Book Review: Avenged by Amy Tintera

313714853.5/5 Stars 

Title: Avenged 

Author: Amy Tintera

Published by: HarperTeen

Published date: May 2, 2017

Format: Hardcover

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Goodreads:

A war that will fuel her. A bond that will destroy her.

Emelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister, Olivia, from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory.

But just because Em and Olivia are out of Lera doesn’t mean they are safe. Their actions over the past year have had consequences, and they are now targets of retaliation. Olivia will destroy everyone who acts against Ruina. Em isn’t as sure.

Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. Lera may have destroyed the Ruined for decades, but Em knows that Cas is different. And now that he’s taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement.

Em is determined to bring peace to her home. But when winning the war could mean betraying her family, she faces an impossible choice between loyalty and love. Em must stay one step ahead of her enemies—and her blood—before she’s the next victim in this battle for sovereignty.

 

I have a series of emotions going through my head.

Avenged was overall a good book. This is the second installment in the Ruined trilogy.

Avenged focused on Olivia. Olivia Flores, remember her? Emelina Flores’s little sister, the girl that got captured by Lera due to her ruined powers, which was considered “dangerous.” Ring a bell?

Not really?

Exactly, If you did not read it immediately after the first book, it WILL get confusing .

The characters were too complicated, the plot and the general setting will be confusing if you do not read the first book again. So therefore I read the first book again. If you don’t want to bother reading the first book, let me give you a brief summary. 

Spoilers**

Well, so the first book was mainly based on Emelina impostoring Mary to marry Prince Casimir, hopefully gaining information about Olivia’s whereabouts. Her plan was to kill the Royal family afterwards.

Well, about that…. She fell in love with Prince Casimir (who by the way was definitely a guy worth swooning over) , found where her sister was, almost killed Cas in the process, rescued Olivia…who with a year pent up in the cells were filled with anguish and hate toward people that hate the ruined, as well as humans in general. Which is not good. 

So yea, OH,  and Casimirs’ mother and father died, in a gruesome way thanks to Olivia ripping off their body parts with her power. Cas almost dies but survives, and runs into Emelina, they talk…blah blah blah.
Okay, got it?

Avenged was a surprising second book. It revolved completely around Olivia. Her and Emelina, building a better world for the Ruined. And oh my goodness, how much I hate Olivia. Olivia’s powers expanded, and was able to control them  and cause bigger damage. It was not a likable characteristic of her. THIS GIRL ENJOYS RIPPING THE HEARTS OUT OF PEOPLES BODY!!  

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Nope, definitely not my favorite character. Olivia was crazy and out of control. I mean, at first I get it, she is taking the revengeful path due to her past and everything. But then she started to kill innocent people, using them as practice dummies. Not cool, Olivia.

Anyways, Avenged had three perspectives. Aren, Emelina, and Olivia. I really was hoping to see more of Emelina, but unlike the first book she did not appear strong, her logic was muddled with her feelings. For example, she knew Olivia was going crazy, but her excuse for not doing anything was, oh she’s my sister…oh its not that bad…until it was too late. Until she witnessed Olivia become truly a monster at the end of the book. She devises a plan…and the end.

The book made me want to tear my hair off. Olivia was annoying, so was her thoughts. Quite disturbing honestly. Here, let me represent her thoughts 24/7 with a iconic gif.

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EXCEPT SHE’S KILLING THEM OFF WITH HER BRAIN….SHE IS 16 YEARS OLD!!!!!!!!!!

Anyways, Cas and Emelina barely got any screen time. Aren and Iria…were just present but not all present. 

What I did enjoy was the rush of surprisingly weird twist, which in my opinion is a factor that makes a good book. Emelina and Cas were just adorable and I liked to see the different groups unite. Somewhat. You’ll understand. 

This book was not quite as good as the first book, but I was still hanging on every word. It was really interesting to read and I might admit, a pretty original book.
I am super excited to read the next installment, and I’m hopimg to see Olivia dead, and Aren, Iria, Cas and Em deserving more screen time. Really curious to see the final book for the Ruined series. 

 

Annie

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ARC Review: Lucky In Love by Kasie West

302855624/5 Stars 

Title: Lucky In Love

Author: Kasie West

Published by: Scholastic

Published date: July 25th, 2017

Format: Hardcover

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Goodreads:

In this new contemporary from YA star Kasie West, a girl who wins the lottery learns that money can cause more problems than it solves, especially when love comes into the picture.

Maddie doesn’t believe in luck. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment —

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun… until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.

 

Amazing cover? Check.
Kasie West? Check.
Girl wins 50 million dollars? Sign me up!

Wow. This book was seriously loads of fun. This book was straightforward, a little predictable but still kept me on my toes.

An ordinary high school girl, Maddie stresses about college and family problems.  Working at the zoo and working really hard in school will help lessen college fees for her.

So imagine her surprise when on her 18th birthday she won the lottery!! Not one million. Not five million. Not ten million….a whopping fifty million dollars!! ( If I had this much money, I would spend most of it on books and food…)

Maddie believes with this money everything will work out for her. Soon, she becomes the next new popular girl, the coolest best friend, and the best party thrower.  Instead of thinking with her brain, Maddie thinks with her money, causing her to be the victim of people who took advantage of her.

Whenever she spends money on expensive attire, I inwardly cringe at how many money is being used. (I mean who rents a yacht for a party?) Then I have to remind myself I’m just reading a book. 

Throughout the book, there was a lot of the shock factor for Maddie, and she begins to doubt the people she spends time with.

Oh yeah, then there’s Seth. Seth, her co-worker at the zoo made appearances throughout the book in small pieces.

I was actually really hoping that Seth and Maddie would have great chemistry. Out of all Kasie West’s book, this book definitely took a wrong turn at the romance part. The romance was not all that great. Seth really just didn’t seem realistic or there for her.

Nevertheless, the book focused on realistic subjects, and obstacles that Maddie faced before and after her luck. There was definitely character development.

I highly recommend this to readers who enjoy YA contemporary. Lucky in Love was fast paced and a fun read.

Worth reading and well done!

ARC is generously provided by the publisher in exchange for honest review.

Annie

Book Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

303128605/5 Stars 

Title: Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Author: Jenny Han

Published by: Simon and Schuster

Published date: May 2, 2017

Format: Hardcover

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Goodreads:

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

 

I wasn’t expecting a third book! Nevertheless, I feel like the third book wraps up Lara Jean’s story very nicely. 

Always and Forever, Lara Jean is a heartfelt story full of things I easily relates to. I can’t believe Lara Jean’s high school journey is finally over! This is a coming of age story. In To all the Boys I’ve loved before, Lara Jean witnessed the struggles of being the oldest while her sister is away at college. 

Now, Lara Jean faces the difficulty of leaving home, building a relationship, and finding herself.  I love that this book comes in a full circle in Lara Jean’s journey. While I am the oldest, I still relates to Lara Jean’s life. The sweetest moments in the book would be her moments with all her sisters and Peter K. 

This book is full of laughter, love and cookies! Even though Lara Jean’s high school journey ends, it’s the beginning of a new story.  Always and Forever, Lara Jean is definitely a book to be remembered. 

“At college, when people ask us how we met, how will we answer them? The short story is we grew up together. But that’s more Josh’s and my story. High school sweethearts? That’s peter and Gen’s story. So what’s  ours, then? I suppose I’ll say it all started with a love letter.”

Lara Jean

Rachel

Waiting on Wednesday #4: Warcross by Marie Lu

Image result for warcross

Title: Warcross

Author: Marie Lu

Published by: Penguin Young Readers

Published date: September 12, 2017

Format: Hardcover

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Preorder at Amazon|Barnes & Noble

Goodreads:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

Book Review: Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

350016875/ 5 stars 

Title: Cinder & Ella

Author: Kelly Oram

Published date: October 1st, 2014

Publisher: Bluefields

Format: Paperback

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Goodreads:

It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.

 

This is the second book this year that made me laugh out loud like crazy. I love this book. It’s the kind of books that appeal you from the start. From the very first sentence, I knew I would like it.

Ellamara’s life is far from a fairy tale. After suffering from a tragic car accident that not only left her alone but also scarred physically and emotionally for life, Ella moved in with her step family and a father that had left her when she was eight. Moving from Boston to the sparkling city of Los Angeles, Ella struggled to cope with her disabilities and her accident. She turned to her best friend, whose internet name is Cinder.

Cinder is a character that you instantly hate at first. He is an arrogant and bad boy pop star.. Cinder and Ella both leads a hectic life. However, they found comfort in each other through instant messaging and their love for books. They know everything about each other, well except for their identities. Throughout the story, Cinder and Ella will find each other off-line, and find their own happily ever after.

The main character is relatable, Ella has her own blog and she loves to read. I find her strength after the car accident admirable. I found her humor throughout the story entertaining.

However despite the light hearted romance, there are serious themes and messages in the book that was  glossed over. Ella, despite her physical disabilities (70% of her body was burned during the car accident) stayed strong. She learned to cope with imperfections in the life; she learned to cope with constant bullying in school.  This book also deals with a lot of abandonment issues, bullying, loneliness, love, family and friendships. The adversities that Ella went through broke my heart.

Overall, this is definitely a book recommend. It was cheesy, light and fun. I can’t wait to read the sequel, Happily Ever After. 

 

Rachel