Monday, June 3, 2019

REVIEW: That Night by Cyn Balog - 4.5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Title: That Night
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary(Mental Illness)
Author: Cyn Balog
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication: June 4th 2019 2019
Cover Rating: 3/5
Reading Format: Provided eARC

That Night by Cyn Balog is the story of Hailey and The Week's brothers, Kane and Declan and how they got tangled in a very deadly web of love and obsession. Sometimes, the line between love and obsession is so thin you don't know you've crossed it until someone gets hurt.

Hailey was on top of the world. She had her best friend, Kane, she had her boyfriend, Declan, and everything seemed perfect. Until it wasn't. Until Declan went into his families shed and shot himself in the head. Until she went to stay in a mental health hospital. Until, until... until. Hailey can't seem to remember what happened the day Declan died. But it turned out maybe there is also more she can't remember. But from what we learn about Declan there is no way he would have killed himself. So what happens when someone might have gotten away with murder?

I really enjoyed this book. It had a lot of emotion and mystery to it but it also had a lot of character development that I enjoyed watching. I loved the relationship dynamic and drama between Kane and Hailey, no matter how good or bad it was. I even liked the relationship between Kane and his "girlfriend" even though that was obviously toxic. The author knows how to write characters, I will always say that.

In the end, I kept going back and forth on how this book would end. I know how the author writes so I kept saying there was NO WAY this could just be a contemporary story about a boy committing suicide and I was definitely right. 

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

Friday, May 24, 2019

REVIEW: Finale by Stephanie Garber - 5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments

Title: Finale
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Flatiron
Publication: May 7th 2019
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading Format: Owned Hardback
Finale by Stephanie Garber is the, well, FINALE to the Caraval trilogy. (see what I did there?) In this book, we get to continue on where Legendary left off. The girls, Scarlett and Donatella, are now part of Legends crew and they are on their way to perform a special Caraval for someone of great importance. But something about this Caraval is different. Something is... sinister. And more than usual is at stake. Can Scarlett and Donatella make it out alive?

I want to first start off by saying that when I read the previous book, Legendary, I greatly disliked reading from Donatella's point of view. Luckily, with rereading Legendary in preparation for Finale, my view on her changed and I started to enjoy her character more. That being said, Finale would have been a difficult book if I still didn't care for Tella, but like I said, luckily that changed and this book was FANTASTIC.

This book was fantastic. This book series is brilliant. I always kind of knew who Legend was but that really didn't spoil much for me. I was so torn with this book though because I really liked Jacks, even though he was technically supposed to be evil and he was one of the Fates, I still really liked him. Everyone kind of had their own agenda during this book so you can't really hold anyone accountable for how they acted in the end.

If I had to sum this book up in one word the word would be staggering. There is so much that gets thrown at our characters and the world is so beautifully constructed that it is hard not to get pulled into the magic of Caraval.

Can we talk about the romance in these books?! I can't believe it took me till the end of this book to realize that this was, at its heart, a love story. A love story like no other. So much was sacrificed and bargained with all in the name of LOVE.

In the end, this was such a bittersweet ending. On one hand, the author did a fantastic job with the completion, on the other hand, WHY DOES IT HAVE TO END?! Thank you, Stephanie Garber, for writing this beautiful story and bringing this world to life to us readers. 

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

REVIEW: Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small - 4/5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 5:00 PM 0 comments
Title: Bright Burning Stars
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary - Ballet/Dance
Author: A.K. Small
Publisher: Algonquin
Publication: May 21st 2019
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading Format: Provided ARC
Goodreads | Amazon

Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small is the story of two girls, best friends, who attend the prestigious Paris Opera Ballet School. They have lived together and climbed the ranks together for the past six years. They are like sisters. But then something shifts and the chance to be Number 1 and win The Prize becomes more real and both girls will do whatever it takes to get that spot, even if it means losing the other. Even if it means losing themselves. 

Kate and Marines relationship dynamic was a big part of this book. I was kind of thinking Marine would be the one who was most unhinged or emotionally damaged with her past but Kate was a strong contender in both mental stability and dance talent. I liked the different perspectives we got to see of the ballet world through each girl's eyes. There is a fierceness to this book that just makes everything feel extremely real. Especially when the girls become involved with the top male dancer of the school.

The readability of this book was almost insane. I found myself flying through the pages and when I would stop to get a drink or move around I would find that fifty pages had gone by in no time. The authors writing just flows and makes you want to devour more and more. Sadly, this is a fairly short book so before I knew it, it was over and I was left sitting here want to read more. This is an EXCELLENT debut novel.

In the end, the story was a little predictable but, nonetheless, still enjoyable. If you like reading about the ballet/dance world and all the snarky, competitive behavior that comes with it then this is a book you need to pick up(I'm not even really into dance but for some reason, I enjoy books about it so anyone could pick this book up and enjoy it). I can't wait to see what the author comes up with next. 

Overall, I have the book 4.5/5 stars.

Monday, May 20, 2019

REVIEW: Squad by Mariah MacCarthy - 4.5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Title: Squad
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Author: Mariah MacCarthy
Publisher: FSG
Publication: March 12th 2019
Cover Rating: 4/5
Reading Format: Owned Hardcover

Squad by Mariah MacCarthy is a wonderful coming of age story for our main character Jenna. We get to see the dynamics of losing a best friend and how that affects someone's mental state. And we are shown just how fast someone's life can change, for better or worse.

Jenna is a cheerleader. I know most of us think of vapid, airheads who rule the school when the word cheerleader comes up but shockingly, these girls were actually different. They all have ambitions and cheerleading seems like an actual sport for them rather than a popularity contest. But everything changes for Jenna when her best friend, Raejean, starts avoiding her and it seems like all the girls are picking on her or calling her out. Is this all in her head? Or is she being punished for something as simple as dumping water on someone's head?

Throughout this book Jenna has to figure out how to navigate life without the person she has had by her side since she was little. She has to learn to navigate relationships and she even learns a lot of new things along the way. New things about herself and new things about her brothers' friends James. She even learns that there are more things in life than cheerleading.

In the end, I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. I was thinking it would be a quick 3-star read to pad my Goodreads numbers. I love when I am proven wrong. 

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Prism Book Tour: Through the White Wood by Jessica Leake + GIVEAWAY!

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 7:00 AM 0 comments
On Tour with Prism Book Tours
Through the White Wood
By Jessica Leake Young Adult Historical Fantasy
Hardcover & ebook, 416 Pages April 9th 2019 by HarperTeen The Bear and the Nightingale meets Frostblood in this romantic historical fantasy from the author of Beyond a Darkened Shore. When Katya loses control of her power to freeze, her villagers banish her to the palace of the terrifying Prince Sasha in Kiev. Expecting punishment, she is surprised to find instead that Sasha is just like her—with the ability to summon fire. Sasha offers Katya friendship and the chance to embrace her power rather than fear it. But outside the walls of Kiev, Sasha’s enemies are organizing an army of people bent on taking over the entire world. Together, Katya’s and Sasha’s powers are a fearsome weapon. But as their enemies draw nearer, will fire and frost be enough to save the world? Or will Katya and Sasha lose everything they hold dear? Inspired by Russian mythology, this lushly romantic, intensely imaginative, and fiercely dramatic story is about learning to fight for yourself, even when the world is falling down around you.
Other Books in the Series
Beyond a Darkened Shore
By Jessica Leake Young Adult Historical Fantasy
Hardcover & ebook, 384 Pages April 10th 2018 by HarperTeen
The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores. The people of Mide have always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn but the entire world. Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle, the two might have a chance to save their world. With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love...even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all. Praise for the Book "Beyond a Darkened Shore is thrilling and romantic. This is a must-read for lovers of fantasy, mythology, and folklore." - Kody KeplingerNew York Times bestselling author of The DUFF and Run “With undead armies, flesh-eating spirit horses, and a powerful heroine, fantasy, romance, and historical-fiction readers will have a great time.” - Booklist “While Morrigan and Odin are terrifying, raven-haired Ciara is the star. Beautiful, strong, and independent, she is the perfect warrior princess. Epic historical fantasy filled with deadly creatures, simmering romance, and nonstop action.” - Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Jessica Leake is the author of Beyond a Darkened Shore as well as the adult novels Arcana and The Order of the Eternal Sun. She lives in South Carolina with her husband, four young children, lots of chickens, and two dogs who keep everyone in line. Visit her at
Tour Schedule
Tour Giveaway
2 winners will receive a copy of Through the White Wood (US only) 1 winner will receive a $25 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally) Ends April 17th a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Title: Through the White Wood
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Author: Jessica Leake
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: April 9th 2019
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading format: Provided ARC

Through the White Wood by Jessica Leake is the brilliantly told story of Katya and Sasha, an orphaned village girl and a prince. Katya was forced out of her home when the ice powers that she has got out of hand(I personally think it was well warranted). Her village contacts the prince and they think she is in for a brutal punishment. Little do they know, the prince might actually NEED Katya.

I worked with Jessica on her first book, Beyond a Darkened Shore, and I completely loved that book so when I was given the opportunity it to review Through the White Wood for a blog tour I knew I had to do it. And after reading this book I can say I am absolutely adding her to my auto-buy author's list. The author writes very vivid and beautiful stories with such amazing characters and worlds that it's impossible to not fall in love. 

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters in this book, even the not so nice ones. My favorite character has to be Elation, Katya's Eagle guardian/friend. If there is ever an animal friend like that in a book then they are normally going to be my favorite character. The relationship they had was so beautiful. I also think the dynamic that Sasha and Katya had was pretty great. The prince's kingdom was about to be in a big war and he needed her but she kind of needed him too and they both helped each other a lot. 

This story was Russian inspired and while I knew what most of the words meant, I was very grateful for the glossary in the back of the book because there were a few that I had not previously been exposed to in my other readings of Russian tales.  

I would just like to add as a little side note that the back of the book has a little blurby thing that says "The Bear and the Nightingale meets Frostblood..." and I have never felt the urge to read two books more in my entire life than after reading this book and hearing that those books might be similar to this amazing story. 

In the end, I am so grateful that I got to physically read this book. I have been stuck on audiobooks for months and felt my love of picking up and reading a physical book was slipping away but this story, world and the characters helped remind me how amazing it is to read a story and have your own voice in your head, not an audiobook narrator. If you get the chance, please look into this amazing author and give her beautiful books a shot!

Overall, I gave this book 4.5/5 stars. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

REPOST: Author Spotlight: Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake + Interview

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments

Once upon a time, Jessica Leake was a psychotherapist, but even though she loved her clients, she couldn't stop writing. She wrote and wrote until she got her first book published, and then she wrote some more. In between all that writing she had four beautiful and hilarious children with her husband (best friend and man she's known since high school; also hilarious), moved back to her adopted hometown of Greenville, SC, built a chicken coop, and got a bunch of chickens that poop breakfast every morning. She also has two dogs to keep the chickens in line. (The dogs made her write that last bit.)

Title: Beyond a Darkened Shore
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Author: Jessica Leake
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: April 10th 2017
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading format: Provided Hardback

Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake is the story of Ciara and Leif. They must save their world from demise while forming an alliance together. But this alliance won't be so easy considering Leif's people have been attacking Ciara's for years. But they make it work because one wants revenge while the other wants to protect their family. Also... VIKINGS!!!!

Ciara is the princess, and heir to the throne, of Mide. She has a unique ability that makes her extremely deadly in combat. Her father pretty much allows her to run things while he is away because of this power. But Ciara is feared by all of her clansmen because of her power even though she only uses it to keep them all safe. When Ciara starts getting visions about her people being wiped out by a murderous race of giants, she has to make a decision, stay and be obedient to her father, or leave and team up with her enemy in order to defeat this threat.

Lief is a Northman. He is meant to be this big brute that kills everything in his path but he had to pay a price in order to get his inhuman strength. Leif's group attack Ciara's home and he ends up captured and held as Ciara's prisoner. She just wants to question him about what happened to her father's group but things end up a lot more... complicated and Leif and Ciara end up fleeing her home to go after these giants.

Once they leave on their journey, so many things go wrong and they run into some interesting creatures and roadblocks along the way. This book is FILLED with mythology and I absolutely loved it. There is also a little bit of romance that I waited so long for. Someone please tell me it's okay to swoon over the big, scary brute that can kill people with his bare hands.

This story is extremely fast paced and very well written. The author organized everything and paced everything so beautifully. There is romance, that is expected and VERY welcome(I WAITED FOREVER!!) and the main character is this really amazing female lead. I would say this book has all the qualities most people look for when they are searching for a great YA Fantasy read. The author did an amazing job crafting this world and her characters.

In the end, this book surprised me so much with how amazing it was. I actually had FUN reading this story and I enjoyed the characters immensely. The ending was pretty clean cut but I am so hoping there will be more in this world. At the moment, this is just a stand-alone but the world this author build is so fantastic and inclusive that I just want to stay here forever.

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.

1) Where did the inspiration for Beyond a Darkened Shore come from? 
I’ve always loved anything to do with Ireland, and I knew I wanted to do something with Celtic mythology, so as I was researching periods of time in Irish history, I learned that there was a time when Vikings were playing a large part in Irish history. They were not only raiding the coasts of Ireland but had even taken over one of their major ports (Dublin). In some cases, they were intermarrying with the Celts, in a fascinating blend of cultures. I was like: Celtic mythology AND Norse mythology/Vikings?? Sign me up!

2) Do you think the Young Adult genre is important for young readers?
Absolutely. As someone who grew up without a lot of young adult book options, and so was reading full-on romance novels + Dean Koontz in middle school, I think YA books are so, so important. Why? Because then you can read about things you’re actually dealing with. Even in the fantasy genre, you might not be actively dealing with fighting off Vikings from raiding your castle, but you might be dealing with not knowing how you fit in or who you want to be, or even with parents who don’t seem to understand you. I like that YA is a safe and fun way to explore those things. 

3) Are you a coffee or a tea person?
Both! Coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon ☺. 

4) Who are some of your favorite Young Adult authors?
In no particular order (just taken from looking at my Goodreads books, lol): Leigh Bardugo, Sabaa Tahir, Robin McKinley, Roshani Chokshi, Holly Black, Sarah J. Maas, and Mary Pearson. 

5) Are you currently working on any new books?
Yes! Next up is THROUGH THE WHITE WOOD, which will be released in Winter 2019 from HarperTeen, and it’s set in 11th century Russia. It’s like FROSTBLOOD meets THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE because it has elemental powers, Russian folklore, and a fairy-tale feel. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

REVIEW: You Owe Me a Murder by Eileen Cook - 4/5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Title: You Owe Me a Murder
Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Thriller
Author: Eileen Cook
Publisher: HMH
Publication: March 5th 2019
Cover Rating: 4/5
Reading Format: Netgalley

You Owe Me a Murder by Eileen Cook is the story of Kim and Nicki. Kim is a scorned lover and Nicki feels like her mother has ruined her life. These two meet in an airport and become quick friends, start drinking on the plane and make lists about WHY the two people who hurt them deserve to die. Nicki jokingly tells Kim that it could be the perfect crime, killing each others person, because they don't know the person and have no true motives. But what if Nicki wasn't exactly "joking"?

Kim has a lot on her plate. Not only did her boyfriend break up with her but she now has to go on a trip with him that she signed up for before they broke up because her mother thinks it would be good for her. Her mother also thinks BLOGGING about her daughter's life is a good idea. Hmmm. Oh, and did I mention her ex's new girlfriend will be going on the trip as well? And she has a voice that carries. 

After meeting Nicki on the plane, they lose touch and Kim feels bad about it but she decides to enjoy her trip anyways. Then she meets a guy named Alex and she starts to have a decent time until disaster strikes. Somehow, Conner, the guy who ripped her heart out, ends up in front of a train and is killed. Surely it's just a coincidence, right? A stroke of bad luck? Maybe even suicide.

The end of this book was kind of shocking but also kind of expected. It was crazy to see what all Nicki was capable of and I can't help but wonder what would have happened if Nicki had met a different person on that flight that day. Also, did Nicki have anything to do with the baby?! 

I have no idea why but the entire time I was writing this review I kept wanting to add emoji's. Lot's of eye-rolls and the finger on chin thinking emoji popped into my head a lot. Can you even add emoji's to a review?! I am not sure. 🤔

In the end, this wasn't my favorite book by Eileen Cook. There was one specific thing that rubbed me wrong but it's a personal thing, I guess, so I won't dock her too much for that but this story just didn't hit me like all of the other books I have read did. I still enjoyed the story and will continue to read all of her books.

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.

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