The Blonde Bookworm

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young - Review

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Title: Sky in the Deep
Author: Adrienne Young
Pages: 342
Publishing: April 24th 2018 by Wednesday Books

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating


I've been obsessed with all things Vikings lately after binge watching the TV show, so this book came at the perfect time! I was so excited read it, especially since so many people said how amazing it was. While I did enjoy the majority of the novel, it felt a little rushed to me. I felt like the final battle was built up throughout the second half of the novel and then was over in 5 pages. I wanted more fighting, because they are vikings after all! I also felt like the romantic relationships didn't feel truly organic. I love some good romance in a novel, but it needs to build appropriately, and I didn't feel like that was the case in this novel. 

Young did an amazing job with world building throughout the novel. The setting was beautiful and I could picture each of the villages perfectly. Another thing that really stood out to me was the family aspect in the novel. Eelyn and Fiske were so loyal to their families and it added a little human something to the typically barbaric vikings. 

I really enjoyed the novel as a whole. There were a few times when I felt a little bored, but not enough to diminish the quality of the novel. I would definitely recommend Sky in the Deep to readers who enjoy novels about vikings and the YA genre. Thank you Wednesday Books and NetGalley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 3/5

The Elizas by Sara Shepard -- Review

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Title: The Elizas
Author: Sara Shepard
Pages: 352
Publishing: April 17th 2018 by Atria Books
ISBN: 1501162772


When debut novelist Eliza Fontaine is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family at first assumes that it’s just another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza swears she was pushed, and her rescuer is the only witness.

Desperate to find out who attacked her, Eliza takes it upon herself to investigate. But as the publication date for her novel draws closer, Eliza finds more questions than answers. Like why are her editor, agent, and family mixing up events from her novel with events from her life? Her novel is completely fictional, isn’t it?

The deeper Eliza goes into her investigation while struggling with memory loss, the closer her life starts to resemble her novel until the line between reality and fiction starts to blur and she can no longer tell where her protagonist’s life ends and hers begins.


Sara Shepard is quickly becoming an auto-buy author for me! Her fast paced dramatic thrillers are usually so delicious that I eat them up in one sitting and that was definitely the case for The Elizas. The first chapter of the novel immediately hooked me and I couldn't put it down. The plot was unique, thrilling, and constantly left me guessing. 

There were a few times when Eliza's character was a little annoying and untrustworthy, but I quickly got over those feelings as the novel continued. The novel goes back and forth between Eliza's novel and her actual life and I really liked the constant change in the story. It was a great suspense builder and constantly left me wanting more at the end of each chapter. 

All in all, The Elizas was full of drama, suspense, and unique twists that had me on the edge of my seat from the very beginning to the very end. I would highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy suspense novels! Thank you to NetGalley and Atria for sending this novel in exchange for and honest review. 

Rating 4.5/5

Folded Notes from High School by Matt Boren -- Review

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Title: Folded Notes from High School 
Author: Matt Boren 
Pages: 400
Publishing: April 3rd 2018 by Razorbill


A status-obsessed senior unexpectedly falls for a freshman because of his Danny Zuko audition in their high school's production of Grease in this epistolary novel set in 1991.

It's 1991, and Tara Maureen Murphy is finally on top. A frightening cross between Regina George and Tracy Flick, Tara Maureen Murphy is any high school's worst nightmare, bringing single-minded ambition, narcissism, manipulation, and jealousy to new extremes. She's got a hot jock boyfriend in Christopher Patrick Caparelli, her best friend Stef Campbell by her side, and she's a SENIOR, poised to star as Sandy in South High's production of Grease. Cinching the role is just one teensy step in Tara's plot to get out of her hometown and become the Broadway starlet she was born to be. She's grasping distance from the finish line--graduation and college are right around the corner--but she has to remain vigilant. It gets trickier with the arrival of freshman Matthew Bloom, whose dazzling audition for the role of Danny Zuko turns Tara's world upside down. Freshmen belong in the chorus, not the spotlight! But Tara's outrage is tinged with an unfamiliar emotion, at least to her: adoration. And what starts as a conniving ploy to "mentor" young Matt quickly turns into a romantic obsession that threatens to topple Tara's hard-won status at South High....


I went into this novel expecting a major blast from the past full of nostalgic feelings and 90's vibes, but that's not exactly how it went down. Tara truly is (as the first sentence in the synopsis states) a status-obsessed senior and her attitude and manipulative personality was a little hard to take. I was really excited for this novel because I wanted a little trip down memory lane, but what I got was a flashback of all the mean girls from high school. 

Don't get me wrong, the novel is full of delicious and entertaining drama, but it became a little redundant at times, and I had a hard time really getting into it. I definitely wanted to know how the story would end, but I didn't find myself really liking or relating to any of the characters. 

All in all, the story was entertaining, but I was expecting so much more. I would recommend this for an easy summer read, but if you're looking for a high school throwback with lots of 90's nostalgia, this one was  lacking a little something. Thank you to Penguin Teen for sending a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating: 2.5/5

Love & War by Melissa De La Cruz -- BLOG TOUR + Review

Monday, April 16, 2018

Title: Love & War 
Author: Melissa De La Cruz 
Pages 384
Publishing: April 17th 2018, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 1524739650


1780. Albany, New York. 

As the war for American Independence carries on, two newlyweds are settling into their new adventure: marriage. But the honeymoon's over, and Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler are learning firsthand just how tricky wedded life can be. Alex is still General George Washington's right-hand man and his attention these days is nothing if not divided--much like the colonies' interests as the end of the Revolution draws near. Alex & Eliza's relationship is tested further by lingering jealousies and family drama. 

About the Author: 

Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York TimesUSA TodayWall Street JournalLos Angeles Times, and Publishers Weekly internationally bestselling author of many critically acclaimed books for readers of all ages, including Alex & Eliza: A Love Story, Disney's Descendants novels, the Blue Bloods series, and the Summer on East End series. Her books have sold over eight million copies, and the Witches of East End series became an hour-long television drama on the Lifetime network. Visit her at


Love & War is the sequel to Alex & Eliza and it picks ups right where the first novel ended. Alex and Eliza have just recently been married and Alex is planning to return to assist General Washington on the battlefield. Eliza and Alex are separated for a majority of the novel and that was a bit disappointing to me. I really enjoyed Alex & Eliza because there was so much romance, but Love & War was lacking that same romance. Alex and Eliza's love for one another was still very obvious, but I missed them being together. 

Even though I didn't like the separation between Alex and Eliza, there was still so much to the story that I loved. As always, Melissa Del La Cruz did an amazing job with world building. I loved imagining New York City back in the 1700s and Cruz created such a  beautiful vision for me! There were also a lot of new and exciting characters that were introduced and I'm excited to see where they play a part in the next novel. 

Melissa De La Cruz did an amazing job writing about this historic couple and I can't wait to read the rest of the series. I would highly recommend this to readers who enjoy historical fiction and romance novels. Thank you to Penguin Teen for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 3.5/5

Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier -- Review

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Title: Isle of Blood and Stone
Author: Makiia Lucier
Pages: 400
Publishing: April 10th 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0544968603


Ulises asked, "How can I look at these maps, see this riddle, and do nothing? They are my brothers."

Elias reached across the table and flicked aside two shells with a fingertip. The map curled into itself. "It's bound to be a goose chase. You know that?"

"Or a treasure hunt," Ulises countered, "and you've always been good at those."

Nineteen-year-old Elias is a royal explorer, a skilled mapmaker, and the new king of del Mar's oldest friend. Soon he will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an expedition past the Strait of Cain and into uncharted waters. Nothing stands in his way...until a long-ago tragedy creeps back into the light, threatening all he holds dear.

The people of St. John del Mar have never recovered from the loss of their boy princes, kidnapped eighteen years ago, both presumed dead. But when two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young heirs? And why do the maps appear to be drawn by Lord Antoni, Elias's father, who vanished on that same fateful day? With the king's beautiful cousin by his side—whether he wants her there or not—Elias will race to solve the riddle of the princes. He will have to use his wits and guard his back. Because some truths are better left buried...and an unknown enemy stalks his every turn. 


What a fun read! I really enjoyed the setting and the characters in this novel. All of the maps were also a lot of fun and added an interesting mystery component. I really enjoyed the twists and turns that the characters faced, and I thought the setting for the novel was beautiful. I could perfectly picture the blue ocean and the jutting cliffs of the town! 

Isle of Blood and Stone was a fast paced read, but I kept feeling like every time I got sucked into the story, a little of the fire would burn out. It was like the author was holding the reader back a little bit. There would be a suspense build up and then a quick change to a slower pace. I feel like this description is a bit misleading because not once did I think the story was boring. It was definitely enjoyable, just more of a slow burn entertainment... if that makes sense! 

All in all, Isle of Blood and Stone was a great read and it was entertaining from start to finish. It was very different from most books I've read this year and I really liked its unique qualities. I would definitely recommend this novel to readers who enjoy YA fiction and I look forward to more novels from Lucier in the future. Thank you NetGalley and HMH books for sharing this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 3.5/5

Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert -- Review

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Title: Picture Us in the Light 
Author: Kelly Loy Gilbert 
Pages: 368 
Publishing: April 10th 2018 by Disney-Hyperion


Danny Cheng has always known his parents have secrets. But when he discovers a taped-up box in his father's closet filled with old letters and a file on a powerful Silicon Valley family, he realizes there's much more to his family's past than he ever imagined.

Danny has been an artist for as long as he can remember and it seems his path is set, with a scholarship to RISD and his family's blessing to pursue the career he's always dreamed of. Still, contemplating a future without his best friend, Harry Wong, by his side makes Danny feel a panic he can barely put into words. Harry and Danny's lives are deeply intertwined and as they approach the one-year anniversary of a tragedy that shook their friend group to its core, Danny can't stop asking himself if Harry is truly in love with his girlfriend, Regina Chan.

When Danny digs deeper into his parents' past, he uncovers a secret that disturbs the foundations of his family history and the carefully constructed facade his parents have maintained begins to crumble. With everything he loves in danger of being stripped away, Danny must face the ghosts of the past in order to build a future that belongs to him.


This review is a little bit difficult to write because I still have very mixed emotions about this novel. I think the writing was beautiful, there were some very difficult topics that I think were handled extremely well, but I had a really hard time engaging with the characters. It had a very dark quality to it that actually made me sad while reading it. I think this shows the depth of the writing, but I really don't like to be sad while I read! 

Does it make sense why I have such mixed feelings now? The characters were complex, and the writing was gorgeous, but the story just got me down a little. I still enjoyed the plot and wanted to know where all of the characters landed, but I also found myself really wanting to finish the novel so I could move on from the sad feelings it was giving me. 

All in all, Picture Us in the Light was a well written coming of age story and I would recommend it to readers who enjoy deep contemporary YA novels. It definitely has some dark qualities and heavy topics, so be aware of that before reading. Thank you to Disney Hyperion and Netgalley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 3/5

As She Fades by Abbi Glines -- Blog Tour Review

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Title: As She Fades
Author: Abbi Glines 
Pages: 272
Publishing: April 3rd 2018 by Feiwel Friends
ISBN: 1250133866

Synopsis: From the #1 New York Times- and USA Today-bestselling author of the Rosemary Beach and The Vincent Boys series, Abbi Glines delivers another smoldering, compulsively readable YA romance with As She Fades. 

On the night of her high school graduation, Vale McKinley and her boyfriend Crawford are in a terrible car accident that leaves Crawford in a coma. They were supposed to spend the summer planning for college, for a bright future full of possibility. Together. Instead, Vale spends long days in the hospital, hoping Crawford will awaken.

Slate Allen, a college friend of Vale's brother, has been visiting his dying uncle at the same hospital. When he and Vale meet, she can't deny the flutter of an illicit attraction. She tries to ignore her feelings, but she's not immune to Slate's charm. Slowly, they form a cautious friendship.

Then, Crawford wakes up . . . with no memory of Vale or their relationship. Heartbroken, Vale opts to leave for college and move on with her life. Except now, she's in Slate's territory, and their story is about to take a very strange turn.

About the Author (Goodreads): Abbi Glines is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Rosemary Beach, Sea Breeze, Vincent Boys, Field Party and Existence series. She never cooks unless baking during the Christmas holiday counts. She believes in ghosts and has a habit of asking people if their house is haunted before she goes in it. She drinks afternoon tea because she wants to be British but alas she was born in Alabama. When asked how many books she has written she has to stop and count on her fingers. When she’s not locked away writing, she is reading, shopping (major shoe and purse addiction), sneaking off to the movies alone, and listening to the drama in her teenagers lives while making mental notes on the good stuff to use later. Don’t judge.

You can connect with Abbi online in several different ways. She uses social media to procrastinate.

Review: Helllllo new favorite author, it is very nice to meet you! This was my first Abbi Glines novel and it most certainly will not be my last. As She Fades is a touching novel about Vale, a young girl who is in a car accident right after graduation night. Glines' writing style is fantastic and I truly felt like I was living in the pages with Vale. I loved getting to know each of the characters and I thought Glines did a great job with world building. 

The novel had a gradual build until over halfway through the novel and then Glines threw a bomb on the story! There was a huge plot twist that I definitely didn't see coming and it made the story so much better. The only thing I disliked was the ending. It felt a little rushed to me and I would have loved to follow the characters for a little longer. 

All in all, As She Fades was a really fun and emotional read. I would highly recommend it to readers who love a good YA contemporary romance novel. I will definitely be reading more from Glines in the near future. Thank you to the publisher for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 4/5  
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