Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett Review | Chasing That YA Contemporary Magic

52386214. sx318 sy475 Chasing Lucky
Author: Jenn Bennett
Release Date: November 10, 2020
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.

What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.

Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is…

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

Usually I adore anything and everything Jenn Bennett writes, but SAVING LUCKY felt like a weaker version of her usual works. While it maintains the nostalgic, carefree summer high school slice-of-life and romance aspect, I left like there was MORE that could have been done with the characters. Perhaps the fact that the end didn’t feel quite conclusive also added to this feeling. And while I don’t expect coming of age stories to be conclusive, (after all, characters have their whole lives ahead of them) I still felt like something was missing in the story. And that the details we were reading were all a part of a contemporary romance formula. Continue reading “Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett Review | Chasing That YA Contemporary Magic”

Rent A Boyfriend by Gloria Chao Review | Fake Dating Between Young Adults? Yes, Here for it!!

Rent A Boyfriend
Author: Gloria Chao
Release Date: November 10, 2020
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets The Farewell in this incisive romantic comedy about a college student who hires a fake boyfriend to appease her traditional Taiwanese parents, to disastrous results, from the acclaimed author of American Panda.

Chloe Wang is nervous to introduce her parents to her boyfriend, because the truth is, she hasn’t met him yet either. She hired him from Rent for Your ’Rents, a company specializing in providing fake boyfriends trained to impress even the most traditional Asian parents.

Drew Chan’s passion is art, but after his parents cut him off for dropping out of college to pursue his dreams, he became a Rent for Your ’Rents employee to keep a roof over his head. Luckily, learning protocols like “Type C parents prefer quiet, kind, zero-PDA gestures” comes naturally to him.

When Chloe rents Drew, the mission is simple: convince her parents fake Drew is worthy of their approval so they’ll stop pressuring her to accept a proposal from Hongbo, the wealthiest (and slimiest) young bachelor in their tight-knit Asian American community.

But when Chloe starts to fall for the real Drew—who, unlike his fake persona, is definitely not ’rent-worthy—her carefully curated life begins to unravel. Can she figure out what she wants before she loses everything?

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

This cover. That blurb. The Author’s Note. Everything about this book captivated me, so it was no wonder I jumped on the chance to read it! We have Chao’s trademark easygoing humor from the first person perspectives of Chloe and Drew, two Taiwanese-American young adults that find love through a convoluted situation. With a flair of dramatism reminiscent of Taiwanese dramas and the genuine, sweet romance of youth, RENT A BOYFRIEND turned out to be a delight. 

We start the book with Drew first meeting Chloe at her parents’ place for Thanksgiving, where she rented him to act as her fake date! The ultimate goal was to make her parents cut off a betrothal to another Taiwanese boy in her community, who was pretty chauvinistic and unlikable. You can’t help but see sparks fly, and them wanting to text each other even after the ‘assignment’ was over. Drew and Chloe fall very easily into a smooth dialogue with shared interests and struggles.  Continue reading “Rent A Boyfriend by Gloria Chao Review | Fake Dating Between Young Adults? Yes, Here for it!!”

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar Review | A Light Fantasy That Is Out Of This World

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Author: Shveta Thakrar
Release Date: August 11, 2020
Publisher: Harper Teen
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook Depository

Synopsis:

This gorgeously imagined YA debut blends shades of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and a breathtaking landscape of Hindu mythology into a radiant contemporary fantasy.

The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. Pretending to be “normal.” But when an accidental flare of her starfire puts her human father in the hospital, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.

Sheetal’s quest to save her father will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must take the stage as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens–and win, or risk never returning to Earth at all.

Brimming with celestial intrigue, this sparkling YA debut is perfect for fans of Roshani Chokshi and Laini Taylor.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

While not perfect, STAR DAUGHTER was enjoyable due to the fact that it was MAGICAL and BEAUTIFUL and, in general, a GRAND ADVENTURE that warmed my heart. Don’t look too deep though, because you’ll find some logistics called into question. Instead, enjoy this book for the star-filled, enchanting fantasy that it is.

STAR DAUGHTER pays tribute to the gorgeous world of Gaiman’s STARDUST, while weaving in the author’s own twists on Hindu astrology. It features a magical Night Market, glowing star families based on the nakshatras that make up our night sky, and a girl who’s stuck between two worlds. It’s prettily written and captures Sheetal’s balance between her mortal dad’s world and her star mother’s legacy of star royalty. Continue reading “Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar Review | A Light Fantasy That Is Out Of This World”

Set Fire To The Gods by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons Review | Gladiators And Elemental Powers, Yet Still No Spark

41954467. sy475 Set Fire to the Gods
Author: Sara Raasch & Kristen Simmons
Series: Yes, first book
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Ash is descended from a long line of gladiators, and she knows the brutal nature of war firsthand. But after her mother dies in an arena, she vows to avenge her by overthrowing her fire god, whose temper has stripped her country of its resources.

Madoc grew up fighting on the streets to pay his family’s taxes. But he hides a dangerous secret: he doesn’t have the earth god’s powers like his opponents. His elemental gift is something else—something that hasn’t been seen in centuries.

When an attempted revenge plot goes dangerously wrong, Ash inadvertently throws the fire and earth gods into a conflict that can only be settled by deadly, lavish gladiator games. The fights put Madoc in Ash’s path, and she realizes that his powers are the weapon her rebellion needs—but Madoc won’t jeopardize his family, regardless of how intrigued he is by the beautiful warrior.

But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortal—it will unravel the world.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

I’ve only read one of each author’s past work, and they were both very mediocre. However, the glorious cover for SET FIRE TO THE GODS and exciting blurb convinced me to pick up their joint creation. What came out from this experience was reading a powerful punch of combined mediocrity. The world-building was weak, the storyline was fine but failed to grip me, and I couldn’t care less about the characters. This is odd, because despite everything, the writing was fine. The narrative switches between Madoc and Ash’s POV’s as they enter a “war” as gladiators and fight against gods. The blurb promises non-stop action and maybe a hint of romance. Something about it, though, failed to differentiate this story from the amalgam of YA fantasies out there, and it just wasn’t gripping enough to really make me care. This review is my good-bye for picking up any of these author’s next works. Continue reading “Set Fire To The Gods by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons Review | Gladiators And Elemental Powers, Yet Still No Spark”

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon Review | Featuring The Best Moments Of High School

52766407. sx318 sy475 Today Tonight Tomorrow
Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon
Release Date: July 14, 2020
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

The Hating Game meets Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by way of Morgan Matson in this unforgettable romantic comedy about two rival overachievers whose relationship completely transforms over the course of twenty-four hours.

Today, she hates him.

It’s the last day of senior year. Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been bitter rivals for all of high school, clashing on test scores, student council elections, and even gym class pull-up contests. While Rowan, who secretly wants to write romance novels, is anxious about the future, she’d love to beat her infuriating nemesis one last time.

Tonight, she puts up with him.

When Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan has only one chance at victory: Howl, a senior class game that takes them all over Seattle, a farewell tour of the city she loves. But after learning a group of seniors is out to get them, she and Neil reluctantly decide to team up until they’re the last players left—and then they’ll destroy each other.

As Rowan spends more time with Neil, she realizes he’s much more than the awkward linguistics nerd she’s sparred with for the past four years. And, perhaps, this boy she claims to despise might actually be the boy of her dreams.

Tomorrow…maybe she’s already fallen for him.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

TODAY TONIGHT TOMORROW was super sweet, uplifting, and all that I want in my YA contemporary books! With a lovely romance and spectacular relationship development, it really hit my heart and stayed there.

“We’ve compared test scores and GPAs and clashes on everything from school projects to gym-class pull-up contests. We can’t seem to stop trying to one-up each other… until now.
After graduation this weekend, I’ll never have to see him again. No more morning texts, no more sleepless nights.
I am almost free.” Continue reading “Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon Review | Featuring The Best Moments Of High School”

The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan by Sherry Thomas Review | The Historical Mulan Retelling We Needed

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The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan
Author: Sherry Thomas
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Publisher: Tu Books
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook Depository

Synopsis:

CHINA, 484 A.D.

A Warrior in Disguise
All her life, Mulan has trained for one purpose: to win the duel that every generation in her family must fight. If she prevails, she can reunite a pair of priceless heirloom swords separated decades earlier, and avenge her father, who was paralyzed in his own duel.

Then a messenger from the Emperor arrives, demanding that all families send one soldier to fight the Rouran invaders in the north. Mulan’s father cannot go. Her brother is just a child. So she ties up her hair, takes up her sword, and joins the army as a man.

A War for a Dynasty
Thanks to her martial arts skills, Mulan is chosen for an elite team under the command of the princeling–the royal duke’s son, who is also the handsomest man she’s ever seen. But the princeling has secrets of his own, which explode into Mulan’s life and shake up everything she knows. As they cross the Great Wall to face the enemy beyond, Mulan and the princeling must find a way to unwind their past, unmask a traitor, and uncover the plans for the Rouran invasion . . . before it’s too late.

Inspired by wuxia martial-arts dramas as well as the centuries-old ballad of Mulan, The Magnolia Sword is perfect for fans of Renee Ahdieh, Marie Lu, or Kristin Cashore–a thrilling, romantic, and sharp-edged novel that lives up to its beloved heroine.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

“I am not just a girl – no woman is. And if Heaven has deposited me at this time and place, then I AM meant to deal with these problems, no matter their scale of consequence.”

The BALLAD OF HUA MULAN, made popular through the Disney animation, is something that resonates in most young Chinese-American’s hearts. I say that because I have grown up watching this movie, as well as learning the inconsistencies it gives. (And while there are historical inaccuracies, I honestly believe it’s not as problematic as what social media hypes it up to be.) And so this beloved tale, with the addition of classical wuxia elements, creates a lightly romantic, highly political and action-packed retelling from a Chinese author that, instead of glorified Hua Mulan, drew her as a skilled warrior who fought for the sake of duty, friendship, and honor.

Continue reading “The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan by Sherry Thomas Review | The Historical Mulan Retelling We Needed”

Rogue Heart by Axie Oh Review | Scintillating Sci-Fi Sequel Set In Neo Beijing

39837141. sy475 Rogue Heart
Author: Axie Oh
Series: Book 2 of 2
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Publisher: Tu Books
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

NEO BEIJING, 2201. Two years after the Battle of Neo Seoul, eighteen-year-old telepath Ama works by day in a cafe and moonlights as a lounge singer in a smoky bar at night. She’s anonymous, she’s safe from the seemingly never-ending war, and that’s how she’d like to stay. But then PHNX, a resistance group specializing in espionage and covert missions, approaches her with an offer to expose a government experiment exactly like the one she fled. Soon, Ama is traveling with PHNX on a series of dangerous assignments, using her telepathic powers to aid the rebellion against the authoritarian Alliance.

As the war ramps up, PHNX is given its most dangerous mission yet: to infiltrate the base of the Alliance’s new war commander, a young man rumored to have no fear of death. But when Ama sees the commander for the first time, she discovers his identity: Alex Kim, the boy she once loved and who betrayed her.

Now, Ama must use her telepathic abilities to pose as an officer in Alex’s elite guard, manipulating Alex’s mind so that he doesn’t recognize her. As the final battle approaches, Ama struggles with her mission and her feelings for Alex. Will she be able to carry out her task? Or will she give up everything for Alex again—only to be betrayed once more?

Part heist novel, part love story, Rogue Heart is perfect for fans of Marie Lu’s Warcross and Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

Axie Oh does it again with another scintillating spi-fi tale that spans time and dimensions. Set two years after the events of REBEL SOUL (which you can find my glowing review over here), ROGUE HEART returns us back to a technologically-advanced future and beloved characters that are still alive, against all odds. With Oh’s beautiful writing and complex characters, ROGUE HEART is an adventure that will capture readers’ hearts and souls as we follow the adventure of Ama and her path back to justice, and the boy she loves.

“Even in a world where I was a government experiment, where the boy I love betrayed me and broke my heart, I still wanted to live in it. I wanted to survive, I wanted to live, I wanted to love again.”

Continue reading “Rogue Heart by Axie Oh Review | Scintillating Sci-Fi Sequel Set In Neo Beijing”

Of Silver and Shadow by Jennifer Gruenke Review | Another YA Fantasy Rebellion?!

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Of Silver and Shadow
Author: Jennifer Gruenke
Release Date: May 26, 2020
Publisher: Flux
Get it Here: AmazonBook Depository

Synopsis:

Ren Kolins is a silver wielder—a dangerous thing to be in the kingdom of Erdis, where magic has been outlawed for a century. Ren is just trying to survive, sticking to a life of petty thievery, card games, and pit fighting to get by. But when a wealthy rebel leader discovers her secret, he offers her a fortune to join his revolution. The caveat: she won’t see a single coin until they overthrow the King.

Behind the castle walls, a brutal group of warriors known as the King’s Children is engaged in a competition: the first to find the rebel leader will be made King’s Fang, the right hand of the King of Erdis. And Adley Farre is hunting down the rebels one by one, torturing her way to Ren and the rebel leader, and the coveted King’s Fang title.

But time is running out for all of them, including the youngest Prince of Erdis, who finds himself pulled into the rebellion. Political tensions have reached a boiling point, and Ren and the rebels must take the throne before war breaks out.
One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Check out my review on GoodReads over here!

It’s tough to write a book about overthrowing an already-established rule. That’s why so many fantasies, YA or otherwise, are released in trilogies or a series. For Of Silver and Shadow to successfully write a well-planned rebellion, with multiple parties involved and fleshed-out characterizations, in one book? That’s really impressive to me, and one of the reasons why this book and I just clicked. I don’t think the premise is anything special: random thief girl is a silver wielder in a kingdom where only royals can wield silver. Rich rebel leader persuades her to help their cause for money, and she goes begrudgingly because she needs that money for a hidden altruistic reason. On the other side, we have the POV’s of a trained soldier battling against her heart (with another female soldier) and her loyalty (to the crown), and a young prince that doesn’t know where he wants to go/what he wants to do in life. The background is tried and true, but the narratives that Gruenke writes are just plain GOOD. Honestly, the story could have been longer to flesh things out, but my love for stand-alones (assuming this is) made this the perfect length for me.

We start with the rebels.

Continue reading “Of Silver and Shadow by Jennifer Gruenke Review | Another YA Fantasy Rebellion?!”

Blog Tour | Black Wings Beating by Alex London Fan Art!

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Hello everyone!

I’m excited to be one of the blog tour stops to celebrate the release of Black Wings Beating by Alex London, which came out yesterday. Woohoo!

This was a super unique, soaring fantasy that I think many readers will be drawn to. It features a m/m romance (that’s #ownvoices), twins who have an ever-evolving relationship, hidden political schemes, plenty of action, and the graceful flight of birds of prey that you really grow to appreciate while reading the story. I really urge Young Adult fantasy lovers to pick this book up from your local bookstore or library!

36949994Black Wings Beating
Author: Alex London
Series: Skybound #1
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
The people of Uztar have long looked to the sky with hope and wonder. Nothing in their world is more revered than the birds of prey and no one more honored than the falconers who call them to their fists. Brysen strives to be a great falconer–while his twin sister, Kylee, rejects her ancient gifts for the sport and wishes to be free of falconry. She’s nearly made it out, too, but a war is rolling toward their home in the Six Villages, and no bird or falconer will be safe.Together the twins must journey into the treacherous mountains to trap the Ghost Eagle, the greatest of the Uztari birds and a solitary killer. Brysen goes for the boy he loves and the glory he’s long craved, and Kylee to atone for her past and to protect her brother’s future. But both are hunted by those who seek one thing: power.

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Scroll for fan art!

Continue reading “Blog Tour | Black Wings Beating by Alex London Fan Art!”

Book Review: Beautiful Broken Hearts by Kami Garcia

33158532Beautiful Broken Hearts
Author: Kami Garcia
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Imprint
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times–bestselling author Kami Garcia comes a red-hot romance that will break your heart and put it back together again.

Her heart has to break before it can open.

When star soccer player Peyton Rios receives an offer from her first-choice college, senior year starts off exactly as planned. But when Peyton uncovers her boyfriend’s dark secret, she confronts him—and finds herself falling down a flight of stairs. Peyton’s knee—and maybe her dream of going pro—is shattered. Everyone is talking: Was she pushed, or did she fall? Peyton knows the truth, even if no one believes her.

He has to let someone in before it’s too late.

With her future on the line, Peyton goes to stay with her uncle in a small Tennessee town to focus on her recovery. Dating is the last thing on her mind—until she meets sweet, sexy Owen Law.

But Peyton doesn’t trust her heart, especially when she senses that Owen is hiding something. When their secrets are finally exposed, Peyton has to decide if love is worth fighting for.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I enjoyed Kami Garcia’s previous contemporary, The Lovely Reckless, and this one was no different. Beautiful Broken Hearts follow the story of Peyton Rios, a biracial (half-Cuban, half-white) and talented soccer player whose dreams of going to UNC with a scholarship is wiped away after one incident with her abusive boyfriend. In the author’s note, Garcia wrote about how she was in a similar situation in her life, and discussed the importance of seeking out for help when needed (including resources such as Break the Cycle and the National Domestic Violence Hotline). I think this book was especially important in highlighting abusive/manipulative relationships, and above all, the fact that sometimes you need to just put yourself first, before anything – or anyone – else.

Continue reading “Book Review: Beautiful Broken Hearts by Kami Garcia”