Review | Wildcard (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu

“The mind can make you believe whatever it wants you to believe.” 4.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: old memories, blue scarves, assassins, institutes, scarlet and sapphire gems, doors and innovative scientific research.

What a fantastic duology! This book was a bit different from what I thought it would be, just because the story takes an unpredicted path. When the first book Warcross finishes, something happens that sets the tone for this book so I thought I had an idea of what was going to happen… but, oh boy, I was so wrong. I really had no idea what was coming!

I think the author did a great job wrapping up the series with this book. I couldn’t be more happy with how the story ended. I really appreciate the author for giving proper closure to all the possible aspects of the book, because the finale was really satisfying! 

I would say this book is a bit different from Warcross. It definitely has a sadder tone to it – mostly because of Hideo’s brother – but it has also a very strong action vibe to it.

If I had to pick a favorite book from the duology I would still pick the first one because it feels more magical, but both books have their uniqueness and merit, and they balance each other perfectly.

I can’t say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I promise you it’s worth the try. This series is amazing, I highly recommend it to anyone, but especially to readers who are into technology and programming.

So… when is this becoming a movie?

xoxo, Neide

Review | The Project by Courtney Summers

“Faith is an expression and some people find certain types of expressions more resonant than others.” 3.25/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: hospital rooms, pamphlets, newspapers, necklaces, interviews, churches, white huskies, miracles and family bonds.

I was so excited when I got this book as an arc because I absolutely loved Sadie. If you have never read Sadie before, I highly recommend the audiobook version because it’s amazing! Needless to say, I was more than happy to get my hands on this book.

This story follows a girl named Lo, who felt alone her entire life. She lost her parents in a car crash when she was younger and the only person she had left by her side was her big sister, Bea. Lo was in the car with her parents when the accident occured and she was severely injured, but she survived against all odds. But right after the accident, Bea left Lo to join a very famous cult named The Unity Project, and they never saw each other again. This organisation is well known in New York for helping people in need and for their community outreach. But Lo is not convinced they are as good as they claim, and she believes they are hiding secrets that would reveal their true nature. After some suspicious activity, she decides to do her own investigation on what is really going on and she becomes even more determined to find her sister.

To be completely honest, I didn’t love this book. There were two main reasons for this: Firstly, I don’t usually find fictional books about cults and/or religion very interesting – and that’s on me, I know -, so overall I found the book a bit boring. Secondly, there was a point near the end where things just started to make no sense. This is due to the fact that there was a big change in the plot near the end that didn’t work very well, so unfortunately that part felt very rushed and misplaced.

On the good side, I really think this book has a very interesting take on religious cults and leaders in general. The story is very unique and I think the author did a great job combining this topic to a mystery novel. 

This is only my second book from Courtney Summers so I don’t know that much about this author from her work, but if sibling relationships are her part of her style, she sure does a great job portraying them. I saw this before in Sadie, and I also see it clearly in this book.

I absolutely loved Sadie, but this didn’t work as well for me. I think it’s a great book to pick up if you are interested in mystery books or books that talk about cults and faith.

A big thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

xoxo, Neide

Review | Swimming Lessons by Lili Reinhart

“I stopped taking
photos of sunsets
a long time ago.

I can never
capture its colors.

The same goes
for you.”
3/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: heartbreak, anxiety, depression, grief, unrequited love, beauty and happiness.

Swimming Lessons is Lili Reinhart’s first published collection of poems. For those who don’t know, Lili is the actress who played Betty Cooper in Riverdale. I personally don’t have high expectations when it comes to celebrity books, but I’m happy with how this book turned out.

I think what really stood out the most for me was the effort she put into the book. I don’t know if it applies to all the physical editions of the book, but my copy was beautiful. The material was really nice and the finishing touches showed me she wanted to create something durable and high quality. To me, that speaks volumes. So kudos to her for investing in the quality of the book.

Now, is the collection itself good? Well, it definitely shows this is her first book. I didn’t love the poetry, but it wasn’t terrible as well. There were some great poems here and there, but overall I wasn’t super impressed with the collection. The most relatable poem to me was one of the last ones where she talks about the feeling you get when someone passes away and you know the world keeps spinning like nothing ever happened. When I read it, I knew exactly what she was talking about because I have had that same feeling before.

There are also simple illustrations and doodles throughout the collection to reinforce her words, and I liked it a lot. I don’t know if the illustrations are hers, but I couldn’t find any information on who had done them.

For a first book, it was a good effort and I think she did a good job.

xoxo, Neide

Review | Delicates (Sheets #2) by Brenna Thummler

“Everyone has ghosts. I think we all need to learn that there’s no shame in letting them out.” 3.75/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: video games, ice cream, photographs, peer pressure, protective pins, chocolate fish, trick-or-treating, sheets and bullying.

I liked this better than the first book! For me the plot was better, it felt more emotional and it showed more character development.

Other than the art itself – we’ll get there in a second -, the characters brought this book to life. Marjorie and Eliza were the main characters in this book, and they both had some struggles in their lives. Marjorie was conflicted about her fake and rude “friends” and she didn’t know what to do because she felt like she wanted to belong somewhere, and Eliza felt like she was invisible and didn’t fit anywhere because people thought her hobby was dumb and weird. 

The secondary characters were great additions because they contributed to the emotional weight of the story: Marjorie’s fake friends were very annoying – as they should be -, Wendell was adorable as always, and the teacher’s humour was a nice contrast to the sadness of the story. And I have to say this… what the hell Colton?! Like Tyra would say: “We were all rooting for you!”. 

Now, about the art itself. I seriously can’t get over the art in this series. It’s beautiful just like in the first book. The colours and illustrations are by far one of my favorite things about this series. There was an illustration in particular that I loved: when Wendell and Marjorie were sitting on some rocks looking at the lake… just beautiful.

With that said, don’t be fooled by the colorful drawings because this story talks about very serious topics such as bullying, mental health and depression. It’s a book that describes perfectly what it’s like to feel lonely and to be bullied for what you like and defend. It reminds us that we shouldn’t put pressure on ourselves to fit other people’s realities.

I think this series is worth giving it a try for two main reasons: the art and the big lesson behind it.

A big thank you to NetGalley and Oni Press for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

xoxo, Neide

Review | Sheets (Sheets #1) by Brenna Thummler

But this place is home, baby. And once you have that, there’s nowhere you’d rather be. 3.25/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: laundry, ghosts, piano, pamphlets, bathhouses, swimming lessons, Houdini, yoga resorts, red dye, pumpkin cookies and new friends.

What a cute graphic novel! I personally liked the story, but it’s not a story that will follow me forever. It’s more of a fun, quick book you can pick up when you don’t want to read heavy books – or in my case, when you’re in the middle of a reading slump. 

The plot and the characters were okay. Not bad, not amazing… just okay. I would say the story has a sad tone – nothing too strong, but it’s definitely there -, not only because of the backstory, but also because the main character Marjorie hardly smiled through the book. Wendell was super cute and he’s probably the character I liked the most. For me, this book was worth reading mostly because of him.

I just wish the author mentioned what happened to Wendell’s parents, because something about them is hinted in the newspaper’s clips. He also says ghosts can’t remember their past because people forget about them, so I’m curious to know why he can’t remember his past. What happened to his parents? He was only eleven…

The color scheme and illustrations are very pretty, and I think the story is cute… but that’s about it. It’s a good fluffy book to pick up and go through quickly.

xoxo, Neide

Review | Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu

“Every locked door has a key. Every problem has a solution.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: rainbow hair, hackers, private planes, hot springs, code lines, championships, limousines, power ups, memories, fancy dinners, glitches and security shells.

This story took me by surprise! I liked this way more than I thought I would, to be honest. I usually don’t love books with strong technologic themes, but this story stole my heart. I think it’s really cool that Marie Lu worked as an Art Director at a video game company, because her knowledge is apparent. Maybe it’s because I work as a programmer, but when I read the book I noticed she writes about code and technology in a deeper way – in a way most authors wouldn’t, even if they did some research on the topics. Her love for those topics was crystal clear, and it gave me so much joy to read about it!

The characters were great. Emika was a very likeable character for me, because she was very strong, brave and intelligent. Hideo was probably the character I found the most interesting of all – there was so much mystery around him and the company he built while being so young. The relationships in this book were all pretty good, but I have to highlight the team spirit between the members of the Phoenix Riders. Their sense of companionship and friendship was so sweet!

The romance was the cherry on top for me! I’m a sucker for a good romance – no surprise there – and the relationship between Emika and Hideo was everything I could hope for. I really liked their chemistry and how their relationship developed during the book. Just don’t go into this book thinking it’s mainly a romance novel, because it’s so much more than that… but it’s a nice extra to the story.

I have to admit I saw that plot twist coming so I wasn’t that surprised when the big bomb dropped. With that said, I still liked how things turned out and the way the second book’s direction was set.There are so many great things about this book! The characters, the romance, the mystery that will keep you guessing all the time, the championship… so many great elements. I honestly loved the book and I would recommend it especially to technology lovers – just keep in mind this is still fantasy! I never read Ready Player One, but I feel like this series may have a similar feeling to it… I could be completely wrong, though!

xoxo, Neide

Review | Layla by Colleen Hoover

“She’s the victim now, even though she’s unaware of it. The only thing Layla did wrong is fall in love with me.” 3.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: weird dances, paranormal activity, rope, online forums and cameras.

I appreciate the author exploring and diving into new genres because some authors just tend to stay with what they are known for. This is a bit different from what I’m used to and to be completely honest, I prefer her other books. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think the story was bad. The plot caught my attention and I thought the concept was very interesting and different. And of course, the classic Colleen elements of surprise and plot twists were there, and I loved them all – like always. But in general, this kind of story is not really my thing.

Still, I know this would not be everyone’s cup of tea. Not only because of the genre being fantasy/paranormal, but because of the plot itself. It’s a pretty weird book that will give you some weird feelings, especially regarding the characters and their behaviours. 

I don’t think I would recommend this book to you if you are a fan of her other books. I personally liked this, but it’s not my favorite book from her. It was entertaining, different and an interesting look in the paranormal world though.

xoxo, Neide

Review | Leo (Preston Brothers #3) by Jay McLean

“Hatred is a one-way emotion.” I take a breath. “It only affects the person holding on to that hate. Take Laney’s ex, for example…” I face him, but he’s already watching me. “Do you think he knows how much you hate him? Do you think he cares that you do? (…) Does he even know you exist?” His lashes lower. “So, what’s the point, right?” I murmur. “Only you carry the burden of hatred, Leo. And it’s a lot easier to let go of that pain than it is to hold on to it.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: curse words, water towers, terrible birthday cakes, photographs, bikes, rock tumblers, yellow flowers, handmade jewelry, welcome signs, faith and three words.

This book took me by surprise. Compared to the first two books in the series (Lucas and Logan), this book has a very solid, complete plot – and that’s why it felt so different from the others. 

For starters, I felt a bit intimidated because this book is over 600 pages long, while the others have around 300. What was even more shocking is that I finished the book in 3 days! It was really fast paced and there was so much going on that I was entertained the entire time! I finished reading this book a while now, but I keep thinking about how memorable it was, knowing it was supposed to be a smutty romance. I can’t say the same about the other two books even though I loved them.

I think this definitely deserves the 5 stars! It’s full of romance, the plot is complex and and very well developed, there is the right amount of depth and surprises… it was just perfect!I hope this won’t be the final book of this series because I want to read more! Seriously, I would love to read about the rest of the family. The twins and Lucy don’t have a book yet – and maybe Tom? That would be cool! I would read every single book about this family if the author would write about them. A great addition to the series! *Fingers crossed it’s not over*

xoxo, Neide

Review | Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover

“Sometimes I believe personalities are shaped more by damage than kindness. Kindness doesn’t sink as deep into your skin as the damage does. The damage stains your soul so bad, you can’t scrub it off. It stays there forever, and I feel like people can see all my damage just by looking at me.” 4.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: stray dogs, spontaneous tattoos, shrimp, the ocean, car ferries, bread, hurricanes, memory cards, sunsets, prepaid phones, backpacks, volleyball, poems, luxurious summer houses, dead bodies, tight hugs, heart bones and a lot of secrets.

This was really close to becoming one of my favorite books from Colleen, but it felt a bit short for me. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of things happen in this book and I loved it nonetheless, but I still felt like there could be more development when it comes to the romance itself – or maybe that’s just me? And yes, I know her books have very strong themes but this one is a very romance-oriented book. I didn’t mind because I love romance books… and this is a really good one! 

So what can I say about this story? It’s beautiful, sad, full of tragedy and it will hit you like a ton of bricks. Not only that, but it’s paired with a good dose of romance, mystery and secrets – in true Colleen’s fashion. It’s the kind of story that will make you forget everything else around you when you’re reading it.

And of course, it wouldn’t be a true Colleen Hoover book without the drama… and oh boy, there is drama for days! I was just waiting for the big bomb to be dropped – because I knew there would be one even though I had no idea what was going to happen – and when it finally did, I was not disappointed with the outcome! I was so shocked that I devoured the rest of the book in a heartbeat.

This story is gripping and beautiful, I just wished it was a bit longer with more development because it felt a bit rushed sometimes. You’ll probably shed a tear or two, so grab your tissues beforehand… you have been warned!

xoxo, Neide

Review | La Douleur Exquise by Kavya Janani U.

Our eyes would meet
for a split second,
And I would know
Why it feels so good
To be in love with you,
ven if it’s unrequited. 4.25/5 stars!

I’m not an expert in poetry, but I personally connect more to poetry when I can relate to it… and that’s exactly what happened with this collection. While I was reading this book, I kept thinking about my past and my own experiences with unrequited love. Yes, I’m no stranger when it comes to one-sided love, and this book reminded me of my teenage self buried feelings. I could feel the pain and sadness coming from the author, that reminded me of my own when I was younger. And isn’t that beautiful? The way a single book just digs up your memories like that?

The poems are divided in three sections: hoping, hurting and healing. My personal favorite poems were “Eyelids”, “Where Do They Go?”, “The Boy Who Wants To Leave” and “Selenophilia”. But the Exquisite Shots were definitely my favorite part of the book! The only thing I want to point out is that I think the shots should be integrated with the full length poems, just because it would create a better flow.

The writing style was enjoyable and simple to follow. There were two particular poems here that I found interesting because they were written with bullet points. I understand why they were used and the purpose of them being there, but it felt like they were a bit misplaced in the middle of the collection.

Overall I think the collection was interesting and beautiful. I connected to a lot of poems and for me that’s what good poetry is all about. When a book awakens something in you, it’s worth your time!

***A big thank you to the author Kavya Janani U. the free copy in exchange for an honest review***

xoxo, Neide