Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

 4 Stars

I never expected to love Royal Bastards like I do.

This is one of those books that you can’t even talk about because everything you want to say is a spoiler. I will say there were way more twists than I expected and most of them were not pleasant. There is some romance, but it is definitely not the meat of this story. This is the 1st book in a planned trilogy, and I already know I will read every. single. one. I am in.

The beginning of this book reads more like MG and the vocabulary is oddly modern for the type of historical fantasy I was expecting. When I started I thought it would end up being a light fantasy like My Lady Jane. It definitely takes a darker turn though and sets itself firmly on the YA shelf. It is political, violent and magical with a definite world that is solidly set. I hope the physical book gets a world map, and I can’t wait to see the fan art for these characters (and creatures).

Buy ROYAL BASTARDS Here – (Hardcover)

Buy ROYAL BASTARDS Here – (Kindle)

I received an advance reader copy of this book that I have chosen to review.

Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

 4.5 Stars

Girl out of Water is an unexpectedly good debut by Laura Silverman. The blurb sounded really interesting to me, but I don’t read YA Contemporary very often so once I received it I had “reviewers remorse” and didn’t pick it up for several months. I wish I hadn’t waited so long. This book is really good.

Laura Silverman did an amazing job of capturing what it feels like to surf and skateboard. Or at least what I, as an extremely uncoordinated non-athlete, imagine that it feels like to participate in those sports. Her descriptions made me want to try my hand at both activities. The characters were perfect. They were diverse and seemed well fleshed out. Lincoln is her “disabled” black love interest (he seems anything but disabled)…. and he’s smart & hot! She has a Samoan best friend and counts a lesbian couple that has been together forever as part of her core group of friends.

I will mention for those that care, Anise has a “sailor’s mouth” and extensive curse word vocabulary. There is underage drinking and talk of sex though I believe kissing is the furthest anyone goes. It is a true depiction of teenage life and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!

The love triangle-ish situation made me uncomfortable because both guys are really great. They both have reasons why they are perfect for her and it’s sad when you realize that someone will inevitably get hurt. The ending is HFN, which I’m not usually a fan of, but fits this couple and their life plans.

Buy GIRL OUT OF WATER Here – (Kindle)

Buy GIRL OUT OF WATER Here – (Paperback)

I received an advance review copy of this book that I have chosen to review.

 

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

4 Stars

This book was adorably geeky and fun. While reading it, I had complete A Cinderella Story vibes (you know you love that cheesy movie!) It was perfect YA fluff and I would have no qualms about giving it to any of the geeky girls in my life.

My favorite character BY FAR was Sage. She was so well developed and cool that I would have loved to see even more of her. I love when books have LGBT characters that they don’t make a big deal about. They just let them live their life without making their sexuality the main event.

I wasn’t a big fan of this cover when I first saw it, but the pics I’ve been seeing on Instagram of the hardcover make me want a copy for my bookshelf. It is GORGEOUS and photographs so well that I just want to buy it and take pictures. In short, if you want a light-hearted YA romantic comedy this is a solid bet.

Buy GEEKERELLA Here – (Kindle)

Buy GEEKERELLA Here – (Hardcover)

I received an advance review copy of this book that I have chosen to review.

Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell

4 Stars

I’m pretty sure the reason I wanted to read this book was because of the cover. I mean, LOOK AT IT!

I’ll be honest with you here. I haven’t read much of the mainstream YA Fantasy out there right now, so I can’t tell you if “it’s been done before”. What I can tell you is this book drew me in and kept me there. The slavery conditions Rose experiences are incomprehensible and create an instant “bad guy”. From the very beginning, there was always something happening, and I couldn’t put this book down.

I have two minor complaints. I usually enjoy “insta-love” (especially the fated kind) but this was a little fast, even for me. After I got over the initial “insta-love” shock I was completely on board with the romance. I also felt like Rose got too involved in the group too quickly. She went from being imprisoned, then training the next day, and being involved in her first mission the next. She jumped in with both feet, and they seemed to welcome her.

Amber Mitchell said she wrote this as a standalone with room for a sequel. She is completely right. I finished this book and was satisfied with where it ended, BUT I would 100% read a sequel. In fact, I’m hoping there is a sequel. Rose experienced so much growth in this book that I can’t wait to see how she handles what comes next.

Buy GARDEN OF THORNS Here – (Kindle)

Buy GARDEN OF THORNS Here – (Paperback)

I received an advance review copy of this book that I have chosen to review.

Off the Ice by Julie Cross (Juniper Falls #1)

3.75 Stars

3.75 Stars? I know it’s a strange rating, but I couldn’t decide between a 3.5 and a 4.

Off the Ice is a mature YA romance. It deals with some extremely hard subjects and those subjects play a very large part. The romance was a little lacking, but the kissing was good.  I found the characters actions and reactions to be believable. The author could have gone the dramatic route with the ex-girlfriend, but she didn’t and I appreciated the realness of it. The secondary characters were surprisingly developed. I already see some characters that I hope get their own books in the Juniper Falls series (I’m looking at you Leo!)

I debated on reading this because I don’t generally read hockey romances. I live in Texas, and it’s hot here, there is no ice and football is king. Hockey is foreign to me. BUT I read my 1st Julie Cross book last year and absolutely fell for her writing. I’m glad I tried this one. I think it’s a solid start to a series and I hope to see more books in it soon.

Buy OFF THE ICE Here – (Kindle)

Buy OFF THE ICE Here – (Paperback)

I received an advance review copy of this book that I have chosen to review.

The Hard Count by Ginger Scott

4.5 Stars

The Hard Count by Ginger Scott is a true YA Sports Romance. I love a sports romance, and this one was a really good blend of sports and love. The romance felt real, and there was enough football in it to actually feel like a sports romance. It wasn’t just a romance with an athlete, it was actually about the game and the politics, and all the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on.

This book had so much unexpected feeling in it. It ran the gamut of emotions and I felt them ALL. Nico is exactly the type of character I love. He’s extremely intelligent, emotionally and morally strong, with great athletic ability. Reagan is perfect for him and the chemistry is off the charts.

I push my lips together tight, but can feel them twitch. I’m nervous, and I want to go back to fighting with him over ancient philosophies and the foundation of religious beliefs. That… that… is actually easier than standing here and feeling like this.

Feeling… vulnerable.

I haven’t read Ginger Scott before, but if this is any indication of her writing ability then I will be returning for more.

Buy THE HARD COUNT Here – (Kindle)

Buy THE HARD COUNT Here – (Paperback)

I received an advance review copy of this book that I have chosen to review.

$1.99 Book Sale! My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane is on sale for $1.99 on Kindle. I just finished this book and haven’t written the review yet, but I couldn’t wait to tell you it’s on sale right now. This book is usually $9.99 (for the Kindle version) and $1.99 is a great sale. This is a comedic fantasy unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It is in no way heavy, and just an all around enjoyable read.

The narrators do break the 4th wall though and speak directly to you, so if that is something that annoys you then this might not be for you. I really enjoyed how lighthearted this fantasy was. There is a touch of romance, but it is definitely YA material.

Buy MY LADY JANE Here – (Kindle)