The Boyfriend Project

⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the boyfriend project by farrah rochon

Author: Farrah Rochon

Series: The Boyfriend Project, #1

Publishes: June 9, 2020 (Book of the Month early release)

ISBN: 1538716623

Synopsis from Goodreads:

USA Today bestselling author Farrah Rochon launches a new series about three young women who become friends when the live Tweeting of a disastrous date leads them to discover they’ve all been duped by the same man.

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status . . .

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

My Mini Review:

I think the world would be a better place if more people reached out to help others.”

I really wanted to love this book. I thought the whole boyfriend project idea was a nice concept and I was excited that there would be more books about the other women involved in the story. It gave me a lot of Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test vibes, and I loved those books. But by the middle of the book, the story became annoying and repetitive. The characters still couldn’t make up their minds about whether they should date or not, and by the time they did the relationship and feelings felt rushed and unrealistic.

With that said, I did enjoy the developing friendship between the three women, and the fact that they were supportive of each other’s decisions and accomplishments. I liked that they were not catty and did not bring each other down; despite having met under such unusual circumstances such as being cheated on by the same man. Rochon also successfully tackled hard issues such as racism, sexism, and discrimination in schools and in the work place. I also enjoyed the criminal aspects of the story, as well as learning about coding and app development. Overall, this was an okay read and I would recommend it if you are looking for a light romantic escape, but don’t go in expecting anything new or life changing.

This was my first Book of the Month pick. If you want to try out Book of the Month for $10 including shipping, consider using my affiliate link. I get a free book credit every time someone signs up with my code 😊

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the ballad of songbirds and snakes by suzanne collins

Author: Suzanne Collins

Series: Hunger Games, #0

Published: May 19, 2020

Pages: 540

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the 10th annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to out charm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined – every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

My Review:

Snow lands on top”

❄️

I am a big Hunger Games fan, so when they announced that this book was being released I decided I would read it no matter what, even if it was about President Snow. I honestly don’t know where to even start with this one, so I am doing something a bit different and separating my review into likes and dislikes.

Dislikes:

We all know Coriolanus Snow turns out to be an evil bastard, but what I wanted to know was how? What was the turning point in his life? What made him into HIM? Unfortunately, for approximately ninety percent of the book all I got was a story about a regular, albeit ambitious guy who had to make hard choices when he was put into tough situations. Then, in the last ten percent of the book I was not even remotely prepared for the changes in his character, and I had whiplash by the time I was done. I feel like these changes should have been more gradual.

I also cannot go into detail when it comes to Coriolanus’s relationship with Lucy Gray without giving away any spoilers, but I did not like the way it was handled at all. Just like his character arch, their relationship would have benefitted from a more gradual development, and then a steady decline. This is not what I got. Instead, at the end of their story I felt like I had been slapped with this random unsatisfying ending and left with a LOT of unanswered questions.

Likes:

Okay, now that I got all that off my chest. I did enjoy the non-stop action in this book, and it was very emotional being back in the Hunger Games and experiencing the very beginning when the games were not as elaborate and immersive as they later became. I really liked finding the little Easter eggs along the way, which were in the form of familiar characters, animals, items, and songs from the original Hunger Games. It was nice finding out how certain aspects of the later Hunger Games came to be.

I liked that the mentors had their own side game going on as well, and that they were being put through almost as much as the tributes were. My favorite character, and in my opinion the only one with any redeeming qualities, was Tigris. I admired her resourcefulness and loyalty to her family, especially to Coriolanus. I enjoyed learning about many of the behind the scenes workings of the Hunger Games, from the way tests were performed on people and animals at the lab, to how the Peace Keepers were trained.

My whole initial rant aside, if you are a Hunger Games fan you won’t want to skip this one. Like I told someone on Instagram recently, just keep telling yourself “He’s the villain, he’s the villain,” and you shouldn’t have as much of a shock as I did. I highly recommend this book to all Fantasy/YA fans, and Hunger Games fanatics should definitely read it.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

a good girl's guide to murder by holly jackson

Author: Holly Jackson

Published: May 2, 2019

ISBN: 1405293187

Pages: 433

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

My review:

If a villain can be made, then he can be unmade.”

I picked up this book after seeing it recommended all over the bookstagram community, and now I see why. About twenty percent into the book I thought I had the killer figured out and I was so disappointed, but then everything changed and I wasn’t so sure anymore. This same scenario repeated itself throughout the story and I was kept guessing until the end. This book would make such a great TV series or movie, but I think a show would do the plot more justice.

Pip, the main character, was likeable and I enjoyed witnessing her character progression and changes in her personality. By the end of the story she still hadn’t quite figured out who she was, but lets be real here, does any seventeen year old know who they are? She certainly did know herself and her limitations better. I found myself screaming at these characters a lot. Things like “why are you going in there alone?” and “don’t do that!” Which I believe it’s the whole point in mystery/thriller books like this one, so I will call it a job well done by the author.

I enjoyed the fact that there was no “killer point of view” in the story, which always ruins the plot for me. I like when I can keep guessing who the killer is until the big reveal. I am a 911 dispatcher and have a degree in Forensics, and I was happy that the 911 call placed in the book was very realistic. Also, the criminal and legal aspects of the case were genuine as well. I really enjoyed all the recorded interviews, case notes, and other tidbits included in the book. I highly recommend this story to all Mystery/Thriller fans out there, and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series which was just released April 30, 2020.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. However, if you click on my link and end up buying the book Amazon will pay me a small fee. Thank you for supporting a small blog like mine 🙂

The House in the Cerulean Sea

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the house in the cerulean sea by tj klune

Author: T.J. Klune

Published: March 17, 2020

Pages: 393

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

My review:

It’s the little things. Little treasures we find without knowing their origin. And they come when we least expect them.”

This book made my heart happy. It was so full of magic, love, and adorable characters that will stay with me for a long time after. For years I had been searching for a story that would give me all the same feelings that I had while reading Harry Potter, and I have finally found it. This story was all about family, and the fact that family can sometimes mean the people we surround ourselves with and love unconditionally, and not exactly the ones we are born into. It was also about overcoming our preconceived notions and prejudices, and learning to love others for who they truly are.

A person is more than where they come from.” “Than the sum of their parts.”

The character development was simply amazing. Each person stood apart from the others, with their own quirks and eccentricities. I had a really hard time picking a favorite character. From the adults I would have to say it was Linus, because how could I not? The story is told from his point of view, and we see him slowly come out of this fog he has been living in all his life and step into the light. From the kids I would have to go with Theodore, because I have a really soft spot for Wyverns. I should also mention that I found Linus’s next door neighbor simply hilarious, and I also loved his cat Calliope who always went after the neighbor’s yard squirrels.

“Sometimes,” Mr. Parnassus said, “our prejudices color our thoughts when we least expect them to. If we can recognize that, and learn from it, we can become better people.”

The plot was entrancing, and it kept me reading way into the early hours of the morning. There was a mysterious air to it that kept me wanting to learn more about this magical world and its inhabitants, about DICOMY and its function, and about the way the humans and the magical creatures could coexist. They barely did. If you have ever wondered what would have happened in Harry Potter if the magical world was no longer hidden from the muggles (or non-magical people), then this book is your answer. I recommend this book to all Fantasy fans, and all those wishing to read a wonderful heartwarming story.

We get trapped in our own little bubbles, and even though the world is a wide and mysterious place, our bubbles keep us safe from that. To our detriment.” She sighed. “But it’s so easy because there’s something soothing about routine. Day in and day out, it’s always the same. When we’re shaken from that, when that bubble bursts, it can be hard to understand all that we’ve missed. We might even fear it. Some of us even fight to try and get it back.”

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. However, if you click on my link and end up buying the book Amazon will pay me a small fee. Thank you for supporting a small blog like mine 🙂

The Grace Year

⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the grace year book by kim liggett

Author: Kim Liggett

Published: October 8, 2019

ISBN: 1250145449

Pages: 416

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

My Mini Review:

This book was a mixture of a female version of Lord of the Flies meets The Hunger Games. It delves into what happens when teenage girls are left to their own devices to survive by whatever means necessary. I found Tierny to be a strong female character who did her best to stay alive even when all odds were stacked against her. The plot was action packed and it kept me engaged and invested throughout. The premise of the story, despite the similarities to the other stories mentioned above, was very unique. I also admit to not having expected some of the plot twists.

Many people seem to have enjoyed this book. I really liked it, all they way until that terrible ending. Usually I don’t mind endings, to me it has always been the journey that matters. But this ending was so bad that it almost negated everything that came before it. Almost, but not quite. I believe there could be some redemption in the next book, if she does end up writing one. I don’t do spoilers, so I won’t say anything else on that matter. I would recommend this book if you are looking for a quick thrilling YA read, and if you are able to deal with an unsatisfying ending.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. However, if you click on my link and end up buying the book Amazon will pay me a small fee. Thank you for supporting a small blog like mine 🙂

Scythe

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

scythe by neil shusterman

Author: Neil Shusterman

Series: Arc of a Scythe, #1

Published: November 22, 2016

ISBN: 1442472421

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

My Review:

Hope in the shadow of fear is the world’s most powerful motivator”

I can’t believe I waited so long to start reading this series. This was such a great book with a very unique story. I enjoyed how the author went into great detail describing this new world where there is no famine, war, or disease, and everything is controlled by an entity called “The Thunderhead,” which for some reason really reminded me of “The Cloud” I-phones use to store information. Shusterman did a great job explaining all the new terminology, and I did not feel overwhelmed or lost at any point.

There was a lot of character development as Citra and Rowan navigate through the moral and psychological ramifications of taking human lives. Usually I go for the strong female characters, but I couldn’t decide whom I liked best out of these two. Rowan definitely went through the most changes throughout the story, and Citra was so smart and cunning. There was a small romantic aspect here, but it did not take center stage.

Without the threat of suffering, we can’t experience true joy.”

The story was fast paced and action packed, but it also allowed some lulls in between the action for explanations. I especially enjoyed the diary entries from the different Scythes, which gave us a glimpse into their inner thoughts and fears. If you are a fan of YA/Fantasy and you have been putting off reading this story, I highly recommend you read it! You will not regret it. I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. However, if you click on my link and end up buying the book Amazon will pay me a small fee. Thank you for supporting a small blog like mine 🙂

Lifelike

Lifelike by Jay Kristoff
Lifelike by Jay Kristoff

Author: Jay Kristoff

Published: May 29, 2018

Publisher: Knopf Books by Young Readers

ISBN: 1524713929

**If you want to buy this book, please consider clicking on my link above or all the way at the bottom of the post to support a fellow blogger at no additional cost to you**

Synopsis from Goodreads:

On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

My Review:

I really enjoyed the bonds between the characters in this book. The relationship and playful banter between Eve and Cricket reminded me a lot of that between Cinder and Iko in The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I also loved Lemon, and liked the bestie dynamic between her and Eve, always sticking by each other. I like how Kristoff always makes up his own language and slang words in his stories, and I find myself almost letting these words slip in real life, but I fear the weird concerned looks I would get from those not familiar with Kristoff’s work.

As always Mr. Kristoff made me ponder all sorts of ethical and moral dilemmas throughout this book. Should man-made AI’s be treated with the same rights as humans? What if they can feel and have all the emotions humans do? Is having machines do most of our manual labor considered slavery? I still don’t know where I stand on ALL of these, and I need a lot more time to digest all of it.

The ending of this book left me in shock, so I’m glad the next book “Deviate” has already been released. I could have used a bit more world building. I would’ve liked more detail on how this future post apocalyptic world looks on a grander scale. I highly recommend this series to all YA/ Fantasy fans and fans of Jay Kristoff. I will certainly be moving on to the next book soon and will let you guys know how it goes!

Reveal Me

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

reveal me by tahereh mafi

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Series: Shatter Me, #5.5, Novella

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: October 8, 2019

Brief Goodreads Synopsis:

The explosive revelations in Defy Me have left readers reeling and desperate for answers. This fourth and final novella in the series will bring readers back to the world of the Shatter Me before the final novel installment hits shelves in winter 2020.

My Mini Review:

Let me start off by saying that I love Kenji, and I will always love anything written from his point of view. He is real and down to earth, and I like reading his crazy thought processes, random thoughts, and raw emotions. No one can write emotions like Tahereh Mafi. She gives simple words different and elegant meanings, and her writing is poetic in nature.

All that aside, I just really wish this book was longer. I understand it’s a novella but I cannot stand how short this was, and how instead of satiating my “Shatter Me” thirst until the next installment, it left me feeling empty and wanting. Now, I realize I sound like an addict, but I really needed more! Needless to say, this novella got me super hyped up for the next book releasing in 2020. I absolutely cannot wait!

The Unhoneymooners

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the unhoneymooners by Christina lauren

Author: Christina Lauren

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: May 14, 2019

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

My Review:

This book was just as hilarious as everyone made it out to be. I’m glad I listened to the hype and finally read it. There were many funny moments as well as real cringy ones. When a book gets a physical reaction from me, like a cringe, then I think it has done its job. Also, I really enjoyed all the Harry Potter references.

I loved Olive’s crazy Hispanic family, but I’m still undecided on whether I want a family like hers. On the one hand, I loved how supportive they were, but on the other I would hate it if my family showed up at my house unannounced at all hours of the day. I did enjoy reading all their texts and back and forth banter. I liked how this book integrated texting into the narrative, since it has become such an integral part of how we interact with each other.

Olive was a strong female character, and I liked seeing her work through different ethical and moral dilemmas and witness the repercussions of her decisions. I also enjoyed Ethan’s personality and how he was able to deal with Olive’s inability to lie, or her propensity to talk to much when she was put on the spot. Their romance was slow building and realistic, even though in theory the author could’ve gotten away with some “insta-love” since they actually had known each other for a very long time.

The only negative for me was the ending was a bit dragged out, and I felt that many parts of it were unnecessary. But overall, I would recommend this book to all Romance readers. The sex scenes were not too explicit, and it was a very funny light-hearted read.

The Whisper Man

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the whisper man by alex north

Author: Alex North

Publisher: Celadon Books

Published: August 20, 2019

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

Sometimes writing can help heal you.”

The Whisper Man

My Review:

This was the perfect spooky October read. The creepy factor wasn’t helped by the fact that I listened to the audio book on my way home from work every night at three in the morning. My road home is sparsely lit and full of ominous trees casting shadows on the road. By the time I finally parked on my driveway and pressed pause there were usually goosebumps up my arms, and I was reluctant to walk into my dark home. I admit the raspy voice the narrator makes for the “whispers” he hears really freaked me out.

I really enjoyed the suspense in this book. I listened to it on my way to work as well, and it was hard to stop listening once I arrived. I wouldn’t call it an action-packed book, but it definitely had its thrilling moments, and it had other moments when I found myself wanting to scream at the characters. It was like I was watching a scary movie, I kept saying things like “Don’t do that!” like the characters could somehow hear me.

I liked the different points of views in the story. It worked really well to be able to see the investigation and action develop from the minds of all the characters involved. I especially enjoyed getting into the mind of the killer, it’s always interesting to see what motivates people to commit these kinds of heinous acts.

My favorite character was Jake, the little kid. I felt like his thought process and narrative was so genuine and realistic for a child his age. I also liked how smart and bright he was, he reminded me of my own kid. I recommend this book to all Suspense/ Thriller fans. It was the perfect read to get into the October mood.