The Dating Debate

38086189The Dating Debate (Dating Dilemmas #1) by Chris Cannon


Publish date: February 5, 2018
Thanks to Netgalley and Entangled Crush for an ARC for a fair review.

Despite not liking Valentine’s Day, or many other holidays for that matter, Nina finds herself the object of a lie when West says they are going to a dance together. Not one to go back on her word, Nina insists that they stick to what they said was happening. The closer the dance comes the more she starts to get to know West, except he’s keeping something important from her, and the one thing she hates most is being lied to and feeling unwanted.

The Story-This will be my fourth Chris Cannon book (previously reviewed: The Boomerang Boyfriend , Blackmail Boyfriend, The Boyfriend Bet. I decided to give her yet another go because I just a sucker for Entangled Crush books. In the world of judgement upon adults reading YA books, this is probably where I have zero shame. I like reading about silly teen kids juggling their fragile hearts. Maybe it’s just nice to get away from some of the heavier fantasy world building. Cannon tends to stick with the same basic formula with her stories, and I think in this book was one of her better stories. As far as YA contemporary it’s not awful, but it’s not the most amazing thing I have read. If you are easily eye-rolled over cute cringey-ness I would say to stay away from this book, in fact…any Entangled Crush book if it wasn’t obvious enough. But if you’re a fan non graphic (hugs, hand holding, & kissing only), dual POV of confused swoony teens then by all means, read it.

There were a few things that were just a little off as far as this book went for me. One being that sometimes the characters didn’t really speak their age. I don’t know any American teenage that would full on say “lets watch television” when as a norm we say “TV” or even a much more relevant term of asking to binge watch some Netflix would have fit the story a bit better.

There was this instance where one of the characters Googles the number for the police. As in, he had to look up the number for 911. Now before you go and point out that maybe he was looking for the crime check number for a non emergent reason, let me just say that the reason for calling the police warranted the actual 911. A full grown teenager should know one of the most memorable phone number besides 867-5309 (now that warrants an okay reason for a Millenial to Google a number)

What I did like was that, though this was a typical YA contemporary, it was pretty void of any generalized girl hate, there wasn’t an excessive amount of half smirking boys, and there was minimal mention to anything happening to our protagonists’ bodily functions (blushing, feeling hot, stomachs turning, skin tingling).

The Characters- Nina was continually referred to as a hippy chick and I found no instance in the book that made me think that. I’m not sure if it was in reference to her natural instinct to hand out hugs or for her and her mom to try and feed people when they come over. Neither of these traits scream hippy to me.

Another thing that bothered me was that Nina was supposed to be this huge book nerd, but only Harry Potter references filled the book, and a LOT of them. Now I am a fan of the ol’ HP, but come on, here is a girl that a lot of us can relate to: stays up late reading, ogles book cases, is excited about going to the library or bookstore…but in reality, we don’t ONLY refer to Harry Potter.

West was supposed to be this brooding hottie next door, and rather than calling the guy broody, introvert probably would have fit better. Broody gives me the impression that he is perpetually angry, when he really wasn’t, just more or less kept to himself and told his neighbors to stay on their side of the driveway.

I liked that both characters had personalities that were obviously stemmed from their home lives and how their family drama and experiences have honed how they react. Nina’s perpetual need to stick to commitments and telling the truth as well as West’s tidiness as well as dislike of having things are both reasonable reactions to what has happened in their lives.

The Soundtrack- Taylor Swift – Call it What You Want


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The Upside of Falling Down

33285662The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane


Publish Date: 1/30/2018
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley for a fair review.

“Just when you think your life is over, a new story line falls from the sky and lands right in your lap.” 

When Clementine wakes up in an Irish hospital without her memories she decides she needs to rediscover herself in order for them to return. The only thing she knows is she is a lone survivor of a plane crash, her name is Clementine, she’s from Cleveland, Ohio and she’s not ready to face the father that came all the way to get her because she can’t let the man down knowing that she doesn’t remember him at all.

A chance meeting with a guy named Kieran gives Clementine the opportunity she needs to try to get away from everything as she tries to figure out her past life and where she wants to go from there. The more she continues to lie to Kieran the more she starts to fall for the guy, and she’s not even sure if she would be willing to give up her new identity for the life she’s been trying to recover.

The Story– For me, this book was a solid middle grounder . The beginning was interesting enough, hooking me into who this girl could be, and I felt lost right with her. I was eager to see her set off onto her adventure with Kieran as she tries to figure out who she was. Unfortunately the middle sort of lagged. I started to lose interest as the book went into a mundane routine for her while she was staying with Kieran. Despite being with him for three weeks, their interactions were minimal, and when they did start spending time together we basically got a summary of what they did. This made the romance seem superficial especially considering the decisions made towards the end of the book. This also made the ending feel a bit rushed since a lot of time was spent doing, essentially nothing.

The book also had the opportunity to really spend a lot more time involving the fact that she was in Ireland. Despite dropping certain city names, Guinness,  and maybe some cozy sweaters, there really wasn’t an extra Irish vibe. I think if some time was spent diving into the area  little bit more would have provided for a little extra flavor in the story.

The Characters-Despite the lack of substantial romance, I did really like the characters. Clementine and Kieran both were very strong with facing their fears and tackling what is set in front of them. Clementine made for a very likeable person that you wanted to root on because she seemed so genuinely nice, and granted she was lying, her motives were still, for the most part, pure. Sometimes I did feel like she put herself into a situation where she was desperately forcing herself into the lives to those who had taken her in, and I honestly felt that she was crossing some boundaries with them given the situation. Somehow her escape equated to them having to spend time and be friends with her.

The Soundtrack– Switchfoot – Dare you to Move


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34928122Artemis by Andy Weir


“It’s a simple idiot-proofing scheme that’s very effective. But no idiot-proofing can overcome a determined idiot.” 

Jazz is a smuggler in the only moon colony, Artemis, where the rich go to vacation, and the rest manage a blue collar life. She’s got a big debt to pay, and smuggling is her ticket to getting enough money to pay it off. When an opportunity arises that is perfect for more than one area of her expertise, she is hesitant to accept, until she finds out it would not only pay off her enormous debt but set her out of slumming it. After taking the job, Jazz finds that paying off her debts is the least of her worries.

The Story– First off, let me say that I didn’t read the Martian, and I only watched part of the movie, let’s just blame that on lack of time to finish it rather than lack of interest. So as a disclaimer, I can in no way compare this to Weir’s other book.

So, the story itself was entertaining enough. Although, I sometimes got a little bit tired of the welding and equipment jargon. Whenever my eyes glazed over a paragraph of that, I never felt that I missed anything particularly important enough to reread a paragraph…as in it could have been summarized or omitted altogether. If I took a shot every time Jazz said this is totally doable because of the gravity on the moon versus what you would expect on Earth I would be completely plastered. Seriously, get on with the story already.

The World Building-Okay, so I would like to say that any time there is some sort of acronym put in a book, it should be spelled out completely first. I was pretty annoyed that I had to google what EVA was…which is apparently “extravehicular activity”. Maybe this was defined in The Martian, but come on, new reader here, I don’t care how convenient it is to google something or even if it’s such a basic space term I should know. It’s just common courtesy to spell out an acronym…Okay vent over.

I liked this little space colony and how it sort of made me think of a futuristic western with one sheriff in town, but no real solid law. The idea of all these different countries having specialties that they have imported or contributed to the city was pretty cool. I do wish that there was a little bit more culture thrown in there besides a little snippet of Muslim prayer/bowing habits…and a few stereotypes of hispanic cartel, Asian’s and rice, etc…The community vibe was pretty awesome, but I did expect for Jazz to have a little more recognition throughout the community being a porter…especially with the population being so low.

The Characters– I liked that Jazzy was unapologetic about how she was. She bent the rules about shipping a little sure, but didn’t bring anything really harmful. She can be a snarky asshole, but it’s just widely accepted for her personality. She’s wicked smart and underutilizing her skills as a porter in Artemis. She isn’t too proud to ask for assistance from someone, but is willing to pay up for it without any hesitation.

I really wished that we got to meet Kelvin instead of just through e-mails. I liked his detached role through the book, but never felt any sort of connection from him.

The Soundtrack– Portugal the Man –Tidal Wave


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Graffiti Moon

7863274Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley


Lucy is in love with Shadow through the art that he has sprayed all over town. Over the night of celebrating the last day of year 12, she and her friends embark on a mission to find him. When she does find Shadow he isn’t exactly who she had in mind, except that he is.

The Story– Okay, so despite this being a teenage romantic contemporary, it was far from the angsty stuff that we’re all used to. In fact, there are very few scenes were our characters were nervous about being near another, there insides getting all warm and tingly, or were there very few scenes where they boy has twinkling eyes of galaxies and smiles worth a million bucks.
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t have a lot going to drive the plot to the end aside from the ramblings of artsy kids, who thankfully I can just slightly relate to (being married to an artist and all). I think for someone who isn’t very artsy or appreciates poetry might find the book a little convoluted. With that being said, I still think it sets itself apart from the rest since it isn’t the same dumbed down angst we usually get from YA contemporary.

The Characters-What made this book particularly special were that all these kids were from broken/poor homes, but weren’t exactly gripping about it either. They accepted where they were at in the social level without pointing it out. We had these kids that didn’t have any silver spoons, but still saw the world through gilded frames. Look, this book has me writing all metaphorically. Let’s stop that, because I don’t like to come off having feelings and what have you.

The Soundtrack– Elliott Smith – Twilight

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Last Star Burning

28797211Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster


“They say war is no dinner party. Not refined, graceful, courteous, or magnanimous. It’s complete devastation.” 
Years after the fact, Sev is still ostracized and paying for the crimes of her traitor mother. When an attack on the city is blamed on Sev, she is flung into an escape that puts her outside the safety of the city’s walls. In her escape, Sev learns who she can really trust and how deep deception goes.

The Story– I am not going to lie, and just say that I was initially drawn to the cover of this book. That pagoda with the human suspended in it is just chilling. Unfortunately, I was a little let down from this book.

The pacing was all sorts of wack. To clarify, despite the necessity of the information and character building that the first half provides, it had the plot moving at a sluggish pace. You really spend a lot of time getting from one place to another. Granted, there is development in Sev, she makes friendships, and we learn enough about what is happening to keep you going. At about 70% you finally start to get some answers to the questions that have been leading up to that point, 70% is a LONG time to get some information. It’s all ends up being, for the most part, worth it once you hit 80% and the book throws you in a tailspin of action and excitement. We aren’t exactly left with a cliffhanger, but still have the need to find out what happens next.

The World Building-I love the Chinese influence that played into this book. Even though it was kept pretty minimal, it really helped build a unique setting. Sangster did a good job of taking something real (sleep sickness) and warping it to fit this story. I am really curious to see a bit more about the monsters that roam the land, and even to see if there are more than just the one type.

The Characters
Sev-A character with morals that has fallen from grace not by her actions…What I love most about Sev is that she isn’t rebelling, she’s just trying to do what’s right in all the situations she finds herself in. Self-preservation meets a moral compass.

Tai-ge-Sorry, but this guy was sort of boring. I don’t remember anything interesting about him at all, which is just sad since he is Sev’s best friend.

Howl-The entire time I was reading this I hated on him just because his name was Howl. In my head I just kept thinking of Howl’s Moving Castle, and it just ruined it for me. I know that’s not fair to him, but what can I do? I do get the feeling there is more to him than we are really let on.

June-This girl was my favorite, she was the unexpected element that turned the tide for Sev and there is nothing but appreciation for this girl. Even though she had a fairly minor role in the book, as soon as she was brought in, she had a heavy presence in the story.

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An Enchantment of Ravens

30969741An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson


“When we finally reach the end, we are unloved and alone, and leave nothing behind, not even our name chiseled on a stone slab. And yet – mortals, through their works, their Craft, are remembered forever.” 

Isobel is a painter, a true master of her Craft, and is therefore sought after by many fae, of fair ones, for portraits. Fair ones can grant favors, they are immortal, beautiful beings, but cannot make any sort of craft – cooking, art, clothing, etc. Humans trade their crafts with the fair ones for favors, except the fair ones are sneaky, and if they are not careful their favors can be twisted. Isobel has spent so much time with the fair ones that she knows not to trust them, that they are soulless creatures obsessed with their own vanity. That is until she meets Rook and see something in her painting that she did not expect.

The Story– I can see some people having some instalove hate for this book. In its defense it doesn’t come from the main characters point of view. Isobel’s initial attachment is brushed off as she is given more time to adjust to her feelings.

My problem with the book is that it spent a good portion of it with Isobel basically sitting around painting the fair ones. It is expected for us to hold the same fear to the fair ones that she has, but I felt mostly bored or aloof about the scenarios. We are to take her word for their supposed short temperedness while she sits on edge in their presence. It just made the interactions feel stagnant with forced politeness.

This book takes all the classic fae traits and warps them into a fresh story. Their immortality is tested, their good looks are used against them, the cracks in their perfect façade revealed. There was one aspect for me that didn’t fully fit. I love the idea of the Wild Hunt being intertwined into this story, but then it gets lost. Somehow it isn’t really The Wild Hunt, and that isn’t even explained. It’s used as an obstacle of sorts, but is sort of lost in the shuffle in the end.

My favorite part, without giving anything away, was how Isobel viewed her situation. She wasn’t swept off her feet by the notion of living forever in beauty and magic with a prince. She truly loved her craft and her simple life, and though it was simple, she didn’t want for more than just protection and health for her family.

Overall, I am mostly indifferent to the book as a whole. So here I am sitting on the fence of a book that had a lot of potential but a plot that sort of dragged. Maybe it was the lack of a steamy romance? But I honestly relished in the fact that lust was a driving factor of the romance.

The World building-I know this book has being compared to ACOTAR, but I really think that it is unnecessary. That’s like saying all space operas are like Star Wars because they are set in space and have space ships. Sure, she get’s taken away from the human realm, but the story is completely different. Fae have been around for centuries – immortality/long life, beauty, seasonal courts, magical abilities, love between a mortal & immortal. None of that is new. I wish people would credit to the folklore that it actually derives from. The beauty of it is just how vast and differential it is and how it can be built upon. In this case, it took the idea of enchantments of crafts for its own story. I love that it focused more upon what the fae lacked rather than their abilities.

Because the book used such familiar aspects of fae culture, the world building was spent more describing the mannerisms of the fae with their lack of humanity and forced politeness (such as how they had to bow back when bowed to). There was a feeling of wanting as the imitated the lifestyles of human.

The Characters
Isobel-The first word that comes to mind when it comes to her is sensible. The only room for her passion is her craft and the wellbeing of her family. If I didn’t adore her adoration for the beauty in the human world I would have found her boring. I loved how much disdain she had towards the fairy while keeping civil interactions with them. She could see how foolish the humans were chasing after the glamorous life the fair ones lived.

Rook-I’m sorry, but Rook was sort of boring, there weren’t a lot of swoon worthy moments where I was swept off my feet as a reader. One of the only things I found really endearing about him was his paper heart. I liked that he still suffered by most of the same afflictions of the rest of his kind, such as his vanity. Okay, and maybe his awkwardness to human emotions was sort of endearing. There’s this scene where Isobel is crying and he sort of just pats her and is like “err…maybe I’ll just go…” That was pretty cute. I did love how his shape shifting was portrayed, not necessarily graphically, but as a gust of wind and swirl of leaves.

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Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

3 stars
Publish 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.

The New Dark

The New DarkThe New Dark by Lorraine Thomson


I received an ARC from Netgalley for a fair review

In a post-modern society, Sorrel barely escapes after her village is raided by mutants. She finds that young brother Eli and beloved David were captured by the band of mutants and finds herself in a dangerous pursuit to get them back. As she progresses on her journey she learns more about the world outside of her village and the dangers that it holds. Everything she thinks she knows about the “before” could actually be real and she learns that not all mutants are as savage she those that had attacked her village.

The Story-While the book was really easy to read and flowed well enough, there wasn’t really much that made me excited to be reading it. I didn’t really like the alternating points of view between Sorrel and David. I thought it would have been better to just sum up what happened to the survivors as hearsay later – it would have been enough to get the idea of the brutality of the mutants and the overall story of their suffering.

Now while the book itself isn’t explicit, it might be beneficial to point out a slight trigger warning to those who may be affected by reading about a forced or abusive relationship.

The World Building-The setting wasn’t very thoroughly described, but is to be understood that it is in the future where modern day society has fallen, and mankind has regressed to live without technology and it’s advancements. Things such as plumbing and heat are unheard of just as much as a car or telephone. They are all parts of the “before” time.

There are also mutated creatures, plants & humans that are larger, stronger, and overall more dangerous than they would have been in the “before” time.

The Characters-I found the characters a little flat. However, I did appreciate the fact that Sorrel wasn’t some perfect angel with magnificent skills. She had skills yes, but was overtaken by more power people or made choices that showed her to be someone who could be considered selfish or mean because of her sense of self preservation.

I was really glad that the story wasn’t driven by some instalove between some characters that grinned and eyed each other every few pages as well. The fact that her resolve was fueled by family and comradery was definitely a reason why I stepped up from 2 stars to 3 stars.

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29385546Warcross by Marie Lu




“Some people still say Warcross is just a stupid game. Others say it’s a revolution. But for me and millions of others, it’s the only foolproof way to forget our troubles.”


A virtual reality world surrounding a game that has captivated millions of users around the world. Bounty hunter and hacker Emika Chen is recruited by the creator to stop Zero, a user who has infiltrated the system, and his nefarious plans to disrupt the world championship. Emi finds herself engrossed in more than a simple chase of cat and mouse.


The Story- My initial expectation going into Warcross was that it would be similar to Ready Player One. Now, while there were some similarities they just weren’t enough for me to compare the two realistically. The story itself is actually quite different. The primary focus is not about winning the game, it’s about finding the villain and uncovering their plans.

“A tingle runs through me at the chance to crack this problem, possibly the biggest puzzle I’ve ever been given the chance to solve. I’m going to win this time.”

The pacing of the book was really well done by not having any long stretches ongoing scenes of gaming, romance, etc. It was broken up so that you get a nice dose of action mixed with a dash of swoony moments that actually helped drive the story. One of my only problems was when the romance tears through Tokyo zero to sixy (HAHA, if you’ve read it you know the significance to that pun). We go from first date status to here’s all my secrets  that I don’t tell anyone, p.s. meet my parents. Now while I understand the necessity of needing the reason for these secrets to be exposed in the story, I didn’t appreciate how abruptly it was done.

The World Building-One of the things I loved was that this wasn’t overly futuristic and overly submersed into virtual reality. I don’t think it’s any secret that I love Japan and Japanese culture so having that as an underlying factor was just bonus points for me. I also appreciated that the addition of Warcross outside of the game to everyday life was more of an overlay to real life rather than an obsessive second life and world altogether. It seemed to act more as an enhancement to life rather than a replacement thereof. My favorite aspect of the world building was the subtle salutes to geekdom in general, such as this shout out to the legendary Leeroy Jenkins (see link if you aren’t WoW geek enough to know the reference).

“…Leeroy something – actually got drafted into the Stormchasers, even though he always just charged in…”

My lease favorite part was that it was hard for me to understand and visualize the game. At first I thought it would be some epic digital version of capture the flag, but it turned out to be more like a capture the glowing orb  artifact floating over the carrier’s head. Each player had a specific role, but they ended up interchanging them. I was sorely disappointed at the “architects” role. I anticipated it to be more like Ellen Paige’s roll in Inception where she can alter the worlds, but all Emika had that was different from the others was some dynamite and a rope. Big whoop. In team games like this it’s important to have specific roles yes, but I thought the aspect was lost just a little bit.

The Characters-

Emi- What a great protagonist. This is a girl who came from nothing, but didn’t quite rub it in your face all the time, basically saying woe is me, and neither did she go crazy once she did have all her money. She just tucked it away like a good little squirrel. I thought it was weird that she skateboarded everywhere though, I mean, you’re in Tokyo, take train or bus…Also, we get it, you’r hair is rainbow colored.

Hideo-sort of a bland romantic interest. The only things this guy had going for him was his good look and mysteriousness. But hooray for an Asian love interest! Also, before you call people, put some clothes on, just saying. You are asking to be be ogled at if you invite someone to video chat you while you’re getting dressed, have some class.

Zero-In what little interaction we get to have with Zero, he’s got me more intrigued than Hideo. I await to see how your character develops a little bit more in the future.

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The Couple Next Door

28815474The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

3 stars


It’s OCTOBER! My sis and I are reading some scary books as a theme this month. This was in the Mystery & Thriller section so here goes…

The Story:

You go next door with your husband to a small dinner party and leave your baby at home because the babysitter canceled. You protest but your hubby insists and says it will all be okay since the monitor is on. Well guess what? The baby is taken and it’s your worst nightmare.  And not only because you are missing your angelic child, NO, because now you are being judged. And really, that’s a parent’s worst nightmare right?

The Characters:

Anne: She’s a married rich kid still living off of mom and (step)dad. She also has postpartum depression and other baggage that’s revealed later on. DID Anne kill her child and get rid of the body?

Marco: He came from nothing and married up. His business is on the fritz. DID Marco stage a kidnapping of his own child?

Cynthia : She’s the sexy next door neighbor who hates kids. DID she do it because the baby gets in the way of her friendship with Anne?

Read it and find out!

LOL, I might be a bit delirious with exhaustion right now and I think my review is showing that. Sorry guys!


I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars. It was a quick read but I was hoping it would be more suspense and it really wasn’t. It’s basically a whodunnit story with some twists. And nobody is who you think they are. And it basically confirms my mother’s paranoia that your baby is never safe and never, ever, ever leave it alone even to go to the bathroom. And yes, mom, I will double check that the doors are locked and the kids are in their beds sleeping before I turn in.

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