G. Bianco, 2019
Priscilla Oliveras is back with the newest book in the Keys of Love Series, which comes out April 27th. In Anchored Hearts, two high school sweethearts and childhood friends try to deny their lingering feelings for one another when they are continuously forced into one another’s paths by some meddling mamis.
Award-winning photographer Alejandro Miranda hasn’t been home to Key West in years—not since he left to explore broader horizons with his papi’s warning “never to come back” echoing in his ears. He wouldn’t be heading there now if it wasn’t for an injury requiring months of recuperation. The drama of a prodigal son returning to his familia and their beloved Cuban restaurant is bad enough, but coming home to the island paradise also means coming face to face with the girl he left behind—the one who was supposed to be by his side all along… Anamaría Navarro was shattered when Alejandro took off without her. Traveling the world was their plan, not just his. But after her father’s heart attack, there was no way she could leave—not even for the man she loved. Now ensconced in the family trade as a firefighter and paramedic, with a side hustle as a personal trainer, Anamaría is dismayed that just the sight of Alejandro is enough to rekindle the flame she’s worked years to put out. And as famillia meddling pushes them together, the heat of their attraction only climbs higher. Can they learn to trust again, before the Key West sun sets on their chance at happiness?
Like Island Affair (the first book in the series), this book was so descriptive and wonderfully written! The smells and taste of Cuban food, the scenery and nature of Key West, and the history behind these Latino families really brings this story to life. The use of Spanish language in this book also emphasizes the way each character is rooted in and cherishes their heritage and how it has influenced their lives.
Anamaría and Alejandro’s story is so fun to read and their banter is so entertaining. On top of this, their slow burn, second chance romance will have readers screaming “JUST KISS ALREADY” and eagerly waiting for the two of them to act on their feelings for one another.
Whether you read this as a standalone or as a sequel to Island Affair, this book is a fabulous romcom that will have you wishing you were in Key West. I cannot wait to read more of Oliveras’s books (and secretly hope there is a third book about Enrique in the works)!
*I received an ARC from Kensington Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
In her New York Times-Bestselling book, Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo introduces readers to the mystical world of the Grisha and the darkness that lurks under the surface of their world. Soon to be a Netflix original series, this first book in the Shadow and Bone Series is beloved by fans around the world and is only continuing its rise in popularity.
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee: Alina Starkov. When her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.
I've been wanting to read this book for years now, and with the Netflix show premiering soon I figured now was the perfect time to see what all the hype was about. This book took me on a whirlwind of emotions that made me understand why it’s such a fan favorite!
The world of Ravka and the Grisha was an interesting one to learn about and I think that Bardugo does a great job of building this world of elemental magic and political unrest. The characters were complex and I found myself loving and hating all of them at certain points of the story, so be prepared for a rollercoaster of emotions on the characterization front! While some parts of it were reminiscent of other YA books, I thought the storyline was well written and there are still many threads of the story left loose so that they can be continued in the next book!
Listen, for me it was just one of those classic YA fantasies that you can’t help but really enjoy! If you’re looking for in depth character development and super detailed plot, you’re not going to find that here. However, if you’re a YA lover or just looking for something that brings you back to your YA loving days as a teenager, then this is a wonderful choice! Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series!
This isn’t a review so much as a story about this book.
I think I’m the first person to ever review this The Structure of Bifocal Distance by John Dingby on Goodreads/ever which is pretty cool so I feel like I should explain how I came to read this obscure book:
I found it on a free books shelf at my college a little over a year ago and just thought it was a cool poetry book to grab. I’m always fascinated by poetry collections since they are usually brief and can either be weird or profound to me.
I then lost this book amongst the many unread books plaguing my shelves and then found it and then forgot about it until about 2 days ago when I rediscovered it on the back of one of my bookshelves while I was organizing and cataloguing my books.
I figured “it’s only like 50 pages? Let’s just read it!” And so I did.
Some poems were beautiful but most were wacky and confusing, but the poet is a “self-confessed surrealist” according to the back of the book so what was I really expecting? I’m sure a lot of these poems had deeper meanings that I was just not comprehending and also this book was published in 1974 so there were also probably many references that went right over my head as well...
What really fascinated me about this book is that the back cover has a price tag/sticker that says it was £1.25P and the back cover says “For copyright reasons this edition is not for sale in the USA.” My best guess is that this book was probably purchased in England somewhere? But I wonder how it traveled from there to my house in New York?
I guess my whole point to this is that books not only tell a story in that they are actual stories being written down, but also in the sense that each book has come from someone and traveled a long way to get to a specific person.
I don’t know who the original owner of this book was or how it ended up in the U.S. let alone my college campus in New York but I know that even if this book was only a three star read for me, it’s still a pretty special book!
Edit: I found this link that's an interview with the author that lent some insight as to how the boo might have ended up in New York...
The bestselling authors of books like Time of Our Lives, If I’m Being Honest, and Always Never Yours are back with their newest YA romance What’s Not to Love. Set to be published on April 20th, writing duo/IRL couple Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (known by their fans as Wibbroka) show just what happens when your nerdy nemesis turns into something more.
Since high school began, Alison Sanger and Ethan Molloy have competed on almost everything. AP classes, the school paper, community service, it never ends. If Alison could avoid Ethan until graduation, she would. Except, naturally, for two over-achieving seniors with their sights on valedictorian and Harvard, they share all the same classes and extracurriculars. So when their school’s principal assigns them the task of co-planning a previous class’s ten-year reunion, with the promise of a recommendation for Harvard if they do, Ethan and Alison are willing to endure one more activity together if it means beating the other out of the lead. But with all this extra time spent in each other’s company, their rivalry begins to feel closer to friendship. And as tension between them builds, Alison fights the growing realization that the only thing she wants more than winning…is Ethan.
I think I am officially a Wibbroka fan! This book is a fun enemies-to-lovers romance that will have any YA lovers severely invested in Allison and Ethan’s rivalry/relationship! While both of them seem WAY too invested in one-upping each other, their character development (especially Allison’s) is really well-written and makes this novel even more entertaining to read. The enemies-to-lovers aspect doesn’t feel forced or toxic at all and instead shows that sometimes love and hate really are two sides of the same coin.
Having the main characters be seniors in high school, there was naturally an emphasis on enjoying your youth while you can and the impending graduation/college fears many people face; however, what I liked about this book was that it emphasized doing things your own way. Allison isn’t the type to go to parties or do crazy things for the sake of being young and yet she doesn’t regret any of the choices she’s made to get to where she ends up in the book, which was really refreshing to see. I also really liked the underlying theme of life not ending up the way you anticipate it and that sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.
I highly recommend this book if you're looking for a quick read (I literally read it in less than 24 hours) or something to make you feel like you’re back in high school again or that your not alone while experiencing it in the present. I look forward to reading through the rest of Siegemund-Broka and Wibberley’s backlist collection and cannot wait to see what they will write next!
*I received an ARC from Penguin Teen in exchange for my honest opinion.
Calling all Sarah J. Maas lovers! Award-winning author Lynette Noni is known for captivating readers with her YA series and her newest one is sure to do the same! Published on April 13th, The Prison Healer is the book all fantasy fans need to read.
Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer. When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals. Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom. But no one has ever survived. With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.
I loved Kiva and her strength throughout the novel. The way she continues to do her job and survive in the prison, despite certain feelings and loyalties, was admirable and inspiring. She is a character I found myself continually rooting for and was turning page after page just to see what would happen next. In addition to Kiva, all the rest of the characters were so well written and it helped enhance the plot of the novel even more.
Speaking of, the plot was absolutely fantastic! Even though this is technically a YA novel, it was so nuanced and refined that even adult fantasy lovers will fall in love with this book. I don’t want to give too much away so I'll just say this: I laughed, I cried (multiple times...), and the ending had me FLOORED! Just when I thought I had things figured out, Lynette Noni decided to hit me with some plot twists that had me shocked. Like I can’t even tell you how long I just sat there at 1am contemplating everything I had just read...
All I can say about this book is HOLY SH*T ADD THIS TO YOUR TBR IMMEDIATELY! As for me, I will be anxiously awaiting the next book in the series to come out to see what the heck is going to happen next!
*I received an ARC from HMH Teen via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
In his debut novel, Robbie Couch brings a heartfelt story to life featuring a openly gay student stuck in the middle of small-town Michigan. The Sky Blues is funny, hopeful, and tear-jerking and is sure to be a fan favorite when it’s released on April 6th.
Sky Baker may be openly gay, but in his small, insular town, making sure he was invisible has always been easier than being himself. Determined not to let anything ruin his senior year, Sky decides to make a splash at his high school’s annual beach bum party by asking his crush, Ali, to prom—and he has thirty days to do it. What better way to start living loud and proud than by pulling off the gayest promposal Rock Ledge, Michigan, has ever seen? Then, Sky’s plans are leaked by an anonymous hacker in a deeply homophobic e-blast that quickly goes viral. He’s fully prepared to drop out and skip town altogether—until his classmates give him a reason to fight back by turning his thirty-day promposal countdown into a school-wide hunt to expose the e-blast perpetrator. But what happens at the end of the thirty days? Will Sky get to keep his hard-won visibility? Or will his small-town blues stop him from being his true self?
I literally binge-read this book over the span of a day and I adored every minute of it. This book made me tear up, laugh, gasp, and feel all of the emotions! The messages of acceptance, friendship, and being true to yourself are wonderfully expressed in the book.
Sky’s distinct narration style on top of the engaging plot of the book will have you flipping page after page to see what will happen next! Filled with sarcastic, witty asides, and pop culture references, this book never has a dull moment!
In addition to the humor laced throughout the book, there are some serious moments such as bullying, homophobia, racism, Islamophobia, and self-acceptance. Sky not only has to deal with a school hacker, but also his own friendships and familial relationships that get caught in the crossfire. However, Couch handles these topics wonderfully and all of them make the story even deeper.
Any fans of YA contemporaries will fall in love with Sky and his friends and the antics and shenanigans they get up to. It will have you yearning for the nostalgia of blissfully ignorant high school memories and what it feels like to have the world be your oyster as a teenager. This book is just an overall enjoyable read and I can’t recommend it enough. Go buy this book and feel all of the emotions like I did. You won’t regret it!
*I received an ARC via giveaway from Simon Teen.
From the author of the acclaimed novel, Chemical Hearts, Krystal Sutherland is back on the YA book scene with her newest novel House of Hollow. In this novel, which is set to be released on April 6th, things are not quite what it seems and readers will be questioning everything.
Seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats. Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar. But when her eldest sister, Grey, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Iris learns just how weird her life can get: horned men start shadowing her, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and ugly, impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind. As Iris retraces Grey’s last known footsteps and follows the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs she left behind, it becomes apparent that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children. The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to understanding that the answer is dark and dangerous – and that Grey has been keeping a terrible secret from her for years.
I don’t want to say too much about the story for fear of spoiling anything, but I will say that if you’re looking for a darker YA novel, then this is a fabulous choice! This book is haunting, dark, creepy, but also quite fascinating. This book mixes so many different genres that it’s hard to categorize it so I’ll just describe it as a young adult mystery/sci-fi/fantasy/horror novel. I think I covered them all?
This story also takes quite a few twists and turns and definitely has the reader guessing (alongside Iris) what’s real and what’s not. The plot is continuously engaging and will have you wondering what is up with the Hollow Girls and why things keep on happening to them.
While I usually don’t do creepy reads, this book was riveting and kept me engaged in the plot and what unique turn it was going to take next. If you’re into weird and twisty books, then this one's for you!
*I received an ARC from Penguin Teen in exchange for my honest opinion.
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!