Girls Can’t Hit by TS Easton Review | Feminism =/= Telling, Not Showing

Girls Can’t Hit
Author: TS Easton
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

A funny, feminist teen story about knowing when to train . . . and when to fight.

Fleur Waters never takes anything seriously – until she turns up at her local boxing club one day, just to prove a point. She’s the only girl there, and the warm-up alone is exhausting . . . but the workout gives her an escape from home and school, and when she lands her first uppercut on a punching bag she feels a rare glow of satisfaction.

So she goes back the next week, determined to improve. Fleur’s overprotective mum can’t abide the idea of her entering a boxing ring, why won’t she join her pilates class instead? Her friends don’t get it either and even her boyfriend, ‘Prince’ George, seems concerned by her growing muscles and appetite – but it’s Fleur’s body, Fleur’s life, so she digs her heels in and carries on with her training.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I was super excited for this book because, hello! Feminist story about a girl who, despite external protests, becomes a boxer? But unfortunately the execution of this premise made it a 2.5 star read for me, rounded down to 2 because I just don’t get Fleur’s humor. This book is also a revamp, as it was published last year already, so check out the cute new cover!

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ARC Review: The Boyfriend Bracket by Kate Evangelista

35796027The Boyfriend Bracket
Author:Kate Evangelista
Release Date: June 18, 2018
Publisher: SwoonReads
Get it Here:Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Stella has had a hopeless crush on Will, her older brother’s best friend FOREVER, but now that Cam and Will have graduated and are going off to college, this year is her chance to really strike out on her own. Without her overprotective brother and his sidekick around to distract her, she can focus on having all the typical high school experiences that she’s always dreamed of—starting with finding a boyfriend! With the help of her best friend Franklin, she comes up with the perfect plan to have a boyfriend by Christmas: The Boyfriend Bracket.

Or it seems like the perfect plan…right up until Will starts showing up again. How is she supposed to find the perfect boyfriend when none of her dates measure up to the one boy she can never have?

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I wish I liked this book more than I did! The Boyfriend Bracket is all the fluff of a marshmallow, but nothing past the sugary-sweetness. The fact that it’s a bit over 200 pages doesn’t help either, giving only glimpses of character and relationship development. Over the course of these pages, Stella goes through almost her whole senior year of high school. It’s a huge time frame that passes by really quickly, making for a hastened pace that makes the glimpses mentioned above even more scarce. Nonetheless, it was an adorable read that romcom lovers should consider picking up!

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ARC Review: Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet (Kingmaker Chronicles #3)

33607186Heart on Fire
Author: Amanda Bouchet
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #3
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
Who is Catalia Fisa?
With the help of pivotal figures from her past, Cat begins to understand the root of her exceptional magic, her fated union with Griffin Sinta, and Griffin’s role in shaping her destiny.

Only Cat holds the key to unlocking her own power, and that means finally accepting herself, her past, and her future in order to protect her loved ones, confront her murderous mother, and taking a final, terrifying step–reuniting all three realms and taking her place as the Queen of Thalyria.What doesn’t kill her will only make her stronger…we hope.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Note: This review will contain slight spoilers for the book series. My review of the first book, A Promise of Fire, can be found here and my review of the second book, Breath of Fire, can be found here!

Also: This series contains mature scenes in both sexy times and graphic violence. Please be aware before reading!

Passion, empathy, love, and growth: four words that this book is comprised of. There is passion in the actions of the characters, stimulated by the love of their family or romantic counterparts. empathy in the feelings they feel regarding one another, and tremendous character growth as each takes the time to learn lessons that would help them grow stronger both physically and mentally. Heart on Fire was a romantic, fun ending to the Kingmakers’ Chronicles (although I do believe, and am excited, for extra stories featuring the side characters). Cat and Griffin’s love story is written in a dramatic conclusion that is full of action and twists. Continue reading

Mini-Reviews: Sad Sequels For Some Historical Romance Series

Many of y’all know that I read historical romances for fun. They’re fast, flighty, flirty, and always give me feel-good vibes because of Happily Ever Afters. (As a reader I generally lean more towards those kind of books.) Maybe I’m growing a bit more cynical or getting to used to the common tropes used, however, as both these historical were unfortunately not very impressive for me. Let’s hope my next reads are!


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Book Review: The Dragon’s Price by Bethany Wiggins (Transference #1)

30517879The Dragon’s Price
Author: Bethany Wiggins
Series: Transference #1
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
Fans of Julie Kagawa’s Talon and Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn will devour this action-packed fantasy adventure about a girl who chooses to surrender herself to a deadly dragon rather than marry an enemy prince.When two warring kingdoms unified against a deadly menace laying waste to both their lands, they had to make a choice: vow to marry their heirs to one another, or forfeit their lives to the dragon.
Centuries later, everyone expects the sheltered princess Sorrowlynn to choose the barbarian prince over the fire-breathing beast—everyone, that is, except Sorrow, who is determined to control her own destiny or die trying.
As she is lowered into the dragon’s chamber, she assumes her life is over until Golmarr, the young prince she just spurned, follows her with the hopes of being her hero and slaying the dragon. But the dragon has a different plan. . . .
If the dragon wins, it will be freed from the spell that has bound it to the cave for centuries. If Sorrow or Golmarr vanquish the dragon, the victor will gain its treasure and escape the cave beneath the mountain. But what exactly is the dragon hiding?
There are no safe havens for Sorrow or Golmarr—not even with each other—and the stakes couldn’t be higher as they risk everything to protect their kingdom.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

While this book had fun times with dragons and a main character with nice character development, it was hard to get past the cheesy romance, elementary dialogue, and racism that, although gets addressed as the main character grows, doesn’t deserve a place in here from the beginning. Continue reading

ARC Review: You Don’t Know My Name by Kristen Orlando (The Black Angels Chronicles #1) + ARC Giveaway!

You Don’t Know My Name
Author: Kristen Orlando
Series: The Black Angels Chronicles #1
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Fighter, Faker, Student, Spy.

Seventeen-year-old Reagan Elizabeth Hillis is used to changing identities overnight, lying to every friend she’s ever had, and pushing away anyone who gets too close. Trained in mortal combat and weaponry her entire life, Reagan is expected to follow in her parents’ footsteps and join the ranks of the most powerful top-secret agency in the world, the Black Angels. Falling in love with the boy next door was never part of the plan.

Now Reagan has to decide: Will she use her incredible talents and lead the dangerous life she was born into, or throw it all away to follow her heart and embrace the normal life she’s always wanted? And does she even have a choice at all?

Find out if you are ready to join the Black Angels in the captivating and emotional page-turner, You Don’t Know My Name, from debut novelist Kristen Orlando!

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Thank you MacMillan and Swoonreads for the review copy!

Teenage angst, meet espionage plot and cardboard love interest. While You Don’t Know My Name sounds like the light and fluffy read as advertised by the blurb, it also tries to explore weighty and important themes with serious undertones. Unfortunately, it falls short on those aspects and instead made me a confused reader on how I would recommend this. Let’s get to the basics: I separate this book into pre-action and post-action. The former part is lackluster, predictable, repetitive, and led by character angst. The latter part is full of action, adventure, and things happening at once. It would have been nice to have seen a balance of these elements throughout the story but each part was heavy with its respective tone. I felt like the book did a 180-degree turn from “My life sucks and I like this boy” to “I must kill this man and fulfill my goal.” Like – what?!

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Book Review: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

11071466Second Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

From the Flying Start author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, a powerful novel about hope in the face of heartbreak.

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I guess all good things must come to an end, much like my streak of well-loved books by Morgan Matson. It started with the utterly delectable Since You’ve Been Gone, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and continued with the stupendous The Unexpected Everything, which gave me an out-of-body experience because of how amazing it was. But my experience with Second Chance Summer did not have the same results as the former two; this time, I was quite annoyed, frustrated, and frowning while reading this story. I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise, considering that’s my usual response when reading contemporaries in general, but I really didn’t expect it from a book by this author – especially since many people adored this one just as much as the others. Continue reading

Book Review: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #2)

23174274Glass Sword
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #2
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I feel like there are two majority groups for readers of this book: those who stick along with the series despite many misgivings (me), and the fans that suck up every exciting word that is written on the page. I can’t argue that Aveyard is a gifted writer; her conclusions are heavy in dramatics and ultimately gets your heart pounding hard, and she manages to make even the most cliche scenes seem original and intense. But when I take my eyes off from the way she engages the readers through her words, I find that the plot and characters – even the setting, to an extent – are so banal and lackluster that I can’t get into this series as much as others can.

I know many a reader would agree with my annoyance with Mare, the main character. While I do like headstrong characters, she can be so selfish. The actions that Aveyard gives her are only there to set up the plot. In one scene she’ll be using her powers, and in the other her party will be losing because she doesn’t use it (which I see as a cop out move). Once you move away from the embellishments of the writing, it’s really easy to notice just how hackneyed the actual plot is. In this book we even get introduced to the “blind prophet” archetypal character that we learn about in English class. He’s mysterious, blind, and can see into the future – quite reminiscent to, oh, several hundred other character in literature. The rebellion plot was quite laughable to me at this point, seeing as Aveyard meshes up many plots from other books to create the one in this one.

I don’t even want to talk about the romance (but I will still do so lol). The love triangle with Mare, Maven and Cal made me pretty exasperated in the first book. My total apathy with these characters continued on with this one. Now it’s Mare and Cal versus Maven in this book, with Maven very much in the background as he’s trying to capture Mare. We have cliche scenes of each pushing the other way and all this unresolved angst that had me rolling my eyes. The engaging intrigue in the first plot isn’t as visible to me in this book, with the plot more focused on the action going on. As a lover of action, of course I would enjoy the majority of this book. As a person who appreciates creativity and originality, I was sorely disappointed.

The world was infused with some weird technology used as weapons. They were an odd and spontaneous addition to the story. The science was added randomly and otherwise offered no addition to the plot. I for one didn’t really like it, as it just wasn’t integrated in the plot really well. I also didn’t realize how the world of this trilogy takes place in another version of Europe! Apparently I was one of the last persons to realize that it’s classified as a dystopian (I’ve been led to think that it’s a fantasy). I guess some people would like this ambiguity, but WOW after finding that out, my interest for this trilogy dimmed a lot. If this was a dystopian, why do we not get explanations of the world in the past, and how we got there? If it was an alternative world, where are the things that could somehow connect it to the time period in the real world? I know many other readers are baffled as well by the odd and off putting setting, which just adds to my qualms with this book.

My last point were certain phrases that Aveyard just LOVES to use. Mare is constantly going over the same phrases of “I don’t know” and “Anyone can betray anyone” and “I’m a liar” and a multiplicity of others. After the third time mention of “anyone can betray anyone,” I just shut the book for a moment. It wasn’t like it was written 4-6 times already in the first book! We get it even now in the second! I love it when the same phrases are shoved in my face!!

Even though the writing could be quite exciting and really gets the reader into the book, it can’t cover up the lackluster plot and bizarre setting. I’m never one to opt out on action, so I really enjoyed that aspect. However, I’m also a reader that deeply appreciates the unique stories that stem out of brains, and the only unique aspect in this book was the implementation of previously-seen works. The only thing that impressed me Glass Sword was the stellar ending that (while laughable, now that I think back on it), definitely set up for a thrilling conclusion. I’d recommend this for fans of action and readers that don’t get too involved with the plot. Readers of Red Queen should definitely stick on to this. But if you’re looking for a book that offers a new, fresh perspective of things, then skip this one.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-2star