Fate, Fame, and the First Kiss Review // A Fluffy Fun Contemporary

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Title // Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss

Author // Kasie West

Publisher // HarperTeen

Publication Date // February 5, 2019

My Rating // ★★★★☆

Synopsis // Lacey Barnes has dreamt of being in a movie for as long as she can remember. However, while her dream did include working alongside the hottest actor in Hollywood, it didn’t involve having to finish up her senior year of high school at the same time she was getting her big break. Although that is nothing compared to Donavan, the straight-laced student her father hires to tutor her, who is a full-on nightmare.

As Lacey struggles to juggle her burgeoning career, some on-set sabotage, and an off-screen romance with the unlikeliest of leading men, she quickly learns that sometimes the best stories happen when you go off script.

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So after reading a few of Kasie West’s books and really hating them, I basically swore off her books. But then I was browsing through the library and I saw this book and I was like eeehhhhh and aaaahhh and then I lost my self control because it sounded so cute! After all, I thought to myself that most of Kasie West’s books that I hate are her earlier books, and I actually enjoyed her later books! Well, I’m so glad that I lost my self control because this book was super cute and I actually really enjoyed it!

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This book follows Lacey, who we got to meet for a little bit back in Love, Life, and the List, which is a book I really enjoyed (and by the way we get cameos from other characters in that book so yay!). Lacey has always wanted to be an actress, and here she may be getting her big break in her first starring role in a movie!

I’m kind of trash for books about famous people and Hollywood, so there was so much in this book I really liked. I loved seeing behind the scenes in a movie, with actors shooting and reshooting scenes, hanging out in trailers, dealing with fans, and being nervous about having on screen kisses! There was a lot of random drama about actors worrying about how they’re portrayed in the media and stuff like that, and it was so much fun to read along to.

However, in addition to her new actress life, Lacey is still trying to finish up her senior year of high school, so she was a bit more grounded and it was a certainly more relatable. Trying to do math homework when you could be hanging out with actors on a movie set is definitely a problem! I really enjoyed seeing her trying to balance out her life.

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Donovan, Lacey’s love interest, was the sweetest! I loved how Lacey was just randomly showing up with her face made up to look like a zombie and stressing about creating chemistry with his costar and he was so over it like I didn’t sign up for this I’m just here to help you do math. I also loved Lacey’s banter with her friends. I loved seeing her hang out with her costars, and scheme over how to set up one of her friends with her other friend. It was just such a light hearted fluffy cinnamon roll book!

There was also a sort of mystery aspect to the book; it seems like someone is trying to sabotage Lacey and get her fired from the movie set, and she has to figure out who it is! I honestly didn’t guess who it was, and enjoyed trying to figure out and piece together the clues to figure it out along with Lacey! I had so much fun guessing, and then second guessing myself.

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Overall, this book was such a fun fluffy read. Was it particularly deep? No. Did it seriously mess with my feelings and leave me a wreck? Nope. Was it especially insightful, or something that’s really going to stick with me and leave me thinking about it for months to come? Nah. But it was definitely so much fun to read in one sitting, and if you’re looking for a light contemporary to devour, I recommend!

 

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Sorcery Of Thorns Blog Tour Review //A Gripping, Magical, Fantastic Whirlwind

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Title // Sorcery of Thorns

Author // Margaret Rogerson

Publisher // Simon and Schuster

Publication Date // June 4th, 2019

My Rating // ★★★★★

Synopsis // From the New York Times bestselling author of An Enchantment of Ravens comes an imaginative fantasy about an apprentice at a magical library who must battle a powerful sorcerer to save her kingdom.

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined. 

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My Review

Many thanks to Simon and Schuster for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This book has me emotionally damaged and I don’t quite know how to function right now. I’m trying to write a review, but I’m not entirely sure I can manage a coherent sentence right now because my thoughts are more along the lines of aaaaaahhhhhhh aosidjlfksoaidfjklasldkfj but I will try.

The premise is absolutely enchanting and incredible! Elisabeth is an apprentice in a Great Library, where she’s grown up surrounded by dangerous and powerful grimoires, and is determined to do her part to protect the kingdom from the power they hold, holding firm against evil sorcerers who would use them. Of course, as often happens to book protagonists, all does not exactly go smoothly when a devastating sabotage frames her and drags her off to the capital, an entire new world from the sheltered life she’s lived before.

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I loved the world building! I could really picture myself in this world, and was truly immersed in the book while I was reading it! I loved the way sorcerers were showed here, as people who bargain with demons for their powers, and the way we slowly learned more and more about their magic throughout book as Elisabeth goes from a sheltered librarian to being right in the middle of a tangled plot with them! Seeing the role libraries played with them was incredible too! And demons! We got to see so many different types of demons, see their incredible powers for both good and bad and it was so immersive and incredible!

Can we just talk about magical libraries? If that isn’t the greatest idea for a book ever then I don’t know what is! The books in this world are incredible! They have hearts and souls, and are looking for people to treat them kindly and I just want to hug a book and tell them they’re appreciated. They flap their pages and fly about, get into fights with each other if disagreeing books get too close, spit ink at each other, and can transform into full on beasts! Every time we got another description of books being I was just like YES!

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The plot was so high stakes and incredible and right when I finished reading the book, I was breathing heavy like I just ran or something because it was so intense and I was so stressed by it and really into it!! There were a couple of moments where it looked like all was well and people would get a happy ending, but I could see there were still 200 pages left so I just knew that something bad was going to happen and it was so stressful that I was basically glued to this book and refused to function until I’d finished it! (And now that I’m finished with it I still don’t really know how to function).

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I thought the pacing was perfect too, and the plot was always moving forward! There were some action scenes, and some scheming and planning scenes, and just some cute fun scenes, and overall there was so much happening that there was never a dull moment in this book!

I really loved how this story explored right and wrong, good and evil. Elisabeth has always known that sorcerers are evil, but then she allies herself with one, and ends up doing things she never thought she would. One of the main characters is a demon, and throughout the book he does the sweetest things that make you love him, and then turns around and insists he’s truly horrible and does things that kind of prove it, and it just makes you question prejudices and thoughts about right and wrong.

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Elisabeth is such a phenomenal character! At the beginning, she’s clearly naive and sheltered, and it was cute and kind of funny watching her being so overwhelmed as she traveled to the larger world than she grew up in. But even though she was clearly terrified, she fought fiercely for what she believed was right and was such a strong character. She grew so much throughout the book as well, from challenging her morals and what she’d always believed in, to becoming more and more willing to plunge into situations that terrified her (and I would lowkey just die in) to fight for what she believed in and by the end I was like wow you are badass I love you.

Nathaniel was the actual best and will definitely be joining my list of top best ever book boyfriends!! Seriously I LOVE HIM. He’s lowkey cocky and self assured (he’s a very eligible bachelor and he knows it ahah) and he had so many witty lines that had me smiling and laughing at. But that’s just the top layer and if you peel that away he’s such a complex character. He pushes people away and tries to stop people from getting close to him because he knows he’s not all rainbows and sunshine and he has such a tragic and twisted past and doesn’t want people getting involved in that mess and potential darkness and he’s kind of like cocky, funny, messed up, tortured, and cinnamon roll all at the same time and if that sounds like a lot it is but I PROMISE YOU WILL LOVE HIM!!!

Okay, time for the romance. It was The Actual Best. It was a a slow burn forbidden romance and so swoon worthy!! Also, there was just the right perfect amount of it in here. Sometimes I get frustrated when romance overwhelms the plot in fantasies, but it definitely didn’t do that here, and always played background to the crazy fantasy main story, but still having hints to make me so happy!

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The ending of this book definitely blew me away! For the last 150 pages or so I was glued to my book, turning pages so quickly (and staying up late too!) to finish it because I just had to know what happened! Characters and their strengths were tested, and it kind of wretched out my heart so yeah. Also, that last page???? !!!!!!!!

Anyways. In summary: read this book.

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About The Author

CoverMargaret Rogerson is the author of the New York Times bestseller An Enchantment of
Ravens and Sorcery of Thorns. She has a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Miami University. When not reading or writing she enjoys sketching, gaming, making pudding, and watching more documentaries than is socially acceptable (according to some). She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, beside a garden full of hummingbirds and roses. Visit her at MargaretRogerson.com.

 

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 27 – Alexa Loves Books
Tuesday, May 28 – The Novel Knight
Wednesday, May 29 – Adventures of a Book Junkie
Thursday, May 30 – Awkwordly Emma
Friday, May 31 – Mel to the Any
Monday, June 3 – The Fox’s Hideaway
Tuesday, June 4 – The Starry-Eyed Revue
Wednesday, June 5 – The Bookish Beagle
Thursday, June 6 – Super Space Chick
Friday, June 7 – Flying Paperbacks
Monday, June 10 – Bookshelves &Paperbacks
Tuesday, June 11 – Nightly Reading
Wednesday, June 12 – Novel Heartbeat
Thursday, June 13 – Hammock of Books
Friday, June 14 – The Everlasting Library
Monday, June 17 – The Eater of Books!
Tuesday, June 18 – Beware of the Reader
Wednesday, June 19 – This Dark Material
Thursday, June 20 – That Artsy Reader Girl
Friday, June 21 – SimplyAlly Tea

Ignite The Stars Review // Complex Characters In An Incredible Space Setting

38469737Title // Ignite The Stars

Author // Maura Milan

Publisher // Albert Whitman & Company

Publication Date // September 4th, 2018

My Rating //★★★★★ (4.5)

Synopsis // Everyone in the universe knows his name. Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia Cocha is a seventeen-year-old girl.

A criminal mastermind and unrivaled pilot, Ia has spent her life terrorizing the Olympus Commonwealth, the imperialist nation that destroyed her home. When the Commonwealth captures her and her true identity is exposed, they see Ia’s age and talent as an opportunity: by forcing her to serve them, they will prove that no one is beyond their control.

Soon, Ia is trapped at the Commonwealth’s military academy, desperately plotting her escape. But new acquaintances—including Brinn, a seemingly average student with a closely-held secret, and their charming Flight Master, Knives—cause Ia to question her own alliances. Can she find a way to escape the Commonwealth’s clutches before these bonds deepen?

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Before I even start the review, I think I need to have a moment of cover appreciation. I mean, have you seen the cover? The colors? It’s g o r g e o u s!! I swear I can’t even articulate how much I love this beautiful colored cover. But okay, enough of that. Let’s talk about the book. The book that was absolutely phenomenal.

Lately, it’s probably not a trend and just me being behind, but I’ve been reading more and more books set in space and I’m loving it! This book was no exception, and the setting and world building were phenomenal! I loved the concepts of people flying spaceships around, battling each other from these ships, dodging asteroids while flying, immigrating to and from different planets, living in different star systems, and just basically the whole thing.

(Side note: is anyone else lowkey annoyed with changing curse words in novels, particularly futuristic ones? I’ve read it a few times, and it just makes the flow of sentences sound so awkward? I mean, I get in the future the language would change, but it seems so weird that only the curse words and nothing else, not the syntax or slang or common words would change, just the curses? I just couldn’t take them seriously when they were like mung this and that lmao.)

It felt like there was some subtle political commentary in here, particularly with the mention of the Tawnies and other races that people didn’t like. There was talk of trying to throw migrant refugees, such as Tawnies, out of the Commonwealth, manipulation and propaganda of the media in order to create a specific mindset, and overall just the immense forestation of hate. It was subtle, and well integrated in the book, but parts of it I felt were very powerful and relevant to today, and really made this book powerful.

I also really liked the immediate setting of the sort of space force academy. It was kind of fun easy YA, with moments where students were trying to pass tests, hanging out with each other on breaks, and dorming together. But at the same time, we’re dealing with Ia, a dangerous criminal who is acutely aware of the world beyond their small school, and many of the other characters having links back home to everything happening with politics and battles, and I found there to be a nice contrast between the lighter and heavier content.

I initially thought that the book would just be about Ia, but it’s actually split POV between three characters, and honestly, I loved them all.

–Ia, the Blood Wolf, was kind of giving me Kaz Brekker but female and in space vibes and obviously anything that gives me Kaz Brekker vibes is an 11/10. She’s ruthless, and not afraid to knock people out, break a few fingers, or even kill and slaughter people to achieve her means. She’s cunning and resourceful, and knows how to play and manipulate people. Yet at the same time it’s clear how much she cares about her friends, and is willing to sacrifice herself for them, and just overall what she believes in. She’s definitely kind of morally grey; she does bad things, but she does them for good cause, sooo… I loved seeing her character evolve and grow as she starts to see the other side of things, and realize that the world isn’t as black and white as she used to think of it.

–If Ia had good character development, Brinn’s was incredible! She’s half Tawnie, a race of blue haired geniuses who are discriminated against and hated, who feels she must always hide her true identity and play herself down in order to fit in with everyone else. I loved seeing her start to change, and to accept herself for who she really is. And of course I’m always looking for multiracial representation, and I loved seeing Brinn struggle with being a halfie, feeling like one half of her was more important than the other instead of embracing her identity of being both.

–I was lowkey least interested in Knives, but he was still a pretty good character (although I didn’t fall in love with him the way I love Ia and Brinn!!). He’s a bit of a smol bean, with a famous and powerful father and other people pushing him to accept a job filled with glory instead of his small training job, just trying to lie low and hope people don’t judge him for his family, and struggling with a tragic background on top of that. Also, his and Ia’s romance was super slow burn and amazing and I was so quickly in love with the both of them together!

 

Legendary Review // A Legendary Fantasy

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Title // Legendary

Author // Stephanie Garber

Publisher // Flatiron Books

Publication Date // May 29, 2018

My Rating // ★★★★☆ (4.5)

Synopsis // A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister, Scarlett, from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice, but now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever…

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This book was…dare I say it…LEGENDARY! Seriously. I had heard such great things before I read this book, and it definitely did not disappoint. I liked Caraval enough, but it wasn’t my favorite…well, this book was everything its the first was and more and I am so impressed and also I need to read the next book very very much.

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This book takes place in another game of Caraval like the first one. Caraval…be careful of being swept away. Well, I was certainly swept away. Even at the end of the book, like with the first one, I’m still not one hundred percent certain what’s real and what’s just part of the game. The stakes were definitely higher, with Tella getting swept up in a very real mess with the heir and the nobles, the fates, and, of course, the players of Caraval.

And Legend! We got to see who Legend is!! I figured it out partway through the book, and was giving myself many many pats on the back at the end when I got it right haha. I have so many questions though now aahhhh I need to know more about him!!

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I loved Tella! It was such a welcome surprise to see that this book wasn’t going to be narrated by Scarlet, but by her sister! Tella had already watched a game of Caraval being played, so she had a distinct new perspective on this one that I loved seeing. But more than that, she’s just so fierce and strong and badass and herself. She rises to all the challenges, lying to get into court, kissing guys and making others jealous, and honestly I just loved her.

But while I enjoyed Scarlet and Tella both by themselves, it’s definitely the interactions between the sisters that really sell this book for me. It’s so clear how much they both care about each other, and how much of their motivations are set around making sure that the other one is happy, or at least safe. This story also dives more into the backstory of their mother, who disappeared years ago, and who exactly she was…not who they thought she was, for sure! Tella is so furious with her mother for leaving her, but at the same time loves her so much, and aoasiljfdk I just loved the sisters and family themes in this one.

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I loved Stephanie Gaber’s writing style. Most of the time fluffy purple prose annoys me, but in these books it really doesn’t. It’s so beautiful, and really adds to the whimsical, magical, enchanting world created, and when reading this book, I could really imagine and fully immerse myself in her world.

The romance! This book was more romance centered than the last book, and I was all here for it! From mysterious Dante who keeps following Tella around, to the cruel Prince of Hearts who might be more than he appears, I was just swept away! It kind of felt like a love triangle though…which was annoying…but I still have high hopes for the way this romance it going to end up in the third book!

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I Love You So Mochi Review // An Adorably Sweet Japanese Contemporary

39828159Title // I Love You So Mochi

Author // Sarah Kuhn

Publisher // Scholastic 

Publication Date // May 28, 2019

My Rating // ★★★★☆ (4.5)

Synopsis // Kimi Nakamura loves a good fashion statement. She’s obsessed with transforming everyday ephemera into Kimi Originals: bold outfits that make her and her friends feel brave, fabulous, and like the Ultimate versions of themselves. But her mother sees this as a distraction from working on her portfolio paintings for the prestigious fine art academy where she’s been accepted for college. So when a surprise letter comes in the mail from Kimi’s estranged grandparents, inviting her to Kyoto for spring break, she seizes the opportunity to get away from the disaster of her life.

When she arrives in Japan, she loses herself in Kyoto’s outdoor markets, art installations, and cherry blossom festival–and meets Akira, a cute med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot. What begins as a trip to escape her problems quickly becomes a way for Kimi to learn more about the mother she left behind, and to figure out where her own heart lies.

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Many thanks to Scholastic for giving me a free ARC at Yallwest

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I don’t even have the words to describe the absolute cuteness overload that was this book!!! I mean, first of all, just look at that gorgeous cover! With the cherry blossoms, and the drawn characters, and the adorable handwritten look of the cover…I just knew that I would be in for a treat, and I absolutely was!

I Love You So Mochi is about Kimi, a second generation Japanese-American teenager, who goes to Japan and meets her Japanese grandparents for the first time in her life during her senior year of high school, and goes through a period of self exploration and discovery along the way, trying to determine what exactly she wants to do with her life. The premise was so wonderfully cute, yet relatable, and I just adored every inch of this book!

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Kimi is such a wonderful character to read about. She’s spent her entire life trying to please her parents, especially her mother who wants her to go to a prestigious art school and become an artist. (This also brings up the equations of “Asian Mom Math” which had me cackling lol). Meanwhile, she doesn’t really know what she wants to do, except that she’s quit art lessons and loves fashion and experimenting with clothes. Reading about her struggle with her parents’ expectations and her own desires, and her just feeling overall lost and confused and unsure of what exactly she wants to do with her life felt so personal and relatable to me, a senior in high school who is also trying to figure out just what to do with my life.

I love how Kimi’s passion for fashion really shone through in this book. It was so clear how much she loved it, loved her work, and also the descriptions of her pieces, such as a piece of candy wrappers, paper notes, or a re purposed skating dress, were so clear and unique and I could absolutely picture them in my mind and see how much she loved them. We really get to see Kimi’s fun, caring, and so complicated yet wonderful personality shining through her art pieces.

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The setting was an absolute favorite part of this. Japan! Kyoto! From descriptions of street vendors (like mochi vendors!!), to walks through beautiful parks, to beautiful cherry blossoms, the setting was so amazing to read about and I really felt that I was there, in Japan. This book, and Kimi, is also certainly Japanese-American (Kimi’s mom is first generation and her dad is fourth generation), as there are descriptions of growing up Asian in America, and even talk of the Japanese internment camps from WWII. Furthermore, since Kimi is American and has never been to Japan before, we really got to see her experience her culture for the first time, take it in with fresh eyes. We got to see her blundering around, not understanding parts of the language and culture, and trying to figure it out. Trying especially to figure out how she can look like everyone there, much more so than she did in America, yet still seem and act so completely out of place. This was so incredibly relatable to me, and I sometimes felt like Kimi’s journey was an exact mirror of my own recent trip to Asian for the first time in ten years where I had to discover everything new.

Of course, would it be one of my reviews if I didn’t have a paragraph dedicated to the food? Especially in a book with the word “mochi” in the title? Right from the first chapter there are absolutely mouth watering descriptions of mochi, sweet and chewy with a delicious treat in the middle, matcha and strawberry and all sorts of flavors, and I was here for it!! Kimi even gets to help make mochi at a street vendor’s stall and it was just so much fun (and also super delicious) to read about!

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