ARC Review: Waterfell by Amalie Howard

Title: Waterfell (Aquarathi #1)
Author: Amalie Howard
Publication: October 29th 2013 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...


Nerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthright—the undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weapon—until her father's betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa's upcoming birthday—the day she comes of age. 

Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa's mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?

-- My Rating --

4/5 Oscars: Really liked it

-- My Thoughts --

     I have heard of the author and I was familiar with her writing before, since I read her other book, Bloodspell, a while ago. Although I didn't like Bloodspell a lot, I fell in love with this one. And it was a truly delightful read!
     Nerissa has been hiding among humans for a long while. She has to. No one can know her true identity. That she's a princess of a kingdom under the sea. And on her seventeenth birthday, she has to fight the evil ruler who killed her father and take back her kingdom. She can't tell Jenna, her best friend. She can't tell Lo, the human guy that she DEFINITELY shouldn't fall for, but whom she is.
     I love books about creatures under the sea. Kingdoms under the sea. They always sound like fairy tales, things that little girls dream of in the night, and I LOVE that. Amalie Howard has a talent for writing in the paranormal genre. And although her previous book was about witches and vampires and werewolves, this one is about the Aquarathi, the huge creatures living in the Waterfell Kingdom. And Nerissa is their princess. 
     I have to admit that, at first, i didn't like Nerissa at all. She acts like she's above everyone else, and she commandes the guardians she lives with. She was hard to like , but after she met Lo, and turned into a cute teenager and a brave leader, all wrappe into one, I started admiring her. But my favorite character was Jenna, Nerissa's best friend. She is the true role model of how every best friend should be. I so wanted her to be real, only because I wanted a friend like her, once that I could tell my secrets to and not worry about anyone finding out. I adored her.
     This book is full of twists and turns. In the middle , it got a bit boring and slow-moving. But that was quickly replaced by fighting scenes and a lot of things were at stake towards the end. I didn't see the twists coming, and I liked that. Although this book is not the best out there, it was still intriguing enough to keep me turning the pages, and it made me want to read more about the Aquarathi people. So, if you're a fan of the paranormal, and would like a new twist to it, then this is the book for you!

ARC Review: Sidelined by Kendra C. Highley

Title: Sidelined
Author: Kendra C. Highley
Publication:October 1st 2013 by Entangled: Teen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind publisher..

After being pushed to excel her entire life, high school basketball star Genna Pierce is finally where she wants to be. University scouts are taking notice, her team is on its way to the state tourney, and Jake Butler, the hot boy she's daydreamed about since ninth grade, is showing somedefinite interest. When he asks her out and their relationship takes off, Genna believes things can't get better.

Then, it's over.

A freak accident ends her career before it's even begun. Her parents are fighting more than ever, her friends don't understand what she's going through, and she's not sure who she is without basketball. And while he tries to be there for her, Genna doesn't understand how Jake could ever want the broken version of the girl he fell for.

Her life in a tailspin, Genna turns to the only solace that eases her pain: Vicodin. 

-- My Rating --
4/5 Oscars: Really liked it

-- My thoughts --

     This was the first time I heard of the author but the concept looked really good. It was definitely the first time I read about such a flawed main character and liked it that much!
     Basketball was Imogen's whole life. She was happy, even though her mum wasn't always around. She had a great father, a great best friend, and the cute guy she has liked forever, Jake was interested in her.Up until a fatal injury later, her life is changed forever. No more basketball, her family is falling apart, and she doesn't wanna see anymore. She turns to the only rescue from the pain, Vicodin.
     Drug addiction is a sensitive and very important topic nowadays. So, I was really glad that the author approached this subject. Our main character, Genna is a girl who has centered her whole life around basketball. So when that's gone, her life feels empty. She was the most realistic character I have ever read. She had flaws, and she wasn't just the perfect girl like in every YA novel. No, she knew that her addiction was somehow wrong but she wanted a way away from the pain, and she got that from the Vicodin.
     The romance in this book is absolutely amazing! I LOVED Jake. Every girl wants a guy who will change for her. He is a total player, but for Genna, he changes into this absolutely wonderful gem of a guy! Even when she pushes him away and turns to the Vicodin, he still loves her and won't let her go. That was beautiful.
     The plot is a little slow-moving at times, which is why this book got a four star and not a five star from me. This book is realistic. It doesn't cover anything up for the sake of the reader, or hide truths in plain sight. No. It's straight-forward and it's amazingly crafted to represent the teenage years. It felt real in every aspect, and i LOVE that about contemporary books. This book is a book about redemption, and the power of love. It's one book that'll stay with you for a long, long time. 

Review: Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Title: Audrey, Wait!
Author: Robin Benway
Publication:April 10th 2008 by Razorbill
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Owned

California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous!

Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can't hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi.

Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.

-- My Rating --

4/5 Oscars: Really liked it

-- My Thoughts --

     I chose to read this book just by chance. I didn't know what it was about, I haven't read the blurb. So, I dove totally blind into this one, and I cannot believe how much I liked it.
     Audrey dumps Evan. And then he writes her a song "Audrey, Wait!". And then, the song becomes a sensation. Now, everyone knows Audrey's name. The cameras follow her around. And nothing is staying private anymore. But alongside all that, there's the guy she knew forever, James, always there for her. But Audrey still has to choose between fame and her normal life.
     I always like books that have a little bit of the celebrity-life in them. And I really liked it that Robin Benway tried to explain the down side of being famous. And she nailed it. The whole concept of this book is well-developed. The plot is swift-moving, it is at times slow, but that's what you come to expect from contemporary books. And I didn't mind it.
     The main characters are three-dimensional. Audrey is a typical teenager. She makes her mistakes, she has flaws, but she is altogether a great girl. And she feels real. You could connect with her on so many different levels. Most of the focus of this book has been given to Audrey, and the other characters were not really well-developed. I didn't mind that, either. But I DID wish that they were a little more developed.
     The romance is at its very peak. It's sweet, slow, and real. of course, there are no overly steamy moments. and they are teenagers. They make mistakes, which is definitely normal. I liked the author's approach on the romance avenue. It didn't jump from "like" to "love" and I appreciated that.
     Overall, this book is a cute summer read. One that you can enjoy on the beach, or on your front porch on a sunny day. One that is not fully deep or supernatural, but is a picture of real life with a touch of fiction. And who doesn't like a twist to their normal lives?

ARC Review: Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell

Title: Goodbye, Rebel Blue
Author: Shelley Coriell
Publication: October 1st 2013 by Amulet Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind publisher..

Rebecca Blue is a rebel with an attitude whose life is changed by a chance encounter with a soon-to-be dead girl. Rebel (as she’s known) decides to complete the dead girl’s bucket list to prove that choice, not chance, controls her fate. In doing so, she unexpectedly opens her mind and heart to a world she once dismissed—a world of friendships, family, and faith. With a shaken sense of self, she must reevaluate her loner philosophy—particularly when she falls for Nate, the golden boy do-gooder who never looks out for himself. Perfect for fans of Jay Asher’s blockbuster hit Thirteen Reasons Why, Coriell’s second novel features her sharp, engaging voice along with realistic drama and unforgettable characters.

-- My Rating --

4/5 Oscars: Really liked it

-- My Thoughts --

     I wanted to read this book for a while now. I am a huge fan of bucket lists and their significance. I knew I would like this book, and I was right.
     Rebecca "Rebel" Blue is a rebel. She isn't afraid to be different and she does everything her way. But when a girl she knew just for one day, dies, and leaves Rebel her bucket-list, she decides to do everything on the girl's list. With the help of Nate, her family, and people she never knew existed, she finds out that life doesn't always have to be lived alone. And that the best things are done with people, not without them.
     Rebecca has just been out of a tragedy, and she is never used to actually settling down in one place, it's hard for her coping with her new life. So, she does everything to piss off her aunt and uncle. Her teachers. She is happy with living that kind of life until that bucket list that stumbles into her life. Now, Rebel wants to prove that she can also do good.
     I will give Shelley Coriell a 5-star on the characters. They were three-dimensional, with flaws, with misgiving, and that made them real. Rebel is the kind of girl you've always wanted to be, but never had the courage. She is head-strong, loyal, and insecure, but she doesn't know it. Her journey throughout this book will shine some light on the teenage anxieties that are common nowadays. Coriell definitely know how to craft teenage emotions, and since I'm around the same age as most of the characters, I could connect fully with them. And I know, that anyone, at any age, can do the same.
     The romance is sweet, slow-moving, and a typical contemporary romance. But I didn't mind that. I liked that there was no love-triangle, they're kinda getting old. I loved the romance, and there is nothing that I would want to change about it. The character development is mainly focused on Rebel. Although, most of the characters DO develop throughout the book, the most development is owned by Rebel. She changes from this loner into such a friendly, lovable young lady. It was evident in every page.
     On the other hand, there was ONE little thing that bothered me. The whole fate thing. Everyone around Rebel believed that it was fate for her to get her hands on the dead girl's bucket list. And when Rebel wanted to get rid of the list, it wouldn't be get rid of. And that little part, was a bit unbelievable for me. Rebel could just decide to keep the bucket list, not be FORCED by some greater force to keep it. But that's not a huge issue, and you can overlook it. This book is recommended to everyone with a little liking for contemporary and inspirational stories! I am definitely going to read more from the author!

ARC Review: Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb

Title: Witchstruck (The Tudor Witch #1)
Author: Victoria Lamb
Publication: July 5th 2012 by Corgi Childrens
Genre: YA Romance, Historical Fiction
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

Meg Lytton has always known of her dark and powerful gift. Raised a student of the old magick by her Aunt Jane, casting the circle to see visions of the future and concocting spells from herbs and bones has always been as natural to Meg as breathing. But there has never been a more dangerous time to practise the craft, for it is 1554, and the sentence for any woman branded a witch is hanging, or burning at the stake.

Sent to the ruined, isolated palace of Woodstock to serve the disgraced Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and half-sister of Queen Mary, Meg discovers her skills are of interest to the outcast princess, who is desperate to know if she will ever claim the throne. But Meg's existence becomes more dangerous every day, with the constant threat of exposure by the ruthless witchfinder Marcus Dent, and the arrival of a young Spanish priest, Alejandro de Castillo, to whom Meg is irresistibly drawn - despite their very different attitudes to her secret.

Thrilling and fast-paced, this is the first unputdownable story in a bewitching new series.

-- My Rating --

3/5 Oscars: liked it

-- My Thoughts --

     I'm always up for books with magic in them, and this was no exception. Although, most of the books I've read in this genre, I have liked a lot, this was not the case with this book. I liked it, but I was a bit disappointed, too.
     Meg is a maid for the disgraced Lady Elizabeth, sister of Queen Mary of England. She's had a gift for magic, and she is used to practicing it with her Aunt Jane. But things get a bit awry when a Spanish priest and his young priest-in-training get sent to the castle where Lady Elizabeth is staying, to help her improve her Catholic faith. even though Elizabeth doesn't believe in Catholicism at all. And it's a bit confusing for Meg to have feelings for Alejandro, he's going to be a priest after all , and she's a witch! Chances of that working out are slim to none.
     The time setting for this novel is perfect for the suspense. It's a time when witchcraft is forbidden and the punishment is severe. Meg lives in a palace where all the attention is on the princess, Elizabeth. Everyone is watching to see where they go wrong. So, it takes a lot of courage for Meg to do what she does and for Elizabeth to keep it a secret. The first thing I LOVED about this book is its strong heroines. Elizabeth, Meg, her aunt Jane are all very, very brave women. They are counted as role models. Lady Elizabeth is a great portrait of a woman who has been injured by time and loneliness but she still stands her ground.
     I have to admit that Meg and her stupid decisions annoyed me to no end, sometimes. But she kind of grew on me, and I cared for her towards the end. The witchcraft aspect of this novel was present, but not in a large amount. I was disappointed about that. I wanted more acknowledgement of the craft and more details, but i only got limited preview. The romance is sweet, but unbelievable, too. I didn't know what Alijandro's intentions were, since it was very unlikely for him to fall for a witch, know that she's a witch, and not tell anyone.
     This book dragged a lot, specially in the middle. Since, nothing seemed to happen only in parts of the book, where we FINALLY got to see some action. I hope that the author has more suspense and action in store for us in the second book in the series. And probably, then, we finally get to see some development on the poor romance.