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Book Review: A Study In Shifters by Majanka Verstraete

36684173Book Title: A Study In Shifters
Author: Majanka Verstraete
Series: The Adventures of Marisol Holmes #1
Publication Date: June 26th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Young Adult
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Seventeen-year-old Marisol Holmes may be the great-great-great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes, but it’s hard to live up to the family name when only one mistake can spell your downfall. After trusting the wrong guy in a case gone totally wrong, Marisol convinces the Conclave, an underground organization of detectives solving supernatural cases, to give her a last chance to prove her worth, and maybe even heal her broken heart.

After all, as a half-blood jaguar shifter, Marisol is uniquely qualified to solve this murder—and every scrap of evidence points toward the culprit being a fellow jaguar shifter. But is one of her own people involved, or is this all a ploy to kick Marisol’s mother off the shifter throne?

Then Marisol discovers her best friend, Roan, is missing, and maybe the killer’s next target. The stakes just got higher than political intrigue. Just when things couldn’t get worse, Marisol’s ex-boyfriend-turned-nemesis, Mannix, starts leaving sinister clues for her. Marisol fears this case might be far more personal than she could’ve imagined.

It’s time for Marisol to prove her worth, or her people could fall into chaos while her best friend loses his life.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

MY THOUGHTS

If you know me, you know that I’m a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. So when I came across this on Netgalley, I did not hesitate to request. I knew that I would like this but I didn’t expect to have enjoyed this as much as I did.

I love the mystery with a paranormal twist. I think it’s quite unique to incorporate paranormal elements to a descendant of Holmes. The mystery element in the book is great; tested my brain and really made me think. When I thought I got it all figured out, BAM, a plot twist would appear. The plot twist at the end especially was absolutely amazing and took me completely by surprise.

The main character, Marisol Holmes, is fairly easy to like. She is a half-blood, half human and half jaguar shifter. Despite being a Holmes, Marisol was often affected by her strong emotions, thus committing mistakes. But no one’s perfect, right? I also liked how Marisol has a Sherlock Mode, where she abandons all emotions to focus on facts for solving cases. Aside from that, Marisol also has her inner jaguar and she kind of grew on me.

However, I sometimes get the feeling that I’m reading the second book in a series where I haven’t read the first one. I had to check Goodreads just to make sure that this is indeed the first book. I think that the book could have done with maybe a bit more background of what happened in the Big Betrayal, not just a quick explanation about it. I would also like a bit more about Roan. 😉

I really enjoyed reading A Study In Shifters because the author did a great job in combining mystery and paranormal, and creating a great main character. I’m really looking forward to the next in this series!

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Book Review: Body Swap by Sylvia McNicoll

36569630Book Title: Body Swap
Author: Sylvia McNicoll
Series: N/A (Standalone)
Publication Date: October 9th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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A fatal collision — who’s to blame? Two bodies, two souls switch in search of justice.

When fifteen-year-old Hallie gets knocked flying by a Hurricane SUV, her life ends without her ever having kissed a boy. At an otherworldly carnival, she meets and argues with the eighty-two-year-old driver, Susan. Both return to life, only with one catch — they’ve swapped bodies.

Now Hallie has wrinkled skin and achy joints while Susan deals with a forehead zit and a crush on a guy who’s a player. Hallie faces a life in a long-term care residence. Susan gets picked up for shoplifting.

As they struggle with technology, medications, and each other’s fashion foibles, they start to understand and maybe even like each other. But can they work together to prove that a defect in the Hurricane caused the deadly crash? Or will their time run out?


I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

MY THOUGHTS

What compelled me to request for this book on Netgalley was the summary. I think it would be interesting to read about a teenage girl swap bodies with an elderly woman. I had hopes for this one, but I’m so sad to say that Body Swap did not meet them.

But let’s start with what I liked. The actual plot of the book is actually good and quite promising. I like the concept of our two main characters, Hallie and Susan, living the other’s life, while searching for a way to go back to normal, despite of their 67-year age gap. It’s fun to see Susan’s transition from originally being an 82-year-old woman to having a 15-year-old’s body, as she learns all about technology and its convenience.

And that’s about it. Now, moving on to the stuff that I think needs improvement…

I had a hard time finishing this book due to a lot of factors. Firstly, I did not connect to any of the characters. I tend to enjoy reading more when the books have complex characters with great character development. This book, however, failed to have said characters. Actually, I’ve come to dislike Hallie. She takes advantage of Susan’s money when they swapped bodies. I mean, Hallie insisted on buying not one, but two $600 phones and then eating at an expensive restaurant afterwards. Susan is an old lady, for crying out loud! Hallie has made a dent on Susan’s retirement money for sure. Aside from that, I hate how Hallie doesn’t even hide her disdain about swapping bodies with Susan. It’s just plain rude. As for the other characters, they just don’t have much depth to them.

I also would have had trouble recognizing whose point of view I was reading if not for the indicators at the start of each chapter. It’s hard to differentiate them at times due to how flat they all fell.

Another thing is that the goal of the book is just so confusing. There’s just so much going on: pretending to be the person they’ve swapped bodies with, proving that a car company is at fault for their mishap, scoring a boyfriend for Hallie, proving that cellphones are both bad and good. All of these in just less than 250 pages.

Overall, this has a great premise but since I am a character-driven reader I didn’t really like this one. Still, go check this out if you want to as this is just a quick read. Unfortunately, this one’s not for me.

All book cover photos and book info (such as summary, publication, etc.) are taken from Goodreads and Netgalley.

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Book Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

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Book Title: Pivot Point
Author: Kasie West
Series: Pivot Point #1
Publication Date: February 12th 2013
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, YA
Age Range: 13+ years old
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier…

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through… and who she can’t live without.


MY THOUGHTS

THIS BOOK YOU GUYS!!! Definitely a new favorite of mine. Forgive me, I did not put any negative points about the book in this review because I literally can not think of a single one. Now let’s get on to what I loved about this book and hope that I don’t run out of adjectives other than “sooooo good”.

I’m usually a character-driven reader. I bet you’re sick of hearing that if you read my other reviews (or if I comment that a lot on yours). Addie, the main character, is very likable. She loves books, rarely lies to her parents, and her retorts are always hilarious. As if that isn’t enough, her friendship with Laila is so amazing to read about. I absolutely love their personalities and I just can’t get enough of their banter! They can talk about taxes and I would still read it.

But aside from the awesome characters, the book itself is so unique and just mind-blowingly stunning because a) It’s so funny to read about the times when the “Paranormals” can’t work out how to turn a radio on or how to unlock a door or how to close the blinds, b) The romance is just perfect. The skin around my nails are red and raw from me gnawing on it (disgusting habit, I know but don’t worry, I’m working on it) because the story is getting soooo good and thrilling.

I seriously still cannot believe I finished this in one sitting. I rarely do that considering how slow of a reader I am. But this is just so gripping, I could not put it down. It kept me guessing and it kept me wanting more. When I finished reading, I literally said “wow” out loud—probably too loud as I almost woke up my little sister sleeping next to me. Yes, I did read until 1:00 in the morning. No, don’t judge me because I know you do it too.

I 101% recommend you read this one. After having read this, I fell in a reading slump but it was definitely worth it. Pivot Point is just the second book I’ve read from this author but I can assure you that this won’t be my last. Kasie West is now included in my list of favorite and go-to authors.

All book cover photos and book info (such as summary, publication, etc.) are taken from Goodreads.

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Book Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

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Book Title: Rebel Belle
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Rebel Belle #1
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: April 8th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance, YA
Age Range: 12-17 years old
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him–and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.


MY THOUGHTS

I was a bit hesitant to pick this up when I did because I wasn’t really in the mood for being bombarded with new terms and whatever as I’m entering a new world reading a new series. But the cover made me think: Surely it would be a pleasant and light because look at that cover! And I was right, it is a humorous and fun read. I wasn’t aware that I was laughing so much until my sister told me to stop being an idiot.

I was surprised when I found myself liking the main character, Harper Price. I never thought I would admire a character who loves prom and frets about lip gloss. I mean, our personalities just seem a bit different from each other. But then again, she is really hilarious and bad-ass in her own way. I guess her wit and charisma won me over.

Let me just say this: How David Stark calls Harper “Pres” just brings back memories for me. Okay, story time! When I was in 7th grade, I had a crush on our class president. I call him “Pres” and it kinda became our thing. *sigh* Good times. But you don’t care about that, do you? Moving on…

The love element in this is totally what I’m looking for in the romance genre, not too rushed but not too slow. It’s not insta-love, but it’s not where-is-the-fucking-romance either. Also, it’s more on the subtle side, like it didn’t majorly affect the whole plot. Their relationship gave me butterflies in my stomach; they’re just so cute!

The ending was really unpredictable, I feel like. I laughed so much for some reason, one being I was certainly caught off guard. I don’t know, something about it just seems so damn amusing to me.

I would’ve liked a bit more action, if you ask me, but it was still a great story. This book is like an introduction to this new world that Harper’s been thrown into, so I’ll let the lack of action slide.

Although I tried not to (because I kept hearing people say that they didn’t really like the sequel), I have quite high expectations for the next books. I just really hope that my expectations won’t come biting me in the ass in the future.

Would I recommend it?

Yes, yes, yes, yes. Personally, I would buy it for the cover alone but the story and the characters are truly amazing. I suggest you try this out if you haven’t yet and if you have, go read it again!

All book cover photos and book info (such as summary, publication, etc.) are taken from Goodreads.

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Book Review: Dreamology by Lucy Keating

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Book Title: Dreamology
Author: Lucy Keating
Publication Date: April 12th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, YA
Age Range: 13+ years old
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. It turns out, though, that Real Max is nothing like Dream Max, and getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

When their dreams start to bleed dangerously into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?


MY THOUGHTS

I’ve always been very intrigued by the concept of dreams. I just find them so fascinating and… random. I remember having a “dream journal” a few years back because I constantly experience such clear and lifelike dreams. Unfortunately, I have only filled in a couple pages of the notebook before getting tired of it and trashed the idea all too quickly. I never really remember much after several minutes of waking up anyway. (Do tell me if you want to hear about the dreams that I manage to jot down in the “dream journal”, I’ll gladly share them with you as they’re so odd.)

Anyway, when I first read the summary of this book, I just knew that I have to read it as soon as possible. And I’m so happy to have finally read and LOVE it. I loved it so much, I read it in a day.

The plot, I can’t really say much more of other than it’s quite unique and it’s interesting to see how it would be solved. With that said, I really wish that the solution was more elaborate. I wanted a bit more explanation as to what was done to stop them from losing their grips on reality altogether.

I don’t know if this is a spoiler or not because it’s kind of obvious anyway but just in case, please skip this paragraph if you’re interested in reading this book. I don’t get how Celeste can spout all the bullshit about “I thought we were friends, Alice” when they weren’t even that close. Alice clearly tried to stay out of her way but Celeste keeps coming to her. And they hung out, what, 2 or 3 times—and one was Celeste forcing Alice to let her stay at her place before a party! I probably would’ve appreciated Celest more if her character was given more depth, not just a few sentences going on about how she basically changed Max’s whole life.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, I love how bizarre dreams are, so you can imagine my delight and entertainment while reading about Alice’s dreams. They’re the next level of unusual and extremely cute.

I think what mostly contributed to the speed of my reading is the fluidity of the writing. The book was written oh-so adorably which makes the readers want to read more and more.

When asked to pick a favorite character, I will definitely say Oliver. I know from the very beginning that I would love him. He’s just my type of (fictional) guy, all smiles and adventure; the one who captures his heart, aside from Alice, is one lucky person. I would’ve liked more showtime for Oliver in this book but then again I would’ve loved for him to have his own (Dreamology is about Alice and Max anyway).

Another character that needs more showtime, in my opinion, is Alice’s best friend Sophie. She is a star. I may be biased but she’s like the fictional version of my in real life best friend. Although Sophie wasn’t really around for most of the book, and I would have loved it if her character was given more depth/background info, they just seem so alike.

Alice and Max. *sighs dreamily* From the very first page, Alice and Max just click. I find this quality quite rare in books, when the couple just feels right from the start. I usually need to get to know the characters first before settling in to their romance. Maybe the fact that they’re already in love when the book started (they just don’t know each other exists yet) contributed to how I feel about this but I don’t care at this point. They’re just so damn perfect for each other.

I actually learned quite a few fun facts from this book: about brain mapping, fetal positions, even alpacas!

I highly recommend you check this book out if you love contemporary romance. Now excuse me while I do some research on how to dream of a hot boyfriend, like literally.

All book cover photos and book info (such as summary, publication, etc.) are taken from Goodreads.