The Romantics

“True Love. The real kind doesn’t make you selfish and shortsighted. Real love makes you better than you ever knew you could be.”

Title: The Romantics

Author: Leah Konen

Series: Standalone

Publication: November 1st 2016 by Amulet Books

Pages: 336

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rainbow Rowell, The Romantics will charm readers of all ages. Gael Brennan is about to have his heart broken when his first big relationship crumbles on the heels of his parents’ painful separation. Love intervenes with the intention of setting things right—but she doesn’t anticipate the intrusion of her dreaded nemesis: the Rebound. Love’s plans for Gael are sidetracked by Cara, Gael’s hot-sauce-wielding “dream girl.” The more Love meddles, the further Gael drifts from the one girl who can help him mend his heart. Soon Love starts breaking all her own rules—and in order to set Gael’s fate back on course, she has to make some tough decisions about what it means to truly care.

A Listical of Thoughts:

  • It’s told from the point of view of love. How awesome is that?
  • If you don’t relate to one character, you will find something in one of the others. It’s sort of universal.
  • The writing is brilliant, silly, and fun
  • The whole idea of love controlling everything is both frustrating and freeing. It was really fascinating to see Love push characters into doing certain things that normally would have driven me nuts, but now make complete sense.
  • The story is just adorable. Simple as that.
  • Super light-hearted, witty, and easy to relate to.
  • It will completely change your views on certain tropes and things in YA contemporary romances.
  • So ridiculously unique. It’s intoxicating.
  • Die hard romantics are going to die of all the feels.
  • Basically, The Romantics is everything we love about Romantic Comedies intensified.

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Iron Cast

More than anything, she wanted to kiss him. He was so bright and beautiful and vulnerable in the daylight. But she couldn’t let herself.

Title: Iron Cast

Author: Destiny Soria

Series: Standalone

Publication:  October 11th 2016 by Amulet Books

Pages: 384

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

It’s Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths—whose “afflicted” blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art—captivate their audience. Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle. By night they perform for Johnny’s crowds, and by day they con Boston’s elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, they realize how precarious their position is. After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron’s hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn.


A Listical of Thoughts:

  • Gorgeously written historical environment. I mean, seriously. It’s awesome.
  • Magical best friends are also awesome
  • Hemopath magic is terrifying. (Like Wanda in Age of Ultron with the visions)

  • FRIENDSHIP IS A CENTRAL THEME AND I LOVE IT.
  • Friends who con together, stay together

  • Each and every character has a different approach/take on their magic. The writing itself shifts flawlessly between the various uses and descriptions. It’s beautiful.
  • All the characters are fleshed out. They’re impossible not to believe.
  • Graceful and poignant handling of racism.
  • So many feels. The emotions run rampant, they really, really do.

Filled with plot twists, believably irresistible characters, and a uniquely compelling take on magic, Iron Cast is a vivid portrayal of friendship, sacrifice, betrayal, and romance. It is beyond enjoyable.


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The Graces

“We love just one, but we love them all as well,” he said. “The Graces. We want to be them, and love them, and for them to love us. It’s a curse. Don’t you see? The Grace’s curse.”

Title: The Graces

Author: Laure Eve

Series: The Graces # 1

Publication:  September 6th 2016 by Amulet Books

Pages:352

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get it . . . no matter who has to pay.
 
Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. And what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.
 
This fabulously addictive fantasy combines sophisticated and haunting prose with a gut-punching twist that readers will be dying to discuss. Perfect for fans of We Were Liars as well as nostalgic classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 1996 movie The Craft, The Graces marks the beginning of a new wave of teen witches.


My Thoughts:

The Graces is one of those books that is trying really, really hard to be the next Twilight. Small town. Weird, strangely beautiful family that everyone gossips about and loves at the same time. Ridiculously, fake, and supposed to be good smelling love interest. NO HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS. I mean, who are we fooling here? Certainly not me. Certainly not any one who has ever read or watched the Twilight films. You might was well have renamed the book Twilight: but with witches that smell like vanilla rather than sparkle.

And yes, this review is ridiculously short. That is because I cannot bring myself to say anything without completely flipping a biscuit.

 

Devil and the Bluebird

“Old stories meant nothing or everything, depending on whom you asked. “

Title: Devil and the Bluebird

Author: Jennifer Mason-Black

Series: Standalone

Publication: May 17th 2016 by Amulet Books

Pages:336

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

“Devil-at-the-crossroads” folklore finds its way to YA via this moody, magical tale

Blue Riley has wrestled with her own demons ever since the loss of her mother to cancer. But when she encounters a beautiful devil at her town crossroads, it’s her runaway sister’s soul she fights to save. The devil steals Blue’s voice—inherited from her musically gifted mother—in exchange for a single shot at finding Cass.

Armed with her mother’s guitar, a knapsack of cherished mementos, and a pair of magical boots, Blue journeys west in search of her sister. When the devil changes the terms of their deal, Blue must reevaluate her understanding of good and evil and open herself to finding family in unexpected places.

In Devil and the Bluebird, Jennifer Mason-Black delivers a heart-wrenching depiction of loss and hope.

My Thoughts:

This is one of those books where I don’t really know how I feel about everything as a whole. I liked it… I didn’t like it. Some parts and the idea was yay, and other parts and the execution at some points was nay. Devil and the Bluebird is a lyrical fable about making a deal with a devil, but I think it bit off a bit more than it could chew – if you know what I mean.

While Devil and the Bluebird has some serious potential to be amazing, it ended up falling a bit short. I can’t pinpoint why, not exactly. I don’t know if I was expecting something other than what I got, because I went into it with no knowledge and practically no expectations. I guess I was thinking of something out of Supernatural (because I’m sure all of you know how obsessed I am with the show). I was hoping it would be something like the crossroads demons in the show… but no. It’s hard to explain.

My biggest problem with the book, and the only issue I can really pinpoint, is Blue’s personality – or lack thereof. She was so, so dull. Blue made Bella Swan look like a shining gold coin. Blue was all “woe is me” and I was sick and tired of it by the end of the first chapter. She really needed to get over herself. She was stubborn, self-centered, and a hoarder of emotional baggage.

Overall, Devil and the Bluebird was predictable, flat, inconsistent, and a waste of time. I did like some parts, like I said – but it was so few and far between that it really doesn’t help to improve my overall opinion. The mythology was sound and, quite frankly, very interesting – but on the larger scale of the book it boosted it only slightly over my DNF mark.

 

The Lie Tree

“People were animals, and animals were nothing but teeth. You bit first, and you bit often. That was the only way to survive.”

Title: The Lie Tree

Author: Frances Hardinge

Series: Standalone

Publication: April 19th 2016 by Amulet Books

Pages: 384

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

In this deliciously creepy novel by the author of the critically acclaimed Cuckoo Song, the fruit of a magical tree uncovers dangerous truths

Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is reliable, dull, trustworthy—a proper young lady who knows her place as inferior to men. But inside, Faith is full of questions and curiosity, and she cannot resist mysteries: an unattended envelope, an unlocked door. She knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing. She knows that her family moved to the close-knit island of Vane because her famous scientist father was fleeing a reputation-destroying scandal. And she knows, when her father is discovered dead shortly thereafter, that he was murdered.

In pursuit of justice and revenge, Faith hunts through her father’s possessions and discovers a strange tree. The tree only bears fruit when she whispers a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, delivers a hidden truth. The tree might hold the key to her father’s murder—or it may lure the murderer directly to Faith herself.

My Thoughts:

If I had to describe The Lie Tree in one word, it would be: Fascinating. But, since I don’t have the constraints of one word, I can do a little word vomit. Enchanting, compelling, dark, captivating, historical, hypnotizing, clever, complex, intelligent. Get the picture? Guys, The Lie Tree is an awesome read – it will grab you by your ankles and yank you into its chaos.

The Lie Tree is a mystery set in Victorian England, but there is a twist. For a basic outline of what is going on and what happens throughout the course of the novel – only non-spoilery stuff, of course – Faith, a young Victorian woman, is forced to move to a remote island with her family after her father’s findings and the reaction to them cause a scandal. Oh my! As we know from the synopsis, Faith’s father is soon found dead and everyone rules it to be a suicide, everyone but Faith – that is.

Faith is shy, intelligent, well-mannered, and unafraid. She makes it her mission to uncover the secrets her father kept, restore his good name, and find out the truth of what really happened to him. I admired her, to be honest – especially considering the time period working against her and what she wanted to do. She is courageous, she isn’t afraid to admit mistakes or to allow her mind to wander past her own opinions. She is self-aware, beautifully so – in fact.

I think the most amazing part of this book is how everything comes together in the end. There are so many little details, so many different threads and pieces of a puzzle – you don’t realize it until the end, and then it all suddenly clicks into place. This book is the perfect mystery in that sense. I didn’t figure anything out before it wanted me to, and that alone is an accomplishment.

Overall, The Lie Tree is a gem of a book. It is heart-pounding, thought provoking, dark, witty, and everything a book should be. Frances Hardinge has crafted a beautifully complex story that’s allure is hard to ignore.

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Edgewater

“You tell yourself a story for long enough, it becomes truer than the truth itself.”

Title: Edgewater

Author: Courtney Sheinmel

Series: Standalone

Publication: September 8th 2015 by Amulet Books

Pages:336

Source: Publisher at ALA

Summary from Goodreads:

Lorrie Hollander used to be a rich girl, but now she’s lost everything because of the secrets and lies of the people around her. It’s been 12 years since Lorrie’s mother skipped town and left Lorrie in the care of her unstable aunt Gigi. Together they live in a neglected, decrepit mansion called Edgewater, the eyesore in a town of extraordinary wealth and privilege.

When Charlie, the son of an esteemed senator, takes an interest in Lorrie, her shame for her family and lifestyle runs deep. But what she doesn’t know is that Charlie’s family is hiding something, too, and that their secrets are inextricably tied. Now Lorrie must confront the truth about her family—and everything she ever thought she knew about herself.

My Thoughts:
This book is not what I thought it was going to be. It started off how I imagined it would, the love interest was introduced in the way I thought he would be – but after that, all bets were off. Edgewater shocked me, both in the unexpectedness of the ending and with the brutal and in-your-face portrayal of life at the decaying mansion called Edgewater.
When I started this book, I fell in love with Charlie instantly. Now, Charlie is not the protagonist, but he is all I really feel the need to talk about. Well, more accurately, Charlie is the only thing I feel like I can talk about. We know from the synopsis that Charlie, the senator’s son, takes an interest in our protagonist, Lorrie. I thought this book was going to be a romance, a cute girl meets boy who doesn’t care about her shitty home life type of romance. I was wrong. There is romance in it, and yes, Charlie is seriously swoon worthy – but, in the entirety of this book, Charlie and Lorrie only kiss twice. Once in the beginning and once, very chastely, in the end. I WANTED SO MUCH MORE! How dare Sheinmel make me love Charlie so much and then not even showcase his amazingness? Not that I hated the book or anything, I actually really loved it – but I still wanted more. The scenes he was in were amazing, his chemistry with Lorrie was amazing, he was simply amazing. I was underwhelmed by everything that didn’t have him in it, except for Lorrie of course. Lorrie is our protagonist, and she is pretty bad ass in her own right. Not bad ass in the traditional sense of the word, but in the way that she is a take charge, take no shit kind of girl – and I love main characters like that. One thing that bothered me, though, was her constant need for people to view her in a good way. The way she tried her best to keep who she really was because she was ashamed of her family and her home sort of bothered me. It fit perfectly with the story, considering it is one of the main plot points, but otherwise, it just made me want to smack Lorrie upside the head with my very non-Gucci, on sale at Ross purse. Money isn’t everything, and how long it took Lorrie to realize that really bothered me.
I don’t know what else to say about this book, everything I want to talk about I actually can’t because it is a huge spoiler. It sucks, I want to vent and to rage and scream and all things associated with a good book that bothered you but you loved it all the same. I want to complain about things, I want to rave about how much I love things (namely Charlie), but I can’t.
Edgewater is a brilliant book. It takes everything we hate about ourselves, how we are terrified of how other people view us, and the inescapable bonds of family and showcases them in a beautiful way. Edgewater will make you cry, it will make you cling to your roommate and rant about Charlie until one in the morning (No? Just me then?). It is an all-around powerful book about family, what it means to belong, the price of keeping secrets, and the power of friendship. If you don’t have this book already, go find yourself a copy as soon as possible. It’s worth it.

“For every person you meet, there will be a last time you’ll say goodbye. And there’s not always a way of knowing when that will be.”

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