April 25, 2018

Abbreviations #50 | Picture Us in the Light, Ace of Shades + Love Songs and Other Lies

Danny Cheng knows that he wants to be an artist. When he gets accepted into RISD on scholarship, it looks like he's well on his way towards the future he's always dreamt of. But Danny soon discovers that his senior year isn't going to go as smoothly as he imagines, what with the intensity of his feelings for his best friend Harry and the discovery that his parents have secrets that might just yank the foundation of his future (and his entire life) right out from under him... Picture Us in the Light is not the type of story that is going to work for every reader. But for the folks who resonate with Danny and his story, it's going to be impossible to set this one down. It's a lot slower than my usual contemporary fare, it's very much character-driven, and on top of that, it tackles some heavy issues (suicide, sexuality, legal status). It was excruciating at times, but it was also the sort of tale that had me in its grip until the very end. Again, it's not for everyone, but Picture Us in the Light is one heck of an intense reading experience and to me, it was worth the read.

Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | Publication Date: April 10, 2018 | Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thank you!)

I've been looking forward to Ace of Shades for ages, and I'm so, so happy to be able to report that it didn't disappoint. In this fantasy series starter from Amanda Foody, Enne Salta is a proper young lady who finds herself in New Reynes (also known as the City of Sin) on a mission to find her missing mother. Left with no alternative, she teams up with street lord Levi Glaisyer to solve the mystery of her mother's disappearance. The pair will soon discover that it's not easy to solve a mystery in the middle of the glittering, vicious world of New Reynes, especially when you're trying to clean up an investment scam (Levi), you discover a secret about your past (Enne) and you're maneuvered into a dangerous game that is, literally, life or death (but mostly death). Honestly, this one was just plain fun. I was immediately enthralled by the setting, the characters (and their admittedly messy motivations and flawed personalities), and the story, and I could barely tear my eyes off the page. There is so much that happens in the pages of this novel, and yet, it never felt like it dragged at all! While I enjoyed Foody's debut, I can confidently tell you that Ace of Shades is even better.  It had pretty much all the things I like in my YA fantasies, and I'm definitely looking forward to the next one!

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody | Series: The Shadow Game #1 | Publisher: Harlequin Teen | Publication Date: April 10, 2018 | Source: e-galley downloaded from Edelweiss (Thanks!)

Virginia Miller has landed the opportunity of a lifetime. She'll be spending the summer with her friends as they compete on a nationwide tour for a band reality show and she'll get to have her dream internship to top it all off! But things aren't exactly as idyll as she pictured they'd be, especially when she realizes that she'll be stuck on a bus with her first love Cam... who is also the boy who broke her heart two years ago. Clearly, friends, Love Songs and Other Lies is one of those contemporary YA novels where you can sort of see what's going to happen - but you're still in it for the path to that ending anyway. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that this one reminded me both of Katie Cotugno's stories and fan fic, both things of which I am a fan. It was even better to realize that Pennington's writing style was compulsively readable, and her choice to flip between past and present as well as between Virginia and Cam's points of view was well-executed. I liked the characters (Virginia, Cam and their friends), the music and band aspects, and of course, I was into the romance. It was definitely a solid YA contemporary!

Love Songs and Other Lies by Jessica Pennington | Publisher: Tor Teen | Publication Date: April 24, 2018 | Source: Hardcover received from the publisher (Thanks!)


  1. Stunning reviews Alexa :D Yay for enjoying these books a lot. <3 And ahh, Ace of Shades. I have read this one, and liked the plot so so much :D But the romance made me so disappointed :\ Aw. I hope the next book will be amazing, though :) Thank you for sharing. <3


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