The Rules of Persuasion

The Rules of PersuasionThe Rules of Persuasion by Amity Hope

1 star

ARC received from Netgalley for a fair review.

The Story-The Rules of Persuasion was 95% predictable, but 100% full of angsty cuteness. Honestly, if you have read any YA contemporary where a boy or girl get’s someone to be their fake boyfriend or girlfriend then you have read this book. The only the thing that is different is the circumstances surrounding the initiation of fake relationship. This review may contain what is considered spoilers, but honestly I think everything I write in here should be entirely expected….so I’m not going to mark it all spoiler. Let’s review this trope recipe:

-someone needs a favor/blackmails
-they actually run in different circles/don’t like each other
-they write down all the rules
-the rules doesn’t stop them for getting a dose of the feels
-shit is going to hit the fan right

Well, you get the idea….

The Characters
Meg-Somehow this girl was supposed to be a girl that wasn’t like other girls. But let’s face it, she was just your average girl, minus her family issues, not some crazy special snowflake. The downside is, that she is sort of a forgettable character. I just finished hours of reading about her and this is what I know:
-she likes to wear high heeled boots that click clack, preferably in black.
-she has two friends, but she only really hangs out with them in school…except to get ready for a date..
-she’s not really into anything in particular…….like really, what are her interests? Sure she watches black and white movies…on rainy days…she likes the beach because of her sister…she graffiti’s because of her sister…in fact she wears black because of her sister… She wants to be a counselor, why? Because she got good counseling…after what happened to her sister. Don’t get me wrong, that’s great and all. But who is this chick? I don’t know, I hardly remember her.

Luke-What can I really say? This is a contemporary YA novel. Let’s hit every cliché thing that accurately describes Luke:
-he’s rich, but wants nothing to do with his family
-he’s good looking
-he’s good at sports too
-he’s also smart – party because he has to study hard for his family
-he has an ex gf who’s a heinous bitch.
-You know what else? He’s got dimples & smirks a lot. That’s right. He was smirking within 2% of the book. I almost decided to keep count of all the times his smirkiness was mentioned….but it got old really fast. Let’s be completely real, if someone smirked at you that much you would be sort of weirded out right?

The Connection-Despite the book being cute, it wasn’t entirely relatable. I understand the need for these kids to act out in their own way but there were a few things that just plain bothered me. The biggest part was how the rich kid was somehow supposed to feel bad for being rich. Like I’m sorry that you had to move from a house where you had a walk in closet at one point. Also, not everyone has parents that allow them to commandeer their old motorcycles… there is something that really irks me when a character bashes another one about being rich, like somehow that makes them a bad person. You know what that makes them? Rich. It shouldn’t be used as a way to make the poorer character seem like a better person.

I’m sorry for all the lists in this review. It was sort of unavoidable to do while pointing out everything. Now if you’ve never read a fake bf/gf book before, it could all be fresh for you and you might like it. Unfortunately, this book didn’t have enough spin to it to make me actually like it that much.

The Big F

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The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin

ARC from Swoon Reads and Netgalley for a fair review.

Publish Date: August 29, 2017

5 stars

“Being lost, being without the plan I’d armed myself with my entire life, got me out of my comfort zone in ways that challenged me and forced me to grow as a person.” 

Maggie Ann Martin debut? I dub thee for fans of Kasie West and Morgan Matson.

The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin was a breath of fresh air in the YA contemporary category. Instead of a story about a 16 year old falling for that one guy that sweeps her off her feet in the most unexpected ways we are given the story of post high school but not quite adult. Where YA contemporary has steadily given us that high school romance and NA/Chicklit gives us those mid-twenties/fresh out of college taking on the world through middle age stories, Martin has delivered us a refreshing story that manages to land right in the middle. While The Big F dances around the typical tropes it doesn’t exactly take the same path.

Dani is fresh out of high school and as the daughter of a college guru she is on her way to the college of her dreamsor not. She’s failed her AP English class and her acceptance into the communications program has been taken away leaving her without a college plan. That is until she meets Luke, the boy next door who held her heart till he moved away when she was 11, wearing a t-shirt advertising the local community college. She finds herself enrolled into a community college as a last ditch effort to hopefully get back on track. If only she could figure out how to handle her new budding relationship, passing her classes and getting back into the good graces of her parents.

The Story-Like I said before, I loved that this didn’t follow all the typical YA contemporary tropes, but they are there, just not obnoxiously…

Firstly, lets touch on the base that she has a healthy relationship with parents that are, wait a minute, still together. There was no tragic death of one of her parents or a divorce sparking some kind of character building. Her parents were together, her family spent time together, and her brother was normal. Now, this book didn’t pretend that the world was perfect as her friends have had their own parental issues. It just wasn’t one of the defining issues for Dani. In fact, everything Dani goes through is self-inflicted and she figures it out on her own.

The boy next door trope is probably the biggest cliché in this book. Thankfully, the story doesn’t completely drive this one home, and uses it merely as a spring board for the plot. You know what the best part of this one was? It was almost more of a reach for a familiar connection rather than the one next door that is suddenly confessed to.

Lastly, the friend that sets you right trope. Dani had two friends like this. She had a friend to set her right emotionally, and a friend to check her when she was drowning academically, what a lucky girl. Even though they were there for her though, it wasn’t like her friends had to knock her silly and talk sense into her; they were just there for that extra push.

Was this the next story to make your heart break into a million pieces and then soar to the moon? No, but it’s the type of book you can enjoy over a weekend, silently cheering her on and grinning and her foolheartedness

The Characters

Dani-Okay, I really liked her. I think my favorite part of her was that though she had her romantic tendencies she felt so tangible. She was realistic, straight forward, and had her weaknesses that didn’t put her in the damsel in distress category. Despite making some key choices that she has to fix, she is still fairly level headed. She doesn’t need people telling her what to do, just the usual pat on the back and reassuring words.

Luke-What can I say really? He is pretty much the perfect boy next door. What makes him so perfect? He is the boy we dream about when we’re 11 but realize that everyone has their flaws even if they sit on such a high pedestal.

Porter-Everyone needs that one friend that shakes things up. Porter is that friend that introduces you to new things without making you go buck wild crazy that your family is completely concerned. I feel like all the Porters of the world are underappreciated, and I thank Martin for helping the “gangly boy” stand out.

Zoe-This girl has got to be the best wing woman ever. Martin did such a good job of incorporating a supportive friend without her own issues becoming the plot of the story. Zoe isn’t some magical creature that doesn’t have any drama per se, but the book wasn’t about her and she did a stellar job as a supporting character by not stealing any drama thunder.

The Connection– Personally, I have always felt completely detached whenever I read about the following things in YA contemporaries who were obsessed with going to a university. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against this age old tradition of kids graduating high school and heading off to college. I loved that this book showed a little bit more of the alternative – the wonderful world of community college.

I consider my town a college town. Spokane has both Gonzaga and Whitworth, a remote campus for WSU downtown, EWU just a stone throw away in Cheney and two community colleges. I had the luxury of going to both community colleges over the course of five years, and while I missed the whole dorm/sorority bit, I don’t feel like I missed out on all that much as far as my education goes. I think one of my favorite parts of the book was really that Martin didn’t dog against community college, even though Dani’s mother was a consultant for college acceptance. It was refreshing to be reminded that while they don’t typically offer 4 year degrees, they are an amicable stepping stone for transferring to university for either catching up on requirements for a program or simply determining that maybe you don’t know exactly what you want to do.

Purchase The Big F on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

-Scrill

The Hundredth Queen

The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King


No star rating due to DNF


ARC received from Netgalley for fair review


Publish date: June 1, 2017

*yes, I know I am a little late*



I. JUST. CAN’T. I hate DNFing an ARC, but no thanks. 

My overall reaction:

I gave this a solid shot, and by 73% I am baffled by the lack of romantic development, despite there being a huge romantic element. I get instant attraction, but really? instant attraction to the first man you’ve seen, and despite the ramifications of possible DEATH you risk your life and their’s for someone you hardly know? 

You also hate someone for something you have been groomed for for your entire life? I mean, I get the girls wanting some kind of personal freedom. But honestly, having had only known one kind of life..you think that they would have been a little bit more accepting and honored on how their life is leading.

I’m sorry I just feel like the romance is hurried and there for has ruined the book. I like the idea of this magical element that can essentially destroy you if it’s not properly honed. I also loved that even though said magical element is news to our character, that she’s not just like magically all powerful and bad ass. The problem for me is, I hope they get caught and are killed even if the benefactor is a little gross, and I don’t think you’re supposed to feel about the main character like that.

-Scrill

Kissing Max Holden

Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman

4 Stars

 

Publish date: August 1, 2017

ARC from Netgalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for a fair review

 

THE FEELINGS GUYS!

 

Kissing Max Holden was not your average boy-next-door trope. It is much more real, dramatic and heartbreaking. Jillian kisses Max, unfortunately, he’s already got a girlfriend. Then what happens? Well, a LOT. There’s kissing, crying, lying, betrayal, OH MAN, life freaking happens, and my heart hurts so hard from this book.

 

The RomanceReally, boy next door is usually fool proof for me. I will always read (and probably adore) boy next door stories. This one really takes it to the next level. I wouldn’t say it’s the HBO version because it stays pretty PG13, however, it’s definitely not the charming story you find on the Hallmark channel either. 

 

The CharactersI love that Max sort of was like this bad boy, but wasn’t really. There were real reasons to why he was acting out and a friendship between Jillian and him that was grounds for their romance to take off. All the characters were incredibly endearing and added to the story.

 

I can’t really say much more about the book without giving away spoilers. But let me just say, that there is a lot of hurt happening in this book. A lot of the time, I felt just as bad as Jillian knowing that she helped a guy cheat on his girlfriend. No one wants to be that other girl. My heart broke with hers throughout the book. 

 

The only reason why I docked it a star was just because there was a lull I had to drag myself out of around 60-80% through the book. But it honestly wrapped up nicely. Excuse me while I go find all my family and friends and tell them I love them.

 

-Scrill

NYXIA

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

ARC from Netgalley for an honest review

Publish Date: September 12, 2017

5 Stars


“Babel might have all the keys, but they don’t know what they’re keeping in the cage.” 

 

Before I get into this review, let me just say that I never read Ender’s Game, but I think I watched the flop-ish of a movie. Now while I found a few things that I didn’t particularly love about the book, it wasn’t anything that I fully disliked, they were just aspects that I just shrugged off.

Nyxia is a futuristic story about this guy named Emmett that gets recruited by a company called Babel into this space quest to a distant planet called Eden to mine for a substance called Nyxia. 9 other teens are also recruited on this mission as well. Turns out only 8 of them get to go and they must battle it out for the chance to make a lot of money and go to Eden.

The Story-What I liked most about Nyxia was that it wasn’t just about the challenges that the characters have to go through. Yes, a majority of the book is stock full of vivid accounts of the challenges, however, there is this underlying creepiness that Babel has form all the secrecy. First of all-Babel? I mean, in the Bible the story surrounding Babel is about how all the descendants of Noah started to overreach and build a tower to get to Heaven & God-at which point God was like, oh heck no let me scatter you and make you unable to understand each other. So that, and all the other biblical references in the beginning really set it up for the company to not be trustworthy. Do we ever find anything out? Not really, the men in charge openly admit that they aren’t just one wizard behind one curtain, there are many wizards behind many curtains. Quotes like this:

“But a quick glance shows that not all the kids around the table can see the writing on the wall. Translation: Walking away isn’t an option.”

just really set up the book to have a lot of twists and turns in the story, and boy are there a lot of twists and turns. (BTW, in case you don’t know “writing on the wall” is another biblical reference). Anyway, as soon as you start to think the book might plateau, BAM twist and then BAM turn. Literally, at 97% of the book another twist is thrown in.

The World Building-Let’s be real. They were on a spaceship, there wasn’t much world building. What little there was was in creation of Eden & the elements that go with it. The Adamites, the nyxia, the history behind previous travels was where any world building was. Here is one of the few things that bothered me comes in, but still was able to shrug it off. Here we are in the near distant future, Google apparently has been eaten up by this company Babel, but we are wearing these full masks for translating? There is already an ear budthat you can get that translates like 5 different languages from Waverly Labs and I would have expected a little more advancement than what was depicted in the story. 

I loved the complexity of nyxia and what it was capable of, and I can’t wait to read the next installment so that I can learn more about what it really is, what’s Babel up to, and what has really happened down on Eden. I really hope Reintgen really spends a little more time on the background than the day to day in the next book.

The Characters-Oh my little children. I wanted to scoop each of these kids up and hug them till their worries went away. Firstly, people can stop complaining, because, drum roll please, we have a narrator that is a POC. Emmett is a kid from a hoodrat neighborhood in Detroit. What I love about him is that he doesn’t let it define him. It’s where he’s from, but not who he is or where he is going. Aside from Emmett we have a smörgåsbord of ethnicity. Each character had their own history and skill to bring to the table. I really look forward to learn more about each character as their adventure continues on Eden.

The small bit of romance felt rather shallow. With the kids pitted against each other, it was hard to even imagine something romantic sparking, but I did appreciate all the camaraderie that was built. I did find the romance to be a little bit of a reach, because how does one chose one person over the rest of the kids scrambling to go when they really didn’t have much time to get to know each other. Still, they’re kids, they have hormones so and a limited variety of other people so…

Anyway, I loved it. It was exciting from start to finish. I felt connected with the characters and wanted rooted them on.

-Scrill

Rosemarked

Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

3 stars
Published date: November 7, 2017

ARC received from Netgalley and Disney-Hyperion for an honest review

“And I can’t help but think how easy it is for a thing of this world to be destroyed, and how quickly something beautiful can disappear.”

Rosemarked is told from alternating views and tells the story of a young healer that catches a disease that she cannot cure and a man who has overcome the disease and must go on a mission with the healer to infiltrate the capital city as spies.

The Story-The pacing of this book was slow but steady. There weren’t many climactic points that had me at the edge of my seat, and when there was one, it was somewhat short lived. I had hoped with the espionage and a trained soldier there would have been a little bit more nail-biting time. Regardless, I was still entertained the entire time. The story was not very complicated which gave more time for character development. 

The World Building-I liked the idea of a country that has been ravaged by an empire overtaking it. Either lay down and let them control you and occupy your land or rebel and be slaughtered. Our characters were found from both sides-the healer catching the plague from the men that have occupied her country and a soldier that has history from the empire that haunts him. Since the characters do travel throughout the book I was hoping there would be a little more time spent in some sweeping landscape. I also would have liked to read a little bit more on the culture of the people and what life was like in the country before the invasion maybe. I appreciated the inventiveness of the plague and the stages that go with it.

The Characters-Our two main characters were definitely the most complex things about this book. The fact that Zivah is a healer but has an incurable disease is something that she has to grow and accept. I feel like it helps her transform from her naïve self to someone with a little more purpose with her life. There is something about a person’s impeding death that has them questioning how they will spend their remaining time: Sit in a cottage and slowly dieor use my knowledge for something good, something meaningful.

Dineas on the other hand has a second chance at life and somehow finds himself on a mission back to where he managed to escape from. It was really interesting to see his personality bounce back and forth throughout his mission to the point where he finally becomes whole by the end, accepting all parts of himself. 

Overall, it seemed like a decent start to a series, and I am curious to see how their mission affects their world and how the characters continue to grow. I really hope to see a little more action or suspense in the next installment. There is a lot at risk, and I really want to feel the anxiety that these characters must be feeling.

-Scrill

Mr. Big

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Mr. Big by Delancey Stewart

 

Publish date: August 29, 2017

I received an ARC from Netgalley for an honest review. 

3 stars


Before I start my review, let me just say, please don’t let the cover or even the title of the book give you any indication of what the contents of the book are. Because I know this looks like some giant sexy book, but I swear there is more to it!

With that being said, let me just say that this book was surprisingly delightful. Mr. Big is about a CEO who lost his parents and with that his identity. It’s not until he meets fierce, plan-everything, Holland that he actually starts to get his life back together.

What I loved about this book was how much both our characters battled with their own worth from how they were raised and who their parents or family was. This wasn’t a whirlwind romance between a CEO and a woman out to prove herself—okay, it was, but that wasn’t the entire premise of the story. It had depth in a way that hit familial issues as well as what you do when you find out you are into your boss.

Oliver/Hale was seriously a huge dick. It wasn’t something that went away either. There are times that he is a shining example of what some women might dream in a man. But oh my gosh, sometimes he really is a self-centered ass hole. He really was a man who acted like the world revolved around him, and sadly when he wanted to do something for Holland, I almost felt like he was doing something for Holland almost as a self-gratification to be feel like, I did this, I put that smile on her face, even if it wasn’t explicitly said in the text. It was honestly, just the vibe I got. 

It was sort of hard not to root for Holland. Here was this selfless, hardworking, undervalued woman taking the bull by the horns. She had a plan and she was going to make it happen. There were times when I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her yelling, “of course you got here on your own merit!” But alas, she is a woman working in a big business that favored men.

This book was delivered everything I expect out of a good chick-lit novel. A story about a girl getting her life together, no matter how hard the world batted against her. A steamy romance that wasn’t a huge factor to change it from chick-lit to erotica. A gripping moment that has your heart aching right along with our protagonist. It’s there, it’s the whole package. It wasn’t the best I ever read, but it was most certainly entertaining and moving.

-Scrill

A Crown of Wishes

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi 

 

5 stars


“But for the first time, I wanted to believe in the things that outlasted us: the stories that came to life in a child’s head, the fear of the dark, the hunger to live. Those were the footsteps that not even Time could discover and erase, because they lived far out of reach, in the song of blood coursing through veins and in the quiet threads that made up dreams.” 


I absolutely adored this book. While The Star Touched Queen introduced us to a magical world and a beautiful story, A Crown of Wishes gave us two snarky characters, a new magical land, and an exciting story from start to finish. In this book, Maya’s little sister Gauri finds herself in a tournament for wishes with the enemy kingdom’s prince Vikram. They travel to the land of Alaka where Kubera is hosting the tournament where you either win a wish or meet certain death.


Chokshi delivers us a magical world once again that is basically a dream land on paper. The imagery that is presented to us gives me similar vibes as What Dreams May Come was like- magical, beautiful and even dark at times. Alaka is presented in such a way that you can feel the warmth coming off the pages and imagine what a cup of memories might taste like. Again, I loved the cultural inspiration and building off of Hindu legends. With a world that is already so magical anything can be done, but Chokshi kept with a basic wit Kubera, the Lord of Wealth.


Gauri and Vikram were such a delight to get to know. While they bickered they learned where each other’s strengths where and how to handle each situation to their benefit. They had such quirky habits that made them so endearing, like the way that Vikram steepled his fingers when he was pondering over a puzzle.

The pacing to the book was perfect. TSTQ was at times somewhat slow and occasionally confusing. But in ACOW the story is consistent and doesn’t have any lulls. Each scene flows into the next with continuous imagery, witty banter, and anxious challenges for our two heroes. The connection between Gauri and Vikram transitions well as they learn to be friends and trust each other. 

-Scrill

Death and Night

Death and Night by Roshani Chokshi

Publish date: May 2, 2017

I received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley.

3 Stars

“I want to lie beside you and know the weight of your dreams. I want to share whole worlds with you and write your name in the stars. I want to measure eternity with your laughter.”


Roshani Chokshi has this way of writing that makes me feel like I am reading a beautiful LSD trip. In the land of Naraka there are creatures and immortal beings that run the unseen parts of the world. Death and Night is the prequel to The Star Touched Queen and tells the story of how Maya (Night) and Amar (Death) first came to meet and fall in love. I honestly would save this book for after reading TSTQ mostly because I think the revealing of their story in the TSTQ is part of the splendor.


Dharma Raja is such a sweetheart in this book. Though his original intentions were not as romantic as his end, he manages to be passionate from the get go. Everything he does for her throughout the story is so magical and idyllic for someone who wore the night sky on her skin. His relationship with Gupta is hilarious as he is clearly no help to Dharma Raja in his pursuit of a queen.


I love the idea of Night’s character. She was thought of to be apart of demons and nightmares just because of the darkness she brings. But in an effort to find happiness in the life that she had she sold fruit that brought dreams, with the only price being told the story of said dream.


A major part of the story that I adored was that not only in TSTQ but from the moment he decided to find himself a queen, Dharma Raja wanted an equal. He wanted someone to share his life with and build a world with. He didn’t just want the most beautiful women to bed and have as arm candy. I also loved that once he knew what it was like to have her in his life, the world dulled in comparison when he imagined it without her.


Death and Night was incredibly sweet and magical and is a great addition to the TSTQ series as a background story to the fated lovers.

-Scrill

It Had to be You

It Had to Be You by Lizzy Charles

Received an ARC from Entangled Publishing, LLC  via Netgalley for a fair review.

Publish date: May 15, 2017

3 stars

Sometimes I tell myself, fake it till you make it. What we all know from possible experience or even from any movie from the 90’s that doesn’t work out well when feelings are involved.

It Had to be You has all the ingredients that make that feel-good romantic teen story:

-inexperienced girl

-super popular guy

-inexperienced girl and popular guy have a spectacular meet cute

-inexperienced girl inspires popular guy to be a better guy

-super popular guy sweeps inexperienced girl off her feet

-miscommunication causes a rift between the two

-they fix their problems at the end

With all the cliché elements we are given the same tried story with just enough spin to get you through. While the characters were sweet I found the two main characters to be a little too level headed, too conscious of their actions. Now while Edelweiss was pretty much raised around adults, she had access to tv & Netflix, the girl couldn’t have been that naïve and James seemed to have his ranging hormones just a little too much in check. In all honesty, their relationship was sweet, but probably not that realistic considering their surroundings, ages, and overall situation. They handled themselves a little too maturely for what would be expected from a pair of confused teens.

The cliché ex gf bully seemed a little…well cliché. And while it’s not exactly unrealistic, it just seemed too unoriginal, especially paired with the whole fake bf/gf turns into real feelings trope. I think the struggles that Edelweiss could have been a little more creative. With that being said, teen bullying is entirely plausible, but in my experience can be a lot more vicious than just a few silly pranks. Girls can be very mean, especially when their feelings are involved and they are bat shit crazy.

What I did appreciate was that there was a little diversity in the students going to the private school. It wasn’t just a bunch of white privileged kids. There was a little depth given to the students that could have been played on a little more. Using the heritages or backgrounds that were mentioned could have been woven into the story to give a little more flavor.

So, like I said, cliché and slightly predictable. I feel like I’ve read this story or seen the movie version several times already and could have used a little bit more flare to get my attention. Still it was cute, and made heart clench up at least a tiny bit.

-Scrill