Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The PartyThe Party by Robyn Harding
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If you want to read about domestic drama with some extremely unlikeable evil teenagers and rich selfish adults, that's not a thriller in reality, than this is the book for you. We follow Hannah, who's planning to go wild on her Sweet 16 birthday party, but she doesn't want to seem "uncool" next to all of her "cool" friends, so she starts doing things against the rules of the law and her parents. Needless to say, there is a serious injury that will change their lives forever, and make this party one of dark memories and regrets.

The story is told from four POVs, which I thought was necessary because this family doesn't know how to communicate with eachother and they each hold and hide their own secrets. There's Hannah, her parents (Kim and Jeff), and one of the mother's of a daughter that was at the party.

Kim Sanders is a very strict and hands-on mother, who stays at home, and is very involved in her children's lives. She thinks that she has the most well-behaved rule-abiding children in town, even though she fails to recognize that her two teenager's are growing up and growing apart from the way in which she has led them their whole lives. Her eighteen year old marriage with her husband is falling apart, in which she feels like she needs to treat Jeff like a child after last years unspoken "incident". Even Hannah and her brother notice the tension within their loveless relationship.

Hannah is a sophomore, pushing herself up to the ranks of the popular girls, which includes the controlling Lauren Ross, and her childhood best friend Ronni Monroe. As she explores her various relationships, like that with her new boyfriend Noah, she gets stuck in knowing what's right and wrong and actually doing the right or wrong thing in various situations.

When the party starts in the early evening, the girl seems to be having "clean" fun, gossiping about their classmates, eating pizza, watching their favorite movies, playing some fun games. At least, that's Hannah's parents think they're doing, until Hannah comes upstairs with blood on her hands, crying and screaming at her parents to do something, to help them. It becomes a question of "what actually happened that night?" which is the repeating question that we (as readers) are trying to piece together.

The plot was entertaining, I breezed through this book in one sitting, however the substance was a trainwreck, and the ending was ultimately a letdown, from all the action and buildup that was going on. Sure, there was a clear resolution, just not the type of climax that I was expecting to happen, which is what sorely dissappointed me.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Fitness JunkieFitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book explores and focuses on the societal obsession of weight. It's a satirical take about all the diets/fads that you can imagine. In a day and age, where the never=ending comparisons and weight loss is a part of the wedding dress industry, this book takes a funny, and yet satirical look at all the various things that we eat and do. Let me jut say that I want to have this cover on my bookshelves, because the reason that I choose to pick it up, was because my hair looks like this literally every day,so I already found something that caught me.

We follow Janey Sweet, an entrepreneur and CEO of a wedding dress company, who at a brunch with her best friend/co-worker Beau, when she gets this ultimatum. Lose 30 pounds, or lose your job. At this point in the book, Janey experiences heartbreak and betrayal like never before. Recently divorced with her husband, she feels like she's lost everyone from her life as it was.

Not only is this a story of fitness and weight, but of a lifelong friendship between Janey and Beau. Janey views Beau as her soul mate (in a completely non-romantic way), or like a brother, and the author gives flashbacks to provide insight into the development into this type of lifelong friendship. That makes the betrayal all the more painful, but the reader comes to recognize and clearly see how toxic Beau's actions were to the health of Janey, and why ultimately the decision that she made was the right one for her.

Than we follow the journey to Janey's weight loss, and some crazy, insane things go down. It was a laugh out loud type of story, if you have that sense of humor and can follow along with the Manhattan rich lifestyle that allows for these types of exercise classes and diet programs to be a reality for Janey. I loved the strong female friendships (sisterhoods if you can) that were portrayed on-page and were the comedic relief that I was looking for. Just as a side note, there is a romance in this story, but it's very secondary or put on the back-burner which seemed to fit the story better.

These two authors hit the nail on the head and make our main character so relatable, and go a little bit deeper with issues like fat-shaming in society, clothing companies not having plus sizes,etc. Sometimes it wasn't at its best when it was shallow and overdone (plot-wise) but there was consistent entertainment value throughout. It never failed to capture my attention in the way that beach read, and I hate to say it "chick lit" only does. If you're out and about this summer, looking for an immersive, yet light and fluffy summer read, this is one of those that you can go and pick up.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Monday, August 21, 2017

The Art of HidingThe Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

This book was fantastic, even better than Prowse's previous novel that I read, "The Idea of You". We follow Nina McCormick, a rich housewife, whose world gets turned upsidedown when she gets a calls that her husband is dead, and that catastrophe amplifies even more when she learns that they're bankrupt and losing everything (including their luxurious home). As a [now] single mother of two boys, a ten yo and 16 yo, she has to come through the pains and understandings of parenting these children to be the best men they can be.

All the while Nina is questioning who her husband actually was, and examining their marriage in a different light because of the things that were revealed after his death. There's also a delightful sisterhood between her and the older sister Tiggy, which was messy but ultimately protective and supportive.

One thing that I was so glad of, was that there was no love interest; Nina was just her own independent women, and she didn't need a man to provide/guide her children. I went into this book, perhaps expecting a romance of sorts, given the history of Prowse's previous books, however, the way that the story progressed, focusing on the mother-son and sister relationships was the better way to handle the plot of this.

Nina as a character is so relatable and I truly connected to her, which is what makes a book shine. However, at the same time I was so frustrated with how blind and naive she could be to her relationship to her late husband Finn. He was a controlling, money-lusting man, who wanted to mold Nina into this perfect little housewife that was oblivious to the pressure of the dangers facing their family.

In all, this is a beautiful story of loss, motherhood, and the value of family. It could be described as a family drama, a from riches to rags type of book. You would do yourself a favor picking this up, once you do, you won't stop reading until the last page.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Final GirlsFinal Girls by Riley Sager
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This thriller is honestly one that I feel took half of my breath away. We follow Quincy, one of the remaining "final girls" which is a term dubbed by the media to describe survivors of these massacres. She is deeply affected by the news of Lisa, the first final girl who supposedly committed suicide, which makes her rethink about the many dark choices a human can make and what leads to that.

One day after the news of Lisa's suicide, a women comes to Quincy's door, claiming to be Samantha Boyd, the last other surviving final girl. From there we follow a twisty path as Quincy tries to recover the memory of Pine Cottage and figure out what really happened that life-changing night.

The flashbacks to the worst moments of Quincy's life were just fascinating puzzle pieces into putting the big picture together. hey provide backstory and foreshadowing, which is incredibly difficult to do in such a short format, however Sager managed this balancing act masterfully. I would also say that if you're fan of slasher movies, this is one for you to read.

All the characters were deeply unlikable mysterious character with a closet of skeletons. They were complicated twisty characters, and I thought that the author did an excellent job of developing them to be portrayed in a certain untrustworthy way. One things that irritated me was the author using the trope of dissociative amnesia that made Quincy have an black spot of memory, because this book could have been so much more to the point if she'd known the history.

I think my problem is that I might have stepped into this book with too high expectations, and I felt like the twist was something that I could have easily seen coming (even though I personally didn't pick up on the foreshadowing). The first two thirds of the book were so slow, the pacing was off whilst Quincy baked cupcakes for her blog and exercised. The last third of the book really picked up with the pace; it could be described as a whirlwind of an ending, with the big reveal happening and things getting rapidly wrapped up.

The thing was, that the ending make no sense, and it feels like the only reason that the author wrote it this way was for shock affect. I was just unsatisfied with it, because it didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the story or even be in-character for the character. Overall, while this was a purely fun and addictive read, the hype let me down a bit, causing me to write this mixed-feelings review.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Hollow GirlThe Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

TW: Rape, harrassement, physical and sexual assault, murder, blood, graphic violence, gore

This book follows a Romani's girl, who is the apprentice of the village's powerful witch and healer, Drina. After having some harrowing experiences of harassment by the chief's son Silas, whilst being en route to the marketplace to sell her potions. At the stall next to her, she meets a golden-haired boy who is an outsider to her culture,

When on perilous night, as foretold by an intense vision from Drina, Silas and his group of croonies assaults Bethan and leaves Martyn for dead, the plot turns into a revenge story whilst trying to save the person that she cares about. I would describe this as a dark and gritty horror, so if this is not your type of book, know that going into it. For me, I read for those delicious witchy parts where I felt like I could be rubbing my hands with glee and truly enjoying the story.

Our main character, Bethan was extremely compelling and I really liked how the author explored and played the good vs evil forces within her, how she was portrayed as almost a sort of morally ambiguous character. I felt like I could feel for her, feel with her. This was probably due to the descriptive writing that Monahan was able to pull off, It's extremely atmospheric, and it paints the creepy nighttime vibe onto every page where that was necessary,

I thought that this handled the topic of rape and Romani heritage very well(as it was ownvoices and treated with sensitivity and nuance). Rape was treated like a mortal sin throughout the book, and every one of the participants got severe consequences for their actions. Bethan was never blamed by anyone other than the rapists themselves, and any notion of victim-blaming was shut down firmly by her grandmother. Also in the author's forward, there was a warning that there would be a rape scene, off-camera and not graphic, however it just made me think about how every book should have trigger warnings t the beginning. That's just the way that it should be done.

My one complaint was that the pacing of this book seemed off. There was so much anticipation that was built up to the climax scene, but the first one hundred or so pages has explanations and info=dumps within conversations that Bethan was having. For me, at least, this would have been a five star read, as it was much enjoyable as it could be with the content that it presented.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Children of Blood and Bone (Children of OrÏsha #1)Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I've never been more desperate after a sampler to sell my soul to get an ARC of this extremely promising book. So we start out in a world where magic was banished years ago, resulting in the death of Zélie's mother, who was a maji. Under the current rule of the kingdom, all of the remaining generations of maji are oppressed and also distinguished by the color of their skin and the whiteness of their hair.

So far, we got introduced to three POVs, which I thought that all of them were necessary and a part to make this story connect the dots. There's Zélie, one of the maji's daughter who is training how to fight with staffs and swords and has plans to overthrow the patriachy, and is such a bada*s at doing that.

The writing is descriptive and rich in details (but not too overboard), and seems to strike the perfect balance so I'm simply astounded by the craft and promise that this debut author is displaying.

Will I continue reading this book once it comes out? Absolutely yes, because I have a feeling that this might become one of my favs in the very near future, and I'm so grateful to have gotten a sneak peek thanks to NetGalley the publisher in exchange for my honest review of the first six chapters.

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Follow Me Back (Follow Me Back, #1)Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I went into this book not knowing anything, and what I got out of it was a dark disturbing example of catcalling and bad rep of mental illness. We follow Tessa, an agoraphobic who had an extremely traumatic experience and it consistently going to therapy to try to get help. She has an obsessions with Eric Thorn, a celebrity singer, who seems very unhappy with where his life is at.

This story is told in multi-media format like police transcripts, direct messages, and tweets, which made it a bit easier to consume for me at least. From page one, we know something very bad happens, and we spend the rest of the book trying to connect the puzzle pieces on what happened.

What I didn't want this to be, is what it did end up being: a YA contemporary romance, but with a sinister twist. I actually wasn't a fan of the romance at all, the power unbalance and behavior from the love interest made me feel really uncomfortable. So I didn't feel like I could get behind that part of the book, which quite frankly made up the majority of the book, therefore that was lots of yawning and skimming involved.

As others have pointed out, whilst reading this I felt like the writing was mainly fan-fiction and I learnt it was previous published on Wattpad, and generally I wish it would just go through more rounds of edits. One of my main characters, Eric was a self-absorbed narcissistic dick and because I absolutely hated his character and couldn't connect with him or his choices, it really did put me off from the story itself. Meaning if the characters are extremely unlikable and illogical, and there is no redemption or reliability, it's one thing that just ruins it for me.

Onto the mental health bad rep, well we know that the main character has had severe agoraphobia for the past year of the her life. We're aware that she hasn't left her room/house for that time, and than when it becomes convenient to the plot development, she leaves with ease and says that she's "over it." Which makes so sense because that means the author didn't do enough research into how recovery works and how many baby steps people take to get to a certain point in their journey.

Not all of it is horrible, because one thing that it does have going for itself is the addictive quality. For the first one to two hundred pages, it was one of those unputdownable books. Until of course we hit the roadblock of the romance getting too much into the way and the book having bad rep and getting messy. I am not a fan of the ending, at first I didn't really know what to think of it, but I can now definitively say that I'm not a fan of it.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

IdaIda by Alison Evans
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I picked this book up, for me, it was pitched as a character traveling through parallel dimensions and getting lost within the timeline of her life. Ida, is a half-Vietnamese bisexual main character, who has since childhood possessed this magical ability of supposed "time traveling". Once doppelgangers start appearing everyone she travels and following her, the story gets a creepy twist that intensifies as the story continues.

Also, we have our love interest who is genderqueer and uses they/them pronouns that are consistently respected throughout the book was an amazing thing that I rarely see done. But when I do I can appreciate it, and also to note that this isn't an issues book, it's just about two queer character happily in love when a touch of turbulence disrupts Ida's life as she knows it. Also, Frank a close cousin of Ida is transgender and so These things combine is a part of why this book is brilliant.

Onto the writing, its a bit jarring, jumpy, and confusing in the sense that most of the time I actually didn't understand what was going on for most of the plot. If you enjoy that type of writing, go for it, but personally it wasn't my cup of tea necessarily. Because of the underdeveloped worldbuilding, I kind of felt like we didn't get to have a strong sense of the setting, therefore the sci-fi element of the story wasn't as prominent as I would have liked it to be.

I just wish that Damaris and Abratros weren't seeming so unnecessary to the story, in the sense that we don't understand why they do what they do, what general power they actually work for, and who they exactly are. Whilst they were quite intriguing characters, I wish that there would either be much more character development or that they would be erased from the story at all. No in between, like there was a weird flux here.

When I saw the author's note explained that this was supposed to be a screen-play, I kind of started to understand the abrupt and random scene changes. It would be better suited for a movie, to watch and develop on the screen than in the format it was in, in my opinion.

I would describe the plot as a meandering stroll through a calm field, the intense action doesn't kick in until the very abrupt end and that felt a little bit abrupt, it felt like you got jerked uphill and left there. But overall, I do think that this is an excellent shorter/lighter NA SFF book that features so much diversity and is an underrated gem that y'all should pick up!

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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As You WishAs You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I approached this book with trepidation, having read Sedoti’s debut novel and really disliked it. However, I decided to give this author another chance and in a very small sense I’m glad that I got to experience this intriguing premise play out to the end.We start with a small day setting, in the deserts of Nevada that has one big secret that noone from the outside world can know.

You see Madison has this magical realism thing, where on every child’s 18th birthday, they get to make a wish in this cave and it comes true. There are rules and regulations of course, and our main character Eldon doesn’t know what’s he’s going to wish for so he goes around interviewing the townspeople in Madison.

Speaking of that, my favorite parts of the entire book were when we got vinyetes into the historical wishbook, which chronicles the mistakes and failures and heartaches that came from these foolish teenagers making an impulsive wish. Not all of the stories were like that of course, however the majority of them featured truly showed the darker side of Madison’s magic.

Eldon, our main character is an extremely unlikeable a*shole, who is selfish and could be compared to an ostrich sticking their head in the sand. I didn’t connect to him, didn’t feel any sympathy towards the consequences of his impulsive actions that he had to face. The further and further that I kept on reading, the more I realized that this jerk wasn’t going to change. I’m not a big fan of no character development throughout a 400 page book in which the character does nothing but whine about how he can’t make up his mind.

Also the plot moved along slower than a snail and nothing happened for the majority of the book, until the end where it disappointed me big time. There was lots of hypocrisy, and the book was trying to play God over this town which is just another one of the things that really bothered me. (view spoiler)

Not only that, but there is a character in this book who has wished away his gayness, but after that he has no romantic/sexual feelings towards anyone. The author portrays him as so SAD and PITIFUL and LONELY, and that is extremely ace-aro phobic, talking from experiences. We don’t need allo authors to portray the only aroace character in this book as a broken human being who has no life because he doesn’t feel any romantic/sexual attraction. A big no-no from me.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly WomanToo Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Which is precisely why I wanted to write this book: these unruly women are so magnetic but that magnetism is countered, at every point, by ideologies that train both men and women to distance themselves from those behaviors in our own lives. Put differently, it’s one thing to admire such abrasiveness and disrespect for the status quo in someone else; it’s quite another to take that risk in one’s own life.

This book is an important feminist manifesto that takes a look at "unruly" women in pop culture who are too (fill in the blank). We explore the various roles of icons like Serena Williams, Caitlyn Jenner, Hillary Clinton and others in these ten inspiring chapter. Not only is the author woke, and trying to write this book in an intersectional and inclusive way, I feel like I got so much education and information from this. This is a must-read for anyone who considers themselves a "newer" feminist.

The author writes so intelligently and profoundly on the various topics covered, from being fat, slutty, loud, strong, unruly, nasty,etc. I could see her writing struck a balance between passionate and factual, activist and intellectual.

Given, I can never give a nonfiction book the full 5 stars, because it took me more than two week to complete, which can be frustrating when you read an average of a book a day. But on the other hand, I like the quality content sink into my brain a bit.

Peterson does acknowledge that there are many women that she doesn’t mention, and that people of color are rare on these types of lists is also it’s own form of oppression, which is something differently itself. In this excerpt she says:

“There are hundreds of women in the public sphere who don’t exercise such careful modulation--women who are relegated to nice corners of pop culture because they’ve been figured as too big, queer, loud, smart, sexual, or otherwise abject for mainstream audiences.

“It’s tempting to think of unruly women as radicals transgressing and usurping societal norms--and while they do make rebellion and disobedience imaginable or palatable, their actions can also serve to fortify dominant norms.”

I particularly enjoyed the passages where she talks about internalized "normal" feminine behaviors and how these females step out, put themselves out there, and won't shut up about why they do what they do. If you feel like me, like you lost a lot of faith and hope during the 2016 election cycle, this is one of those that you need to read. It will make you believe in the power of nasty, unruly women again.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Friday, August 11, 2017

The Girl with the Red Balloon (The Balloonmakers, #1)The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

“If the story was happy, you’d care less about that tiny little bit of freedom . . . We wouldn’t like the daylight if it wasn’t for the night. We wouldn’t notice the stars if not for the endless dark of night. All the story, like you said? That’s the important part. The sad parts are all about surviving. We are a people that survives. We endure. We will endure this too.”

At first glance, this book seemed to be exactly in the middle of my wheelhouse. WWII historical fiction with a touch of magical realism that was such an intriguing premise. We follow , a time-traveler who has heard stories from her grandfather about this red balloon and the girl who saved him her whole life. When she goes on a school trip with her class to Eastern Berlin, she gets transported into the dangerous world of 1988 East Berlin.

And the story takes off from there, where it goes into a bunch of boring times when Ellie is stuck at home and feels like a prisoner, falls in love and has a romantic fling that's completely unnecessary, makes the most bada*s feminist friend that she could ever want, and make things explode with her impulsive anger. This is a brief summary of the events that was going on, none of them are spoilery, just vague enough to keep someone interested or unimpressed.

There is a diverse cast of characters, a Jewish MC, a Romani MC, and one of the side characters is queer. I really appreciate that the author was able to so seamlessly incorporate the identities of these characters into the story. It's hard to get multiple POVs chapters done, and it rarely impresses me and that's the same case for here. In some ways I felt like Benno's perspective was kind of the most boring one, and would have been better explained otherwise (in the form of a bedtime story or storytime) instead of making it a consistent chapters throughout.

Also the character of Ellie herself, felt like the stereotypical high school girl who takes selfies, is well of, and can't imagine a world without all of this technology at her fingertips. Problem is, and this might be a me problem, is that I felt no emotional connection to this character. I think that the reason for that was that she wasn't compelling or "brave" or "marvelous" like Kai often praised her to be. She was just an average person who I didn't care about what happened to her; which makes me feel almost guilty when people call this book a tearjerker but for me it just didn't click.

Honestly another thing that ticked me off was how little actual history/setting we were getting. I wanted politics, revolution, resistance and none of this appeared in the content on page. The atmosphere of this book didn't portray an intense dark picture of fear, death, the authorities, etc that were definitively present during that time period. Maybe this is a fault of the writing itself, but I just thought that we should have gotten more details on the actual passage of the people holding the balloons, more details about the magic system, more details about who gets selected and how,etc.

Lastly that ending, man, it gets a thumbs down from me.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Monday, August 7, 2017

There's Someone Inside Your HouseThere's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

TW for hazing, blood, mentions of drugs/suicide

I was looking for a fast-paced thriller that would keep me on my toes, and this didn't fulfill that itch of mine. I was dissatisfied with lots of the things that were going on with the climax and the way that the characters were introduced. The premise is basically your classic teen serial killer in a small town who’s running around in the town on the loose and is terrifying everyone who lives there.

The way that the killer was revealed was extremely anticlimactic, which was a really big disappointment to me because I had high hopes whence the plot was building up bit by bit. At the point where it feel flat, it stopped feeling entertaining to me and instead started to get repetitive. One murder after the other, the next one getting more gruesome as they come, and nothing was really happening on the law enforcement side it seemed (which was one unrealistic aspect of this whole thriller.)

Also, could we please talk about how most of this book is focused on the romance, the making out and sex scenes, instead of being that nail biting thriller that I was expecting. I understand that Perkins has previous experiences that solely focus on contemporary romance, but this isn’t the place to make that this main thing. It just rubbed me the wrong way, because it felt like the plot of the murders was put on the back burner while our MC was having drama and trying to figure out her relationship problems. It got boring really quick, really fast, and not only that but it took away from the actual “slasher scary” part itself.

All of the victims that were in this weren’t introduced early enough for us to give time to care about them. How this was written was we would learn of the existence of this person, and on the next page they would be slashed and dead. I would have loved for the author to rather develop their personalities and interests, etc. before she pulled them away because that just felt like lazy work.

Another thing that I absolutely had zero interest in was Makani’s secret. The whole book there is some foreshadowing and lead up to this big mysterious event, but even once the story spilled out I just thought that it wasn’t worth the on-page time of constantly talking about it. In all, it didn’t even make a centimeter of difference on the page or in my viewing of her as a character. One pro that we could be talking about is that our main character is half-Native Hawaiian and half African-American, which is something that I could always appreciate.

There are 0 scary moments where I actually felt scared, even though I tried reading this whole thing in the dark. I honestly don’t even know why the publisher would market it as “horror” because that seems like it’s setting the book up for a failure of false expectations.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad, #1)Nyxia by Scott Reintgen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Actual rating: 2.5 stars

The premise of this book sounded so amazing, a group of ten teenagers being hand-picked to on the first crew to the planet Eden. Only 8 get their ticket to Eden. Emmett is one of the ones who's chosen to go on Genesis 11, and chaos and competition ensues. On the spaceship where they are training, they make friends and enemies, bad blood is mixed, and family bonds are created. I was absolutely intrigued and sold by that description, yet this book disappointed me so much in many ways. One thing that I could really appreciate and I feel like we don't get enough of in YA lit, is that our main character is an African American boy who comes from the suburbs of Detroit.

First of all, as a fan of sci-fi, I was expected the setting of the world to be really descriptive in how everything works specifically in the spaceship because for example they've managed to maintain gravity and do all of these crazy experiments. However, the places seemed to narrow, like they're out in the middle of space, yet there are no big/new words to describe everything that is going on. Babel had many secrets, and throughout the novel you always get the sense that something lurk is lurking underneath. However, again I would have liked there to be way more description of the setting itself, or the little details of how they actually survived every day.

Also the plot points are very repetitive that I was tempted to start yawning is the daily routine that Emmett went through repeatedly. He wakes up, has a hard training session, checks the scoreboard to see if he’s in first place or not, eat the food, and on and on and on.

My favorite character was the charismatic leader, Kaya who seemed to hold the group together. I also thought that the group dynamics were extremely realistic, there were friends, enemies, and family that they had to navigate with socially. I just wish that the side characters would have been more developed and wasn’t there only to serve and benefit our main character’s growth.

One of the things that was done well was that the character has many flaws and weaknesses, and that the character doesn’t magically get be better at his physical strength in one moment of training. When authors fall into that trap that is extremely annoying, but I sometimes felt like this book went the other way, like it had too much personal development/growth all focused and condensed on him.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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