The Raging Ones by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Monday, August 13, 2018
From New York Times bestselling authors Krista and Becca Ritchie, comes The Raging Ones, an edge of your seat sci-fi romance with twists and turns that you will never see coming!

In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds. 

Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday. 

Until the day she does. 

Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him. 

Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny. 

With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.

Released on August 14, 2018 by Wednesday Books
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My Thoughts:
The Raging Ones covers a very interesting topic of every person finding out their deathday right after their birth. Based on the age they will die, the residents of this planet are classified based on how much of an impact on society they can have. Franny, Court, and Mykal have all miraculously survived past their deathday, and they have an odd connection with each other. 

I was SO excited going into this book, because it was a concept I had thought of before. What if you knew the day you were going to die? How would you live life differently? This book really dove into the whole idea and created a class system out of it, which I thought was so interesting. 

Franny has just evaded her deathday, and she builds a odd physical connection with both Court and Mykal. She was my favorite character, because she was scared about what life meant for her now that she didn't know when it ended, but she also realized that she would have to be strong. Mykal was a great character, and honestly reminded me of a caveman half the time. He was a great comic relief, and I loved his relationship with Franny. Then there's Court – not sure what I thought of him. He was such a complicated character, and I couldn't tell if he was hapy, sad, worried, whatever. 

While I really enjoyed reading this book because of the plot, Court's character caused a lot of issues for me. I really loved him, but he confused me (if that makes any sense). Also, for some reason, this book took me forever to read. It's not a bad thing at all, but it was only about 300-some pages, and I feel like it really took a lot while reading it. I was so invested, and usually I read quicker when I'm invested, so that was slightly surprising!

If you're looking for a great sci-fi with a fun character group (not much romance!) then this is definitely the book for you! 

Stars: 4 out of 5 stars
What I Liked: The plot, Franny, Mykal
What I Disliked: Court's complicated personality

GIVEAWAY: To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin

Friday, August 10, 2018
My birthday is coming up soon (August 23!), so I thought I would celebrate by giving away an ARC of To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin! Stay tuned for my review coming next week. 

Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she'll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn't count on is that her mother's obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy's mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats.

Between her mom's diet-helicoptering, missing her sister, and worrying about her collegiate future, Savvy has enough to worry about. And then she meets George, the cute new kid at school who has insecurities of his own. As Savvy and George grow closer, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now before it disappears.

Published August 21, 2018 by Swoon Reads
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Echoes by Alice Reed

Monday, August 6, 2018
They wake on a deserted island. Fiona and Miles, high school enemies now stranded together. No memory of how they got there. No plan to follow, no hope to hold on to.

Each step forward reveals the mystery behind the forces that brought them here. And soon, the most chilling discovery: something else is on the island with them.

Something that won't let them leave alive.

Released on August 7, 2018 by Entangled:Teen
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My Thoughts:

Fiona and Miles couldn't be any more different than each other, but somehow they ended up landing the same pharmaceutical internship abroad in Berlin. Between alternating chapters, the story follows the two as they adventure through two very different types of stories, that really make for a fun adventurous ride. 

Originally, I didn't know what to think of Echoes. I never got confused (which is surprising when it has two different stories happening at once), which is honestly surprising for me. It was done in a marvelous way that I was not confused, but instead, super curious as to what was happening. I had my own theories at first (none of which were true), but it was fun to determine what was really happening with the story. 

The main characters are Fiona, a bad-ass kick-boxing scholarship student, and Miles, a wealthy super-intelligent popular boy. Throughout high school, they've had a unspoken hatred for each other, which starts to wash away as they face more and more danger. The characters were fun, but they weren't such WOW characters that would have made this book more of a favorite for me. I felt for them, I wanted them to be happy, but I also wanted to learn more about them. 

What is so interesting about this book was the ending. I was silently yelling at the book because of the ending, but it was because I was so desperate for answers as to what was going on. It was wonderfully executed, and Alice Reed really left me wanting more. 

This fast-paced adventure novel was a fun read, and I highly suggest it if you want a mystery book that doesn't deal with a bunch of death or murders. It reminded me of a little more hardcore Jumanji, minus the video game, and more of the island adventure. 

Stars: 4 out of 5
What I Liked: Amazing plot and pace
What I Disliked: Didn't necessarily dislike, but the characters could have had just a little bit more to make me really like them. 

July Wrap-Up - Books, Movies, TV Shows

Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Each month, I'm going to do a new feature where I do a wrap-up of all the books, movies, and TV shows from the past month, as well as other bookish things that I've done.

Here's my wrap-up from July!

Books (16 books): 
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (audiobook) - 5 stars
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir - 5 stars
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - 5 stars
The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman - 5 stars
The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon - 5 stars

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee - 4 stars
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (audiobook) - 4 stars
Echoes by Alice Reed - 4 stars
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff - 4 stars
I'm Not Missing by Carrie Fountain - 4 stars
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab - 4 stars
Leah On the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli - 4 stars
Like Never and Always by Ann Aguire - 4 stars
Divesmack by Demetra Brodsky - 4 stars

Lucky in Love by Kasie West - 3 stars
Wrong in All the Right Ways by Tiffany Brownlee - 3 stars

The Incredibles 2 - 4 stars
Oceans 8 - 4 stars
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again - 4 stars
Call Me By Your Name - 3 stars

TV Shows:
Younger - Season 1 & 2 - 5 stars

Book Events: 
On July 30, 2018, I got to attend Alex Bracken's launch event at Books of Wonder for The Darkest Legacy and listen to her speak and get a book signed! She's such a relatable person, and I really enjoyed hearing her talk. Now I can't wait to start the series and watch the movie this weekend!

July was a very productive month for me, but now I have too many books without reviews that I need to catch up on! August is going to be full of more ARCs, as I have a bunch for August and into September that will need to be read and reviewed. Excited for another great month!

The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman

Monday, July 30, 2018
The last thing Elise wants is to start her senior year in a new town. But after her brother’s death in Afghanistan, she and her mother move from San Francisco to a sleepy coastal village.

When Elise meets Mati, they quickly discover how much they have in common. Mati is new to town too, visiting the U.S. with his family. Over the course of the summer, their relationship begins to blossom, and what starts out as a friendship becomes so much more.

But as Elise and Mati grow closer, her family becomes more and more uncomfortable with their relationship, and their concerns all center on one fact—Mati is Afghan.

Beautifully written, utterly compelling, and ultimately hopeful, THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US asks—how brave can you be when your relationship is questioned by everyone you love?

Published July 31, 2018 by Swoon Reads
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The Impossibility of Us is a contemporary novel about love, family issues, the military, and cultural differences, and it uses all of these tropes as ingredients to a perfect novel. I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up this novel, and I didn't want to set it down at all. 

Katy Upperman's writing is beautiful, and the set-up of the novel is so intriguing. With dual perspectives, we follow Elise who just moved to a new town, and we follow Mati, visiting the US for the summer because of his father's illness. Elise's chapters are written as a traditional novel, while Mati, who is a poet, has chapters only written in verse. This breaks up the novel in a perfect way, and it's interesting to see the same situations play out on the pages, half from traditional writing and the other half from poetic verse. 

The characters were everything I wanted them to be. Elise was a stubborn teenager, eager to learn and accept everyone for who they are. She's had a single mother, because her dad left when she was young, and a brother was killed in the military in Afghanistan. This causes for difficult conversations when she meets Mati, a young boy from Afghanistan, but his sincerity and sweet personality make Elise fight for him. 

I haven't cried in a book in a while. To be honest, I can't remember the last time I cried while reading a book, but this book, LET ME TELL YOU. This book had me bawling in bed. And not just at the ending, but at other parts in the second half of the book. The Impossibility of Us has so many difficult conversations in it about the military, racism, and culture that were all carefully executed. They were conversations that I've heard before from people I know, but never seen discussed in young adult fiction. 

What I loved about this book was how everything wasn't all fine and dandy. Elise's mother didn't miraculously approve of their relationship, which is something I was silently hoping for, but I love that Katy Upperman didn't allow for it to happen. It made it seem so much more real. It wasn't just a girl who had a super understanding family dating a boy from a different country that had caused her family pain. It was much more real than that, and it really struck me. 

I could go on and on about all the things I loved about this. It wasn't just about Elise and Mati, but it was about Mati's parents, Elise's mother, Elise's dead brother, and his grieving wife and young daughter. I felt for all of these characters, and they were written so incredibly well. 

I highly suggest this novel if you want a romance that brings up real issues. Don't read this if you hate crying, because you most definitely will sob. Generally, I rate contemporaries very low because they never do anything great or find myself thinking of them after I've finished reading. This book is getting five stars because of how often I think of it, and five stars are reserved for my absolute favorite novels. 

Please pick of this book if you see it, because it's a beautiful romance that I don't find very often.  

Stars: 5 out of 5 stars
What I Liked: EVERYTHING. 
What I Disliked: NOTHING. 

Wrong In All the Right Ways by Tiffany Brownlee

Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Everything in Emma's life has always gone according to her very careful plans. But things take a turn toward the unexpected when she falls in love for the first time with the one person in the world who’s off-limits–her new foster brother, the gorgeous and tormented Dylan McAndrews. 

Meanwhile, Emma’s AP English class is reading Wuthering Heights, and she’s been assigned to mimic Bronte’s style in an epistolary format. With no one to confide in, she’s got a lot to write about. Emma and Dylan try to constrain their romance to the page–for fear of threatening Dylan’s chances of being adopted into another home. But the strength of first love is all-consuming, and they soon get enveloped in a passionate, secretive relationship with a very uncertain outcome.

Published on July 17, 2018 by Henry Holt & Co
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My Thoughts:
Emma's family has decided to foster a child, and Emma is worried about this child filling the space she created in her family once she leaves for college. But then, her parents bring home Dylan, an attractive teenagers who now has the title of her foster brother. 

Emma and Dylan have an interesting attraction to each other, and it was odd that it was never truly explained. There was never awkwardness from Dylan, and he always played the suave, cool guy trope which rubbed me the wrong way. Emma was the one who was always awkward and trying to impress Dylan, and it was just off balanced to me. 

I think overall, Dylan just rubbed me the wrong way. He was not a good person to Emma, and he had a history to back up his motives. His father was a terrible person, so it rubbed off onto him. That's great and all to have a flawed character, but with the ending that Dylan had, I don't really get it. There was so many loose strings that were left hanging loose that should have been tied up. 

SPOILERS & RANT - Don't read if you don't want to know, but I can't hold this part in. 

Dylan was mentally abusive to Emma, and I'm not okay with it. The things that he did to her were okay to happen in the book, but then in the end when he gets in the car accident because he's an idiot and mixed up his adderall with ambien is NOT OKAY. She was by his bedside the moment it happened, and she was forgiving him and telling him she loved him, and I did not appreciate it. I was so happy when Emma left the summer before college to live her life, but then she CAME BACK TO HIM? And then he got officially adopted which made everything so weird. I feel like something should have happened to he couldn't get adopted by them so then Emma and Dylan could at least try and have a semi-normal relationship as a couple. Not a couple & sibling relationship.


Anyways, the story did keep me holding on for a while. I was really interested to see how everything was going to play out. It wasn't so much the romance aspects (I tried to rush through those), but instead it was the family relationships. Tiffany Brownlee should write a contemporary with family issues because she played them out perfectly. Like the scenes with Emma and her father at the end had me really worked up. PLEASE TIFFANY WRITE ANOTHER BOOK.

So as you can see, there were parts that I really didn't like of this book (plot wise). There were other parts that I absolutely loved, and I definitely will continue to read books that Tiffany Brownlee publishes! This one is just such a heated topic (much like Wuthering Heights), so it makes sense that there's discussion about this.

Stars: 3 out of 5 stars
What I Liked: Emma was a very likable and relatable character
What I Disliked: Emma & Dylan's relationship

Like Never and Always by Ann Aguirre

Sunday, July 22, 2018
On a hot summer night, a screech of brakes and shattering glass changes two lives forever.

Liv wakes in the hospital, confused when they call her Morgan. She assumes it’s a case of mistaken identity, yet when the bandages come off, it’s not her face in the mirror anymore. It’s her best friend Morgan’s.

Morgan always seemed to have the perfect life, yet Liv must navigate endlessly disturbing secrets of the criminal and murderous variety—and a romance that feels like a betrayal. Torn between the boy she loved as Liv and the boy she’s grown to love as Morgan, Liv still has to survive Morgan’s last request.

Published July 17, 2018 by Tor Teen
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My Thoughts
Like Never and Always was a great mix of a contemporary and thriller, with slight hints of romance and semi-supernatural (if you can even call it that?). It follows Liv who wakes up after a terrible car accident and realizes she's in her best friend's body. Meanwhile, no one knows and everyone thinks Liv is dead. Liv has to carry on Morgan's life while uncovering the secrets that Morgan was keeping about her love life, family issues, and personal struggles. 

Liv was a fantastic narrator to follow, and I feel as though the situation was reversed (Morgan lived in Liv's body), it wouldn't have been as interesting of a story. Liv is smart, determined, and really doing well dealing with the whole situation. She realizes the severity of it, and she decides if she's going to be Morgan, she's going to do it right. 

I didn't really understand the romance aspect. Prior to the accident, Liv was dating sweet tempered Nathan, and Morgan was dating bad-boy Clay, who is Nathan's older brother. My assumption would be that this would be a huge issue once Liv was in Morgan's body, because she would want to be with Nathan all the time. While there's a slight hiccup in the beginning, Liv quickly stops longing for Nathan and remembering all the history they had and instead switches primarily over to Clay. It was really not what I expected from a teenage girl, and it made me slightly confused. I expected Liv to have more difficulty dealing with the situation. 

Besides that, the romance between Liv and Clay was perfect. You got to learn more about Morgan's personal life as well as Clay's history through this romance. It was very swoon-y at times, but I really enjoyed it! 

To those who are saying this book is thrilling, I would disagree. I was never on the edge of my seat waiting to know what was happening next – and that's totally okay! It was a mystery novel, as there were secrets to be uncovered and little clues along the way, but the pacing was never significant in this. Regardless, it was a great mystery! 

This was my first book by Ann Aguirre, and I really liked it! The writing was great, the characters were interesting, and the plot was something I hadn't seen before. I recommend this to anyone looking for a YA mystery. 

Stars: 4 out of 5 stars
What I Liked: Liv's voice, the mystery
What I Disliked: Weird handling of Liv & Nathan's prior romance
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