ARC Review: Paintbrush

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Title: Paintbrush

Author: Hannah Bucchin

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Mitchell Morrison and Josie Sedgwick have spent their whole lives at the Indian Paintbrush Community Village, a commune full of colorful characters tucked in the mountains of North Carolina, and they aren’t particularly close–at least, not anymore. Josie wishes she could spend all of her time at Paintbrush planting tomatoes, hiking the trails, or throwing giant communal birthday parties, while Mitchell can’t wait to escape the bizarre spiritual sharing and noisy community dinners. Luckily for both of them, high school graduation is just around the corner.

But when Mitchell’s mother makes a scandalous announcement that rocks the close-knit Paintbrush community, and Josie’s younger sister starts to make some dangerously bad decisions, the two find themselves leaning on each other for support – and looking at each other in a whole new light. Their childhood friendship blossoms in to something more as they deal with their insane families, but as graduation approaches, so does life in the real world, forcing Josie and Mitchell to figure out what, exactly, their relationship is – and if it can survive their very different plans for the future.

Source: Thanks so much to Blaze Publishing for providing me with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley!

How I Found Out About It: Netgalley

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The vibrant paints on the cover of Paintbrush really got my eye when I was browsing Netgalley one day. My natural instinct after seeing such a beautiful cover is to check out the book’s synopsis, so I did. I have to say that I was hooked, and I expected something great.

Paintbrush ended up being just mediocre. It wasn’t my favourite story ever, but I’ve read wayyyy worse books. As a girl who devours contemporaries almost 24/7, I was unable to find much originality in this book, which left me feeling bored.

To briefly summarize the story, Paintbrush revolves around the dual-POVs of teens Mitchell and Josie. They have never left their community village, but graduation is soon approaching and they still don’t know what they’d like to do with their lives. Mitchell would like to leave and go to college, and Josie wishes to stay in the community she’s always known and treasured. When an adult makes a surprising announcement, the two end up bonding and are forced to rethink all of their decisions.

Honestly, I don’t think that books with multiple POVs have been working much for me lately. Since this book had dual-POVs, I simply felt like Josie and Mitchell’s bland personalities were split into half, making then even duller than they already were. I truly cannot assign any traits to either of them- they literally felt like cut-outs of teenage romantic partners.

There also wasn’t much of a plot in this story. It’s nothing that the avid contemporary reader hasn’t seen before- enemies turned into lovers figuring out how to handle their relationship after they graduate from high school. I have read too many stories like this, and adding one in without a plot does not make things better. This book did not captivate me at all while reading, nor did it make me want more.

It may seem like all I’m doing in this review is complaining, but I do still want to cover the positives about Paintbrush. It’s a fluffy, exuberant, fast read, so if you’re looking for something that will save you from reading dark fantasies and other books of sorts, this one would be great for you. I just read this in the middle of what could be a contemporary binge, so all I really got out of it was clichéness.

All in all, Paintbrush did not blow me away like I was hoping it would. I appreciated the light weight of the story, but its characters and plot were underdeveloped. With that being said, I’d recommend this book for those searching for a fast story about a romance that blooms during the senior year of high school. It’s not the most original read, but cute enough to be enjoyed.

*I received a digital ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Tithe Review

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Title: Tithe

Author: Holly Black

Genre & Age Group: Fantasy, paranormal, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Welcome to the realm of very scary faeries!

Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms – a struggle that could very well mean her death.

Source: School library

How I Found Out About It: Goodreads

Honestly, I think I should give up with reading fantasy books. I’ve tried so many times already, but I am always left feeling so disappointed.

Since I am *somewhat* interested in fairies, I thought this book would be a win for me. I hadn’t given many novels about fairies a try, so in reading this book, I was hoping to gain more of an appreciation for the paranormal genre. Well, that almost failed.

Tithe is basically about a girl named Kaye who often travels with her mom and her rock band, but now under unforeseen circumstances, she is forced to live in her New Jersey hometown again, where there are many intimidating fairies. Kaye finds herself tangled up between two teams of fairies… which one will she choose?

I don’t have much to say about the characters other than the fact that they were bland. Kaye had next to no personality and she was super forgettable, and since I finished this book almost two weeks ago, the only other character that I can remember is the one I mentioned in my Goodreads mini-review; one of the leading fairies named Roiben. He was unmemorable as well, truthfully, but while reading I really liked his character. I guess not quite enough to contain him inside my brain, though…

Story-wise, I appreciated the interesting premise of this novel, but I didn’t feel wowed or gripped. I enjoyed reading this book at first as I got to learn all about the city and how full of fairies it was, but as the action increased, I turned out to dislike it quite a bit. If you read my reviews regularly, then you know that I am not particularly an action fan. Go figure with this book.

Overall, although I liked the writing style of this book and still feel compelled to continue on with the series (eventually), Tithe ultimately just lacked so much for me. The characters were as dull as the dullest shade of grey, the storyline turned out to be boring, and the ending was so weird. If you know that you can trust paranormal novels to give you a good time, then by all means, try this one out, and I’m sure you’ll love it to pieces! But contemporary lovers, maybe take a pass. 

My Life Before Me Review

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Title: My Life Before Me

Author: Norah McClintock

Genre & Age Group: Historical fiction, mystery, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Nothing worth fighting for comes easy.

Cady has always wanted to be a reporter, like her hero Nellie Bly, so after a fire burns down the orphanage she lives in, she’s ready to leave small-town Ontario and make her mark as a newspaperwoman. A crumbling newspaper clipping leads her to Orrenstown, Indiana, where her investigation into a long-ago murder earns her a hard lesson in race relations. Smart and determined, and more than a little headstrong, Cady pokes a stick into a wasp’s nest of lies, dirty politics, corrupt law enforcement and racial tension—and ends up fearing for her life as she closes in on something she’s never cared about before—the truth about her own origins.

Source: Birthday present

How I Found Out About It: Kathy Kacer, the author of another book in the series called Stones on a Grave, visited my school and talked about the series!

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My Life Before Me is the last of the 7 books in the Secrets series that I decided to read. My friend had told me that it wasn’t the best book in the series, so I saved it for last with relatively low expectations. 

It turned out to be that I am in agreement with my friend- in my opinion, it was the worst book in the series. I lost interest in it rather quickly and I did not find myself relating to the protagonist.

First, I am going to tell you guys all about the series in case you haven’t read my reviews for any of the other books yet. Basically, they each follow a different teenage girl and their journeys after their orphanage burns down in 1964. You may choose to read only one book in the series or all of them- it ultimately doesn’t matter how many of them you read and in what order. They are all written by different authors with different storylines, so there is at least one of them for suited for any reader to enjoy.

This book in particular revolves around Cady. Since her orphanage has just burned down, she decides to pursue her dream of being a reporter by moving to Indiana and investigating a murder. Unlike all of the other girls, she isn’t really interested in where she’d come from, but will that information still approach her?

Cady was an average, mediocre character. Just an ordinary Joe, to put it that way. She was quite brave and very determined to help out with the murder mystery, but I found her to be a bit aloof and cold. All characters do have flaws, but Cady’s closed personality did not allow me to relate to her very easily.

This story boasted a smooth-sailing plot, but I wasn’t too intrigued by the mystery that it offered. As I said before, this book couldn’t capture too much of my interest and I got bored of it quickly. I wasn’t bored enough to not finish it, but bored enough to not focus as much while reading it, if you get what I’m saying.

Overall, My Life Before Me was a satisfactory read. It may not have been my cup of tea, but I can still see myself recommending it to other readers with different interests. Are you interested in historical murder mysteries? If so, then I think that you will get the most out of this book.

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Stones on a Grave review here

Innocent review here

The Unquiet Past review here

ARC Review: More of Me

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Title: More of Me

Author: Kathryn Evans

Genre & Age Group: Science fiction, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Teva goes to school, studies for her exams, and spends time with her friends. To the rest of the world, she’s a normal teenager. But when she goes home, she’s anything but normal. Due to a genetic abnormality, Teva unwillingly clones herself every year. And lately, home has become a battleground. When boys are at stake, friends are lost, and lives are snatched away, Teva has a fight on her hands—a fight with herself. As her birthday rolls around, Teva is all too aware that time is running out. She knows that the next clone will soon seize everything she holds dear. Desperate to hang on to her life, Teva decides to find out more about her past . . . and uncovers lies that could either destroy her or set her free.

Source: Thanks so much to ABRAMS Kids & Amulet Books for providing me with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley!

How I Found Out About It: Netgalley

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Before More of Me, I had never read about clones, so when I came across this book on Netgalley, I was very intrigued and decided to request it, expecting a super cool storyline and characters.

This book definitely turned out to meet my expectations for an interesting, fun, sci-fi read, and I hope to read many more books like this one in the future!

For a quick summary, this book revolves around a high schooler named Teva. At first glance, she seems like a normal girl who goes through all the same situations as a normal high schooler would. But there’s a catch: a genetic mixup has caused her to have a bunch of clones of herself- one created per year, to be exact. Soon enough, she gets fed up by the fact that her life is taken by a clone every year, thus she strives to go and find out more about both her past and her condition.

Teva was quite whiny, secretive, and complained a lot at first, but I absolutely found myself warming up to her by the book’s end as she develops her knowledge about herself as well as her confidence. Despite this, I really don’t think she’ll be a character that sticks out in, say, six months.

The plot of this story was probably what I enjoyed the most about it. More of Me was extremely fast-paced with no plot holes, and I never really found myself getting bored of it while reading. There are hooks to appeal the reader on almost every page as the plot keeps twisting and turning!

All in all, I really enjoyed my time immersed in More of Me as it was a compelling, fun, and fast read. In my opinion, contemporary lovers would adore this book as it is the perfect bridge between contemporary and science fiction, offering many elements of both. Be sure to be on the lookout for this book at a store near you starting on June 13th, 2017!

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*I received a digital ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Heartless Review

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Title: Heartless

Author: Marissa Meyer

Genre & Age Group: Fantasy, retellings, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Source: Public library

How I Found Out About It: Hype!

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I have devoured all of the books in the Lunar Chronicles series, excluding Winter which I haven’t read yet because of its massively intimidating size. Marissa Meyer has an amazing writing style, so when I heard that she was releasing another retelling, I was all in. It took me a while to get my hands on it, but once my hold for it at the library came in, I was overjoyed!

Just as expected, I really enjoyed Heartless. For me, it was much better than the story of Wonderland itself, which I didn’t really enjoy and rated 2.5 stars. I adored Meyer’s writing once again along with the captivating plot, but the character development was a tiny bit lacking.

To quickly synopsize the story, it follows a girl named Catherine whose parents want her to be the queen of Wonderland, but she prefers baking. The King is very interested in pursuing a relationship with her, but her life turns upside down when she meets the handsome Jest. Will she choose to marry, or keep along with the dream she’d originally planned to follow?

I have to tell you that the characters themselves in this book are rather dull. I didn’t connect with them too much and I don’t see myself remembering them for much longer, but I did enjoy reading about the relationships that formed between them- except not that love triangle! Cath was honestly adorable with both the King and the Jest, but personally, I found myself preferring her relationship with the King. They are seriously a couple made in heaven!❤️

The plot entertained me much, much more than the characters did. I was left on the edge of my seat reading about all of the decisions Cath made as well as all of the adorable romantic moments between her and the love interests. There was always something interesting happening in the story, so it was very hard for me to find myself bored.

All in all, Heartless did not disappoint! Marissa Meyer is one of my favourite sci-fi and fantasy authors, and her writing yet again enveloped me. I hope to see more from her regarding this amazing storyline- maybe a sequel or even a novella from one of the love interests’ POVs would be great! Anyway, if you’re in want of a dark retelling of Alice in Wonderland with an intriguing plot and lyrical writing, then this novel is the one for you!

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Between the Lines Review

Title: Between the Lines

Author: Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, fantasy, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.
And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.
A romantic and charming story, this companion novel to Off the Page will make every reader believe in the fantastical power of fairy tales.

Source: Public library

How I Found Out About It: Goodreads

I have been meaning to read a Jodi Picoult book for the longest time. My Sister’s Keeper has been on my TBR since the dawn of time (literally), but I have not gone around to reading it. When I found Between the Lines at the library, I snatched it right off the shelf- not just because I was dying to check out Picoult’s work, but because the storyline was so intriguing!

Boy, this book did not disappoint one bit! Other than the fact that it didn’t wow me enough to deserve full stars, I have absolutely no complaints about it. Most of the characters were great, and the plot was executed flawlessly!

To briefly synopsize, Between the Lines is about a girl named Delilah. Her favourite book is a special fairy tale book, which is especially special to her because when she turns to a certain page, the characters come to life, which provides good support for her as she doesn’t have many friends in reality. Could she use the book as an escape, or will the characters use her as an escape from their own life?

I felt as if I could relate immensely to the protagonist, Delilah. Just like me, she is a reading machine, but unlike me, she just focuses on one special story. I also appreciated there being a shy protagonist being introduced for once, and I really enjoyed leaping into her relatable thoughts during her POV.

I also loved Oliver, who is the prince that leaps out of the storybook and into Delilah’s life. He was so adventurous, and I adore that in male characters! Since I am not too adventurous and neither is Delilah, I would totally ship them together. Or him with me. Or… I don’t even know, really. XD

Although Between the Lines was a bit slow in the beginning before Oliver and Delilah’s storylines overlapped, once it sped up, I began to devour it. It was simply awesome being able to watch as a book character literally jumped into the world of her ultimate favourite book!

One thing that was extra special about this book was that we actually got to leap into the storybook that Delilah loved with all her heart. Accompanied by full-colour images, the story gives a good background as to where Oliver is coming from and what types of events pique Delilah’s interests. Though not totally necessary, it is for sure what makes this book stand out in the crowd.

All in all, my time reading Between the Lines was amazing. I loved getting to know Delilah and Oliver and exploring their world, and I can’t wait to read the sequel, Off the Page! If you simply love reading and often find yourself wanting to submerge into the worlds of your favourite characters, then this novel is for you. This book will seriously make you feel like you’re in there, following all the events with the awesome characters. 

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*4.25 Stars*

 

The Amateurs Review

Title: The Amateurs

Author: Sara Shepard

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, mystery, thriller, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

I need some answers about my sister. Help…

Five years ago, high school senior Helena Kelly disappeared from her backyard in Dexby, Connecticut, never to be heard from again. Her family was left without any answers—without any idea who killed Helena, or why.

So when eighteen-year-old Seneca Frazier sees a desperate post on the Case Not Closed message board, she knows it’s time to change that. Helena’s high-profile disappearance is the one that originally got Seneca addicted to true crime. It’s the reason she’s a member of the site in the first place.

Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, she agrees to spend spring break in Connecticut working on the case with Maddy Wright, her best friend from Case Not Closed. However, the moment she steps off the train, things start to go wrong. Maddy’s nothing like she expected, and Helena’s sister, Aerin, doesn’t seem to want any help after all. Plus, Seneca has a secret of her own, one that could derail the investigation if she’s not careful.

Alongside Brett, another super-user from the site, they slowly begin to unravel the secrets Helena kept in the weeks before her disappearance. But the killer is watching…and determined to make sure the case stays cold.

Source: Public library

How I Found Out About It: Goodreads/Blogging

I am always a fan of a good mystery book. I love feeling gripped to the read and having the ability to guess the culprits of all of the mysteries. The Amateurs is a book that I’d been hearing some pretty great things about, so after finding it at my library, I decided to give it a try.

I really enjoyed The Amateurs in a four-star rating kind of way. Though I couldn’t necessarily bond with the characters, I fell in love with the riveting storyline and found it very hard to put down.

I think that it’s best to go into this book blind, but for the briefest of brief synopsizes, this book follows four teens in their quest to find out the mystery about another teen girl who had gone missing five years before. That’s all I’m going to get into here, and plus I would say that is all that’s necessary to know about the story before diving in.

This book had four main characters, but I did not find myself able to pinpoint any of their traits. All of them were quite dull, which I did not like, but I still really appreciated the team-working skills they all possessed as well as their determination to solve the mystery.

What I enjoyed the most about The Amateurs was once again, the gripping, fascinating plot. I’ve said it once, but I will say it again- this book is seriously unputdownable. Cliché to say about a book, maybe, but it’s 100% true! The mystery always kept me on my toes guessing, and once it was solved, I could not believe it!

All in all, I enjoyed The Amateurs a lot. I loved the mystery and the writing style, although the four protagonists were quite bland. For those avid young adult readers looking for a gripping, thrilling read that will take you through a roller coaster of events, Sara Shepard’s book is the one for you!

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10 Things I Can See from Here Review

Title: 10 Things I Can See from Here

Author: Carrie Mac

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Perfect for fans of Finding Audrey and Everything, Everything, this is the poignant and uplifting story of Maeve, who is dealing with anxiety while falling in love with a girl who is not afraid of anything.

Think positive.
Don’t worry; be happy.
Keep calm and carry on.

Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.

Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves?

Source: Public library

How I Found Out About It: Blogging/Goodreads

Since I have been wanting to read many more diverse books lately, 10 Things I Can See from Here completely fit the bill for what I was looking for. I’m not quite sure if its culture portrayals are diverse, but the main character is lesbian and suffers from a severe anxiety disorder. As I love to get different viewpoints of life while reading books, I got very excited when I found this on a shelf at my local library.

This story turned out to be everything I was expecting it to be, but I wouldn’t say that it knocked my socks off. I loved the relatable protagonist, the writing style, and the storyline!

Basically, 10 Things I Can See from Here is about a girl named Maeve. She suffers from an anxiety disorder, and even though she is often told to think positively, it is very hard for her to do. Since her mom is going to Haiti for a few months, Maeve is sent to her dad in Vancouver to start a whole new life. As you would expect, this gives her a lot of anxiety, but as she meets many new people including a girl named Salix whom she develops feelings for, is Vancouver really so bad after all?

I must say that I really enjoyed exploring the character of Maeve and her world. I found that I could relate to her at times in her thoughts- I too sometimes get really anxious and riled up about things. I often want everything to be in place and all events confirmed, and I was glad to see that another book character felt the same way. As I said before, she was really anxiety-ridden, but I don’t know enough about anxiety disorders in order to be able to tell you if the representation was accurate. For the most part, it seemed pretty realistic to me- but ultimately, I’m no doctor.

As for the plot, it did have its ups and downs. The story started off being a bit slow, but as it picked up by about the halfway point of the book, I found myself appreciating and enjoying it so much more. Even when the plot was at its climax, I still sometimes found myself just staring at the page out of boredom, but this was a very rare happening. The events were still rather interesting and gripping!

Overall, 10 Things I Can See from Here definitely left me in need of more. Would I like more of Maeve? YES! Would I like to read more from Carrie Mac? DOUBLE YES! This story is a great one to read if you are in search of diversity, family ties, and a good F&F romance that we don’t see nearly enough of. I’m sure you’ll devour this novel!

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ARC Review: Romancing the Throne

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Title: Romancing the Throne

Author: Nadine Jolie Courtney

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Scandal, secrets, and heartbreak abound in this juicy, modern girl-meets-prince story—perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Jennifer E. Smith.

For the first time ever, the Weston sisters are at the same boarding school. After an administration scandal at Libby’s all-girls school threatens her chances at a top university, she decides to join Charlotte at posh and picturesque Sussex Park. Social-climbing Charlotte considers it her sisterly duty to bring Libby into her circle: Britain’s young elites, glamorous teens who vacation in Hong Kong and the South of France and are just as comfortable at a polo match as they are at a party.

It’s a social circle that just so happens to include handsome seventeen-year-old Prince Edward, heir to Britain’s throne.

If there are any rules of sisterhood, “Don’t fall for the same guy” should be one of them. But sometimes chemistry—even love—grows where you least expect it. In the end, there may be a price to pay for romancing the throne…and more than one path to happily ever after.

Source: Thanks so much to Indigo Books & Music Inc. for providing me with a physical ARC of this book!

How I Found Out About It: Indigo ARC newsletter

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Once I saw the synopsis of this book, I was sold. I love light, fun, modern stories about royalty and family ties, so I had a feeling I’d love Romancing the Throne. 

I did really enjoy certain aspects of it, but overall, with all of its aspects tied together, this book just wasn’t a favourite of mine. It was for sure fluffy and cute, but there were still major flaws that I couldn’t really overlook.

To synopsize, this story follows a teen girl named Charlotte, who is competing with her sister Libby for the throne of Britain. The sisters are finally at the same school, so outgoing, frivolous Charlotte decides to introduce shy, reserved Libby to her social circle. With that comes a handsome prince named Edward, who is the throne’s heir. Suddenly, the sisters find themselves fighting over both the throne- and the prince.

When I read books, the universal rule for me is that if I dislike a protagonist, then the book loses major points from me. This book was the perfect example of that. Charlotte was not a favourite main character of mine whatsoever, as she complained on almost every single page of the book and I found her to be rather stuck-up and insensitive. Basically, she was the polar opposite of me, and I prefer reading stories about characters I can actually relate to. For instance, if this book followed shy, sweet Libby instead, I would have enjoyed it that much more.

This was a romance story, but I really disliked that part of it. Here we’ve got a love triangle between the sisters and Prince Edward, and it was so darn annoying! Edward wasn’t that cute, and he wasn’t that memorable, and I did not see sparks fly between him and either of the sisters. I do have to say that I loved Charlotte and Libby’s relationship and how they always stuck up for each other, though! (#SISTERGOALS!)

One thing that I DID immensely enjoy about Romancing the Throne was its plot and royalty premise. When one hears the word “royalty,” they often tend to think of the medieval times and monarchs with their horses, crowns, and thrones. Or, sometimes they even think of fairy tales! I really liked that in this book, all of those stereotypes regarding royalty were smashed, showing us that monarchs are normal people. This book also stayed true to modern times with many mentions of social media and texting, which is something that many contemporaries seem to miss.

All in all, I would definitely recommend Romancing the Throne for those wanting a sweet, fluffy book focusing on sisterhood and royalty, but don’t mind an annoying love triangle. I know this book will put you in a good mood, just like it did for me!☺️

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review.*

Lucky Jonah Review

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Title: Lucky Jonah

Author: Richard Scrimger

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, magical realism, LGBTQ+, middle grade

Goodreads Synopsis:

What if you could escape your life with just one click?

Bullied by his brother and living in the shadow of his athletic best friend, Jonah is crippled by self-loathing and insecurity. Then a mysterious stranger hands him a disposable camera with the power to transport him into someone else’s body—and someone else’s life. But with a limited number of shots and trouble mounting click by click, will this unhappy boy find a new life? Or will the secret he’s been keeping follow him wherever he goes? Richard Scrimger’s Lucky Jonah is a hilarious take on a Freaky Friday-esque switcheroo with a major identity crisis.

Source: School library

How I Found Out About It: By browsing books at the library

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At my school’s library, when I was looking for something interesting to read, the cover and synopsis of Lucky Jonah reeled me in. It sounded quite a bit like the premise of Every Day by David Levithan, a story I really, really adored.

Just as I’d expected, I devoured it. Although it is technically a middle grade book, I was still able to find beauty in it that would benefit tweens, teens, and adults alike.

For a quick summary, Lucky Jonah is about a boy in eighth grade named Jonah. He is quite insecure with himself, so when he gets his hands on a disposable camera, he finds that whenever he snaps a picture with it, he gets to turn into someone else for a short period of time. Will this help him leave his life that is full of insecurities?

In spite of the lack of confidence that Jonah had, I still really liked him. I found him to be very strong and perceptive, and he always made the very best of each person’s shoes that he was in. I felt very sorry for him that he was bullied and ignored- he didn’t deserve it at all with his kindness and intelligence.

Just like I did in the similar book Every Day, I also loved the premise of this one and thought that it was executed stunningly, once again. I think that I may just have a fetish for magical realism books- they are so fun to read, and I love still being able to delve into the contemporary genre and still read about magic without having to read a fantasy book, most of which I often dislike. Jonah’s journey in this book was super amusing to follow!

There were also some pretty great morals in this story, if I do say so myself. Lucky Jonah teaches its readers to be proud of who they are, and that it’s totally okay to be different from everybody else. In this book, Jonah was questioning his sexuality, and in addition to the bullying, this left him very unsure and insecure with himself, but by the last page, he learned to be true to himself and to respect that he is who he is, and that he couldn’t change that.

In conclusion, Lucky Jonah was a gorgeous novel. It’s also so underrated, and more people definitely need to learn about it, pick it up, and devour it! In my opinion, anyone over the age of twelve could benefit a ton from reading this touching book. Its protagonist is great, its plot is captivating, and its morals are perfection. Could you ask for a better book?