“Anna and the French Kiss” by Stephanie Perkins

static1.squarespaceAnna and the French Kiss is a YA contemporary book that despite its frustrating premise and the questionable actions of one of the main characters, is too cute for words. Anna, to her disgust, has just been forced to attend a boarding school in Paris, far away from her best friend Bridge and her love interest, Toph. (At this point, I’m like BOO-freaking-HOO! You’re having your school and living expenses paid for to study in Paris! How awful could that be?!)

Though Anna is angry and frustrated at starting at a new school in a new country, she quickly becomes friends with her dorm neighbor, Mer, and all of Mer’s friends.Including the absolutely dreamy Etienne St. Clair (known to most as just St. Clair). He’s gorgeous, funny, smart, and British. *swoons*

But there’s one problem. St. Clair has a girlfriend already at a nearby college (and her name is Ellie, which made this book really hard for me to read!). But then St. Clair begins to take an interest in Anna, finding out they both like movies and they both enjoy each other’s company. They become very close — like best friends close.

As much as Anna likes St. Clair, she has to remember Ellie. And St. Clair seems to have a hard time remembering her as well. Thus, here’s the book’s big question: Will St. Clair stay with Ellie, or will he follow his new crush with Anna?

This book had me feeling very conflicted. I found it absolutely adorable and fun and unputdownable, but I also had a lot of issues with Anna’s spoiled attitude and St. Clair’s unfaithfulness (while not physical, it was still emotional cheating). If you can look past these things, it was really enjoyable — don’t get me wrong. It’s just really exhilarating to cheer for Anna to finally get her French Kiss.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Purchase the book here.

“Scythe” by Neal Shusterman

28954189In a futuristic world, humans have found the cure for every disease and can keep people alive indefinitely. Since this would lead to overpopulation, the world has Scythes who randomly choose citizens and kill them. It’s a government-provided service and is considered something that is good for the community. Citra and Rowan both have run-ins with Scythe Faraday, who is in turn impressed with the two teenagers’ personalities. Faraday decides to take both on as apprentices for one Scythe position. They learn more about the society that Scythes are ruled by, and train in combat, compassion, and common sense. There are several tests that they are required to perform, and the best apprentice will become a full-fledged Scythe, granting them and their family immunity from death.

While this sounds very morbid, this book was absolutely fascinating. I read this monster in one day, putting off everything I should have been doing instead. Scythe is so well-written and has such an amazing premise and world-building. This is the first book I’ve read by Neal Shusterman, and I definitely plan on reading his other books now. It’s easy to get lost in the story, rooting for the good guys, hoping the bad guys get what’s coming to them. Definitely pick this one up — it’s to die for.

Rating: ★★★★★

Purchase the book here.

“Exit, Pursued by a Bear” by EK Johnston

25528801.jpgThis is such a hard review to write. It’s a book I enjoyed a lot, a book that I thought about for days after finishing it. But here’s the thing: It’s going to sound pretty morbid for this to be one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheer team, plus it’s her senior year of high school and that’s stressful enough as it is. The captain has a lot of expectations, especially at cheer camp — be the loudest, the bubbliest, the most precise during their routine. But at the end-of-camp dance, Hermione is drugged and raped, and left in the lake. When she comes to at the hospital, she has no memory of what happened. She remembers going to the dance, and getting tired and thirsty, and that’s where her memory ends. Exit, Pursued By A Bear is the story of Hermione’s assault, recovery, healing, and coping with what has happened to her.

Exit, Pursued By A Bear is heartwrenching, beautiful (in a sad way), exceptionally well-written, and it’ll stay with you for days (if not longer). I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was captivating. Honestly, this book was one of my favorites of 2016. You’ll find yourself cheering for Hermione to overcome.

Rating: ★★★★★

Purchase the book here.

Blog Tour: “The Homecoming” by Stacie Ramey

★★★☆☆

9781492635888-300rgbI’m so excited to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for The Homecoming! I’ve got a synopsis, review, and a giveaway below.

John’s had several hard years: his brother was in a horrific accident leaving him disabled and angry at his situation, John acts out and gets kicked out of the house, and most recently, John’s girlfriend, Leah, committed suicide. Now he is coming home to finish high school, after which he wants to leave and move to California.

John finds himself becoming increasingly angry at his situation and at people around him, and to remedy this, he uses alcohol and marijuana. Then, he meets the girl next door, Emily. And after a while, John realizes that he must do better, for himself, for Emily, and for his family.

I reviewed Stacey Ramey’s last book, The Sister Pact, and I really enjoyed it, so I knew I should grab this one when I had the chance. The Homecoming is an important novel that touches on several important issues: disabilities, anger issues, drug and alcohol abuse, family dynamics, suicide, and more. Ramey does a good job of taking on some serious issues facing teens, which I think is really important in YA books these days. Overall it’s an easy read with some heavy topics, but definitely worth picking up!

Feeling lucky? Sourcebooks is hosting a giveaway for 3 copies of The Homecoming. Enter here!

You can also purchase the book here.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy to review. All opinions in this review are my own.

“Glitter” by Aprilynne Pike

★★★★☆ New release Tuesday!

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Glitter has a tough premise and setting to describe, but I’m going to give it a go. In the future, there is an entire palace full of people who live like they are in Victorian Versailles. They wear corsets and fancy clothes every day, all day. Yet it’s also futuristic — there are robot maids, the people communicate through specialized contact lenses, and more. So it’s a futuristic sci fi historical fiction novel. The blurb for this book labels it as Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette. I’d say that’s pretty accurate. (Also, *swoon* that cover though!)

With all that being said, let’s get into it. The main character, Danica, is set to marry the ruthless king of Sonoman-Versailles. He’s done some pretty horrendous things (read: a murder and subsequent coverup), and she’d rather escape and leave her family and friends behind than marry him. So Danica finds a way to sneak a new drug called “Glitter” (seemed like an upper/hallucinogen-type drug) into the palace and sells it to make money to fund her escape.

Despite this book being a complete conundrum to describe, it’s un-put-down-able. I flew through it. It’s got a super interesting premise, love triangles, bad guys you hate, bad guys you love, awesome technology, a queen-to-be drug dealer, twists galore, and so much more.

This is the first book in the series, and I honestly would place the sequel on my to-be-released highly anticipated reads list.

Take one hit of Glitter — I promise you’ll be hooked and begging for more.

Purchase the book here.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher for my honest review.

“Serafina and the Black Cloak” by Robert Beatty

★★★☆☆51cpf2bz1u2bl-_sy344_bo1204203200_

Serafina and her father live in the basement of the estate Pa works for, unbeknownst to the homeowners. Serafina has led a life of secrecy, hiding from people and ridding the Biltmore estate of its rat infestation. One night, while catching some pests, Serafina sees a girl get attacked by a man in a swirling black cloak. Narrowly escaping capture herself, Serafina is determined to find out who the black cloak is and how to stop him from stealing more children.

This book was 100% not what I thought it was going to be from the cover and things I’ve seen around the internet (but clearly I wasn’t paying close enough attention). That being said — it is a really fun story with mystery, edge-of-your-seat thrills, young love, and the family dynamics of these strange squatters. I really enjoyed the pace, and I did not successfully guess who the cloak was nor any of the twists! An easy read, Serafina and the Black Cloak is good for middle-grade and high-school readers, as well as any other YA lover.

Purchase the book here.

“The Graces” by Laure Eve

thegraces★★★★☆ Out on Tuesday (9/6)! There are two gorgeous covers for this book, so I’m including both in this post! The red cover is the US cover and the purple cover is in the UK!

“Everyone said they were witches. I desperately wanted to believe it. I’d only been at this school a couple of months, but I saw how it was. They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake, stares following their backs and their hair.”

cg1litjxeaitrihRiver recently moved to a new city and a new school, and just like the rest of the town, she quickly becomes obsessed with the Grace family. They’re rumored to be powerful witches and to gain their friendship is rumored to be near impossible.

But River becomes friends with Summer Grace, and she has a huge crush on her older brother, Fenrin (along with every other girl on the planet). She quickly becomes a feature in their house, hanging out with Summer, Fenrin, and Thalia, and their close family friend Wolf. They do different spells and incantations together and call themselves witches. But then something goes extremely wrong. And no one remembers what happened.

This is the story of magic (or not?), friendship, popularity, mystery, and danger. Some reviewers are comparing this to Twilight, but I would argue that that is just the first few chapters that you could draw serious comparisons. I think this is a great story, compelling and fascinating. It definitely put a spell on me.

Purchase the book here. (Out 9/6/16)

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.