Review: Amelia Westlake Was Never Here

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received this book for free from The NOVL in exchange for an honest review.

This book was so good!

First off, the premise is absolute genius. Creating a fictional student named Amelia Westlake to fight school injustices was such a clever idea. The injustices were a wide range of issues such as sexual harassment, homophobia, and elitism in private schools. 

The pacing of the book was spot on. Everything happened at appropriate times and nothing felt rushed. There was never a time where I felt that the story was being dragged on for too long. 

Another thing I liked was how real it was. Not everything got wrapped up super neatly at the end which is what happens in real life. Some things take a long time to resolve and mend. There were two things in particular at the end that a lot of authors would have magically fixed, but I’m happy that the author went a different route.  

The reason why I didn’t give it the full 5 stars was because the romance felt like it was missing something. I was looking for that special spark between the characters, but never quite saw it. 

Overall, I really liked this book. I loved the feminist messages and the issues it touched upon. It’s a powerful read while still being light-hearted and fun. 

I received this book for free from The NOVL in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Down & Dirty (Men of Haven #6)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Harlequin) as part of their bookstagram publicity campaign. 

I just want to preface this review by saying that I haven’t read any of the other books in the series so I can’t compare it to the others or say if this was a satisfying conclusion to the series. Even though I didn’t read the other books, I was still able to read and enjoy this as a standalone.

I was initially interested in this book because the main character, Axel, reminded me of Axl Rose, one of my favorite rockers. They’re The guy on the cover even sort of looks like him too. 

As a whole, this was a solid contemporary romance with some BDSM mixed in. It wasn’t super heavy on the BDSM (and was fairly tame), so don’t go in expecting something super crazy. The story was a very classic alpha male plot, which I tend to really like. I loved Axel and how loyal and protective he was. 

Aside from the romance, there is a secondary storyline about Lizzy’s ex. To me, that part felt a little…meh. It kind of added something to the story but at the same time it kind of didn’t. That’s my only critique of the book. 

Overall, this was a fun read, perfect for anybody looking to read a steamy alpha male romance.

Review: The Size of Everything

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

This was such an amazing but heartbreaking read! 

This book is a memoir. It details Erin Cole’s childhood told through short vignettes. What she went through growing up was so sad and intense. When you’re reading it, you keep thinking that her situation might get better, but it doesn’t until the very end. 

On the flip side, it was still inspiring. The fact that she was able to persevere and become successful is so incredible. 

I really like how the book was written because it had a nice balance between the good and the bad. There were a lot of sad stories but also some more humorous ones. Additionally, I enjoyed the writing style. It was very easy to read and flowed nicely. Using a co-author seemed to help in that regard.  

I also liked how honest the book was. It never felt like the author was ever overly harsh or exaggerating. Going back to the balancing aspect, she even highlights a few nice memories/incidents with some of the people who hurt her in the past (like her dad’s girlfriend). She showed her situation as truthfully as possible. 

Lastly, I also loved that she included some of her mom’s journal entries throughout the book. It gave a glimpse into her mind and an overall better understanding of why her mom was the way she was. The inclusion of the letters also goes back to the honesty of the book. 

All in all, this book broke my heart but was so worth reading. I hope she continues to tell her life story in another book. 

Review: William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Quirk Books) in exchange for an honest review. 

OMG this book was hilarious! Mean Girls is one of my all time favorite movies so I was so excited to read this book. 

This book is basically the entire Mean Girls movie turned into a Shakespearean play. The author did an amazing job translating it into a Shakespeare play. All the iconic lines (“You go Glen Coco!”, “The limit does not exist”, etc.) were given a Shakespeare makeover. Even “Jingle Bell Rock” which is played in the iconic Christmas show scene got translated. 

The author also did a good job putting in stage directions. The movie does jump around a lot and the author managed to make it work by utilizing a balcony. I totally want to see this play come to life on the stage! 

The book also has cute little illustrations throughout which were a nice touch.

If you are not familiar with Shakespearean plays, the author does include some helpful notes at the end that explain the elements. 

Basically, I loved how the book made Shakespeare so accessible to modern reader by combining it with a movie a lot of people know and love. It helps makes Shakespeare less intimidating. 

Overall, this is a must read for all Mean Girls and/or Shakespeare fans. I also recommend it for people looking for an introduction to Shakespeare but may not be ready for his actual work. 

Review: The Tesla Legacy

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from BookSparks as part of their YA Winter Reading Challenge. 

This was my second book by K.K. Perez and I loved it. I had previously read her other book, Sweet Black Waves, and fell in love with it, so I was eager to read this one. 

I don’t typically read sci-fi so this was a bit out of comfort zone, but I still enjoyed it. I actually really liked the science aspects. It was very interesting and I liked how alchemy was also incorporated. 

I assume this is the first book in a series so a lot of the book was setup. It did take a bit for it all to come together but that’s a good thing. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the sci-fi aspects if all the info just gets thrown at you, so I was appreciative of how it slowly came together. 

I loved the main character, Lucy. I liked how independent and critical she was. She doesn’t easily follow and believe what people tell her and is skeptical about the world she is discovering. I found that to be so refreshing. 

But that ending. Wow. K. K. Perez sure knows how to pull off plot twists. She did this in Sweet Black Waves too. She knows how to really get you at the end and make you crave the next book ASAP! 

Lastly, I have this habit when reading books of noting descriptions of libraries and this book had a magnificent description of one on page 195-196. It was at the center of the house and had spiral staircases. #LibraryGoals

Overall, this was an intriguing sci-fi novel that is a great start to a new series. 

Review: Queen of the Sea

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Rating: ★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review. 

This is a graphic novel very loosely based on Elizabeth I and her sister, Mary. And by loosely I mean that it more like an alternate history. That being said, I still enjoyed it. 

I had an ARC of this so the art was not complete and not in color but from what I got, I really liked the art. I can tell it will look stunning in its finished version. It’s cute in a way that captures the innocence of the main character well. The art was also successful in explaining things, like the history of the island. Those panels were well done and helped the story come to life in an interesting way. 

The overall storyline was good, however, the ending was a bit lackluster. It didn’t truly satisfy me. When it ended, I immediately wanted more. I felt like it was just getting started. I’m hoping this could be the start of a series. There’s a lot more to be explored. This book took place solely on the island, so I would love to see the rest of the kingdom in a future book. 

Overall, this is a wonderful graphic novel perfect for fans of history and the lives of queens. 

Review: Renegade Women in Film and TV

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

First off, this is a gorgeous coffee table book! The illustrations are so cute and I love the backgrounds of each portrait. The backgrounds all showcase something special about the woman featured.

I loved the selection of women featured. It was very inclusive. There were lots of women of color and even some LGBT ones as well. 

As for the descriptions of the women, they were on the short side, but this is a coffee table book so I was 100% okay with that. This book is meant to be more of an introduction to these incredible women, rather than a full analysis on them. The author even complied a list of essential viewing (films and TV episodes) for each woman listed to further encourage readers to physically see the work they have created. I could definitely tell that she worked in the entertainment industry because she knew her stuff and it showed. 

I also enjoyed the interviews. They were short but still insightful. The author asked the right questions that really fit the theme of the book well. 

Lastly, I liked how current this book is. It does mention some current issues like the #MeToo movement a few times.

Overall, this is a beautiful coffee table book that highlights 50 amazing women and their groundbreaking accomplishments.