Review: ‘The One Memory of Flora Banks’

This is the second of 7 reads that I won from a giveaway on Twitter that I decided to review this week!
Title: The One Memory of Flora Banks

Author: Emily Barr

Series: Standalone

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

This book is about a girl who has anterograde amnesia, which doesn’t allow her to make new memories. She can remember things that happened before her injury, including her mother, father, and best friend Paige. The story follows Flora’s quest to take back the boy she loves in the most adventurous of ways, by traveling to the Arctic.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I think it was one of those that I was most looking forward to and it ended up being a great read. I was surprised at many turns and I was also confused at many turns, but more on that later. Flora’s character comes off so sweet and innocent that you can’t help but smile. She writes recent memories on her hand/arm so she doesn’t forget them and somehow that was cute to me and an ingenious way of helping her remember. I also felt bad for her in some ways, where she forgot simple things that we take for granted in remembering, such as eating and taking pills. Flora meets many people throughout her adventure that she does forget but they help her as best they can on her quest to find her one true love. But, things aren’t as they seem and she gets mixed up along the way in some situations that are plenty dangerous. I thought the travel aspect was pretty cool and it made me want to get on a plane right then and jet off to somewhere new! I also liked the mention of Paris, which is my favorite city on this Earth, in case you didn’t know.

I was confused by the end because a lot had changed in her journey and I began to see characters completely opposite than how I saw them in the beginning. I thought that was actually pretty neat but it also made me say ‘wait, what was true and what wasn’t?’ At the end of the book. I absolutely hated her parents by the end of the book. It made me realize that what parents might think is best for a child really isn’t in some situations and they actually can do more harm than good. I also didn’t like her friend Paige at first but she grew on me, ending up my favorite character at the end of the book (other than Flora, of course!). She cares so much for her friend and sacrifices so much to make sure than she is okay and well cared for. That warmed my heart for sure and I would cherish a friend like Paige if I was Flora! Flora’s brother also becomes a major part of the book as well and his character is great. I didn’t give this book 5 stars because it was confusing at times and that made it hard to follow. I was going back and forth a lot to make sure what had happened really happened and it was a bit frustrating.

I would recommend this book to those who are fans of contemporaries and enjoy a story about self-discovery and fighting all odds.

Happy reading! ~ Taylor

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ARC Review: ‘Dear Martin’

Wow. Just wow. What a powerful and eye opening read! Add this to your TBR and read this book when it is released. Trust me.

Author: Nic Stone
Rating: 4/5 stars
Release Date: October 17, 2017

Dear Martin is set in Atlanta and follows 17-year-old Justyce McAllister, top of his class at a private boarding school and set for an Ivy League college following his graduation. Even when he wasn’t doing anything wrong, a (white) police officer assumed he was doing something criminal and arrested him. And that’s just the beginning.

Justyce has a journal he keeps throughout this book, a personal project he decided to start which involves writing letter to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – hence the title, Dear Martin. In these journal entries we hear Justyce’s point of view and how he feels.

This is a fast-paced 200-odd paged book that I finished in about 2 hours. (I’m usually a slow reader.) This isn’t normally something I would pick up, being a fan of fantasy most of all. But I am glad I received a copy of this book at Book Con 2017. I picked it up on a whim. And you know what? This was the first book from my pile that I read.

Justice is not served in America. You can watch the news or read a newspaper and see that. Things are by no means equal for whites and POC, no matter what anyone says. There is an eye opening argument/debate in this book where a white male character says it is unfair that he was not accepted into an Ivy League university meanwhile our protagonist Justyce was, only because schools have quotas they need to meet for African Americans and races besides Caucasian. This is literally what he argues. It has nothing to do with Justyce having the top grades to justify this acceptance, its goes straight to race.

Another point brought up is that if a white male and a black male committed the same crime, the black male would undoubtedly be tried harsher then the white male. Let’s just take a look at the evening news on any given day of the week and that is what we will see.

This book made me mad. It made me angry in that it is all 100% true. Justyce feels this too, that things aren’t fair and how he has to fight harder then his white counterparts. Despite receiving the same education, he will always be seen as less and need to work harder. In real life, as a white female, I don’t have these same struggles. While yes, women do have their own struggles in a world of men, I will admit simply being white affords me more opportunities and less judgment then a person of color would receive. So please please please seek out and read other reviews besides this one. Don’t take my word for it – but do read this book.

It was a short read and it could have gone into more depth, but I think this is a great conversation starter and a powerful read I would very much recommend to anyone who thinks justice is not justice at all. Or simply if you’re looking for a new perspective. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up when it’s released on October 17th, 2017.

~Missy

 

Waiting on Wednesday: ‘Forest of a Thousand Lanterns’

This has been a read I have been waiting for and I was lucky to get it through trade! I also participated in a chat on Twitter about this book and Julie is such a sweet person!

 

Title: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Author: Julie C. Dao

Series: Rise of an Empress

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Publication date: October 10, 2017

 

Another anticipated read vanquished! I devoured this book, in all honesty, because I had been wanting to read it for so long. This book follows Xifeng, who is a country girl in China destined to become Empress. How, exactly, it is not mentioned but she leaves her village with her one true love and sets course for the Imperial City. Along the way, they meet diplomats who are able to escort them into the city. Through a series of good fortunes, Xifeng enters court at the palace and is thrown into a whirlwind of deceit, drama, and truth.

Xifeng has to be one of my favorite female characters of the year. She comes from poverty and not being very sure of herself because of the oppression she has felt from her aunt. There are some scenes of abuse in this book so I will definitely give a trigger warning for that. But, she overcomes it and grows into her role at court very easily, even gaining the favor of the current Empress. She is torn between liking the Empress and what she does to protect her, to the reality that the Empress will have to die in order for her to take her rightful place on the throne. It has been foretold through cards that she would become Empress and it seems like everything works out just as planned for Xifeng. I would have to say that while she does go through some struggles, she becomes stronger because of these struggles and she is able to develop into the character she is destined to be. By the end of the book, the first chapter Xifeng is unrecognizable, as she has changed so much and gained power. I love the character development of her and it is one of the most pleasingly drastic I have seen. I also have to say that I enjoyed the Chinese traditions that were mentioned in this book and I can’t wait to hear more in book 2!

I will say that the main plot brought the book together with the side plots that were developed. I was surprised when all was revealed towards the end of the book and that kept me guessing for the rest, because I didn’t know what was going to happen! The larger backstory is something that was so interesting and only added to the interest of the story.

I would suggest this book to those who are fans of retellings (as this is one) as well as those who enjoy diverse reads and want to be astounded!

Happy reading! ~ Taylor

Review: ‘Select’

Hi! I am on to my last few ARCs that I got at BookCon *sad face*. This was one that I randomly picked up at a booth I was stopping by and had heard about it on the BookCon app!
Title: Select

Author: Marit Wiesenberg

Series: Untitled

Rating: 1/5 stars

Pub date: October 3, 2017

I received this book as an ARC from BookCon. This is an honest review.

As you can see above… I didn’t like this book. Like, at all. I find it hard to give honest reviews sometimes when I really don’t like the book. But, I think that’s the point of being a book blogger: I won’t sugarcoat what I actually thought and I will let you guys know what I liked and didn’t like! This story focuses around Julia, who is part of an elite group of humans that have abilities normal humans do not. They have to keep themselves hidden and avoid revealing themselves to other normal humans.

I honestly can only think of one thing I liked about this book and it was the idea. I thought it was cool to have humans that have adapted via something like natural selection to become ‘better’ humans. It was interesting in that science aspect. But the execution of that was… Not good. It came off as some sort of Twilight spinoff: I honestly thought of the movie the entire time. There was a group of these ‘extra’ humans (like the Cullens) who always only hung out together because they were ‘family’. They were discouraged from hanging out with normal teenagers because they might reveal themselves. Enter John, who is basically our version of Bella. He notices that there are many unusual things about Julia, especially after an incident with Julia & her sister at a public pool. He finally confronts her and asks if she is one of ‘them’, almost akin to the scene in the movie where Edward and Bella are in the forest. It was just super similar and I found myself definitely dragging to get through this book. But, I wanted to review it, because it is an ARC and I did make a commitment to myself that I would read all of the ARCs and review them.

That brings me to my next point: the romance. Which, really isn’t a romance in my opinion. I didn’t feel like there was any buildup and it kind of just came out of nowhere. I didn’t feel connected to John or Julia at all and I didn’t feel butterflies and fuzzies from it. It was kind of just… Weird. It was this sort of forbidden love thing–again, like in Twilight–that didn’t do anything to advance the story. It was kind of like an afterthought, in my opinion, and I wish I had gotten less attempt at love story and more about the group of elite humans. How were they created? Why? Why do they have to keep it a secret? How many are there? Questions that I didn’t get an answer to.

Sorry to say, but I wouldn’t recommend this book at all. I didn’t feel there was much redeeming qualities about it enough to honestly want to tell people to read it. It was disappointing and I hate to say that because it has a gorgeous cover and a great idea of a story…. Just not written in a way that worked for me.

Happy reading! ~ Taylor

Review: ‘Everything All At Once’

Hi! I actually won this book through a contest on Twitter by the author. She is so sweet and I am so happy that I was able to grab a copy of this book. I received it before the release date but I wasn’t able to read & review before release because of vacation!

 

Title: Everything All At Once

Author: Katrina Leno

Series: Standalone

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

 

I loved this book. It is a fantastic contemporary about a girl named Lottie, who’s aunt dies and leaves her letters. The letters give her things to do that test her limits, make her realize her humanity, and give her heartwarming memories. Lottie also has elements of anxiety and so I classify this as a mental health book. Along the way, she meets Sam and discovers truths about him that she never thought were possible.

This story really helped to put into perspective what it means that we only have limited time and we need to cherish every moment. The letters written by her aunt, who died at the early age of 40, help Lottie to think about mortality and how she is so afraid to die. A lot of people are afraid to die but I feel like this made me appreciate the little things in life. Lottie gets to meet many people that influenced her aunt’s life and that leads me to my discussion of Sam. Sam is an interesting character all around. Lottie meets him after the first letter that leads her and her family to a party organized by her aunt before her passing. He is an intriguing character and begins to get very close to Lottie, which both scares her and excites her at the same time. That is until the big twist in the book, which gives it an air of fantasy and wonder that I wasn’t expecting but really loved. It adds an extra layer to the already magical story and pushes it over the edge, in my opinion!

I don’t see anything to fault in the book. It caught my attention from the first page and I was always excited to see what happened next. Also, the book is set in Connecticut, which is where I live. It was cool to read about places that I haven’t been to before (I have been told by Katrina that one of the bookshops is actually real, so I will be paying a visit!) in my own state. The use of seaside towns made the book feel very home-y and down-to-earth, which is weird to say about a book but that is how I feel about it!

I would recommend this book to those who are fans of contemporaries and also don’t mind a little extra mystery mixed in.

Happy reading! ~ Taylor

Review: ‘The Love Interest’

This is the first of 7 reads that I won from a giveaway on Twitter that I decided to review this week!
Title: The Love Interest

Author: Cale Dietrich

Series: Standalone

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

This book is about a secret organization that produces Love Interests for those that need spying on. That’s the easiest way to put it. Caden and Dyl are love interests created for a girl named Juliet: both are sent out into the world to win her heart and whoever wins gets to keep her, whoever loses has to die. It sounds super harsh but that is the way of the world in this book and boy, does it get interesting.

I expected a lot more from this book. I wanted to like it but I found myself saying ‘wtf?’ After the first 100 pages. It didn’t seem charming and it didn’t seem like something I would want to continue reading, but I had to know the ending at that point. The one redeeming quality about this was the LGBT romance. I literally called it within the first 100 pages so it wasn’t really a joy or a surprise when it turned out that way. But I think the way it happened was sort of cute and I did like that they ended up together. I won’t say who, that’s for you to read and find out, if you want! I also found Juliet to be less than stereotypical in the way she was portrayed as a ‘nerd’. She was pretty and funny and had a personality that seemed to figuratively light up a room. I don’t get why the organization wanted to spy on her, per say: she is incredibly intelligent and nex generation with her tech, but I didn’t think it was enough to attain a love interest. The reason is given but it just didn’t work for me and in general this book didn’t work for me.

Which brings me to my main problem: I felt nothing from this book. It’s sad to say that, but I really didn’t. I didn’t feel anything for the characters and the plot didn’t really have much advancement except for the fact that the two interests were trying to win Juliet. Speaking of that: I know it must have been a play on girls having to be perfect for men to make two men perfect for girls, but it just felt… Not genuine. The whole book seemed like a game of back and forth and cat and mouse and it was predictable because of that. Caden was the only one with a real personality in the book and that was probably because we hear the story from his point of view and it was expanded on by writing his thoughts and desires. The story felt kind of sci-fi in ways and I thought of the Maze Runner more than a few times. The organization in the book (LIC, I forgot to mention) seemed a lot like WICKED, but not in the same manner.

I don’t know if I could recommend this book but if you want an LGBT read, it could be worth a shot!

Happy reading! ~ Taylor

ARC Review: ’27 Hours’

Queer teens in space! LET’S GET TO IT!

 

*Thank you to Netgalley and Entangled Publishing for providing me with advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review*

 

Title: 27 Hours

Author: Trisina Wright

Series: The Nightside Saga

Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary

This book follows the stories of many teens, most importantly Rumor, Jude, Nyx and Braeden. It is set over a 27-hour period (hence the title) where they must prevent a war from happening between humans and gargoyles. It is set on an fantasy planet in space and the main characters are all part of the LGBT community.

Likes

I had begun hearing a lot about it on social media and I knew that I had to read it. I was drawn in by the queer representation and let me tell you: it did not disappoint! There were so many different representations, I was absolutely thrilled. To name a few there were bisexuality, pansexuality, and ace represented in the main characters. I find this to be so important both to the young adults this book is targeted towards and for anyone who wishes to see their sexuality represented in YA. They were represented well and accurately, which also made me super happy! I could sort of guess where the relationships would go once the characters were introduced, but it didn’t make the book any less enjoyable and the interactions between the characters were lighthearted but meaningful. I found the romances in this story not forced at all and I really loved Nyx and Delilah’s romance throughout the story. Nyx had to be my favorite character in this book: she was so innocent and sweet, afraid that Delilah wouldn’t feel the same way. At the same time, she was such a strong character and proved to be one of the few that ‘saved’ the day. I also liked Jude. A lot. I was confused as to his part in the plot at first but really grew to love him. His power had to be the coolest thing I’ve read lately, though: he is able to sense people’s auras, a little bit like an empath, I would describe it as. He sees them in colors, like synesthesia, and that was such a cool addition into the story. It also plays a part in his relationships with the other characters, such as Rumor. Finally, I would add that Braeden is fantastic comic relief. I laughed out loud a few times at some of his lines and his bravery is truly something courageous. The characters were extremely relatable and I thought that their romances were woven in nicely with the rest of the story and both elements were given equal attention, so one did not dominate the other.

(Dis)likes

All this being said, I feel that it was a little hyped up for me. I didn’t receive the 5-star read that I was expecting but I think that was due to my personal taste. I didn’t care for the gargoyles as the monsters/villains in the story: they just didn’t seem to fit in. The premise of the book is definitely interesting to me and I did enjoy how it was told. The story was set on a planet and I wished that it had incorporated more space elements, such as a new alien race. Gargoyles and humans at odds with each other in space didn’t really work for me. I also wanted to know more about the humans that lived in the forest! We got a glimpse with characters such as Jude, but I wanted to know more about their way of life and their history with the gargoyles. I expect that it will be expanded on in the next book but it was an element that tied the whole story together so it was important to me. I also think that the alternating POVs were a bit confusing to me. I would have preferred a third-person POV because there was a lot of jumping around between narrators that threw me off at some points and I had to go back to check whose chapter it was. But, that being said, I found the book to be gripping and I read it all in one sitting! I have to add that the cliffhanger in this book killed. me. Oh my gosh, I almost threw my iPad across the room! It was so good and left me sitting on the edge of my seat, wondering what’s going to happen in the next book. I love/hate (love) when books do this and this was no exception.

Recommendation

I would recommend this book to those who are looking for a diverse representation of the LGBT community as well as who love stories about a group of teenagers that triumph against all odds. Also, for those who are fans of Star Trek because I got a very Trekkie vibe from this.

Happy reading! ~ Taylor

*I do not own the rights to the cover art of this book. All copyright goes to rightful designers, creators and owners*