She's With Me by Ava Violet

She's With Me (She's With Me #1)
Author: Ava Violet
Publisher: Wattpad Books
Release Date: January 7th, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

When Amelia Collins moves to a new town to escape her dark past, she just wants to keep her head down and finish her senior year.

Her plans change drastically when she runs- literally- into the school's hottest badass and number one person on the 'don't mess with' list, Aiden Parker.

Amelia needs to find a way to survive senior year while she tries not to fall for the annoyingly handsome Aiden, or his mischievous, cocky player of a best friend, Mason.

With new friends, fun pranks, bitchy queen bees, old rivalries, and a haunting past, Amelia's senior year is destined to be filled with some drama.

She’s with Me is a story about a girl that is running from her past and finds a motley crew of friends at her new school.

Okay I first have to say that I had no idea this book was not a standalone, so when I got to the end. I’m like wait what. Ummm…. So fair warning because you will be reading along waiting for the next thing that you are expecting to happen and then it doesn’t and then it’s the end and you are like whhaaaattt. Ha ha. It caught me off guard in a good way because I wasn’t expecting it.

So the beginning of the book reminded me of Boys Over Flowers(Meteor Garden) and F4. It’s funny because I always thought if I wrote a book I would want there to be a strong boy group like in that manga/drama. I did get some overtones of Mean Girls but also a little Grease. It was an interesting mash-up. It also does it’s own thing though I’m not saying it’s just going from one to the other. I did struggle with feeling like some of the plot was too drawn out and long, some things could have been condensed and the mean girl Kaitlyn was a little over dramatic. I’m concerned that she might need to speak with someone. I did really like the developing relationship between Amelia and the Boys (I continue in my head to call them F4) and a couple of the girls. I’m always a fan of hate to love romance. I’m not sure why but it’s cute to see them find their way to one another.

I was so mad at Amelia’s mom though. I don’t want to get all judgy on other parents, I try not to. She’s not real so I feel more justified. I’m sorry but what?? The way she treats her and the things she says. Plus she leaves her alone all the time with the situation she is in. I’m sorry what! I wanted to reach in there and say no, this is your fault lady. Ugh. Ughhhh.

Amelia and Aiden both have their own stuff going on and that’s what I think draws them together. It was nice that Aiden had more robust backstory to him and it wasn’t just thrown in there. He has reasons for the way he does things and the way he is. I did really like their slowly developing romance.

I liked Amelia as a character too. She is what she should be a teenager that wants a normal life. That finds it hard to just keep to herself and wants to have friends. She is very strong and willing to stand up for herself.

So overall it was definitely an interesting read. I had my suspicions about Amelia’s secret but I didn’t have it all figured out when the story is revealed. Which is good. I did really enjoy the romance between Aiden and her.

Jessica is an indecisive university student from a small town near Toronto, Canada. She published her first young adult novel She’s With Me, on Wattpad under the name “AvaViolet” when she was 17 years old. In just over 2 years, her story has amassed over 61 million reads and has reached the number one spot in teen fiction more times than she can count. Her story She’s With Me won the 2016 Wattys “Talk of the Town” award, as well as The 2016 Fiction Awards “Best Teen Fiction.” She also won The 2016 Writer Awards for Novelist of the Year and Wattpad Writer of the Year.

Jessica enjoys hiking, the outdoors, and trying to sneak her way out of inevitable awkward situations. She can often be found daydreaming about scenarios which have a 5% chance of actually happening to her. But she doesn’t mind, since she can transform them into awesome stories which she can vicariously live through.

Wattpad : Twitter : Inastagram

Throw Like a Girl by Srah Henning

Title: Throw Like a Girl
Author: Sarah Henning
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 7th 2020
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance

Friday Night Lights meets Morgan Matson's The Unexpected Everything in this contemporary debut where swoonworthy romance meets underdog sports story.

When softball star Liv Rodinsky throws one ill-advised punch during the most important game of the year, she loses her scholarship to her fancy private school, her boyfriend, and her teammates all in one fell swoop. With no other options, Liv is forced to transfer to the nearest public school, Northland, where she'll have to convince their coach she deserves a spot on the softball team, all while facing both her ex and the teammates of the girl she punched... Every. Single. Day.

Enter Grey, the injured star quarterback with amazing hair and a foolproof plan: if Liv joins the football team as his temporary replacement, he'll make sure she gets a spot on the softball team in the Spring. But it will take more than the perfect spiral for Liv to find acceptance in Northland's halls, and behind that charming smile, Grey may not be so perfect after all.

With well-drawn characters and a charming quarterback love interest who's got brains as well as brawn, Throw Like a Girl will have readers swooning from the very first page.

Throw Like a Girl is a cute story about a not so cute sport.

It’s a cool story. The High School by me has a girl that plays safety on the Football team. I honestly do not know that much about football so I found myself asking me husband questions. Mostly about the abuse your body takes with the sport. I didn’t feel like I needed to know a ton to read the story though. Although there are parts with the actual game, I think it’s pretty clearly spelled out and easy to follow along.

I had mixed feelings about Liv at times. I thought that she was really selfish and often couldn’t see beyond herself but at the same time she was caring. The thing is that I felt like she acted like a teenager...which she is. So I thought it was appropriate for her to annoy me at times because all teenagers annoy me at times. The other side of Liv is the fact that she is dealing with a parent going battling cancer. It was difficult for me with my dad as an adult to watch what cancer did to him. I can’t imagine being a teenager and having that happen. So Liv’s anger is probably a lot of pent up other frustrations as well.

I loved Liv’s relationship with her siblings. I hope my kids can be as close when they are in high school. They rely on one another and protect one another and still argue like siblings. It is always great to see a strong family in a book. My brothers would have flipped out if I played football but at the same time they thought it was cool when I wouldn’t let boys push me around. So it’s always fun to see that with other siblings.

Yes, the story has a romance and it’s about Liv and Grey. Also about Liv and Jake putting the past behind them. I felt like the story is really about Liv growing as a person and as a teammate. It was great to see that she did have consequences from her actions but she also learned from those and kept going.

I really enjoyed Throw Like a Girl. It’s a great contemporary and a fun light hearted read. Plus if you like sports, there are lots of sports talk.

Sarah Henning is a recovering journalist who has worked for the Palm Beach Post, Kansas City Star and Associated Press, among others. While in South Florida, Sarah lived and worked through five hurricanes, which gave her an extreme respect for the ocean. When not writing, she runs ultramarathons, hits the playground with her two kids and hangs out with her husband Justin, who doubles as her long-suffering IT department. Sarah lives in Lawrence, Kansas, which, despite being extremely far from the beach, happens to be pretty cool.

Website : Twitter : Instagram
STARTS: 7th January 2020
ENDS: 21st January 2020
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Chosen by Kiersten White

Title: Chosen (Slayer #2)
Author: Kiersten White
Published: January 7th 2020 by Simon & Schuster Children's UK
Buy: Amazon : B&N

Nina continues to learn how to use her slayer powers against enemies old and new in this second novel in the New York Times bestselling series from Kiersten White, set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Now that Nina has turned the Watcher’s Castle into a utopia for hurt and lonely demons, she’s still waiting for the utopia part to kick in. With her sister Artemis gone and only a few people remaining at the castle—including her still-distant mother—Nina has her hands full. Plus, though she gained back her Slayer powers from Leo, they’re not feeling quite right after being held by the seriously evil succubus Eve, a.k.a. fake Watcher’s Council member and Leo’s mom.

And while Nina is dealing with the darkness inside, there’s also a new threat on the outside, portended by an odd triangle symbol that seems to be popping up everywhere, in connection with Sean’s demon drug ring as well as someone a bit closer to home. Because one near-apocalypse just isn’t enough, right?

The darkness always finds you. And once again, it’s coming for the Slayer.

I loved Chosen. Kiersten White writes a witty, fast paced, Buffy-esce story about two sisters finding their way in a Slayer/Watcher universe post Hellmouth closure.

It’s so fun to have the Buffy world cameos. I kept wanting to turn to someone and be like look who it is! I love that it is it’s own duology and is able to stand on its own. With or without Buffy.

The plot is so fast paced that I felt myself turning page to page to see what’s going to happen next. There was enough of the not knowing what’s happening that made you want to keep reading to find out what is happening. The characters have just gone through so much betrayal in the first book that you keep wondering, is everyone here alright. What’s that person up.

Artemis really bothered me and I kind of didn’t like her. I also kind of get where she is coming from though. I feel as she goes through the phases she realizes what she is really doing. So her character arc in the story is interesting. Even though I kind of didn’t like her in Chosen, I kind of thought she was kind of kick butt how she just goes for what she wants.

What I liked about Nina was that there is no painting over her grief and pain. I felt like in the beginning of the book you can really feel what she is feeling. She doesn’t just bounce back and say hey let’s save the world. Yes they started the sanctuary but she still feels like she’s drifting after everything she has gone through and lost. So we get to see her navigate through all of her emotions and finding her place now.

I like all the side characters. It’s a great team that they have at the castle. However, for some strange reason, I absolutely love Jessi. She isn’t even in the book that much. Everytime she says something it makes me laugh.

Chosen is a great wrap-up to the duology that started with Slayer.

Oasis by Katya de Becerra

Title: Oasis
Author: Katya de Becerra
Publisher: Imprint Macmillan
Release Date: January 7th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

The oasis saved them. But who will save them from the oasis?

Alif had exciting summer plans: working on her father’s archaeological dig site in the desert with four close friends . . . and a very cute research assistant. Then the sandstorm hit.

With their camp wiped away, Alif and the others find themselves lost on the sands, seemingly doomed . . . until they find the oasis. It has everything they need: food, water, shade—and mysterious ruins that hide a deadly secret. As reality begins to shift around them, they question what’s real and what’s a mirage.

The answers turn Alif and her friends against one another, and they begin to wonder if they’ve truly been saved. And while it was easy to walk into the oasis, it may be impossible to leave . . .

Katya de Becerra’s new supernatural thriller hides a mystery in plain sight, and will keep you guessing right up to its terrifying conclusion.

So wow, the Oasis huh. I’m not even sure where to begin because I might still be reeling from reading. I’m a big fan of Old Time Radio shows, that love instilled into me from my dad. There is a particular series called X-Minus One and this book reminded me of that so much. So I’m thinking the Oasis is a great audiobook. The story is so fast paced and so engrossing and so very much, what on Earth (or not Earth) is happening here.

So it’s one of those books you can’t say too much because I don’t want to give anything away. A group of friends go on a trip to Dubai to spend some time at the MC’s dad archeology dig site. What’s interesting is that this group of friends are in that phase that everyone goes through when you are getting ready to go to college. Starting to drift apart and change. Seeing one another in new ways. This is kind of their last hurrah at holding on to their closeness. Although their drifting seems to have started long before.

What they find in the desert is not only a whole bunch of weird but also how many things they don’t know about each other. I liked each character for different reasons. None of them are perfect or without blame in their scenarios.

Alif as a main character is interesting. She’s not perfect and she is kind of looking for that place to belong I think because of her complicated relationship with her parents. I think her attempt to bring her friends around to the same place again with this trip is her attempt to keep something together.

I loved the descriptions of the Oasis. The whole place is very interesting and the events that unfold after as well. The ending leaves you in a….wait what did I just read….spot but in a turn it over in your head again and again way. I don’t want to give anything away about the book so but it’s definitely a good read if you are a fan of Sci-fi thriller weirdness.

Katya de Becerra was born in Russia, studied in California, lived in Peru, and then stayed in Australia long enough to become a local. She was going to be an Egyptologist when she grew up, but instead she earned a PhD in Anthropology and now works as a university lecturer and a researcher. Katya is a short version of her real name, which is very long and gets mispronounced a lot. What The Woods Keep was her first novel (out now), which is followed by another standalone Oasis in 2020. She has also authored and co-authored academic articles, book chapters, guest posts and opinion pieces.

Website : Twitter : Instagram


Prize: Win finished copy of OASIS by Katya de Becerra (US Only)

Starts: January 1st 2020
Ends: January 15th 2020

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Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1)
by Abigail Hing Wen
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: January 7th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Travel, Asian Literature

For fans of Crazy Rich Asians or Jane Austen Comedy of Manners, with a hint of La La Land

When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.

Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.

Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?

Loveboat, Taipei is a really cute story that reminds me a little of a Chinese drama. As well as giving insight to the American Chinese culture.

One of the things I really love about the book is the author's note in the beginning because she explains how she attended Loveboat herself. Which for me made the story even better because even though the characters are fiction it’s based off something real. I loved learning about Loveboat.

So when we meet Ever she is at a point where she feels like she is drowning. Her parents have her life all planned out for her and she doesn’t really want to follow the track they set. These stories are always complicated for me because my grandparents were immigrants from Lithuania and Russia. My grandpa died when my dad was 10 so my grandma is the only one I knew and she was harsh. She was very very hard on us and when I tell other people they thinks she was awful. As much as no I don’t think she should have said the things she said, I also understood she came from a different place and different experience. She didn’t just leave Russia, she fled. So I wanted to be so mad at Ever’s parents and be like break all their rules what they know they can’t control. I also wanted to understand where they were coming from and where Ever was coming from when it was difficult for her to break away. I love a story that incorporates family dynamics like this because we are all different and have many different things and I love reading how different families work. To understand better.

I love Ever as a character. You can’t help rooting for her. She is caring and as she discovers herself at Chien Tan she has some stumbles but she picks herself back up. She approaches things head on and she shows how strong she is. Ever isn’t weak because she was following her parents path and I think she really shows that. Especially as she grows as a character.

The other cast of characters are fun. I loved learning about Rick, Xavier and Sophie. All of them have their own stories to tell and it helps propel the whole thing. Jenna is the one that reminds me of a character in a Chinese drama. I’ve had friends that remind me of Sophie, I could see it when they are at the photographer. I was like yep I remember that. The whole story reminded me a bit of college too. That first year you go crazy (maybe that was just me…..) and kind of get all that energy out before you get serious about your studies.

The story does flow really well and is well written. There are points when it started to feel a little long. I thought in my head though that this would make a great drama. Someone should totally make this a drama! There is so much depth to each of the characters and I think that’s why. No character was just a throw away mean girl or playboy. They all had deeper things about them that made them the way they are. We got to see that so we could connect with them better. I cared about the characters at the end of the story and hoped they found successes in their life. I felt bad when unrequited love happened.

Loveboat, Taipei is a really fun story and definitely worth the read. Especially because it’s written by someone who actually attended the program. You know Abigail Hing Wen knows what she is talking about. It’s amazing!

Abigail was born in West Virginia to a family of immigrants: Her mother is from the Philippines and her father from Indonesia, and her grandparents emigrated to those countries from Fujian and Shandong provinces in China.

Abigail grew up in Ohio and graduated from Harvard University and Columbia Law School. She worked in Washington DC for the Senate, as a law clerk for a federal judge. and now in Silicon Valley in venture capital and artificial intelligence. She also earned her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

In her spare time, she enjoys long walks with her husband and two boys, and hanging out with friends and over 100 family members in the Bay Area. She loves music and dances to it when no one is watching.

Website : Twitter : Instagram

Prize: Win (1) of (2) copies of LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI by Abigail Hing Wen (US Only)

Stars: 1st January 2020
Ends: 15th January 2020

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Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

Scavenge the Stars (Scavenge the Stars #1)
Author: Tara Sim
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: January 7th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings

When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide. Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…

Packed with high-stakes adventure, romance, and dueling identities, this gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo is the first novel in an epic YA fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo.

Scavenge the Stars is a riveting story that will keep you enthralled until the very end. I couldn’t stop reading until all the cards had been dealt.

Amaya has lead a hard life on a debtors prison ship. Suffering from abuse and just trying to find a way to survive. She can’t wait for the day when she can finally seek revenge for all that she has endured. I really liked Amaya as a character. Even though she is set on revenge she is also strong and still has a conscience. I think she spends a lot of the book trying to reconcile that different parts of herself. From her past, debtors ship, to who she is presently. I liked seeing her character change as she finds out that nothing is as it seems and things definitely can take a more complicated twist.

Cayo has his own demons. Fighting against addiction that once consumed him, he struggles to stay on the right path. He wants to though for her sister and for himself. He definitely is not quite there yet. When we meet Cayo he is repentive for his selfish and reckless ways. It’s interesting to join his character arc in a different spot. More like from the middle instead of the end.

I also enjoyed a side character Romara. I’m not sure if we will see more of her but I loved how clever she was. More so than she let on.

The plot is really intriguing with many twists and turns. At first I felt like it had a bit of slow start but I think it might have just been my reading impatience because once I made it to the third chapter it felt like everything flew by. It was definitely a quick read. I loved as the mystery unraveled to reveal a plot that goes beyond just Amaya and Cayo. There are still many unanswered questions as we end the book but it felt wrapped up enough that you not felt left hanging too badly.

I really enjoyed Scavenge the Stars and I can’t wait to see what unfolds for the story in next the book.

Tara Sim is the author of SCAVENGE THE STARS (Disney-Hyperion) and the TIMEKEEPER trilogy (Sky Pony Press) and writer of all things magic. She can often be found in the wilds of the Bay Area, California.

When she’s not writing about mischievous boys in clock towers, Tara spends her time drinking tea, wrangling cats, and occasionally singing opera. Despite her bio-luminescent skin, she is half-Indian and eats way too many samosas.

Tara is represented by Victoria Marini at Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

Name pronunciation: “tar-ah” (not “terr-ah”).

Website : Twitter : Facebook : Instagram

Prize details:
• Original 9x12 Art piece from Alex Castellanos (@alexisc_art)
• 3 exclusive SCAVENGE THE STARS character cards
• Exclusive SCAVENGE THE STARS book mark
• Signed Bookplate from author Tara Sim
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Prize: Win finished copy of SCAVENGE THE STARS by Tara Sim (US Only)

Starts: 1st January 2020
Ends: 15th January 2020

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