When the Beat Drops (I’ll be home re-reading this book) by Anna Hecker – Book Review

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When the Beat Drops by Anna Hecker
Expected publication by Sky Pony Press on May 1, 2018
Pages: 320
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Goodreads
Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Mira has always danced to her own beat. A music prodigy in a family of athletes, she’d rather play trumpet than party—and with her audition to a prestigious jazz conservatory just around the corner (and her two best friends at music camp without her), she plans to spend the summer focused on jazz and nothing else.

She only goes to the warehouse party in a last-ditch effort to bond with her older sister. Instead, she falls in love with dance music, DJing…and Derek, a gorgeous promoter who thinks he can make her a star. Suddenly trumpet practice and old friendships are taking a backseat to packed dance floors, sun-soaked music festivals, outsized personalities, and endless beats.

But when a devastating tragedy plunges her golden summer into darkness, Mira discovers just how little she knows about her new boyfriend, her old friends, and even her own sister. Music is what brought them together…but will it also tear them apart?

This book is so much more than the cover and synopsis make it seem. The way it is advertised makes it seem like a light fast read about a girl who likes music… but it is so much more than that. When the Beat Drops is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about finding yourself.

What I Liked:

I honestly loved Mira. Her whole world is music. She hears it in movement and emotion and nature. That’s why it was so easy to believe that she picked up DJing so fast and was so good at it. She lives and breathes music. It was that fact that made this whole book so believable and enjoyable.

All of the characters were actually pretty great. They all had so many dimensions to them. They had their own flawed and complicated lives. They also were all so unique and interesting.

I also liked how this book handled some pretty serious topics, like drugs, death, mourning, denial, and family problems. It was able to tackle these topics in what felt like an honest way… making them simple enough to understand without making light of them.

I also really loved how this book ended. I’m not gonna say too much about it (cause #nospoilers), but let’s just say life isn’t perfect and I love how this book showed it.

What I didn’t Like:

There really wasn’t much I didn’t like about When the Beat Drops. I was a little lost in the beginning, just because I had no idea what I was going to get out of this book, but that feeling went away pretty quickly.

I also didn’t really love Yelena’s character, but the more she was around the more I liked her.

Also, I felt like Mira’s introduction to the warehouse party scene was a bit abrupt and odd, but I got over that pretty quickly, and it didn’t bother me that much.

Overall:

I was completely surprised by this book. It was so much better than I expected it to be, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a YA contemporary that feels a little more solid that some others.

I am going to give When the Beat Drops 5 out of 5 hearts.

♥♥♥♥♥

*I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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Busted by Gina Ciocca – Book Review

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Busted by Gina Ciocca
Published by Sourcebooks Fire  on January 2, 2018
Pages: 352
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mystery
Goodreads
Amazon

Marisa wasn’t planning to be a snoop for hire—until she accidentally caught her best friend’s boyfriend making out with another girl. Now her reputation for sniffing out cheaters has spread all over school, and Marisa finds herself the reluctant queen of busting two-timing boys.

But when ex-frenemy Kendall asks her to spy on her boyfriend, TJ, Marisa quickly discovers the girl TJ might be falling for is Marisa herself. And worse yet? The feelings are quickly becoming mutual. Now, she’s stuck spying on a “mystery girl” and the spoken-for guy who just might be the love of her life…

Quite honestly I was expecting this book to be cute, fluffy, and predictable. But oh boy was I wrong. This book proved to be more than I could have hoped for… and much more complex than the description hints at.

What I liked:

I thought the plot was really well done. There were so many intricacies, secrets, ulterior motives, and sub-plots that fit together so well. Although so much was going on, it was easy to keep track of, without me necessarily being able to put together the pieces before the plot was revealed.

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I was surprised so many times by this book. And what I liked even more was how the motivations that each character had actually made sense. There was none of those silly, unbelievable motives that leave you thinking “are you serious? You caused all this trouble for THAT?” Instead, I was like “yeah, I could see how those circumstances/character traits would drive someone to do that.” And honestly that made the story so much better and more satisfying.

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For the most part, I really liked the characters too. Marisa (even though she could be a little annoying at times) had strong morals and stuck up for her friends. I liked TJ because instead of falling into the classic love interest role, he had a very dimensional personality. There was so much going on for him too, and he fit into the plot seamlessly.

Kendall, on the other hand, was an awful character… but the kind that makes the perfect antagonist. She’s the type of character that you love to hate, and I definitely loved to hate her.

What I didn’t like:

Honestly I don’t understand why some of the characters were there. Marisa has a best friend, Charlie, and she is essential to the plot. But then they have this other friend whose name I don’t even remember, because the story would have been exactly the same if she wasn’t in it.

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Also the parents were kind of one-dimensional and barely showed up at all. It didn’t bother me that much (and it does tend to happen a lot in YA), but still it did bug me a little. Especially how un-invested they were in their kids lives.

Throughout the book, Marisa talks about this scholarship essay she wants to write, and the prompt is “How far would you go to get the story?” It fits in perfectly with the plot… only at the end of the book, although she does sit down to write the essay, it never says if she ends up finishing it, submitting it, or winning the money to go to her dream college (Lehigh University). So I wish that sub-arc was wrapped up a little bit better.

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Overall:

Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was so much more than I was expecting, and I’m really glad that I decided to read it.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a YA romance that focuses less on the romance and more on some awesome detectiving and mystery solving.

5

I am giving Busted four out of five hearts.

♥♥♥♥

Talk to me:

Have you ever read this book? What did you think? If you haven’t read it, would you want to? Let me know in the comments below!

Why Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett should be on your must-read list! – Book Review

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Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Expected publication by Simon Pulse on April 3rd, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 432
Goodreads
Amazon

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?


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Jenn Bennett has done it again. After reading Alex, Approximately and The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, I was super excited to get my hands on a copy of Starry Eyes, which the publishers were nice enough to send me. As soon as I got it, I sat down and read it in two days. Two days! 400 some-odd pages in two days. And I loved every second of it.

Why did I love this book so much? Because Jenn Bennett has a way of creating multi-dimensional characters that are so unique and believable, and immersing the reader into their lives from page 1. The plot also is so unique and gripping and entertaining. I kept telling myself, “one more chapter and then I really will get to my homework,” and then I read three more chapters because it was just too good to put down.

I loved Zorie and Lennon. I loved uncovering their past and discovering, along with them, what went wrong between them.

I loved how all of the side characters, no matter how small the role they played, they had a unique personality, and was clearly their own person.

I loved how wide of a cross section I was able to see of the characters lives. I had a full, unfiltered view into Zorie’s world, which made it so easy to love her and sympathize with her.

The story was fast paced and full of emotion. Although the book is long, it certainly doesn’t feel like it. It was a very quick read.

I would honestly recommend this book to anyone who likes YA, and to anyone who is looking to get into reading or get out of a book slump. Jenn Bennett has blown me away with her books this far, and if you haven’t read anything by her, I definitely would recommend picking one of her books up.

I am going to give Starry Eyes five out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Have you read Starry Eyes or another book by Jenn Bennett? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!

*An ARC of this book was sent to me by the publishers. Views and opinions of this book are all my own*

It is finally here: The EPIC THRONE OF GLASS THEMED GIVEAWAY!!!!

I have been promising this for weeks. Needless to say, I’ve been a bit behind schedule. But it is here!!

Over the past two months, I’ve read all of the published ToG novels (The Assassin’s Blade through Empire of Storms) and loved them all! I don’t know why I waited so long to start this series.

Maybe I was afraid of the hype… who knows.

Anyway, I haven’t posted any of my reviews yet, but they will be going up soon (probably in the next week or so, but you probably know by now that I’m terrible at staying on schedule) . In the meantime, you have this awesome giveaway to enter!

Here’s what you can win:

(And please forgive my less-than-adequate photo taking skills….)

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You can win all of these goodies and a hardback of the next ToG book: Tower of Dawn!! (ToD will be ordered from Book Depository and sent directly to winner)

Let’s take a closer look at what you stand to win:

  1. IMG_3410This beautiful 18×18″ pillow from BookishStuff on Etsy! The case is super soft and the pillow is very plushy! The art on it features a Stag silhouette with a dark forest behind it, and a starry sky and a quote inside of it.  It says:

    the Stag, the Lord of the North. So the people of Terrasen will always know how to find their way home. So they can look up at the sky, no matter where they are and know Terrasen is forever with them.

  2. IMG_3412A one-of-a-kind handmade Journal from KleeTreasures on Etsy! This beautiful journal is hand painted and has a cute bookmark with a yellow star charm and a spiral of stars charm.
    The art on this journal features the Stag of Terrasen surrounded by a golden circle with a crown on top!
    It is small enough to be carried around in your purse or pocket!
    Also, this came all the way from Australia!! (I think that’s really awesome)
  3. A gorgeous metal stamped necklace from Bookish IMG_3413Adventures on Etsy! This necklace is silver colored and says:

    Fireheart

    It also has a little heart charm off to one side!
    This necklace will make such a cute accessory with any outfit!
    You can check out Bookish Adventures on Instagram here!

  4. A 13×13″ Tote Bag from Society6 (this is the only thing not donated IMG_3411for the giveaway, but when I saw it I was like “ahh this is so cute! I need to include it in the giveaway!”)
    The artwork features a gold dream catcher on a black background with stars and has the quote:

    The world will be saved and remade by the dreamers.

    Just so you know, that is my favorite quote from the books!!

  5. A Hardcover of Tower of Dawn (ordered from Book Depository, as said above)

How to win:

*This giveaway is going to be open to anywhere that book depository ships!!

To win, just enter the rafflecoper giveaway below!

Rafflecoper Giveaway

Good luck entering the giveaway!

The giveaway ends on September 11th, 2017 and the winner will be emailed the following day!

And keep an eye out for the upcoming reviews of the Throne of Glass series!!

Thanks for reading!!

 

Book Review- Wait Till Helen Comes

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Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
Published by Harper Collins on November 2, 1986
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery, Fiction, Paranormal
Pages: 184
Goodreads
Amazon

Beware of Helen…

Heather is such a whiny little brat. Always getting Michael and me into trouble. But since our mother married her father, we’re stuck with her…our “poor stepsister” who lost her real mother in a mysterious fire.

But now something terrible has happened. Heather has found a new friend, out in the graveyard behind our home — a girl named Helen who died with her family in a mysterious fire over a hundred years ago. Now her ghost returns to lure children into the pond…to drown! I don’t want to believe in ghosts, but I’ve followed Heather into the graveyard and watch her talk to Helen. And I’m terrified. Not for myself, but for Heather…

Wait Till Helen Comes is spooky, haunting, and an all around amazing ghost story.

I love the complexity of this novel. It is so short and easy to read, yet there is so much emotion packed into it. I don’t want to go into too much detail, because it would give away too much of the plot, but the way the plot progresses and changes is amazing. Every scene is important and interesting, and I love how the tensions between the characters change and shift as the novel moves forward.

The protagonist, Molly, and is only 12, and is the oldest of the three kids, so this book does feel a little young. I remember reading it for the first time when I was 8 or 9 and loving it. So it’s not necessarily a book aimed for older teens or adults. But, reading it now, I found myself enjoying it just as much, even though I remembered what happened.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a good ghost story. This one is timeless.

I am going to give Wait Till Helen Comes five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

Book Review- Little Monsters

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Little Monsters by Kara Thomas
Published by Delacorte Press on July 25th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary
Pages: 336
Goodreads
Amazon

Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.

OH GOSH. Where to even start?

This book was NOTHING like I was expecting… in the best way possible.

I honestly had no idea what to think of this book. I had never read anything by Kara Thomas before, and I’m really not the biggest fan of Pretty Little Liars (which this book is “for the fans of”). I don’t know what prompted me to pick it up, but I am so glad I did.

Okay so this review is probably going to be a little ramble-y (like all of my reviews…) but I’m still in so much shock after reading this that it is a little hard to form coherent thoughts.

EVERYTHING about this book was amazing. From the scheming to the mystery to the reveal at the end. I was thrown in a loop so many times that it baffles me. There was just enough realness in the story to make it seem 100% real, like I was reading a true recounting of something that happened far away in Broken Falls.

The characters in the book were SO COMPLEX. I was surprised by them at every turn. The secrets and the jealousy. The backstabbing and the ulterior motives. What was even more scary than the eventual truth that came at the end was how hard it was to hate any of the characters. Even the characters who did awful, terrible things.

The plot of this book was incredible. That’s the only way to describe it. I’ve never read anything like it, and all I want is more. More, more, more.

I would recommend this book to everyone. Seriously. Everyone can take something away from this.

I am going to give Little Monsters five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Dreamology

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Dreamology by Lucy Keating
Published by HarperTeen on April 12, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 336
Goodreads
Amazon

For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together, they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. Real Max is nothing like Dream Max. He’s stubborn and complicated. And he has a whole life Alice isn’t a part of. Getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

Alarmingly, when their dreams start to bleed into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?

This book made me SO MAD. It was infuriating to the point where it became an almost hate-read. Honestly I don’t even know where to start with this one. UGH.

Okay, firstly, the characters were awful. Alice was SUCH an idiot. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her and tell her to stop being so stupid. I mean honestly, how is it possible to have that little common sense? My gosh.

And Max. UGHHHHHH. He was so annoying. I honestly hated him as a character. I hated his relationship with Alice. I hated everything about him. Actually, I really didn’t like any of the characters. They all were so unrealistic and annoying and infuriating.

Phew. Okay. So secondly, can we just talk about how UNREALISTIC the whole situation with the dream-doctor guy is? I don’t know if this counts as spoilers or not (it probably does, so if you haven’t read this and don’t want to know some of the goings-on in the middle of the book, you might want to skip ahead), but seriously the whole dream/experimenting thing is illegal in like 10 different ways. Both Max and Alice are under 18, but still the doctor guy is like “oh yeah just come in and don’t tell your parents and we’ll experiment on you guys.” WHAT THE HELL. THIS IS SO STUPID. AND THEN NOTHING EVEN HAPPENS TO THE DOCTOR BECAUSE OF IT? HE SHOULD BE IN PRISON AND UNLICENCED. And then, not only does nothing happen because of that, but he gets in trouble for PARROT TRADE?!?!?!?!? WTF. UGHGHGHGHHGHGGHHGHGGH

Thirdly, I HATE THE RELATIONSHIPS IN THIS BOOK. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF THEM.
Honestly I am just so mad at this book. And the whole reason for Max and Alice being in each other’s dreams was idiotic. What an anti-climax.

I just had so many problems with this book. So. Many. Problems.

I can’t even. Ugh.

I am going to give Dreamology one out of five hearts.