If There’s No Tomorrow

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L Armentrout

5 stars!!! 

“I should’ve listened to that little voice in my head and that feeling in the pit of my stomach, but I hadn’t. If I had, today would’ve been different. Tomorrow would be like all the better yesterdays.” 

Gosh I love JLA books, she never fails to pull me out of a book rut and brighten my day!

Lena Wise is about to start her senior year of high school, and her biggest concerns are getting into her college of choice and having a crush on her best friend Sebastian, the boy next door. But very quickly, something changes her life, a choice. The wrong choice. Now Lena’s entire life has changed leaving her in turmoil and completely turned around.

Lena’s friends try to be supportive, but more and more she pushes them away, including Sebastian. But Lena falls deeper and deeper into a spiral of guilt, and she needs to find the strength within herself to move on from what happened.

“Actions and inactions have consequences. If we did not accept responsibility or blame for them, then we’d be at risk of repeating those actions.” 

It’s no secret that Jennifer Armentrout is one of my top favorite authors, I can open 99% of her books and fall in love with them in a couple of words or pages. If There’s No Tomorrow follows in the same vein, I was completely sucked in by JLA’s writing and Lena’s story from the very beginning and stayed up late into the night to keep reading. She also writes the best male love interests that make you swoon and want to date the good guy.

The themes most present in this book are consequences and forgiveness. I won’t say exactly what happens with Lena as it’s a spoiler, but what happened to her could happen to anyone, teen or adult. My heart bled for this girl, and all of the other people in the world who had been through what she had. It may be a story we’ve heard before, but I think it’s one that merits repeating.

A beautiful story, and one that will stay with you for a long time. If There’s No Tomorrow is a book worth driving to the bookstore to buy on release day!

“You do deserve happiness and a future and everything you’ve ever wanted. That one night is not going to define your whole life.” 

ARC provided by the author. All quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product. 

A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

4.5 stars!! 

“Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.” 

This was my favorite book as a child, in fact I devoured the entire quintet throughout my tween awkward years. I remembered I had loved the book, but aside from a few random details, I found I barely remembered what happened. In fact, I read it so long ago, this was my copy:

Okay, so I’m not THAT old, my mom just bought a lot of books from the local used book store. I read too fast for her to keep up with me, normally it was just library books growing up. Anyways, I digress.

A Wrinkle in Time is about a young girl named Meg, she’s very awkward, has many faults (according to herself) and feels like an outcast. The only people she really finds a comfort with are her scientist mother, and her odd brother Charles Wallace. Meg’s father had also gone missing about two years ago, and while the town suspects he ran off with another woman, Meg and her family know this not to be true.

On a stormy evening, Meg and Charles Wallace receive a visitor, the peculiar Mrs. Whatsit. From there, Meg and Charles Wallace, along with a boy named Calvin, get whisked away in a journey to rescue their father. But they must travel through time and space to do so, and face a terrifying darkness to get him back.

“We can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts.” 

First off, I have to say, with the few exceptions this book really stands the test of time. It’s not dated at all, and except for the mention of a typewriter, this book could take place during any decade. It’s so rare to read a book written in the 1960’s that’s like that, so a solid kudos to the author.

One thing I’ve always loved about the story is Meg, and the idea that she’s not a perfect heroine, and that’s what makes her the hero of the story. It portrays that even though we have faults, sometimes our faults can be our advantage, and that fitting in with everyone else isn’t always the best thing for a society. I love that we have an “ordinary” heroine, who is expected to do extraordinary things, even though she’s not the smartest of the bunch.

It’s a bit obvious, being when this book is written, there are some subtext about the dangers of communism. The evil IT and how it makes everyone and everything the same, or else. I think with this subtext, it also portrays how important it is to be an individual and to make up one’s own mind. In a way, this book is very relevant even present day. To fight against what’s wrong and not succumb to forces who want their definition of perfection.

Once I was able to put my mind to it, I was able to devour this book in a matter of hours. It’s a very fast read and one I believe all ages can and will enjoy.

“Like and equal are not the same thing at all.” 

Jane Unlimited

Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

4.5 stars 

“People tell you that what happens to you is a direct result of the choices you make, but that’s not fair. Half the time, you don’t even realize that the choice you’re about to make is significant.” 

Jane Unlimited is the story of a college dropout, still grieving the death of her beloved aunt, who accepts an invitation from a family friend to stay at her estate Tu Reviens. Before Jane’s aunt died, she made Jane promise that if she ever was invited to Tu Reviens, she must accept. And so Jane embarks on a journey to a new place filled with people she doesn’t know.

Once Jane is inside Tu Reviens, she is confronted with a choice, between five different options. From there, we see what happens with each of those choices, and how something so simple can alter the course of one’s life.

“I feel all over the place, like my parts are spinning away.” 

I read the acknowledgments at the end before I started the book and I am so very glad I did. In them Cashore wrote that this book originally began as a choose your own adventure novel, and I feel that provides a lot of insight into how this book is structured. I can only imagine that this book must have been a beast for Cashore to write, because there are so many intricacies and important facts to remember and she pulled it off so, so well.

First off, I really want to commend the writing in this book, from the very beginning it felt like I had stepped into a classic novel, along the lines of Jane Eyre or Rebecca. And well, it fits the theme of those classics a bit with the orphan coming to the manor. The book did start out a bit slow, but I reminded myself that Graceling did as well, and I knew once I got the hang of things it would flow, and that’s exactly what happened. I devoured this book, finding it very hard to put down.

I also fell in love with each and every single one of the side characters, honestly I wish they all could get their own novel, or at least a novella. But this really is Cashore’s strong point in her writing, I felt the same way about her Graceling series, every character became precious to me.

I loved the first half of this book, to the point where this was going to be one of my top favorite novels. Then I read the second half of the book and while it wasn’t bad in any way, it was extremely…….. odd. To explain the structure a bit, we get our introduction to this world and the characters in it, and then the rest of the book is split into Jane’s five choices, but told as five different stories. I loved the first two stories, I felt they were phenomenal. The third, fourth and fifth…. Were a bit beyond me and not was I expected. One of them was downright terrifying, and the other two were bizarre. Not in a bad way, but I really wasn’t expecting those aspects in this book. I wouldn’t say it took away from my enjoyment of this book, but what was a five star read went down to a four point five if that makes any sense.

“I’m finding that despite everything, I’m glad to live in this universe.” 

ARC provided by the publisher. All quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final draft. 

The Impossible Vastness of Us

The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young

5 stars!!! 

How do you begin to gush about a book you loved so so much? Samantha Young is one of my all-time favorite authors, I’ll read anything the woman writes. So when she published a YA I was intrigued, and decided to give it a shot. I was completely blown away!!!! Young delivers a heartfelt and beautiful story, filled with angst, friendship, love and family.

India Maxwell is alarmed when her flight attendant mother tells her she’s been seeing a man on the other side of the country. Pretty soon her mother is engaged, and she’s whisked away to Boston to live with her soon to be step father, Theo, and step sister, Eloise. India and her mother have never been well off, so she’s in for a world of shock when she finds her new family insanely rich. And because of trust issues from her past, India has no desire to get close to her new family.

While India is adjusting, Eloise is not cruel but also not kind. Eloise’s boyfriend Finn appears to dislike India as well. All India wants is to be on top, and to get enough extracurricular’s to get into a good college. But as time goes by, feelings thaw between the two girls and a tentative relationship forms.

This book wasn’t anything like I expected in the best possible way. India had such a presence on the page, I absolutely adored her, flaws and all. There’s something about a girl trying so hard to be strong that I find endearing, and I felt for her and wished for her to succeed the entire time I was reading.

While this is a young adult romance, my favorite part of the book was the themes of friendship and family. People need more than just romantic love to feel supported in life, and I loved being on India’s journey to find her forever friendships and her way to a new family.

I cannot recommend this book enough, it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. So if you find yourself curious about this book, just do yourself a favor and buy it and read it. You won’t regret it.

Daughter of the Pirate King

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

4 stars! 

“Oh, the ridiculous things one has to do when one is a pirate.” 

Alosa is a seventeen year old pirate captain who serves under command of her father, the pirate king. Sent on a secret mission, Alosa is to be captured by her enemies in order for her to search their ship for a fragment of a treasure map.

While aboard, finding the map proves harder than expected, especially since the first mate Riden keeps getting in her way. But Alosa is persistent if anything, cunning as well and she is determined to succeed at her mission.

“Everyone has something dark in their past. I suppose it’s our job to overcome it. And if we can’t overcome it, then all we can do is make the most of it.” 

First off I gotta give Owlcrate a shout out, if not for them I would have never read this book on my own. I got this book via their subscription box a couple months ago and only just now got to it. I love owlcrate, I have discovered many books that I really enjoyed because of them that I wouldn’t have picked for myself.

Daughter of the Pirate King was such a cute and fun adventure! I adore this book, it was full of humor, excitement, and was a little bit naughty. I don’t think I’ve ever read a YA pirate book before, that’s a huge gap in the young adult genre that Levenseller has filled!

I love Alosa the most, as a main character she was spunky, crafty, and for a pirate had a considerable amount of morals (but not too many). She was also a lot more ruthless than I expected but I kind of liked it. The pacing of this book was on point, such great character development too! This is a fun and fast read that many people will enjoy.

“I am me because I choose to be me. I am what I want. Some people say you have to find yourself. Not I. I believe we create ourselves to be what we want.” 

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

4.5 stars!

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

The Hate U Give is about a sixteen year old girl named Starr who lives in a bad neighborhood and commutes to a fancy private school. One evening, Starr and her childhood friend Khalil leave a party and are pulled over by a cop on the way home. The cop shoots and kills Khalil, even though he was unarmed.

Khalil becomes a national headline, and Starr is thrown into turmoil. The neighborhood she grew up in wants justice, as does Starr. But being the sole witness to Khalil’s murder comes with danger, from drug lords where she lives, and the police everywhere else. Starr had already felt pulled between two worlds before Khalil’s death, and now she doesn’t know what choices to make.

“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”

This is a book that I really hope becomes a worldwide phenomenon. We’ve seen similar stories on the news many times, throughout the years, but I feel the youth of the world have not been given this story in a relatable way. There should be more books like this out there.

Starr is what made this book come alive. Her voice, the way she tells her story is extraordinary. Every single moment of this book I felt for this girl: I wanted to stand beside her, I wanted to cheer her on, I wanted to hold her. She was faced with circumstances and choices no one her age should ever have to face. Confronting these events were hard for her, and while she didn’t always do what everyone told her to, she stayed true to herself and handled it the best she could.

I felt so many things while reading this book, it really does pull on several different emotions. Being Angie Thomas’ debut novel I am floored by her talent, many writers work their entire life to bring this kind of voice to their characters. I can only see better things to come in the future from Thomas. My only criticism of the book was it felt a little bit too long for me, but otherwise I loved it and will be recommending this novel a lot and for a long time.

“Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you go on even though you’re scared.”

Caraval

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

4 stars!

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find yourself magic in this world.”

Scarlett and her sister Tella have dreamed of leaving their tiny island and oppressive father for years. As a child, Scarlett would write letters to Legend, the man who runs Caraval, a once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show. Finally, when Scarlett is days away from her wedding, a marriage arranged by her father, Legend sends her an invitation to participate in this year’s Caraval.

With the help of a sailor, Scarlett and Tella make it to the island where Caraval takes place. But right away, Tella goes missing, and this year’s game revolves around finding her. Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of Caraval are over, or she will lose her sister forever.

“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”

I loved getting swept away in this book, it’s such a vibrant and fascinating story. Garber is an imaginative author, I fell in love with her words and was eager to see what she would do next. I thought this book was inventive, and very reminiscent of Venice, Italy of the past. The plot and pacing weren’t always perfect, but I very much enjoyed this book all the same.

I loved Scarlett’s character, she was a girl just trying to save her sister and better their lives. At the very heart of this book is a story of two sisters, their strong bond, and what they are willing to do for the other. Oddly enough, the romance aspect did almost nothing for me, I liked Julian well enough, but I didn’t get those strong feels that normally come from a forbidden and unexpected romance.

This book is an imaginative tale, one that many people will love to read. I cannot wait for the next book!

“Hope is a powerful thing. Some say it’s a different breed of magic altogether. Elusive, difficult to hold on to. But not much is needed.”

When It’s Real

When It’s Real by Erin Watt

2.5 stars

When It’s Real is the story of a girl named Vaughn who is hand picked to be the new girlfriend of Oakley Ford, a famous pop star. Oakley needs to polish up his public image, showing he can be a devoted boyfriend and not just the playboy partier everyone thinks he is. Vaughn agrees to do this because her family needs the money, her parents passed away leaving her and her sister in charge of their siblings.

At first, Vaughn and Oakley cannot stand each other. She thinks he’s rude and he thinks she’s a prude. But as time goes by a small friendship forms, and we all know where it goes from there.

I was so very sad that I didn’t like this book. I love Erin Watt, Paper Princess and Broken Prince are some of my all time favorite books EVER. And for that I’ll read anything this duo writes. But I failed to see the attraction between the two main characters in this one, to me they had zero chemistry and just sort of landed together. The book started out very strong but near the middle just slowed down. I also felt the book was too long.

Watt did a great job portraying celebrity life, all of its positives and negatives. It can make dreams come true, but at a price. I really liked how Oakley wanted to express himself differently and that he wanted another side of his story to be heard.

I think many people will love this book a lot, but it just wasn’t for me.

ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

3.5 stars

I all but ran to the bookstore on release day for this book I was dying to read it so bad. A surprise third book in the Lara Jean series? I WAS ON IT. And while I didn’t love it, I have to admire Jenny Han for bringing out that reaction in me. When purchasing this book the nice teller at Barnes and Noble recommended to me other books by this author she enjoyed, and I’ll be sure to bump them up my tbr asap!

This started out strong and about midway through lost its luster for me. By the end I was questioning why we even got a third book when not much really happened. What I remember most is mason jars, chocolate chip cookies, and Kitty. Peter redeemed himself a lot since the last book, but again, by the end I was just left wondering, why? You could say I was a bit underwhelmed with this book.

I love that Jenny Han is writing romance for teens that isn’t white washed and covering real issues they deal with on a day to day basis. I know I’ll be recommending this series a lot in the future (in fact, I already have!)

Windfall

Windfall by Jennifer E Smith

3 stars

We’ve all had that thought. You know, what you would do if you won the lottery? The choices and actions you would make. This book answers that question, but more like if you won the lottery at a young age.

When Alice buys a lotto ticket for her best friend Teddy on his 18th birthday, the very last thing she expects is for him to win. But he does, making him the youngest lottery winner ever. Since both Alice and Teddy had a less than privileged upbringing, Teddy is overjoyed with his good fortune. They promise things will never change, but money has the ability to change everything….

I enjoyed this what if scenario in a teen book. I think most adult readers going into it can predict what will happen, but for younger readers it’s a good lesson on greed, responsibility and friendship. I had a hard time putting this one down, it’s a very interesting concept and reads very quickly. What I didn’t really care for was Teddy himself, I found him to be selfish and undeserving of most things in his life. And Alice seemed to be a bit of a doormat heroine.

This book will make you want to go out and buy a lotto ticket! A fun, fast read for any age.

The Dead List

The Dead List by Jennifer Armentrout

4.5 stars!

“Cardinals were Penn’s favorite…”

Just before the start of her senior year in high school, Ella is attacked after a party on her way home. She escapes because a childhood friend Jensen rescued her, but other girls have gone missing. Afraid, Ella decides to take self-defense classes, as her attacker doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

But as more and more people begin to disappear Ella begins to think these random acts aren’t so random, that they’re connected to something that happened in the past. Except the person related to all of this died, four years ago….

“Sometimes I needed to get my head out of real life, and reading was the best and quickest way to do it.”

I really enjoyed this book, thrillers normally aren’t my thing buy Armentrout writes them in such a way that I cannot figure out the villain and the plot isn’t predictable. It’s so refreshing because when I normally read a mystery/thriller I can pretty much figure out what’s happening about halfway in. A very compelling and engaging story, I was captivated by everything that was happening, from the attack on Ella at the beginning, her issues at school and the romance with her and Jensen.

I was freaked out that the killer wore a clown mask, that was just too creepy for me. Plus the descriptions of the sounds he made gave me the chills and I had to stop reading this book at night so I could get some sleep without nightmares. The romance between Jensen and Ella was so sweet, JLA writes the best heroes in her books. All of them are very swoonworthy and a tiny bit alpha.

This is a bit mature for YA so I would recommend to older teens and not younger ones, just with the murder and adult content I think this is better for older readers. Just depends on the reader. A fantastic and thrilling read, many people will love this novel of suspense and be guessing until the very end.

“I want to be that guy-the one that when your phone rings, you hope it’s me. The one who holds your hand in the hallway at lunch. The guy who gets to hold you. I want to be the one who gets to touch you. I want to be yours.”

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Art & Soul

Art & Soul by Brittainy C Cherry

4.5 stars!

“Love openly,” my heart whispered. “Love unconditionally,” my heart begged. “Love the struggles,” my heart taught. “Love in the moment.”

Art & Soul is a young adult novel about two teens who don’t quite fit in. Aria made one mistake, and now the school is labeling her a slut and a whore. Levi is the attractive guy who just moved from Alabama, but his looks don’t match his personality, he’s a kind soul and a little bit weird. The two are neighbors and assigned an art/music project together. Levi and Aria seem to like each other, but many outside forces seem to want to keep them apart.

“Sometimes it was so easy to forget that adults were just kids in bigger bodies, and their hearts broke just like ours.”

I tried one B Cherry book years ago and it wasn’t really for me. But two friends recommended this to me so I had to try it and I am so glad I did!!! This is the first young adult novel that is written by a new adult/romance author that actually frickin reads like a YA novel!!! I’m so impressed! I found myself giggling and smiling throughout so much of this book. I’m not normally one for sweet romances without angst, but this one wormed its way into my heart.

This reminds me a little bit of a sweeter Juno, you know without all the hipsters and weird slang. I loved the main characters, I loved the side characters, I hated the mean characters. Basically Cherry did my favorite thing: SHE DEVELOPED HER CHARACTERS. AND IT WAS AMAZING!

Anyways, I really enjoyed this book. It was a little bit too sweet for me (because I don’t like sweet) but oddly, it really worked and I never rolled my eyes at it. I highly recommend if you haven’t read Cherry’s books, start with this one. I know I’ll be reading more of her soon.

“That’s the thing about the future, and the past even. They don’t exist in this moment. We only have the here and now. If we focus too much on the past or too heavily on the future, we miss out on our present desires, the things we want right now.”

The Upside of Unrequited

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertelli

4.5 stars!

“I’m on the toilet at the 9:30 Club and I’m wondering how mermaids pee.”

And with that opening line comes one of the cutest most relatable YA books I’ve read in a LONG time.

Molly has had several crushes over the years, but no kisses and no boyfriend. Molly is afraid of rejection and doesn’t want to put herself out there to be hurt, especially with the fact that she’s heavier than other girls. Her twin sister Cassie finds new love with a new girlfriend and leaves Molly feeling out of sorts. When Molly gets a new job at a cutesy store, she makes fast friends with a boy there named Reid. But Reid is kind of nerdy, and not at all the type to cause butterflies in the stomach. There’s no way Molly could have a crush on him too, right?

“I can’t seem to shake this perpetual awareness of being Molly.”

I friggin loved this book. Like, Molly is me when I was in high school!! Minus the Zoloft. I remember I thought I was so fat then, I always wore sweatshirts to hide my body. What I didn’t understand at the time was I had BOOBS and wasn’t fat at all, but I felt that way (if only I could go back to my HS body). Anyways, the point of sharing this is I feel Molly is easy for readers to relate to. Haven’t we all been afraid of rejection in some form or another? Molly just had trouble putting herself out there and needed to find strength within herself. And we don’t often get “chubby” female protagonists, and if we do the story is all about her losing weight, which wasn’t the case here and I loved it.

I also loved that her romantic interest didn’t fit traditional stereotypes, Reid was nerdy, not a gym rat and he accepted it. He owned it. I think this book portrays to its readers that you fall for the person and not always the pretty picture. I want my own real life Reid to come and sweep me away with his bright white sneakers and fondness of Queen Elizabeth I.

Molly’s interest in pinterest crafts made my fingers twitch to do the same, even though I am not super crafty. But I will be researching about putting cookie dough in mason jars because that’s just too good not to look up.

This book was very fast paced, I devoured it so so quickly. I loved this author’s first book Simon, and this one lived up to my expectations which rarely if ever happens. I cannot wait to read more from Albertelli.

My favorite quote from this book? (because it’s ME):

I read an advanced copy of this book

Vassa in the Night

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

3.75 stars

This is quite possibly the most bizarre book I’ve ever read. But I actually ended up liking it a lot.

Vassa in the Night is a book I would have never picked out for myself, but I got it in one of my Owlcrate’s and decided to give it a shot. I’ve been needing a change of pace with my genre’s lately, so I picked up this one.

And my god, this book is weird. BUT the writing style sucked me into the story and I felt like I got lost in the pages of this peculiar story.

“Why did it take me so many years to understand that Night is something you can talk to, something that might even decide to watch over you or kiss you just when you’re about to crumple from loneliness?”

The story begins when one of Vassa’s stepsisters asks her to go to the local convenience store to get light bulbs for their apartment. But Vassa’s Brooklyn isn’t like our regular Brooklyn, it’s one under the curse of longer nights and sparse days. And the local convenience store isn’t convenient at all, it’s a place that beheads shoplifters and hooligans, run by Babs Yagg.

Vassa might be able to break the curse Babs Yagg has on the neighborhood, but she also might get herself killed.

“No matter who I couldn’t save before, no matter if I’m stuck being a random mess of a girl, I’m still going to save something.”

Like I said before, this book is just plain weird. But at the same time it’s enchanting. I went into this book expecting not to like it based on numerous negative reviews and a low average rating, so imagine my surprise when I just couldn’t put it down.

I have no clue who I would recommend this one to, it’s a hit or a miss for a lot of people. The only real negative thing I have to say about this book is the plot wasn’t very coherent. While I enjoyed reading this very much, there were lots of times where I thought to myself “what the heck is happening right now?”.

Sarah Porter is a brilliant writer, talented at what she does. I would be happy to read more by her in the future and see the world through her unique eyes again.

“You don’t have to be human to be a person. I mean you don’t have to be human to be somebody. I don’t know you that well, but you seem like way more of a somebody than lots of humans I know! Really.”

Three Dark Crowns

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

1 star

Me giving out a 1 star rating to a book is so rare, and yet this book just fills me with ragey feelings. So be warned, whatever I say will be ragey and spoilery.

I was excited to read Three Dark Crowns, it was my second ever Owlcrate book, written by an author I like and had an interesting premise. But OH MY GOD this book was awful. I don’t understand how you can have almost 400 pages and still never manage to develop a single character. The first half of the book was boring and a tad but confusing, and it really didn’t pick up until the last half and that part of the book just made me angry.

And the romance.

Giant middle finger to the romance. Too much time spent on cheating and deceiving than actually developing what was there. Too much self pity and too many doormats.

So obviously, I hated it. Can’t think of a single person I would recommend this too. I have zero desire to read the next book.

Thanks for reading my rambling ragey rant.