Summery Contemporary Mini Reviews // The Summer I Turned Pretty, Alex, Approximately and The Museum of Heartbreak

Last month I read a few summery contemporaries that were up for free on Riveted and since I can’t write full reviews for any of them why not review them all in one post?

Author: Jenny Han
Genre: Contemporary //  YA
Series: Summer #1
Goodreads rating: 3.95
My rating: ⭐⭐

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer–they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

To be honest if this hadn’t been free on Riveted I wouldn’t have picked it up. I love Jenny Han, but the blurb never appealed to me and it turns out my intuition was right. I’m honestly surprised that this is written by Jenny Han, because I absolutely love To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, but The Summer I Turned Pretty is nothing like that. Not much happens in this book, the characters are flat, Belly is whiny and annoying and the writing is just not that good? I know there are mixed feelings about this book out there, but personally I wouldn’t recommend anyone who hasn’t read TATBILB to read this, because it could seriously turn them off. There are more important topics discussed in this book, but it’s barely there and kind of felt like an after thought. I rated it two stars because it WAS a quick read. Don’t get me started on the romance though. I don’t see the appeal of one of the love interests at all and the endgame romance just didn’t feel built up to me? It didn’t come out of nowhere, but that’s mostly because it was predictable not because it was well written.

Author: Jenn Bennett
Genre: Contemporary //  YA
Goodreads rating: 4.01
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is a whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…

I ABSOLUTELY loved this one. I gave it four stars because I was missing something (not sure what? Sometimes that just happens) but oh my goodness I flew through it and it was so much better than I expected. It has some of my favourite tropes, including characters not realising who the other is, enemies to lovers, great banter and silly adventures. It’s adorable and fun, yet also meaningful as both Bailey and Porter have to deal with their own trauma. Bailey tends to avoid pretty much everything that’s difficult and that was SO relatable. I loved seeing this in a main character.

And the fact that she and Porter worked at this really weird museum? SOLD. What I didn’t know about this book before going in is that Porter is half-Hawaiian and Bailey’s new best friend (who’s amazing and I loved their friendship) is black. Bailey also has a great relationship with her dad so what more do you want??* Despite my four star rating this is definitely a new favourite. Maybe soon I’ll realise that this is more of a five star read? Who knows I change my ratings all the time lol #reliableblogger

* Honestly I should be asking myself this considering I gave this four stars but as I finished it that just felt right??

Author: Meg Leder
Genre: Contemporary //  YA
Goodreads rating: 3.7
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Welcome to the Museum of Heartbreak.

Well, actually, to Penelope Marx’s personal museum. The one she creates after coming face to face with the devastating, lonely-making butt-kicking phenomenon known as heartbreak.

Heartbreak comes in all forms: There’s Keats, the charmingly handsome new guy who couldn’t be more perfect for her. There’s possibly the worst person in the world, Cherisse, whose mission in life is to make Penelope miserable. There’s Penelope’s increasingly distant best friend Audrey. And then there’s Penelope’s other best friend, the equal-parts-infuriating-and-yet-somehow-amazing Eph, who has been all kinds of confusing lately.

But sometimes the biggest heartbreak of all is learning to let go of that wondrous time before you ever knew things could be broken.

My rating is probably more a 2.5 than three stars to be honest. I really loved the premise of this one. Each chapter starts with an item Penelope has curated in her museum of heartbreak: it comes with an illustration and a very short description (title, number of the item and how she’s gotten it, if I remember correctly). I love it when books have formatting like this, but the story itself… I wasn’t very impressed with. It had a lot of potential as Penelope gets into an unhealthy relationship, but the thing is it never really gets addressed how unhealthy and toxic it was? In the end she’s just like ‘I guess I never really liked him that much’ instead of addressing all the red flags that you should definitely avoid in a relationship. This could’ve been such a powerful story, but now I’m afraid it does a little bit more harm than good.

I was also really annoyed with the way Audrey treated Penelope. She wasn’t a bad friend per se, but her new friend Cherisse treated Penelope horribly and she never stood up for Penelope. Even after doing something really horrible to her at the end, Audrey is all ‘I want to be friends with you both I hope you understand’ and Penelope accepts that. In my eyes this just isn’t a healthy friendship and shows readers that you should just put up with everything

Other than that, it just felt a bit flat and underdeveloped to me and I honestly couldn’t tell you what really the point was? I did like the new friends Penelope made and it was a fun and cute read most of the time. If the book had addressed the toxic relationships in Penelope’s life it would’ve already been a lot better.

Phew, I’m glad I got those out of the way. I’m surprised at how long my review for The Museum of Heartbreak turned out because I really thought I had forgotten most of it lmao

Also I love how I reviewed books I read in July before pretty much all the ones I read in June adsgjh (help me)

Have you read any of these? What did you think? What’s your favourite summer read? Let me know in the comments!

Mini Reviews // How Much Do I Remember About Flame in the Mist and Marked?

Lately I’ve been able to review books quite quickly after I finish them, but there are some books that I just… forgot about. Thus why I decided to put them together in a post with mini reviews, because I don’t remember enough for full reviews. This shall be fun*

* Haha not help me please

Author: Renee Ahdieh
Genre: Fantasy | Retelling | YA
Series: Flame in the Mist #1
Goodreads rating: 3.97
My rating:  ★★★

 

 

 

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t really enjoy it either. The writing didn’t really pull me in and made me feel quite detached from the characters. I didn’t care about any of them which made the action scenes feel lacking. I was also really bored and had to force myself to finish it, because despite being bored I did want to know how it would end.

The worldbuilding didn’t feel that developed to me. I didn’t really have a sense of the world that it was set in and I’m really confused about the magic system. I wished that had been explored and explained more.

And don’t get me started on the romance. I found it incredibly forced and it came out of nowhere. I also loathed the love interest so that didn’t help.

I absolutely love the concept – we need more Mulan retellings guys – but the execution not so much.

Author: Kim Richardson
Genre: Fantasy | YA
Series: Soul Guardians #1
Goodreads rating: 3.7
My rating: ★

 

 

 

 

Sixteen-year-old Kara Nightingale is unpopular, awkward and positively ordinary—that is until one day she is struck by a bus and dies…Within moments her life changes from ordinary to extraordinary as she wakes up in a mysterious world with a new career—as a rookie for the Guardian Angel Legion. Kara is pulled into the supernatural where monkeys drive the elevators, oracles scurry above giant crystal balls and where demons feed on the souls of mortals.

When an Elemental child is kidnapped, Kara is sent on a danger-filled quest and plunges into a situation more dangerous and deadly than anything she could ever imagine.Marked was not what I expected at all. There was a lot more focus on unnecessary relationship drama than on what it means to be a Guardian Angel, their world, the Elemental child and Kara coming to terms with being dead.

I have no idea why Kara was chosen to become a Guardian Angel, as we don’t know anything about her and the moment we’re introduced to her is the moment right before she dies. Then she even gets a ‘life-quest’, which is a special assignment and if you succeed you get your life back. But Kara is still a rookie, and not a succesful one. So why does she get it? Aren’t there Guardian Angels who would deserve it more? I found this really ridiculous, especially when it’s explained that ‘each guardian was chosen for their specific skills’ okay but what skills does Kara have.

SPOILER: It’s a really dangerous mission and out of all the Guardians chosen to try and succeed, all of them very skilled and with a lot of experience, she’s the only survivor lmao like sure that’s realistic

The characters were incredibly flat and the love interest downright annoying. I barely ever use the word ‘douchebag’ but this is the right word to describe him. His ego is not charming and funny, just rude. The romance came out of nowhere and we’re supposed to believe ‘they’re in love’

The Elemental child the summary mentions just felt like an afterthought and the entire book just read like a first draft. I have another book by this author on my Kindle app and I’m willing to give her another chance, but considering how much I hated the main characters of Guardian Angels I’m done with that series.

So I guess the common factor between these books is forced romance? I hadn’t even realised when I decided to review these together haha. I’m quite pleased with myself at how much I remembered* – I thought this would’ve been a disaster and I might end up deleting this post

* That’s half a lie – I didn’t remember anything about Marked but thankfully I had made notes in the ebookHave you read these? What did you think? How do you feel about forced romance? Do you know any good Mulan retellings? Let me know in the comments!

Mini Reviews Because I Forgot All About These Books

A lot of the times I end up not reviewing books at all, because I don’t have time to review them and by the time I do, I’ve forgotten all about them. I’ve written mini reviews before since I didn’t remember enough to write full reviews, but… sometimes it’s just too late and I barely remember it and if I were to review it – mini or not – I’d be like ‘it was fun read it’ or ‘it wasn’t fun don’t read it.’ Not very helpful, am I right? So let’s review these books shortly before I forget all about them (I know the title of this post says I already forgot them, but I meant I forgot I read them and need to review them woops)

Some of these I might review in more detail later on, but I’ll include them just in case I don’t have the time to do that. That way I’ll still have shared some of my thoughts

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo 

A.k.a. I still don’t understand why everyone loves The Darkling??

But what I definitely don’t understand is why people ship him and Alina. That would be an incredibly abusive ship?? Not that Mal is any better yikes. Definitely understand all the love for Nikolai though

Genre: YA // Fantasy
Series: The Grisha #2
Goodreads rating: 4.09
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

A.k.a. I meant to review this in December but?? I don’t know what happened. I really loved this one. Not to call myself beautiful but after reading it I was the title guys. Suzanne was an amazing character and in some ways I related a bit too much to her (which was a bit triggering). She’s written so well. There’s also lots of friendship scenes that I love and it felt so realistic.

Genre: YA // Contemporary
Goodreads rating: 3.38
My rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary: Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realises, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own (Goodreads).

Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

A.k.a. I meant to review this as well but in January instead and school happened. I loved this one so much though. It had everything I loved about the first one, and fixed the problems (like the pace and how Magnus and Sam felt too much like Percy and Annabeth to me) I had with it. I fell in love with all the characters, new (ALEX!!!!) and old, great storyline, fun side quests…

Genre: YA // Fantasy // LGBTQIAP+
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2
Goodreads rating: 4.37
My rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown

Another one I meant to review (I should just stop saying this shouldn’t I? Because so far I meant to review all of these except Siege and Storm – honestly writing a mini review for this was the best idea I had in a while lol consindering even after finishing it I barely had anything to say about it. I don’t know if you guys remember my attempt to review Shadow and Bone but… I didn’t want to repeat that haha)

ANYWAY. This was a cute, fun, light read with a little too much drama for my taste. Remember how I ranted about ‘underrated’ book tropes that I hate? How I ranted about miscommunciation because for the love of God please please just talk?? Yes this book is… well maybe not full with it, but a lot of times the problems could’ve been easily solved if Jo had just talked. Not just ‘a lot of problems’, the biggest conflict in the entire book could’ve been prevented that way.

I just find this trope too annoying to love a book, but it was definitely fun! The romance was adorable and I really liked some of Jo’s new friends (with the exception of one, you’ll know which one if you’ve read it). It’s also great to see religion and sexuality handled in such a positive light.

Genre: YA // Contemporary // LGBTQIAP+
Goodreads rating: 3.89
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Summary: It’s going to take a miracle for Joanna Gordon to get through senior year.

Despite being the daughter of a well-known radio evangelist, Jo has never hidden the fact that she’s gay, and her dad has always supported her. But that was back in Atlanta. Now her dad the reverend has married wife number three, and they’ve all moved to small-town Rome, Georgia. When Jo’s dad asks her to lie low for the rest of the year in the hopes that it will help him and his new wife settle in, Jo reluctantly agrees.

Although when God closes a closet door, he opens a window. Everything becomes so easy for Jo once she rebrands herself as a straight girl. No one gives her odd looks. Her new stepfamily likes her. She even gets in with the popular crowd.

And that’s how she meets Mary Carlson, the ultimate temptation. Even though Jo knows this girl is completely off-limits, she just can’t get her out of her mind. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if Jo’s starting to fall for Mary Carlson. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?

Lord, have mercy. Jo’s in for one hell of a year.

Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill

This one really deserves a post on its own, but like I said, I’ll include those here as well because I might never get to them. It’s a super cute comic book in which princesses save other princesses (and themselves!) and  fall in love and it’s just super cute.

Genre: Comic // Children’s (though seriously enjoyable for all ages) // Fantasy // LGBTQIAP+
Goodreads rating: 4.18
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Definitely hope to write a full review for this one, but if not: one heck of a ride. It’s very emotional, might be triggering to some, addresses serious issues and complex characters. I’m still not sure if I even ship the romance? It’s definitely a book that stays with you.

Genre: YA // Historical // LGBTQIAP+
Goodreads rating: 4.09
My rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary: It’s 1959. The battle for civil rights is raging. And it’s Sarah Dunbar’s first day of school, as one of the first black students at the previously all-white Jefferson High. No one wants Sarah there. Not the Governor. Not the teachers. And certainly not the students – especially Linda Hairston, daughter of the town’s most ardent segregationist. Sarah and Linda have every reason to despise each other. But as a school project forces them to spend time together, the less their differences seem to matter. And Sarah and Linda start to feel something they’ve never felt before. Something they’re both determined ignore. Because it’s one thing to be frightened by the world around you – and another thing altogether when you’re terrified of what you feel inside

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

I’ve wanted to read something my Agatha Christie for a long time now and… I’m not sure if I’m disappointed or not? I guess it was a fun who-dunnit, but it was also a bit boring? Also use of the n-word and anti-semitism which really put me off and makes me question my rating.

Genre: Detective
Series: Hercule Poirot #1
Goodreads rating: 3.98
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

I suddenly feel so productive now that I’ve reviewed these! Have you read any of these? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Mini Reviews: Unremarkable One-Star Reads

Genre: Fantasy | possibly middle grade since it’s meant for younger readers
Series: Chronicles of Dragon #1
Goodreads rating: 3.70
My rating:  ★

summary

Nath is a special ~snowflake~ warrior. He is a man destined to be a dragon. In order to become a dragon, he must save the dragons.

For countless years Nath has been on a quest to become a dragon, but his meddling with the other races tends to get in the way. The way of men is not the way of Nath Dragon (yes he’s a dragon/about to become a dragon and he’s literally named Dragon) his father has warned him. Yet, Nath, unable to control his fascination of the world men, elves, dwarves and even the despised orcs, tends to get caught up in their affairs. To earn his scales, there is a high road he must follow.

With his close friend and ally, Brenwar the Dwarf, Nath, armed with a magic sword he calls Fang (not to be mixed up with the cute dog), travels to the Mountain of Doom (not inspired by LotR at all), the Free City of Narnum and to Orcen Hold where nothing but trouble awaits.

Will Nath Dragon, hero of the realm and protector of dragon kind choose the right path or wind up on a dark one? (Goodreads. Mostly. With my sarcastic commentary)

review

I didn’t know anything about this when I downloaded it (come on it was free on Amazon how could I not give it a shot) except DRAGONS. I love dragons, but I haven’t read that many dragon books let alone good ones (maybe it’s really time to give Eragon a try but those books are HUGE. And COMMITMENT. GAH). As you can tell from my rating, this one wasn’t good either.

The protagonist was unbearable.

”Just do what you always do, Dragon.” That’s what I call myself, and I talk to myself a lot.

Lame much?

Nath Dragon is my name; saving dragons (and other things) is my game.

The heat didn’t bother me; I was used to that, but it wrought damage on my glorious mane of recently mangled hair.

Okay look, I love characters like Apollo that are in love with themselves, but Apollo is hilarious (and Rick Riordan gave him beautiful character development) but this made me want to gauge my eyes out. He was full of himself and I’m not sure why. It was super annoying.

Ooh and let’s talk about the sexism! Except for one, all of the female characters are just there to confirm how handsome our protagonist is and being sexual objects. At one point the protagonist describes how difficult a language is by saying ‘more difficult than women’ excuse me. There is one scene in which all the women are just fawning over him and it was disgusting to read. It sounds like they may have been siren instead of regular women, but it was still degrading and just ugh. As soon as the protagonist has passed they’re already all over the next guy. Just no. And it’s not funny how many times the women were described by just their frickin’ hips.

Also the writing is just… bad. And awkward

”What? I can’t come back?”
An impatient tone took over his voice like a dam about to break.
”NO! Take with you that which you need.”

It happened quite a few times that dialogue was written in caps lock out of nowhere, not making sense at all. And the sound effects oh my god. This is such a pet peeve of mine. Sometimes it’s done right. This is not the case. ‘Clang! Clang! Clatter!’ No. And how the hell is ‘THAAAAAAROOOOONG’ supposed to sound like? What the hell is that?

Just this book man. The blatant sexism everywhere, the annoying protagonist, the plagiarism (Mountain of Doom can you at least try to be original), bad writing and there’s just nothing memorable about it (I marked quite a few things and made some notes)

Genre: YA | Fantasy
Series: Legends of Dimmingwood #1
Goodreads rating: 3.50
My rating:  ★

summary

In a province where magic is forbidden and its possessors are murdered by the cruel Praetor, young Ilan, born with the powerful gift of her ancestors, has only one hope for survival. Concealment. In the shadow of Dimmingwood, she finds temporary protection with a band of forest brigands led by the infamous outlaw Rideon the Red Hand.

But as Ilan matures, learns the skills of survival, and struggles to master the inherent magic of her dying race, danger is always close behind. When old enemies reappear and new friendships lead to betrayal, will her discovery of an enchanted bow prove to be Ilan’s final salvation or her ultimate downfall?

review

What was the plot? Don’t ask me. Cause I have no clue. Who knows what the Praetor’s motives are? What living in that world is like? Not me. The entire thing was just pointless and everything was just meh about it. What a great review *pats self on shoulder*

Genre: YA | Fantasy | Post-apocalyptic
Series: Tales of Nevaeh #1
Goodreads rating: 4.07
My rating:  ★

summary

Welcome to Nevaeh— a world where technology no longer exists, but magic does.

Long ago, the violence and radiation of the terrorist wars killed America. Those left dwell in a world of ritual and magic where ten dominions struggle for supremacy and a dark power rises to claim all.

Areenna, the only daughter of the King of Freemorn, is barely eighteen, yet her psychic ability is strong. She is summoned to ‘The Island’ and learns that the fate of her world is in her hands. She must undertake a perilous journey to save Nevaeh from destruction. But she will not travel alone.

Mikaal, the son of the High King of Nevaeh, has as much at stake as Areenna. Their quest takes them through haunted wastelands filled with mutants while an evil force does everything in its power to stop Areenna and Mikaal—for it wants Nevaeh as its own.

review

Okay so I loved the concept of this one. I thought it would be pretty interesting to see the aftermaths of nuclear wars and radiation, which led to magic. But it was super confusing. They’ve got a new language and they have new animals (because of radiation) but the animals are never described so I’m just supposed to guess what they look like? Some point later one character does kind of describe them, but I felt like it should have been explained sooner. Also there’s this time jump, where we went from the future to the past back to the future which was a bit confusing.

And the names. Not all of them, but a lot of them are regular names but backwards. The name of the world, Nevaeh? Heaven. One Kingdom is named Tolemac, which is Camelot backwards. A queen is named Enaid, which is Diane backwards etc. It was annoying once I noticed it, and lazy.

It was boring, the writing was meh, the characters were meh. Everything was just meh. The worldbuilding could’ve been so interesting, but since except for one character, no one knows what the world used to look like, I had no idea where they were supposed to be and what happened to a place we now know pretty well. I wanted to know more about what happened to our world, but that’s not what I got. Also it’s super vague, but terrorists became some weird creatures called ‘The Dark Ones’ and I have no idea what they can do really. I mean they control people? But the rest? It was all just vague and confusing. The concept was interesting, but the execution not so much.

Guys the theme of these reviews is just MEH. Originally I was also going to include Darkness Reigns, but I just don’t have anything to say about it? Except – guess what – MEH. Have you read any ‘meh’ books lately? I sure hope not! Let me know in the comments

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Mini Reviews: Forever and All The What Ifs

DON’T FORGET: TONIGHT #YOUNGWRITERSCHAT 9 PM CEST

Genre: Ya | paranormal | romance
Series: The Abandoned #1
Goodreads rating: 3.92
My rating: ★

summary

Rich, popular Kate Hewitt destroys lives at Sussex High. Mute, violent Kev Anderwaith hasn’t been to school in months. On the day Kev does return, Kate is shocked when the overgrown, social outcast sits next to her in class and claims they’ve both lived previous lives, and keep finding each other, throughout the centuries, falling in love every time.

review

Guess why I downloaded this one. It was free. Come on, we’re all weak to free books right? And I’ve always been a sucker for stories featuring previous lives. Unfortunately this book is all over the place. Kate doesn’t remember her previous life and hates Kev, the next second she’s in love with him.

Kate was incredibly unlikable, and I had no idea why Kev, a genuinely nice guy, would fall in love with her. He remembers their past lives, and apparently Kate was nice and caring in her previous life, but that’s not who Kate is in this life. Yet Kev’s in love with her, and I have no idea why. These two have no chemistry, which is kind of crucial when your plot revolves around people who keep falling in love with each other every time they’re reborn.

Throughout the entire book it just felt like it was about their romance, then suddenly towards the end the author decided to introduce some kind of demons which felt really out of place and spoiler: of course Kate, without any memories and training, manages to kill one without much difficulty. 

All in all, I really wouldn’t recommend it (but it’s probably still up for free on Amazon and it’s really short so if you’re interested check it out! Besides don’t let my negativity turn you off if you want to read it)

Genre: Ya | contemporary
Goodreads rating: 4.45
My rating: ★★★

summary

Ashley Morgan is trapped. She’s spent the last three years of high school being groomed to follow in her father’s footsteps. It’s a future she’s unsure of. Yet she tries her hardest to avoid her father’s disapproval while keeping the peace for her high-strung mother and autistic brother. Whenever her fears fester, Ashley works harder.

At the start of her senior year, Ashley reluctantly joins ACT an after-school community service club that is in disarray. The members argue. The advisor sleeps. And Lucas Malone, the club’s president, conjures unwanted memories of freshman year and his disastrous attempt to ask her to homecoming.

Ashley tries to remain uninvolved, but with each success in ACT she gains the confidence to face her future. She sets in motion plans that force her to choose between the bright future her father’s mapped out or an unknown path of her own design. When the moment comes to make her choice, she’s plagued with doubt, because what if … she gets it all wrong?

review

If you’ve dealt with (psychological) abuse you may find this book a bit triggering. I did at some points, so you may want to stay away from it. I seriously considered to quit it, but I continued one and I’m glad I did. I really like the ending of the book, though obviously I can’t give it away, so spoiler section:

Ashley is kicked out of her house and at the end of the book, she hasn’t seen her family in quite some time. Her father is never excused for his abusive behaviour, and we’re shown that her mother isn’t perfect either. I felt that the ending was quite realistic, though I hoped that her mother would leave her father and take her back in. That wasn’t who her mom was though. I think I expected that to happen because I was comparing Ashley’s situation with my old one, instead of really thinking of who her mom was and what we had learned about her through Ashley’s grandparents. Because of this I never thought that Ashley’s mom was the one who broke contact with her parents, instead of her husband forcing her to. 

It was empowering to read about Ashley standing up for herself, her relationships with her brother, new friends and counselor were fun and heartwarming to read, though I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the romance. It was cute, but something bothered me, though I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. All in all, a short, fun read. While at times it felt really light (like some of the cute romance scenes or when Ashley’s friends are joking around – seriously those girls were my favourite part. Like one of them dated a lot of guys, and while they joked about it, they never slut shamed her or made her feel uncomfortable. They knew that she would laugh at their jokes), it also dealt with some heavy topics in a right way. As someone who can relate to Ashley, I think the author did a good job.

Oh and this one was also up for free on Amazon and if it still is I really recommend it.

Have you read one of these? What did you think? If not, what have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments!

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Mini Reviews: Crystal Magic and Introductions

Genre: Ya | fantasy
Series: Clearwater Witches #1
Goodreads rating: 3.90
My rating: ★★★

summary

Nothing is safe around Kristyl Barnette. Windows break. Books rocket across the room. Lights flicker. Strange occurrences follow the sixteen-year-old everywhere.

When tragedy forces her to move to the small town of Clearwater, Michigan, with her estranged aunt Jodi, Kristyl tries to leave her past behind. But Clearwater has secrets of its own—a mystical history that intersects with Kristyl’s life and might shed light on the inexplicable events that plague her.

When a mysterious illness threatens her aunt’s life, Kristyl will do anything to cure her. Enlisting the help of witches could save Jodi, but is dealing in magic worth the consequences? (Goodreads)

review

A fun, short read that reminded me of The Secret Circle (Kristyl is the new girl in town, and when a couple of witches think she has magic they try to get her to join their coven, which is similar to TSC). I’ve never read the books, but I watched the show (still bitter over the fact that it ended after season one), so I don’t know how similar they are exactly, but since I haven’t read the books that meant I wasn’t constantly comparing the two either. Since TSC ended after only one season (did I mention I’m bitter), it was fun to read something similar. Kristyl is a nice protagonist to read about. She has a heartwarming relationship with her aunt (YAY FAMILY) and makes awesome new friends. The romance so far is healthy as well. Top that off with magic, mysteries and time travel and you got me hooked. I only downloaded it since it was free and sounded like fun. I never planned on continuing the series, but the way the first book ended… Damn I need it.

Genre: Ya | contemporary
Series: The Ghost Bird #1
Goodreads rating: 4.18 (how)
My rating: ★

summary

With an agoraphobic mother and a barely-there father, Sang abhors the isolation keeping her in the shadows. The only thing Sang craves is a fresh start and to be accepted as ordinary by her peers, because for her being different meant being cast out alone.

When her family moves to a new school district, Sang infiltrates a group of boys nearly perfect in every way. Grateful for an influence outside of her parents’ negativity, she quickly bonds with the boys, hoping to blend in and learn from them what it means to have a natural relationship with friends.

Only the boys have secrets of their own and they’ll do anything to keep her safe from the knowledge of the mysterious Academy that they’ve sworn allegiance to. Bit by bit, Sang discovers that her friends are far from the normalcy she expected. Will her loyalty change when she’s forced to remain in the dark, or will she accept that she’s traded one house of secrets for another?

Meet Kota, Victor, Silas, Nathan, Gabriel, Luke and North in a story about differences and loyalty, truth and mystery, friendships and heart-throbbing intimacy (Goodreads).

review

This was like an otome game and not in a good way. If you’ve never played an otome game, have no fear Michelle is here (sorry had to rhyme). In an otome game you play as a Mary Sue female character who meets some guys, usually around 6/7 (HEY GUESS WHAT SANG MEETS SEVEN GUYS. Coincidence? I think not), and you can have a happy ending with one of them. I say can, because you can also end up forever alone or with your best friend (at least in Toki Meki. I love this ending. It’s the best tbh).

So Sang is the new girl in town and meets one guy after another (just like in an otome game omg). Though while in an otome game, all guys are very different from each other, all the guys Sang meets are basically the same. Seriously, you could swap a name for ANY OTHER and it wouldn’t change the scene. The scenes in which she meets the guys are also very otome game like, but since those would be spoilers I’ll refrain from telling you about those.

Sang herself is exactly like an otome game protagonist. She barely has any personality, continually reflects how wonderful these boys are, is clumsy but in adorable way etc etc.

And of course at some point one of the guys tells her (who knows who it was, doesn’t matter anyway): ‘you’re not like other girls, Sang.’

The sad thing is that I was waiting for this line. Why couldn’t you prove me wrong book? Why?

Oh and there’s no plot. The book is literally it’s title. Introductions. Like are you kidding me. That mysterious academy the summary mentions? It’s mentioned at the end and is really not that interesting. Honestly, this is one of the worst books I’ve read (that said, don’t let my negativity stop you from reading this! Especially if it’s still free on Amazon)

Have you read one of these? Or played an otome game? Or maybe watched an anime based on an otome game? Let me know in the comments!

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