Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West: Review

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Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: December 26th, 2017/
Dates read: February 2nd-4th, 2018
Genre: Contemporary romance

Rating★ ★ ★ ½ / 5 Stars

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Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

Review:

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Radio Silence by Alice Oseman: Spoiler-free Review

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Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: March 28th, 2017
Dates read: January 29th-February 1st, 2018
Genre: Contemporary

Rating★ ★ ★ ★ ½ / 5 Stars

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Frances Janvier spends most of her time studying. When she’s not studying, she’s up in her room making fan art for her favorite podcast, Universe City.

Everyone knows Aled Last as that quiet boy who gets straight As. But no one knows he’s the creator of Universe City, who goes by the name Radio Silence.

When Frances gets a message from Radio Silence asking if she’ll collaborate with him, everything changes. Frances and Aled spend an entire summer working together and becoming best friends. They get each other when no one else does.

But when Aled’s identity as Radio Silence is revealed, Frances fears that the future of Universe City—and their friendship—is at risk. Aled helped her find her voice. Without him, will she have the courage to show the world who she really is? Or will she be met with radio silence?

Spoiler-free Review:

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A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab: Spoiler-free Review

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Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: February 21st, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Dates read: March 2017 / January 2018

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ / 5

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THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

Review:

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Dear Martin by Nic Stone: Spoiler-free Review

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Publisher: Crown Books
Release date: October 17th, 2017
Genre: Realistic fiction/Contemporary
Dates read: January 10th-12th, 2017

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ /5

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Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

Spoiler-free Review:

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Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: Review (+Buddy Read!)

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Publisher: HarperCollins
Release date: August 26th, 2008 (Originally published August 28th, 2006 in AUS)
Genre: Contemporary, mystery
Dates read: January 5-10th, 2018

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ /5

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Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs – the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother – who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

The moving, joyous and brilliantly compelling new novel from the best-selling, multi-award-winning author of Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca.

This was a buddy read with Heather from bookstrustandpixiedust, and you can check out her review right here! Thanks for reading with me, Heather!

Review (with mild spoilers):

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi: Spoiler-free ARC Review

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Publisher: Henry Holt
Release date: March 6th, 2018
Dates read: December 27th, 2017 – January 5th, 2018
Genres: Fantasy

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ / 5

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Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

Spoiler-free Review:

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Truly, Devious by Maureen Johnson: ARC Review

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Publisher: HarperCollins
Release date: January 16th, 2018
Dates read: December 21st-26th, 2017
Genres: Mystery

Rating: ★ ★ ★ / 5 Stars

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Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.

Thanks to EpicReads Insiders for letting me read an e-ARC of this book!

Spoiler-free review section:

I know I’m in the minority here, but I had some pretty mixed feelings about this book. I went in expecting to love it, and overall I enjoyed it, but I did have some issues with the structure of the story. The book had an amazing premise – an old boarding school with a mysterious past that returns, a main character determined to solve the mystery of the school, creepy secret passageways – but I feel like the actual story didn’t live up to its premise. The beginning was amazing and set up a really cool story, but it kind of just…fell flat for me. There wasn’t much action or crime-solving at all. There were also a lot of character who I couldn’t really keep track of because most of them weren’t all that interesting. I also felt like this book was just a lot of set up for the second book. A lot of cool things were introduced that I expected to play out into something, but they were left open-ended for the next book. I feel like if some of these things had been explored in this book instead of being saved for the next one, it would have had a bit more substance. However, I did end up enjoying this book because I did like the main character, Stevie, and a few of the other side characters. There was also good representation of Stevie’s mental health issues and medication. The story was compelling and I flew through it, and although it didn’t go as in-depth with the mystery as I wanted it to, it was still enjoyable to read, and I’m definitely going to pick up the next book.

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Nice Try, Jane Sinner: Spoiler-free ARC Review

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Publisher: Clarion Books
Release date: January 9th, 2018
Genres: Contemporary
Dates read: December 12th-20th, 2017

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ / 5

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The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.

Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.

As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.

Spoiler-free Review:

This is a review of an advance reading copy that I won in a giveaway! Thanks HMHTeen!

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Review: What Light by Jay Asher

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Publisher: Razorbill
Release date: October 18th, 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Dates read: December 2nd-10th, 2017

Rating: ★ ★ ½ / 5 Stars

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Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

Review:

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Lucky in Love by Kasie West: Review & Discussion

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Publisher
: Scholastic
Genres: Contemporary
Release date: July 25th, 2017
Dates read: November 17th-21st, 2017

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ / 5

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Maddie’s not impulsive. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment—

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun…until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

(Spoiler-free) Review:

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