Review: Love a la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm

Love à la ModeLove à la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“…part of the magic of food. It didn’t last. It couldn’t. Each bite was only a moment transformed into a memory.”


FOODIES REJOICE!!!

This book stole my heart right out of the gate. A departure gate at O’Hare International Airport to be specific. We meet our main characters, Rosie Radeke and Henry Yi, aboard a plane to Paris. Both teens have been selected to attend the very prestigious Ecole of Chef Laurent. The program is part competition, part culinary school, open to only 20 students per year. Being selected is an honor in itself and both Rosie and Henry are full of excitement and trepidation on their flight.

This book was absolutely adorable ((one of the best ‘Meet Cutes’ I have ever read!!)) and reminded me that sometimes it is okay to just read something that makes your heart happy. There was nothing complicated, no horrible hidden secrets or murders or deceptions, just love, reflection and growth…oh and a heck of a lot of fun, food and friends!

In addition to Henry and Rosie, the story incorporates quite a few of the other students who are from different areas around the world and brought such unique personalities to the story. If you are someone who enjoys stories with a strong friendship group you should definitely pick this one up. I loved the support and camaraderie amongst the main cast. Yumi in particular, loved her so much!! The banter between the characters is great; I was laughing out loud by only 3% into the book.

“There’s no one else I’d rather eat with.”

As a romance-heavy YA Contemporary will do, this book is replete with the angsty sort of romance tropes that you would typically find in a YA but, that being said, they were really well done here. It never felt cheesy to me or overplayed, just nice, steady and sweet. I loved watching the evolution of the relationship between Rosie and Henry, even through the miscommunications that made me want to scream, I just truly felt filled to the brim with warmth from this story.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney-Hyperion, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity to provide my feedback and I look forward to hearing what other readers think of this one! Well done, Ms. Strohm. Very well done.

View all my reviews

Review: The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Darkest Star (Origin, #1)The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4-happy shining stars**

“We were all dark stars, but Luc…he was the darkest.”

The Darkest Star is the first book in a new YA-series written by Jennifer L. Armentrout. This is a companion/spin-off from her hugely popular Lux series. Hold on to your hats Ladies & Gents because I have a confession to make: I have not read the Lux series!!!

Yes, it’s true. I went into this having never read a Jennifer L. Armentrout book and having no idea what the Luxen were all about. I was most pleasantly surprised! I think it is a testament to Armentrout’s skill as a writer that I never for a moment felt lost or like I was missing anything. If I had not heard of the Lux series prior to starting this, I would have never guessed that there was a prior series. So, if you are like me and have never read the Lux series and you don’t really have time or space on your tbr to fit it in, please don’t let that dissuade you. If the synopsis of this one sounds interesting to you, pick it up, have no fear, you will understand everything. That’s a megs_bookrack guarantee!

This book follows teenager, Evie, as she navigates a lot of disturbing revelations about herself. Early on in the story she meets a handsome stranger, Luc, at the club ((you know how it is)) and one thing leads to another and before you know it they are running from the cops, hiding in a broom closet and then seemingly just a part of each others lives from there on out.

I had a lot of fun watching Evie and Luc’s relationship grow. It was heavy in the hate to love feels and I cherish that when the banter is super witty. Luc is a sexy and successful young man…well, actually he is an Origin ((Origin = the child of a Luxen + mutated human)), who is the baddest badass of all. Side Note: the Luxen are an alien race that cohabits Earth with us after they had to flee their own planet.

Through Evie’s new relationship with Luc a lot gets revealed to her about her own past and who she really is. Pretty much anything she thought was real, wasn’t. Poor Evie really gets through for a loop in this book but she handles it as well as could be expected and her growth is satisfying. I look forward to seeing where the next book goes. I have a few ideas of areas/plot lines that I am hoping will be explored but only time will tell!

I really enjoyed Armentrout’s writing style. I found it was relaxed and had a nice, even flow to it. The pace was good and there was a lot of great, natural humor that I found refreshing. I also picked up on some social commentary on issues such as race, immigration, minority communities, fear-mongering, etc. I was surprised by some of the connections I was able to make from what was happening in the book and what has happened in my own country in recent history. I always appreciate when an author throws in real social issues into a fantastical or magical narrative. It feels like finding Easter Eggs.

Overall, I had a great time reading this book. I was impressed with the writing, I found it very easy to read and follow and I appreciated the fact that Armentrout made the story approachable for both new and veteran readers of her material.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Teen, for providing me with an early copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity to jump into this world created by Armentrout and am already excited for the next book in the series!

Original: My October just got more interesting – ARC received!

View all my reviews

Review: Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5-stars!!!

Ahhhh, young love. Isn’t it grand? You know the story, the tale as old as time: girl meets wolf, wolf and girl fall in love, angsty things happen…wait, is that not how the story usually goes?

This story follows two perspectives, Grace, a girl low-key obsessed with the wolves in the woods behind her house, and Sam, a werewolf. Sam has golden eyes and beautiful fur that Grace is instantly drawn too because…gold.

Seriously though, this is a love story between a girl and the werewolf who once saved her life. It was full of teenage drama and I must admit that had 14-to-20 year-old Meg read this book she would have been swooning from now till next year, honey! Needless to say, old Meg, not as thoroughly blown away by the plot.

The first half was difficult for me. More romance than an actual plot. Once I got towards the middle however I felt myself getting sucked into this bizarre storyline in an oddly addictive way…

Then finally, at the end, I’m like, Thank all that is holy that I have the entire series!!! Yep. You read that right, I am now officially a sucker for teenage werewolf love and I am not even upset about it. I am sure the fact that Maggie Stiefvater happens to be a truly good writer definitely aides along my new found addiction. So, thank you Ms. Stiefvater, for that!

View all my reviews

Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows & Brodi Ashton

My Lady JaneMy Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Continuous fun the whole way through! I loved this. 💖🐎💖

My Lady Jane is a fantastical romance loosely based around the life of Lady Jane Grey. Who was Lady Jane Grey?

I mean, I really don’t know. All I can tell you is she was Queen of England for a shockingly short 9-days; hence her nickname the ‘the Nine Days Queen’. As to the circumstances surrounding that = a complete mystery to me. I am choosing from this day forward to believe this amazingly hysterical version of events put forth in these pages by the Lady Janies (Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows & Brodi Ashton).

We get to follow multiple perspectives in this book: Jane, her cousin King Edward and Gifford (“call me G”). There is a really fun and unique ‘narrator directly addressing the reader’ format to this which I found absolutely charming. The fantastical elements were so far out there but again so much fun. That’s pretty much my largest take from this book – reading can be so much fun. I was transported by this story and could see the events playing out in my mind. I loved the different perspectives and felt the characters were well fleshed out with their own very distinct voices.

I always find collaborations like this so impressive. It is surprising to me that a group of three individuals could work so well together that they could create such a seamless narrative. I am excited to see what else these authors put out. I do have a copy of My Plain Jane but I haven’t gotten to it yet. In short, if you are looking for a fast-paced, heart-warming, ton-of-fun book, you should definitely give this one a shot!

View all my reviews

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Rating: 3-stars!!

What that means in my parlance for rating is, this was a good book. I enjoyed it but wasn’t blown away by it and didn’t have too many strong feelings on it once it was over. This book was released in 2015 and is pretty popular in the YA-contemporary genre. They even turned it into a movie! (which I have not seen). I really did not know too much about it going in besides that fact that it was ‘boy-meets-girl’ where one of the characters was sick. I figured it would be short and sweet and I would cry. It did give me two of those things: it was short, it was sweet but I did not cry. In fact, my feelings upon the ending were more of anger and frustration for the MCs than anything else, but I am getting ahead of myself…
If you haven’t heard much about this story, like I hadn’t, it follows our MC, Madeline Whittier, who is a teenager with a compromised immune system. Due to this, she has been unable to leave her house her entire life and isn’t allowed visitors without very strict protocols being followed prior to letting them in their house. Mainly, her entire life revolves around her Mother (who coincidentally is a doctor) and her nurse, Carla. One day, a new family moves in next door, who have a son, Olly, about Maddy’s age. Well, you will have to read it to find out what happens after that but keep in mind this is a love story. The romance was super cute. Olly is as sugary sweet as teenage boys can be in this type of book and their interactions were fun and witty. The nurse, Carla, was my favorite character – a real gem and a very important part of Maddy’s life.
I was quite impressed with Nicola Yoon’s writing style and definitely plan to read more of her work. The dialogue was clever and I felt the format was really unique and fun as well. So, yeah, overall a good book. It did not go where I thought it was going to go. I can say by the time that I got to the conclusion, I wasn’t surprised, but I was certainly super frustrated for Maddy. I’m glad I read this, now I know what the hype is all about as far as Nicola Yoon goes and I plan to pick up, The Sun is Also a Star very soon!

Leave a comment below if you have read this book, what were your thoughts? Do you like Nicola Yoon’s writing? Who are some of your favorite YA-contemporary authors? Leave them some love below!