ARC Review: The Knockout by Sajni Patel

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Knockout
Author: Sajni Patel
Format: ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis:
A rising star in Muay Thai figures out what (and who) is worth fighting for in this #ownvoices YA debut full of heart.

If seventeen-year-old Kareena Thakkar is going to alienate herself from the entire Indian community, she might as well do it gloriously. She’s landed the chance of a lifetime, an invitation to the US Muay Thai Open, which could lead to a spot on the first-ever Olympic team. If only her sport wasn’t seen as something too rough for girls, something she’s afraid to share with anyone outside of her family. Despite pleasing her parents, exceling at school, and making plans to get her family out of debt, Kareena’s never felt quite Indian enough, and her training is only making it worse.

Which is inconvenient, since she’s starting to fall for Amit Patel, who just might be the world’s most perfect Indian. Admitting her feelings for Amit will cost Kareena more than just her pride–she’ll have to face his parents’ disapproval, battle her own insecurities, and remain focused for the big fight. Kareena’s bid for the Olympics could very well make history–if she has the courage to go for it.

GOODREADS

Review

I’m absolutely in love with so many things about this book. The diversity (her best friend is Filipino!), the characters, the sweet romance, and the inspiring sports and STEM aspects.

I absolutely adored Kareena’s character. Even though she is so young, her confidence and self-awareness and perseverance is so inspiring, yet still believable for someone her age. She still has a lot to learn, but I appreciated how NOT annoying it was to be in her head. She didn’t always make perfect decisions, but it was refreshing to read about a teenager who understood her strength and intelligence, despite outside influences.

Amit is also not your typical hero. He’s a little nerdy, super-smart, seemingly the perfect Indian boy who is dealing with his own teenage struggles. Kareena and Amit are an unlikely pair, but they work so well together.

I also adore Kareena’s parents. They are such a strong support system and remind me so much of my own parents – willing to give up everything for her dreams.

This book is not only entertaining reading this as an adult, but I’m so excited to think about all the young people who will pick up this book and see things through Kareena’s eyes. I hope she inspires them as she has inspired me.


Butterfly Rating: 2 Stars

2-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Yes


Bookshelf Placement: Yes


Book Boyfriend Rating: 4 stars

4-stars

 

 

 

{Review by Kayla} The Awakening (Gifting #2) by K.E. Ganshert

Review by Kayla, In Love & Words Teen Reader

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Awakening
Author: K.E. Ganshert
Series: (Gifting #2)

Synopsis:
“I can’t go home. It’s not safe. Nowhere is.”

Tess Eckhart isn’t crazy. She’s not suffering from psychosis. She and Luka Williams are part of The Gifting. Before they can find out what that means, the man with all the answers turns up dead. The only thing he left behind? A few patient files that lead to the nation’s most lawless city.

With authorities chasing them, Luka and Tess escape into the very heart of peril and against all odds, find an underground community of people just like them. They aren’t gathered together for the sole purpose of survival, either. They have a plan and a purpose—to awaken as many people with The Gifting as possible. It’s dangerous and deadly work. Tess wants to help. Luka is desperate to keep her safe—a task that proves increasingly difficult as Tess’s gifting comes to light.

Could Tess Eckhart be the One they’ve been waiting for? The One who can save them all?

GOODREADS

 

Review

Reading this series feels like running through words that are both killing me but keeping me alive at the same time.

Read More

ARC Review: Not Like the Movies (Waiting for Tom Hanks #2) by Kerry Winfrey⁣

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Not Like the Movies
Author: Kerry Winfrey⁣
Series: Waiting for Tom Hanks #2
Format: ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: 7/7/20

Synopsis:
What happens when your life is a rom-com…but you don’t even believe in true love?

Chloe Sanderson is an optimist, and not because her life is easy. As the sole caregiver for her father, who has early onset Alzheimer’s, she’s pretty much responsible for everything. She has no time—or interest—in getting swept up in some dazzling romance. Not like her best friend Annie, who literally wrote a rom-com that’s about to premiere in theaters across America…and happens to be inspired by Chloe and Nick Velez, Chloe’s cute but no-nonsense boss.

As the buzz for the movie grows, Chloe reads one too many listicles about why Nick is the perfect man, and now she can’t see him as anything but Reason #2: The Scruffy-Bearded Hunk Who’s Always There When You Need Him. But unlike the romance Annie has written for them, Chloe isn’t so sure her own story will end in a Happily Ever After.

GOODREADS

Review

⁣⁣Finally, an illustrated cover that matches the story!⁣

This book is just as adorable as the cover. It’s a hilarious romcom about a barista named Chloe who is dealing with a lot: her best friend wrote a screenplay that is becoming a popular movie about the romance between her and her boss… except, her and her boss aren’t even in a relationship, which makes things awkward, but is also a bit forshadowing.⁣

There was so much to love in this adorable novel. Chloe doesn’t have it easy, her mother and brother have abandoned her to take care of her father with Alzheimer’s completely on her own, she’s trying to get through business school, and she’s working full time. However, she somehow holds onto her constant optimism by a thread even though the hits keep coming.⁣

The banter between Chloe and her boss, Nick, is so on point. I laughed out loud and highlighted so many lines while reading this one.⁣

Chloe and Annie’s friendship is total friendship goals and I absolutely MUST read Annie’s story, if only to get more of these two characters.⁣

The only downside about this book is that Chloe’s character became a little frustrating toward the end. Her reasons for refusing to be in a relationship with Nick just didn’t make sense to me, but Nick’s character alone was enough to make up for that. He’s the quiet, seemingly grumpy, but secretly sweet hero that I absolutely love.⁣


Butterfly Rating: 2 Stars

2-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Maybe

I might check out the audiobook after I read Waiting for Tom Hanks!


Bookshelf Placement: Yes!

This cover is gorgeous!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 3 stars

3-stars

 

 

 

{Review By Kayla} A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers #2) by Brigid Kemmerer

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: A Heart So Fierce and Broken
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Cursebreakers #2

Synopsis:
Find the heir, win the crown.

The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.

Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.

GOODREADS

Review

The book hangover is real.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much this book has destroyed me.

And now, after re-reading the first book in this series (which I loved just as much as reading it the first time around) and then reading this book, I have to wait until JANUARY to read the third!!!

To say the least, I am addicted to this series and its characters and it’s all I can think about whenever I am sucked into the series. It’s books like these that make me remember how much I love fantasy romance books.

This book had me stressed, gasping out loud, swooning, and tearing up all at the same time. If you read this, be ready because your heart is going to shatter.


Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars

 

 

 

{Review by Kayla} The Gifting (Gifting #1) by K.E. Ganshert

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Gifting
Author: K.E. Ganshert
Series: Gifting #1

Synopsis:
“If science is right, then I am crazy. And crazy is dangerous.”

In a world where nothing supernatural exists, Tess Eckhart is positive she’s going crazy. After her complete freakout at a high school party, her parents worry she might be right. So much that they pack their bags and move across the country, next to a nationally-renowned facility for the mentally ill.

Tess is determined to fit in at her new school, despite the whispers and stares. But when it comes to Luka Williams, a reluctantly popular boy in her class, she’s unused to a stare that intense. Then the headaches start, and the seemingly prophetic dreams that haunt her at night. As Tess tries harder to hide them, she becomes increasingly convinced that Luka knows something—that he might somehow be responsible.

But what if she’s wrong? What if Luka Williams is the only thing separating her from a madness too terrifying to fathom?

GOODREADS

Review

There needs to be more hype for this book!!!

I randomly picked up this series from my bookshelf and I’ve been wanting to read it for a while now because it sounded good and like my kind of book, but I’ve never heard of anyone talk about this book before.

But let me tell you, I was not really in the mood to commit to a series (even though this series only has three books) but as soon as I started reading this book, I suddenly was very ready and had a feeling I did not want this to ever end. You know those books where you know it’s going to get a five star rating even after only reading the first few pages? Yeah, that was this book.

The setting of this book, more so the societal views of this book was really what first got me interested and what initially drew me in. Then of course, I got invested into the characters (not to mention I’ve already fallen in love with yet another book boyfriend) like I always do. I think the reason why I loved it so much is because it is exactly my type of book that I am always in the mood to read and it fits my exact hopes that every book I open will give me this type of thrill and just excitement.


Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars


Age Recommendation: 13+

 

 

 

ARC Review: By the Book by Amanda Sellet

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: By the Book
Author: Amanda Sellet
Format: eARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis:
As a devotee of classic novels, Mary Porter-Malcolm knows all about Mistakes That Have Been Made, especially by impressionable young women. So when a girl at her new high school nearly succumbs to the wiles of a notorious cad, Mary starts compiling the Scoundrel Survival Guide, a rundown of literary types to be avoided at all costs.

Unfortunately, Mary is better at dishing out advice than taking it—and the number one bad boy on her list is terribly debonair. As her best intentions go up in flames, Mary discovers life doesn’t follow the same rules as fiction. If she wants a happy ending IRL, she’ll have to write it herself.

 

GOODREADS

Review

A personal anecdote for you that, I swear, relates to this book: I work with a lot of ivy league graduates of the scholarly nature and our main character, Mary’s parents are so painfully, triggeringly, pin-point-perfectly depictive of those types of people.

I truly wondered if I would make it through this book with all the eye-twitching I had going on any time her parents spoke.

Mary’s parents have the uncanny ability to overcomplicate when communicating and they are in need of constant validation and awe with their usage of SAT words in normal conversation.

Honestly, that goes for everyone in Mary’s family. Including our narrator. I tolerated it because her voice makes total sense given her upbringing and obsession with classic novels.

The narrator honest-to-goodness threw in the word “erstwhile.” As soon as I read that, my eye started twitching because I have a vivid experience at work in which my boss’s boss tried to come at us with an email communication to the community using that word, and we (in the marketing/communications department) immediately vetoed it.

As I hit the 50% mark, I began to find Mary charming, funny, and observant, which made for a great reading experience and I fell more and more in love with her big, quirky family. Yes, even her parents whose arms must hurt from all the self back-patting.

I grew up in a big family (3 siblings, lots of cousins) and seeing it depicted in books and movies always warms my heart – especially when done well. It’s why I tear up watching Little Women and why I adored To All the Boys I Loved Before. This was no different.

I say the following with both praise and warning:
The writing style is very nobody-talks-like-that-but-we-love-to-see-it Dawson’s Creek meets SAT prep with a lot of Gilmore Girls, but with classic literature references instead of pop culture references. There is even a glossary of literature references made at the end of the book.

You know how there is a Rory Gilmore reading challenge? I totally could see a Mary Porter-Malcom reading challenge stemming from this book.

All that being said, I think this book is very self-aware. I believe (and hope) that it is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, in which case, it is done incredibly well.

And now, I shall gush, because it’s what I do best:

I loved seeing how Mary’s world clashed with contemporary high school – how she interpreted everyday high school drama and how everyday high schoolers interpreted her.

The friend group in this was so, so refreshing. All three girls have such vivid personalities with little focus on looks, which I so appreciated. I seriously WISH I had friends like those in high school. I’m many, MANY years out of high school and I even wanted to hang out with them.

And who would I be if I didn’t talk about the romance in this book?

YA romances can be pretty predictable, but I’m going to be honest, this one wasn’t nearly as predictable as most YA novels I read. There were SO many sweet, swoony moments. The type of tiny moments that are significant simply because of the build-up.

The inclusion of Mary’s diary entries were not extra fluff. They directed the story in significant, but subtle ways. They weren’t boringly long, they were short and sweet, but packed a punch.

When I closed this book (figuratively speaking because I read the eARC for this), I felt exactly how I hope to feel every time I open one… a little giddy, a little nostalgic, and a lot satisfied.


Butterfly Rating: 4 Stars

4-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Maybe


Bookshelf Placement: Yes

I love the cover!


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars

 

 

 

{Review by Kayla} Silver Shadows (Bloodlines #5) by Richelle Mead

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Silver Shadows
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #5

Synopsis:
In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

GOODREADS

Review

Deep breaths. There’s one more book to go.

Wow.

I didn’t see that one coming.

But seeing as this series never fails to surprise me, the only thing I’m not surprised is that it’s going to continue to test my abilities to withstand this amount of suspense. What’s with the book hangers?! They are killing me, but I have to say I’m not complaining.

One thing that I can say about this book is that you really get to see Adrian’s true character – to say the least. Throughout this series I always talk about how much Sydney has grown and changed, but the same goes for Adrian. Not only is he charismatic and charming, but he is also the most caring person ever. He originally was introduced as a selfish, brooding character, but he grew to be so much more than that and willing to sacrifice anything for his loved ones. And that is what makes a swoon worthy character. The fact that I only have one more book to go and knowing that

I will be finished with these characters both terrifies and excites me.


Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars

5-stars


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars

 

 

 

Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali

4-stars
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Title: Love From A to Z
Author: S.K. Ali
Format: Hardcover purchased from Book Outlet

Synopsis:
A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

GOODREADS

Review

I was a little scared going into this book for the same reason why I wanted to read it in the first place.

You see, the main character, Adam, has Multiple Sclerosis. While I always appreciate representation of this particular chronic illness – the fact that I have it, too, is a little scary to read about.

I wasn’t so much worried that it would be misrepresented – after all this disease varies greatly from person to person – it’s more that knowing everything that COULD happen to me always terrifies me.

So, let’s start off with that.

I loved Adam’s character, first of all. Of all the characters in the story, I liked him the most. Despite going through a lot of tough things, he has a very calming personality. He’s a great balance to our heroine, Zayneb.

His experience with MS was pretty different than mine, even though we both had Optic Neuritis. I can’t say that it was an inaccurate representation because I don’t know enough about the different ways it presents itself, but he had blurry vision whereas for me (and for most of the accounts I’ve heard) it’s more eye pain and flashing lights/broken glass vision.

He did get a steroid infusion and I wish side effects were addressed. It was also strange that there was no talk of long term treatment, especially for someone his age. And HOW he kept it a secret from his parents, I have no idea considering all the medical procedures necessary to diagnose.

It seemed very secondary to what the novel was about and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

As far as the book itself, the story, and Zayneb… I enjoyed it. The romance was sweet, but I found reading Zayneb’s story so frustrating and hard to read. Especially knowing that the hate she endures is very real. I understand why she is such an angry character, but that doesn’t mean it was easy to read. I think her aunt, Adam, and her friends were a nice balance to her character.

One of the things I loved the most about this was the meetcute. Adam and Zayneb meet in the airport and they happen to have the same unique journal. I always love a good meetcute!


Butterfly Rating: 1 Stars

1-star


Re-read Worthiness: No


Bookshelf Placement: Yes


Book Boyfriend Rating: 3 stars

3-stars

 

 

 

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) by Richelle Mead

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Indigo Spell
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #3

Synopsis:
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets–and human lives.”
In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch–a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood–or else she might be next.

GOODREADS

Review

These books are just a reminder of how much I enjoy reading.

It took me a while to finish this book because I had a bit of a book break (definitely one of the worst breaks to have). But after I finally got sucked into the book, I can proudly say this book break has finally ended. Richelle Mead seems to love putting her readers into an emotional rollercoaster that is so hard to come back to reality.

I am already looking forward to the next book and I can’t even imagine what I am about to go through.

Overall, my favorite thing about this book was obviously whenever Adrian and Sydney were together. They just have this amazing chemistry and are so different yet, for some reason, they understand each other so well. Back when I first met Sydney in Vampire Academy, I would have never thought about her connected with Adrian or even associating with Adrian.

But let’s talk about Adrian for a minute, he’s easily one of the most swoon worthy guys. He’s protective and mysterious but he also has that bad boy reputation that is completely different when you get to know the real him. All I can say is that I’m excited to start reading again.


Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars

5-stars


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars
I have been shipping them forever, it’s about time!

Age Recommendation: 14+ stars

 

 

 

{Review by Kayla} The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4) by Richelle Mead

#-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Fiery Heart
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #4

Synopsis:
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the wolds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives.

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her…

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

GOODREADS

Review

This series has made me decide I will not come out of my reading position until I am done with this series.

Currently, I’m frantically writing this review so I can move on to the next book because when I tell you the cliffhanger is killing me, I mean my heart is beating so fast and I can tell I am going to have a major book hangover when this series is over. But can we talk about the dual POVs in this book??? I LOVE how I got more of Adrian’s point of view and it worked out perfectly. Another thing that just makes this book even more enjoyable is the friend group. Between the Moroi, dhampirs, and Sydney it’s definitely a diverse friend group to say the least. With each book, you can see just how much closer they get and how willing they are to make sacrifices for each other. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next two books.


Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars

5-stars


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars


Age Recommendation: 14+