Review: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1)

Title: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1)
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

Review:

This book is a great introduction to this new series.

This story started out as a type of Mulan story. Maia’s father is selected as a master tailor to go to the emperor, but he is unwell. Only him or his sons could go because women can’t be tailors. Maia dresses up as her brother and goes to the palace to compete in a competition to become a royal tailor. I thought this was going to be the whole story, so I was surprised when the competition ended so quickly. The rest of the story followed Maia on a journey to get special materials to create mythical dresses.

The only thing I didn’t really like about this book was the romance. It felt a little forced to me, because it seems like it can’t work out. I hope it works out better in the next book.

I’m curious to see what happens in the next book, because this story felt complete to me. I’m not sure where the plot is heading, but I’m excited for it to continue.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Reflection by Elizabeth Lim

A Dress for the Wicked by Autumn Krause

Have you read Spin the Dawn? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Tweet Cute

Title: Tweet Cute
Author: Emma Lord
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 21, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A fresh, irresistible rom-com from debut author Emma Lord about the chances we take, the paths life can lead us on, and how love can be found in the opposite place you expected.

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

Review:

This book is a great twist on a Romeo and Juliet style of story.

Pepper and Jack are the children of rival sandwich company owners, though they don’t know it at first. They go to the same school and they tweet from their family’s company’s Twitter accounts. They start a Twitter war, that their families encourage rather than stop. At the same time, Pepper and Jack are also communicating on a secret app which hides their identities. There were many layers to their relationship, from Twitter to their chatting app, and even to their relationship in real life.

This story was a lot of fun. It kept making me hungry because of all the food that was described. There were lots of sandwiches, but there were also desserts because Pepper and her sister have a baking blog. They made delicious sounding desserts, such as Monster Cake, which is made of every sweet food you can imagine.

I really enjoyed this story! I recommend having some sweet treats nearby when you read it!

Thank you Wednesday Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison

Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson

About the Author:

Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. TWEET CUTE is her debut novel. You can find her geeking out online at @dilemmalord on Twitter.

Have you read Tweet Cute? What did you think of it?

Review: Echoes Between Us

Title: Echoes Between Us
Author: Katie McGarry
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 14, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Echoes Between Us is bestselling author Katie McGarry’s breakout teen contemporary novel about a girl with everything to lose and the boy who will do anything to save her.

Veronica sees ghosts. More specifically, her mother’s ghost. The afterimages of blinding migraines caused by the brain tumor that keeps her on the fringes and consumes her whole life haunt her, even as she wonders if it’s something more…

Golden boy Sawyer is handsome and popular, a state champion swimmer, but his adrenaline addiction draws him to Veronica.

A girl with nothing to live for and a boy with everything to lose–can they conquer their demons together?

Review:

This is a great paranormal story.

Veronica has a brain tumor. Her mother died of brain cancer, and Veronica’s tumor is getting worse, but she wants to keep it a secret. This is more complicated because she also sees her mother’s ghost in her house. That makes her want to research ghosts for a paper at school. When Sawyer, the popular boy at school, moves into the apartment in her house, she has her suspicions of her haunted house confirmed because his sister also sees the “monsters” downstairs.

I loved the paranormal, ghost hunting aspects of the story. They were creepy. I found myself holding my breath in many parts. Those parts were very descriptive and realistic.

The paranormal parts were slightly fantasy, but there were also serious issues addressed in this book. Veronica has a brain tumor, which she is in denial of. There are also some characters with addictions. These health problems were also scary because they were very realistic.

I really enjoyed this story!

Thank you Tor Teen for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1) by Michelle Hodkin

Say You’ll Remember Me by Katie McGarry

Have you read Echoes Between Us? What did you think of it?

Review: Every Other Weekend

Title: Every Other Weekend
Author: Abigail Johnson
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Can life begin again…every other weekend?

Adam Moynihan’s life used to be awesome. Straight As, close friends and a home life so perfect that it could have been a TV show straight out of the 50s. Then his oldest brother died. Now his fun-loving mom cries constantly, he and his remaining brother can’t talk without fighting, and the father he always admired proved himself a coward by moving out when they needed him most.

Jolene Timber’s life is nothing like the movies she loves—not the happy ones anyway. As an aspiring director, she should know, because she’s been reimagining her life as a film ever since she was a kid. With her divorced parents at each other’s throats and using her as a pawn, no amount of mental reediting will give her the love she’s starving for. 

Forced to spend every other weekend in the same apartment building, the boy who thinks forgiveness makes him weak and the girl who thinks love is for fools begin an unlikely friendship. The weekends he dreaded and she endured soon become the best part of their lives. But when one’s life begins to mend while the other’s spirals out of control, they realize that falling in love while surrounded by its demise means nothing is ever guaranteed.

Review:

Adam and Jolene both have separated parents. They meet when Adam visits his dad on the weekends at his new apartment. Adam escapes from his unpleasant situation to be with Jolene, who also has a complicated family life. She stays with her dad’s new girlfriend on the weekends because he stays at work all the time to avoid her. She is used as a pawn in her parents’ divorce.

Though both Adam and Jolene spend time at the same building every other weekend in their fathers’ apartments, they have very different situations. Adam’s parents are separated but they still love each other. Jolene’s parents trade her back and forth, but don’t actually care about her. Though Adam’s father wants to give him attention, Adam pushes him away. At the same time, Jolene craves love but can’t get it from either of her parents. I liked that though they were similar, there were also drastic differences in their lives.

There was also an uncomfortable relationship between Jolene and another neighbour at the apartment. I won’t spoil what happens, because I don’t like to give spoilers, but there was an inappropriate incident that occurred. It was kind of predictable that it would happen because there were warning signs leading up to it, but Jolene didn’t notice them. It was a scary moment, but it made sense that Jolene would find herself in that situation.

I really liked the ending of this story. It was a great book!

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Even If I Fall by Abigail Johnson

A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison

Have you read Every Other Weekend? What did you think of it?

Review: One of Us Is Next (One of Us Is Lying #2)

Title: One of Us Is Next (One of Us Is Lying #2)
Author: Karen M. McManus
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling thriller everyone is talking about, One of Us Is Lying! There’s a new mystery to solve at Bayview High, and there’s a whole new set of rules.

Come on, Bayview, you know you’ve missed this.

A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one’s been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts.

Until now. 

This time it’s not an app, though—it’s a game. 

Truth or Dare.

Phoebe’s the first target. If you choose not to play, it’s a truth. And hers is dark. 

Then comes Maeve and she should know better—always choose the dare. 

But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous. The dares have become deadly, and if Maeve learned anything from Bronwyn last year, it’s that they can’t count on the police for help. Or protection.

Simon’s gone, but someone’s determined to keep his legacy at Bayview High alive. And this time, there’s a whole new set of rules. 

Review:

This is another great thriller from Karen M. McManus.

The cliffhangers at the end of the chapters were great. I found it really difficult to put the book down, even when I was reading before bed. The big plot twists, like who was getting a “Truth or Dare” text from the mysterious person, were set up for a few chapters before happening, so I was kept guessing.

This is the first book by Karen M. McManus that I’ve read that I didn’t guess the ending before I finished it. Some of the clues to who is responsible for the “Truth or Dare” texts isn’t given until after they were revealed, so I don’t think you could figure it out before the end. However, there was a huge reveal in the final pages, which really shocked me. I hope there will be a third book in the series!

I loved this book!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read One of Us Is Next? What did you think of it?

Review: Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1)

Title: Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1)
Author: Abigail Hing Wen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

“Our cousins have done this program,” Sophie whispers. “Best kept secret. Zero supervision.” 

And just like that, Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turnGone is Chien Tan, the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop.

But not every student is quite what they seem:

Ever is working toward becoming a doctor but nurses a secret passion for dance.

Rick Woo is the Yale-bound child prodigy bane of Ever’s existence whose perfection hides a secret.

Boy-crazy, fashion-obsessed Sophie Ha turns out to have more to her than meets the eye.

And under sexy Xavier Yeh’s shell is buried a shameful truth he’ll never admit.

When these students’ lives collide, it’s guaranteed to be a summer Ever will never forget.

Review:

This was an exciting book about a group of teenagers sent to Loveboat, where they are supposed to learn about their culture but end up partying instead.

The characters were complex in this story. They each had a detailed backstory and storyline, though Ever was the main character. They had all been through things, which shaped the choices they made. They also changed throughout the story, so my opinions of them were different by the end from when they were first introduced. I was surprised at how some of the characters developed, but I won’t give the names so it isn’t spoiled.

The kids in this book were pretty wild. They snuck out of Loveboat and had wild parties. There was also tons of romance. It was fun to read, because it seemed like a summer long party.

I really enjoyed this book!

Thank you HarperCollins Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn

Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao

Have you read Loveboat, Taipei? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: A Love Hate Thing

Title: A Love Hate Thing
Author: Whitney D. Grandison
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When they’re stuck under one roof, the house may not be big enough for their hate…or their love.

When Tyson Trice finds himself tossed into the wealthy coastal community of Pacific Hills, he’s ready for the questions, the stares and the feeling of not belonging. Not that he cares. After recovering from being shot and surviving the rough streets of Lindenwood, he doesn’t care about anyone or anything, much less how the rest of his life will play out.

Golden girl Nandy Smith has spent most of her life building the pristine image that it takes to fit in when it comes to her hometown Pacific Hills where image is everything. After learning that her parents are taking in a troubled teen boy, Nandy fears her summer plans, as well as her reputation, will go up in flames. 

Now with Trice living under the same roof, the wall between their bedrooms feels as thin as the line between love and hate. Beneath the angst, their growing attraction won’t be denied. Through time, Trice brings Nandy out of her shell, and Nandy attempts to melt the ice that’s taken Trice’s heart and being. Only, with the ever-present pull back to the Lindenwood streets, it’ll be a wonder if Trice makes it through this summer at all.

Review:

This is a great modern romance.

I loved that Nandy and Tyson came from two completely different worlds, yet they made such a good couple. Nandy is from Pacific Hills, which is a wealthy community. Tyson came from Lindenhood, where he was involved with dangerous people. They still found common ground, though they had very different upbringings.

The story was fast paced. Though it was long, there were so many ups and downs, so I was always kept guessing as to what would happen next. There was loads of tension between Nandy and Tyson, so I kept wondering if and hoping that they would get together.

I was a little confused about the ending. I had an ARC of the book, so it may have been different in the final edition. My copy had it ending in the middle of a conversation. I’m not sure if that’s what was supposed to happen because it was kind of abrupt.

I really enjoyed this book!

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

About the Author:

Whitney D. Grandison was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, where she currently resides. A lover of stories since she first picked up a book, it’s no surprise she’s taken to writing her own. Some of her works can be found on Wattpad, one of the largest online story sharing platforms, where she has acquired over 30,000 followers and an audience of over fifteen million dedicated readers.

Buy the Book:

Have you read A Love Hate Thing? What did you think of it?