ARC Review: Breath Like Water- Anna Jarzab

Title: Breath Like Water

Author: Anna Jarzab

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Pages: 416

Rating: 5/5

As a person whose only known swimming all her life and wanting to be in the olympics, Susannah fears her body is slowing her down as she gets older. She thinks about the championship she won at 14 years old and if she can reach her potential again. Swimming demands so much out of young people and she’s scared to fail. Two people enter her life that will rearrange her life and career around. A coach that could help her reach that dream and a new fellow swimmer named Harry.

Susannah is such an amazing character. She’s mature, strong, and trying to fight those nagging demons in her head. Harry on the other hand is dealing with his own demons. He’s bipolar. Dealing with constant mood swings and anger throughout his life. He falls in love with Susannah but, he’s afraid his mental condition might scare her away.

This book is far from swimming competitions and the stress from it. It’s about friendship, hope, being opened to new experiences in life and trusting people. I loved how Susannah and Harry connected despite their differences. Sorta hit close to home as my significant other also is bipolar. What an amazing story of two young people and their struggles with life and family. I truly enjoyed the ride this book took me on. Special thanks to NetGalley, and Harlequin Teen/ Inkyard Press for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: As Much As I Ever Could- Brandy Woods Snow

Title: As Much as I Ever Could

Author: Brandy Woods Snow

Publisher: Files Vertes Publishing

Pages: 300

Rating: 5/5

This is my first Brandy Woods Snow novel and I have to admit she’s easily become a fave author of mine now. The story was amazing. Snow is a great writer. Her descriptions throughout her writing were simply invigorating. The characters she brought to life left me speechless and I just wanted to learn more about them. This novel had a little bit of everything to satisfy your needs…romance, humor, sadness and so much more. 

We meet CJ whose gone through a traumatic event in her life. After getting into a fatal car accident that took her mother and sister’s lives, CJ has been feeling pretty guilty because she survived and they didn’t. After that accident she became afraid to drive a car ever again.Her dad also felt some type of way towards her because of the accident, and that just made her feel even worse. As a result, CJ decided to go and live at her grandmother’s home in Edisto beach. A tranquil place to get away. All she wants to do is to be able to heal from the tragedy and finally come face to face with the person who was behind the wheel of the car who claimed her mother and sister’s lives. She meets handsome and dreamy Jett Ramsey who turns her life around and makes her face her fears of being behind the wheel again. After all he is a race car driver.

I really just loved this book. I love CJ’s and Jett’s chemistry. They supported each other in such a beautiful way. It’s amazing how tragedy can bring two people close together, especially when both of those people have experienced it. That love for each other also helped bring down those stubborn walls that they both had put up for so long. Join CJ and Jett on their journey of love, healing, and facing your fears. Huge thanks to Files Vertes publishing and Candace Robinson for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I truly enjoyed it.

Harlequin Blog Tours-ARC Review: Sister Dear- Hannah Mary McKinnon

Title: Sister Dear

Author: Hannah Mary McKinnon

Publisher: Mira Books

Pages: 384

Rating: 5/5

Yet another amazing thriller that I have to add to my physical book library. Eleanor was raised by a toxic mother. She suffers from crappy self-esteem, she’s antisocial, and dislikes her body thanks to all the body shaming her evil mother has bestowed upon her. Eleanor has also lost the only person she’s ever known as her father to cancer. 

As she’s grieving him she finds out that he isn’t her father after all. She finds out her real father is a wealthy business man with a beautiful wife, and a daughter named Victoria. Of course her real father wants nothing to do with her. She’s instantly infuriated. She should should be living that great life, she should be in Victoria’s spot, she should be living that happy life. Instead, she lives in a crappy home with her mother and overall she’s just a unloveable miserable person. After finding out about Victoria, Eleanor vows to share that glamorous life with her sister…after all sharing is caring right?

I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down. I definitely have found another thriller author who I will be reading more from. McKinnon has a way with words. Even though Eleanor was a bit cuckoo bananas you can’t help but feel sorry for her. That’s how well written this book was. Huge thanks to NetGalley, Mira Books, and Harlequin Publishing for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: The Apartment- K.L. Slater

Title: The Apartment

Author: K.L. Slater

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Pages: 266

Rating: 4/5

We meet Freya whose in a pinch at the beginning of the book. Her husband Lewis passed away. She’s paid off all their debt and sold the house they had together. Freya and her daughter Skye need to move out ASAP and look for a new place to stay at. While at a coffee shop one day she runs into Dr. Marsden. Low and behold he has an apartment for rent (how convenient huh?). But rent is based on how much you can pay from what you make…..sounds good right? This is where things turn south.

When Freya and Skye move into Adder house strange things start to happen. Things to start moving by themselves, she starts to feel uneasy living there, and let’s not forget how creepy her landlord is and the uneasiness he brings to the table. Basically Adder house is not what it seems and with a creepy name like that I wouldn’t expect less. The story is filled with twists and turns and lots of tension. I was just as anxious and scared for Freya and Skye as she was. I did however want more of a backstory on Freya’s husband’s death; left me wanting more. I truly enjoy a good thriller and this one didn’t disappoint. Thank you to NetGalley, Amazon Publishing UK, and Thomas and Mercer for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: The Crowns of Croswald- D.E. Night

Title: The Crowns of Crosswald

Author: D.E. Night

Publisher: Stories Untold

Pages: 314

Rating: 4/5

Ivy is 16 years old.
She’s a kitchen maid.
She also loses her job and her house.
She feels awful, because she already feels like she’s not destined to be anything else but a maid. She wishes to attend “Halls of Ivy” which is a prestigious magic school. The school is for royal people and for those who have magical blood coursing through their veins. but something weird and magical happens where she can attend the school and that’s where things start to get interesting and magical. Questionable things start happening within the walls of the magic school. Almost like Ivy is supposed to know about these things. One man comes across her dreams overnight and she wants to know who he is and why she has magical powers. I really enjoyed Night’s attention to detail in the book. She describes everything so smoothly and vividly. I enjoyed learning about the scrivenerist’s and their ability to have photographic memory so they can sketch. This resonates perfectly with Ivy, as she herself loves to sketch. I also enjoyed a few of the characters in the book as well, such as Rebecca and Humboldt. They added a cool aspect to the book. The magical creatures were also a plus. I will agree though, just like most people have stated, the book has major Harry Potter vibes and that’s not necessarily a bad thing to me anyway.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. I would consider it a middle grade book so it’s good for the age group of 8-13 year olds. I love the magical journey this book took me on. It’s reminds me of my childhood, and me getting lost in a different world. I think my fave characters was the evil queen and her cloaked brood. I believe I’m a major villain supporter. I wouldn’t mind seeing a book about her life prior to being the evil queen.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: What Kind of Girl- Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Title: What Kind of Girl

Author: Alyssa Sheinmel

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Pages: 384

Rating: 5/5

TW/CW: Self-harm, bulimia, homophobia, drug use, abuse
What kind of girl is one of those books that hits you hard and leaves you thinking about it long after you’ve read it. There were many times I needed to take a break and put the book down to gather my thoughts. The content was heavy and it really got the wheels turning in your head.

The book begins with a young lady going into the principal’s office at her school. She has a black eye. Who did it? her “golden boy” boyfriend Mike. Mike “the perfect boyfriend”, Mike “the one that would never do that”. Well..he did do it. It wasn’t the first time this has happened either. You read about everyone’s reaction towards the situation, their opinions, the finger pointing, the victim blaming, and more. It was really disgusting at times seeing people come up with justifications about why mike hit her.
Along the way you’ll meet more characters that are essential to tie the story up together. But I will not give out too many details because like I said the characters all tie up together. But there’s titles for the characters outlined in the book. The popular girl, the bulimic, the burnout, the activist. The book did an amazing job making you feel all these emotions while reading it and rightfully so. That’s what a good author and a good story does. By any way do not think this story is a fairytale, this novel, although fictional is the life of many people around the world. It’s an eye opening experience. Fantastic job by the author. Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for a copy of this book in exchange fir an honest review.

ARC Review: Doctored- Polly A. Magena

Title: Doctored

Author: Polly A. Magena

Publisher: Matador

Pages: 496

Rating: 4/5

Doctored is a true story.
Please be warned there’s a lot of strong content here so read at your own risk.
It’s always hard to write a review up on someone’s personal experience…especially of this caliber.
The story starts off with Polly describing her life as an adoptive child. She faced emotional neglect, verbal abuse, and a lot of rejection from her adoptive mother. She coped with it by immersing herself in drama and music at her school. She played piano often times composing music. She also loved riding her bike in the countryside. Often fantasizing about a great family that would love her. 

The bad things didn’t stop there, she got involved with a man whom also abused her physically. On top of that he took both of their children away from her. Scared and traumatized, she turned to her doctor, he promised to help her to get her kids back from their father, but he lied. Instead he ended up raping her multiple times. It’s horrible all the trauma that polly endured in her life. I felt so bad for her and angry at the same time. Despite the content in this book, I would definitely recommend it. Thank you to NetGalley and Matador for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

ARC Review: Hunting Charles Manson- Lis Wiehl

Title: Hunting Charles Manson

Author: Lis Wiehl

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Pages: 336

Rating: 2/5

When I saw this book on NetGalley, I was so stoked because I’m a huge true crime buff and I figured it would shed some new light into the Charles Manson and the family case, but it was all the same information that has been put out in numerous other books and interviews. 

One of the things that tuned me off was the author and her author’s note about how she was part of the “Christian Tradition” when it comes to the justice, that right there is a biased view and really it wasn’t necessary to put your religious beliefs out there. It made me skeptical to even continue reading. As I continued reading I became more angrier. She decided to not name the victims as they have been everywhere else when she was describing them. And what in the blue is with the censoring of the curse words. I’d like to think we’re all adults here and we can see curse words without having some asterisk being put in place. I just saw that to be childish and unnecessary. 

I wanted to like this book, I really did but, It just didn’t do it for me. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

ARC Review: How to Build a Heart- Maria Padian

Title: How to Build a Heart

Author: Maria Padian

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 352

Rating: 5/5

“You understand that no one is just a color, like crayon”
-Maria Padian, How to Build a Heart

Nice the passing of her father who was a Marine 6 years ago, Izzy and her family have been moving constantly. Each place being smaller than the last.

Things seem to be going okay. She’s going to a good school, she’s part of a popular cappella group, and most of all her family has been selected by “Habitat for Humanity” for a new home. They’re super excited. Being in the cappella group also comes with some extra perks. She becomes friends with Aubrey, whom is a new recruit. Aubrey is also the sister of the super hunk from school, Sam. The boy Roz, Izzy’s friend, has had a total crush on for the longest.

Even though she starts feeling comfy and at home, she doesn’t want her friends, school peers, and even Sam to know that she’s low incomes and needs a scholarship to continue her studies. And most of all, she doesn’t understand why her extended family wants nothing to do with them. Of course, those secrets come out into the light. Follow Izzy on her journey through secrets, jealousy, and friendships. I really enjoyed Maria Padian’s writing. Thank you to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: The Undertaker’s Assistant- Amanda Skenandore

Title: The Undertaker’s Assistant

Author: Amanda Skenandore

Publisher: Kensington Publishing

Pages: 336

Rating: 5/5

Set during the reconstruction era in New Orleans
Effie Jones is an escaped slave who made it to the union. She was raised by a army surgeon and his wife. She learned to read and write and other skills.

When she returns to New Orleans, she comes across a undertaker wise looking for help. Effie is looking for work as a embalmer. Her main purpose is to be able to trace back to her family roots and reconnect with them. Effie is great at her job. She’s quiet but she pays great attention to detail. She has vast knowledge of science and anatomy, but the color of her skin makes people not take her serious. She still did her job with love and care. Always very professional with the deceased. Not only that, but she always seemed to come to her employers’s aide when he couldn’t do his part.

Eventually Effie started to involve herself with political and racial activism and started to fall in love with a legislator by the name of Samson Greene. Follow Effie’s adventures as she deals with her job,employer, the boarding house, activist groups and more. I must say this book started very slow for me and I had to put it down many times, but it finally picked up and I was able to get back into it. Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Publishing for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.