22.5.18

Review: All of This is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor


All of This is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Source: ARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
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In this genre-defying page-turner from Lygia Day Peñaflor, four teens befriend their favorite YA novelist, only to find their deepest, darkest secrets in the pages of her next book—with devastating consequences.

Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to hear the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her.

Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too.

Penny Panzarella was more than the materialist party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was—and she was willing to share all her secrets with Fatima Ro to prove it.

Jonah Nicholls had more to hide than any of them. And now that Fatima’s next book is out in the world, he’s the one who is paying the price...

Perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying—and told as a series of interviews, journal entries, and even pages from the book within the book—this gripping story of a fictional scandal will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

Review: 

I've been following All of This is True since it was first announced. It sound unique. I mean, a story about a group of teens befriending their favorite author? I haven't seen that before! I was also excited about the mystery. As more details were revealed, the more excited I became. I couldn't wait to dive in! 

The result? All of This is True isn't exactly what I had anticipated, but it's still a juicy and addicting read. I've seen this book compared to Pretty Little Liars several times, and I think that comparison is spot-on. It contains the same addicting, I-can't-get-enough quality of Pretty Little Liars as well as a group of characters that are interesting but not exactly likable.  

One of my favorite parts about All of This is True is the format. It contains interviews, text messages, journal entries, and excerpts from Fatima Ro's book. I wish there were more books like this! Lygia did a wonderful job of bringing everything together, and I loved how she broke everything up. It's hard to describe, but it worked well, as the different medias lined up perfectly. I also appreciated that each character was represented - Miri and Penny through their interviews, Soleil through her journal entries, and Jonah through Fatima's book as well as the girl's portions. 

As I mentioned above, none of the characters in All of This is True are particularly likable. Miri, Penny, and Soleil live incredibly spoiled, opulent lifestyles, and their personalities reflect that. Throughout the book, I couldn't believe some of what they did and said; however, it didn't make me dislike the book. Instead, it made me even more addicted - I couldn't wait to find out what outlandish thing was said or done next. I will say, however, that Penny and Soleil were slightly better than Miri. It was easy to see that Penny just wanted to be loved for who she was not for what she had while Soleil just wanted an honest, healthy relationship with Jonah. I felt for them more so than I did for Miri. Fatima Ro was an interesting character. Some part of me couldn't believe that she would be so willing to hang out with high school students. Yes, she wasn't that much older than them, but it was still odd to think about, especially when you took into consideration her relationship with Jonah. Honestly, sometimes she gave off such a creepy vibe. I don't think I would've been as willing to be her friend as they were. So was the relationship between the four students and Fatima stretched? Slightly. It was hard to believe at times, but at the same time I don't think All of This is True was really aiming for a believable vibe. 

The mystery in All of This is True has been highly talked about; however, I didn't think that it was much of a mystery at times. I know some people have said that they thought the big twist was shocking, but I figured it out pretty early on in the book. It was hard to not see that there was more to what was going on than what was said. Sometimes I don't mind figuring out the twist early on in a book if there's still a good build up to the reveal, but that wasn't exactly the case here. I wish that there had been more twists and turns to it all, more oh-my-goodness moments.  Instead of a mystery, I feel that All of This is True focused primarily on the relationship between the four students and Fatima. I did find in interesting, and I appreciated seeing the start of the relationship, the build up to the end, and then the falling out. I also liked that all three girls had such differing opinions on it all - Miri was an absolute Fatima fangirl to the end while Penny and Soleil were done with Fatima. It was interesting to see how each girl viewed what had happened so differently. 

I was also slightly disappointed by the ending. I wish more details had been given, because I felt as if things were finally getting truly good. I couldn't believe that it ended where it did. 

In all, All of This is True wasn't everything that I had expected, but I still enjoyed reading it. If you love Pretty Little Liars, I think there's a high chance you'll like this one as well. 

3.5 stars!! 

21.5.18

Sabotage, Scotland, and Romance: Fair Game & Under a Storm-Swept Sky (Reviews!)


Fair Game by Taylor Lunsford
Release Date: April 23, 2018 
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
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In her designer shoes and power suits, Vivien Monroe couldn’t be more out of place in the video game company she inherited from her eccentric father. Not only does she have to sort out her father’s last request and deal with a younger sister she barely knows, she has to go toe-to-toe with her father’s protégé—a man who makes her think about the last thing she should be thinking about right now.

With his thick-framed glasses and graphic tees, Liam Hale is the exact opposite of what she needs right now. His relaxed, out-of-the-box attitude reminds her too much of her father’s more exasperating quirks, but his dedication and quiet stubbornness begin to drive her crazy in a completely different way.

All Vivien wants is to get back to her life in New York, but someone is stealing the company’s best game ideas, and an FBI agent is sniffing around. She’ll save her father’s legacy for her sister and then she’s out of there—if she can leave Liam behind.

Review: 

I requested Fair Game on a whim. I hadn't heard anything about Taylor Lunsford and/or Fair Game before, but the synopsis had me intrigued. A video game company seemed like a unique setting, and I wanted to know more about the FBI agent. Why were they snooping around?! 

The Result? I can't believe I waited so long to read Fair Game, as it is SO GOOD! Addicting as well as fast paced, Fair Game introduces not only a swoony romance but also strong, kick-a$$ characters AND an exciting, suspenseful mystery! 

On the surface, Vivien seems like the ultimate ice queen. She's cold and uninviting. She doesn't want to make small talk and, most importantly, she doesn't want to dwell on the past. While I wanted her to give her family and the company a chance, I could completely understand her actions. I would've been just as angry as Vivien was if I was in her shoes. It wasn't cool what her father did after her mother died, pulling away from Vivien while in the process becoming closer and closer to her sister. I think it would be easy to develop resentment. As the book progresses, however, Vivien begins to loosen up (thanks to Liam!), and I adored the "new" Vivien. She was just as tough and fearless as before, but she now had some more heart, some more compassion. She focused on fixing past relationships with her sister and best friend and she even dove into some new relationships. It wasn't an instantaneous fix, and that's what made it more believable, in my opinion. Vivien is someone you can't help but root for. I wanted her to find her family as well as peace, and if she found romance on the way...well, I wouldn't be complaining. 

The best way to describe Liam? An adorable and sexy nerd! As soon as he was introduced, I knew I was going to love him. I loved how passionate he was about his work, especially when it came to keeping the company the way Vivien's father envisioned it. He was a trustworthy guy, one you would want on your side no matter what. I also adored how nerdy he could get. He loved his video games - that's for sure - and he wasn't willing to hide that love for anyone even someone as icy as Vivian.  What I liked the most about Liam, however, was how positive and go-with-the-flow he was. He was always willing to see the best in everyone. Some people wouldn't have tried so hard with Vivien, but her personality and the wall she had built didn't detour him. 

Fair Game mainly focuses on Vivien's return to Texas. She had a lot on her plate, such as finding a new CEO, discovering who was leaking their new games to other companies, and dealing with all the people that get in her way in the process. I'll admit that I was slightly worried about the video game focus. I've never been big on video games, and I don't know the first thing about them; however, my lack of knowledge didn't hinder my enjoyment one bit. Vivien turned out to be the same way I was. Additionally, I loved the mole storyline. It was suspenseful, and while the bad guy was apparent from the start, it didn't dull my enjoyment one bit. Instead, the mystery focused on finding the evidence, which was harder to find then one would expect. I also liked how Taylor used the mole storyline to increase Vivien's interest in the company and her family. I enjoyed seeing Vivien became so determined to save the day, slowly understanding why Liam and her sister would do anything for the company in the process. Last but not least, the romance between Liam and Vivien? One of the best parts! I loved how they started as frenemies and slowly morphed into something else, as not only did it bring about some excellent tension but also some great banter. They had an easy, natural relationship as the book progressed. 

Overall, Fair Game is an exciting new romance, perfect for fans who love their romance with a side of sabotage. This may be my first book by Taylor but it certainly won't be my last! 

4.5 stars!! 


Under a Storm-Swept Sky Beth Anne Miller 
Release Date: April 16, 2018 
Publisher: Entangled: Embrace 
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance 
Source: ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
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An eighty-mile trek across the rugged, stunning beauty of Scotland’s Isle of Skye isn't something I imagined myself doing. Ever. This isn't a trail for beginners. And I'm not a hiker.

But I have to finish it, even if it kills me. I have no choice.

With the ever-changing weather and relentless terrain, I’m in over my head.

Rory Sutherland, my guide on this adventure, is not happy. We clash with every mile, but we recognize a shared pain. Not only is the journey a struggle, but the tension between us is taut with unsaid words. And hope.

He’s broken. I’m damaged. Together, we’re about to make the perfect storm.

Review:  

Since I don't travel much I love reading books set in foreign locations. Therefore, as soon as I saw that Under a Storm-Swept Sky was set in Scotland, I added it to my TBR pile. 

The result? Emotional as well as heartwarming, Under a Storm-Swept Sky offers much more than just a stunning, wanderlust-inducing setting. Beth Anne Miller brings out the emotions in full force here, as Rory and Amelia make peace with their pasts and look toward the future. 

My favorite part about Under a Storm-Swept Sky? The setting of course! Scotland is one place I would love to visit, and that feeling is only stronger now that I've read Under a Storm-Swept Sky. In the book Beth does a fantastic job of fleshing out the Isle of Skye. The descriptions of the mountains, the lakes, and the small towns were drool-wrothy, and even though I'm not much of a hiking fan, Beth Anne made me want to sign up for a hiking experience similar to Amelia and Rory's! 

As for Amelia and Rory, they were likable and relatable. When the story first begins, Amelia and Rory are dealing with their own respective emotional baggage. While Rory struggles to move past an accident that shattered his childhood, Amelia is struggling with a car accident that landed her best friend in the hospital indefinitely but left her with barely a scratch. Through Amelia and Rory, Beth Anne Miller displays a surplus of emotions. Amelia, for one, is heartbroken. Even though she knows she shouldn't, she takes on full blame for the accident, and it's affected her life in so many ways. She's on a hike that she doesn't want to do, she's become distant, and she spends most of her time thinking about Carrie, her best friend. Rory, on the other hand, is constantly jerky, especially when it comes to Amelia. In the years since the accident, Rory has thrown himself into hiking and pushing himself to the extreme. When Amelia and Rory meet, sparks fly, and I loved seeing them come together and work through their issues. There were some rough times (they love fighting with each other, poking at each other's weaknesses) and good times, but no matter, I thought they were perfect for each other.  

The plot here focuses on the hike as well as Amelia and Rory's emotional journeys. I liked how Beth Anne Miller used the different parts of the hike to develop Amelia and Rory's characters, pushing both to become stronger and even a tad freer. I also liked the different side characters the hike brought along with it. Tommy, for example, was a riot. I loved that he could always see what Amelia and Rory couldn't. 

I did have one problem with Under a Storm-Swept Sky and that was the length. The first part of this book moved at a great speed. I found it easy to get through the chapters, and I enjoyed the alternating perspectives; however, at about half way, the book began to drag. It became repetitive, and I began to lose interest. I just wanted some more action, some more development. Instead, I felt that the hike was going to go on and on. I feel that if had been 100-150 pages shorter, it would've been a lot better. 

Regardless of that, Under a Storm-Swept Sky is an enjoyable read, perfect for fans of slow burn romances. 

3 stars!! 

20.5.18

Sunday Post/Stacking the Shelves: Rainy Weather, Morning TV, and Binge Reading





Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and focuses on new books that were received/bought/borrowed this week while the Sunday Post is hosted by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and focuses on recapping your week. 

New Books: 

For Review: 


Always Forever Maybe by Anica Mrose Rissi
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager 
Eagle & Crane by Suzanne Rindell 
The Banker's Wife by Christina Alger 

Much thanks goes to Penguin, First to Read, HarperTeen & The Fantastic Flying Book Club! 

Books Read this Week:  


Always Forever Maybe by Anica Mrose Rissi: I was hesitant to start this as the reviews I've seen have been incredibly mixed, but I ended up really liking it. It's a fast paced read, one that chronicles the many ups and downs of a sudden relationship. I thought Anica did a great job of addressing abusive relationships in this, and I LOVED the friendship between the main character and her best friend. It won't be for everyone, but I think it will definitely find its place among contemporary lovers. 

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager: SO GOOD. Everyone's been telling me for AGES how good Riley's books are, but of course, I didn't listen. I need to read Final Girls asap! 

All of This is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor: One of my most anticipated books of the spring, and it didn't disappoint! I've seen this compared to Pretty Little Liars, and that comparison definitely rang true. It's incredibly readable - I didn't put it down once - and there's such a deliciously dramatic tone to it. While I could see the big twist coming from the beginning, I didn't feel too left down by that. Lygia took this book an interesting pathway, and while I think some more could have been said, it's still a solid book. 

Fair Game by Taylor Lunsford: I can't believe how fast I tore through this book! I never expected to love it as much as I did. It's nerdy, sweet, and incredibly hot. There's also a mystery involved. 

Love Beyond Opposites (Grad Night #3) by Molly E. Lee: Just as cute as the previous Grad Night book! I also adored the epilogue. 

The Lies They Tell by Gillian French: Meh...not for me 

Out of Left Field by Kris Hui Lee: Double meh...not for me as well 

August and Everything After by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski: Not exactly what I had expected, but I still enjoyed it. I loved the setting even though it's making me crave the beach more than ever. 

The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin: This has been described as being similar to Grey's Anatomy and that is exactly what I got. Kimmery did an amazing job of diving into the many intricate details of a long-term friendship, and the ending still has me thinking...

Under a Storm-Swept Sky by Beth Anne Miller: The scenery in this book was superb! The main characters go on a hiking trip through Scotland, and if you don't get incredible wanderlust from it, I'll be shocked. It got a little shaky towards the end, as I felt that it was a tad too long, but overall a sweet and emotional romance. 

One Baby Daddy by Meghan Quinn: LOVED IT! 

What I'm Currently Reading: 


The Banker's Wife by Cristina Alger: At the very beginning of this one so not too much to say about it just yet. 

Lies by T.M. Logan: I actually started this one a while back, but I'm just now getting back into it. It started off rough, but it's slowly gaining traction. The "bad guy"  is super creepy! 

Posts You May Have Missed: 

Monday: Spotlight Tour for August and Everything After (Review & Giveaway!) 
Thursday: Review for Foolish Hearts  
Friday: Review for August and Everything After 
Saturday: Review of One Baby Daddy & Reviews for Out of Left Field, Love Between Opposites, and The Lies They Tell

Life Update: 

How I managed to read 11 books this week, I'll never know. I feel like I'm either in a read-read-read-read mood or I-CAN'T-read-anything-why-are-all-these-books-NOT-working mood. There is no in between, it's all or nothing lol 

I'm finally catching up on reviews, which is good considering how much I read this week. I'm also proud of myself for already reading 2 out of my 4 new books. Makes me feel like I have my life together. 

Other than that, it's been a relatively slow week. Some family events but that's about it. I was in a baking mood so I made chocolate chip cookies, and I have to say they were really good. Not my best, but still high up there. I've had some free time in my mornings lately so I've fallen into the morning television trap *hides face* it's so easy to get sucked in. But you know you've been watching too much of it when half of your conversations involve "well on Live with Ryan and Kelly/Ellen/GMA, they said..." lol 

Last but not least: I started a new Netflix show this week: Safe, which was created by Harlan Coban. It's not exactly what I had expected, but somehow I've managed to fly through the first four episodes on Saturday morning (I think the rainy dreary weather played a big role in it). Have any of you watched it? 

Have a great week everyone! 

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