Review: Admission

Admission

In the wake of the real life Admission scandal, I was so excited to read this. I went into this story with the expectation of a edge of my seat thriller about scandal, bribery, lies, cheating, and more. What I read was flat, dull, and uneventful. I have nobody to blame but myself as I set my expectations far too high.

The MC, Chloe, wants nothing more than to get into her dream college but as a mediocre student, she doesn’t realistically have a chance of getting into the highly competitive and prestigious school. She was doing everything her parents told her, all the time believing it will be enough. She has no idea that behind the scenes they are paying the right people to fake applications, tests, papers, and more to make her dreams come true.

Sounds compelling, right? I thought the same thing until I started the story. To put it bluntly: it was boring. I was bored the entire read. Nothing of interest happens. Nothing made me gasp in shock or clutch my pearls. It was cut and dry: parents pay someone to get their daughter into school because she cannot do it on her own. I just hoped there would have been something a wee bit more exciting that had happened.

The characters were not that interesting either. Sure, I felt bad for Chloe because she had no idea what was happening. Now her parents? I couldn’t stand them, especially her mom. Her mom was more concerned about reminding everyone about the TV shows and B-movies she was in than admitting she messed up big time. She was so self-involved that it was starting to make me really mad. I had several thoughts of quitting the story but it wasn’t very long so I stuck it out. That was my fault.

I want to mention there is a hint of a romance in the story but it took a back seat to the rest of the story. I kind of think it would have helped the story but I’ll never know because it was never developed. I believe it was added to the story for the sake of adding to the story. Did it serve a purpose? No, not one.

I do wish I could put my finger on what would have made this better but I can’t. Maybe adding Chloe’s sister’s POV? Maybe tone down the clueless mom? Or perhaps develop the romance? No matter what, if you read about this scandal in the papers then skip this book. You will not be entertained.

Review: Chasing Lucky

Chasing Lucky

I received a gifted copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Jenn Bennett has magic in her veins. I have yet to read a book of hers that I do not like. Her romance stories make me swoon in ways I didn’t know I could. Not only can she write, her lust-worthy characters feel so believable. The banter, the interactions, the story lines, all of it feels real. I could be watching real two people going through an adventure rather than a made up story. Magic, I tell you.

From the very start I knew I would fall for Lucky and he would break my heart. Did that stop me? Not at all. I buckled up and settled in for the ride. (SPOILER: He was everything I hoped he’d be and more.) Now Lucky with Josie? FANTASTIC. The snark between these two had me in stitches! These two being best friends as young children finding each other again as older teens was amazing. It was as if these two never missed a beat. The banter and wit was back and I was here for it. The chemistry sizzled on the page, holy smokes. The story line of Josie and her mother being forced to move back to their hometown was so very good. It sounded like a small town I would love to visit someday, especially during the summer.

As you can tell, I’m struggling to form proper thoughts because I enjoyed this so much. The setting was perfect, the characters were wonderfully flawed and well developed, and the plot was believable. Josie wanted a clean start and to stop moving so much with her Mom. Her Mom seems to be outrunning something from her past and it’s wearing on Josie. After being forced to go back to their hometown, everything changes, secrets are revealed, truths come to the surface, old flames are rekindled, and walls come down. What more can you want from a story?

This Bennett book was exactly what I needed in my life. I devoured it and now want more. (Also, I claim Lucky as my book boyfriend.) Please read this one ASAP if you have not already.

Review: More Than Just a Pretty Face

More Than Just a Pretty Face

**I received an ARC from the Publisher in exchange for my honest review**

I have been struggling with my review for this one. I had high hopes but I walked away disappointed. Stories that circle around Muslim characters are either hit or miss for me, mostly miss as the last few I’ve read were bad representations of the culture.

The main reason I did not enjoy this as much as I wanted was because of the main character, Danyal. I did not like how many times he would make fun of Muslim culture/traditions. I’m not Muslim but it made me uncomfortable when he made fun of the religion. He would do this a lot when he was trying too hard to impress others at school or act like he was too cool for school. He had his moments when he was funny and charming, but I’m not a fan of people or characters that are “charming”.

Enter Bisma, Danyal’s love interest. She was such a great character but she came into the story far too late and their relationship developed way too late to save the story. It was not given enough time to properly develop, which was very sad. I would have liked to see more grow there.

I did want more from this story so that’s on me. I did not read any reviews before I started this so I went into blind, which I prefer to do. I am grateful that the publisher trusted me with a copy but this was just not for me for the above reasons.

Review: Dear Universe

Dear Universe

**I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion**

This book was a tough one to get through. It felt like there was so much happening and at times it felt like too much. Chamomile (Cham), the MC, wanted nothing more than a typical Senior Year but the Universe had other plans for her. She has been keeping a huge secret that will keep her from having the same normal experiences like her classmates. She probably won’t be able to go off to college because her father has Parkinson’s. Her father’s health consumed her thoughts and causes her to be mad at the Universe for what is happening. She just felt so alone, but that is when Brandon entered her story. He was her opposite in nearly every way and that was why it worked.

Cham was a very well developed character with her flaws but there were also times I wanted to smack her. I get that she was angry because she had every right to be, but some scenes felt extreme. It was mentioned that her character had anger management in the past but at no point was more anger management/treatment/therapy discussed. I felt she would have really benefited from that with everything she was going through, with all of the pressure she was carrying around.

While I did have some issues with parts of the story, it was an absolute engrossing read that I could not put down. Brandon’s character was the perfect Ying to Cham’s Yang and that was refreshing. I cannot say it enough that I wish there would have been some type of therapy or professional mental health help for Cham. I also would have liked the relationship between Cham and Brandon to have been developed a little deeper, but that’s from a purely selfish standpoint.

I do see a lot of readers devouring this and that makes me happy. I believe this is going to be a fabulous read for a lot of bibliophiles and it should be. It tackles a few serious topics and that is necessary in today’s environment.

ARC Review: Kingdom of the Wicked

Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked, #1)

**I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion**

Holy Goddess. Be still my wicked heart.

This book was delicious from start to finish. There was so much I fell for in this one. Ok, let’s be real. I fell for everything in this story. The chemistry between a witch (Emilia) and a demon (Wrath) was sizzling and I found myself needing to take breaks to fan myself. Holy Hell. Emilia and Wrath were … for the lack of a better word … PERFECT. Emilia, with her strong connection and dedication to her twin, her family, her beliefs, her talents, her magic, her commitments, her determination, her self confidence was intense, powerful, and dazzling. Match that against one of the Seven Princes of Hell, Wrath, and you’ve got a spark waiting to ignite in the best way possible. These two characters were flawed, don’t think they were without faults, but that made them more believable. I was addicted to them and wanted more.

The history Maniscalco peppered into this story was exceptional. The way she wove magical tales that were supposed to be just ghost stories but turned out to be more, were nothing short of genius. That lead to the world building being remarkable. It was so lush, so engrossing, so realistic that I felt I was right there with Emilia on her quest. Several times I thought I could smell the moss on the walls or the vendor carts in their stalls. Maniscalco has a gift and I will fight anyone who says otherwise.

This was a fast paced magical thriller that I devoured. I was thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it and that’s rare. I wanted to take my time with this as I didn’t want it to be over too quickly, but once I started reading I couldn’t stop. Everything around my disappeared and I neglected everything I was supposed to do ( I have no regrets).

This book comes out soon and I know you’ve already preordered it or request from your library, but if you haven’t make sure to find a way to get your hands on it. You will not be sorry.

Review: Grown

Grown

This was powerful, raw, necessary, and tough to get through. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to properly express myself when it comes to this one. It hit me in such a way that I still stumble with all of the emotions I have for it. Jackson won me over many years ago with her powerhouse Allegedly and she’s only gotten better with every book she writes.

I’m sure you’ve heard there are Trigger Warnings for this and I’m here to testify that is true. I mentioned this was tough to get through and I mean it. It deals with several forms of abuse, sexual assault, violence (both verbal and physical), neglect, underage drinking, drug use, and much more. While those are very serious topics, they are all handled with the care and grace they deserve. Jackson did not throw them into the story just for the sake of it. They served a purpose and they were also discussed/addressed as they should have been. It was brilliantly done and my hats off to Jackson.

I have said this on numerous occasions but I connected with this story on a deep level as I am a survivor of domestic violence. Now I can only speak to my personal experiences but the abuse/neglect/violent scenes in this story felt believable. I had many, many similar situations/events in my life so I believed what Enchanted was going through.

There were other times when I felt like I was Enchanted. This tugged at all of the right emotions, feelings, thoughts, wants, hopes, and dreams. What little girl hasn’t had dreams of being in the spotlight or being more than her upbringing? I know I had big dreams of getting out of my small town, sadly I had to take some seriously rocky detours to get there but I made it.

The world building, the characters, the story lines are all magnificent. The characters are brilliantly flawed, the worlds are lush, and the story lines are captivating. I will always recommend Jackson books to readers. She writes the stories that need to be published. She writes real, relatable, believable, and relevant stories. She writes with magic in her veins because her stories are so fluid.

If you read this one, let me know your thoughts.

Review: All Eyes on Her

All Eyes on Her

I went into this one blind and having read no reviews. I knew it was a bit of a mystery/thriller and that was exactly what I was hoping for. What I read was not what I expected it to be. It was less mystery/thriller and more like badly written 90s high school drama.

The main reason I did not enjoy this one was because of the characters. They were flat out awful. They did not have any redeeming qualities, no character arcs, nothing that made me want to root for them. They were just nasty and horrid to each other because they could be. I don’t like people like that in real life and I certainly do not enjoy reading about them in a book.

The mystery/thriller aspect of the story was neither mysterious or thrilling. It was boring, to be quite honest. The author tried way too hard to foreshadow, while also throwing red herrings in the hopes of tripping the reader up. Neither worked well as the overall story went on so long that I lost interest in what was actually happening. I quickly did not care who did what to who when and where. Don’t get me started on the way the ending was left open. That felt like a cop out more than anything.

After I finished this one, I went to Goodreads to see what others thought and it turns out I am in the minority. Just one more book to prove that not every book is for every reader. Give this book a try and maybe you’ll have better luck with it than I did.

Review: Rated

Rated

Anyone who knows me as a readers knows that I live for a good futuristic/dystopian story. The synopsis of this story alone checked those boxes. A society where anyone can affect your user rating and everything about you is tied to that rating might be closer than we think. It also sounded exactly like what I needed in my life, which is why I snagged a copy to devour. Well… what I read didn’t match the expectation I had in my head. While this was a fascinating premise and the world building was rather good, the story line itself fell flat. I kept waiting for the hook of the story to happen and sadly I had to wait until almost the very end of the story for it to present itself. The rest of the time I sat through so many characters being introduced. So. Many. Characters. Should they all have been there and given their own voices? No, they shouldn’t have. Having that many POV voices did not add to the story. I struggled to keep them all straight, most of the time wondering if I even needed to keep them all straight.

Grey certainly knows how to properly world build so I will not ever say she cannot do that. What she struggled with here was developing her characters and giving them arcs. One character was an anorexic figure skater and there was too much attention given to those things about her, but they did not have anything to do with the overall story. The topic of anorexia was also not discussed or addressed at all and that really bothered me. Another character was good at hacking, and another was good at studying. Whoopie. They were just boring, flat, one-dimensional characters. I felt nothing for them.

Am I upset I read this? Upset is strong but I’m disappointed in what I read. The ending was a total let down as nothing was revealed until the last few pages of the book. I do not like when that happens because it just feels like the author phoned in the end of the book. If this is a series I will not continue. I don’t care enough to find out what happens next.

Review: Watch Over Me

Watch Over Me

Nobody destroys my feels quite like Ms. LaCour. Another book that shatter me and hit me right in my emotions. LaCour’s latest novel was full of hard hitting emotions, tough topics, grief, learning how to love and what it means to be loved. This was not an easy read but my goodness it was powerful and gave me a lot to think about. Some of the topics covered (certainly not all): foster care, abuse, child abandonment, and trauma,

Mila was an outstanding protagonist. She was very well developed and had a wonderful character arc. I wanted nothing more than to reach into the story and give her a hug. This poor girl went through more than any one person should ever have to endure. The setting was lush and hauntingly beautiful. I felt like I was completely immersed in all parts of this book. The eerie flashbacks were very well done and added an extra layer to the story, as well as the ghostly hauntings. It felt masterfully done.

I devoured this book in one day, I could not get enough of it. I believe this is already on your TBR but add it if it isn’t already.

Review: Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy

Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy

I don’t talk about this a lot because I carry a lot of shame with it but I have a very negative relationship with my body. I battle PTSD daily, which lead to an eating disorder, anorexia, body dysmorphia, and AFRID. I wish I had a book like this years ago as I feel it would have made a huge difference. I am grateful it is out now because I hope it helps others. I talk about my battles so much more because admitting means I don’t give it full control over me. Plus, talking about it means I put my story out for others and I have found I am not alone with my issues.

That being said, I loved this book more than I can put into proper words. While my issues are huge to me, people are going through so much more than what I am carrying. So many people, stories, and backgrounds are represented and it is nothing short of spectacular. I am going to push this in front of every reader I come into contact with. This book needs to be in the hands of everyone STAT.