Posted in Recommendations

*YA CONTEMPORARY EDITION* If you like this, Try this!

It’s part two of my reading recommendations series! Here are some contemporary books (from romance to mystery!) that I think you should try.

Posted in Blog Tour

Happy Book Birthday to THE LOST CITY by Amanda Hocking!

I am very excited to announce that I am a part of the blog tour for Amanda Hocking’s new book, The Lost City! I will be posting my book review this Friday, so stay tuned for that. For now, here is some teaser info about the book, provided by the publisher:

Amanda Hocking, the New York Times bestselling author of The Kanin Chronicles, returns to the magical world of the Trylle Trilogy with The Lost City, the first novel in The Omte Origins—and the final story arc in her beloved series.

The storm and the orphan

Twenty years ago, a woman sought safety from the spinning ice and darkness that descended upon a small village. She was given shelter for the night by the local innkeepers but in the morning, she disappeared—leaving behind an infant. Now nineteen, Ulla Tulin is ready to find who abandoned her as a baby or why.

The institution and the quest

Ulla knows the answers to her identity and heritage may be found at the Mimirin where scholars dedicate themselves to chronicling troll history. Granted an internship translating old documents, Ulla starts researching her own family lineage with help from her handsome and charming colleague Pan Soriano.

The runaway and the mystery

But then Ulla meets Eliana, a young girl who no memory of who she is but who possesses otherworldly abilities. When Eliana is pursued and captured by bounty hunters, Ulla and Pan find themselves wrapped up in a dangerous game where folklore and myth become very real and very deadly—but one that could lead Ulla to the answers she’s been looking for.

Author bio:

AMANDA HOCKING is the author of over twenty young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Trylle Trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. Her love of pop culture and all things paranormal influence her writing. She spends her time in Minnesota, taking care of her menagerie of pets and working on her next book.

Early Praise for The Lost City:

“Hocking’s fast, engaging fantasy will draw in new and seasoned fans of the genre… [She] keeps the surprises coming, [leaving] readers eager to know more”

School Library Journal (starred review)

Posted in Reviews

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU by Marisa Kanter

4/5 Stars

I enjoyed What I Like About You because it felt really grounded in something that’s very relatable to my own life: book fandoms and the publishing community. The main character Halle is a book blogger and her major conflict comes from her anonymous identity online causing issues when she moves to a new town and meets her online best friend and crush Nash in real life. I haven’t read many books that are so in-touch with the present-day YA book community. Yes, tons of contemporary novels feature protagonists who LOVE to read, but rarely do they actively engage with reading beyond stating it as a hobby to seem more *relatable*.

I did find some of Halle’s friends to act in off-putting ways at times, but it seemed kind of realistic because you can’t always control or expect the ways people will react, especially when all your interactions are behind a screen. It was also pretty unrealistic (at least, to me!) that Halle would just choose not tell Nash about her real identity. They start becoming really close friends and I feel like there is no way that a normal teenager would keep that from their friend for *so long* since the stakes were pretty low (Like they’re friends online and now they’re friends IRL, what’s the big deal?). But once you suspend your disbelief, it is a really interesting conflict to drive the novel and help explore their relationships through two totally different platforms.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun, relatable contemporary read. Also, it gave me a bit of nostalgia for *the old days* before this whole pandemic turned the world upside down. Book Con, author signings, even going to the library!! These are all things that I miss and can experience by living vicariously through Halle in this story.

Comparable Titles:
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

***My review is also posted on my blog!

Posted in Reviews

FANGS by Sarah Andersen

4/5 Stars

I’m so happy to see that this webcomic has been turned into a book! I randomly stumbled across it online a few weeks ago and absolutely loved the concept and characters. Then when I realized that the author was Sarah Andersen, whose Sarah’s Scribbles books I love, I was even more excited. This comic is certainly a departure from her previous books, but it still has the same heart and humor running through it despite its differences!

Fangs really plays on the cliche of vampires and werewolves by depicting an unlikely romantic pairing between the two in a modern day AU setting. Each page of the book is one simple scene where the two main characters interact. Reading it in the book bind-up setting, I felt like the storyline was nicely continuous and showed great development as the pair explores their relationship. Initially, reading it as disparate comic strips every few days, I hadn’t noticed the flow between the scenes as much, but this way it all really hit me in a super effective way. By the end of the book, I was extremely attached and didn’t want it to end!

This brings me to my main critique: I felt like the ending fell flat. Not that there was anything wrong with it but it didn’t seem like a needed conclusion. I wish there had been a bit more of a resolution or glimpse into their future. Instead, it just sort of ended abruptly to me. Like it was just for the sake of finishing the book, but I could foresee there being so much more interesting content in their relationship moving forward that *the world* is denying me!

Overall, Fangs was so fun and quirky. Although the panels are short, it becomes really easy to get attached to the characters. Whether or not you’re a big comic/graphic novel reader, I would definitely recommend it for a quick read or even something to get you out of a reading slump since it’s mostly visual and fast moving. I honestly haven’t read so many comics before, but it’s something I’ve been getting into a lot lately. I can’t think of any direct comp titles in this genre, but I would say that it has the spirit of Carry On mixed with Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (and yes, I know those are sort of wild comparisons, but think of it in *spirit* and *humor* and *satire*… and just go with it!).

***I received an e-ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Reviews

WITCHY by Ariel Slamet Ries

4/5 Stars

Witchy was a bit of an unexpected surprise that I got in my OwlCrate subscription box last month. I’ve been really in the graphic novel mood lately, so I figured this would be a fun one to pick up. And I have to say I was really impressed! I loved Ries’ art style and found the story itself to be captivating and honestly adorable (although it can get super dark, don’t get me wrong!).

The characters felt very dynamic and complex despite the story being relatively short. If you enjoy YA fantasy books set in a magical school setting (but with a twist!) or adventure novels, this will be your cup of tea! The main character Nyneve is just so lovable and all of her friends and allies were really interesting to get to know as well.

My main complaint would be that the book felt like two different plots in the first and second half. There wasn’t really a satisfying resolution, which leads me to believe that this may be just one installment in a larger series, but this is the only one I could find that has been released yet. If there is another book, I would definitely be interested in reading it! It looks like it’s a webcomic, so I will be looking into seeing if the chapters on there are updated past the end of the book.

Comparable Titles:
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughn
Scarlett Hart: Monster Hunter by Marcus Sedgwick

***My review is also posted on Goodreads and Tumblr!

Posted in Reviews

WELL MET by Jen DeLuca

In two words: So cute!

So a while ago, I received this book as an e-ARC from Penguin Random House’s First to Read program (before it was shut down last year) in exchange for an honest review. Unfortunately, time got away from me but I am so happy to finally get the chance to review this book now.

When I read it last summer, Well Met was a bit of a guilty pleasure read. I wanted something light and romantic and I think this novel is the perfect beach read to deliver on that desire. The main characters are sweet and likable. The Renaissance Faire setting really makes for a great premise, which I haven’t really seen a lot of in books (if at all!).

A story of family, love, and jousting, Well Met was a pretty positive reading experience all-around for me! Although it wasn’t super remarkable in regards to its content (I’m sure this love story arc has been done before in other settings– and I’ve probably watched the rom-com movie equivalent of it many times), this book delivered on exactly what I wanted coming into reading it.

Comparable titles:
99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

***My review is also posted on Goodreads and Tumblr!

Posted in Reviews

THE BEAUTIFUL by Renee Ahdieh

4/5 stars

In preparation for the release of The Damned in a few weeks, I wanted to review Renee Ahdieh’s The Beautiful. This novel had a lucious, historical setting in New Orleans in 1872 with the twist of paranormal creatures roaming the streets of the vibrant city. I found the atmospheric writing of the setting to be the most compelling part of the narrative (not unexpected, considering how lovely Ahdieh’s writing is in The Wrath and the Dawn and Flame in the Mist series) and it’s what is bringing me back to anticipate the next book!

The protagonist Celine Rousseau is a force to be reckoned with as she has no problem subverting expectations for proper ladies of the time to get what she wants. The circumstances of her society force her to become confident and independent, yet she still manages to find trust in her friends (and sometimes, unfortunately, her enemies).

I actually quite liked that the paranormal elements of the plot were left vague throughout most of the book. In fact, it felt a bit strange to me when the term “vampire” was mentioned toward the end of the novel. I know when this book was first being hyped a lot of people made the inevitable comparison to Twilight, but I really don’t think it ended up being the classic vampire story most of us were expecting.

The potent tension between Celine and her love interest Bastien was really fun to read, especially with the great dialogue that felt straight out of a telenovela at times (but in the best possible way—this coming from a major Jane the Virgin fan). However, the many minor characters felt underdeveloped. Since this is the first book of the series, though, I’m sure there will be much more room for these other characters to grow.

As a side note, every time I hear Camila Cabello’s song “My Oh My” (which coincidentally just started playing as I’m writing this review), I think of this book. So I think that goes to show how successful Ahdieh was at establishing the deliciously dark tone of the novel.

I’m interested to see where the sequel will take this story!

Comparable titles:
The Diviners by Libba Bray
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
A Love Like Blood by Marcus Sedgwick

***My review is also posted on Goodreads and Tumblr!

Posted in Uncategorized

Reviews!

Okay! Moving forward, I will be posting my book reviews here and sharing them along with my original content on my Tumblr blog. You can still access all of my pre-2020 reviews here:

https://unapologeticallya.tumblr.com/tagged/my-reviews

Also, check out my new artsy star system here.

5/5 stars – we love this!
4/5 stars – p good, if I do say so myself
3/5 stars – alright alright
2/5 stars – eh, not so great
1/5 stars – okay, hopefully we never get this low!

Looking forward to sharing some exciting reviews with you soon!