Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

Devoted Book Cover

Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

Published: June 2, 2015 by Roaring Brook Press

About the Book:

Rachel Walker is devoted to God. She prays every day, attends Calvary Christian Church with her family, helps care for her five younger siblings, dresses modestly, and prepares herself to be a wife and mother who serves the Lord with joy. But Rachel is curious about the world her family has turned away from, and increasingly finds that neither the church nor her homeschool education has the answers she craves. Rachel has always found solace in her beliefs, but now she can't shake the feeling that her devotion might destroy her soul.


Have you ever seen a movie or show and felt that the preview didn't do it justice? That's how I feel about the blurb for Devoted. Jennifer does such a fantastic job with Devoted that can't be conveyed in the blurb. Rachel Walker is a teenage girl who grows up in a devout household. She is taught to be careful of what she wears, says or even thinks, because it could be ungodly. At first I was worried that Devoted would be very one sided, but I really felt like we got to see the darker side of religion without the bashing. What if we were in this young girl's place and had questions about the bible?

Rachel and her younger sister take care of all of the household chores and kids in the family. My first thought was, how selfish, but I think I felt strongly about it because being Mexican-American I know families that had multiple children and the oldest kids were the ones who ended up taking care of the younger ones. I also know people who would tell their daughters that their only future is to be a housewife and mother.

Rachel starts to get online when her parents aren't looking and finds a girl who has left the church. At first Rachel just wants to reach out to someone who she can talk to about her questions and find out if she is wrong for feeling the way she does. What Rachel doesn't expect is to find a friend who understands her.

Devoted is different from most novels I have read and really made me think. Jennifer Mathieu does a great job of telling a story that is dark and in the end full of hope. I highly recommend Devoted!

To learn more about Jennifer Mathieu visit:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July Reading List

Summer is half over and in Houston that means a few big storms, swarms of mosquitoes, and the start of 100 degree weather. If you notice I'm still listening to Dreams of Gods and Monsters, but I did go from 18 hours to a little under 4 hours left. Last month I finished Finding Paris by Joy Preble, The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, and Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu all amazing books that you should add to your summer reading list!

Remember, I am always up for taking recommendations, so please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments. If you visit my blog often you will find I add and remove books depending on my mood.

What are you currently reading or looking forward to reading this month?

A Matter of Heart Book Cover

Listening to:
Dreams of Gods & Monsters Book Cover

Next up:
Emmy and Oliver book cover

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Review: The Start of Me and You

The Start of Me and You Book Cover
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

Published: March 31, 2015 by Bloomsbury

About the Book:

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it's never too late for second chances.

It's been a year since it happened-when Paige Hancock's first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school. . .and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her-the perfect way to convince everyone she's back to normal. Next: Join a club-simple, it's high school after all. But when Ryan's sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?


I cannot express how much I loved The Start of Me and You. If young adult literature continues to have authors like Emery Lord I plan to keep reading it when I'm 80! I don't even know where to begin, because I loved so many things about this book!

[Pause, Breathe, Think]

The Start of Me and You is Emery Lord's second novel and I can safely say that I loved it as much as, if not more than, her first novel Open Road Summer. While I didn't write a review of Open Road Summer** I can tell you that I LOVED IT!

When we first start the book Paige is dreading going back to school where people feel sorry for her because her boyfriend died in a tragic accident. She has recurring nightmares and really hasn't recovered from losing him. She struggles with that fact they were only together a short time, but has lived with the identity of "the girl whose boyfriend died" a lot longer.  Luckily she has three great friends who stand by her and always know how to help her even when she doesn't know she needs it.

The night before school starts Paige runs into her old crush Ryan and is determined that this year will be different and makes a plan.

How to Begin Again
  1. Parties / Social Events
  2. New group
  3. Date
  4. Travel
  5. Swim
Paige thinks she knows how the world sees her and she has everything figured out, but in reality she finds out that she's very wrong. In similar fashion we see Paige's mother as overprotective, but learn the overprotectiveness began after the accident and the crippling fear that she could lose Paige again makes her hold on tighter. We don't always see parents who are complex with their feelings in YA books and that is just one of the many reasons why Lord's books are AMAZING.

Paige's plan to begin again is really a journey to discover who she is and what she needs in life. She learns that real life is much more complicated than her plan. and the reality helps her conquer fears and let's her see people for who they really are. I found myself loving every character and how their personal story fit in with Paige and her friends. The friendships remind me of my own and remind me of how grateful I am for them.

Lord has an almost magical way of writing that weaves you in and out of these characters lives. There are so many quote-worthy lines that I found myself taking pictures of my favorite sections of the book. I laughed at sections and cried at others all while begging to find out what happened and yet not wanting the story to end.

I don't think I can convey how much I loved this book, so let me just say if you read one book this year let it be The Start of Me and You!

To find out more about Emery Lord visit:

**If you read Open Road Summer keep a look out for a mention of Lilah Montgomery in The Start of Me and You

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Review: Finding Paris by Joy Preble

Finding Paris Book Cover
Finding Paris by Joy Preble

Published: April 21, 2015 by HarperTeen

About the Book:

An evocative and compelling story of two sisters who would do anything for each other—perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Speak. Joy Preble's stirring new novel explores the lengths to which sisters go to protect each other, and the winding road that brings two strangers into each other's lives.
Sisters Leo and Paris Hollings have only ever had each other to rely on. They can't trust their mother, who hops from city to city and from guy to guy, or their gambler stepfather, who's moved them all to Las Vegas. It's just the two of them: Paris, who's always been the dreamer, and Leo, who has a real future in mind—going to Stanford, becoming a doctor, falling in love. But Leo isn't going anywhere right now, except driving around Vegas all night with her sister.
Until Paris ditches Leo at the Heartbreak Hotel Diner, where moments before they had been talking with physics student Max Sullivan. Outside, Leo finds a cryptic note from Paris—a clue. Is it some kind of game? Where is Paris, and why has she disappeared? When Leo reluctantly accepts Max's offer of help, the two find themselves following a string of clues through Vegas and beyond. But the search for the truth is not a straight line. And neither is the path to secrets Leo and Max hold inside.

I found Finding Paris to be a huge departure from Joy’s previous novels Dreaming Anastasia and The Sweet Dead Life. Finding Paris will quickly draw you in and you will find it hard to put down. Leo is out with her sister Paris at a cafĂ© when Paris dares Leo to go talk to a guy. Leo finds out she has a lot in common with Max so Paris gives them some alone time. When Leo goes outside to look for Paris she realizes Paris is gone and not answering her phone. To make things stranger Leo finds a note that makes it seem that Paris is in trouble. Paris seems to be sending Leo on a scavenger hunt that leads to her sister and secrets that will make you question everything.

The entire time I kept reading Finding Paris I thought of Pretty Little Liars and all the riddles and twist the girls have to solve. Towards the end I thought I had everything figured out to learn I really didn’t. Finding Paris has some great characters, but also some very flawed individuals that will pull at your emotions.

My only complaint would be that I would have liked for a few issues in the last chapters to be more detailed. Since this is not the first book in a series, the end is just that; the final chapter, The End, there isn't a "to be continued". That is why I think that some of the subplots needed a better resolution or lead the reader towards a better conclusion for the characters we've invested sleepless nights over. It’s hard to say without giving away the ending. If you are a fan of Pretty Little Liars or love a book with a ton of twists then I highly recommend picking up Finding Paris. Finding Paris will be a book that stays with me for a long time!

To learn more about Joy Preble visit:

Sunday, June 7, 2015

June What I'm Reading Now

June To Read List! I swear May came and went in the blink of an eye.  In May I finished Mind Games and just yesterday I finished Finding Paris and got through about 8 hours of Dreams of Gods and Monsters. I think Dreams of Gods and Monsters is a little over 18 hours so my goal is to finish it this month. (Hold me to it) Review for Finding Paris is coming later this week.

Remember I am always up for taking recommendations, so please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments. If you visit my blog often you will find I add and remove books depending on my moods.

What are you reading or looking forward to reading this month?

A Matter of Heart Book Cover

Listening to:
Dreams of Gods & Monsters Book Cover

the start of me and you book cover Finding Paris Book CoverDevoted Book Cover

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Review: Mind Games by Kiersten White

Mind Games Book Cover
Mind Games by Kiersten White

Published December 3rd 2013 by HarperTeen

About the Book:
Fia and Annie are as close as two sisters can be. They look out for each other. Protect each other. And most importantly, they keep each other's secrets, even the most dangerous ones: Annie is blind, but can see visions of the future; Fia was born with flawless intuition—her first impulse is always exactly right. When the sisters are offered a place at an elite boarding school, Fia realizes that something is wrong . . . but she doesn't grasp just how wrong. The Keane Institute is no ordinary school, and Fia is soon used for everything from picking stocks to planting bombs. If she tries to refuse, they threaten her with Annie's life. Now Fia's falling in love with a boy who has dark secrets of his own. And with his help, she's ready to fight back. They stole her past. They control her present. But she won't let them take her future.


Mind Games is the first book I’m reviewing in over a year and it’s really a great one for me to start with. Mind Games is a face paced book about Annie and Fia, two sisters attending boarding school after losing their parents in a tragic accident.

Annie is blind, but realizes she can see premonitions of the future. Fia feels protective of her older sister and has always felt it was her job to protect her. Annie is offered an opportunity to attend a boarding school that offers the best education and will look for treatments for her loss of vision. Fia feels like something is wrong and voices her opinion to the school. The school realizes that both sisters have talents and offer them both scholarships. Against Fia’s better judgement they accept. Annie believes the school is wonderful and wishes that her sister were happy. Only Fia is trained as a thief and killer. The emotional toll on both sisters is hard, but Fia is strong willed and determined to get them out.

Kiersten White does a fantastic job of creating a range of good, bad, really evil, and mysterious characters. I kept hoping the bad and really evil characters would get what was coming to
them. There were a few characters that I wasn't sure what side they were on which of course made me read faster!

Mind Games is told from both sister’s point of view and each chapter is either the present or sometime from the past. At first I was worried that I would get lost but I found it easy to jump into each girl’s POV. Only when the suspense got super high did I yell “NO! Keep going! I need to see what happens in the present.” I was really glad to see not one, but two strong female characters. Wondering about romance? There is a lot of chemistry and some kissing, but romance was not the main story line. My hopes are that there will be more romance in the sequel.

Mind Games is a good mix of contemporary fiction with a slight mix of supernatural. As I was reading I was thinking all the twist and turns of Pretty Little Liars with the action and suspense of Covert Affairs. I can see this being a great read for Ally Carter and Jennifer Lynn Barnes fans.

Friday, May 15, 2015

May - What I'm Reading Now

Yay, my first To Read post since I've been back! Can you believe that May is nearly half over? Here are my picks for May. Feel free to join me and we can discuss. Also, I am always up for taking recommendations, so please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments. If you visit my blog often you will find I add and remove books depending on my moods. What are you reading or looking forward to reading this month?

Finding Paris Book Cover

Listening to:
Dreams of Gods & Monsters Book Cover

Next up:
the start of me and you book cover

Mind Games Book Cover