ARC Review – How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

How to Make a Wish

Author: Ashley Herring Blake

Publication: May 2nd, 2017

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Format: e-ARC, 336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance

Read: May 2017

Ashley Herring BlakeGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from HMH Books for Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This is a really great coming of age story about grief and family. A few of the themes involved were friendship, sexuality, love, acceptance and letting go. I probably would’ve read it in one sitting if I’d had a physical copy of this book because while it’s super emotional and powerful, it’s so easy to get lost in.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style of this book is definitely one of its selling points. It’s powerful and emotional and intense. It’s poetic and raw. There’s a few instances of explicit content but it was so tastefully done that it flowed easily through the story. The narrative was just so honest and real, it was so great to read.

Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
The characters of this book are just so amazing. There’s nothing I love more than a character driven story and this is exactly what the kind of book that does it extremely well. All the characters are complex and complicated, they’re all dealing with so many different things and I loved seeing their individual growth.
Grace is such a strong character. She’s had to deal with so many things because of her mom that most people don’t have to that it’s made her kind of closed off. She’s tired of having to pick up the pieces after her Mom. She feels very self-conscious and vulnerable. I connected a lot with her and the responsibilities she felt she had toward her Mom.
The side characters in this series are stellar. They each have their own role within the story, but they don’t feel like they’re there just for that. Each one is complex and real. They’re relationships with each other felt so honest. I can’t stop saying the word real because I just felt like I had the privilege to sneak a peek into the lives of such amazing individuals and there’s nothing better than to find a book that gives you that.

Emotionally

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ARC Review – Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Noteworthy

Author: Riley Redgate

Publication: May 2nd, 2017

Publisher: Amulet Books

Format: e-ARC, 336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+

Read: April 2017

Riley RedgateGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Abrams Kids and Amulet Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.
Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
The plot of this book was really fun and cute though it also dealt with the heavier themes of like like gender identity, friendship, family and sexuality. It’s a coming of age story with secrets and some violence. However, I wish the ending matched the beginning, meaning I wish the themes involved would’ve come full circle in a different way and that the ending didn’t feel like such a cop out I guess.

Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
The writing style is pretty easy to read, however, there were really long chapters which made it feel like it was dragging by. It’s detailed and descriptive and quite funny and entertaining as well. I really loved the music side of the story, even though it wasn’t really a big focal point like I expected. I was a bit disappointed with the way some of the themes were explored and was hoping they would have more page time.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I’m a little sad to say that I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I was hoping to. There wasn’t anything that I particularly disliked about any of them, I have started to think that maybe this author’s writing style isn’t for me. There’s just something about it that doesn’t really allow me to get lost into the story completely like I like to.
Jordan is kind of a frustrating character but it makes sense. She’s confused and a little lost. She wants to feel like she belongs in this fancy performing arts school she’s a part of but she isn’t really finding her place within it. She’s kind of quiet and feels discouraged with her dreams. She struggles with the decision she makes and feels very guilty. She’s torn and angry. She doubts herself a lot and feels a lot of pressure. She’s dealing with all these different things going on in her life but I wish that all this coming of age and self-discovery would’ve included more honesty and  personal responsibility.
There’s a lot of side characters and they’re all such complex individuals with different stories and lives and their relationships are all so complicated and intricate. There’s a lot of diversity in this book which was so amazing to read because that’s one of the biggest positives of this story, how real they feel as a group, as people that reside in this school. I wish there would’ve been more page time for developing friendships, you see glimpses here and there but a lot of the book was just Jordan’s thoughts and feelings. I would’ve liked to have seen more page time of the friendships that developed since the story started and the ones that were already established before.

Emotionally

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ARC Review – Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

Girl Out of Water

Author: Laura Silverman

Publication: May 2nd, 2017

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Format: e-ARC, 320 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance

Read: February 2017

Laura SilvermanGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.
Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves
.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This book just feels like a warm hug to my heart. It was just so beautiful. It’s all about loss, friendship, family and abandonment. It’s a coming of age novel focused on what it means to accept change and learning to understand that life isn’t stagnant. I was entertaining through the whole thing specially since I was buddy reading with my best friend, Fadwa @ Word Wonders.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style in this book was really simple and easy to read. It was descriptive and detailed and emotional, there were a lot of powerful scenes within the novel. It was funny and entertaining. It was addicting with a steady paced and it made the story feel real and honest.

Characters – 4.5 out of 5 stars
The characters in this book are so amazing guys! They feel so genuine and honest and just like real people. It was so easy to get lost into their lives and to feel like I was living it through them while reading.
Anise kind of annoyed me haha. She is a very passionate and determined person. She was very kind and open. However, she’s very competitive and she kind of stubborned herself into mind sets that tended to hinder her more than help her. She’s really torn and also vulnerable in this book. My favorite part of her was the way she interacted with her family and the people she loved. She was so sweet and understanding that it made those relationships so heartwarming.
I lovedddd her love interest. I think he was incredibly charming and sweet and funny. He’s so smart and adventurous and I think he pulled out a part of Anise that she didn’t realize she had. He challenged in her healthy way. There were so many amazing side characters in this series but I don’t think the majority of them had enough page time. I would’ve loved to see more from Anise’s friends from home because they seemed like they had such great friendships but it wasn’t actually on page that much.

Emotionally

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ARC Review – The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

The Whole Thing Together

Author: Ann Brashares

Publication: April 25th, 2017

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Format: e-ARC, 304 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Read: April 2017

Ann BrasharesGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Random House Children’s and Delacorte Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.
Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.
The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.

Critically

Plot – 1.5 out of 5 stars
So much disappointment guys. This book doesn’t really have a linear plot, it’s all about the drama of the family that we’re reading about, that’s it. It was slow, boring and didn’t feel like a YA book at all since two thirds of the main characters were adults. There’s girl hate, an unnecessary and kind of gross romance as well as racism and sexism. Just a mess.

Writing Style – 2 out of 5 stars
The narrative style of this book was really jarring and confusing. It’s third person omniscient with multiple point of views but no real distinction between any of the voices. It was unnecessarily flowery and it dragged. It was hard to keep every character straight and the narrative was almost impersonal, I couldn’t connect to any of the protagonists.

Characters – 2 out of 5 stars
This is the first time that I’ve ever been in a complete blank in this section when writing down my thoughts after reading. There’s no life to any of these characters and no characteristics that stands them out in my mind as complex and multidimensional individuals.
The synopsis mentions two protagonists, Ray and Sasha, but there are actually three more protagonists, their siblings: Emma, Quinn and Matty. All of them are just bland characters. They are almost cardboard cutouts and stereotypical personalities. None of them feel like real people. In fact, I can’t really say anything beyond this about them. I sat for half an hour trying to come up with specific things about their personalities that set them apart from each other but there was nothing there. It didn’t help make the book any more entertaining specially since characters are a huge part of what makes books for me.

Emotionally

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ARC Review – The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz

Publication: March 7th, 2017

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Format: e-ARC, 464 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming of Age, LGBTQ+

Read: April 2017

Benjamin Alire SaenzGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group and Clarion Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
From the multi-award-winning author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe comes a gorgeous new story about love, identity, and families lost and found.
Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican-American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he? This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
Like other books from this author, there’s no linear plot, these books are generally focused on the characters and their growth throughout. This book deals with love, death, family, friendship, grief and anger. It deals with how all these things affect your relationships with people and how they affect you as a person. Unfortunately there’s a scene that mishandles a sexual assault and that’s not something I can take lightly.

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
I’m a really big fan of this author’s writing style but in this particular book, there were some misses. The writing style is lyrical and poetic. It reads really quickly and it’s engaging. It’s very emotional and very powerful. However, there were instances with unfortunate phrasing in terms of gender norms and “standards” for representing your ethnicity. There was constant use of a derogatory term as well as ableist language and none of that was necessary for the story.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
Again, another area that unfortunately didn’t sell itself completely. I liked a lot of the characters and their relationships were very real and powerful. But there were some things that really got on my nerves.
Salvador is a good main character. His point of view was really intense and emotional. He’s quiet and sweet but almost in a practiced way which I totally related to. He was almost afraid of his anger and where it came from and I have definitely been through that. He’s really lost and confused and I wanted to wrap him in my arms a lot of the time.
However, I had some issues with the side characters. Sam, who is Sal’s best friend, was my biggest issue by far. Her personality just really rubbed me the wrong way. She’s very pushy and argumentative. I really don’t like the kind of people that try to dictate the way that you should act or feel and she was like that not only with Sal but with everyone around her and that was so annoying. She has a kind heart which I appreciated and I liked that she was really in tune with her emotions but those moments when that other side came out would ruin her for me. I really loved how the entire cast was predominantly Mexican and how that culture was integrated so deeply into the story. It was just so nice to read about Latinx family and culture so genuinely expressed.

Emotionally

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ARC Review – The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

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the-pants-project-cover

The Pants Project

Author: Cat Clarke

Publication: March 7th, 2017

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Format: e-ARC, 272 pages

Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Coming of Age, LGBTQ+

Read: March 2017

Cat ClarkeGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
My name is Liv (Not Olivia)… I’m not technically a girl.
I’m Transgender. Which is a bit like being a transformer. Only not quite as cool as cool because I probably won’t get to save the world one day.
A Transformer is a robot in disguise. Liv is a boy in disguise. It’s that simple. Liv knows he was always meant to be a boy, but with his new school’s terrible dress code, he can’t even wear pants. Only skirts.
Operation: Pants Project begins! The only way for Live to get what he wants is to go after it himself. But to Liv, this isn’t just a mission to change the policy- it’s a mission to change his life. And that’s a pretty big deal.

I am a cisgender, straight woman and I know very little about transgender issues. If I say anything in this review that can be seen as offensive to the transgender community, please let me know!

Also here’s a review by a multigender writer which I found on this list of reviews of trans/non-binary literature by trans/non-binary reviewers. If you know of any #ownvoices reviews of this book, let me know so I can share them here!

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This book was really entertaining and cute. There’s a lot of passion and several themes that I enjoyed reading about and that I think are important within a middle grade specially. This book talks about acceptance, honestly, family, friendship and sticking up for yourself. Overall, it was a really nice read, super fast and just generally feel good even with the integration of serious topics.

Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
The writing style was really fast paced and easy to read. I could’ve finished the book in one sitting if I had had the time to do so. The main character has a very distinct voice and personality which I liked but it also felt very disjointed and there were some weird metaphors. Some things were not explained in the best way in my opinion and kind of made me raise my eyebrows a bit.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I liked the characters in this book, most of all the relationships between them and how they grew and developed as the book went on. Liv was pretty great. He was very determined and had a lot of tenacity which I appreciated. He was very adamant about what he wanted to accomplish with The Pants Project and what it meant to him and I love his purpose. However, he also had a temper that had gotten him in trouble a few times and it was interesting to see that kind of growth, learning how to feel his anger without physically lashing out. He was really vulnerable and secretive for various reasons but he was really kind as well. Like I said above, I really liked the relationships that were explored in the story. The family dynamic is really great and Liv has a sibling with whom he gets along well, as well as you can with a younger sibling and I loved their relationship! There are quite a few side characters and the ones that had most page time I felt were well developed and interesting to read about. I want to mention that there is one character who does say transphobic and homophobic things. They are clearly condemned in the text and the author makes a point to call them out for being bad things to say and to believe but I want to make sure people know before reading in case it’s triggering.

Emotionally

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ARC Review – Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon

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Done Dirt Cheap

Author: Sarah Nicole Lemon

Publication: March 7th, 2017

Publisher: Amulet Books

Format: e-ARC, 336 pages

Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age, Romance

Read: February 2017

Sarah Nicole LemonGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Abrams Kids and Amulet Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens. Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of Hazard, a powerful attorney: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club—and Tourmaline. But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.

Critically

Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This book doesn’t have a linear plot in my opinion, it’s much more character oriented. But there’s a lot of amazing themes expressed and developed in this story. It’s a coming of age and it talks about hope, ambition, trust, friendship, honesty, bravery and just general girl badassery. It took me awhile to get into it but it caught my attention after the first quarter.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
This author’s writing is one of my favorite things about this book. Contemporaries tend to have very simple and easy to read writing, and while this has that, it’s also really poetic and lyrical. There are some really beautiful lines in this book that paint a detailed picture with descriptions that are intense. This book has dual POVs since the two main characters narrate the story but the distinction is very subtle and I wish it could’ve been more obvious to have an easier time transitioning between narrators.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
This is the selling point of this book. Not only are there two amazing female protagonists but they build such an incredible friendship that is pretty much the most important part of the story. I am kind of obsessed with these girls and their bond to be honest. Tourmaline is kind of the more naive of the two. She’s been sheltered her entire life and has a certain perception of the world because of who her father is and what he does. She feels really guilty for what she did when she was younger. However, she’s learning a lot about what is really happening around her and she’s defiant and determined. I loved seeing her become more confident as the story progressed. Then we have Virginia (it got a bit confusing sometimes since the setting is also Virginia) and she’s kind of like rough and tough. She’s definitely been through hardship and her life isn’t really what she envisions for herself. She makes the most of what she has but slowly things start to unravel and she wants to look to escape. She’s very vulnerable and scared, she’s dealing with a lot of anxiety but she’s also learning to open up and depend on others. Again, the friendship between these two characters is absolutely incredible and the best part of this book. But there are also a lot of complex and interesting relationships and romances that I feel were very well developed but didn’t take away from the friendship being the focal point of the story.

Emotionally

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ARC Review – the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace

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the princess saves herself in this one

Author: Amanda Lovelace

Publication: February 14th, 2017

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Format: e-ARC, 208 pages

Genre: Poetry

Read: January 2017

Amanda LovelaceGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Andrews McMeel Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

4-stars1

Synopsis
From Amanda Lovelace, a poetry collection in four parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, and you. The first three sections piece together the life of the author while the final section serves as a note to the reader. This moving book explores love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, and inspiration.

Emotionally

So this review is obviously a little different than all the ones I’ve done before. I’ve never reviewed a poetry collection before so I’m kind of winging it at the moment. I hope everything I share here makes sense and if it doesn’t, please let me know!

I first heard about this collection on Twitter. A lot of mutual book community friends were raving about it and though I hadn’t read poetry in a really long time (since high school), I wanted to give it a try. When I say that it was up to Read Now on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to check it out!

This collection is divided into four parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen and you. It explores themes of love, loss, grief, death, empowerment and honesty. Because this is contemporary poetry, I don’t feel like it’s right to make a critically section in this review. The writing style is incredibly personal and the way the stanzas and poems are laid out are part of that experience. All the poems were raw and powerful, there was a lot of emotion emitted from the pages which is completely tangible as you read.

I enjoyed the entire collection but I have to say that I found it hard to connect. I liked the stories and pictures the author painted for the reader but I didn’t connect with the majority of them. I felt like I was reading a much more personal journey than something for me to feel connected to. For some reason, it felt much more intrusive to me, like I was looking into the intimate details of a stranger’s life and I didn’t have any right to it. But that’s just me being weird because the content and delivery of these poems is beautiful and intense.

My favorite section is definitely the queen. It was the part I connected to the most out of all of them and I felt like it was the culmination of the journey the author was telling in the first two parts. We learn about so many personal things from her life, so many hardships that the queen section feels like her triumph. It feels like this is the person she is now because of all the learned from all the things that happened then. And I think that 1. that was really brave of her to share with the world and 2. it’s incredibly empowering to read and to absorb.

Here are some of my favorite poems from the collection:

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Overall, I’m glad I read this collection when I did. I hadn’t read poetry since high school and this reminded me oh how much I enjoyed it. Definitely recommend it!

So that’s it for this post! This was one of the hardest reviews ever because I couldn’t use my usual format and it screwed me up haha. I’d love to know if any of you have read this collection and what you thought! Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!

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ARC Review – The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

book-review-the-last-of-august

The Last of August Cover

The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes #2)

Author: Brittany Cavallaro

Publication: February 14th, 2017

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Format: e-ARC, 336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Retellings

Read: January 2016

Brittany CavallaroGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Harper Collins Children’s via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

4.5-stars1

Synopsis
In the second brilliant, action-packed book in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy, Jamie and Charlotte are in a chase across Europe to untangle a web of shocking truths about the Holmes and Moriarty families.
Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter break reprieve in Sussex after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But nothing about their time off is proving simple, including Holmes and Watson’s growing feelings for each other. When Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the Holmes estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring—the game is afoot once again, and Charlotte throws herself into a search for answers.
So begins a dangerous race through the gritty underground scene in Berlin and glittering art houses in Prague, where Holmes and Watson discover that this complicated case might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.

Trigger warning for mentions of rape, drugs and violence.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
I always feel like these books are over saturated because there is so much going on with the plot at all times. There’s mystery and suspense. It’s really dark and intense and sometimes very confusing as well. There are always a lot of twists and turns and I didn’t see anything coming which is both good and really bad. The ending was really abrupt and kind of cliffhanging and that’s probably my biggest complaint. It left me with a giant question mark.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
I really like the author’s writing style. It’s very vivid as well as detailed and descriptive. It’s so fast paced but at the same time very confusing. The main character, Jamie, is left out of a lot of information and so that affects the overall narrative of the story, the reader tends to be just as lost and confused and angry as him throughout the story which is both good and band. When we get a bit of a switch up in the POV, I like how both voices are very distinct and unique.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I’m becoming a huge fan of this cast of characters. However, they are all extremely flawed and extremely complex and maybe not the best people. I don’t think I’d be their friends in real life though I love reading about their craziness. Jamie is getting a lot more reckless and brave in this book. He tagged along and was kind of like the sidekick in the first book but now he’s kind of tired of that role and wants to be a lot more involved in solving the mysteries that are going on though he sometimes pushes it way too far for his safety. He’s a lot angrier and desperate than he was in the first book but he’s also just as loyal and open and kind. I liked seeing how he’s developing as a character though I want more from him as well. Charlotte kind of drives me crazy. She’s reckless and destructive to herself but also really smart and cunning. She opens up a lot more in this books so I feel like the reader gets to know her more in this one but I also feel like there’s still more to learn! I want to know every nook and cranny of her personality because she’s such a complex character but we’re not there yet. The actual relationships between the characters (including the side characters) are my biggest issues with this series. The relationship between the two main characters is problematic and sometimes even toxic in a way that puts me off sometimes. There are also no great familial relationships or relationships between parent and kid that are really healthy. All of them are kind of wrong and weird and uncomfortable and though it makes a lot of sense for the plot and the kind of characters they are, I don’t think its the best theme to explore.

Emotionally

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ARC Review – Dreadnought by April Daniels

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Dreadnought (Nemesis #1)

Author: April Daniels

Publication: January 24th, 2017

Publisher: Diversion Books

Format: e-ARC, 265 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, LGBTQ+

Read: January 2017

April DanielsGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Diversion Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

4-stars1

Synopsis
An action-packed series-starter perfect for fans of The Heroine Complex and Not Your Sidekick.
Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.
It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in their ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head.
She doesn’t have time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer—a cyborg named Utopia—still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.

I am a cisgender, straight woman and I know very little about transgender issues. If I say anything in this review that can be seen as offensive to the transgender community, please let me know!

Also here’s a review by a trans woman writer which I found on this list of reviews of trans/non-binary literature by trans/non-binary reviewers.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
The plot of this book was really action packed and intense. It kicks off right away with the scene described in the blurb and has a lot of emotional and powerful moments throughout. There were times when I was a little confused with the world building. It was kind of choppy, some things I felt were over explained with a lot of time spent with them and others didn’t have as much of a spotlight. However, I really enjoyed how the author explored themes of family, friendship, identity and acceptance.

Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
Honestly, it was hard for me to get into this book in the beginning. It had a medium pace but I still felt like the book dragged. For some reason, the book took me a really long time to read even though I was enjoying it. The writing style is really descriptive and detailed though I felt like some things were more so than others. And it’s also graphic and unapologetic when depicting not only action scenes but the prejudices that Danny faces.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I really liked the characters in this series though for some reason I was very confused with Danny’s race. I don’t know why going into this book it was something that I fixated on, I can’t even tell you why, but I couldn’t picture her for half of the book because it never specifically said the color of her skin. There’s a certain point where another character comments on her whiteness and that’s the only mention of it. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m trying to be more conscious about race or what, but yeah that threw me for a loop. But anyway, I really liked Danny as a narrator, though there is SO MUCH going on in her life from the moment that we meet her that it sometimes made it hard for me to wrap my head around. She’s very happy about the situation she finds herself in but also really scared and nervous about how that is going to change her life. She struggles a lot with decisions and I liked her sweet, kind and brave nature. Sometimes I think she pushed herself too far too fast and it made me nervous for her well being but it definitely showed the determination she has. There are also a lot of side characters in this book, so many that it felt like they weren’t developed enough. I wanted some of them to have more page time and others to have a whole lot less than they ended up having. They were all very unique and I had some favorites obviously, though again, I got some mixed signals with the appearances of some of them. There’s also a lot of antagonists I guess you could say, people who are against Danny for some reason or another and damn did those characters create so much crap for the poor girl. It was so harsh and painful and yet so brutally honest and real, specially since this is an own voices trans book that it broke my heart and pissed me the f off at the same time.

Emotionally

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