Review: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring BlakeHow to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake
Published by HMH BFYR on May 2, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Grace, tough and wise, has nearly given up on wishes, thanks to a childhood spent with her unpredictable, larger-than-life mother. But this summer, Grace meets Eva, a girl who believes in dreams, despite her own difficult circumstances.

One fateful evening, Eva climbs through a window in Grace’s room, setting off a chain of stolen nights on the beach. When Eva tells Grace that she likes girls, Grace’s world opens up and she begins to believe in happiness again. How to Make a Wish is an emotionally charged portrait of a mother and daughter’s relationship and a heartfelt story about two girls who find each other at the exact right time.

Every time I read a new f/f book, I’m so excited, waiting for my OTP-level f/f ship to make an appearance. I’m still waiting. I had high hopes for How to Make a Wish, but it’s not really a Christina book or a particularly shippy book, though I do think it does a great job with the family aspects.

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Size Doesn’t Matter (148): Gem & Dixie; The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband

I received this book for free from Edelweiss, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (148): Gem & Dixie; The Girl with the Make-Believe HusbandGem & Dixie by Sara Zarr
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Length: 5 hrs, 45 mins
Published by Harper Audio on April 4, 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
one-star

From renowned author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr comes a deep, nuanced, and gorgeously written story about the complex relationship between two sisters from a broken home.

Gem has never known what it is to have security. She’s never known an adult she can truly rely on. But the one constant in her life has been Dixie. Gem grew up taking care of her sister when no one else could: not their mother, whose issues make it hard for her to keep food on the table, and definitely not their father, whose intermittent presence is the only thing worse than his frequent absence. Even as Gem and Dixie have grown apart, they’ve always had each other.

When their dad returns home for the first time in years and tries to insert himself back into their lives, Gem finds herself with an unexpected opportunity: three days with Dixie—on their own in Seattle and beyond. But this short trip soon becomes something more, as Gem discovers that that to save herself, she may have to sever the one bond she’s tried so hard to keep.

Gem & Dixie is my first experience with Sara Zarr, and I’m pretty sure this is absolutely the worst place I could have started. Either that or I should immediately donate the Zarr backlist books I own, because I did not enjoy this book at all. Gem & Dixie is one of those novels I just don’t get, because it is one hundred percent not fun.

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Size Doesn’t Matter (147): Unquiet Land; Romeo & What’s Her Name

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (147): Unquiet Land; Romeo & What’s Her NameUnquiet Land by Sharon Shinn
Series: Elemental Blessings #4
Published by Ace on November 1, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-half-stars

From the national bestselling author of Jeweled Fire and Royal Airs comes the latest novel in the Elemental Blessings series.

Leah Frothen has returned home. But she can scarcely catch her breath before she is summoned by regent Darien Serlast, the man who made her a spy. Leah is reluctant to take on a new assignment, but Darien has dangled the perfect lure to draw her in…

Leah finds she enjoys the challenges of opening a shop catering to foreign visitors, especially since it affords her the opportunity to get to know Mally, the child she abandoned five years ago.

But when the regent asks her to spy on ambassadors from a visiting nation, Leah soon learns that everyone—her regent, her lover, and even her daughter—have secrets that could save the nation, but might very well break her heart.

Because Leah’s parts of Jeweled Fire were the weakest parts for me (aside from the romance), I was a bit hesitant going into Unquiet Land. I’m definitely not torz (okay, I don’t live in Welce but I can pretend), and Leah’s not got the vibrancy of any of the other heroines. She has the most in common with Zoe when she does her whole still waters thing in the first half of Troubled Waters. All of that is fact, but surprisingly her narration worked really well and I was just as invested as I always am in Shinn books.

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Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emery LordThe Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 16, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

To date, Emery Lord has not disappointed me with any of her novels. Some were more directly up my specific alley (The Start of Me and You) and some less so (When We Collided), but they’ve all been really well done books with excellent characterization and emotional resonance. In some ways, The Names They Gave Us is Lord’s best book yet, though I can’t say it was my personal favorite.

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Cover Snark (227): Snark from the Funny Farm

Welcome to Cover Snark, where the people are snarky and the covers quiver in fear. Since I don’t write many snarky book reviews here on A Reader of Fictions, Cover Snark is my outlet. If you click on the title of the book, where possible, I’ve linked to Goodreads. Clicking on the cover itself will show you the cover in a larger size, in most cases. Feel free to love covers I hate and vice versa. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Please note that you should by no means contact the author if you do not like their cover; they likely have ZERO control. Feel free to express opinions of the covers in the comments, but please do not @ an author on Twitter because of anything you’ve seen here.

Shiny and New:

1. The Unbinding of Mary Reade – Miriam McNamara

Thoughts: C: Mary Reade’s gonna be getting some on a pirate ship.

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