club leaderships, and academic competitions…among other things. We improve our own odds by decreasing the fortunes of others. Because hyper-elite competitive college admissions is serious business. And in some cases, it’s deadly. Alexa Donne delivers a nail-biting and timely thriller about teens who will stop at nothing to get into the college of their dreams. Too bad no one told them murder isn’t an extracurricular.

This was such a fun read! It’s addictive and keeps you super engaged. The characters are extremely well developed. I wasn’t as big of a fan of “One Of Us is Lying” like others are, so this was a HUGE win for me! I want more!

5/5 Stars

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O’Neal

There may be a lot of chronic illness books out in the wild for young adults (and adults too, let’s be honest), but there aren’t a lot that cover the realm of invisible illness. I’m excited to share one that releases this week.

Thank you Quirk Books for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Priya worked hard to pursue her premed dreams at Stanford, but a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease during her sophomore year sends her back to her loving but overbearing family in New Jersey—and leaves her wondering if she’ll ever be able to return to the way things were. Thankfully she has her online pen pal, Brigid, and the rest of the members of “oof ouch my bones,” a virtual support group that meets on Discord to crack jokes and vent about their own chronic illnesses. When Brigid suddenly goes offline, Priya does something out of character: she steals the family car and drives to Pennsylvania to check on Brigid. Priya isn’t sure what to expect, but it isn’t the horrifying creature that’s shut in the basement. With Brigid nowhere to be found, Priya begins to puzzle together an impossible but obvious truth: the creature might be a werewolf—and the werewolf might be Brigid. As Brigid’s unique condition worsens, their friendship will be deepened and challenged in unexpected ways, forcing them to reckon with their own ideas of what it means to be normal.

As someone with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, POTS, and Endometriosis, it’s really exciting to see a book that includes all three and makes me feel like I could’ve written it myself. I literally was thrown back into my high school years where I did the same thing as the characters in this novel – connected with others online who struggled with chronic illness like myself. There are a few controversial reviews about this book and how it’s advertised as an #ownvoices read. I want to make clear that this is written as #ownvoices in the chronic illness realm, not necessarily in race identity. There are many reviews that provide resources to guide you in the direction about the cultural appropriation displayed in this novel and I encouraged you to read and research as such. In terms of the chronic illness portrayal and friendships developed in this book, I really liked it!

4/5 Stars

Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher

Amelia Unabridged

Do you love reading books about book lovers like yourself? Sign me up!

Thank you Wednesday Books for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Amelia Griffin is obsessed with the famous Orman Chronicles, written by the young and reclusive prodigy N. E. Endsley. They’re the books that brought her and her best friend Jenna together after Amelia’s father left and her family imploded. So when Amelia and Jenna get the opportunity to attend a book festival with Endsley in attendance, Amelia is ecstatic. It’s the perfect way to start off their last summer before college. In a heartbeat, everything goes horribly wrong. When Jenna gets a chance to meet the author and Amelia doesn’t, the two have a blowout fight like they’ve never experienced. And before Amelia has a chance to mend things, Jenna is killed in a freak car accident. Grief-stricken, and without her best friend to guide her, Amelia questions everything she had planned for the future. When a mysterious, rare edition of the Orman Chronicles arrives, Amelia is convinced that it somehow came from Jenna. Tracking the book to an obscure but enchanting bookstore in Michigan, Amelia is shocked to find herself face-to-face with the enigmatic and handsome N. E. Endsley himself, the reason for Amelia’s and Jenna’s fight and perhaps the clue to what Jenna wanted to tell her all along.

What a beautiful debut! It’s emotional and gut wrenching, but absolutely breath-taking. I’m not much for best friend stories, but this blew others out of the park. This story won’t leave my thoughts for days upon days. I will be reading more from this author for sure!

5/5 Stars

The Project by Courtney Summers

I may be one of the few people who has not read this author’s previous book “Sadie”, but was excited to be one of the firsts to read her latest novel!

Thank you Wednesday Books for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it. When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.

Oof, this was a flop for me. I can see where there could have been potential, but it just never lived up to it. The multiple timelines were not well executed. I wanted to give up half-way, and maybe I should have…I’ve got so many friends that rave about Sadie, so I think I need to go back and start there and have skipped this one entirely. Can’t all be winners!

2/5 Stars