Secrets of a Reluctant Princess by Casey Griffin

29939193

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Secrets of a Reluctant Princess by Casey Griffin. This silly, charming and sometimes cheesy clean read tells the story of Adrianna Bottom, Andy for short. Andy has to deal with being called Porcelain Princess because of her family’s toilet accessories business as well as the reality TV show highlighting them. Since her real name is Adrianna Bottom, Andy has already been bullied endlessly about her last name, even before becoming the Porcelain Princess. Her family has now moved, so Andy is attending a new school and the bullying doesn’t take long to start. On top of the bullying, she has to deal with the producer of the reality show being pushy and invading every aspect of Andy’s life that he can. This quick read has romance, humor and the lesson of keeping secrets, 4 stars.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

30556459

Thanks to a Goodreads giveaway, I received a paperback advanced reading copy of The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti! I also received a NetGalley arc from Dial Press in exchange for a fair review!
Loo lives with her father Hawley as they travel from place to place without settling down for long in any one town. That is until they go to the town where Loo’s grandmother ( Loo’s mother Lily’s mother) lives. Lily drowned when Loo was quite young, so it’s just her and Hawley. Loo’s grandmother refuses to see or speak to them, but Loo and Hawley decide to buy a house and live in the town anyway. More than anything else, this book made me realize that every person has a story. Each chapter alternates between the present with Hawley and Loo and then to Hawley and his younger past. Each trip into the past explains how Samuel Hawley received another gunshot wound and scar. This story is sad in the fact that Loo and Hawley struggle with belonging and with lasting relationships besides their own. They are both lonely and seem somewhat lost in their presence and their place in the world. Loo tries to befriend others, but she has a temper and becomes physically angry too often. Hawley seems like he is just trying to get through and raise Loo in the best way he knows how. He is very lonely and misses his wife, Lily daily. Loo sees this loneliness. It’s almost like Loo and Hawley are stuck in a never ending cycle of danger and wrong choices. This book left me feeling how life is just a fleeting moment that passes too quickly. 4 stars.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

27883214

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for the opportunity to read and review Caraval by Stephanie Garber!  Scarlett and Donatella are treated harshly by their father. They have both always wanted to see Caraval since their grandmother told them stories about it years ago. They plan on running away to see Caraval and never coming back to their father. He has threatened them with harm if they ever leave and he has even gone to the extreme lengths of committing murder to keep Scarlett and Donatella on the island with him. Tella left their rooms a mess to make their father believe they were kidnapped while they sailed with Julian to Caraval, Legend’s private island. The game on Caraval that Legend controls is adventurous, daring, mysterious and frightening. Scarlett never knows, from beginning to end, what is real and what is just the game. I grew to care about Scarlett and I wanted her to finally find happiness. I also admire her for the bravery and love she demonstrates to help her sister, Tella. Their father is selfish and violent and I wanted the sisters to be free of him. I also like the setting and time the story takes place in. It was familiar but also new at the same time because of Stephanie Garber’s clever writing. 5 stars for the magical mystery of the game and all of its characters!

Streaks of Blue by Jack Chaucer

33148109

 

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Jack Chaucer for the opportunity to read and review his book, Streaks of Blue, book one of the Nikki White series! Nikki is befriending two students that she suspects need friends to prevent them from committing a horrendous act of violence after she has a dream that she feels is a premonition. Adam appreciates Nikki but Thomas doesn’t. Nikki discovers, along with Adam, how much Adam is truly dealing with. Through the ups and downs of friendship, Nikki and Adam grow and realize that people’s decisions are what make them, develop who they become and create the life they are living. The story pulls at the heart with emotions, startles the heart with suspense and washes away burden and brings out hope for our future. 5 stars for an honest and open story of realistic fiction and circumstances of real life. I appreciate the author’s nod to a fellow author, Cheryl Strayed and her memoir of her struggles and overcoming them. I look forward to reading the rest of the Nikki White series!

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

71lklmxqgjl

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell was a tear-jerking, warms-the-heart book. The short prologue, narrated by Park, brings the feeling of loss into the story and made me wonder what happened to Eleanor. The first page jumps back to 1986 when the story begins. A lot of this story hit home for me – being the new kid at school (I attended 33 schools from 2nd to 11th grade), riding a bus full of rude strangers, not having a place to live or a home where you feel wanted. I had to take a break from the book for a while to get my cheerfulness back. Alternating points of view between Park and Eleanor help the reader understand how each of them are feeling and the struggles they are both dealing with. Park and Eleanor come from different lifestyles and different family dynamics. Eleanor and Park are good for each other and their beautiful relationship left a mark on my heart. 5 stars for this young adult realistic fiction romance!

Nice Girls Endure

27178702-_uy400_ss400_

“Received an advance reader copy for a fair review.”

Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone for the opportunity to read and review Nice Girls Endure by Chris Struyk-Bonn! Chelsea is an overweight teenager who takes after her father in many ways; personality, likes, dislikes, talent and genetics. The doctor suggests Calorie Counts, a weight loss program run by Bridgette, who helps Chelsea see that her self esteem is more important than anything else. Chelsea has four favorite people: her dad, Bridgette, Melody and Trevor (classmates). Chelsea tries to get involved and make friends, but then bullies set her back. The bullying is already bad enough on its own, but they send pictures of everything online for everyone to see. This book is a touching and inspiring story of the challenges we have to deal with in life and the different ways we can strengthen ourselves. 4.5 stars!

The Bad Boy Bargain

30415027

“Received an advance reader copy for a fair review.”

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review The Bad Boy Bargain by Kendra C. Highley!

Kyle keeps his distance from everyone and he enjoys the reputation that has been created about him, the playboy delinquent. Faith is in a relationship that she wants to end. She is ready to find love, not popularity. Faith walks in on her boyfriend, Cameron, cheating with another girl. Cameron then starts rumors about Faith and how cold and horrible she is. At this point, Faith decides to seek revenge. She strikes up a bargain with Kyle to get revenge on Cameron because it just so happens that Cameron and his friends bullied Kyle horribly in middle school. Kyle wants revenge just as badly as Faith does. The revenge doesn’t work exactly as planned and a lot of things change for both Kyle and Faith. Family dynamics, personal secrets and vulnerable characters make this story endearing. 4 stars!

Forget Me Always

forget-me-always-cover

“Received an advance reader copy for a fair review.”

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Forget Me Always by Sara Wolf! This second book in the Lovely Vicious series is as wonderful as the first!

Isis puts her memories of Jack together slowly and bit by bit, while Jack believes he should have been quicker to stop Leo from harming anyone. Isis and Sophia become friends and it seems that even more secrets are hidden with Sophia. Isis is released from the hospital and tries to get back to normal life. Jack has taken up boxing to deal with the frustrations and guilt he feels in not keeping Sophia or Isis out of danger. Leo’s trial is coming up and Jack wants to testify so Leo will be put away and unable to harm Isis or her mom again. Kayla and Isis keep trying to figure out what happened all those years ago with Jack, Avery, Wren and Sophia. Suspense, intrigue, loyalty, clever wit and endearing charm and humor round out this book – 5 stars!

The humor Isis brings to the story helps to lighten the darkness that the group has been dealing with. I appreciate the author adding the bonus content and writing in Wren’s point of view to give readers a glimpse of what’s to come and we don’t get to know what Wren is thinking most of the time. The author’s note shows empathy and personal experience with tragedy.

love-me-never-cover

I reread Love Me Never by Sara Wolf before I dove into Forget Me Always and the book had me laughing out loud all over again!  When Isis is having a mini rant and Kayla tells her that she’s thinking out loud again, it’s too funny to contain!  Isis’ rants are amusing because she is such a clever and witty character.  Some swearing, just a warning for people who don’t like that.  The swearing is humorous and fits with the dialogue and sometimes silliness of the characters.  Clever writing and intelligent characters bring a myriad of backgrounds to the book and make it hard to put down, even though this was my second time reading Love Me Never.  I appreciate the strong character that Isis is and how she doesn’t feel sorry for herself, even though she went through something terrible.  Isis knows it could have been worse, but she also knows how it made her feel.  Oh, that ending is a tremendous cliffhanger, but now I have the sequel in my hands!

author-photo-sara-wolf

Sara Wolf, the amazing writer of the Lovely Vicious series with her two books Love Me Never and Forget Me Always ready to read.  I am anxiously awaiting the third book in the Lovely Vicious series: Remember Me Forever.  I just spotted it on Amazon and it will be available May 2, 2017!

Chapter by Chapter Blog Tour Button for Forget Me Always

forgetmealwaystour

Forget Me Always Tour Schedule

forget-me-always-by-sara-wolf-blog-tour-digital-assets

Enjoy this wonderful series!

How to Hang a Witch

51ejbqw3r2bl-_sy344_bo1204203200_

The instant I began reading How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather, I felt pulled into the story. What’s not to love? The history of the Salem Witch Trials, clever characters and an interesting synopsis immediately piqued my curiosity! Told in Sam Mather’s point of view as she moves to Salem, Massachusetts with her stepmother. The two of them reside in Sam’s grandmother’s house while Sam’s father suffers in a coma that has lasted over three months already. Sam is a descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men who hanged witches during the Salem Witch Trials. A group of students, known as the Descendants, because they are actual descendants of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials hangings, immediately dislike Sam because of her last name. Her neighbors, Jaxon and his mother, are friendly and they knew Sam’s grandmother well and took care of her and her home when she couldn’t anymore. Jaxon seems to be the only friendly person in the entire school, including the teachers. The relationship and banter between Jaxon and Sam makes me smile and when they find a hidden room in her house, the mystery begins.

The author’s beautiful descriptions bring the historical homes to life and portray the magnificence of a Massachusetts autumn. The mystery, suspense and the curse all grow in intensity and I am never quite sure who Sam can trust. Wonderful and creative writing, dynamic and complex characters and a plot that everyone can relate to make this an amazing book. The author’s notes share what is historically accurate and what’s fiction and her personal genealogy makes me think that she needs to write more historical fiction! 5 stars – perfect from beginning to end!

 

And the Trees Crept In

258c822ef76909b5cd6c6b5d079e001e

Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for the arc of And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich! The story opens in the 1980’s when three girls playfully make a protector out of cloth, clay and other items they find around the house. Then, the story jumps to 2013 and a thirteen year-old teenage girl (Silla) and her four year-old sister (Nori) walk a long distance to live with their Aunt Cath in Blood Manor. They enjoy their time with Cath, until she becomes irrationally upset when Nori almost goes into the woods; the woods Cath has warned them to NEVER enter. After that, she lives in the attic while the house deteriorates and the food dwindles. In the meantime, Silla and Nori meet Gowan, a young man who claims to know Cath personally. As time passes, Silla slips further into confusion and madness. The woods keep moving closer and the manor seems to be sinking, while Silla and Nori grow hungrier. This book is creepy and mysterious and sometimes confusing, but then the author shines the light on the twisted story and it makes the confusion worth it. It makes sense in the wonderful ending and this book is proof of why I always finish the books I start reading because there is always the hope that it will turn out to be a good book! I also enjoyed the use of typography to portray emotion. Impressive – 4.5 stars!