Review: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson

Book Title: The Kiss of Deception
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Published Date: July 8th, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Book One in The Remnant Chronicles series
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble 
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Henry Holt & Co. via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
Despite starting off very slowly, The Kiss of Deception ended up being one heck of an epic fantasy read. It surpassed all of my expectations and I was excited every single time I got to pick it back up again. I didn’t want to stop reading even though my eyes kept closing late at night. Yes it was a long book, but it was so fascinating that I barely noticed the length.

At first, I was worried that I wasn’t going to like it much and it was mostly because it has started off slowly. I normally don’t love books that take awhile to really unfold, but I had spoken to several fellow bloggers who loved this book and who pushed me to be patient with this book. So thank you to those bloggers who wouldn’t let me give up on this book.

Lia is an absolute badass, and she is definitely one of my new favorite female characters. She’s strong, devoted to those she loves, especially Walther, her brother. Honor and duty and tradition are just some of the words that Lia has grown to hate and it’s also those words that drive her to disappear on the day she is to be wed.

She finds herself at a distant village where she met Berdi & Gwynneth. I loved both of these ladies and I loved how they were there for both Lia, and Lia’s best friend, Pauline who had come to this village with Lia. Berdi was the mom Lia really needed and Gywnneth was that friend that everyone needs.

Soon after Lia and Pauline arrive at the village, two handsome strangers also arrived. Unbeknownst to everyone, including Lia, one of these men is the jilted prince and the other one is the assassin Lia’s father hired to kill her. These handsome strangers slip into life in the village, helping Berdi and the rest of the group.

Things just sort of unfold from there and we are introduced to so many characters, including Rafe and Kaden, one of which is the prince, the other is the assassin. I kept trying to guess who was who and I kept failing miserably. This is a love triangle, but it’s really hard because both of these boys end up being quite swoon-worthy and so that’s only one of the reasons I choose to stay firmly on Team Lia.

The world building was glorious and I loved it so much. It was captivating and it drew me in, in a way that I wasn’t expecting. I expect a lot from my fantasy books and The Kiss of Deception absolutely delivered in a big way. I am giving this book 5 stars and I eagerly await book two in this series.

Review: Welcome to the Dark House (Welcome to the Dark House #1) by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Book Title: Welcome to the Dark House
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Published Date: July 22nd, 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA Horror
Series: Book One in Welcome to the Dark House duology
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
What’s your worst nightmare?

For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams.

And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now.

Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting.

Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.

By the time Ivy and Parker realize what’s really at stake, it’s too late to wake up and run.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Disney Hyperion via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
Now this is how you do a horror book. 

I probably enjoyed it even more than I would have originally, because I read it in the dead of night. It was so creepy and I couldn’t put it down. I was up until nearly 4am because I had to know what happened and I had to know how it ended. After finishing it, I found out that it was book one of a duology, so YAY. I cannot wait to go back into this story next year. It’s gonna be a long wait.

It started off normally enough, with us meeting Ivy, Parker, Shayla, Natalie, Garth, Frankie, and there’s a 7th contestant, Taylor, who we don’t see much of in this book. I am definitely hoping we see more of her in book 2 because I think she has a lot to add to the story. The book is split up into six different POV’s and I was worried that I would have difficulty following the individual stories, and I did at first, but it wore off quickly.

Things start getting creepy that night and it only continues into the next day as they arrive at an abandoned amusement park. A whole lot of stuff goes down, and it’s truly scary stuff, I mean I had nightmares after I finished the book because of the stuff that happens in the amusement park.

Oh let’s not forget Nightmare Elf, hands down the scariest part of the book for me. It made me think of what would happen if you mixed The Elf on the Shelf with Chucky, and that was enough to give me massive goosebumps while I read this book. The Nightmare Elf visited me in my nightmares after I finished the book.

I have to admit, I love being scared in books, so I was really glad I read this book. I am seriously excited for book 2, and it’s definitely going to be a long wait, especially given the cliffhanger that this book ended in. It was a near perfect read for me, and I’m giving it 4.5 stars. If you like the Horror genre, I would definitely recommend this book. If you are easily scared, I’d avoid this book.

Review: Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter

Book Title: Every Ugly Word
Author: Aimee L. Salter
Published Date: July 29th, 2014
Publisher: Alloy Entertainment
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Link: Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:
 When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.


Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.


Disclaimer: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
I’m not even sure how I feel about this book. Was I enjoying it and was I excited to pick it back up whenever I could? Yes. Did it confuse me and frustrate me to the point of wanting to yell at the book? Again, that’s a yes. 

This book massively confused me. The timeline would jump from present to past and then back to the present again. I was never sure if Older Me was something Ashley really saw or was she exhibiting symptoms of psychosis that no one caught. I was never really sure if the way her mother treated her was really what happened or if it was just Ashley’s perception. 

I was never really sure about Matt either. He was inconsistent, not swoon-worthy and I never felt romantic sparks between him and Ashley. I actually felt them more with Dex, even though Dex turned out to be a ginormous creep. I didn’t like how Matt continually tried to force Ashley to hang out with his friends, the very friends who tormented Ashley every single day. He didn’t seem to care much about her feelings. He was being selfish and aggravating.

The ending was also confusing. I didn’t know what was happening. I still didn’t know if Older Me was real or a figment of Ashley’s imagination. I didn’t doubt that she went through the incident as she did have the scars to show for it. I really did wish the epilogue was longer as I don’t feel like I got any of my questions answered at all. I’m going to go against my initial instinct and give the book 3 stars. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. As I reflect on this book, I realize that I was really confused by this entire book.

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Book Title: Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Published Date: July 15th, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA/NA Contemporary
Standalone/Companion
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review:
I had a lot of hope for this book. I had heard awesome things about it and it was going to be my first Miranda Kenneally book, so I was definitely feeling apprehensive. What if I didn’t like it? What if it didn’t wow me like I wanted it to? I’m so glad I can answer this positively. It was an awesome book where I very quickly fell in love with Annie and with Jeremiah.

I loved how Jeremiah didn’t push her, he let things unfold at her pace and he didn’t try to rush her. He reminded me of my fiance in that way. He knew Annie was still grieving for the boy she loved before.

Yet he introduced her to his family along the way. Guys don’t do that unless they are seriously interested in a girl. He even took her to meet his grandfather who was living in an old folks home. Jeremiah had a close relationship with his PopPop, allowing them to joke around.

“Stop hitting on her PopPop. She’s not your type.” -Jeremiah-
“And what is her type?” -PopPop-
“Somebody under seventy.” -Jeremiah-

I loved the rest of Jeremiah’s family. They all seemed very close knit, and his mother especially seemed overly concerned. I understood why she was so anxious about her adrenaline seeking son, but as someone who is very much an adrenaline junkie, I totally sympathized with Jeremiah. I understood the feeling of wanting that rush, but not wanting to hurt or even scare my family.

Annie’s family was interesting. It was just her mom, Annie, and Annie’s brother Nick. Annie lives her life with constant thoughts of what if. She constantly blames herself for Kyle’s death although as we find out, no one is to blame. She even goes as far as to blame her mother for Kyle’s death. Of course she regrets saying that. 

Her mom never really felt things with Kyle were all that healthy. When Annie began dating Kyle, she dropped everything. Her friends, her activities, things she did for herself. If Kyle wasn’t a part of something, Annie didn’t want to participate. 

“A guy should fit into your life, Annie, not become it.” -Annie’s mom-

I totally agreed with her mom on this. A guy should never be your whole life. He should never become the only thing you think about or hang out with. A guy should compliment you, not complete you. 

Kyle was also the reason she lost friends. Kelsey in particular was hurt when Annie began dating Kyle and I totally understood. To Kelsey, it felt like Annie had left her behind in favor of a boy. While I understood Annie a little bit, I was also so angry with her. Boys should never come before friends and I was so annoyed that Annie had allowed that to happen.

I loved the ending, it was awesome and it left me incredibly happy. It felt like I was Annie for so many reasons. We were both afraid to move on, and love someone no matter how caring and supportive and patient they were. I absolutely loved this book and I cannot wait to read more of Kenneally’s books. 5 stars to this awesome book that broke me out of my reading slump.

“If you don’t put yourself out there, if you don’t take risks, you can’t truly feel.”

Review: Boomerang (Boomerang #1) by Noelle August

Book Title: Boomerang (Boomerang #1)
Author: Noelle August
Publish Date: July 8th, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: NA/Romance
Series: Book 1 in Boomerang trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble 
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Welcome to Boomerang.com, the dating site for the millennial gen, with no-fuss, no-commitment matchups and where the action on the job is steamier than any random hookup

Mia Galliano is an aspiring filmmaker. Ethan Vance has just played his last game as a collegiate soccer star. They’re sharp, hungry for success, and they share a secret.

Last night, Ethan and Mia met at a bar, and, well . . . one thing led to another, which led to them waking up the next morning—together. Things turned awkward in a hurry when they found themselves sharing a post-hookup taxi . . . to the same place: Boomerang headquarters.

What began as a powerful connection between them is treated to a cold shower, courtesy of two major complications. First, Boomerang has a strict policy against coworkers dating. And second, they’re now competing for the same job opening in the fall.

As their internships come to an end, will they manage to keep their eyes on the future and their hands off each other, or will the pull of attraction put them right back where they started?
Disclaimer: I received this book from William Morrow Paperbacks via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
Normally I am very picky about my NA that I chose to read. It just seems like every NA book follows a similar format. Man & woman meet and then spend the rest of the book in bed together. Boomerang was a wonderful surprise as it had two independent people who valued hard work, family and friends.

I loved Ethan. He came from a modest background, but he was close to his family and had friends that he always made time to see. He coached kids soccer, which I loved. A man who willingly helps kids in his spare time wins all kinds of brownie points in my book. Usually I don’t go for the athletic types, but damn Ethan was swoony.

Mia was awesome. Like Ethan, she was close to her family and always made time for her friends.Her family was more well off than Ethan’s was which lead to some potentially sabotaging moments for herself because she felt like Ethan needed the job more than she did. She had a grandmother with dementia which was clearly hard for her. I often wanted to just hug her. It was clear that she felt a closeness to her grandmother that had started at a young age.

Mia had two wonderful friends by the name of Beth and Skylar. They were absolutely not afraid to tell her exactly what she needed to hear. These ladies were the type of friends that all women need and I was glad that Mia had them in her corner.

“But with boys, you act like goddamn Sleeping Beauty. Like they’re the only ones with choices to make.”

Mia’s track record with men isn’t great, but the last thing she wants to do anymore is wait around for Ethan to come to her. She wants to chase him, pursue him. Only question is, after that wild night together, does he want something more? She knows Ethan’s the one she wants, but after Ethan’s ex, Alison comes back into the picture, she’s no longer sure if he really wants her.

“I want someone who just wants me, without question.” 

This book was incredibly hot and sexy. Really, this book should not be read in public unless you take some enjoyment out of getting all hot and bothered in public places. The sex scenes were tasteful without taking over the entire book. They were actually small pieces in a book that was primarily about friendships and work and family, which was a great surprise to me.

I was totally surprised by this book. Happily surprised, and it definitely didn’t hurt that Veronica Rossi co-authored this book. I am giving it five stars and I cannot wait for the next book in the trilogy to come out and dazzle me like this one did.

Review: The Half Life Of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno

Book Title: The Half Life Of Molly Pierce
Author: Katrina Leno
Publish Date: July 8th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depsitory

Synopsis from Goodreads:
You take it for granted. Waking up. Going to school, talking to your friends. Watching a show on television or reading a book or going out to lunch.

You take for granted going to sleep at night, getting up the next day, and remembering everything that happened to you before you closed your eyes.

You live and you remember.

Me, I live and I forget.

But now—now I am remembering. 

For all of her seventeen years, Molly feels like she’s missed bits and pieces of her life. Now, she’s figuring out why. Now, she’s remembering her own secrets. And in doing so, Molly uncovers the separate life she seems to have led…and the love that she can’t let go.

The Half Life of Molly Pierce is a suspenseful, evocative psychological mystery about uncovering the secrets of our pasts, facing the unknowns of our futures, and accepting our whole selves.


Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
I’ve always been fascinated by Dissociative Identity Disorder. To the point where I gobble up anything that has to do with that. Books such as Sybil, Where Rabbit Howls, The Flock & All Around The Town. I’ve watched movies that have to do with it, documentaries, pretty much anything I could get my hands on about this illness, I read or watched. So when I saw the blurb for this book on Goodreads, I knew I just had to have it. So I waited anxiously for it to go up on Edelweiss and finally it did. I downloaded and then just waited for the right time to read it.

I picked it up a few days ago and I was immediately hooked. Chunks of time is missing in seventeen year old Molly’s life. She wakes up and doesn’t know where she is or how she got there. Usually the blackouts only last a few hours but sometimes they can last for a full day. 

She’s there when a boy named Lyle is in an accident and is in serious condition. She stays with him until they arrive at the hospital. She calls his brother at Lyle’s request and when Sayer arrives at the hospital, Molly can’t shake the feeling that she knows him somehow. Lyle’s death is the catalyst for Molly to realize that something isn’t right. She knows she’s never met these boys before, but she can’t help feeling like she knows Sayer and that she knew Lyle.
What’s weirder is that she feels her parents and siblings, Clancy & Hazel know something she doesn’t know. She starts to feel like maybe, they know that she’s not as normal as she tries to pretend she is. Maybe they know about her blackouts and missing chunks of time even though she’s tried her hardest to keep them from knowing about it.
Normally the stream of consciousness writing style would have driven me crazy, but in this particular book, it works. It flowed in a way I wouldn’t expect stream of consciousness writing to flow. So that definitely made me happy. Sometimes writing style can make or break a book. Thankfully, this time it made the book better.
This book was very character driven, which I really liked. The character development was well done.I do wish we had gotten to see more of Erie & Luka though. It seemed like most of the book was focused on finding out the truth about Molly, Lyle and Sayer. I also wished we had gotten a longer ending. I liked how it ended, and it was definitely much different from any of the other books about this disorder had ever been, but I wanted something just a tad bit longer.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was a short book, but definitely a well written and fascinating book. I am going to give it 4 stars and I would definitely recommend it to others. I definitely plan on buying a finished copy of this book. 

Review: On The Fence by Kasie West

Book Title: On The Fence
Author: Kasie West
Publish Date: July 1st, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
She’s a tomboy. He’s the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she’s got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she’s falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Fun, original, and endearing, On the Fence is a romantic comedy about finding yourself and finding love where you least expect.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
By then time you read this, I will have read all of Kasie West’s books and have hopefully enjoyed them all. When I wrote this review I had only read Pivot Point but had just recently bought & received in the mail, Split Second & The Distance Between Us. I was hoping for a cute fluffy read and I definitely got that with On The Fence.

Charlie struggles a lot with this book and I was able to relate to that a lot more than I think I expected to. Charlie is a tomboy with 4 brothers being raised by her dad after her mother died 10 years ago. She doesn’t think that she is what guys want because she’s not feminine and she doesn’t wear makeup and talk endlessly about clothes and boys.

It was so clearly a struggle for her because she feels like she has to change who she is in order to get boys to notice her. She feels like boys don’t want girls who are “big and burly” and Charlie doesn’t know how to be delicate and feminine like she feels she should be in order for guys to notice her.I got that because I was much the same way in high school. Boys didn’t notice me because I was much more sporty than feminine. Boys went for the girls who were “hot” and who wore gobs of makeup and revealing clothing to make themselves look hot.

Working in a clothing store filled with feminine clothing initially makes Charlie borderline uncomfortable but then she begins to embrace her femininity and she begins to realize that she can be both. She can be sporty and feminine. Not having a mother in the past 10 years has made her feel like she must choose one or the other. Feminine or sporty. 

Charlie meets a cute guy named Evan, but she feels like she has to dumb herself down for him because apparently making a guy feel useless is emasculating. So instead of rattling off everything she knows about sports, she stays quiet, allowing Evan to believe that he is teaching her something. Next door neighbor Braden actually had some good insight on this whole dumbing herself down for a guy thing

“If you can’t be yourself around him, you shouldn’t be dating him.”

I absolutely LOVED this quote. I had highlighted several things in the book, but this one in particular stuck with me. Mostly because I think most teenage girls go through this. They feel like they have to dumb themselves down for a guy. They feel like they have to be something different in order for a guy to like them.

Watching Charlie realize that Braden was right and that a girl should never try to be something else in order for a guy to like her, was really awesome. If a guy doesn’t like her for who she is, he’s not worth dating.

It’s hard for longtime friends to admit to being attracted to each other. It’s terrifying because each of them worries that their friendship might be ruined.And what if the relationship doesn’t make it? Will they ever be able to be friends again? So I totally understand why it took so long for Charlie and Braden to admit their feelings.When they do though, its full of sweetness and swoons.

I really only had one complaint.When secrets are revealed about how Charlie’s mom died, I felt like Charlie reacted and then got over it really quickly. I mean I wanted more about that and I felt like it wasn’t delved into it as completely as it should have been.Had that been explored a little more, I think I would have given this book a full 5 stars. But I definitely had the feels while reading this book. Kasie is really good at giving her readers those all important feels. So this book will be getting 4.5 stars. Kasie has absolutely secured herself a spot on my author auto-buy list.