Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

3.5 STARS

Release Date: June 11, 2019

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

SYNOPSIS

Sana Khan is a cheerleader and a straight A student. She’s the classic (somewhat obnoxious) overachiever determined to win.

Rachel Recht is a wannabe director who’s obsesssed with movies and ready to make her own masterpiece. As she’s casting her senior film project, she knows she’s found the perfect lead – Sana.

There’s only one problem. Rachel hates Sana. Rachel was the first girl Sana ever asked out, but Rachel thought it was a cruel prank and has detested Sana ever since.

Told in alternative viewpoints and inspired by classic romantic comedies, this engaging and edgy YA novel follows two strongwilled young women falling for each other despite themselves. 

REVIEW

Let’s start with this beautiful cover! I see a lot of male/male romances and very few female/female ones, so once I laid eyes on this cover I was on board–I mean lesbians and women of color, loving the representation. Plus, this book releases during Pride Month!

This is an enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy, that is full of teenage snark. The story takes place in Los Angeles and has a fun filmmaking element. Both girls are ambitious, passionate, and career-oriented which I loved. All that being said, Rachel tends to be really angry and mean, to a point I never really loved her as a character. I just wasn’t super invested in how the story unfolded. Still, I do think that many readers will enjoy this snarky, teenage, enemies-to-lovers romance, so if it sounds up your alley give it a try!

Thank you to Aminah Mae Safi for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Add it on Goodreads here!

Order it here!

Signed copies available from Mysterious Galaxy!

This awesome event at Mysterious Galaxy is being moderated by Stacee a.k.a. @Book_Junkee!

Finale by Stephanie Garber

5 STARS!!

Release Date: May 7, 2019

Publisher: Flatiron Books

SYNOPSIS

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…all games must come to an end.

It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.

Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finaly, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win…and those who will lose everything. . .

REVIEW

I love this series so much. The magic and darkness are mesmerizing. I fell in love with Scarlett in the first book! I was so invested in her and Julian, but that second book left me so unresolved. Luckily, the second book brought me Tella, Dante, and Legend, which was a crazy amazing story line. Now we get book three and we can find out what happens to them all! I love that the characters are messy and struggling with difficult choices throughout the Caraval.

The world Stephanie has built is so magical and unlike anything else I’ve ever read. Each small facet adds to this spellbinding story. The twists and turns will keep you enthralled to the last second. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I would recommend that you read this whole series ASAP!

Thank you to Flatiron Books and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Add it on Goodreads here!

Order it here!

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

4 STARS

Release Date: January 29, 2019

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Synopsis:

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Review:

Alright, so overall I did enjoy this book. It is a retelling that has been done, so some of the elements were predictable. Harper is from our world, and dealing with quite a lot. What I love about her is that she is always standing up for what is right, even when she finds herself in the world of Emberfall. She has a lot to deal with and I think she does it well.

Rhen and Grey are both likable in their own right, but I don’t feel like I got to know enough about them. There is a lot going on towards the end, and then there’s a nice kicker at the end that has to do with the male leads.

Harper also has Cerebral Palsy, and while I respect the fact that the author clearly wanted to have some ability representation, I also felt it could have been executed a little better. I have lots of opinions, but I don’t want to spoil anything, so feel free to connect with me to chat about it!

Overall, I think that this book would be great for YA fans that love fantasy and haven’t read Beauty and the Beast retellings before.

Special thank you to Bloomsbury for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Add it on Goodreads here.

You’d be Mine by Erin Hahn

ALL THE STARS!!!

cover140634-medium.png

Release Date: April 2, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books

Synopsis:

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

Review:

I LOVED THIS BOOK. I am so in love with characters that are realistically flawed. Both Annie and Clay have been through trauma that impacts how they function in the world. They mess up, they get emotional, and they handle things pretty poorly at times. With all that, the message of this book still comes though loud and clear; you are capable of overcoming your traumatic experiences, even though it can be hard as hell.

Seriously, this book is a damn emotional rollercoaster in the best way. Annie Mathers is messy and kind and caring. Clay is a complete mess, but just trying to find his way. I may have hated him a couple times, but it never stuck. They both have a strong support system, but the way they utilize them is another story.  The characters pull at your heart strings, that’s for sure. I don’t want to give to much away, but if you’re looking for a book that makes you feel all the emotions, this is the one for you.

Pre-order it here.

Add it on Goodreads here.

Special thank you to St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books, and NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review!

cover140634-medium.png

Counselor Considerations contain SPOILERS.

Do not read further if you don’t want PLOT SPOILERS!

Counselor Considerations:

Main Characters’ Ages: 18-19

Social/Emotional: Family: Death of Parents (Suicide, Overdose, Cancer), Death of Sibling (Military), Friends as family, Supportive Family  Social: Social expectations, Mending Friendships, Empathy, Change, Judgement, Underaged Drinking, Alcohol Abuse, Attention Seeking Behavior, Unhealthy Relationships, Sex, Virginity, People Pleasing, Childhood Trauma, Building your own Support System

College/Career: Navigating Career with Fame, Personal Life Impacts Career, Responsibility, High School Dropout, Back to College

Academic: N/A

Happy Ever After (HEA)

Pretty in Punxsutawney by Laurie Boyle Crompton

3.5 Stars!

36168849.jpg

 

Publisher: Blink YA Books

Release Date: January 22, 2019

 

Synopsis:

Groundhog Day meets Pretty in Pink mashup from author Laurie Boyle Crompton, Pretty in Punxsutawney tells the tale of a girl willing to look beneath the surface to see people for who they really are.

Andie is the type of girl who always comes up with the perfect thing to say…after it’s too late to say it. She’s addicted to romance movies—okay, all movies—but has yet to experience her first kiss. After a move to Punxsutawney, PA, for her senior year, she gets caught in an endless loop of her first day at her new school, reliving those 24 hours again and again.

Convinced the curse will be broken when she meets her true love, Andie embarks on a mission: infiltrating the various cliques to find the one boy who can break the spell. What she discovers along the way is that people who seem completely different can often share the very same hopes, dreams, and hang-ups. And that even a day that has been lived over and over can be filled with unexpected connections and plenty of happy endings.

Review:

When I heard the pitch for this book, I knew I had to read it. I mean Ground Hog Day meets Pretty in Pink! Yes, the story is cute and funny. This is a quirky teen read. And when I say teen, I mean teen. The main character is a classic teenager that you want to shake as she makes choice after questionable choice.. That fact actually made it really hard for me to get through the first half of the book, but the second half was worth pushing through. It was just such a cute storyline, with some important themes tied in. I think the moral of the story is worth the read!

Goodreads

Preorder

 

***Thank you so much to Blink YA Books and NetGalley for the chance to read this early by giving me an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review!***

Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

4.5 Stars!

Review:

This was a whole new world full of dark characters and gruesome work. The characters did what they had to do, and didn’t hold back. I loved all the different types of unnaturals in this story, they really illustrated the whole idea of moral ambiguity. Nita’s struggle with her own moral dilemma was a little overdone for me at times, but that was really the only thing I didn’t love about this story. Luckily, there is a certain zannie that I just fell in love with, that made up for that.

I really enjoyed how the author tied in some religious history into the storyline. There was also a subtle acknowledgement of the problematic gender roles of our society, and how we as humans can be selective in who we bestow empathy upon.

Overall, this is a dark young adult novel that is absolutely thrilling. The characters are going off their base instincts, and holding nothing back!

Add it on Goodreads.

Pre-order it here!

Synopsis: 

Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.

Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far.

But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again.

Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.

Girl at the Grave by Teri Bailey Black

4 STARS!

The general plot of this book really intrigued me, as I love a good murder mystery. Valentine, the main character, lives her life in the shadow of her mother’s crime of murder over a decade ago. When new murders begin, she is of course the prime suspect. Oh, and let’s not forget the love triangle, which is making her life even more difficult! The historical setting, in the late 1800s, really interested me, because it played a part in how the story progressed and its characters reacted. I was also thoroughly impressed by the fact that I had no idea who the killer was! Not to mention the feminist themes that were thrown in. I really did enjoy this book. The only reason I wouldn’t give it five stars, is because of the readability. I felt like the book was going to wrap up, and then some other big event would happen. It seemed like some of the events could have been cut out, and the book would have been just as good. It was like there was just too much going on in the later part of the book, and I started to wonder if it would ever end. Overall, I enjoyed the story, and the happy ending was a pleasure.

Goodreads

Preorder

IMG_9620

Counselor Considerations contain SPOILERS.

Do not read further if you don’t want to PLOT SPOILERS!

School Counselor Considerations:

Social/Emotional: Family: Mother put to death for murder, father travels for work, parents die Social: Judged for mother’s crime, strong friendships with males that are interested in more than friendship

College/Career: Desire to go to college, desire to work with change agents after high school, career planning

Academic: Valedictorian, Importance of high school and college, desire to be at school

 

Sara Wolf signs Bring me Their Hearts

First of all, Sara Wolf is hilarious, and very good at reading her book aloud. She was just such a joy to listen to, and you can tell where her characters get their snark. She handing out candle in a little vile that looked like it should contain a blood sample, which is a pretty appropriate pairing for a book called Bring me Their Hearts.

I always enjoy hearing about how much or little authors have a part in their covers, and this cover is just beautiful. On the hardcover the letters are raised and metallic gold, I’m in love! Sara did mention that she originally wrote Zera, the main character, that wasn’t skinny and typical, but unfortunately most of that was edited out of the book, and clearly not portrayed on the cover. I appreciated her sharing this, because I think it is so important that main characters aren’t all the same (i.e. some unrealistic “ideal” that society has).

Sara also spoke about how she wanted her main character to be the monster, not the princess. I really appreciate this as well. Zera doesn’t have a heart and has to eat raw bloody meat to survive, pretty zombiesque. And then the whole undead part is pretty vampy. Sara was hilarious trying to combine to two, which lead to the repeated use of Zampire/Zompire, because it’s obviously much better that Vombies/Vambies.

Overall, it was just a complete pleasure hearing about Sara Wolf’s author process and Bring me Their Hearts. I also ended up purchasing her contemporary series, Lovely Vicious (I’ll link them below).

35144326.jpg

Synopsis:

Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.

 

Goodreads

Order a signed copy here Call to make sure they still have signed copies

Amazon order here.

Other Books:

Goodreads Lovely Vicious Series

Series on Amazon

25664563.jpg  26114440.jpg31308682.jpg

Author Signing: Jeff Sweat signs Mayfly

Jeff was really nice, and his wife and children were in the front row supporting him. He’s from Los Angeles, and this is also where his book takes place, but in a more apocalyptic setting. The book sounds very interesting, and I’m interested to see what kind of adventure it is.

32570679.jpg

Synopsis:

Jemma has spent her life scavenging tools and supplies for her tribe in the their small enclave outside what used to be a big city. Now she’s a teen, and old enough to become a Mama. Making babies is how her people survive—in Jemma’s world, life ends at age seventeen.

Survival has eclipsed love ever since the Parents died of a mysterious plague. But Jemma’s connection to a boy named Apple is stronger than her duty as a Mama. Forced to leave, Jemma and Apple are joined in exile by a mysterious boy who claims to know what is causing them to die. The world is crumbling around them, and their time is running out. Is this truly the End?

Goodreads

Order a signed copy here Call to make sure they still have signed copies

Amazon order here.

 

Author Signing: Danielle Mages Amato & Robyn Schneider

It was interesting because both of the author’s books deal with a teen girl that has lost her brother, but in very different ways (synopses below). Robyn Schneider is super quirky and full of energy. Danielle works at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego and loves Shakespeare. They were both kind and fun, and I’m really looking forward to diving into their books!

Danielle Mages Amato

30653927.jpg

Synopsis:

Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler, is dead, but the cops are killing him all over again. They say he died of a drug overdose, potentially suicide—something Megan cannot accept. Determined to figure out what happened in the months before Tyler’s death, Megan turns to the things he left behind. After all, she understands the stories objects can tell—at fifteen, she is a gifted collage artist with a flair for creating found-object pieces. However, she now realizes that her artistic talent has developed into something more: she can see memories attached to some of Tyler’s belongings—and those memories reveal a brother she never knew.

Enlisting the help of an artifact detective who shares her ability and specializes in murderabilia—objects tainted by violence or the deaths of their owners—Megan finds herself drawn into a world of painful personal and national memories. Along with a trusted classmate and her brother’s charming friend, she chases down the troubling truth about Tyler across Washington, DC, while reclaiming her own stifled identity with a vengeance.

Goodreads

Order a signed copy here

Amazon order here.

 

 

Robyn Schnider

35230429.jpg

Synopsis:

Rose Asher believes in ghosts. She should, since she has one for a best friend: Logan, her annoying, Netflix-addicted brother, who is forever stuck at fifteen. But Rose is growing up, and when an old friend moves back to Laguna Canyon and appears in her drama class, things get complicated.

Jamie Aldridge is charming, confident, and a painful reminder of the life Rose has been missing out on since her brother’s death. She watches as Jamie easily rejoins their former friends–a group of magnificently silly theater nerds–while avoiding her so intensely that it must be deliberate.

Yet when the two of them unexpectedly cross paths, Rose learns that Jamie has a secret of his own, one that changes everything. Rose finds herself drawn back into her old life–and to Jamie. But she quickly starts to suspect that he isn’t telling her the whole truth.

All Rose knows is that it’s becoming harder to choose between the boy who makes her feel alive and the brother she isn’t ready to lose.

Goodreads

Order a signed copy here (call to make sure the still have signed copies in store)

Amazon order here.