Under the Scars Book Review

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book from the author to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Events that happen, people that walk in and out of life, and books that we read. This summer I’ve been soul searching and setting up a new business (more of that to come in the future). I somehow connected with an author through Instagram and made arrangements to review her book. Being 100% honest, I read this book in one night. I stayed up til 2 am reading because I was so emotionally invested in the story.

Under the Scars, by Isabella Morgan, is a true love story that grips readers from the very first page.

I have read Twilight (team Jacob) and 50 Shades of Grey. While both of those stories portray unrealistic love stories, Under the Scars is the complete opposite (in a good way). Violet and Nick have a summer romance that develops into true love. After a very difficult break up, the story really starts four years later when Violet’s mother is battling cancer. As luck would have it, Nick turns out to be Violet’s mom’s doctor.

The POV shifts back and forth between Nick and Violet, which I really enjoyed. There’s definitely more from Violet’s POV, but the placement of Nick’s thoughts/experiences allows readers to get a more well-rounded feeling of the plot. Violet is anything but a whiny, immature character. Her strength is mind blowing, especially once readers get more insight into her history, and her thoughts and actions are spot on.

Nick is first described as a typical ladies man, but readers quickly can see that his soft spot for Violet clearly suggests otherwise. Not only is he an attractive doctor, he also has the biggest heart I have come across in literature thus far in my reading life. He is the ideal man and I would marry him in a heart beat.

I was also a fan of the dialogue. I tend to gravitate towards realistic conversations between characters, and this novel delivers! There are curse words used (including the f bomb), and their placement is totally perfect. The conversations between characters are raw, honest, and filled with emotions.

In terms of plot, holy moly!! I loved the breadcrumb trail of clues Morgan leaves readers. Some were so tiny I wondered if I was overthinking, but there were definitely some twists I did not predict (which is rare). I thought the plot moved along seamlessly, and the build up to the climax was paced really well. Not once did I skip ahead because I was losing interest. Personally, I stopped a few times because the text was so mind blowing I needed a second to digest.

I tend to be an active reader, I’m always highlighting or making notes with lines I like. I have never highlighted so many amazing lines than in this book. I’m a sap for good quotes and there were just so many. The love between Nick and Violet is so pure and deep, and the language that Morgan incorporates is beyond beautiful.

The book ended with an Author’s Note that made me want to hug Morgan. I was also shocked and amazed that this is not only her first book, but it took five years to write. To say this is a book of love is an understatement.

However, the cherry on top for me was the playlist included at the end of the book. The author and I totally share the same taste in music (“Fighter” by Christina Aquilera) and I could totally see us being best friends in real life. The songs included fit the story PERFECTLY! She also introduced me to “When I Look at You” by Miley Cyrus, which I’m now obsessed with.

Due to language, some sexual and mature content, I would recommend this book for juniors and seniors in high school and older.

Bound in Silver Book Review

I’m currently on a YA kick and I’m enjoying every second of it. I keep finding myself taking screenshots of books that I see on Instagram, which is how I found out about this lovely text.

Bound in Silver, by Marie Grace, is the total YA fantasy fangirl novel.

We follow Arabella Grace as she navigates the typical teenage issues (school, boys, the death of her grandparents) but her world gets turned upside down when she discovers she is a Clock Keeper. As readers, we experience her training, changes in her relationships with those around her, and the strides Arabella makes with her personal growth.

As a die hard YA fangirl myself, I LOVED all of the amazing references to Harry Potter, Divergent, Hunger Games, City of Glass, etc. I truly felt that the character of Arabella embodies girls like me (minus the super hero thing), which made me want to be her best friend. The first person narration made so many text to text connections (there were one or two I actually did not know) which made me appreciate the plot more because I was able to understand the significance of the events.

And just like all fabulous YA novels, there was a love story in the mix of fighting, Shadows, swords, and nightmares. However, unlike Twilight, this text downplays the love to explain more of the plot to set up future books. There is no mushy gushy nonsense happening. Each Clock Keeper has an Anam Cara, a true soulmate. As a romantic, I fell in love with this concept. It did remind me of parabatai from City of Bones, but on a much more intimate scale. The vow that is spoken to connect Anam Caras together is beyond beautiful and it should totally be part of future wedding vows for book lovers.

As a teacher, I really appreciated how the author was able to capture teenage thoughts without including curse words and nudity. It’s a little more conservative than Divergent and City of Bones, but the feelings and emotions are still powerful between the characters.

One of the overall themes of the novel is good vs. evil, and we see that with the constant mention of light and dark imagery. The Shadows, white ink tattoos, black ink tattoos, all express the importance of good vs. evil in the plot. Personally, I enjoyed how obvious the symbolism was because it allowed me as a reader to enjoy the story more. For struggling readers, especially high school students, this is a great way for them to make inferences and draw conclusions without feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.

Without giving away any spoilers, I will say the plot kept me engaged, and it really ramped up the last two chapters. All of a sudden the book was over and I was left wanting more. The end doesn’t stop abruptly, but it definitely makes you want to start the second book right away (which I am trying very to wait patiently for).

Overall, I would recommend this book for any YA fantasy fans in grades 6-12.