Review: The Deepest Roots by Miranda Asebedo

The Deepest Roots
Cottonwood Hollow, Kansas, is a strange place. For the past century, every girl has been born with a special talent, like the ability to Fix any object, Heal any wound, or Find what is missing.

Best friends Rome, Lux, and Mercy all have similar talents, but to them, their abilities often feel like a curse. Rome may be able to Fix anything she touches, but that won’t help her mom pay rent or make it any easier to confide in Lux and Mercy about what’s going on at home. And Rome isn’t the only one. Lux has been hiding bigger, more dangerous secrets.

As Rome struggles to keep her friendships close, she discovers the truth about life in Cottonwood Hollow—that friends are stronger than curses, that trust is worth the risk, and sometimes, what you’ve been looking for has been under your feet the whole time.

Things that I loved about The Deepest Roots:
  • That 'southern gothic' feel to the magical realism.
  • Three friends who all felt so immensely authentic and true.
  • A love interest who wasn't too present and didn't take over the plot.
  • A mystery that is engaging and thrilling and dangerous.
Things that I didn't love about The Deepest Roots:
  • Not
  • A
  • Thing

From the first page - no, the first line - of this book, I knew that it was a winner. The writing was so matter-of-fact and real, but the plot was anything but. Asebedo manages to weave the magical parts of this book such as the book and the curse/gift  with the trials and tribulations that the three girls go through so seamlessly and subtly. I just adored the way that was done.

I guess that although there is this mystery behind the diary and the history of the town, the true point of this book is the present. Rome. Lux and Mercy have such a true to life friendship - they argue and they hide things but they always support each other. The three friends has such distinct personalities - Rome is the edgy kickass one, Lux is the more vulnerable one and Mercy is the clever one yet they come together so well. 

Also, I cannot write a review on this book without mentioning Jett. Jett is Rome's love interest and he is the perfect love interest for this book - he's in the background, but he's there enough that it;s sweet watching the romance grow. It's natural - no instalove here. He's supportive and not pushy and everything that Rome needed. I loved him.

Overall, The Deepest Roots is by far one of the best books I have read this year. It's most certainly the best debut. The writing was perfect, the characters were perfect, the world building was perfect. Everything was perfect.

Book released 18th September 2018 by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Waiting on Wednesday - Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here, at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. If you're continuing with WOW, feel free to link those up as well! Find out more here.

Warrior of the Wild
Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller - Febuary 26th 2019 by Feiwel Friends
As her father's chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: to win back her honour, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year or die trying. 

 My thoughts:
This sounds like a viking take on Moana, and nothing makes me more excited than this. The release date is sooooo far away though!!!

Review: The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato

The Hidden Memory of Objects

Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler, is dead, but the cops are killing him all over again. They say he died of a drug overdose, potentially suicide—something Megan cannot accept. Determined to figure out what happened in the months before Tyler’s death, Megan turns to the things he left behind. After all, she understands the stories objects can tell—at fifteen, she is a gifted collage artist with a flair for creating found-object pieces. However, she now realizes that her artistic talent has developed into something more: she can see memories attached to some of Tyler’s belongings—and those memories reveal a brother she never knew.

Enlisting the help of an artifact detective who shares her ability and specializes in murderabilia—objects tainted by violence or the deaths of their owners—Megan finds herself drawn into a world of painful personal and national memories. Along with a trusted classmate and her brother's charming friend, she chases down the troubling truth about Tyler across Washington, DC, while reclaiming her own stifled identity with a vengeance.

This book's selling point is the realism that it puts into Megan and her family's grieving. Amato demonstrated the stages of grief so well and so realistically, and yet managed to weave in this mystery and romance into it so seamlessly.

The book starts at Megan's older brother's funeral. Tyler - nicknamed red for his bright hair and brighter personality - was found dead, but the police announce to her family that drugs were found in his system. Whilst her parents shut down and believe it, Megan knows that that can't be right and she throws herself into investigating it. The realistic way that Amato wrote Megan's emotions - the denial and second guessing, how well did she know her older brother is just made even better by Nathan, a friend of her brothers that she never even knew about.

There's an aspect of magical realism thrown in with Megan's ability to see snippets of the past by touching certain objects. Whilst that was the reason I started this book, it was never the reason I kept reading. No, that was the brilliant characters, relationships and friendships.

Eric was an amazing sidekick to Megan, and I was sort of expecting a love triangle but thankfully this book doens't have one of those. No, Eric and Megan have a platonic friendship and I loved every word of it. I also loved Nathan - he wasn't without faults, but he did care deeply about Megan and about her brother and about finding the truth. It was adorable.

Now, I'm a brit so I know very little about American history but I loved all the references to John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln assassination and how that tied into the story. Some of it flew over my head but what I did understand I loved.

Overall, The Hidden Memory of Objects was a very pleasant surprise for me. Amato wrote a book that so seamlessly tied the emotion and the mystery and the action together to create a book that I simply couldn't put down.

Book released 21st May 2017 by Balzer and Bray
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: The Leaf Reader by Emily Arsenault (DNF)

The Leaf Reader

Marnie Wells knows that she creeps people out. It’s not really her fault; her brother is always in trouble, and her grandmother, who’s been their guardian since Mom took off is…eccentric. So no one even bats an eye when Marnie finds an old book about reading tea leaves and starts telling fortunes. The ceremony and symbols are weirdly soothing, but she knows—and hopes everyone else does too—that none of it’s real.
Then basketball star Matt Cotrell asks for a reading. He’s been getting emails from someone claiming to be his best friend, Andrea Quinley, who disappeared and is presumed dead. And while they’d always denied they were romantically involved, a cloud of suspicion now hangs over Matt. But Marnie sees a kindred spirit: someone who, like her, is damaged by association.
Suddenly the readings seem real. And, despite the fact that they’re telling Marnie things about Matt that make him seem increasingly dangerous, she can’t shake her initial attraction to him. In fact, it’s getting stronger. And that could turn out to be deadly.

I gave this book 35% before I realised that I just wasn't gripping me. I'd been putting my kindle down, trying again - rinse and repeat for around three days and then I gave up. I liked where it was going, it was just taking it's sweet time to get there. I did like Marnie as a character, but unfortunately I just didn't care enough about what happened to carry on.

I felt like the other characters aside from Marnie were not getting the development they needed, and I'm sad about that because with the right effort and development, this could have been a great book.

Unfortunately, I couldn't finish it.

Overall Rating: DNF

Book released 13th June 2017 by Soho Teen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Can't Wait Wednesday - Evermore by Sara Martin

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here, at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. If you're continuing with WOW, feel free to link those up as well! Find out more here.

Evermore (Everless, #2)
Evermore by Sara Martin - 31st December 2018 by HarperTeen
Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: not only are the stories true, but she herself is the Alchemist, and Caro—a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood—is the Sorceress.

The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Jules must delve into the stories that she now recognizes are accounts of her own past. For it is only by piecing together the mysteries of her lives that Jules will be able to save the person who has captured her own heart in this one.

 My thoughts:
I really enjoyed Everless, so I cannot wait for Evermore. 

Review: Dreamology by Lucy Keating


For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together, they have travelled 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. Real Max is nothing like Dream Max. He’s stubborn and complicated. And he has a whole life Alice isn’t a part of. Getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

Alarmingly, when their dreams start to bleed 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?

Dreamology was a quick little summer read but it doesn't really go any deeper than that for me. The story was cute and fun and easy to read, but it had me raising my eyebrows a little bit.

The whole knowing each other from dreams kind of thing made the insta-love thinga  little more acceptable, but I never bought into it. For me, Oliver is the hero of this story and Max was just a plot point... I felt so sorry for how Alice treated Oliver. Hashtag; Justice for Oliver.

The whole explanation of the dream thing made sense but at the same time it was just a little out there. It fit with the books vibe... but I just couldn't buy into it.

I followed this book up with Keating's more recent release, Literally and whilst the writing on that book has the same quirky style, I found it a lot less engrossing than Dreamology.

Overall, Dreamology is a cute little beach read which was okay for a few hours. I can't say I loved it but it was still enjoyable enough.

Book released 12th April 2016 by Harperteen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Literally by Lucy Keating


Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine. 

It turns out, Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her. 

But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word? 

This book is so very meta. I love meta, so therefore I should have loved this book.

Loved, no. But I guess that I did somewhat enjoy the book. I would have loved it if Lucy Keating hadn't written herself into to novel. It seemed a little fanfiction-y. If the author had been named something different I think i would have found it less uncomfortable.

Still, I found the plot engrossing even if it was a little confusing. I had to suspend disbelief and stop expecting all of my questions to be wrapped up nicely. I didn't particularly adore any of the characters either - they were nice enough, but I think this book is quite forgettable. 

Book released 11th April 2017 by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

The Beast Is an Animal
A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.

Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.

These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul.

This book has sat on my kindle for over a year and I just never got around to reading it. I think I was a little apprehensive since I'd been so excited pre-release so i kept putting it off since I'd bigged it up in my head. I think maybe I did myself an injustice by leaving it so long. A few years ago, I would have enjoyed this. Now, I simply was underwhelmed

The Beast Is An Animal was not the book that I was expecting. It did have a brilliant premise, and it could have been so amazing but it just really lacked in the world-building. There were so many things not properly explained or wrapped up, some things - like the climax - just kind of happened and fizzled out and other things like the first half of the book just dragged. I know we're supposed to go from viewing the Beast as a bad monster to some sort of good guy, but I just had no opinion on it. I know we're supposed to start questioning whether or not Alys is letting the darkness in, but things were just not consistently developed.

I would have loved more focus on pious villagers since I love that overly devout cult feel - it could have been very 'The Village' but that was glossed over until it became a convenient plot device which for me was this books greatest failing.

The book started out by getting me interested, but throughout the book my interest just waned until I reached the end and to be honest by that point I didn't care about what happened, I was just kind of glad it was over.

Overall, this was not an awful book but I just was not gripped... I'm glad it was a standalone.

Book released February 28th 2017 by Margaret K. McElderry books
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: The Glass Spare by Lauren Destefano

The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare, #1)
Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.

The Glass Spare was a book of two halves for me.

The first half of the book is world building, and it's done so well. This fantasy world with modern technology but classic fantasy elements and a power-hungry king and his four kids. That first half of the book simultaneously had me addicted and had me growing to care about Will and Gerdie and Owen and the queen and this world that was built in front of me. Still, as the pages turned and the time passed, I began to crave adventure.

Enter the second half of the book, our heroine is cast out into this crazy wide world and she meets the bad guy/love interest and becomes part of something a whole lot bigger than before. Yet through all of that, I wanted to be back in the castle with the brothers and the queen and the crazy king.

Never happy, am I?

It just felt for me like both halves of the book were slow paced, but the second half - with Zay and Loom and all of that - just dragged, and I'd really loved how this book started and I wanted to go back there.

I really liked Wil as a character, but she worked best as a princess not an outcast. She seemed to take a backseat for so much of the last quarter of this book and I wanted her to do more because I knew she could. It's like as soon as she fell for Loom she became a melted mess of mush.

I did enjoy The Glass Spare, don't get me wrong. I am so excited to see where the sequel goes because there are so many secrets to be revealed and so many loose ends to be tied up... this was an okay introduction to a world which can only get better. 

Book released 24th October 2017 by Balzer+ Bray
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

The Wicked Deep

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

Oh sweet mother of revenge books. This was a killer.

I was a little nervous going into this book, mostly because it's not quite like anything I have read before so I didn't know what to expect. Maybe I went into it with no expectations at all, or maybe they were just really low but this book blew whatever expectations I had out of the water. Literally. Get it? No... okay?

Whatever, puns aside, this book was a-ma-zing.

The first thing I have to note is how amazing the worldbuilding was. This book could have been a giant infodump - there is just sooooo much history and lore to squeeze into it but it was done with so much finesse. Ms Ernshaw, I applaud you for that. A lot of it came from the writing, which was beautiful without being over the top. It created such a heavy atmosphere that even though it's the middle of a heatwave here in England, I felt like I was right there on the stormy island with Bo and Penny.

There's a twist in this book that to be honest I had already suspected, but Ernshaw took what could have been a predictable twist and added layers onto it. I knew the truth, but I never had any clue how it would pan out so that made it acceptable that I had guessed it. 

That ending too... ugh. So well done. I had no clue how it would end and that sort of half closed out, but half open ending worked so well with me. It sat heavy on my heart as I turned the last page and is still there now days later.

I can't say much more about this book since I'm sure my feelings on it are abundantly clear by now. Please just pick this book up if you haven't already. It will most certainly blow you away.

Book released 6th March 2018 by Simon Pulse
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review