Review: Circe by Madeline Miller {3.75}

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Title: Circe
Author: Madeline Miller
Series: N/A
Genre: Adult, Fiction, Mythology, Retelling, Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date:  April 10th, 2018
Pages: 288
My Rating: 3.75 Stars

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Circe is a book that has been on my TBR for a while now and I’ve always been excited about. As a pre-teen, Greek mythology sparked my interest like no other. I devoured series like Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, and the Starcrossed trilogy, but these are middle grade and young adult books. On the other hand, Circe is an adult book, shelved under general fiction. With that, I did not know what to expect. However, so many booktubers were all praise about this book, so I finally listened to it in audiobook.

From the first few minutes of the audiobook, I was already enthralled by the world that I delved into. Circe the book does not shy away from violences, and gives a more rounded telling of Circe’s story. Here, we get to see how Circe evolved from a meek child who was always bullied, to being a powerful witch who turned men into swine. Here, we get to see the rationale behind her decisions, and get to see her as humane, rather than an evil witch as she is portrayed in some literature. Filled with a lot of stories abut Circe from her time with Helios, her exile, meeting Glaucos, Hermes, Deadalus, Odysseus, Penelope and Thelemacus, this novel gives us a view of how Circe lived her life – how she suffered, how she rejoiced, how she loved, and how she hated.

There were some parts of the novel that did not interest me as much as the other parts, and there was this certain part where I had to listen to it 4 times because it just didn’t hold my attention, so I cannot give it more than my rating. However, I really enjoyed it. I also really enjoyed how we got a glimpse of a lot other Greek gods and characters, and enjoy their stories and personalities alongside that of Circe’s. Overall, this is a very interesting novel especially if you are interested in Greek mythology. It’s a great read, and the ending left me smiling like an idiot. For all of Circe’s suffering and pain throughout her earlier years, there certainly was a rainbow after the rain.

3.5 magical and enchanting stars

ARC Review: Busted by Gina Ciocci {3.5}

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Title: Busted
Author: Gina Ciocca
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date:  January 1st, 2018
Pages: 288
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Marisa wasn’t planning to be a snoop for hire—until she accidentally caught her best friend’s boyfriend making out with another girl. Now her reputation for sniffing out cheaters has spread all over school, and Marisa finds herself the reluctant queen of busting two-timing boys.

But when ex-frenemy Kendall asks her to spy on her boyfriend, TJ, Marisa quickly discovers the girl TJ might be falling for is Marisa herself. And worse yet? The feelings are quickly becoming mutual. Now, she’s stuck spying on a “mystery girl” and the spoken-for guy who just might be the love of her life…

It has been a long, loooooong time since I last finished reading a book in one day, and Busted was the one that finally cracked me after a while, even with responsibilities the whole afternoon. Busted was written in such a way that it was addicting and hard to put down, and I couldn’t stop even when my brain nagged at me to do homework. I’m not a fan of mysteries, but the hint of a little mystery in this book was just perfect to make the book addicting.

Busted is a short and quick read, and I loved how invested I was in the story. My absolute favorite things about this book are the friendship and family dynamics. For the friendship, I loved how Marisa and Charlie could talk to each other honestly, to the point that Marisa called out Charlie for being judgemental, and Charlie apologizing instead of getting mad like most people would be. I just loved how they could talk everything out with respect, and not with the tone of blame. For the family, I loved how Charlie could freely talk to her mother about things, and how her brother is actually an accomplice instead of the enemy.

On the other hand, I felt like sometimes the story seemed to lack direction and objective because it was just snaking its way through everything without a clear path. Sometimes it felt like reading in circles. It also dragged on a little bit for some of the parts. I don’t know why I felt this way towards the book, and I really can’t explain it in words, but that was what was on my mind while reading it.

The major issue I have with this book is the lack of connection with any of the characters. This is the reason why, although I enjoyed the book, I couldn’t give it a rating higher than 3.5 stars. I just didn’t feel anything for the characters, and I absolutely dislike the love interest. For me, TJ is sketchy af, and I just didn’t really feel that he liked Charlie honestly. Maybe in the start but then towards the end it seemed like he didn’t care about Charlie, and even supported her flirting with another guy. Shouldn’t he be at least a teeny tiny bit jealous or protective? I don’t know, I just didn’t like him overall.

To wrap things up, I really enjoyed this quick and addicting read, although I couldn’t give it a higher rating because I didn’t really connect with any of the characters.

3.5 couldn’t-connect stars

Review: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson {3.5}

 

Title: The Sky is Everywhere
Author: Jandy Nelson
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date:  March 9th, 2010
Pages: 288
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Adrift after her sister Bailey’s sudden death, Lennie finds herself torn between quiet, seductive Toby—Bailey’s boyfriend who shares her grief—and Joe, the new boy in town who bursts with life and musical genius. Each offers Lennie something she desperately needs… though she knows if the two of them collide her whole world will explode.

Join Lennie on this heartbreaking and hilarious journey of profound sorrow and mad love, as she makes colossal mistakes and colossal discoveries, as she traipses through band rooms and forest bedrooms and ultimately right into your heart.

As much a celebration of love as a poignant portrait of loss, Lennie’s struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often uproarious, and absolutely unforgettable.

The Sky is Everywhere is a book that I have been wanting to read for the longest times. It had been on my TBR even before I’ll Give You the Sun came out. I had high hopes because after all, it’s a Jandy Nelson novel. However, when I started reading, I was kind of disappointed because it wasn’t quite as I imagined it to be. Thankfully, the ending salvaged the book for me.

My main problem with this book is not the love triangle per se, but lying, as well as cheating in a way. Okay, so technically it’s not cheating because she’s not official with any of those guys, but she promised Joe that it was nothing, yet she still kissed Toby every time she saw him. And I do get the part about the grief and understanding each other, but I just don’t know if it’s realistic that they both love other people but keep on getting back together. It’s kind of a hard concept to grasp for me, and it affected my reading experience because it went on for most of the book. However, I really liked how the author resolved this in the end.

The Sky is Everywhere encompasses so much within a 300-page novel. I’m still debating whether or not I like it. I mean, it’s about friendship, family, relationships, love triangles, musical band, dead sister, lost mother, cool uncle, grandma with her own issues, Toby, Joe, Joe’s family background, Sarah, etc. I kind of feel out of breath just enumerating all those. I learned so much from this book though, but at the same time it’s kind of hard to grasp everything at the same time. And as a result, I think some of these aspects were not fully explored.

Negatives aside, there were things I liked about this book as well. I love how kind Uncle Big is, and how in touch with his emotions he is. People often have misconceptions about big guys, but he’s a softie who loves love. I also love how Gram has her own issues that she’s fighting with because grandmothers in novels don’t really have much stories to them. Although a bit late into the novel, I connected with the characters and the story. I may even have shed a few tears towards the end when Lennie talked to Gram, and then to Joe. I liked the way it tackled grief in a sense that it lingers. How you might forget for a while but it comes back in waves. I felt like that was realistic.

Overall, this book was not what I expected, which kind of affected my liking of the book. However, I was finally able to connect and understand the characters towards the end of the novel.

3.5 not what I expected stars

Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco {3.5}

Title: The Bone Witch
Author: Rin Chupeco
Series: The Bone Witch #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date:  March 7th, 2017
Pages: 411
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

The Bone Witch is one of those books with an amazing cover and a very intriguing synopsis, so when I received this for review, I was really ecstatic! I immediately wanted to read it, but I also didn’t want to read it that soon because I knew that the release date is still so far away. Finally, I decided to read it without regard for the release date, and I’m glad I did!

What I Liked:
1. The Concept
I feel like the concept for The Bone Witch is such a unique one. There are a lot of fantasy books out there, but I believe that none of them are like this book. It’s about Asha (magic-wielders) who use different types of elements to their advantage. And there there’s the Bone Asha – people who can people from the dead. Although there are many books with magic wielders out there, none have magic wielders who are also entertainers. Also, this book has dragons! Isn’t that just something to be excited about?

2. How Interesting It Is
As I said above, the concept is very unique, thus it’s also very intriguing. There were so many things that happened in the book, and there were conspiracies buried underneath all that glamour. Hushed whispers and secrets fill this book, and I couldn’t help but be captivated.

3. The Setting
Well, not exactly the setting, but how the setting in the book was described so vividly. I can imagine everything, from the asha-ka, to what the ashas were wearing, to how the asha performed dances. I feel like I had been inside the world of the author and that’s not a feat that can be accomplished by many authors.

4. The Narrative Style
The Bone Witch is told in a way that is in flashbacks. The main character is actually telling the story of everything to a story teller. To be honest, I was surprised that I liked this. In the other books that I’ve read, I’ve always hated it when the narrative was done this way. However, with this book, it just added to the intrigue of the story, and I felt like it made me want to read more.

What I Didn’t Like:
1. It Was Dragging
The Bone Witch has a very interesting concept, but it has a tendency to drag at some parts. I found myself skipping some narratives. It also took me a long time to finish the book because of these parts.

2. The Lack of Information
This complaint is coming from the selfish part of me, and not really a big issue. I just feel like I need to know more about what the main character is planning for the future because I hate being kept in the dark. I feel like there’s still too many mysteries, and I can’t predict the direction the next book would go because of the vagueness of it all.

That said, I enjoyed reading The Bone Witch, but at the same time I felt like it was too dragging and felt like too little information was given. I really want to know what happens next though!

3.5 dragging but interesting stars

ARC Review: Top Ten by Katie Cotugno {3.5}



Title: Top Ten
Author: Katie Cotugno
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date:  October 3rd, 2017
Pages: 320
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship:

10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met.
9. Then there was our awkward phase.
8. When you were in love with me but never told me…
7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life.
6. Through terrible fights…
5. And emotional makeups.
4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken.
3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it.
2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world.
1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?

  I was given an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

At the beginning of this book, I actually hated it because it sounded juvenile for people who are already going to college. In the first chapter, the conversation did not go smoothly and there were so many breaks for every speech that my head was already swimming by the time the chapter concluded. However, and thank goodness for this, it slowly warmed up to me – the speech improved and they sounded less juvenile towards the middle of the book.

Additionally, I also really didn’t like how the story was formatted, wherein it’s not in chronological time order. The story lists down the top 10 moments of the two main characters’ friendship, and although the idea of the top 10 is what drew me to the book in the first place, I didn’t like that it was not in chronological order. It made it confusing for me to piece together the story during the first few chapters.

On another note, what I really liked about this book is how their friendship developed. The friendship of the two main characters is not a typical one – Ryan is a jock, while Gabby is a shy person with anxiety. I like how they constantly reassured each other about each other, and that they always had each other’s backs even though there were things they didn’t agree on. I also like that (view spoiler)

I also really loved the family dynamics of the Harts. They’re not a perfect family and there are many misunderstandings, but I’m glad that they always have each other’s backs no matter what, even though how they show it may not always be ideal and may be misinterpreted.

Overall, I didn’t really like this book as much as I thought I would have, but then there were certain aspects that really stood out despite the bad beginning.

3.5 quick read stars

ARC Review: Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer!


Title: Spindle Fire
Author: Lexa Hillyer
Series: Spindle Fire #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date:  April 11th, 2017
Pages: 400
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood–and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.

As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.

Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape . . . or the reason for her to stay.

Spindle Fire is the first book in a duology.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Spindle Fire is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, except in this one she has an illegitimate sister and it includes faeries instead of fairy godmothers. It also had a teeny tiny element of Hansel and Gretel in using things to mark a path. Although based on Sleeping Beauty, the author has taken great lengths to make this book unique, at the same time stayed true to the gist of the original fairy tale.

I have such conflicting feelings about Spindle Fire. When I started reading it, I was so hooked that I didn’t understand why it had such low ratings on Goodreads. However, as I read on, I felt kind of bored. I felt like the narrative was too long and excessive for my liking, so it caused me to skip chunks of text because I felt impatient. It also was not able to hold my attention because I felt bored. It was only when I reached 70% of the book that I started becoming invested in it. It did salvage my thoughts and rating for this book, but it was already too late for me to love the novel. And then the novel ended with a cliffhanger; not that I have anything against cliffhangers, but it just left so many things unresolved. In fact, I don’t think it resolved any of my questions at all. So yeah, conflicting feelings. (Sorry this paragraph is long af.)

Despite that long ass complaint, there are some things I loved about the story. The plot is intricately woven and extremely well thought out. I liked the parallelism between Isbe and Aurora, and Balceour and Malfleur. I think that a lot of thought was put out into the story before even writing it to make everything that happened possible in a sense that it would all tie together and make sense. I also really appreciated how it took the story of Aurora to a whole new level, even adding all these characters that made this book more complex as I originally thought it would be.

Overall, I liked the plot, but the pacing was kind of slow. The ending left me wanting for more, but that’s kind of conflicting because I also felt like none of my questions were answered. I’m definitely curious about what the next book would bring, but if you make me choose between reading the book and a summary, I would definitely choose the later. In short, my feelings about this book are so confusing because they’re polar opposites.

What did you guys think about this book? I’m really, really curious!

3.5 conflicting stars

Mini Review: The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele


Title: The Marked Girl
Author: Lindsey Klingele
Series: The Marked Girl #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date:  June 7th, 2016
Pages: 400
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (Los Angeles)…

When Cedric, crowned prince of Caelum, and his fellow royal friends (including his betrothed, Kat) find themselves stranded in modern-day L.A. via a magical portal and an evil traitor named Malquin, all they want to do is get home to Caelum—soon. Then they meet Liv, a filmmaker foster girl who just wants to get out of the system and on with her life. As she and Cedric bond, they’ll discover that she’s more connected to his world than they ever could’ve imagined…and that finding home is no easy task… 

  I was given an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

One thing you should know about me is that I am a hardcore contemporary girl, and as a hardcore contemporary girl, I don’t usually read fantasy book. However, when the book is an urban fantasy, I am usually game. This is why I was super excited to read this book! Right from the start, I was really interested in the concept.

The Marked Girl is a really interesting book. People from another world called Caelum went through a portal escaping an enemy, only to land in LA. It’s filled with both inner and outer conflicts, questionable motives and standing by each other. I also really enjoyed the romance in this book, even though it’s just a teeny tiny portion of it.

However, I think that this book needs more polishing. Yes, the plot is interesting, but it needs something more to tie everything together in a nice bow. I’m also really curious about Caelum, and was disappointed that not much was mentioned about the world and how it works. Although I guess we’ll learn about it in the next book. The story is also action-packed, but it still lacks this something to make it more enjoyable and unputdownable.

This book is really interesting, and I cannot wait to find out more about Caelum in book two! I don’t think that this book is going to be for everyone, but for fantasy beginners, this will be an easy read. Overall, it’s good but it lacks something to make it better.

3.5 can-still-improve stars

ARC Review: Autofocus by Lauren Gibaldi

Title: Autofocus
Author: Lauren Gibaldi
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date:  June 14th, 2016
Pages: 352
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

From the author of The Night We Said Yes comes a fun and heartfelt YA contemporary tale. When Maude decides to search for information about her birth mother, she finds out more than she expected. Perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Susane Colasanti.

Family. It’s always been a loaded word for Maude, whose birth mother died after giving her up for adoption. With her best friend, Treena, in college in the same town where her birth mother grew up, Maude decides to visit and explore her past. But when Maude arrives, she quickly discovers that Treena doesn’t seem to have time for her—or for helping with her search. Enter Bennett, a cute guy who lives in Treena’s dorm. He understands Maude’s need to find her mother. And as Bennett helps Maude, she starts to realize that her mother’s past doesn’t have to define her own future.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

“I’m a blur. I’m not clear and crisp like some people; instead I’m messy on the edges and not quite formed. I’m many pieces all put into one, and one day I’ll figure them all out. But right now, I’m happy being a blur. I’m happy being every part of me, every image of me, even if they don’t feel like me.”

When I learned that Lauren Gibaldi was coming up with a new book, I was really excited. I read her debut novel The Night We Said Yes and I really enjoyed it, so I wanted to read whatever she came up with. I was so excited about this, in fact, that I didn’t care what it was about and I just requested this one without really reading the synopsis. I had no idea that this was about adoption, but I enjoyed it all the same.

Autofocus is about a girl who went on a journey to find out more about her birth mother, who died when she gave birth to Maude. Her adoptive parents are not exactly supportive, but not exactly not supportive either, which I think was good because that makes it more realistic. So Maude goes to FSU to visit her best friend, and there she finds out more about her mom.

What I liked:

1. The romance: What’s amazing about the romance of this book is that the two characters started out as friends, which is just so rare in YA nowadays. I mean, yeah, people start getting to know each other in books, but they didn’t feel like being friends like Maude and Bennett were, you know? I really liked that they spent time not liking each other first, then getting to know each other, then liking each other.

2. Realistic: Maude has a good relationship with her adoptive parents, but they weren’t exactly happy when she wanted to go on this journey to find her biological mother. I think that’s a realistic portrayal because no matter how close she is to her parents, I think most adoptive parents will have some inhibitions and worries about their kid looking for his/her biological mother. However, I’m glad that Maude didn’t have any problem in general when it came to convincing her parents, which I think was also realistic, considering that her parents really do love her as well and want what’s best for her. They only wanted Maude to be careful and remember that she might be disappointed.

3. Self-discovery: Maude took a journey to find her mom in order to find herself. It’s actually a cliche, but I didn’t really mind because I love books with self discovery. Maude realized that her biological mom doesn’t actually define her, which is also another cliche, but then Maude also realized that she isn’t necessarily like anyone else as well. I think that’s something important for everyone to know – that we can be unique and ourselves, not defined by who others are or the circumstances around us.

4. Bennett: Bennett is such a dork and a gentleman combined into one! He had a lot of opportunities to take advantage of Maude, but he chose not to. Instead, what he did was accompany Maude through her journey, and was there for her every step of the way. He understood when Maude needed company and when Maude needed to be alone. He was also a great friend first to Maude, and that matters.

What I didn’t exactly like: 

1. Connection: I couldn’t fully connect to the main character and the story. I don’t know why, but I just wasn’t that invested in it. This is my main problem with the book, which is why I couldn’t give it a higher rating. I really enjoyed reading the story, and I connected to it a little, but I just couldn’t fully connect to it.

2. The ending: I feel like in terms of the romance part, the ending didn’t really give it justice. I would really like to find out more of what happened in the end, or how they planned to move forward with their relationship. They still talked, but I just wanted to know, what now?

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this story. It was a quick read and it was interesting. My only main problem about it is that I couldn’t fully connect to it.

3.5 couldn’t-connect stars

ARC Review: The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine


Title: The Season of You and Me
Author: Robin Constantine
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date:  May 10th, 2016
Pages: 352
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Cassidy Emmerich is determined to make this summer—the last before her boyfriend heads off to college—unforgettable. What she doesn’t count on is her boyfriend breaking up with her. Now, instead of being poolside with him, Cass is over a hundred miles away, spending the summer with her estranged father and his family at their bed-and-breakfast at the Jersey Shore and working as the newest counselor at Camp Manatee.

Bryan Lakewood is sick of nevers. You’ll never walk. You’ll never surf. You’ll never slow dance with your date at prom. One miscalculated step and Bryan’s life changed forever—now he’s paralyzed and needs to use a wheelchair. This is the first summer he’s back at his former position at Camp Manatee and ready to reclaim some of his independence, in spite of those who question if he’s up for the job.

Cass is expecting two months dealing with heartbreak.
Bryan is expecting a summer of tough adjustments.
Neither of them is expecting to fall in love.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

The Season of You and Me is the perfect beach read – it’s a light, fluffy and quick read. Everything screams at me that I should be loving this book because I am a sucker for light contemporary beach reads, but the thing is, I just couldn’t connect with the characters and the story. Maybe it’s because it reminds me too much of Summer of Sloane, although I know that it wasn’t any of the authors’ intention. Or maybe it’s because I am annoyed by the repeated use of #wheelchairperk. I don’t know which one it is, but I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I would.

The Season of You and Me is about a girl who spends the whole summer with her father and his wife in New Jersey to get over Gavin, the guy who cheated on her. There, she gets to spend time with her half-brother Hunter. She also goes to work in Camp Matinee, where she meets Bryan, Tori, Wade, and the rest of the merry band.

What I loved about this book is how amazing Cass’ relationship with her father and his new family is. She’s completely close with her half-brother Hunter, and even goes out of her way to spend time with him. Hunter also completely adores her, and loves it when she’s around. Leslie, her father’s new wife, is not just civil with her, but treats her like family; Cass, on the other hand, doesn’t have any negative feelings towards Leslie. Leslie and Cass’ mom are also friends – not civil, not hating on each other, but friends who hug each other. I guess these types of families are usually shown as messy and full of hatred that it was refreshing to see something like this. Although they obviously are not so close and friendly with each other to make it seem annoying and unrealistic.

I guess that’s it. I don’t really have much to say about this book other than that, which is why I have a hard time with giving this more stars. My mind is telling me that I sohuld love this because it’s the type of read that I usually really love, but this one just didn’t make me feel anything at all. That’s why I couldn’t give this more stars. Anyway, you guys should still read this book though, since I think I’m just being the black sheep here.

3.5 I-don’t-feel-anything stars

ARC Review: Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Fine

Title: Assassin’s Heart
Author: Sarah Ahiers
Series: Assassin’s Heart #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date:  February 2nd 2016
Pages: 400
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

  In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

  Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

  With shades of The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet, this richly imagined fantasy from debut author Sarah Ahiers is a story of love, lies, and the ultimate vengeance.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

  In the kingdom of Lovero, murder is not looked down upon, as long as it’s done by one of the nine clipper/assassin families. Seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana is from the first Family and she has a secret – she’s been going out with one of the second Family, Val Da Via. That is, until she wakes up one day after meeting with Val to see her house set aflame and her family murdered. As the only Saldana left now, Lea is set on revenge – killing the Da Vias as they had killed her family.

  I have to be honest. When I first read the synopsis of the book back then, I was really worried that it would be the same with Throne of Glass since the idea that it gave me was just so similar. However, I am really glad that all those were just speculations. Assassin’s Heart has its own story to tell, and it’s a pretty great story at that.

  I definitely liked the world building in this story, and how the action was immediately there after the story began, as I have noticed that fantasy books usually take time to let things set first. However, towards 40% of the book, I felt really bored and I was just skipping narratives and I just wanted to get things over with. Lucky, after a few more chapters, the story picked up again.

  It was interesting how everything unraveled, although it was not what I expected at all. I cannot say more because I’m afraid I might spoil something, but boy was I surprised by the turn of events! I loved how everything wrapped up together though, and I’m really interested about what the second book might be about!

3.5 page-turning stars