Book Review of Sounds Like Summer by Six de los Reyes

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Sounds Like Summer by Six de los Reyes

Publication Date: March 26, 2017.

Publisher: Independently published.

Genres: Romance, Mental Health, New Adult, and Contemporary Romance.

Recommendation: I highly recommend this book.

Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice 

Synopsis: It’s not just a weekend for Lux Castelo. She has a plan, of course.

Phase One: Escape to the beach for a music festival.
Phase Two: Deal with what she can’t control.
Phase Three: Return to reality whole and ready.

Nowhere in that plan is Micah Jacinto, self-proclaimed adventurer and the kind of boy with his head stuck in the clouds and the moon inked on his arm—everything her rational sense tells her to stay away from. And yet Lux finds herself welcoming the distraction. As they spend the entire weekend together, Micah leads her to rediscover the lost pieces of herself amidst the excitement and the confusion of a raving mosh pit.

But all weekends come to an end and Lux needs to return to the dreaded reality she’s running away from. Does being brave enough to leave summer behind mean being brave enough to ask Micah to stay?

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Content warning: this book deals with depression, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm. Some of this will also be discussed in my review.

What makes Sounds Like Summer a must-read romance novel is the fact that it mixes the best parts of what makes a typical summer romance novel amazing with heavy hitting topics such as what it’s like to live with depression. This book is about Lux Castelo and Micah Jacinto and the weekend they spend at Summer Storm — a weekend-long festival filled with live music acts, parties, and time spent at the beach by the ocean. However, this book is about more than just the romance; this weekend is about Lux escaping her life for a weekend to process what she has been through because of her depression and to, for a moment, forget. After Lux and Micah spend this weekend together, they find out that what happens at a summer festival does not have to stay there and sometimes the smallest of coincidences can lead to the greatest of adventures, no matter how small and scary they might be.

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ARC Review of The Navigator’s Touch by Julia Ember

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The Navigator’s Touch by Julia Ember

Publication Date: September 13, 2018.

Publisher: Duet Books.

Genres: Fantasy and Young Adult.

Purchase here: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice

Synopsis: After invaders destroyed her village, murdered her family, and took her prisoner, shield-maiden Ragna is hungry for revenge. A trained warrior, she is ready to fight for her home, but with only a mermaid and a crew of disloyal mercenaries to aid her, Ragna knows she needs new allies. Guided by the magical maps on her skin, battling storms and mutiny, Ragna sets sail across the Northern Sea.

She petitions the Jarl in Skjordal for aid, but despite Ragna’s rank and fighting ability, the Jarl sees only a young girl, too inexperienced to lead, unworthy of help. To prove herself to the Jarl and win her crew’s respect, Ragna undertakes a dangerous expedition. But when forced to decide between her own freedom and the fate of her crew, what will she sacrifice to save what’s left of her home?

Inspired by Norse mythology and J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, this companion novel to The Seafarer’s Kiss is a tale of vengeance, valor, honor, and redemption.

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Thank you Duet Books for my ARC of The Navigator’s Touch. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

The Navigator’s Touch is about Ragna, a teenage girl and trained warrior who is hungry for revenge after she was kidnapped, her village destroyed, and family murdered. The story is inspired by Norse mythology which is seen through the involvement of Norse gods, one who has a very specific connection to Ragna and the magical maps displayed all over her skin.

Two years later, Sigrid gave birth to a girl. At first, the child seemed unremarkable. Astrid came into the world screaming, demanding attention and reverence, a small mirror of her mother. But a few days later, curious markings developed on the baby’s pale skin. Lines of latitude stretched across her chest and legs, and, as the days passed, cobalt continents and oceans of cerulean blue appeared.

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Book Review of The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Publication Date: November 1, 2016.

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books.

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, and Romance.

Recommendation: I highly recommend this book.

Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice

Synopsis: Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

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The Sun Is Also a Star is a book I have had on my to be read list for quite some time, and it did not disappoint when I finally read it. If you are in search of a young adult story that will pull you in, make you both laugh and cry, and at the same time be thought-provoking in the way it portrays what is meant to be and what choices shape our future, look no further. The Sun Is Also a Star has it all and is the perfect blend of sweet, sour, and bitter in the same way that reality and uncertainty is. The story’s two main characters are both of color — Natasha is Jamaican and Daniel is Korean-American — and the book itself shows the way immigration in the U.S. works.

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BLOG TOUR – ARC Review of Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi

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Hi readers and welcome to my blog post for the Star-Touched Stories blog tour. Here you can expect a thorough review of the book, purchase links, early praise, and more. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi

Publication Date: August 7, 2018.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press.

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, and Short Stories.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice 

Synopsis: Three lush and adventurous stories in the Star-Touched world.

Death and Night

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

Poison and Gold

Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Queen Gauri and King Vikram’s new reign presents itself, she is thrown into the path of the fearsome yet enchanting Spy Mistress. To help her friends, Aasha will have to battle her insecurities and perhaps, along the way, find love.

Rose and Sword

There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?

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Thank you, St. Martin’s Press, for my ARC of Star-Touched Stories. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Star-Touched Stories is an anthology filled with three stories from the world established in The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi. The three stories are beautifully written and I was blown away by their excellence, their originality, and the way they made me feel. This book was so much better, so much more than I ever could have imagined. I have decided to review the three novellas separately for you to truly see what makes them magical.

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Review of Unrealistic Dreams by Yool Wie — A Poetry Collection

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Unrealistic Dreams by Yool Wie

Publication Date: June 11, 2018.

Publisher: Clavis & Somnium.

Genres: Poetry.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice

Synopsis: For you, the reader. I hope this book will give you hope: the fuel to carry on. I root for you.

From within the darkness,
you gazed at the stars above.
Mesmerized by their beautiful light,
you thought you were in the sky, too.
Wake up!
Someone smacked the back of your head.
Stop looking at the stars!
Return to darkness.

Why? You wondered.
Because stars are unrealistic.

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Thank you to the author, Yool Wie, for my gifted copy of Unrealistic Dreams. I received this review copy in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion.

The poetry collection Unrealistic Dreams by Yool Wie starts with a promise in its very first poem. This is a very bold move. A promise, like the following made by the author, ensures that there are expectations and these expectations have to be fulfilled when the reading experience is over with.

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Book Review of The Boyfriend Backtrack by Dawn Lanuza

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The Boyfriend Backtrack by Dawn Lanuza

Publication Date: October 3, 2014.

Publisher: Anvil Publishing.

Genres: Romance, New Adult, Chick Lit, and Contemporary.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice

Synopsis: If they say that life flashes right before your eyes when you die, do you also get a flashback of your exes when your perfect boyfriend is proposing to you? At least that’s the case for Regina Cortez. There’s her dramatic high school boyfriend, her first college crush, the irresistible heartbreaker, and the ever elusive one. By backtracking to her past, will Regina make it to ‘I Do’? Or will she just keep running away?

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The Boyfriend Backtrack has overnight become one of my all-time favorite romance novels. The elegant and easy to get through writing and the mix of the friends to lovers and second chance romance tropes makes the book a hit. The main character of the novel is Regina, who after her boyfriend Kevin proposes, gets a flashback of all of her exes. This leads to a journey where Regina meets all of her exes again, in order to figure out what she wants and who her one true love is. Regina is an artist, a lover of France, and an amazing protagonist to follow.

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ARC Review of 27 Hours by Tristina Wright

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27 Hours by Tristina Wright

Publication Date: October 3, 2017.

Publisher: Entangled Teen.

Genres: Young Adult and Science Fiction.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository 

Synopsis: Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish. But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother’s shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon’s darkest secret. They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

27 Hours is a sweeping, thrilling story featuring a stellar cast of queer teenagers battling to save their homes and possibly every human on Sahara as the clock ticks down to zero.

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Thank you, Macmillan and Entangled Teen, for my ARC of 27 Hours. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Before I read this book I was so intrigued by the world Tristina Wright has created in 27 Hours and I have now truly fallen in love with it. 27 Hours is an action-packed character driven story which will have you rooting for the main characters while you at the same time get to know this new world far away in outer space. There’s romance, friendship, family and so much more which are all explored through the four POVs of Rumor Mora, Jude Welton, Nyx Llorca, and Braeden Tennant. Through these four different teenagers, we are taken on a journey where everything they’ve ever believed will be challenged and thus they must fight for their survival and for what’s right.

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ARC Review of Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson

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Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson

Publication Date: November 21, 2017.

Publisher: Wednesday Books.

Genres: Young Adult and Contemporary.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository 

Synopsis: Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.

1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mother’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

This summer’s going to be great.

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Thank you, St. Martin’s Press, for my ARC of Not Now, Not Ever. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

I have fallen in love with Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson. This book is funny, adorable, and perfect for anyone interested in a nerdy romantic comedy. This diverse contemporary young adult story is about Ever and her summer at a competitive camp for geniuses where she has the chance to win a scholarship to her dream school. The only catch is that everyone in her family thinks she is somewhere else and no one at camp knows her real identity.

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ARC Review of peluda by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

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peluda by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

Publication Date: September 26, 2017.

Publisher: Button Poetry.

Genres: Poetry, Hispanic American, and Family.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository 

Synopsis: One of the most original performance poets of her generation, Melissa Lozada-Oliva has captivated crowds across the country and online with her vivid narratives. Humorous and biting, personal and communal, self-deprecating and unapologetically self-loving, peluda (meaning “hairy” or “hairy beast”) is the poet at her best. The book explores the relationship between femininity and body hair as well as the intersections of family, class, the immigrant experience, Latina identity, and much more, all through Lozada-Oliva’s unique lens and striking voice. peluda is a powerful testimony on body image and the triumph over taboo.

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Thank you, Button Poetry, for my ARC of peluda. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

I have fallen in love with the poetry collection peluda and for me, what makes peluda such a unique poetry collection is how brutally honest and charismatic it is. It’s funny, deep, and a must-read for contemporary poetry lovers. peluda is feminist and about body hair, family, friendship, Latina identity, and the immigrant experience. I believe poetry collections about, and written by, women of color should be celebrated, and this collection is no exception.

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ARC Review of Ripped Pages by M. Hollis

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Ripped Pages by M. Hollis

Publication Date: September 22, 2017.

Publisher: Independently published.

Genres: Retellings, Romance, Young Adult, LGBT, and Fantasy.

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Purchase here: Amazon | GumRoad

Synopsis: Princess Valentina lives a reasonably comfortable life, but after her mother’s death, her father gets tired of taking care of her and locks her in a tower. She spends years on her own, talking to the birds on her windowsill, and reading books with adventures she will never experience. Her plans of running away are usually left for another day because she knows the vast forest surrounding her tower is too dangerous to cross alone.

Until one day, another girl passes by on her horse and Valentina wonders if she’s finally brave enough to seize her chance of freedom.

Ripped Pages is a Rapunzel F/F retelling in the format of a novelette.

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Thank you, Maria Hollis, for my ARC of Ripped Pages. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Ripped Pages is a beautiful story that feels fresh, unique, and absolutely perfect. This f/f fairytale feels modern and timeless at the same and is a retelling of the classic story of Rapunzel. Ripped Pages is a short and quick read with only about 60 pages and I do think a lot of people will fall in love with it.

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