Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley


Synopsis:
Fifteen-year-old Aki Simon has a theory. And it's mostly about sex. 

No, it isn't that kind of theory. Aki already knows she's bisexual—even if, until now, it's mostly been in the hypothetical sense. Aki has dated only guys so far, and her best friend, Lori, is the only person who knows she likes girls, too. 

Actually, Aki's theory is that she's got only one shot at living an interesting life—and that means she's got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It's time for her to actually do something. Or at least try. 

So when Aki and Lori set off on a church youth-group trip to a small Mexican town for the summer and Aki meets Christa—slightly older, far more experienced—it seems her theory is prime for the testing. 

But it's not going to be easy. For one thing, how exactly do two girls have sex, anyway? And more important, how can you tell if you're in love? It's going to be a summer of testing theories—and the result may just be love.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
I had wanted to read Our Own Private Universe ever since the book was first posted on Goodreads. The F/F LGBTQ+ story line interested me because at the time, most of the LGBTQ+ young adult books I had read were M/M. Then the cover was revealed. It was one of the most beautiful covers I had ever seen. After that, I knew I had to get my hands on this book somehow. After reading it, I found it to be enjoyable, yet disappointing at the same time.

Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy parts of Our Own Private Universe. I loved that the setting was in Mexico on a mission trip. It brought something new to the LGBTQ+ young adult subgenre. It was also interesting to see the internal battle between, faith, following your heart, and sticking to what you believe in. As an atheist, I've never had that problem, so it was fascinating to see that perspective.

There were also a few things I didn't like about Our Own Private Universe. The relationship between the two girls fell flat for me. It felt kind of like the author was forcing them together, even though they didn't have much chemistry. I also didn't care for how the relationship was resolved in the end. I'm trying to be vague because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it, but something happened that drove me crazy.

Our Own Private Universe was a fairly enjoyable book to read. I was bummed that it didn't hold up to my expectations though. I will probably Robin Talley's other books, but they aren't high on my priority list at the moment. I recommend this book to anyone looking for an LGBTQ+ coming of age story. Just don't get your expectations based on the beautiful cover.


I give Our Own Private Universe: 3.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.robintalley.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robintalleywrites
Twitter: https://twitter.com/robin_talley
Tumblr: http://robintalley.tumblr.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/robin_talley/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6469490.Robin_Talley

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Rancher to Love by Trish Milburn


Synopsis:
Leah Murphy just wants to feel safe again after a violent break-in. Moving to Blue Falls, Texas, is the first step. Renting the bunkhouse from rancher Tyler Lowe is the second. But Leah is uneasy around the handsome cowboy, despite his kindness. 

Tyler knows all too well how difficult it is to rebuild trust. He's trying to help his young niece heal from her own dark memories. When he sees how Maddie responds to Leah, he can't help feeling grateful—and attracted to the beautiful woman. He knows he has to move slowly to win Leah's heart, but he also knows she's worth the wait.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Trish Milburn is one of my all time favorite authors. There's just something about her writing that I love. I can usually sit down, and read one of her books in a couple of hours because I get so sucked into the world of Blue Falls, Texas. A Rancher to Love is no exception to that rule. I loved everything about the book. 

I loved returning to the community of Blue Falls, and seeing some of my favorite characters. I also enjoyed meeting the new characters. Tyler and Leah have become two of my favorite of Trish Milburn's characters. The book had a lot of cheesy moments, and sappiness, which usually annoys me. However, the author makes it work. Instead of being annoyed, I thought it felt authentic. It felt like it was there for a reason, instead of just being silly. 

A Rancher to Love became my second favorite Blue Falls book (my favorite is Her Cowboy Groom). I can't wait for Trish Milburn to write more books in this series, now that I'm all caught up. I will happily devour them, and probably still want more when I'm done. I just can't get enough of the world Trish Milburn has created in Blue Falls, Texas.


I give A Rancher to Love: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.trishmilburn.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trishmilburnauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TrishMilburn
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/trishmilburn2/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/108409297131247035285
Tumblr: http://trishmilburn.tumblr.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_ZWx-6uHzvRGtSCu8If-dA?feature=
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1335180.Trish_Milburn

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli


Synopsis:
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
I love LGBTQ+ books, especially coming out stories. It's one of my favorite things to read about. I had heard a lot of good things about Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, so I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did. I loved the book. My only regret is that I didn't read it sooner. 

I had owned Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda for about a year, and hadn't picked it up. It just never caught my interest. Now I regret that. I wish I had read it sooner. It was the perfect coming out story. It captured all of the emotions that go along with that; fear, nervousness, anxiousness, and finally this huge feeling of relief. The book made me laugh, cry, and everything in between. Becky Albertalli wrote the character of Simon in a way that made him very relatable. I felt myself being able to identify with him, and his struggle, throughout the book. 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is definitely in my top five books I've read in 2017 so far. Heck, it might even be one of my favorite books of all time. Becky Albertalli just has this way of writing that pulls you into the book from the very beginning. I can't wait to read her other book, The Upside of Unrequited. I recommend this book to young adult, and adult readers alike who want a feel good, coming of age story.


I give Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://www.beckyalbertalli.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/beckyalbertalli
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7579036.Becky_Albertalli

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

House of Secrets: Clash of the Worlds by Chris Columbus, Ned Vizzini, and Chris Rylander


Synopsis:
The third and final book in the epic HOUSE OF SECRETS series. Get ready for another roller coaster ride of an adventure!

Just when the Walker kids thought life would finally go back to normal, they realize their adventures are far from over. They’ll encounter dinosaurs, aliens, killer robots, and the Wind Witch herself—with new friends and old—and be faced with some of the deadliest choices they’ll ever have to make. The scariest thing of all could be deciding who to trust, since everyone is hiding something...

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
This year, I have a goal of trying to complete most of the series I've started, and never finished throughout the years. Due to that, I decided to finally finish the House of Secrets trilogy. I picked up the final book, Clash of the Worlds, and thought it was a great ending to the trilogy. 

At first, Clash of the Worlds got off to a slow start. The first fifty pages or so were incredibly boring. I found myself wanting to put the book down, and struggling to get through it. I'm glad I didn't put it down though because after that, the book's plot picked up, and became the fast paced whirlwind that I've come to know and love from Christopher Columbus, and Ned Vizzini. There were several times, especially towards the end, where I found myself biting my nails, wondering how the kids were going to get through the mess they found themselves in. There were also times where I felt like the authors were tearing apart my heartstrings, putting them back together again, only to rip them out again later in the book. 

I loved all of the characters in Clash of the Worlds. I was happy that some of my favorite characters returned, even if it was only briefly. I wasn't expecting a couple of them to show up at all in the book, so it was a pleasant surprise when they did. I was also impressed with the character growth in this book. Looking from the first book to this last one, the characters have matured so much that the reader would think they are entirely different characters. My favorite character will always be Fat Jagger. I loved that we got to see so much of him in this book, and that he played a pivitol role. 

Even though I didn't like the first book in this trilogy, House of Secrets has become one of my favorite series. I thought that the ending of the trilogy was really good. I hope that Chris Columbus eventually turns this trilogy into a movie, or tv show because he is a wonderful director, and I would love to see his vision for his own book. I recommend Clash of the Worlds to kids and adults that are looking for a fast paced thrill ride.


I give House of Secrets: Clash of the Worlds: 4/5.

Want to know where to buy this book?
Amazon
Book Depository
Better World Books

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


Synopsis:
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
Typically, I don't read a lot of books as soon as they are released that have hype surrounding them. However, everywhere I've looked on social media lately, I've been seeing The Hate U Give. It's impossible not to see a post about it while scrolling through my various social media feeds. I couldn't escape it, so I decided to just give into the pressure and read it. It was one of the best bookish decisions I've made recently. It was worth all of the hype surrounding it, and then some. 

The Hate U Give is such an important book. I think it should be on reading lists at schools throughout the country. It puts the into Starr's shoes, and gives a perspective that some people don't get in regards to the Black Lives Matter movement. It forces the reader to see the world in a completely new way. 

After reading The Hate U Give, I was completely outraged at the way minority groups are treated. I couldn't believe how much I didn't previously know about police brutality. I wanted to take a stand, and say enough is enough. I wanted to call my senators, and tell them to take a stand against police brutality. I wanted to protest the unfair treatment of people of color by police officers. Before reading The Hate U Give I knew police brutality happened, but I didn't think it affected me. Now I know better. It affects every member of the community, regardless of race. 

The Hate U Give was a powerful, moving book. Not only did it mess with my emotions, but it taught me so much that I never knew before. I wish that I could convince everyone to read it, and get a copy of the book in everyone's hands. It's worth all of the hype it's been getting, and more. Maybe if more people were willing to read this, and see from a perspective that they don't usually get, the world would be a better place.


I give The Hate U Give: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://angiethomas.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ACThomasAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/acthomasbooks
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/acwrites/
Tumblr: http://writerzambitionz.tumblr.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15049422.Angie_Thomas

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston


Synopsis:
Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
The Valiant has been getting a lot of buzz lately. When I saw one of my favorite Booktubers, Peruse Project, review it and saw how much she loved it, I knew I had to read the book. She and I typically have similar tastes in books, and this was no exception. I loved the book. 

At first when I started The Valiant, I wasn't sure what to think of it. The first few pages weren't catching my interest at all. However, after the suction scene, I was all in. I love books set in ancient Rome. The way Lesley Livingstone wrote the book makes the reader feel like they were in ancient Rome beside Fallon, the main character, training to be a female gladiator. I loved how descriptive and detailed the world building was. The author did a great job bringing the world to life.

The main character, Fallon, was so badass. She was a kickass warrior, but that's not the only reason for her badassness. When she first came to the gladiator training school, she faced a lot of adversity. She was bullied constantly, but she never let that get her down. In fact, in a way, she used it to push herself to become stronger.

The Valiant was the first Lesley Livingston book I've read, but it won't be the last. I plan on reading her Wondrous Strange trilogy next, a trilogy about faeries. I loved The Valiant. I think with the way it ended, it could be read as a standalone. However, I'm going to read the rest of the trilogy because I'm so excited to get more of these characters.


I give The Valiant: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.lesleylivingston.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LesleyLivingstonAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LesLivingston
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1312879.Lesley_Livingston

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Iron Tiara by Beth Flynn Release Day Blitz




BLURB


Anthony Bear and Christy Chapman are from two completely different worlds.Anthony's the leader of a motorcycle gang that terrorizes Florida’s West Coast. As a child, he ran away from his family and the Cherokee Indian Reservation to enter a life of crime. As an adult, he leads a multifaceted life managing his two businesses—his legitimate landscaping venture, and his loan shark and underworld dealings. Driven by anger and betrayal, Anthony begins the hunt for Christy’s father, Van Chapman, after he runs out on a loan.

Christy’s privileged life is not as it seems. She has kept painful family secrets and hidden some of her own. She’s determined to find out the truth and expose Van, but her search delivers her right into Anthony Bear’s hands, adding kidnapping to his list of crimes.

Their worlds are as contrasting as the color of their skin. The only thing they seem to have in common is their mutual disdain for Van Chapman…and each other.

They couldn’t be more wrong.

The Iron Tiara is a spin-off novel from The Minutes Trilogy. It can be read as a standalone, and does not contain a cliffhanger.

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PURCHASE TODAY

➜ US Amazon: http://amzn.to/2udRULb
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ABOUT BETH FLYNN


Beth Flynn is a fiction writer who lives and works in Sapphire, North Carolina, deep within the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Beth and her husband, Jim, have spent the last 19 years in Sapphire, where they own a construction company. They have been married 33 years and have two daughters and a temperamental pit bull named Lady , Beth enjoys writing, reading, gardening, church and motorcycles, especially taking rides on the back of her husband’s Harley. She is a seven-year breast cancer survivor.


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