Review: ‘Renegades’

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Author: Marissa Meyer
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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ARC Review: ‘Nice Try, Jane Sinner’

This book is a laugh out loud funny contemporary that is super relatable and modern. The story is told from Jane’s perspective through her journal entries and conversations she’s recorded in her journal. Oh yeah, and she dropped out of high school and goes to community college to finish her degree and decides to go on a student run reality TV show called “House of Orange” to win scholarship money and a brand new used car!

Title: Nice Try, Jane Sinner
Author: Lianne Oelke
Release Date: January 9th, 2018
Rating: 5/5 stars

Continue reading ARC Review: ‘Nice Try, Jane Sinner’

Top 10 of 2017 ~ Taylor’s Picks

Hey all!

Time for my 2017 in books: I read 54, 726 pages spread across 140 books. I was so strong with my reading during the summer, almost reading a book per day, so that’s why it’s so high! The end of the year got super busy because of graduate school but I still managed to get back in the swing of things to finish off the year.

Without further ado, here are my top 10! It was so hard to choose just 10 books I loved. (Disclaimer: I tried to keep to books that were published in 2017 that I read in 2017 for this! They are also in order of when I read them, not by my favorites.)

Continue reading Top 10 of 2017 ~ Taylor’s Picks

ARC Review: ‘Between the Blade and the Heart’

I was attracted to this book because of the Norse mythology!

Title: Between the Blade and the Heart

Author: Amanda Hocking

Series: Valkyrie

Rating: 3/5 stars

Continue reading ARC Review: ‘Between the Blade and the Heart’

Review: ‘Autoboyography’

If you’re looking for a light-hearted contemporary YA that also deals with LGBT (and some romance!), then this is the story for you! I had been hearing about this book on Twitter and it peaked my interested. I ended up listening to this entirely via audiobook and the narration was fantastic!

Title: Autoboyography
Author: Christina Lauren
Rating: 4/5 stars

Upon first reading the summary, I assumed this was a teacher/student forbidden romance type novel. It is both of those, but the teacher is a teaching assistant who graduated just the year prior to the class he is assisting in teacher and the forbidden part isn’t only because they’re both male, but because one of them is a devote Mormon. Can’t say I’ve read a book that deals with the Mormon religion before, so that was a very interesting aspect! And yes, this is considered a YA book – nothing past a PG-13 rating happens in this book. More on that later.

Tanner is an easy go lucky bisexual guy who moves with his family from open-minded California to a Mormon dominated suburb called Provo in Utah. While his family is aware of his sexuality and fully support him, they all decide it would be best for Tanner to not come out to anyone in their new town. This story takes place a few years after they’ve moved to Provo.

Sebastian is the son of the bishop and very much Mormon, but takes a liking to Tanner in the seminar class he is aiding in teaching. The seminar challenges high school seniors to write a complete book in the span of a semester. (So, basically NaNoWriMo in four months instead of one.) Tanner is falling behind in the class and Sebastian offers to help him outside of class.

I found the progression of their friendship to more then friends to be such a fun read. Tanner has a crush on Sebastian but has to keep it on the down low, as he isn’t out as bisexual in this town. And Tanner assumes Sebastian to be completely straight, as homosexuality is forbidden in the Mormon religion. When Sebastian begins reading Tanner’s book for the class to help him brainstorm ideas, he discovers that Tanner is queer and things spiral from there. Little does Tanner know that Sebastian reciprocates his feelings, but Sebastian is very unsure of himself and how these feelings fit into his religious beliefs.

I loved seeing the struggle these characters faced and how they dealt with what was thrown their way. This book was definitely outside the normal books I read, but also familiar in that LGBTQ+ is so important in this day and age. I live in New York City and nobody even blinks at eye at your sexuality or gender but that isn’t how the rest of the world or even the country is. It’s sometimes hard for me personally to remember that not everyone is as open-minded and maybe even for you too – sometimes the internet can be a very accepting place where as real life people, family, and friends may not be as accepting to beliefs outside of what they know as “normal.”

I’d rate this book at PG-13 – sex is mentioned as having happened off page, but there are no details given – it’s only mentioned. Kissing and making out does occur but again, I would rate it PG-13 at most. I very much recommend this book and audiobook if you’re looking for a LGBT love story with an interesting twist – it was an enjoyable and compelling (and sometimes nail biting “omg what are they going to do!”) read!


Review: ‘Retribution Rails’

Erin Bowman does it again with another western novel, set in Arizona in 1887! Now you may be thinking, “I don’t like westerns” but TRUST ME for a minute and give this story a try! You might be pleasantly surprised to find you love this world, just as I did! I’m not typical a fan of “westerns” either, and I can’t say I can name more western YA books, but this is a solid, fast paced, fun gun slinging horse riding railroad chasing read!

Title: Retribution Rails
Author: Erin Bowman
Series: Vengeance Road companion
Rating: 4/5 stars

Retribution Rails takes place ten years after its companion novel, Vengeance Road. (If you want to read our review of Vengeance Road, head right on over here!) While it is not necessary to have read Vengeance Road to read and enjoy Retribution Rails, I would recommend reading that first and it definitely helps as we see some of our favorites (and not so favorites…) from Vengeance Road return.

This story was action packed right from the get go, as one would expect from a western! It follows Reece Murphy and Charlotte Vaughn and is told in dual perspectives. Reece is forcibly dragged into an infamous gang. Charlotte wants to be a journalist and is seeking freedom from her conniving uncle. Their paths cross and our story is off!

Reece was just a kid who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, he isn’t a bad guy. Charlotte wants to become a journalist who tells the truth – because the entire truth is important to her. Both of these characters grew on me and grew as people as the story progressed and that’s what I love to see in a story – character development.

Reece and Charlotte quickly cross pass with our favorites from Vengeance Road and I will admit, I squealed. A lot. It’s nice to see some familiar faces in a new story. It feels like coming home after a long journey. If you loved Vengeance Road, you will, without a doubt, love Retribution Rails!

I should mention that I listened to the majority of this story via audiobook and I would highly recommend the audio! There are two narrators, one for Reece and one for Charlotte, and for me, hearing someone speak in the western accent really helps set the mood of the novel. It is written as western speaking accents and while my New Yorker self cannot easily speak like that, I found listening to the audio quite enjoyable! (I also listened on 1.75x or 2x speed, since, like I said, my New Yorker self naturally speaks at 2x speed HA!)

As noted in the authors notes, a lot of what is said in this story is historically accurate, including when and where the railroads were build in Arizona. As with any story, it is mentioned some pieces were fabricated, but its great knowing there is historical accuracy to much of this story as well!

The ending left me wanting more, I need more answers!!! It was a fitting ending though, and I am satisfied with it.

After reading these two novels by Erin Bowman, I am very much looking forward to what she writes next and will have to go and read some of what she has written before Vengeance Road! She has proven herself as a strong writer and can’t wait to see what she puts out next!

Charlotte and Reece, I hope we meet again someday!