The Potions Diary | Review

The Potion Diaries by [Alward, Amy]Title: The Potion Diaries

Author: Amy Alward

Genre Themes: Coming-of-Age, Royalty, Rivalry, Friendship

Date Published (England): July 2, 2015

Date Published (US Canada): Oct. 18, 2016

Cover Rating: 4.5/5

Buy: The Potion Diaries

Synopsis: When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn.

Enter Samantha Kemi—an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam’s family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they’ve fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? And just how close is she willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing enemy, in the meantime.

Just to add to the pressure, this quest is ALL OVER social media. And the world news.

No big deal, then.


This book was actually released in the UK in 2015. It was also released in the US and Canada under the title Maddly, and with a different cover.

It’s being re-released on Oct. 18th of this year, and I have already pre-ordered it.

 

My friend Tyr (pronounced TEAR) actually told me to read the is book. Her friends from the UK sent it to her, and she loaned it to me.

It took me forever to get to it, because it’s a paperback and FROM ENGLAND – Ruining it would not be the best idea for my health.

 

I did eventually though, and I totally regret not reading it sooner.

 

It is a bit hard to get into, but a few chapters in and it’ll be fine. The writing is quick, as well is the story.

 

Sam is such an interesting character – and totally realistic. This book also gives you an insight on friendship, which is something I feel like is underrated in YA. I feel like most books focus on the romance first, and add a nice little ‘BFF’ gesture in there somewhere.

That was not the case here.

 

Speaking of romance…

Very, very enjoyable! I loved it so much – seeing it grow just added to the story. It wasn’t insta-love, but it also wasn’t prolonged either. Both characters had their priorities straight the whole time, which was pretty much like Hallelujah!

I do hope to see more of the romance in the second book.

 

The side characters were interesting, and I found myself wanting to hear more about Kirsty, and Anita and even Emilia. Sort of.

 

The story had no plot holes, and it kept me guessing. It was fun to try and figure it out with Sam and the other characters.

 

The world is incredible. So detailed – and mentioned in the most subtle ways! You don’t even realize the book is painting a picture until, all-of-a-sudden, you do.

You learn the caste system, and how the world works and none of it is confusing.

 

It’s also a great book for the younger side of YA. It’s an adventure book for those of us who haven’t really learned the boundaries of YA. I loved that!

 

Overall, I loved this book and I can’t wait to read the second one!

 


 

What did you think of this book and the characters? Are you planning on reading this book? Feel free to comment spoilers – everybody who hasn’t read this book should be cautious of the comments!

 

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Legend | Review

Title: Legend (Legend series #1)

Author: Marie Lu

Genre Themes: Futuristic, Sci-Fi, Dystopian (?), Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Action, Romance

Date Published: Nov. 29, 2011

Cover Rating:

Buy: Legend

Synopsis: What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.


First of all: the font is gold. You heard me – gold! For all of Day’s chapters, they’re gold and for June’s, they’re the normal black. Very, very cool.

 

 

I liked the characters a lot. You get to see both sides of the story, which I found very helpful to moving the plot along, instead of hindering it.

The mystery aspect makes you suspect every character besides June and Day. So it was hard for me to truly trust any other side character until the end.

I was all cool with that. Untrustworthy characters? My bae.

 

Then there was Metias. It says in the synopsis that he dies, right? You all read that? And then what happens?

Yup. I got attached.

It actually hurt when he died. It took, like, three chapters for me to like him and pray that he doesn’t die despite the synopsis…then he did. And my heart shattered.

 

 

I thought the world was really cool, because it mentions things like the American flag, and little symbols like that in a very sneaky manner. It shows how this world got to where it is, and I really liked that.

 

 

I found it almost impossible to put down. Very fast paced, and not an incredible long book in the first place, which helped.

 

 

Overall, I loved this book and plan on buying the box set and finishing the series. Highly recommend.

 




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The Heart of Betrayal | Review

Title: The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2)

Author: Mary E. Pearson

Genre Themes: Fantasy, Royalty, Mystery, Romance

Date Published: July 7, 2015

Cover Rating: 4.5/5

Buy: The Heart of Betrayal

Synopsis: 

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape . . . and even less of being together.

Desperate to save her life, Lia’s erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has a magical gift, and the Komizar’s interest in Lia is greater than either Kaden or Lia foresaw.

Meanwhile, the foundations of Lia’s deeply-held beliefs are crumbling beneath her. Nothing is straightforward: there’s Rafe, who lied to her, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom she always believed to be barbarians but whom she now realizes are people who have been terribly brutalized by the kingdoms of Dalbreck and Morrighan. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her very sense of self, Lia will have to make powerful choices that affect her country, her people . . . and her own destiny.


I can’t say a whole lot about this book, since it is a sequel, so this is going to be rather short – sorry😣

 

Lia is still an amazing protagonist – and you definitely see progression in her character, inspired by her surroundings.

You also get Rafe’s and Kaden’s POVs, as well as Pauline’s. The different views and opinions are really interesting to read, and adds to the world and the realistic aspect of it.

 

There is less of a traveling aspect, but I didn’t entirely mind. I was fine learning about Venda instead.

 

The world building is incredible and really fun to try and figure out and get into.

Speaking of ‘figuring out’, the mystery aspect is still there – and getting better! I so cannot wait to see how it is resolved!

 

That’s a really, really sad review. I feel like I should say more…but I can’t…aghhhh…😰

 

 


Mary E. Pearson

Mary E. Pearson is the author of The Jenna Fox Chronicles as well as The Remnant Chronicles – the third book of which just came out recently.

This Savage Song | Review

Title: This Savage Song (Monster of Verity #1)

Author: Victoria Shwab

Genre Themes: Realistic Fantasy, Futuristic, Alternate Reality?, Bloody, Violent, Crime, War

Date Published: July 5th, 2016

Cover Rating: 4.5/5

Buy: This Savage Song

Synopsis:  There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from acclaimed author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books, This Savage Song is a must-have for fans of Holly Black, Maggie Stiefvater, and Laini Taylor.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.


I got this book in the July (I think) Owlcrate Box.

I really love this cover! And the song on the back cover was really cool (and stuck in my head for, like, three days).

 

This was my first Victoria Shwab book, and I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to.

It took me a while to warm up to Kate, who was our human protagonist. I didn’t really like her at first, and by the end, I was more tolerating her than anything. I didn’t particularly love or hate her – she was just kinda eh. I did enjoy hearing her backstory, and kind of figuring out the mystery of her past.

August, on the other hand, I loved from the beginning. I can’t even say why – I just liked him. I liked his sister Ilsa as well – as for Leo, well…

 

It was very well written, and very engaging. I like Victoria Shwab’s writing style, and the overall tone she puts into her books. I would be really interested to know how she comes up with these monsters.

 

I thought that it was a stand-alone originally, so I found to romance to be underwhelming. Turns out, it’s a series, so I’m giving it a little leeway.

And to be honest, while I would have liked more romance, the story was fine without it. Still crossing my fingers for book two though!

 

When the second book comes out, I will definitely read it, but it’s not consuming my life or anything.

I’m interesting in what you guys think as well! I know this is a really loved author and book, so what were your opinions? Also, did anyone else love the song on the back cover?

Six of Crows | Review

Title: Six of Crows

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre Themes: Fantasy, Bloody, YA

Date Published: Sep. 29, 2015

Cover Rating: 4/5

WARNING! This is not a book for younger kids! It’s violent and there’s some swearing.

Buy: Six of Crows

Synopsis: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction―if they don’t kill each other first.


It was really hard to rate this one!

 

I haven’t read Leigh Bardugo’s other work – the Grisha Trilogy – so I was new to the Grisha world. It took a while to get used to the names – thankfully, there was a beautiful map in the front of the book which was a LIFESAVER!

Image result for six of crows map
This actually isn’t the map – it’s one from the Grisha Trilogy. But it’s really close – the story takes place in Ketterdam – bottom to the left slightly.
Image result for map in six of crows book
This one actually IS in the book – there’s two maps.

 

It really wasn’t until part two (page 100) that I really got into it.

 

The writing style was written in just the right way. Anything else would be super confusing, but in Bardugo’s style, it explains itself and keeps you engaged.

 

I liked the characters. Inej and Kaz and Jesper and Wylan and Nina and Matthias – I just loved them all! The different backstories were interesting, and written in a way where you want to know more about these characters.

 

It was very bloody. There was one part that nearly made me gag, and I totally didn’t see that coming. I haven’t heard anything about that from the Grisha Trilogy, so I really didn’t expect it.

 

I wasn’t a fan of the swearing.

Personally, I don’t like swearing in Fantasy books. I feel like it takes away from the book. I mean, this is a fantasy world, right? So why would they use modern words?

I mean, I consider damn to be pretty universal, so I expected that. But it takes away from the world when they swear – especially when it’s unnecessary. But hey – Maybe that’s just me.
I have already requested the next book (which comes out September 27th) and I’m excited to read the sequel, but I didn’t love this book like I know a lot of you out there do.

P.S. I Like You | Review

Title: P.S. I Like You

Author: Kasie West

Genre Themes: Realistic, High School (is that a theme?), Contemporary

Date Published: July 26, 2016

Cover Rating: 4.5/5

Buy: P.S. I Like You

Synopsis: While spacing out in Chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk, and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters — sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery, and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…


3d-fonts

I got this book in the August Owlcrate Box. Thanks so much to Owlcrate introducing me to this book and author!

 

I started this book the day I got it, and finished it two days later. The writing style is easy to get lost in, and I really enjoyed it.

 

Lily (our protagonist) and I could be, like, best friends. We’re so alike! We both have a big, kind crazy family…she has two younger brothers and an older sister, I have three younger brothers and an older sister…

 

I found her to just be so relatable! There was one quote that she said (well, wrote) that pretty much sums up my relationship with my brothers. And that quote is…

I know I’ll soften soon because he’s the prince of the house and as aggravating as he is, I love his face.

I mean, come on. Anyone else relate to that? Anyone with siblings out there?

 

There was also none of the ‘Public Schooler Trope’ that you see everywhere in YA.

In case you didn’t know, I hate the typical ‘Public Schooler Trope’ that I see EVERYWHERE in realistic teen books. It’s the Trope where the main character, because he’sshe’s a teen, and a public schooler, has to swear and drink and smoke and sneak out at night.

Like, just because they’re a teen, it means that all make the wrong decisions? All of them? It’s obviously just an author pretending to be a teen, and not even accurately. I mean, I’ve never been to public school, but I seriously doubt it’s anything like that. At least, not commonly.

But Kasie West got it on point! I loved it! Her books are perfect if you’re new to teen books, or if you’re on the younger side of YA.

 

I love, love, LOVED the romance in this book! It was sweet, and fun to read about. AND it stayed realistic, which, let’s be honest, isn’t very common.

This book made me happy! There’s no other way to put it – I felt good while reading this book. I haven’t seen that much since I became a reviewer, but this fully gave me that feeling.

 

As you can tell by the rating, this is one of only three books on my Favorite Standalone Books Shelf – a high honor…sort of, maybe?

Anyway, I highly recommend this book. It’s funny, and heartwarming and written by a really great author.


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💞Kasie West💞

Kasie West is the author of The Fill-In Boyfriend, as well as other bestsellers. Along with writing YA, she loves Junior Mints (Me too!).

I find Kasie West’s books are my favorite type of High School books. If you are 11 or 12, and are new to YA or to teen books, hers are a great start to the teen section. Much better for your soul 💕

The Kiss of Deception | Review

Title: The Kiss of Deception: The Remnant Chronicles (book one)

Author: Mary E. Pearson

Genre Themes: Fantasy, Royalty, Romance, Adventure, Mystery

Date Published: July 8, 2014

Cover Rating: 4.5/5

Buy: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles)

Synopsis:  In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight―but she doesn’t―and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom―to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive―and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets―even as she finds herself falling in love.


I really, really liked this book!

 

Lia is an amazing main character. She is strong, and I liked her view and sarcasm and just her overall attitude. I liked the side characters as well – Pauline and Gwen were particularly enjoyable.

 

The adventure aspect is really intriguing, and I think it added a lot to the story. The same can be said for the mystery – trying to figure out who was the assassin and who was the prince was an extra challenge.

 

I liked the world building. The history was really interesting, and I loved hearing about it! It was very well thought-out, very realistic, and I can’t wait to read more.

 

(In case any of you were wondering, I’m voting for Kaden, even though I like Rafe)

 

Overall, I can’t wait to start the second book and get back to these characters. I highly suggest this book.

 


Mary E. Pearson

Mary E. Pearson is the author of The Jenna Fox Chronicles as well as The Remnant Chronicles – the third book of which just came out recently.

The Fault in Our Stars | Review

Title: The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green

Genre Themes: Realistic, Cancer, Illness

Date Published: April 8th, 2014

Cover Rating: 4.5/5

Buy: The Fault in Our Stars

Synopsis: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

 


 

So I’m a little late to the party on this one, but a friend of mine (Tyr) really loves this book and since she tends to like the same things I do, I decided to pick it up.

 

I liked Hazel as a protagonist. I didn’t overly love her, but I didn’t have any issues. She tended to be a bit of a downer, but, then again, this is the first book about Cancer that I’ve read, so maybe all the protagonists are like this?

Augustus was funny, and his metaphors really made me think. I really enjoyed him.

 

The writing style was quick and easy to follow. I like John Green’s writing, but I don’t think I’ll read anything else by him. Right now, at least.

 

I thought I knew the ending, because there was a post on Pinterest about it, and I assumed it meant one thing…then it meant another. I didn’t cry about this thing happening, but it still made me really sad.

One thing that did make me sad was this one line by Hazel’s mom. I kept hearing about this one line that she said, and a few times in the beginning I was like is that the line? How about that one? but when it came…that was the only time I teared up in this book. It was just so honest and…I can’t even describe it. I really can’t.

(No, watch, I’m totally off and just getting sentimental over a random line…)

 

Overall, it was good, but I don’t see what made it such a big hit. My hopes might have been a bit to high…

I do want to see the movie though. The movie looked really good!

 

But what did you think of The Fault in Our Stars?

The 5th Wave | Review

Title: The 5th Wave

Author: Rick Yancy

Genre Themes: Science-Fiction

Date Published: May 7, 2013

Cover Rating: 5/5

Buy: The 5th Wave

Synopsis: After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.


I originally picked up this book because I had seen the movie trailer, and thought it looked cool (and, since the movie is based off a book, I had to read the book first, obviously). I hadn’t really read about aliens before, but this seemed really unique. I loved the synopsis and I couldn’t wait to pick it up.

 

It was good until page 30.

 

I found all the characters to be cold and unrelateable, which threw off the romance in the story. While Cassie was realistic, she still wasn’t relatable – two very different things. They swore more than necessary. It was excessive and just worked to distanced them further from me.

 

I’m really disappointed; so many cool things could have come from this book, and it just flopped. I still plan to see the movie however, and I hope it’s better than the book.

 

I am so glad only two books were out at the time. I’m not one to quit in the middle of a series, and I practically skimmed the second book. Would not recommend.

Mockingjay ||| Review

Title: Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3)

Author: Suzanne Collins

Genre Themes: Dystopian, Violent, Survival, Sci-Fi

Date Published: Aug. 24, 2010

Cover Rating: 4.5/5

Buy: Mockingjay

Synopsis: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12.

The Hunger Games | Review | Catching Fire || Review


 

I expected so much more form this book.

Catching Fire was amazing, and I was looking forward to picking this book up. It disappointed me on so many levels.

A lot of the things that I didn’t like about this book are actually considered spoilers, so if you want to hear more detailed opinions (good and bad) my Mockingjay Discussion will be coming out soon!

 

It seemed like Katniss…wasn’t Katniss. If that makes any sense. Almost half of the book is spent with her moping around District 13, and that made it very hard to get through this book. Overall, I felt she didn’t really do anything – again, not going to get into it. Spoilers.

 

Now, going into this book, you expect death. Of course you do. But there was a certain death in here that threw me off so much I actually put the book down. For two weeks. It took me two weeks to recover.

Honestly, it’s like everyone you love dies. It’s like Collins went Oh, you like that character? Really? Well, President Snow decided to have a personal grudge against him today. Sorry!

Some of the deaths were just unnecessary. They didn’t push Katniss in any direction. They were just…there. I feel like Suzanne Collins wanted to connect with the reader on an emotional level – which is a good thing – but way overdid it.

 

Later in the book, Katniss makes choices that…just don’t make any sense. It was a total change of her character, and it made me mad at her.

 

I don’t like how things ended with some of her ‘friends’ – I fell like friendship could have been portrayed better.

 

The ending was so predictable. I could have just skipped to the end and I would have been fine.

I think what I’m going to do, is take my favorite parts of this book (I.E. the ending) and just stick it onto Catching Fire. I will be so much happier with the series, and I think it should have been that way in the beginning.

 

I’ve only seen Mockingjay Part One so far, mostly because I’m not emotionally ready for Part Two, but I think I honestly prefer the movies.