Archive for the '3.5' Category

Review: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

18304322 Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: September 15th 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Length: 384 pages
Source: Balzer + Bray (ARC)

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.”


Man, I don’t think Julie Murphy’s books are for me. I remember reading Side Effects May Vary and did not like that one at all. I had a better experience with Dumplin’, but I still found it lacking. Dumplin’ is told in 1st person point of view by our main character Willowdean Dickson (a.k.a. Dumplin’ – a nickname given by her mother). She’s definitely a realistic character, with lots of flaws which will either make readers love her or hate her. She’s bold, confident, but at times she doesn’t know when to keep her mouth shut so that leads her into trouble.

I think I would have liked this book better if the side characters had more character development. The author was getting there, but never really reached it. For instance, Willowdean’s love interest / co-worker, Bo, was starting to grow on me, but the author never really elaborated with his past. All we get from his past is that he used to be a jerk. Well, okay then… Also, Willowdean’s other love interest, Mitch, seems such a sweet guy but again, the author didn’t elaborate on his character. I was really interested to see past his romantic side, but I guess I’ll never know more about him.

Love triangles usually works out for me, but this one KIND OF has cheating in it which just irritated me. I do like the message of this book which is to love your body and that no one isn’t above or below anyone.

I like how this book also involves family and friendship. Willow’s not really close with her mother… like they talked and laughed at times, but didn’t share any secrets so it was interesting to read how they will break that awkwardness between them throughout the story. I also like the friendship because it was so realistic. Willow and her bff Ellen definitely had their up and down moments due to the Miss Clover City beauty pageant.

Overall I was expecting a casual, mediocre read which I did get so I’m not disappointed with this book nor blown away. There is also a TON of Dolly Parton reference so if you’re a fan of her and interested in reading a book that focuses on romance, family and friendship, I think you will enjoy this book.

3.5 of 5

Review: The Conspiracy of Us (Untitled #1) by Maggie Hall

17134589 Genre: YA Mystery
Published: January 13, 2015 by Putnam Juvenile
Series: #1 (Untitled)
Length: 336 pages
Source: won from Renae (thank you!)

Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.

To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family–but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she’s falling in love with.


I really enjoyed reading The Conspiracy of Us. At first I thought I wouldn’t like it because the main character, Avery, easily trusted strangers. Like, who the heck goes to Paris when a stranger danger guy tells her to come with him? But as the story progressed, I grew to like her and the other characters (Jack and Stellan). There is sort of a love triangle, but I think it works perfectly. I am definitely team Jack though. What prevented me from giving this book a solid 5 stars is that I’m still confused about the whole Dauphins and Saxons family and the whole Circle shinanigins. I think the sequel will elaborate more about the family and how they work. Hopefully we’re going to be introduced to the other 10 families. Another reason why I am giving this a 3.5 star rating is because some of the action scenes were hard to picture, and the girl on the cover def. doesn’t match up Avery’s descriptions in the book. Also, don’t expect for all the answers to be revealed in this book because it ends in a huge cliffhanger (*sobs*). What I loved about this book is the adventure that Jack and Avery goes through. It’s crazy how this book took place in 2-3 days! Like, get some rest people! They went from the U.S. to Paris to Istanbul then to Paris again! Overall I recommend you to read this. I think it’s a great book to start the series. I’ll definitely be reading the sequel once it comes out.

3.5 of 5

Review: Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

17878931 Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: February 10, 2015 by HarperTeen
Series: #1 (Red Queen)
Length: 400 pages
Source: HarperTeen (ARC)

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard–a growing Red rebellion–even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.”


Red Queen is a mixed of fantasy and dystopian that is about the Silvers (the one who has powers, literally and figuratively) and the Reds (powerless citizens). I think that is the only thing that made this book unique. The book is a little bit of all the dystopian books I have read such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Selection, etc which disappointed me a bit because I was craving for a fantasy book that shows no resemblance of other books. Even though I have not yet read Red Rising by Pierce Brown, Red Queen sounds a lot like it :/ because of the summary. I thought it was really cool though that the silvers literally have silver blood, while the red, of course, have red blood. I also like the idea of the silvers having superpower due to evolution.

This book unfortunately felt draggy at times…when I finished the book, I just sat back and realized that not a lot of stuff really happened even if it was a long book. There are a few action scenes that I enjoyed, but I wish there was more. There is a twist at the end which I already saw coming since the book was a bit predictable. I also did not like how some phrases that are supposed to be powerful are repeated (i.e. “red as the dawn” and “anyone can betray anyone”). Since their slogan for the revolution was so redundant, it made it sound cheesy and I could not help rolling my eyes. As for the romance, I have a love-hate relationship with it. I liked it because the princes (Maven & Cal) were swoony, yet I feel like it was all too sudden for them to have affections to Mare.

The world building was okay. It was pretty basic and I wish the author described more of how the world came to be, and the different settings in that world. I think the author only gave us a snippet of that world, and that she will provide more locations and descriptions in the sequel. I found the characters in the book okay as well. Mare steals anything she could pickpocket so she can help her family survive. She was a strong character, but shows no character development. I found the princes to be swoon-y though! Out of all the characters, I think they were the most realistic. I also love how family is involved (both Mare’s and the princes’). I love how Mare cares about her family a lot and also her best friend, Kilorn. Overall it was a very good read. I read it in two days; if you find the pacing slow, like me, just push through! I recommend it, but if you are bothered that this book is similar to other books, I wouldn’t put it on top of my to-be-read pile.

3.5 of 5

Well hello there! Thank you so much for stopping by. Little Book Star is a young adult book blog ran by Leigh, an 18 year old avid reader. This blog consists of book reviews, giveaways, author interviews, and more! Feel free to explore!

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