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RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

rosebloodRoseBlood by A.G. Howard
Published by Amulet Books on January 10, 2017
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy, Retelling
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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2.5 Stars, Completed January 14, 2017

– read bold text to avoid SPOILERS –

I need to know why I’m so broken, so I can fix myself. One way or another. Maybe this place can help me do that, and then I can finally look forward to my future. Because I’m starting to realize there’s something worse than stepping up and facing your fears – and that’s living as if you’re already dead.

RoseBlood is a modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale, The Phantom of the Opera. In this YA retelling, Rune Germain is a girl with a peculiar operatic talent. In the most unexpected moments, Rune will burst into song if she hears music that speaks to her. And, unfortunately, this all consuming musical flair has also lead to some tragic events. Rune’s mother decides to enroll Rune at RoseBlood, an elite French arts conservatory that is the very opera house rumored to have ties to the original classic, in hopes that Rune will tame this musical blessing/curse. There she secretly befriends the masked Thorn, a mysterious violinist who lurks in the school’s shadows and helps guide her musical transformation but with a dark, ulterior motive. The two will uncover that they have an otherworldly, soul-deep connection, and Thorn is forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the only father he’s known, the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century.

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Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

Ever_The_Hunted_FinalEver the Hunted by Erin Summerill
Series: Clash of Kingdoms #1 (1/2)
Published by Harcourt Childrens Books December 27, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

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2.5 Stars, Completed January 5, 2017

– read bold text only to avoid major SPOILERS –

Know how to protect yourself, Papa said. You have to be strong. Strong as the trees.

Britta Flannery has grown up tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter of Malam. But those days are over now that her father has been murdered. Britta alone and an outcast to society (because of her identity) decides to seek refuge in the Ever woods. There she’s caught by a royal guard for illegally poaching. Surprisingly, instead of putting her up to the noose, he offers her a chance to live. All she must do is complete a task using something she excels at: track her father’s killer. But, of course, it’s not that simple. The prime suspect is none other than her late father’s former apprentice and her childhood best friend, Cohen McKay. To makes matters even more complicated, Britta was also in love with Cohen-that is before he disappeared conveniently months before her father’s death. On this dangerous quest, Britta will meet many hardships-not only physical but  matters of the heart as well.

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Dreamology by Lucy Keating

tumblr_o3u5gmADuQ1qdlytco1_1280Dreamology by Lucy Keating
Published by Harper Teen on April 12, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: ARC, paperback
Source: Yallfest

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2.5 Stars, Completed August 5, 2016

– read the bold text only to avoid SPOILERS –

I feel pretty bad about this rating because it seems like the majority greatly enjoyed Dreamology; and there were certainly moments where I did, too, but I also had issues with the characters and romance which prevented me from overall truly being fond of the standalone.

…dreams and reality are far from the same.

In Dreamology readers are introduced to Alice and Max, a cute pair that, like many couples, meet everyday… but only in their dreams. Then on the first day of class, Alice walks into her new school and notices a boy exactly like Max. Though he is indeed the one and the same, the real life Max is different from the dream Max that Alice has known practically all her life. And as they get to know each other’s true personalities, they have to face a number of obstacles before they can be a real couple-one of the biggest being that their dreams are bleeding into reality. To prevent from going mad, Alice and Max will have to decide whether they want to put an end to the merged dreams.

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Risuko by David Kudler

Risuko-v2b-medium-circleRisuko by David Kudler
Series: Seasons of the Sword #1 (1/?)
Published by Stillpoint Digital Press on June 15, 2016
Genres: [Middle Grade] Historical Fiction
Pages: 230
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

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2.5 Star, Completed June 8, 2016

– SPOILER free –

My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls me Squirrel.
Risuko.

One late autumn day, young Kano “Risuko” Murasaki learns that her mother has sold Risuko to a mysterious and intimidating noblewoman, Lady Chiyome. With the head of the family, the father, absent Risuko’s family hasn’t been financially stable, so Risuko resigned but confused decides to follow. Little does she know that the cunning woman has great plans for her. Along the journey to the the Mochizuki estate, she and Lady Chiyome’s party witnesses and finds themselves in the midst of disputes between rivaling warlords. And when Risuko reaches the Mochizuki, she and other girls her age undergo lessons to ready themselves into becoming eventual kunoichi, essentially female ninjas.

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The Vegetarian by Han Kang

71GD5hIAmOLThe Vegetarian by Han Kang
Published by Hogarth on February 2, 2016
Genres: [Adult] Contemporary, Literary Fiction
Pages: 188
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

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2 Stars, Completed March 20, 2016

– to avoid SPOILERS read the bold only –

A long bamboo stick strung with great blood-red gashes of meat, blood still dripping down. Try to push past but the meat, there’s no end to the meat, and no exit. Blood in my mouth, blood-soaked clothes sucked to my skin. 

I put this review off for the longest because, honestly, when I finished the book I never wanted to revisit it again. Dark, disturbing, and depressing would be how I’d describe Han Kang’s The Vegetarian in three words.

The Vegetarian is a split narrative between three characters related to the protagonist, Yeong-hye: her husband, brother-in-law, and sister. Yeong-hye’s husband’s perspective is straightforward and the most fast paced; her brother-in-law’s is disturbing and beyond creepy; and her sister’s is the only one told in the present tense and rather confusing. However, all three are allegorical reflections that allow readers to gain further insight on Yeong-hye’s behavior after an unsettling series of dreams she has that causes her to go vegan-not vegetarian (the translated title is misleading)-and how her family and Korean society reacts toward her drastic, manic changes.

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Unteachable by Leah Raeder

9781476786414_unteachable_cvrUnteachable by Leah Raeder
Published by Atria on March 24, 2014
Genres: [New Adult] Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: Ebook
Source: Purchased

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2 Stars, Completed April 10, 2016

– read bold text only to avoid major SPOILERS  –

Unteachable is deep and important, and perhaps more than just a romance. It gave me an honest and raw insight of a more physical and taboo relationship, which is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Yet this was the first time in which one detail completely ruined my enjoyment for a book.

I was still a teenager, and part of being a teenager was constantly checking your answers against everyone else’s. What did you get for number four? Is falling in love with someone twice your age gross, weird, amazing, or all of the above?

Maise O’Malley has recently turned eighteen. Her deadbeat father has long since been out of the picture and she lives with her junkie/dealer mother. Maise has always only relied on one person: herself. For that reason, she feels much older than eighteen-or at least too mature for the “naive” boys her age. So she has no problem with hooking up and using older men, but the summer before senior year she decides she wants to turn over a new leaf and reinvents herself. But right before school begins, she meets Evan Wilke on a rollercoaster at a carnival and she finds herself freefalling into intense love. However, the night ends with it being a no strings attached one night stand and Maise returns to her new, original resolve. That is until she realizes on her first day of school that Evan is actually her new film class teacher. Even with some time since that fateful carnival night, there’s no denying the chemistry and strong attraction they still have for each other. And with this, there lives will never be the same becoming messy and dangerous.

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Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins + Giveaway

81szC5aigdLMiss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins
Series: Rebel Belle #2 (2/3)
Published by Putnam Juvenile on April 7, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy
Pages: 273
Format: Paperback, Review Copy
Source: Publisher

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2.5 Stars, Completed March 15, 2016

only read bold text to avoid major SPOILERS –

I am seriously so bummed to share that this was a very underwhelming sequel to the spectacularly hilarious and charming Rebel Belle.

Miss Mayhem takes place roughly four months after the events of book one. David, Harper’s now boyfie (Harper’s creative way of saying “boyfriend” hehe), has passed the Oracle test on the night of the Cotillion. The damage of that night has temporarily been patched up by Ryan, Harper’s ex-boyfriend and now David’s assisting Mage. Bee, Harper’s best friend, has finally returned from her mysterious disappearance since the fateful night. And the Ephors are suspiciously quiet. So things have reached a somewhat state of normalcy for Harper-well, almost. Harper soon learns that she has to go through trials herself before she can qualify as a true Paladin. And if she refuses or fails she’ll die. Not much at stake, right?

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Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout

Hello-I-Love-You-21Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin on June 9, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover, ARC
Source: Publisher

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2 Stars, Completed June 11, 2015

– mild SPOILERS – 

Sigh. Why do I feel so conflicted about writing this review?

As you guys know, I’m a huge fan of international music, especially K-pop so Hello, I Love You was right up my alley. The fact that I am a part of the K-pop fandom and do have some background knowledge on Korea (and Korean culture) may have helped and hurt the overall rating for this book.

In Hello, I Love You, Grace Wilde is not the average southern American teenager. Her father is a wealthy, record-producing legend and her brother is a famous country star, who sabotaged his career and life with alcohol and drugs. Often, her family’s reputation precedes her. To escape, she decides to reinvent her life by traveling to Korea, where no one will recognize her. Coincidentally, she meets her Korean roommate, Sophie, who seems to be in the same situation as herself. Sophie’s brother is in a K-pop band, much adored by the young masses of Korea, and seems to be keeping a secret. When Grace meets him, she can’t help but notice his unfriendly demeanor… but also how attractive he is. So a hate-with-some-attraction-at-first-sight romance blossoms.

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Strange Angels

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow

9781921518324Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
Series: Strange Angels #1 (1/5)
Published by Razorbill on May 14, 2009
Genres: [Young Adult] Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Horror
Pages: 293
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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2 Stars, Completed April 19, 2015

– highlight to view SPOILERS –

I’m the reader that revisits books that I couldn’t get into initially or didn’t enjoy the first time around. Sometimes the time and mood affects the overall enjoyment, and I don’t want to miss a great book. This was one of those books. I tried reading Strange Angels when it was first released but couldn’t get through it. So, yes, it’s been collecting dust on my shelf for roughly 5 years. When I recently picked it up again, I was reminded why this was so difficult to get into and couldn’t help but hate myself for doing this yet again.

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Bloodlines

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

9781921518881Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #1 (1/6)
Published by Razorbill on August 23, 2011
Genres: [Young Adult] Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 421
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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2.5 Stars, Completed on March 22, 2015

highlight to view SPOILERS, may contain VA SPOILERS –

Ugh, another vampire book, Summer? I started reading Jane Austen’s Emma weeks ago, but for some reason I’m having a hard time finishing it. Despite being an Austen fan, Emma is so unlikeable, and I’m a reader that must like the protagonist (even if they’re bad, mean, evil, etc). And I really need to read and review Gates of Thread and Stone, but for some reason I can’t even start that one as well. That too has been on hold. So every time reader’s block appears, it cues a vampire novel, my literary guilty pleasure. Thus why I started and finished Bloodlines in a few days.

I had high expectations of Bloodlines because it’s a spin off to the Vampire Academy series, which I thoroughly enjoyed. In VA there was romance, humor, action, and unpredictable plot twists (well unpredictable for the majority of the time). If you haven’t read those, you should. It’s remained as my favorite young adult vampire series ever since I started reading them. Unfortunately, Bloodlines started off real slow for me. I’m not sure whether it was because I was already in a reading slump or it was due to Mead trying to fill in the gaps for readers that weren’t familiar with the VA world and the long refresher annoyed me.

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