Friday, July 21, 2017

Review: Witchtown - Cory Putman Oakes

Cory Putman Oakes
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
When sixteen-year-old Macie O’Sullivan and her masterfully manipulative mother Aubra arrive at the gates of Witchtown—the most famous and mysterious witch-only haven in the world—they have one goal in mind: to rob it for all it’s worth.

But that plan derails when Macie and Aubra start to dig deeper into Witchtown’s history and uncover that there is more to the quirky haven than meets the eye.

Exploring the haven by herself, Macie finds that secrets are worth more than money in Witchtown.

Secrets have their own power.
I feel like the blurb did not do a good job describing this book, so I'll do a little intro.

Following the Second Inquisition, witch havens were established as places where both natural and learned witches placed on the National Witch Registry lived openly as witches. Macie and her mother, Aubra, had spent the past decade inserting themselves into these havens only to rob them blind. In the last haven, Macie made the mistake of breaking one of the fundamental rules for being a con, she formed an attachment and fell in love.

Shortly thereafter, Macie and Aubra fled and sought refuge in the utopian haven of Witchtown. Aubra promised Macie, that this would be the last heist, and afterward, they would settle down and establish roots, the way most witches did. However, as their time in Witchtown grew shorter, Macie began to doubt her mother's promise, and also suspected that her mother was harboring a much bigger secret, which involved both her and her mother.

I enjoyed my trip to Witchtown, and found this to be an entertaining tale with filled with some really great characters and some captivating magic.

Things I liked:

  • The main character, Macie, was quite complicated. She was struggling with the life she knew and the life she wanted. In Witchtown, she found a solid group of friends, who believed she was good. They supported her and were there for her when she really needed them. This was a huge change from how she was treated by her mother, and she began to rethink a lot of her ways and beliefs as a result of coming to Witchtown. 
  • There were some great secondary characters too. I found Tayla and Kellen to be pretty awesome friends, who really showed Macie that she could trust other people. They opened her up to letting others in. Both Tayla and Kellen were keeping some major secrets, but in the end, they were there to help Macie uncover a huge secret, which was standing in the way of her happiness. 
  • I liked Witchtown. This town was billed as a utopia, and it did not disappoint. Witchtown was green and self-sufficient. The citizens lived in harmony and were always there to lend a helping hand. It's no wonder that Macie grew to love and care about this town and the people in it, because it seemed like such a charming place. 
  • This is a lighter type paranormal. There is conflict and tension and even some violence, but it's never too much or too heavy. I felt that the relationships Macie was building in Witchtown played a bigger role in this story, and therefore, were featured more prominently. 
  • I cannot forget the romance. This was sort of a twofer. We get one romance in the form of flashbacks, and a second that plays out real-time in the story. Both were important with respect to Macie's personal journey, and I always love a good romance. 
  • The ending was strong for me. Although there were still some unresolved plot points at the end of the story, this did not detract from my enjoyment of how Oakes left the story. It was in a neat enough bow and filled with sufficient hope and promise, that I was left happy. 
Overall: a lighter-side paranormal with enough magic and mystery to entertain.

**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book.

Do you have a favorite witch book?
Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Blog Tour: Tied Up In You - Erin Fletcher

Tied Up In You
Erin Fletcher
Series: All Laced Up, #2
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Everyone says hotshot goalie Luke Jackson is God’s gift to girls, but the only girl he wants is his best friend, Malina Hall. He’s always known how brilliant she is, but now that he’s “accidentally” kissed her, he can’t stop thinking about her…or wanting to kiss her again.

Problem is, things have been a little…awkward since the kiss. Because she likes him, too? Hopefully, but even if she did, their futures—and the ridiculous schedules that come with them—are in the way. And now one of his teammates is showing interest, and the guy has more in common with Malina than Jackson ever will.

As her best friend, Jackson should get out of the way. But if there’s one thing he’s learned from hockey, it’s that you have to go for what you want, even if it means falling flat on your face. And he’s definitely falling for Malina.

Disclaimer: This book contains a hot hockey player who goes after what he wants, a super-hot, super-distracting shirtless workout, and the kind of best friends to lovers romance every girl in the friend zone has dreamed of.

If I had to sum up my thoughts about Tied Up in You, it would be that it was terribly cute.

I love friends to more books, especially when the hero and heroine have shared a long friendship. Malina and Jackson had been friends since they were small children. They shared a past and knew each other so well. Therefore, there was a lot of that awkward getting-to-know-you stuff out of the way.  BUT we also had all that push and pull and resistance to the attraction, as they didn't want to complicate their friendship with romance. I expected this, and part of the fun with this type of story, is the stuff that plays out as they try to deny and fight their true feelings, which resulted a few really amusing scenes that arose as Malina and Jackson worked through their emotions. 

I really liked the way Fletcher incorporated the auxiliary characters. Malina had a fabulous best friend, Izzy, who more or less stole every scene she was in, and I adored her. I also loved Malina's family. Her relationship with her mother and Tutu (that's Hawaiian for grandmother) really tugged at my heartstrings. I will say it right now: the way to my heart is through the grandmother, because I become a total sap for every grandma I encounter in a book. I had a fabulous Oma, who doted on me and treated me like a princess. So, I guess they just remind me of her. Speaking of Tutu, I loved getting a little lesson in Hawaiian culture from her. It was a nice touch to pepper the story with some Hawaiian words, crafts, and food. Jackson also had a great relationship with his mother and sister, and there was an ease to their relationship that helped me understand Jackson a little more. 

These two did run into a few roadblocks, but the drama was low, which is the way I like my drama. And the drama arose, because they each want the best for each other. But fights are ok, as long as they make up, and I got a sort of grand gesture out of it, so a total win for me. 

I love sports romances, so a hockey playing hero is totally my style, but I could not have asked for more in a heroine. This girl was a STEM princess, and that whole girl in science thing, is a conduit to my heart. This girl with her love of astrophysics just made me giddy. I love seeing smart girls score the jock, and I like seeing that there is more to the jock than meets the eye. 

Overall: A sweet and adorable friends to lovers story, which left me with a gleeful disposition. 

**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book.


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Erin is a young adult author from North Carolina. She is a morning person who does most of her writing before sunrise, while drinking excessive quantities of coffee. She believes flip-flops qualify as year-round footwear, and would spend every day at the beach if she could. She has a bachelor's degree in mathematics, which is almost never useful when writing books.


Have you been to Hawaii or had any Hawaiian food?
Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Tessa at Wishful Endings that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I can't wait for A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland!

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares
Krystal Sutherland
Series: n/a
Release Date: September 5 , 2017
Publisher: G.P. Putnam and Sons Books for Young Readers
Waited on by: Sam
From the author of Our Chemical Hearts comes the hilarious, reality-bending tale of two outsiders facing their greatest fears about life and love one debilitating phobia at a time.

Ever since Esther Solar's grandfather was cursed by Death, everyone in her family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime. Esther's father is agoraphobic and hasn't left the basement in six years, her twin brother can t be in the dark without a light on, and her mother is terrified of bad luck.

The Solars are consumed by their fears and, according to the legend of the curse, destined to die from them.

Esther doesn't know what her great fear is yet (nor does she want to), a feat achieved by avoiding pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces, and crowds are all off-limits. So are haircuts, spiders, dolls, mirrors and three dozen other phobias she keeps a record of in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares.

Then Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, an old elementary school classmate. Along with her phone, money and a fruit roll-up she d been saving, Jonah also steals her list of fears. Despite the theft, Esther and Jonah become friends, and he sets a challenge for them: in an effort to break the curse that has crippled her family, they will meet every Sunday of senior year to work their way through the list, facing one terrifying fear at a time, including one that Esther hadn't counted on: love.

The number one reason why I want to read this book is because it is written by Krystal Sutherland. I so adored Our Chemical Hearts. It was a little different from the books I normally love, as this one sort of broke my heart into a thousand pieces, but it did so in such a lovely way. So, as with any great book, I am hoping that Sutherland can deliver another stupendous reading experience for me.

In the synopsis for this book, the words "curse" and "hilarious" jumped out at me, and I knew I could enjoy it. I kind of like the idea of such an odd start to the friendship too. I don't know if I had ever befriended a person after they robbed me. And to have someone there, trying to help you conquer your fears one by one sounds pretty fantastic to me.

I am totally looking forward to this one, and know I will be reading it come September.

What are you waiting on?
Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Book Tag: Mid-Year Book Freak Out

We are halfway through 2017, and I have read a lot of books, which I would like to reflect on. This tag is based on the books I read between January and June of this year. I have really been enjoying seeing others bloggers' answers for this tag, and now I submit mine.


Best Book You've Read So Far

I sort of do terrible with superlatives, because it is so hard to pick just one. I have been so book-blessed this year! Here are a few of the best books I have read so far (in no particular order)

Best Sequel You've Read So Far

We all know I have issues finishing series, so it should come as no surprise that I have only read about 5 YA sequels. I would say the best of the bunch was Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor. I enjoyed this second trip into the Dim, and found the time period they visited quite interesting. Tesla is actually in this book, and he is one of my favorite scientists. That sort of gave this book an edge over all the others.

New Release You Haven't Read Yet, But Want To

I feel like a broken record, but this is an ARC I had wanted sooooooooo bad, and was not lucky enough to get. I have only read stellar reviews for this book, so it just makes me want it more. I really hope to read What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum, and gosh darn it, I am determined to read it before the end of this year.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of 2017

There are so many incredible books coming out from many authors that I love. These are a few I am excited about, which I hadn't already mentioned in my Top Ten Tuesday
  • Warcross by Marie Lu - I am a solid Lu fan. She authored one of my favorite series (Legend) and early reviews are great for this book. 
  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green - Oh, how I missed Green! It's been quite a while since we have had a new JG book or movie. This one sounds like it is going to be great. 
  • Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson - This is the sequel to The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You and is inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest. So, based on its predecessor, I am hoping for great things. 

Biggest Disappointment

This book was still good, but it was disappointing in that it did not have the same magic for me that the previous book did. I really loved Passenger, and part of what won my heart, was the dynamic between Etta and Nicholas. They were apart for most of the second book, Wayfarer, and I really missed them being together. Again, it was still good, but it could have been better for me.

Biggest Surprise

I had a few nice surprises, mostly in the form of books I liked a lot more than I expected. One that I want to show some love to is Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant. This book surprised me, because I had zero expectations going in, and ended up reading a story that I loved so much and left me extremely happy.

Favorite New Author (Debut or New to You)

I have been trying to read a lot of debuts this year, and I have been delighted to get to know some of these new authors. I also finally discovered the greatness of an author, who I had heard so many good things about. So, here are two new favorite authors:
  • Bonnie Pipkin - I read her debut, Aftercare Instructions and was so impressed with the story and the writing. It is among one of my favorite books this year. 
  • Cath Crowley - I had seen a lot of love on blogs for Crowley, and now I finally get it! Words in Deep Blue is another of my favorite reads. Crowley won a part of my heart with that book, and I now have a mission to read her back list. 

Newest Fictional Crush

I read a ton of romance novels, so there is practically a daily crush, but here are three that came to mind first. They all seem to have a similar precious-cupcake vibe to them, which is probably my type since I was burned by all those bad boys when I was younger. 😆

Newest Favorite Character

This one was easy for me: Alosa from Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller. She was such a standout heroine for me. A complete package! Smart, sassy, and a pirate to boot. Loved her and cannot wait to read more of her adventures.

Book That Made You Cry

I am a super sensitive reader. I cry a bunch, both happy and sad tears. Some of the books that reduced me to tears have already been mentioned, and here are a few more books that moved me. All were stories dealing with grief, with the exception of The Radius of Us.

Book That Made You Happy

I love books that make me happy, so I have a long list, but two instantly popped into my head.

Favorite Book to Movie Adaptation You Saw This Year

Confession: I think it has been over two years since I last saw a movie. I find the theatre expensive and I always fall asleep as soon as the lights go out, so I just don't go. I do really want to see Before I Fall based on the book by Lauren Oliver. It's my favorite Oliver book, and when LO was talking about it at BookCon back in 2016, she seemed really excited about the adaptation. Maybe I will catch it on cable or something.

Favorite Review You Have Written

My favorite is probably one of my shortest. I like it, because it was fun to do. It was my review for Maud by Melanie J. Fishbane. I wanted to do three gifs and three quotes that captured my reaction to this precious book, and I was really happy with how it turned out.

Most Beautiful Book You Have Bought/Received This Year

I don't get a lot of physical books. My haul really comes from BEA every year. I would say that Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi is one of the most striking books. I was really caught up in that cover when I saw it.

Books You Need to Read By the End of the Year

Well, I just did a whole post about some books I want to read by the end of this year, and there are a bunch of sequels I hope to get to soon too, but I cannot think of a specific book I need to read.

How is your reading year so far?
Let us know in the comments!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: Wesley James Ruined My Life - Jennifer Honeybourn

Wesley James Ruined My Life
Jennifer Honeybourn
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Sixteen-year-old Quinn Hardwick’s having a rough summer. Her beloved grandmother has been put into a home, her dad’s gambling addiction has flared back up and now her worst enemy is back in town: Wesley James, former childhood friend—until he ruined her life, that is.

So when Wesley is hired to work with her at Tudor Tymes, a medieval England themed restaurant, the last thing Quinn’s going to do is forgive and forget. She’s determined to remove him from her life and even the score all at once—by getting him fired.

But getting rid of Wesley isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. When Quinn finds herself falling for him, she has to decide what she wants more: to get even, or to just get over it.
Once upon a time, Wesley and Quinn were super close friends, but right before his family moved away, Wesley put a set of events in motion that ruined Quinn's life. Fast forward five years, and Quinn's life is sort of like this:

This girl was dealing with a lot of heavy things, but she had one thing she was looking forward to: the band trip to London. She grew up with her beloved grandmother telling her stories about her life back in England, and Quinn could not wait to journey there and see those places and things in real life. She was working at Tudor Times in order to earn the money for her trip, and all is going swimmingly, until Wesley James moved back to town.

This was the type of fun and easy contemporary romance that I generally gravitate towards, and I really enjoyed this friends-to-enemies-to-lovers story. I am a fan of a would-be couple with history, and these two had a lot. We got small glimpses into their past together as children, and there were some very sweet moments that they shared.

At times, I thought Quinn should build a bridge and get over it. She was really hard on Wesley, and even tougher on him as she tried to deny the attraction and attachment. However, I empathized with her because of all the drama and stress that was in her life. I also really shared that grandma connection with her. I had an Oma, who told me stories of her life back in Germany, and it was very painful when the dementia set in, and the grandmother who I adored and referred to me as her "little stinker" disappeared. So, that really hit home with me, and I may have shed a tear or two during the grandmother parts.

I am glad to say that there were plenty of sweet and fun bits to keep me from getting too sad. And there was Wesley. He was such a prince charming and all around good guy. He kept working at rekindling his friendship with Quinn, and I believe he really missed her. I totally would have loved to have had a friend or boyfriend like Wesley. There were a few really swoony scenes (wish there were more) that I thought were magnificent and totally awwww-worthy.

The real fun was found at Tudor Times. The place was filled with a bunch of quirky and rather wacky characters, and I found myself looking forward to going to work. I also thought many of Quinn's inner monologues were amusing, especially when she was trying to battle her burgeoning feelings for Wesley.

 I have been reading a bunch of reviews, and some take issue with the "conflict" that turned Wesley from friend to foe, but keep in mind, Quinn was 11 when this all went down. I could see an 11 year needing something or someone to blame for what happened, and this made sense in her 11 year old mind. I could also understand her holding onto that scapegoat, because life was hitting her from all sides.

I am all about endings, and Honeybourn did right by me. There were a lot of loose ends tied up in the final chapter, and the epilogue was so sweet, my face sort of hurt from the huge, stupid grin I was wearing.

Overall: A fun and amusing tale of hate to love, with an ending that I found picture perfect.

**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book.

In this book, both Quinn and Wesley work at a theme restaurant called Tudor Times. I actually love these kinds of places, though I have not been to many. I once ate at one when I visited Ireland (in a castle no less).

Do you like theme restaurants?
Let us know in the comments!