Scythe of Darkness by Dawn Husted

Title: Scythe of Darkness
Author: Dawn Husted
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy
Format: eBook, ARC provided by author
Description
(Source: Amazon):

 

For Mia Hieskety, surviving high school meant focusing on exams and avoiding stupid parties. After breaking up with the only boyfriend she ever had, dating was off the agenda. That is, until Thanatos came along. Inexplicably drawn to Thanatos, she’s determined to find out who he is and why he insists on wearing gloves to school. Something is off about him. And it’s as if she can feel him when he’s near. Without warning, she’s thrust into a sinister world and discovers a truth that she never expected. When a supernatural connection puts Mia’s life at risk, she doesn’t know who to trust—especially Thanatos. But what if she’s in love with him?”


Okay, so first I need to apologize to the Author. The author so generously provided me with this book as an ARC, but with my recent health problems I have gotten so far behind all my posts and reviews. I’ve actually read about 12 books and haven’t written a single review in the last month about them because I’ve been feeling so sick. I do not see this changing for at least another month, so please bear with me if you follow my blog. I may have a little announcement in the next few weeks 😉 . 

Review:

Alright, onto the book. Scythe of Darkness is about Mia, a teenage girl who was abducted (and escaped) when she was a little girl. Mia is a relatively normal girl, despite her traumatic past. Mia runs into (literally) a boy named Thanatos with whom she shares an immediate and intense connection with. As you can probably tell from that last sentence, this is an insta-love story. It’s well done, but if you’re not into that you should know now. 🙂 Shortly after meeting Thanatos Mia’s world is turned upside down. Thanatos and his family are not what they seem and Mia discovers that she has been the center of a sinister play for power for years. 

The book itself was well written and kept a pace that moved quickly, but not rushed. I really enjoyed the writing style and the development of Mia and Thanatos. I’m hoping for even more character development from Mia’s character in the next book, because that ending left room for a lot of growth from Mia!

Rating:

    

Final Thoughts:

That. Ending. 😱😱😱😱😱


Ensnared by Rita Stradling

Title: Ensnared
Author: Rita Stradling
Genre: NA, Sci-Fi, Romance
Format: eARC provided by NetGalley
Description (Source: NetGalley):

Ensnared by [Stradling, Rita]

A Near Future Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

Alainn’s father is not a bad man. He’s a genius and an inventor. When he’s hired to create the robot Rose, Alainn knows taking the money is a mistake. Rose acts like a human. She looks exactly like Alainn. But something in her comes out wrong.

To save her father from a five-year prison sentence, Alainn takes Rose’s place. She says goodbye to the sun and goes to live in a tower no human is allowed to enter. She becomes the prisoner of a man no human is allowed to see.

Believing that a life of servitude lies ahead, Alainn finds a very different fate awaits her in the company of the strange, scarred recluse.


Today is Ensnared Release day! It was supposed to be in December, but it was pushed up 🙂
Review:

I did another review on this author back in February of this year (Making Bad Choices) and really enjoy her writing.

Ensnared is a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast set in the future. Robots have become a part of everyday life in this new future, where they work as policeman, nurses, and even companions. It’s pretty creepy.  Alainn is a strong protagonist and I like pretty much everything about her. She is 24, which is nice because I like a little older (LOL “older! I’m 30😂😂) characters. She has had time to experience life and see what else is out there before falling in love with Lor. Alainn had been through a horrifying experience when she was only 17, which only strengthened the depth of her character. Overall, Alainn is caring, adventurous, witty, and fun to read.  The romance between Alainn and Lor was more of a slow burn than an inferno, making it more realistic and believable. The love between Alainn and Lor seemed genuine and lasting. There weren’t a lot of sexy scenes, but the few there were were well done. Somewhat graphic, but not vulgar. I would say appropriate for 16+.

Rating:

    

Final Thoughts:
–  This was a very quick read and captured my interest within the first chapter. Like the last book I read from her, Making Bad Choices, it is a great book to read if you have an open afternoon and need a book to get your mind off things, without having to concentrate too hard on keeping up with the plot or characters.


TLDR; Well-done retelling of Beauty and the Beast packed with romance, courage, and compassion. I’ll be on the lookout for more from this author.


Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Title: Flame in the Mist
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retellings
Format: eARC via First to Read
Description
(Source: Amazon):

Flame in the Mist by [Ahdieh, Renée]The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.
Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.


Review:
Flame in the Mist is a Mulan retelling of sorts. It has very Mulan-esque vibes, but is original in it’s own right. The story is engaging, thought provoking, and well written. I’ve never read a Mulan retelling, but it was always one of my favorite Disney films so I was excited to have the opportunity to get my hands on an ARC!

The checklist of things I love in a YA Fantasy that Flame in the Mist fulfilled:

  1. Kick-ass female protagonist ☑️ →Mariko is great. She is witty, intelligent, and funny. AND…..breaks the mold on YA fiction’s heroines (so pretty, but doesn’t know she is; clumsy and awkward, but can wield a sword like she’s been doing it ll her life; etc.)
  2. Lots of action☑️
  3. Plot twists☑️ →Two major ones. And the ending! 😲😲😲😲
  4. Great platonic friendships☑️→ Not only do we have friendships between males, but also a couple good ones between Mariko and other members of the Black Clan. 
  5. Romance☑️ →The romance is barely there, so if you don’t like romance in your books I still think you will enjoy it. 

The biggest reason I didn’t wouldn’t rate it a full 5/5 is because I found myself getting caught up a few times by all the descriptions. I connect more with plot-driven writing than character-driven, even when the descriptions and internal dialogue are beautifully done. 

 

Rating:

    – 4.5/5, but for the purposes of this rating system it’s been rounded up. 

Final Thoughts:
– This is a random and unexpected thought. I like how Mariko’s virginity was handled. It’s not really a major spoiler to anything significant in the plot, but spoiler alert if you don’t want to know. Mariko made the decision to have sex with a stable boy that she didn’t particularly know or have feelings for. She chose to do this because she wanted the loss of her virginity to be her own choice, not sold to the highest bidder. I liked the lack of slut-shaming and the fact that a big deal wasn’t made about it.

– Overall, I loved this book. I’m definitely going to be continuing with this series! – which is good because I’m getting this book in TWO of my book subscription boxes in May 😑


Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Title: Illuminae
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Genre: Sci-Fi, YA
Format: Audio and Hardcover
Narrators: Olivia Taylor Dudley , Lincoln Hoppe , Johnathan McClain, full cast
Description
(Source: Amazon):

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
      The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.
     But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
      Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.”


Review:
Wow. This book brought out my emotions more than any I have read in a while. One minute I was laughing at Kady’s sharp tongue, and the next I was crying at people’s last messages recorded and held in a ship’s black box (the box that is recovered after a plane, or in this case a spaceship, crashes). I’m not really much of a cryer while reading so the fact that this book made me cry three separate times speaks to how great this book was for me. 

Illuminae caught my attention right off the bat, as the very first page made me LOL.

…though profanity remains censored as per your instruction. Sure, the story kicks off with the deaths of thousands of people, but god forbid there be cussing in it, right?”

I wanted to point out that the book grabbed my attention right away because I am someone who usually requires 2-5 chapters to start getting connected with a book and the characters. 

I did something with this book that I have never done before: I got the audio from my library, but found that I started to get confused on the timeline of events so I bought a hard copy of the book to follow along with, and I loved it. The audio is amazing because there are 20, yes-TWENTY, voice actors! There are even sound effects as well! I think if you are only listening to the book you are missing out on an important aspect of the book though. The art and structure of the book is fantastic and entirely unique. I’ve already bought the second book (Gemina) in both audio and hard copy as well so I can follow along again. 

The format of the book being files and dossiers makes it seem like a mystery unfolding before your eyes. I kind of felt like a detective who was reading a case file. There is a huge plot twist in the book (that caught me 100% by surprise, and I am usually pretty good at guessing any twists) so I can’t really say much about the plot. I can tell you that it has lots of action, a little bit of romance, a crazy AI (AIDAN, why do I kind of ship him and Kady?!🙊🙊), a kick ass heroine, and lots of tear jerker moments. 

Read.This.Book.

Rating:

   

Final Thoughts:
– If you have the chance, listen to the audiobook while following along with the physical copy. It’s so much better that way, IMO.
– As soon as I’m done with my ARC TBRs in April I am going to reread this book. After some of the plot twists I want to go back and see if I can find any clues. 


The Barrier Between: Collector, Book 2 by Stacey Marie Brown

Title: The Barrier Between
Author: Stacey Marie Brown
Genre: NA, Urban Fantasy
Format: Audio
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Description (Source: Amazon):

As a reminder, I review sequels a little different from other reviews. I am going to hide the description from the main page so you will have to click “Read More” due to potential spoilers from previous books in the description or my review. 

My review for the first book, City in Embers, is here:

Rating:

 

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Title: Defy the Stars
Author: Claudia Gray
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Format: eArc, provided by NetGalley
Description (Source: Amazon):

Defy the Stars by [Gray, Claudia]

She’s a soldier.

Noemi Vidal is seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She’s willing to risk anything–including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.

He’s a machine.

Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel has advanced programming that’s begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.”


Overall Assessment:
Defy the Stars is a great read that’s full of action, suspense, and love (both romantic and love of humanity).
The book’s opening line draws you in immediately:

In three weeks, Neomi Vidal will die–here, in this very place. Today is just practice. “

Right away we learn that Noemi is training on a (literal) suicide mission to help save her planet (Genesis) from an Earth 300 years in the future. Earth has depleted the resources available to it and has started to colonize other planets. Genesis attempted to break away from Earth about 30 years prior to the beginning of Defy the Stars, but Earth has recently redoubled it’s effort to reclaim their planetary salvation. The people of Genesis resist, because they know that Earth will ruin Genesis like they did their own planet. 

When a training exercise goes awry, Noemi ends up on an abandoned Earth ship from 30 years ago with a snarky advanced AI (Abel) who is bound to obey her by an unexpected oversight to his programming . Noemi finds that Abel may hold the secret to saving her planet, thus propelling them on an adventure through wormholes, other planets, and finally: Earth. 

It took me a couple chapters to get into it, but once the action starts it’s pretty much non-stop. I really enjoyed the book, save for the last little bit (read more about that below). 


Rating:
 

What I liked:
– Noemi was strong, independent, and skilled. She also knew when to forgo her pride and let someone else take over when needed. This is a big bonus for me in a character, as I find arrogant characters insufferable (*cough* Aelin Ashryver Galathynius *cough*).
– I loved being able to see into Abel’s mind. His revelations at his own transformation were really interesting to read. His growing sense of humor made me chuckle more than once. Abel was hands down my favorite character in this book. 

At some point Abel will have to analyze whether he has developed the capacity for passive aggression.”

^^I’m a queen of passive aggression, so this made me LOL.^^

– Okay, so this one is kind of silly, but I really liked having names in a YA sci-fi that I could actually pronounce. There were a couple names that were more unique, but nothing like some of the high fantasy or dystopian names you see. Adding the comic below, because “Wicker Basket” gets me every time. 😂😂😂

Related image

What I didn’t like:
– Okay, so I got ahead of myself and wrote out this section before I saw that this will be at least a duology….but I’m going to leave it to show how strongly I felt after finishing it, lol. In reality, there were no real cliffhangers (which I don’t mind, as long as I know they will eventually be resolved), but rather a lack of closure. 

The ending. I know a lot of people will really like it, but I hated it. Most of the book was great, but I realized at about 95% completion that there was not enough time to end it in a way I liked. The lack of closure ended on a sour note for me, but the rest of the book was really good. I still recommend it, but cautiously. If you don’t mind an ending where the story isn’t wrapped up all neat and pretty you should definitely read this book. I however, prefer the “wrapped up neat and pretty” kinds. 

–  lol see? strong feelings about it.
– The only other thing that somewhat brought the rating down was the use of a few predictable tropes, but these are found so often in YA and sci-fi that they can be easily looked past. 

Final Thoughts:
– Honestly, I probably would have rated it 3.5/5 stars if it was a standalone. I’m glad it’s not though so I happily give it 4/5 (maybe even closer to 4.5/5) stars. 


March Wrap-Up

I know this is a few days late, but it just kind of fits in with how my March went, lol. I didn’t post as much this month. There were a few reasons for this: lack of time, reading more than blogging, and lack of mental capacity to make words happen 😂. 

Overall, I read 15 books, bought 17 physical books, and bought 8 audio books. 



Bookish Stuff



My book haul was pretty awesome this month. I will probably slow down on all the book buying, but the last few months have been me trying to fill my bookshelves after not having any physical books for so long.


Physical Book Haul:

As with last month, I bought several eBooks, but I’m only going to list the physical copies I got. 

  1. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller – this was in my OwlCrate for March (see my OwlCrate unboxing!)
  2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – I won this in a giveaway and have been meaning to get to it!
  3. Crazy by Amy Reed – I’ve been on the hunt for more books about bipolar disorder and came across this one. I’m probably going to read it in May for Mental Health Awareness month. 
  4. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – review here
  5. The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares – this is an ARC I received from the publisher (Release date: April 25, 2017)
  6. Be True to Me by Adele Griffin – ARC received from the publisher (Release date: June 13, 2017)
  7. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma – kind of scared to read this one. I’ve heard great things, but it’s supposedly tragic. I can’t mentally do that to myself yet, so I’m going to wait on this one. 
  8. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge – review here
  9. Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge – I’ll get to this one eventually. I wasn’t in love with the first book. 
  10. The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins
  11. Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  12. Carmer and Grit by Sarah Jean Horwitz – ARC received from the publisher (Release date: April 25, 2017)
  13. Hunted by Meagan Spooner – review here
  14. King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard – Impulse buy. I haven’t even read the second one yet. oops. 
  15. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson – I swear I’m getting to these books FINALLY this month. I have been wanting to read them forever. 
  16. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
  17. The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

Bookish Items:

First, look at these beautiful bookmarks from Little Inklings Design! I love them so much.


This month I also started to collect Funko Pop Figures. So far I just have Belle, The Beast, Mini Le Fou, Dumbledore (let’s not talk about the fact he’s missing his glasses and that my 5-year-old broke them off minutes after I put him on the shelf), Mini Hermoine, The Queen of Hearts, Chesur, and The Hatter.


Audio Book haul:

Outlander Audiobook Radiance Audiobook The Bone Season Audiobook The Art of War Audiobook The Flame and the Arrow Audiobook The Barrier Between Audiobook Across the Divide Audiobook From Burning Ashes Audiobook

  1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, narrated by Davina Porter (Romance, Fantasy)
  2. Radiance by Grace Dravin, narrated by Gabrielle Baker (Romance, Fantasy)
  3.  The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, narrated by Alana Kerr Collins (Fantasy, YA)
  4. The Art of War by Sun Tzu, narrated by Aidan Gillen (History, Military)
  5. The Flame and the Arrow by Emigh Cannaday, narrated by Nick Cracknell (Paranormal Romance)
  6. The Barrier Between by Stacey Marie Brown, narrated by Amy Landon (Fantasy, Romance)
  7. Across the Divide by Stacey Marie Brown, narrated by Amy Landon and Zach Villa (Fantasy, Romance)
  8. From Burning Ashes by Stacey Marie Brown, narrated by Amy Landon (Fantasy, Romance)


Books Read and Reviewed:

       Confess Image result

Review Links:

  1. Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer (YA, Sci-Fi ) 4/5 stars
  2. A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom (Contemporary YA) 4/5 stars
  3. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (YA, Fantasy) 3/5 stars
  4. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (YA, , NA, Fantasy) 4/5 stars
  5. Hunted by Meagan Spooner (YA, Fantasy) 5/5 stars
  6. City in Embers by Stacey Marie Brown (NA, Fantasy, Romance) 5/5 stars
  7. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (Contemporary YA) 4/5 stars
  8. Confess by Colleen Hoover (Contemporary Romance) 4/5 stars
  9. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover (Contemporary Romance) 4/5 stars

Books Read and Not Reviewed:

These books were read but not reviewed either because the book either doesn’t fit the scope of this blog, or I haven’t gotten to it yet. I’ve added stars next to the titles to show if I recommend it or not though 🙂

Radiance (Wraith Kings Book 1) by [Draven, Grace] Beauty of the Beast (Fairy Tale Retellings Book 1) by [Demeter, Rachel L.] Grim (Tornians Book 1) by [Eidem, M.K.] Maybe Not: A Novella by [Hoover, Colleen] Ugly Love: A Novel by [Hoover, Colleen] The Barrier Between (Collector Series Book 2) by [Brown, Stacey Marie]

  1. Radiance by Grace Dravin, narrated by Gabrielle Baker (Romance, Fantasy) 4/5 stars
  2. Beauty of the Beast by Rachel Demeter–Read my review here on Goodreads, (Romance, Fantasy) 5/5 stars
  3. Grim by M.K. Eidem, narrated by Commodore James and Laura Jennings (Fantasy Romance) 4/5 stars
  4. Maybe Not by Colleen Hoover (Contemporary Romance) 4/5 stars
  5. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover (Contemporary Romance) 4/5 stars
  6. The Barrier Between by Stacey Marie Brown, narrated by Amy Landon (Fantasy, Romance) 5/5 stars


Non-Bookish Updates



Gosh, this post is way longer than I intended. If you’re still here, thanks or sticking through. 

I don’t have a lot of non-bookish updates this month. I have been crazy busy because my boys (ages 5 and 7) started baseball season in arch. Baseball has officially hijacked my life at this point. I am at practices 4 day a week, and of course their teams can’t practice on the same day/time, right? No. Also, practice starts at 5 PM. FIVE PM?! WTH is that!? Do these other people not effing work? I am just getting out of work at 5! Luckily, I have a really great boss who works with m and lets me leave an hour early a couple of days a week to take them. Still though, it’s bullshit. I can’t believe this is even an issue. The only upside of all these practices is that I get some uninterrupted reading in! Pictures of my sweet little time-hoggers below: 😉

My dad is visiting us from Montana at the end of this week, so I’ve been getting ready for that as well. I am an only child from him, and he pretty much raised me alone as a single dad. He’s legit the best dad in the world, so I’m really excited for him to come out to NC!

Sorry for the crazy long post! 🙂 I hope you all have a wonderful April! 


 

 

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

Title: Maybe Someday
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Description (Source: Amazon):

Image result

At twenty-two years old, Sydney has a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers Hunter’s cheating on her–and she is left trying to decide what to do next.

Sydney becomes captivated by Ridge, her mysterious neighbor. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either. When their inevitable encounter happens, they soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one…”


Overall Assessment:
When I picked up Maybe Someday I didn’t realize that one of the characters (Ridge) was already in a relationship. To be honest, I probably would not have read it because I loathe love triangles and I am a fiercely loyal person so I have a hard time reading books about infidelity. I realized just a couple chapters in that Ridge was in a relationship and almost put the book down then, but I decided to press on despite my reservations. I am so glad that I did! The love triangle didn’t really feel like one at all, and was written in a way that you empathized with every single one of the characters involved. The resolution to this part of the story was satisfying and clean. 

The love between Sydney and Ridge was slow burning, reluctant, and consuming. Their story is journey, and there is a lot of messy heartbreak on the way. 

One of my favorite things about Hoover’s Confess Novel (read my review here) was the integration of real art into the story. She goes step further in this book because there is an actual soundtrack for it! The songs written in the book are real, and can be found here. I highly recommend listening to the songs as you come across them in the book, as I think it really hit the emotions home. I closed my eyes and pictured Sydney sitting on Ridge’s bed listening to the songs her and Ridge painstakingly wrote together for the first time. It made Sydney’s pain even more real. 

Rating:

   

 

What I liked:
– Sydney was likable enough, but Ridge. Sweet Moses, Ridge. He was thoughtful, selfless, and funny. He’s not without his flaws, but it just makes him even more endearing. Ridge is now in my top 5 “book boyfriends”.
– Hoover’s writing is almost flawless. I’m convinced that she cannot write a bad book. The extras that she adds (like music and paintings) make reading her books even more enjoyable than they already are without them.
– Like her other books, Maybe Someday is written from both protagonist’s perspective. This is my favorite style in these kinds of books. 

What I didn’t like:
– I can’t really think of anything I didn’t like!

Final Thoughts:
– First, read this book!
– Second, go here to read a super short “extra” that takes place after Maybe Someday.
– Third, read the Novella, Maybe Not. It’s written from Warren’s POV about how him and Bridgette got together. It’s a little less fluffy love story and has a lot of sex, but it’s really good and worth the read.
– Finally, go here and read Maggie’s Epilogue (the password is “everything“). I LOVED that Colleen wrote this. I really liked Maggie’s character and wanted to know how she fared after Maybe Someday. 


Confess by Colleen Hoover

Title: Confess
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Description (Source: Amazon):

Confess

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…”


Overall Assessment:
This is the second Colleen Hoover I have read, and I devoured it in less than 24 hours. I enjoyed the first CoHo book I read (Hopeless), but not enough to want to go read everything she has written. However, Confess changed that. I absolutely adored this book! I’ve actually already finished another one of hers and will be posting that review soon. 🙂

The story starts with Auburn, our female protagonist, speaking with an attorney but the reader isn’t made aware of why until about 1/2 way through the book. It’s clear that the matter Auburn is discussing with the attorney is something that will take a lot more money than Auburn currently has. A defeated Auburn leaves the attorney’s office and notices a help wanted sign on an art studio. She is immediately drawn to the artist in the studio, the enigma that is Owen Gentry. 

Owen Gentry knows Auburn from her past, but neither she nor the reader knows how or why. Seeing her again makes him believe in fate, and he knows that he has to have her. Unfortunately – life, in the form of misunderstandings, loyalty to family, and bad luck interfere Owen and Auburn’s love story. 

As with most CoHo books, this story is told from both of the protagonist’s POV. This is probably one of my favorite things about her books, as I love the in depth look into both the character’s heads. 

Another great thing about this book is that Colleen Hoover had some paintings commissioned just for this book! I love that it adds to the reader’s experience. The art is absolutely beautiful, and I’ll probably be buying a couple prints from her shop. These are a few of the paintings by the very talented Danny O’Connor as supplements to the book. Click on each painting to be brought to Colleen Hoover’s page to purchase the prints. 

     

Rating:

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Genre: Contemporary YA
Format: Paperback
Description (Source: Amazon):

Risk everything . . . for love.
What if you couldn’t touch anything in the outside world? Never breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun warm your face . . . or kiss the boy next door? In Everything, Everything, Maddy is a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly is the boy who moves in next door . . . and becomes the greatest risk she’s ever taken.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.


I’ve Read many more books than you. It doesn’t matter how many you’ve read. I’ve read more. Believe me. I’ve had the time.”

Overall Assessment:
What a great first line! Definitely one of my favorite openers into a book. Everything, Everything is about Madeline, a girl who was diagnosed with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, or SCID. It pretty much means she’s allergic to everything. The book starts right before Madeline’s 18th birthday. Because of her SCID she is forced to spend her days locked in her specialized house with only her mother and a nurse, Carla, for company. Madeline seems somewhat content in this existence until a new boy, Olly, moves in next door. Madeline’s world shifts in a quick and dramatic way as she gets to know Olly. 

I really enjoyed this book. It’s written in a unique way because the “chapters” are short, and the written entries are supplemented with Madeline’s diagrams, diary entries, pictures, emails, and doodles. The book moved fast and was easy to read. I connected with Madeline and Olly fairly quickly, and enjoyed watching their relationship blossom. 

  

Rating:

 

What I didn’t like:
– A little predictable. I kind of saw the twist coming, but it was still good.  

– The ending felt really rushed! I wish we could have had an epilogue or something to help wrap things up a little. I’m not a fan when a book has a huge reveal at the end and then rushes the conclusion. I would have liked more closure and more info on what happened to Madeline.
– I didn’t like how easily Carla seemed to disregard Madeline’s health. Once I figured out what the plot twist was I understood a little better, but still. 

Final Thoughts:
– Overall it’s a good book and I still recommend it. I’m excited to see the movie! Have you seen the trailer? I’m posting it at the bottom in case you haven’t.