City of B

Always Forever Maybe by Anica Mrose Rissi [Blog Tour] Review

Always Forever Maybe by Anica Mrose Rissi [Blog Tour] ReviewAlways Forever Maybe by Anica Mrose Rissi
Published by HarperCollins/HarperTeen on June 5, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 256
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
four-stars

When Betts meets Aiden at the candy store where she works, their connection is like a sugar rush to the heart. Betts already knows the two of them are infinite. Inevitable. Destined to become an us.

Betts has only ever kept one secret from her best friend, Jo, but suddenly there’s a long list of things she won’t tell her, things Jo wouldn’t understand. Because Jo doesn’t see how good Aiden is for Betts. She finds him needy. Possessive. Controlling.

She’s wrong. With a love like this, nothing else matters.

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Heads up: If you can’t handle, or don’t want to read stories with physical, emotional and verbal abuse, don’t pick up this book, because it explores all those things. Also, this book is mature, not just because of the abuse, but also because of the sexual content.

My thoughts

Always Forever Maybe wasn’t an easy book to read, because of its dark nature. I’ve never been in a dangerous relationship like Betts, and I’ve also never personally known anyone who has, but I could tell that the author was depicting one perfectly. I understand that those types of unhealthy relationships can escalate quickly, and that the victim doesn’t even realize something’s wrong until something really bad happens, and even then, most times the victim is still blaming themselves.

Before starting Always Forever Maybe, I knew that Betts was going to be a victim, but even so, I couldn’t stop disliking her. I felt sad and scared for her constantly, but I also felt irritated because she kept making bad, careless decisions. She locks eyes with a cute guy, and before she even knows anything about him, she’s hopping on his motorcycle, taking off to an unknown destination. Betts thought she was being spontaneous, and that by being in a relationship with an older guy, made her an empowered young woman. No Betts. No!! You were being reckless and ignorant. It got even worse when she started lying to her parents and best friend. It felt like deep down Betts knew something was wrong with the whole situation, but she couldn’t see past her puppy-love and new feeling of “empowerment”.

I was nervous the moment Aiden was introduced, because we knew that his relationship with Betts was eventually going to take a turn for the worst. Aiden was a ticking time bomb, and it was only a matter of time before he would explode and show his true colors. It was a scary and thrilling wait for all hell to break loose.

Always Forever Maybe was a short, fast read, which was great, because I remained enraptured the entire time. Plus, the speed fit the plot perfectly, because Betts was quickly spiraling into a dangerous relationship with a guy she thought she loved and knew completely, and the fast pace made it feel even more authentic.

This book was sometimes hard to read, because in reality there are a lot of people in the world who have, are, or will eventually enter a dangerous, and even deadly relationship like Bettes did, and this book forces you to think about it.


About the author

     

Writer, storyteller, editrix. Author of the Anna, Banana chapter-book series, the picture book The Teacher’s Pet, the forthcoming YA novel Always Forever Maybe, and more. Fan of dogs and ice cream.

Anica Mrose Rissi grew up on an island off the coast of Maine, where she read a lot of books and loved a lot of pets. She now tells and collects stories, makes up songs on her violin, and eats a lot of cheese with her friends in Princeton, New Jersey. As a former book editor turned full-time writer and storyteller, Anica has spoken with kids and adults across the country about all pieces of the writing process. Her essays have been published by The Writer magazine and the New York Times. She tweets about bookish things and her dog, Arugula, at @anicarissi, which is also her handle on Instagram. Find out more at http://anicarissi.com.


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four-stars
City of B

When It’s Real by Erin Watt

When It’s Real by Erin WattWhen It's Real by Erin Watt
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 30, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 413
Source: Self Purchase
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley's team decides it's time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he's settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of "normal." Under ordinary circumstances she'd never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn't have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley's team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley's a shallow, self-centered jerk? It's not like they're going to fall for each other in real life…right?



I borrowed When It’s Real from Scribd, because I was already a fan of Erin Watt’s book Paper Princess, and I wanted to see what else she had to dish up. I’m so glad I did because it was fabulous! I couldn’t put it down! I had originally borrowed an audio-book of it, but I can be a fast reader when I’m really into a book, and the narrator was not going fast enough for me. I wanted more, more, more! Plus, it was clear early on that there was going to be some moderate swears, and sexual content, and I felt weird listening to that during my work commute.

Oakley has a huge ego, is possessive, occasionally rude, and very often makes impulsive decisions, but even with all that, I still hearted him. I’ve now read a couple books where there’s a male movie star/musician/famous person, who starts a “fake” relationship with a “wholesome” girl to clean up their image. In the other books that I’ve read, the guy appears to be rude, dismissive, cocky, etc., but then deep down it’s all an act. Nope. Not for Oakley. I mean, he’s not a total a-hole, he can be generous, sweet, thoughtful, and kind, but he’s also occasionally all those other things too. I liked that his character was truly flawed, and that at the end of the book, he wasn’t completely cured of his unappealing qualities. He was real and relatable.

Vaughn also had her faults. I loved how she was super sassy and didn’t put up with Oakley’s bullshit. But unfortunately when it came to her boyfriend W,  she was very gullible and unwilling to acknowledge how much of a jerk he was. She should have dumped his ass way before Oakley entered the picture. I was so happy when Vaughn started to drift away from W and towards Oakley, because she finally started to realize that she deserved so much better than W.

The pacing for When It’s Real was spot-on, and the constant sass and sexual tension between Vaughn and Oakley had me frantically flipping pages.

This was a borrowed book, and will soon be a purchase of mine. I could definitely see myself reading it again in a year or so.

four-half-stars
City of B

Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1) by Laura Sebastian

Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1) by Laura SebastianAsh Princess by Laura Sebastian
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on April 24, 2018
Genres: High Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia's family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess--a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She's endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn't always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.


It took me longer than usual to finish this book. I picked it up and put it down multiple times, not because I wasn’t enjoying it, but because  other books came along that I wanted to read more, like A Court of Frost and Starlight. I’m glad I finally sat down and finished Ash Princess, because it was a good start to what I think could be a great series.

Here’s two things I liked about Ash Princess, and one thing I didn’t.

I liked:

The love triangle. I know, I know, bleh love triangle – but hear me out! This one wasn’t so bad. I think I was easily able to get on board with it, because it didn’t drive the story. Ash Princess mostly focused on Theo’s journey to rising from the “ashes”. Theo had been beaten down (physically and emotionally) for ten long years, and in the process, lost sight of her true self and her true purpose. Once a fierce will is rekindled in Theo, she constructs a plan to reignite her people’s will to rebel against their conquerors, the Kalovaxians. Theo’s not a bad-ass warrior like say, Throne of Glass’ Aelin, but she’s incredibly clever, and knows when to verbally push, and when to back off. Strengths come in all forms, and it was nice to see a new type of heroine kick ass with words instead of swords.

The magics. Yes, it was the commonly used elemental-variety, but it was also achieved in new, unique way. There’s some individuals who have the innate ability to summon elemental powers, and the others who can’t, can still accomplish some magic by holding special gems that have been imbued with elemental power. I loved this new take on magic!

I disliked:

The first third (maybe closer to half) of Ash Princess. The brutal opening with Theo being forced to harm one of her own people, was shocking and made me want to dive right into the story, but then what immediately followed was pretty boring. I didn’t really get into the story until Theo started plotting her people’s rebellion, and when she started spending time with the swoon-worthy Soren. So far Soren is my favorite character in this series, and not just because I’m #teamThoren. He’s complex, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where his story is headed in the future books. 

Overall I thought Ash Princess was a solid first book. I’m eager to read book two, because the ending of Ash Princess had a huge WTF moment and I think it’s gonna make book two even more intense and high stake.

three-half-stars
City of B

Paper Princess (The Royals #1) by Erin Watt, Elle Kennedy, Jen Frederick

Paper Princess (The Royals #1) by Erin Watt,  Elle Kennedy, Jen FrederickPaper Princess (The Royals, #1) by Erin Watt, Elle Kennedy, Jen Frederick
Published by Timeout LLC on April 4, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Pages: 370
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Goodreads
four-stars

From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone. 

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees. 


Before starting Paper Princess, I told myself that I wasn’t going to write any reviews for the books in The Royals series, because they were just going to be fun, easy-going, palate-cleansing reads after two weeks of nothing but high fantasy books. But then I finished Paper Princess in one sitting, staying up a hour later than my normal work-night bedtime, followed by staying up even later to start book two. I was that addicted O_O and therefore I knew I needed to share my thoughts, even if it was just a few sentences.

This is a NA series, because of the mature, sexual, lightly-erotic content, and it’s odd that I even decided to pick up book one, because I verrry rarely read NA books. I just don’t care for any type of erotic scenes, even the soft, juvenile kind. It’s just not my thing. But, just for the hell of it, I decided to give it a go, because I’d seen  a lot of praise from YA/NA bloggers that I follow and trust. They made me want, nay, need to know why it was so good.

Well.. even though the erotic parts made me wince a little *it’s really not my thing*,  after a couple chapters, Paper Princess had hooked me. I just really loved the sassy main character Ella, the 5 Royal boys who were brooding jerks (my usual weakness), and the overall story line. There was also a huge cliffhanger at the end of book one, and I couldn’t stop myself for immediately reaching for book two. I’m super glad all the books were (by the time I’m posting this review I’ve read all the books) out for my binging needs.

I’m not going to say anything else about this book/series other than, if you like NA books, that take place in a private school, with a strong, street-smart, smart-mouthed heroine, and a gaggle of rich, irritating, attractive guys – grab this book. This is a quick, addicting series, that you don’t have to take too seriously, because some of the books, especially book three, can get a bit soapy.

four-stars
City of B

The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1)

The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1)The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1) by Soman Chainani
Published by HarperCollins on May 14, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 488
Source: Self Purchase
Goodreads
four-stars

The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?


I read The School for Good and Evil many years ago, and had always meant to continue on with the rest of the series, but one thing led to another, and I sort-of forgot all about it. Well, after spending some time removing books from my Goodreads TBR list, ones that I knew I’d never actually get to, I came across book two in the The School for Good and Evil series. I recalled enjoying book one, so then and there I decided I wanted to finally continue with the series. However,  first I needed to re-read book one, because it had been so many years, and I definitely knew I didn’t remember enough to read books 2, 3, and so forth.

And, wow! It only took about 50 pages, before I remembered that I loved The School for Good and Evil. This series is a delicious, magical dish, concocted with clever, hilarious, heartwarming, and at times, very dark ingredients. It explodes with creativity and magic, and I hated having to put it down for silly things like work, sleep, etc.   

The School for Good and Evil is a shining example of the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”. You have two girls, one dark, sullen, and macabre, and one who’s vivacious, bright, and constantly called extremely beautiful. You’d think it’d be obviously as which girl belongs in which school, but not so fast! Looks can be extremely deceiving, and in a surprising move to everyone in this book, the melancholy girl is dropped into the school for good, and the angelic-looking one, the school for evil.

I loved how this book was all about shades of gray.  There’s no such thing as perfect. Everyone has their own strengths, flaws, and weaknesses, and hard choices to make, and those choices are what defines you, not your appearance and/or personality. Being beautiful doesn’t make you good, and being ugly doesn’t make you bad.

I’m so glad I reread this book! It’s got magic, budding romance, and lots and lots of fairy-tale characters and creatures. Plus, it’s all about sisters before misters. *high five*

four-stars