Mini-Reviews: Gallagher Girls #4-6

Mini-Reviews: Gallagher Girls #4-6

Sometimes I read too fast and can’t keep up with the reviews. Here are a few of the books.ย 

I’ve decided to reread one of my all-time favorite series! These books aren’t terribly long, so I was able to binge the first three on the weekend.

Only the Good Spy Youngย by Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #4
Release Date: June 29, 2010
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating:ย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸ

This was a great addition to the series, but I felt like this book was a bit slower than the previous one, mostly around the beginning/middle parts.

I liked that we learned more about The Circle, our main villain in the series, which is an organization of double agents. We learn a little bit about why they’re after Cammie and what their motivations are.

Joe Solomon, who is a professor at Cammie’s school and a trusted friend of the family, is one of my favorite characters of the series. We learn more about him and his past in this book, and I liked that we got to focus a bit more on other characters besides Cammie.

The tone of the book definitely shifts here, it gets a bit darker and that’s how it stays through the rest of the series. While it had a bit of a slow start the story does pick up, and the last 50 pages or so were phenomenal. They were filled with angst and adventure, it really kept my attention.

four stars

Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #5
Release Date: March 12, 2012
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating:ย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸ

This is my favorite of the series, hands down.ย We get like 90% of our questions answered here, finally!ย 

This book picks up a few months after book 4. Cammie finds herself waking up with no memory how how she spent the summer. The plot basically follows Cammie trying to put together her reconciliation of the summer and get some answers to what happened to her father.

The friendship between Cammie and her roommates is seen in a new light this time around. I love how complex her relationships are with everyone in her life. We also get so much romance between Zach and Cammie in this book. They are completely adorable.

This book brings in a whole slew of emotions.ย This book made my heart break, okay?ย None of the previous books made me feel like this, but parts of this book were filled with such sadness and loneliness, gah.

This book is fantastic and will make you feel all the feels.

five stars

United We Spy byย Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #6
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating:ย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ

It’s so sad to see a series that really made an impact on your life as a kid end.ย This series was with me from ages 11 – 17 and it taught me a lot about loyalty and friendship.

Plot wise I can’t say much. Cammie and her friends are determined to bring down The Circle so of course this book is filled with action, more so than any other book.

Also, I remember when I first saw that cover I started crying. Cammie holding her diploma is everything. Considering we meet her at 15, she was just a child, and she went through so much during her years as a Gallagher Girl, it just made me so emotional.

I can’t recommend this series enough. Cammie, Macey, Bex, Liz, and Zach all have special places in my heart. The adults in Cammie’s life are also so special. My heart aches.

five stars

Mini-Reviews: Gallagher Girls #1-3

Mini-Reviews: Gallagher Girls #1-3

Sometimes I read too fast and can’t keep up with the reviews. Here are a few of the books.ย 

I’ve decided to reread one of my all-time favorite series! These books aren’t terribly long, so I was able to binge the first three on the weekend.

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill Youย by Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #1
Release Date: April 1, 2006
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating:ย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸ

This is actually my least favorite of the series. But that’s honestly great because they just get better and better as we go on.

One of my favorite things about this series is the female friendships. Cammie, Bex, Liz, and Macey are some of my favorite female characters ever, and their friendship reaches some amazing highs throughout the series. Obviously we are just starting to get introduced to these characters and their personalities here, so this isn’t as present here as it is later on in the series.

Also, this is the most juvenile book of the series, which again makes sense because the characters are only 15 and are getting older and more mature as the series progresses. The girls are very naive in this book on certain aspects, which lead to some very questionable decisions. However, I loved seeing Cammie go through her first relationship. I also loved seeing her learn from all the mistakes she made through that process.

This is a really great book for young teens, or anyone looking for a light-hearted, not to be taken too seriously, book.

three stars

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #2
Release Date: October 2, 2007
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating:ย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸ

This series is so addictive. You can breeze through these books so easily,ย and they are so much fun.

While I’m definitely not the target audience for this book, I’m still finding myself highly entertained by them.

We see more from the other girls in this book. I love Bex’s bad-assery, Liz’s smarts, and Macey’s real-world experience. Cammie is still super awkward, but I adore her to pieces.

We get some new characters in this book, which adds some mystery and drama to the story. I was obsessed with Zach when I first read this book (which was like 10 years ago *gasp*) but I still find him oh so charming.

Overall, this was a great sequel.

four stars

Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover byย Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls #3
Release Date: June 9, 2009
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating:ย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ

I love that this series can be ridiculous and serious at the same time. Over the series, the tone gradually shifts from one to the other. But this third book is the perfect combination of both.

The plot in this book is more high-stakes and engaging, the mystery is more involved, and everything the characters do have consequences.

Macey is one of my favorite characters of the bunch, and she really takes a spotlight in this book. When her father decides to run as vice president Macey and Cammie find themselves in the middle of a kidnapping plot.

There are a lot of surprises in this book, which set up the second half of the series perfectly. And the characters are maturing right in front of us, they’ve come a long way from the first book.

I can’t wait to continue my reread, I’m so happy I still love these books!

five stars

Mini-Reviews: Play On, The Start of Me and You, The Survival Kit

Mini-Reviews: Play On, The Start of Me and You, The Survival Kit

Sometimes I read too fast and can’t keep up with the reviews. Here are a few of the books.ย 

I decided to do something a bit differently. These are all books I read and loved before I started blogging. I obviously never wrote any reviews on these books, which I adored! So this month, I decided to review three YA contemporary novels that I already read. I figure I can do a different genre next time. ๐Ÿ™‚

Play On (Lewis Creek #1)ย ย by Michelle Smith
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating:ย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸ

This is told from Austin’s POV. I remember that was the first thing that caught my attention about this because having only a male POV in a YA contemporary book is a bit rare. His head is full cheesy-ness and he falls for Marisa a bit too easily, but he is so adorable.ย He’s just a genuine guy, which I loved!

He has a passion for baseball which we see in the story. We see his practices and games, and how that affects his relationships with Marisa, his mom, and his friends. Baseball is his true love, and I thought that was shown in a very realistic way.

I really like Marisa, as well. She is super relatable. She is clinically depressed, she has depressive lows for no reason that we’re told, but I thought Smith handled the mental illness rep great. Her depression isn’t magically cured when she meets Austin, and Austin never tries to play superhero to her illness, which I appreciated. Austin’s friends/teammates brought a lot of humor to the story. There’s even a relationship between two of them, it was adorable.ย 

This is Friday Night Lights, except baseball. More people should read this!

four star

The Start of Me and You (The Start of Me and You #1)ย byย Emery Lord
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating:ย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸ

There are so many reasons you should read, and I’ll tell you all of them.

Lord writes some really amazing female friendships. There was a group of girls here, and they were so supportive of each other. Paige and her friends were so awesome, I wanted to be a part of their group.

The romance was so sweet. Paige and Max’s relationship was very slow going. They bonded over shared interests, then they became friends, and then… They really got to know each other, and it just made their relationship that much better.

Lord’s writing is so realistic, it’ll be impossible to put this down once you start. It’ll leave you smiling long past you’ve finished the book.

So many nerdy characters. Nerdy like Quiz Bowl or Academic Decathlon nerdy. Max was so adorably nerdy, it was refreshing to read.

There’s going to be a sequel for this book next year, which makes this the perfect time to pick this up!

five star

The Survival Kitย byย Donna Freitas
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Genre: YA contemporary
Rating:ย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ

If you’ve ever lost a parental figure, this might be a bit difficult to get through.

Freitas’s created a story so beautifully written, it captured perfectly the emotions of grief and heartache in a seamless manner. There was a romance that only added to the story, it grew from two people helping each other with their grief, to friends, to something more.

Rose was flawed but so complex and three-dimensional. She experiences a lot of growth and healing throughout the book. The supporting characters were amazing as well. Her self-destructive dad, her amazing friends, a swoony gardener, and so much more!

I think one of the reasons I loved this so much too was because it took my completely by surprise. This book isn’t super well known, but it really should be. This book really packs a punch.

five star

ย 

Mini-Reviews: The Darkest Powers Trilogy

Mini-Reviews: The Darkest Powers Trilogy

Sometimes I read too fast and can’t keep up with the reviews. Here are a few of those books.

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Series: Darkest Powers #1
Release Date: July 1, 2008
Genre: YA paranormal
Rating: ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ

This series had aย reallyย rough start. It had all the potential to be a great YA paranormal story. And I’m a huge fan of Armstrong’s Cainsville series, so I thought I’d give this a chance.

The Summoning follows a fifteen year old named Chloe who is sent to a group home with other “disturbed” kids after she reveals she can see ghosts. There she meets a few other “troubled” kids, the bubbly Liz, a mysterious Derek, and a friendly Simon.

My biggest problem is that this could have been a lot more exciting than it was. The beginning was pretty good, but that fades towards the middle of the story. It definitely gets a bit more interesting towards the end which is why I decided to give the next book a go.

4 stars

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
Series: Darkest Powers #2
Release Date: April 28, 2009
Genre: YA paranormal
Rating: ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ

Another awful cliffhanger lol. I’d recommend this series to everyone who loves them. This series still hasn’t caputred my attention 100%. But I’m going to keep reading them cause I’m curious to see how everything ends.

This picks up right whereย The Summoningย ends. It starts off a bit rough, but quickly picks up. Derek is still my favorite character. He’s had such a rough life. He has no one to turn to but his foster brother. He just pulls at my heartstrings.

2 stars

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Series: Darkest Powers #3
Release Date: April 6, 2010
Genre: YA paranormal
Rating: ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ

I had the same problem here as the first two book. This was so action packed the last 20% of the book, but everything before that was just in a sort of limbo.

I know this is an unpopular opinion probably, but I really liked the love triangle between Chloe, Simon, and Derek. I always love love triangles where you really don’t know who the end game couple is. In this instance, I really could have seen the love triangle go either way.

I also enjoyed the ending. There were a few loose ends, but nothing I couldn’t live without. I’d recommend this to younger teens looking for an entertaining paranormal story.

4 stars

ARC Mini-Reviews: Making Up, Riven

ARC Mini-Reviews: Making Up, Riven

Sometimes I read too fast and can’t keep up with the reviews. Here are a few of the books.ย 

Making Upย byย Lucy Parker
Series: London Celebrities #3
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Genre: Contemporary romance
Rating:ย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸ

Anyone who is a fan of enemies-to-lovers needs to read this!

No one writes romances like Lucy Parker! The banter between the MCs, Trix and Leo, is so smile-inducing. The writing was on point, and the romance leaves you completely satisfied.

Beatirx Lane finds herself as the star of The Festival of Masks after the lead performer gets hurt. Leo Magasiva is the new makeup artist of the production, Trix’s bane of existence.

Individually, Trix and Leo are spectacular characters! Trix is creative, passionate, and just an overall force of nature. Leo is snarky, but very kind and caring. I loved them both so much.

I’m always a bit wary of the enemies-to-lovers trope. It can get messy real quick, but I had faith that Lucy would do it justice! She always makes sure the romances between the characters are organic and natural. She also makes sure the characters have something outside their romantic relationships: like friendships, and their dreams and goals.

This romance is absolutely swoony. If you’re a romance fan and aren’t reading Lucy’s books, why??

4 stars

Rivenย by Roan Parrish
Series: Riven #1
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Genre: M/M romance
Rating:ย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸ

This story was such a roller coaster!

This book follows Theo, a very kind and gentle soul who wants to please his loved ones. He’s an amazing and gifted musician, and I just want to protect him. Then we have Caleb, who is trying to find some stability in his life after the drugs and alcohol.

This book is the perfect example of the hurt/comfort trope. We have two broken men just trying to find themselves. Individually and together.

I loved that Caleb’s addictions weren’t swept under the rug. I recently read a book where this happened and it is the absolute worst. I appreciated that Roan showed the ups and downs of addiction, and I loved that we saw Caleb interact with his sponsor. Overall, I thought this very well done.

Riven was filled with heartwarming and heartbreaking scenes, I definitely recommend it!

3 stars

Mini-Reviews: The Consumption of Magic, A Wish Upon the Stars

Mini-Reviews: The Consumption of Magic, A Wish Upon the Stars

Sometimes I read too fast and can’t keep up with the reviews. Here are a few of the books.ย 

The Consumption of Magicย byย TJ Klune
Series: Tales From Verania #3
Release Date: November 20, 2017
Genre: Fantasy
Rating:ย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ

This was so entertaining ahhhh.ย The Consumption of Magic picks up right where book 2 ended and I was so excited to see how Sam’s destiny continued.

There’sย a lotย that happens in this book (but I’ll keep that a secret shhh). Some of it was good, some was heartbreaking and I definitely enjoyed this more than book 2 (though I still think book 1 is the best in the series).

We get to see the whole gang again. Gary and Kevin are still really inappropriate, Sam and Ryan are still adorable together. And Tiggy and Justin continue to be the best characters in the series. I will say that there a was a part in the middle where Sam was separated from all his friends, which is probably my least favorite part of the story. I understood why it had to happen, but I’m also glad it didn’t go on for too long.

I’ll say it again: this series is not for everyone.ย The characters and humor are ridiculous. This series is considered a comedy first, and fantasy second. The humor is super juvenile and the characters have kind of a ridiculous dialogue going on. Like you all know yourselves, if juvenile humor isn’t for you, skip this series.

Also the ending of the book was the best part, 10/10.

4 stars

A Wish Upon the Starsย by TJ Klune
Series: Tales From Verania #4
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Genre: Fantasy
Rating:ย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸย ๐ŸŒŸ

I don’t really know what to say about this book. It’s the last in the series so I can’t say anything about the plot because of spoilers. I guess I’ll say that the reason this didn’t get a fourth star was because there’s not that much actual plot going on here. Of course, there’s the bigย finalย battle, also a few action scenes throughout the book. But for me the entire middle of this book just dragged a bit. The beginning and ending were amazing, but I would have been okay with this book being a bit shorter.

Of course, I will always love these characters. Klune has created an amazing cast in this series. And I think Justin is getting his own book eventually? (My broody little prince, I stan.) If true, I am down for that.ย 

While this wasn’t my favorite of the series, I am glad to see how exactly Sam’s story ended, and I’m looking forward to any future books set in this universe!

3 stars