Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Delacorte Press on May 2, 2017
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Pages: 432
Format: ARC, paperback
Source: Publisher

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3.5 Stars, Completed March 22, 2017

– minor SPOILERS ahead –

windfall
/ˈwin(d)fôl/
noun

a piece of unexpected good fortune, typically one that involves receiving a large amount of money.

Alice doesn’t believe in luck and especially not after she experienced the worst kind when she lost her parents nine years ago. But as a joke she decides to buy a lottery ticket as an eighteenth birthday present for her best friend that she has secretly loved for years, Teddy. To their utter disbelief, he wins $140 million and, suddenly, everything changes. Teddy’s newfound wealth will put an unexpected strain on their friendship; their once effortless understanding and dependence of one another after having grown up in tough circumstances together dissipates completely as they argue more and more. Thus, the money begins to feel more like a curse than a windfall. As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice will discover more about herself and what she wants from life in moments she least expects.

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By Your Side by Kasie West

5By Your Side by Kasie West
Published by Harper Teen on January 31, 2017
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Pages: 342
Format: ARC, paperback
Source: Yallfest

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3 Stars, Completed February 15, 2017

– SPOILER free –

By Your Side is a light contemporary about two teenagers that develop an unlikely friendship after they’ve been accidentally locked in the library for a weekend. Dax is the school’s loner with a bad reputation. Whereas, Autumn is a do-gooder that doesn’t notice much beyond her camera’s viewfinder and inner group of popular friends. At first, Dax and Autumn only recall the negative impressions they have  of each other and do not get along. But after a few nights of shared vending machine snacks and real talks, both realize that the other is much more than what first meets the eye. They decide to call an amiable truce and soon begin to enjoy each other’s company. And when the pair are finally found and released, the question is after all they’ve shared will they remain friends or will they ignore each other as they had before?

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

bone1Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Published by Thomas Dunne February 7, 2017
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

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4 Stars, Completed January 28, 2017

– read bold text only to avoid SPOILERS –

It could possibly well be that the reason why this was such a delightful read for me was because I’ve never seen the greatly popular film that this book is based off of. (Actually, I hadn’t even heard of Labyrinth until I was approved of my request for this ARC. Labyrinth fans, don’t kill me.) In addition to that, I rarely read the synopses of books thoroughly. Therefore, I basically went into this blind and with zero expectations, and I believe this ended up working in my favor. I would suggest readers that haven’t seen the movie to try the same approach I did.

This was the Goblin King. The abductor of maidens, the punisher of misdeeds, the Lord of Mischief and the Underground.

Liesl has grown up hearing tales of the beautiful Goblin King, the Lord of Mischief and Ruler of the Underground. But as she’s grown older, her belief has faded since she has more practical concerns to worry about (such as looking after her siblings and taking care of the family inn). But when Käthe, her beloved sister, is taken by the goblins Liesl must travel in the mysterious realm of the Goblin King. There she meets the legendary king, and they make an exchange where she will become the maiden that is sacrificed to appease the old laws. But as time passes and the two grow closer, the contract is becoming more difficult to uphold as Liesl’s life source is obviously diminishing but the Goblin King is also falling for her. Both must learn and decide what they are willing to sacrifice.

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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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The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

thesunisalsoastar-680x1024The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Press on November 1, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Pages: 349
Format: ARC, paperback
Source: Publisher

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4 Stars, Completed November 6, 2016

– SPOILER free –

Gosh, I adored this book so much.

The Sun is Also a Star is a story about two teenagers, living very different lives, that happen to meet. Natasha is a girl that has solely relied on her knowledge of science and facts. When her father carelessly exposes their family of being undocumented immigrants, Natasha finds that she has to leave the “land of opportunity” and return back to the place she was born, Jamaica. But she can hardly view the island as her home since she hasn’t lived there since she was a young girl. She feels more American than anything. Then there’s Daniel. He has always been the good son-the one that has made the good grades, proudly kept his Korean roots, and met his parents expectations. So when his brother receives a suspension from an ivy league college, all the more pressure is put onto Daniel to redeem and save face for the family. However, deep down, Daniel knows he doesn’t really want to be a doctor but rather a poet. So when Natasha and Daniel encounter each other to say that they have an instant connection is too unrealistic.  But both find that this serendipitous meeting and the company of the other is exactly the distraction they need in their lives at that moment.

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Midnight Hour by C.C. Hunter + Giveaway

midnighthour_final-cvr_revisedMidnight Hour by C.C. Hunter
Series: Shadow Falls: After Dark Book #4 (4/4)
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin on October 25, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

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3 Stars, Completed October 21, 2016

– read bold text only to avoid SPOILERS –

As sad as it was to know that in a few weeks she wouldn’t call Shadow Falls her home, she knew change was inevitable. And while this address wouldn’t be listed on forms, it would always be listed in her heart. She took with her the life lessons she learned. Here, she’d found self-confidence. She’d learned how to dream, how to never turn away from a leap of faith.

She learned the value of friendships. Of laughter during hard times. Of love.

And so the conclusion to the Shadow Falls series is here! The release of Midnight Hour actually came as a huge surprise to me seeing that I thought this series ended last year with book three, Unspoken, but I’m not complaining since this gives me another excuse to revisit this world one last time.

In this fourth and final installment, like the rest of the students at Shadow Falls Miranda Kane is preparing for her senior year graduation (meaning she has to study and take the SAT once again for college entry because of her dyslexia). But, of course, at Shadow Falls where all things paranormal exist nothing stays normal and calm for long. Miranda unintentionally becomes involved in a crazy situation, and when she awakes in the hospital after the near-death experience she finds a growing tattoo on her body. Many are already disappointed in her for not meeting the standards and surrendering the title of High Priestess (basically the most powerful witch) to her sister, so adding this mystery is not going to please her mom. But then her sister’s kidnapped, and all hell breaks loose in town as local robberies and murders surface. With Midnight Hour, the unstoppable team at Shadow Falls (Miranda, Della, and Kylie) are back to kick butt and set everything right.

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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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The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

The Art of Being Normal

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
Published by David Fickling Books on January 1, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Pages: 353
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

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3.5 Stars, Completed June 17, 2016

– read bold text only to avoid SPOILERS –

“Who wants to be normal anyway? Fancy that on your gravestone. Here lies so-and-so. They were entirely normal.”

The Art of Being Normal shares a story about two people with very big secrets. Ever since grade school David Piper has been known as the school freak for writing, “I want to be a girl when I grow up.” But he’s had two best friends that have cheered and supported him throughout the years-that is until he becomes the third wheel when the two best friends decide to upgrade from being “friends” into “in a relationship.” Around the same time, Leo Denton, has just moved to David’s school. For Leo, all he craves for with this new institution is a chance to maintain an invisibility that he lacked at his last. Once the two meet, David and Leo are immediately drawn towards each other for unknown reasons, and they soon form a comfortable and sincere friendship.

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The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding

NewGuy jkt des.1.inddThe New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions)
by Amy Spalding
Published by Poppy on April 5, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Pages: 320
Format: ARC, paperback
Source: NOVL

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1 Star, Completed June 6, 2016

– SPOILER free –

I really want to be able to say that if I read this three-ish years ago when I was a senior in high school that the story would be relatable and appeal to me more. But, alas, I still wouldn’t think I’d enjoy it.

In The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions), Jules McCallister-Morgan is a senior at Eagle Vista Academy. She’s an honors student, organization freak, and may even be slightly neurotic. Her idea of an ideal senior year is earning her position as editor of The Crest, her school’s newspaper, getting into Brown University, and proving to herself that she was worth the money her moms invested in in order to have her. What she doesn’t expect to find is that she’ll become editor by default because her opponent has already moved on to better things and backed out of the competition; Alex Powell, ex-boy band member of the one hit wonder group, Chaos 4 All, is the new guy at school; and she may be interested in having a boyfriend more than she initially thought. Least of all, she didn’t anticipate becoming commander of one of the sides of a high school war.

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