The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
Posted on Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 by Emily May

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola YoonThe Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Published by Random House on November 3rd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 384
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Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

The universe stops and waits for us.
She opens her palm and she’s going to take my hand. She’s supposed to take my hand. We’re meant to walk through this world together. I see it in her eyes. We are meant to be.

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One StarOne StarHalf a Star

Half Lost by Sally Green
Posted on Monday, April 11th, 2016 by Emily May

Half Lost by Sally GreenHalf Lost by Sally Green
Published by Penguin on March 29th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 352
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The magical, stunning conclusion to the internationally acclaimed Half Bad trilogy.
The Alliance is losing. Their most critical weapon, seventeen-year-old witch Nathan Brynn, has killed fifty-two people, and yet he’s no closer to ending the tyrannical, abusive rule of the Council of White Witches in England. Nor is Nathan any closer to his personal goal: getting revenge on Annalise, the girl he once loved, before she committed an unthinkable crime. There is an amulet, protected by the extremely powerful witch Ledger, which could be the tool Nathan needs to save himself and the Alliance. But the amulet is not so easily acquired. And lately Nathan has started to suffer from visions: a vision of a golden moment when he dies, and of an endless line of Hunters, impossible to overcome. Gabriel, his closest companion, encourages Nathan to run away with him, to start a peaceful life together. But even Gabriel’s love may not be enough to save Nathan from this war, or from the person he has become.

“I’ve killed fifty-two people. But really all I want is to get my hands on her. I’d be happy with fifty-three. Just one more and I’ll be satisfied.”

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One StarOne StarHalf a Star

Air Awakens by Elise Kova
Posted on Tuesday, January 19th, 2016 by Aimee

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Air Awakens by Elise KovaAir Awakens (Air Awakens, #1) by Elise Kova
Series: Air Awakens #2
Published by Silver Wing Press on August 27th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 377
Format: ARC, print ARC
Source: the author
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A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond...
The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.
Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

This book and I got off on the wrong foot, really. It was probably the COMPLETELY inconsistent pacing that threw me off. I mean, sometimes things happen way too fast, (like the romance, ugh. More on that later) while others take foreverrrr (like, unfortunately, the rest of the plot).

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One StarOne StarOne Star

The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Posted on Saturday, December 19th, 2015 by Emily May

The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose ClarkeThe Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1) by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Published by Strange Chemistry on October 2nd 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 298
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Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to another pirate clan. But that only prompts the scorned clan to send an assassin after her. When Ananna faces him down one night, armed with magic she doesn't really know how to use, she accidentally activates a curse binding them together.
To break the spell, Ananna and the assassin must complete three impossible tasks--all while grappling with evil wizards, floating islands, haughty manticores, runaway nobility, strange magic...and the growing romantic tension between them.

So, I finally tried the much-recommended The Assassin’s Curse after all this time. I recently tried Clarke’s adult novel – Our Lady of the Ice – and found it painfully slow, but I wanted to see how her YA book compared.

The Assassin’s Curse was not as slow as Our Lady of the Ice and I was able to finish it, however, I am a little surprised by all the hype. There were some parts that I had to push myself through and I can say I have no desire to read The Pirate’s Wish.

Firstly, there is no world-building. Occasionally, I can forgive this when the scope of the novel is small. Like Death Sworn, which takes place within a cave. However, this book moves from the seas, through towns, through desert and swamp, back to the seas and to the dark “Isles of the Sky” and I have no idea what’s going on in this world at all.

I’ve learned nothing about the system of magic, nothing about the laws and ruling system, very little about the geography, very little about the pirates and their ways/customs… very little about anybody or anything.

The story begins with Ananna running away from her parents and her life as a pirate to avoid marrying into another pirate clan. This is a very emotionless undertaking – how does Ananna feel about leaving her parents? How does she feel about their desire to marry her off? Because, honestly, she seems unaffected. She simply runs away.

The pirate clan then decide to send an assassin after her. But, in a bizarre twist of fate, Ananna accidentally saves the assassin’s life and triggers a curse – one which forces the assassin (Naji) to become Ananna’s protector. Neither of them is particularly happy about this, so they set out to break the curse.

I’m starting to realize that I am not fond of journey books. The kind where the major plot points happen at the start and end of the book and the in between is one long-ass journey between the two. I think it also weakened Walk on Earth a Stranger, though it weakened this book more.

The long journey between triggering the curse and getting to the person who can help them find a cure is so slow. Of course, it’s peppered with random bits of action, fights and chases, but it all feels like filler to pad out the book. I had to force myself not to skim read.

Also, I think this type of plot structure *might* work better if the characters were more interesting and had more chemistry. Not necessarily romantic chemistry, but at least some spark of something between them, because pretty much the whole book is made up of interactions between Ananna and Naji, and damn, they are so dull together.

Ananna is more likable if you enjoy cardboard cutout “strong heroines”, but Naji is just cold and boring. I never felt any emotion for him.

Clearly, Clarke is just not an author for me, but I am glad I finally checked this out for myself. I do wonder if I would have enjoyed this book three years ago when it was first released; back when strong heroines and broody assassins were not quite so overdone and would have been right up my alley. Oh well.

One StarOne StarHalf a Star

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Posted on Monday, December 14th, 2015 by Emily May

Saint Anything by Sarah DessenSaint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Published by Penguin on May 5th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 432
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New York Times bestseller
"Saint Anything is a poignant, honest story about how we might suffer the misfortune of someone else's bad choices, how people who love us can become family when we desperately need it, and how starting over might - miraculously - mean taking a solid leap forward." —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling novelist of Leaving Time and My Sister’s Keeper Sydney has always felt invisible. She's grown accustomed to her brother, Peyton, being the focus of the family’s attention and, lately, concern. Peyton is handsome and charismatic, but seems bent on self-destruction. Now, after a drunk-driving accident that crippled a boy, Peyton’s serving some serious jail time, and Sydney is on her own, questioning her place in the family and the world.
Then she meets the Chatham family. Drawn into their warm, chaotic circle, Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance for the first time. There’s effervescent Layla, who constantly falls for the wrong guy, Rosie, who’s had her own fall from grace, and Mrs. Chatham, who even though ailing is the heart of the family. But it’s with older brother Mac—quiet, watchful, and protective—that Sydney finally feels seen, really seen, at last.
Saint Anything is Sarah Dessen’s deepest and most psychologically probing novel yet, telling an engrossing story of a girl discovering friendship, love, and herself.
From the Hardcover edition.

Saint Anything is my first Sarah Dessen book, which may have been a mistake, but all I know is that this book is a perfect example of how to write great, natural dialogue, fleshed-out characters and relationships, and never once make me feel a single emotion.

Despite reading praise after praise about Sarah Dessen, I admit I’ve avoided her work because her stories just do not sound very compelling. But I finally decided to cast aside my reservations and try this – a great writer can make any story interesting, right?

Um, I’m not so sure. I’m rating up on this one because it’s hard to deny that Dessen is a competent writer. The narrative flows smoothly and the everyday dialogue feels realistic – she captures the “voice” of teenage girls very well. Every character is complex and developed, complete with likes, dislikes, aspirations, hopes and quirks that make them uniquely themselves. Very few authors manage this to the extent that Dessen does.

But where is the hook? Where is the drive to keep turning pages to find out what will happen to Sydney? To Peyton? To Mac and Layla? It’s so so tame. Saint Anything needs a good shot of drama, angst, tragedy or something in order to be more than an exercise in good character writing.

Perhaps it will appeal more to readers who genuinely enjoy quiet stories about everyday people. But I just didn’t feel much concern for Sydney or Peyton. Maybe it’s because I’ve recently read books about people who are starving, discriminated against, consumed by grief, but I found it hard to be worried what would happen to a pretty, wealthy girl with loving parents and good friends.

The story begins with Sydney’s brother – Peyton – being sent to jail for crippling a boy while drunk-driving. Then the camera turns to Sydney, who has to deal with the subsequent horror of overprotective parents and concerned friends. It was honestly quite hard to pity her and I had to roll my eyes when the legal stuff put strain on funds and they had to sell the beach house they never used anyway (boo freaking hoo).

The most interesting thing about this book (in my opinion) was the way Sydney was treated by her parents after Peyton’s conviction. I thought it was realistic and unfair that her parents would suddenly put restrictions on Sydney to avoid the same thing happening again. Which, I suppose, is ultimately what this book is about – how someone can get caught up in and be affected by another person’s actions.

The romance was sweet, but forgettable. As I already mentioned, Mac was well-developed and fleshed-out, yet lacking any real spark of personality to make their romance one I would remember.

In fact, what I think I will remember most about this book is the FOOD. Pizza and french fries and yum! If it made me feel one thing, then that was HUNGER.

One StarOne StarHalf a Star

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy Reichert
Posted on Sunday, September 6th, 2015 by Angela

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy ReichertThe Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
Published by Gallery Books on July 21st 2015
Genres: General, Love & Romance
Pages: 318
Format: ARC, digital ARC
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YOU'VE GOT MAIL meets HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together.

3 teacups?

I struggled with rating The Coincidence of Coconut Cake because my opinion depends on how I categorize the book.

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The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
Posted on Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 by Chantal

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. PearsonThe Heart of Betrayal Published by Henry Holt and Co. on July 7th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Royalty, Action & Adventure
Pages: 470
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Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia’s erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar’s interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: there’s Rafe, who lied to Lia, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be barbarians. Now that she lives amongst them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country… and her own destiny.

It should be noted that I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Kiss of Deception but I found the ending so promising that I really wanted to give this series another chance.

If you loved The Kiss of Deception, don’t let this review make you anxious, I’m pretty sure you will like this one more than the first. If you are like me however, and thought TKoD was very meh then this review is for you. To summarize: I was hoping THoB would remedy many things I disliked in TKoD but that didn’t happen unfortunately.

Warning: This review contains spoilers for the first installment in the Remnant Chronicles series, The Kiss of Deception.

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Hi! I'm Emily May but feel free to call me Emily. I'm a nerdy, book-loving Politics graduate from the North of England.

Hey there! I'm Brandi; I'm a Navy veteran, Army wife, mother, feminist and book lover! My go-to genre would have to be Urban Fantasy, but any fiction is game really.

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