Blog Tour: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord [Excerpt]

Tweet Cute_Blog Tour Banner

Welcome to my stop on the Tweet Cute blog tour! Today I am here to share an excerpt from this delightful book by Emma Lord. Tweet Cute hits shelves tomorrow, January 21st, 2020! Thank you so much to Wednesday Books for hosting this tour and for providing a free copy. 🙂


Tweet Cute Excerpt:

JACK

“Look.” I glance into the classroom, where Ethan is thoroughly distracted by Stephen and no longer keeping an eye on us. “I may have . . . overreacted.”

Pepper shakes her head. “I told you. I get it. It’s your family.”

“Yeah. But it’s also—well, to be honest, this has been kind of good for business.”

Pepper’s brow furrows, that one little crease returning. “What, the tweets?”

“Yeah.” I scratch the back of my neck, sheepish. “Actually, we had a line out the door yesterday. It was kind of intense.”

“That’s . . . that’s good, right?”

The tone of my voice is clearly not matching up with the words I’m saying, but if I’m being honest, I’m still wary of this whole overnight business boom. And if I’m being honest, I’m even more wary of Pepper. If this really is as much of a family business as she claims it is—to the point where she’s helping run the Twitter handle, when even I know enough about corporate Twitter accounts to know entire teams of experienced people get paid to do that—then she might have had more of a hand in this whole recipe theft thing than she’s letting on.

The fact of the matter is, I can’t trust her. To the point of not knowing whether I can even trust her knowing how our business is doing, or just how badly we need it.

“Yeah, um, I guess.” I try to make it sound noncommittal. My acting skills, much like my breakfast-packing skills, leave much to be desired.

“So . . .”

“So.”

Pepper presses her lips into a thin line, a question in her eyes.

“So, I guess—if your mom really wants you to keep tweeting . . .”

“Wait. Yesterday you were pissed. Two minutes ago you were pissed.”

“I am pissed. You stole from us,” I reiterate. “You stole from an eighty-five-year-old woman.”

“I didn’t—”

“Yeah, yeah, but still. You’re them, and I’m . . . her. It’s like a choose your fighter situation, and we just happen to be the ones up to bat.”

“So you’re saying—you don’t not want me to keep this up?”

“The way I see it, you don’t have to make your mom mad, and we get a few more customers in the door too.”

Pepper takes a breath like she’s going to say something, like she’s going to correct me, but after a moment, she lets it go. Her face can’t quite settle on an expression, toeing the line between dread and relief.

“You’re sure?”

I answer by opening the container she handed me. The smell that immediately wafts out of it should honestly be illegal; it stops kids I’ve never even spoken to in their tracks.

“Are you a witch?” I ask, reaching in and taking a bite of one. It’s like Monster Cake, the Sequel—freaking Christmas in my mouth. I already want more before I’ve even managed to chew. My eyes close as if I’m experiencing an actual drug high—and maybe I am, because I forget myself entirely and say, “This might even be better than our Kitchen Sink Macaroons.”

“Kitchen Sink Macaroons?”

Eyes open again. Yikes. Note to self: dessert is the greatest weapon in Pepper’s arsenal. I swallow my bite so I can answer her.

“It’s kind of well-known, at least in the East Village. It even got in some Hub Seed roundup once. I’d tell you to try some, but you might steal the recipe, so.”

Pepper smiles, then—actually smiles, instead of the little smirk she usually does. It’s not startling, but what it does to me in that moment kind of is.

Before I can examine the unfamiliar lurch in my stomach, the bell rings and knocks the smile right off her face. I follow just behind her, wondering why it suddenly seems too hot in here, like they cranked the air up for December instead of October. I dismiss it by the time I get to my desk—probably just all the Twitter drama and the glory of So Sorry Blondies getting to my head.

“One rule,” she says, as we sit in the last two desks in the back of the room.

I raise my eyebrows at her.

“We don’t take any of it personally.” She leans forward on her desk, leveling with me, her bangs falling into her face. “No more getting mad at each other. Cheese and state.”

“What happens on Twitter stays on Twitter,” I say with a nod of agreement. “Okay, then, second rule: no kid gloves.”

Mrs. Fairchild is giving that stern look over the room that never quite successfully quiets anyone down. Pepper frowns, waiting for me to elaborate.

“I mean—no going easy on each other. If we’re going to play at this, we’re both going to give it our A game, okay? No holding back because we’re . . .”

Friends, I almost say. No, I’m going to say. But then—

“I’d appreciate it if even one of you acknowledged the bell with your silence,” Mrs. Fairchild grumbles.

I turn to Pepper, expecting to find her snapping to attention the way she always does when an adult comes within a hundred feet of disciplining her. But her eyes are still intent on me, like she is sizing something up—like she’s looking forward to something I haven’t anticipated yet.

“All right. No taking it personally. And no holding back.”

She holds her hand out for me to shake again, under the desk so Mrs. Fairchild won’t see it. I smile and shake my head, wondering how someone can be so aggressively seventeen and seventy-five at the same time, and then I take it. Her hand is warm and small in mine, but her grip is surprisingly firm, with a pressure that almost feels like she’s still got her fingers wrapped around mine even after we let go.

I turn back to the whiteboard, a ghost of a smirk on my face. “Let the games begin.”


About Tweet Cute:

Tweet Cute_Cover

[Order Tweet Cute]

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.


Author Bio:

Emma Lord

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.


Follow me:

Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | Goodreads

Dragons & Tea Book Club: October Announcement!

IMG_4865

Are you ready for our October pick? Melanie and I are excited to read a scary book to celebrate Halloween! We wanted to get in the spooky spirit with this story about a girl whose ghost comes back for revenge, based on Japanese mythos.


Our October book will be:

THE GIRL FROM THE WELL by Rin Chupeco

IMG_0090

The Dates & Breakdown:

October 21st: Chapters 1 – 5

October 22nd: Chapters 6 – 10

October 23rd: Chapters 11 – 15

October 24th: Chapters 16 – 20

October 25th: Chapters 21 – 23


Don’t forget to join our Goodreads Group!

And we will also follow discussions/your reading journey on Twitter and Instagram using the (hashtag) #DragonsAndTeaBookClub!


See you then! ❤

🐉☕ Melanie: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
🐉☕ Amy: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

Dragons & Tea Book Club: September Announcement!

IMG_4865

Hi, friends! So sorry for posting this announcement a little later than planned. But fall is almost here so we are gearing up for some spookier reads! In honor of Latinx Heritage Month we thought this ownvoices paranormal book would be such a fun read. Our pick stars a Latinx girl who raises three of her friends from the dead. We can’t wait to buddy read this witchy book with you!


Our September book will be:

UNDEAD GIRL GANG by Lily Anderson

35707056

The Dates & Breakdown:

September 16th: Chapters 1 – 5

September 17th: Chapters 6 – 10

September 18th: Chapters 11 – 15

September 19th: Chapters 16 – 20

September 20th: Chapters 21 – 25


Don’t forget to join our Goodreads Group!

And we will also follow discussions/your reading journey on Twitter and Instagram using the (hashtag) #DragonsAndTeaBookClub!


See you then! ❤

🐉☕ Melanie: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
🐉☕ Amy: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

DEV1AT3 (LIFEL1K3, #2) by Jay Kristoff

 

17cb9024-7ef2-4270-98b2-e0c2724c1293

ARC provided by Knopf Books in exchange for an honest review.


This review might contain spoilers for the first book, LIFEL1K3.

I had so much fun reading this one, y’all. I really loved LIFEL1KE, and this sequel did not disappoint. I will admit, however, that I didn’t love it as much as the first book. But that’s just because I had a few issues with the pacing and some of the predictable twists (which, honestly, is not a bad thing.)

DEV1AT3 picks up right after the events in LIFEL1K3. The group is separated into four POVs: Lemon Fresh, Cricket, Eve, and Ezekiel. Lemon Fresh finds a group of deviates hiding in a bunker, Cricket, no longer a small bot, gets taken in by a cult, Eve is off doing her own weird shit (I know, I’m being vague), and Ezekiel teams up with an old favorite of mine.

I’m going to start out by saying that one of my favorite themes in this series is the friendships and found families. DEV1AT3 still holds true to those themes. Even when Lemon Fresh lives among fellow deviates, she’s always fiercely determined to go out to find the friends she was separated from. And Cricket will forever have my heart. He has so much character growth for a bot, and I want nothing more than for him to be happy!

And while we all know how things ended with Eve in the last book, I can assure you the religious references and vigilantism is still strong in this one. I will say Eve’s POV was probably my least favorite, though, because it wasn’t quite the main focus in this installment.

But the huge new plot line in this book is the Brotherhood, and how it mirrors some wild cult behavior we are seeing today. The Brotherhood is basically out there trying to erase all deviates (people who have “different” abilities) And wow… if that isn’t a giant metaphor for xenophobia and racism we still see today in America…

Overall I immensely enjoyed this sequel, and in true Kristoff fashion, we are left with some more questions than answers! But I adored the journey, and the banter, and the action. I’m already looking forward to the final book!

fourstars


Follow me:

Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour: Wicked Fox (Gumiho, #1) by Kat Cho

WickedFox_BlogBanner

Thank you to Penguin Teen for hosting this blog tour!


BOOK DESCRIPTION

An addictive fantasy-romance set in modern-day Seoul.

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.

But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.

Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to men. He’s drawn to her anyway. When he finds her fox bead, he does not realize he holds her life in his hands.

With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous and reignite a generations-old feud . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.


MY REVIEW

5967669827757772612_8F0A1765

ARC provided by Penguin Teen in exchange for an honest review.

When I learned I was going to be on this blog tour, I may or may not have screamed. Wicked Fox was such an anticipated YA release of 2019 for me, and it did not disappoint!

This Korean-lore inspired tale of the gumiho (fox with nine tails) was so much fun to read, and I immediately fell in love with our two main stars: Miyoung and Jihoon.

Miyoung: A high school student who is half-gumiho and half-human. She must feed on the gi (or energy) of men in order to survive. Miyoung has a very strained relationship with her mother, who is a beautiful and ancient gumiho. She does not know her father and struggles with wanting a normal life. However, she isn’t good at making friends and tends to be a loner.

Jihoon: A high school boy who has a few close friends to whom he’s very loyal. He doesn’t have a relationship with his mother so he lives with his grandmother and works in her restaurant. Also, we must protect Jihoon at all costs.

Yena: Miyoung’s gumiho mother. She is incredibly strict and protective of Miyoung, and pretty much won’t show mercy to anyone.

I loved how this book is an urban fantasy that’s set in modern day Seoul. The story opens with Miyoung on her hunt for gi, but she ends up saving Jihoon when she sees a goblin attacking him. But then something strange happens in the process: Miyoung’s fox bead, which contains her gumiho soul, gets extracted from her body. And if the bead falls into the wrong hands, that person can control Miyoung.

What made me love this book so much was that we got to follow the budding friendship (and later romance) of Miyoung and Jihoon. Both teens deal with absent parents and it affects them both in different ways. And I don’t want to make things too personal, but I would die for Jihoon. He is so soft and caring, and his relationship with his grandmother was so similar to my relationship with my (late) Thai grandmother.

One thing that this book addresses well is sexism and misogyny.  I appreciated how Cho included some chapters dedicated to the history of the legend of the gumiho. I won’t give away spoilers, but the legend of the “evil” woman who devours men’s souls has some underlying misogyny and it’s interesting how this type of story was told at bed time to scare children. But I really loved how Cho reversed the role of the gumiho; instead of being a seductive liver-eating monster, Miyoung fought temptation to feed, even if it meant potentially losing her immortality. Seriously, I loved seeing Miyoung’s character develop from the first page.

I highly recommend this book if you’re into urban fantasies with a twist on a popular legend. Not only is the romance cute and organic, but the mysteries and mayhem involved had me turning the page late into the night. I cannot wait to read the next installment!

Preorder the book!

fivestars


BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

WEEK ONE

June 3 – Reverie and Ink – Creative Instagram Picture

June 4 – Read by Tiffany – Review + Creative

June 5 – NovelKnight Book – Author Guest Post: How did your personal experiences influence writing Wicked Fox?

June 6 – Read Forevermore – Creative Instagram Picture

June 7 – Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Playlist

WEEK TWO

June 10 – The Book’s Buzz – Creative Instagram Picture + Blog Content

June 11 – Xenatine – Creative Instagram Picture

June 12 – Mike the Fanboy – Listicle: Favorite Fox Characters in Movies and TV + potential background on the fox myth

June 13 – Vicky Who Reads – Wicked Fox Phone Wallpapers

June 14 – _Forevermint – Creative Instagram Picture

WEEK THREE

June 17 – Beverage and Book – Creative Instagram Picture + Playlist

June 18 – A Court of Crowns and Quills – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

June 19 – The Fandom – Author Q&A

June 20 – A Novel Escape – Creative Instagram Picture

June 21 – Hollywood News Source – Listicle: Kdramas to Binge After Finishing Wicked Fox

WEEK FOUR

June 24 – Amber after glow reads – Creative Instagram Picture

June 25 – High Lit – Review + Author Guest Post: If you were born as a Gumiho, would you see it as a blessing or a curse?

June 26 – That is Mari – Creative Instagram Picture

June 27 –  Folded Pages Distillery – Review

June 28 –  Bookwormgram – Creative Instagram Picture


Author Bio

Kat Cho used to hide books under the bathroom sink and then sneak in there to read after bedtime. Her parents pretended not to know. This helped when she decided to write a dinosaur time-travel novel at the tender age of nine. Sadly, that book was not published. She currently lives and works in NYC and spends her free time trying to figure out what kind of puppy to adopt.


Follow me:

Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | Goodreads

Dragons & Tea Book Club: July Book Announcement!

IMG_4865

Hello, bookworms! Now that things have calmed down a bit after coming back from NYC (I attended BEA) I am getting back into my reading routine. I’m so excited to announce the next Dragons & Tea Book Club pick for July.


Our July book will be:

LOVE FROM A TO Z by S.K. Ali

40148146

The Dates & Breakdown:

July 8th: Pages 1–68 “Zayneb Saturday March 9. Oddity: Unpredictable Creatures”

July 9th: Pages 69–134 “Adam Tuesday March 12. Marvel: Strangers”

July 10th: Pages 135–207 “Adam Sunday March 17. Marvel: Zayneb at the Perfect Place”

July 11th: Pages 208–276 “Zayneb Tuesday March 19. Oddity… And Marvel: Plotters”

July 12th: Pages 277–End

(Chapter titles & subtitles are included since the chapters aren’t numbered. I hope this is helpful if you are reading on an eReader or audio. Read the chapter that includes the mentioned section above for that day.)

Why we chose this book:

This book is a love story in the time of islamaphobia. It stars a Muslim girl and a boy who has multiple sclerosis. We think this is going to be such an important and powerful read, and we can’t wait to boost this ownvoices YA book!

Synopsis:

A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.


Don’t forget to join our Goodreads Group!

And we will also follow discussions/your reading journey on Twitter and Instagram using the (hashtag) #DragonsAndTeaBookClub!


See you then! ❤

🐉☕ Melanie: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
🐉☕ Amy: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

8368353498880738801_8F0A1868 2

Finale (Caraval, #3) by Stephanie Garber

8F0A8781

ARC provided by Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review.

Caraval Review | Legendary Review


This review pains me to write because I was truly expecting a 5 star read.

I have always thought highly of this series. I loved how Caraval focused on a game and the actors within the game. I loved how Legendary expanded that world and introduced us to the Fates. I truly believe this series could’ve just been a duology; extend Legendary to be a slightly longer book, tie up some loose ends, and call it a wrap. I really don’t understand the point of Finale at all.

Finale introduces us to a new villain which… seems like an odd time to bring in a new villain. We already met Jacks in Legendary, and in my opinion, he was the perfect “bad guy.” But we get introduced to the ACTUAL villain who is a Fate. And this Fate wants to destroy basically everyone and take Legend’s place. I just really didn’t understand the point of him at all and he was so “mustache twirly” that I had to roll my eyes at all his scenes.

So let’s talk about Tella and Scarlett. In this book the POV’s alternate between the two sisters, which I actually did like because we got to follow their own little journeys within the story. However, Scarlett was so childish in this book I JUST CANNOT. From the very beginning of the book she decides she wants to string Julian along, and then have Julian and Nicolas compete for her? What kind of childish game is this? I truly do not understand her motivations behind this AT ALL.

Tella is my favorite of the two sisters but she also did some things that were questionable. She kept seeking solace from Jacks, who is, you know… a villain… and would then be surprised that he *gasp* did a villainous thing. Girl, why? Also, Jacks literally tries to give her a heart attack in order to get what he wants from Legend, but then later tells Tella he “didn’t mean to” and would never hurt her? Excuse me? But you literally just gave her a heart attack, dude. I was always Team Jacks but that scene was so unnecessary to me.

And speaking of Jacks (who was my favorite character from Legendary.) His character really got reduced down to be a minor side character who only showed up at convenient times to sweep Tella off her feet. I truly didn’t understand his purpose and felt zero closure with him.

I was also really excited to be introduced to the other Fates, but they all also felt like very minor side characters who didn’t seem to play a pivotal role in the entire story.

Here’s the thing: I’ve always loved the world of Caraval, but in Finale I felt like most of the time we were being TOLD. It’s full of characters speaking in long paragraphs telling us about the history of something or about another character. It really dragged and made me lose focus. I don’t want to be told everything; I want to see it. Also I refuse to even acknowledge the time-travel loophole because that’s my least favorite trope used to tie up a loose end.

This was my most anticipated release of 2019 and I am just kind of feeling neutral about how it all ended? I didn’t hate it, but I just didn’t love it either. I know my review sounds super ranty, but I loved being back in the world and with these characters again. I will also forever love Dante because he’s such a sweet guy. Also I think Stephanie Garber is the loveliest human and I will still read everything she writes. I guess I can hope there will be a spin-off for this series?

threestars


Follow me:

Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | Goodreads

Dragons and Tea Book Club: May Book Announcement!

IMG_4865

Hi, friends! I hope you are all having a lovely reading month so far! We are so excited to announce our next book club pick for May. This one has been on our radar for a long time now, and we are hope we all fall in love with this one, too!


Our May book will be:

DRAGON PEARL by Yoon Ha Lee

34966859

The Dates & Breakdown:

May 13th — Page 1 – 64 (Ch. 1 – 7)

May 14th — Page 65 – 124 (Ch. 8 – 14)

May 15th — Page 125 – 183 (Ch. 15 – 22)

May 16th — Page 184 – 242 (Ch. 23 – 28)

May 17th — Page 243 – End (Ch. 29 – 38)

Why we chose this book:

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and Melanie and I really wanted to focus on an Asian-American, ownvoices author! Yoon Ha Lee’s Dragon Pearl is a middle grade sci fi-fantasy book about a girl who comes from a shape-shifting family and can use what is called “fox-magic.” There’s going to be space adventures but I also think there will be some strong themes about family!

I would like to share part of the book synopsis because it just sounds SO GOOD:

Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.


Don’t forget to join our Goodreads Group!

And we will also follow discussions/your reading journey on Twitter and Instagram using the (hashtag) #DragonsAndTeaBookClub!


See you then! ❤

🐉☕ Melanie: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
🐉☕ Amy: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

8F0A4341

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

30075662

ARC provided by Knopf Books in exchange for an honest review.


Goodreads Synopsis:

From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.


This review is going to hurt me, and I feel awful I even feel this way. I want to preface this by saying I really enjoy these authors’ previous works, and I think Amie and Jay are awesome humans who write amazing stories.

But… I was so disappointed by this book. I am trying very hard not to compare this to the Illuminae Files, but it’s hard not to when this is yet another story set in space featuring a group of young cadets.

This book follows six cadets who come together when their squad leader, Tyler, rescues a girl who was cryogenically frozen. Aurora doesn’t understand why she woke up 200 years later than anticipated, because she was supposed to land on a planet called Octavia III. But then we quickly find out Aurora has inherited some strange and deadly powers, so Squad 312 must escape in order to save her and themselves.

Here is Squad 312 at a glance:

Tyler – The Alpha and squad leader. His level of attractiveness and dimples are mentioned so many times it’s going to make you roll your eyes into the back of your skull.

Scarlett – The Face (aka the diplomat) and Tyler’s twin sister. She is described as having firey red hair and just as stunning as her brother.

Cat – The Ace, pilot. She’s tough as nails and loyal to Tyler and Scarlett.

Kal – The Tank, Syldrathi, a Legolas-lookalike according to Aurora, but with darker skin and silver braids. The Syldrathi have a war history with the Terran people.

Finian – The Gearhead, Tech Division. He is Betraskan, so he appears “alien-like”; skin is white and he has to wear contacts which makes his eyes appear all black. He’s bisexual and presents with a disability for muscle weakness, nerve damage, impaired mobility.

Zila – The Brains, Science Division. She is described as having dark brown skin and curly black hair. She’s also very serious and matter-of-fact. I believe she may be on the autism spectrum but this is not my lane so I would love to see others chime in in regards to this.

Aurora – A Cryogenically girl frozen for the last 200 years and was supposed to wake up on Octavia III. She is Asian, described as having short black hair with a white streak, and freckles across her nose. She can do some serious damage but cannot control these new, strange powers.

I think what threw me off from the very beginning was that this was marketed as, “They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find.” Maybe it’s just me, but that quote made me assume we were going to be presented with a ragtag team of misfits who are subpar at their jobs but must come together to fight the good fight. When in reality we already have the best-of-the-best Legionnaire, his sister, his best friend, and three other legionnaires who are good at what they do.

So I’m already rolling my eyes at how misleading that was. However, I just could not get past how boring everything was. Part 1 showed us how the squad escaped with Aurora, Part 2 took us to the World Ship where a very long, unnecessarily drawn-out heist took place, and then Part 3 turned into a very bad sci fi movie rip-off.

And usually I can get over a mediocre plot, but when the “action” was putting me to sleep? I just had such a hard time picking this book back up. Also I couldn’t care less about any of the characters. Aside from Kal, everyone was extremely one-dimensional. There’s a cringey “mating bond” that appears between two of the characters, which honestly made me want to DNF right then and there.

Here’s the thing: Even though Illuminae isn’t my favorite series of all time, the friendships in those books were palpable. You felt connected to them. But in Aurora Rising? There were SO MANY POV’S that I couldn’t even keep track of who to care about. Every single squad member had their own POV (that’s SEVEN!) and they were all told in first person. Sorry, not a fan of trying to figure out whose POV I left off on if I had to put the book down in the middle of a chapter.

I know this book has already received a lot of early praise, so take my opinions with a grain of salt. I just can’t get over how messy everything was, how bland the characters were, and how much I just wanted everything to be over.

twostarsBuddy read with Stephanie!


Follow me:

Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | Goodreads

This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

27779275


Goodreads Synopsis:

Sloane isn’t expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that’s exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera’s twin brother and the most serious person Sloane’s ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins’ late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins’ lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.


At the recommendation by my friend Julie, I knew I had to pick This Adventure Ends as my first Emma Mills book. I’m so glad I did!

This is one of those coming-of-age YA books that feels like a blanket enveloping you. It is mostly character driven, but driven by some of the best characters I’ve ever read. I truly loved Sloane and her group of friends. I even loved the adults, which I know can be hit or miss sometimes when reading YA.

So this book stars Sloane, a high school student who moves from New York to Florida. Her father is a famous author (very a la Nicholas Sparks) but he’s fallen into a career slump. Her parents’ marriage also isn’t doing so well. But then Sloane befriends twins Vera and Gabe, Remy, Aubrey, Bree, and let’s not forget my favorite… Frank (a bisexual mixed-race student!)

Early on we learn that Vera and Gabe’s mother passed away, but she was a very famous painter whose paintings are highly sought after. But through a fluke accident, the one painting Gabe truly wanted to keep got sold. Sloane becomes determined to find that painting. Not so much because she’s slowly developed feelings for Gabe, but because she knew how much he was hurting and she thought this could be the one small thing to set things right.

However, looking for the painting isn’t the main focus of this book. We get to watch Sloane’s relationship evolve with Remy, who is helping her track down the painting. We also see her friendship bloom with Vera, and it is, hands down, one of my favorite platonic ships of all time. I also loved her dynamic with Frank, who is basically the king of hosting parties. Seriously, the friendship was so outstanding, it truly made me feel like I was part of the group.

But this book also highlights struggles the parents go through, such as marriage strains, career roadblocks, and just day-to-day life. I really loved Sloane’s dad, Mike, who found refuge and inspiration in a teen show (and writing fan fic). I also really loved how he confided his work in Sloane.

I also loved how Sloane was written. She was complex, and oftentimes her personality really reflected my own at that age. I was moody, sarcastic, and knew when to deflect to make light of a situation. I really really got her. And Vera? OMG. Vera gets the BFF Award of the Year. I loved her colorful personality so much, and it was an extra bonus she had another ‘life’ as a famous social media star. Of course, I loved Gabe, who is serious and broody and mysterious most of the time. I wanted to learn so much more about him!

So what did I not like? Well, I actually wasn’t too keen on the fan fic parts, and I also didn’t really like how Vera and Gabe’s stepmom was portrayed as the “bad guy.” I don’t know, maybe I’m just tired of the “young beautiful woman marries an older guy and gets pregnant so she must be the bad guy” trope. Like, I totally get being a teenager and finding out your new step mom is super young would feel weird, but I think her character could’ve just been written better.

I still really loved this book, and I honestly cannot wait to read more by Emma Mills!

fourstars

Buddy read with Jen!


Follow me:

Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | Goodreads