As soon as I started Precious Things, I knew I was going to love the characters and the st...more My review can also be found on my blog Collections.
As soon as I started Precious Things, I knew I was going to love the characters and the story. It was such a fun and heartfelt book, and it really stood out from other books I've read in the new adult genre. It just had that extra special something I like to find in the books I read. I wish I knew how to perfectly describe it, but what I can say is that I was able to click with the story right away. It was exactly what I needed to read at the time, and I wish it never had to end.
Isabelle was the main character of Precious Things. She was hilarious and had me cracking me up throughout the entire book! I loved her honesty and snarky attitude. While she might come off as a bit whiny to some, I understood why she felt the need to complain about her life and why she wanted to run away and avoid certain situations. When you worked really hard for something and find out it was all for nothing, it's not always easy to accept nor is it easy coping with the aftermath. In Isabelle's case she wasn't able to get into her dream college because of money issues and that meant she was stuck at home with the same job while attending a local community college. The way she reacted to things around her, whether it was good or bad, made her a much more genuine character in my eyes, and I couldn't help but to adore and root for her.
Evan was the guy Isabelle ended up falling for, and he's actually the teacher's assistant in the electronic music class Isabelle had no choice but to take. I loved Evan as much as I did Isabelle. Not only because he was really good-looking, although that didn't hurt, but because he was patient and sweet with Isabelle and the rest of the students in their class. (Him teaching the class made him sound even hotter, by the way.) He was one of the reasons Isabelle began to not hate community college as much as she did in the beginning.
I also loved that Evan could match Isabelle's snarkiness and that he challenged her. Since they had an immediate attraction to one another, plenty of fun banter and tension formed between them. Their relationship together was adorable and sexy. There were many moments where I was swooning like crazy. What I really appreciated about their relationship and them as characters, though, was that they weren't perfect. Both made mistakes and sometimes said things that they regretted. It just made them and their relationship easier to relate to. And them being mature enough to own up to their actions made it even better.
Before I end this review, I would like to mention a few more aspects that made me happy. I loved that there was a pretty diverse cast of characters in this book. Isabelle is part Korean, and it was great that even though she didn't know much about her Korean side there were still moments of her thinking about it scattered throughout the book. Another thing was all the mentions of electronic music. It's my favorite type of music to listen to! I'm no expert like Evan. In fact, I probably would have been as confused as Isabelle if I had taken the class and I haven't listened to much of Depeche Mode's songs either. But at least like Evan I can appreciate awesome music, so whenever a song was brought up I went on YouTube and listened to it. 'Precious,' the song that seems to have inspired the title of the book and fits the story perfectly, was my favorite! It was a beautiful song. How could I not fall for Evan with his great taste in music? hehe
Precious Things was the start of new beginnings. The author did a wonderful job showing how complicated and complex life and relationships, including family dynamics and friendships, can be. And while there's not always an easy resolution to life's problems, eventually amazing opportunities will come along that may change the course of what we thought we wanted out of life. This book was really a great read for me, and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for whatever Stephanie Parent writes next!(less)
In the beginning of Connection, I was kind of distracted by some of the unanswered questions. Why w...more My review can also be found on my blog Collections.
In the beginning of Connection, I was kind of distracted by some of the unanswered questions. Why weren't Anna and Aaron friends for nearly a year? How come Anna forgave him so quickly? And why did they share this powerful connection? The story actually wasn't slow-going at all. It did, however, take me a couple of chapters to warm up to the characters, which was why I wanted clarification on certain things quick. Thankfully as the story progressed answers were revealed, and by the halfway point, I became more interested and invested into the story.
Connection is a paranormal that revolves around two high school students, Aaron and Anna. They were best friends since they were 8-years-old and have had a special connection where they can basically read each others thoughts and feel each others emotions. After becoming close again after nearly a year apart, Aaron and Anna start to realize that their connection is becoming more intense and powerful. To make matters even more complicated, they find out they may not be the only pair out there with this type of connection and that they are already being watched.
While the story wouldn't be the same without the paranormal, the contemporary aspects were what I enjoyed the most. Like the relationship between Anna and Aaron and the dynamics they had with their family and other friends. I did think it was strange how quickly Anna and Aaron became friends again after not being friends at all for a year, especially after finding out what Aaron did. But once I realized Anna actually hadn't forgiven Aaron as much as I thought she had, I ended up feeling a whole lot better about their situation. And I'm so glad that afterwards their relationship didn't immediately evolve into something romantic. It was obvious they would get together, but it took time and there were many complications along the way. Such as Anna having a boyfriend, the horrible friend Aaron chose over Anna, and Anna questioning if she would even have feelings for Aaron had it not been for their connection. I just ended up liking both Aaron and Anna as characters. I loved Anna's rational side, how she tended to question things unlike Aaron. And I liked that Aaron made sure not to waver on his loyalty to Anna again, even when there were moments they really disagreed with each other. Basically they were likeable characters, and I appreciated that.
Connection was overall a pretty enjoyable read for me. The ending wasn't climactic, though, and I felt nothing involving the paranormal aspects were resolved. But at least Anna and Aaron's relationship developed nicely because like I said, it was my favorite thing about the novel. There's definitely more to come, and I'm looking forward to it.(less)
I love the feeling of going into a novel, not knowing what to expect, and realizing right away that...more My review can also be found on my blog Collections.
I love the feeling of going into a novel, not knowing what to expect, and realizing right away that I'm going to like it. And that as I get further in the story keeps getting better and better, and that once I'm done I just want more people to know about the book and to read it too! Sanctum was that type of read for me. The characters were multilayered and extremely likeable, the world was fascinating, and the story made it hard to stop reading. I can easily say that it is one of my top five favorite books this year! I'm so excited to read the next book in this series.
"Welcome to Suicide Gates!"
Those words and the frightening, otherworldly city where she first heard them have haunted Lela ever since she tried to end her life two years ago. Lela knows that place is where she could have ended up if she had died, but she doesn't realize how true that is until her best friend Nadia commits suicide. Lela starts having nightmares, visions, about Suicide Gates through her friend's eyes, and she becomes determined to save Nadia from that dark place even if she has to sacrifice herself in the process. The journey is nowhere near easy though. Suicide Gates is a harsh and bleak world. Everyone who ends up there must work hard to come to terms with what happened to them and to find strength within themselves so that they can finally move on. And not everyone is able to do that.
Lela's feelings towards Nadia were powerful and the driving force behind most of her decisions in Sanctum. She did everything she could to save Nadia, even if she later regretted the choices she made. This is one of the few books where I truly felt the strong bond a character has with a friend. I remember thinking that I wanted Lela to succeed, I wanted Nadia to be saved, and I wanted happiness for them both. It really was heartbreaking, and it made me just admire and adore Lela even more. She felt so real to me. She's been through so much in her life, yet she stays strong and focused for the friend who believed in her and made her a better person.
Not only is Sanctum about friendship and sacrifice, it's about love and overcoming gripping fears bit by bit. After Lela arrives at Suicide Gates, she's captured by the Guards of the city. They know she's different from the humans who are suppose to be there, and she's interrogated by their brave and intimidating Captain, Malachi. Lela and Malachi don't trust each other at first, but once they open up, Lela begins to feel safe around Malachi and he begins to feel protective of her. There's a gut-wrenching reason why Lela wanted to die two years ago, and when Malachi finds out he helps her overcome some of her fears of allowing anyone, especially a man, to touch her. He's so respectful and let's her be in control. I absolutely loved their relationship. It was sweet and beautiful and touching. They are amazing people and brought out every single bit of goodness in each other. They are also kickass and helped each other survive along the way to finding Nadia. They're the main reason why I cannot wait to read the next book.
Sanctum brings up many heavy, emotional subjects and there are plenty of terrifying moments, but it still manages to be filled with hope and love. And when a story is awesome and has wonderful characters and relationships, it makes me really happy. The ending freaked me out so much though. (I was scared and praying it wouldn't end at a cliffhanger!) It also made me pumped for book two. I wish I could talk more about the unique world in Sanctum, but it's complex and something you need to discover and experience yourself. I highly recommend Sanctum, especially to those looking for a dark, yet hopeful read. It's easily one of the best YA urban fantasy novels I've ever read!(less)
It's been over a year since I read Legend, the first novel in the trilogy. Legend was no d...more My review can also be found on my blog Collections.
It's been over a year since I read Legend, the first novel in the trilogy. Legend was no doubt my favorite dystopian and one of my favorite books last year! I loved everything about it, and I eagerly anticipated the release of the sequel. Now having finally read Prodigy...
Unfortunately, it didn't do it for me the way the first book did. It was a much more different reading experience for me. While Legend was engaging and had me hooked from the very beginning, I felt detached throughout Prodigy. I had hoped that feeling would ease by the time I was halfway, and I really wish I could have shaken off that feeling entirely. However, it never happened. And it greatly determined how I felt about the novel overall.
I think I can pinpoint what exactly bothered me while reading. It was the characters. In my review for Legend, I go on and on, praising the main characters Day and June and some of the secondary characters. This time around the characters didn't quite work for me. In fact, they either irritated me or I didn't care about them at all. Even when something horrible happened, none of them could get me to shed tears or root for them passionately. (Except maybe Metias, but sadly he's not of the living.) My problem with June and especially Day in this book stems from the fact that after everything they went through in the previous book, it seemed all they could do was question each other and question why the other would want to be with them. I understand why they would have doubts though. They haven't known each other long, and they met through heartbreaking circumstances. That's something they brought up throughout the course of the novel. But for me, all that did was make it seem like what they shared in Legend wasn't...real. I couldn't bring myself to believe in their relationship this time around, which is sad because I loved what they had before.
Another problem I had with the characters AND the romance was how Day and June attracted other characters' attention. Yes, there might have been a bit of a love-triangle or even a square. I know these things happen, especially considering a lot of people look up to them, but it was a bit too convenient that both of them had specific characters vying for their affection. I don't want to reveal too much of what happened; however, I can't help mentioning that Tess, Day's best friend, was involved. And she really annoyed the heck out of me. She pretty much wasn't the same character I came to care for in Legend. It was a bit of a shock to be honest. Basically, the romance in Prodigy wasn't what I had hoped, and I feel everything that happened with it only caused unnecessary drama that I didn't find entertaining one bit.
In the end, Prodigy left me feeling indifferent and uncaring for the characters and their struggles. I know I'm being harsher with this book than others, but it's hard not to be when its predecessor was a favorite of mine. Although right now I'm not feeling particularly enthused for the final book in the trilogy, I think I might still read it. Just to get some closure. Hopefully I appreciate it more than this book.(less)
Already loving this more than The Pace series! Speaking of 'the pace', The Syndicate really is fast-paced. It wasn't a problem to me though be...more4.5 stars
Already loving this more than The Pace series! Speaking of 'the pace', The Syndicate really is fast-paced. It wasn't a problem to me though because it just felt right. And in the beginning I thought this book was going to end up being the usual read, but it wasn't. It definitely had its moments. I was very impressed and love that it's in the male POV! I hope there's more books! :)(less)
I could relate to the main character Jasmine in a way. I understood why she felt like she...more My review can also be found on my blog Collections.
I could relate to the main character Jasmine in a way. I understood why she felt like she never fit in because of her skin color and the way she looks. I know the feeling. But she pretty much annoyed me for the majority of the book. The secret she kept from her mother.... It made me wonder why she even bothered keeping it to herself, since she started taking out her frustrations on the one person she was trying to protect. Telling her mother that unlike her, she wasn't addicted to a color? And that she was a horrible mother? Whoa. Jasmine made unfair assumptions and was as judgmental as everyone else throughout the book. Even though she realizes this by the end and knows she has to change herself and become a stronger person, I can't say I ever went out of my way to root for her.
Another thing that bothered me was the fact that so many other issues were mentioned. There was the gay friend and the friend who was abused growing up and the boy who had a drug past. Every other character had a dead parent (cancer, drunk driving, etc) or a parent who wasn't in their lives. Yes, everyone has problems. But considering the book was already about prejudice and racism and forgiveness, it was too much. I guess I was suppose to feel sorry for the characters, but I honestly never felt much of anything for them. And then the dialogue from some of the characters made me cringe. Things like 'Once you go black, you never go back' and 'You know what they say about black men...' I've heard those jokes before. Who hasn't? It felt very forced. Like I was being reminded and convinced that the character was black. And I wasn't convinced. It didn't sound real or true to me. Just stereotypical things to say.
I liked that If I Tell brought up the issues of race and prejudice. However, I wasn't able to completely connect with the characters, and I think the book had a lot going on with the other issues I mentioned above. While I didn't enjoy If I Tell as much as I wanted to, I don't think it was a bad read at all. And I believe that if you're still interested in reading it you should go for it.(less)
I like reading paranormal books. Sometimes I can relate to the main character's personality. That's...more My review can also be found on my blog Collections.
I like reading paranormal books. Sometimes I can relate to the main character's personality. That's fine and all, but sometimes...I want more than that. I want a character, a girl specifically, who has a similar heritage as me. So here's what I've been searching for: a young-adult paranormal with a Latina as the main character.
I thought there wasn't a book like that out there, and it frustrated me. Then a few months ago I was surprised when a Goodreads friend told me about Invisible Touch. It sounded exactly like what I was looking for! But I wondered, Why haven't I heard about this book before? It was published back in 2008 and had less than 90 ratings on Goodreads. I was still excited to read it, but in the back of my mind, the serious lack of attention it received made me question if the book would even be good. I felt bad for thinking that. At the same time, I just didn't want to get my hopes too high. Thankfully, once I was able to read it, I found that it actually exceeded all my expectations, and I was so grateful to be given the chance to read it!
Ever since the boat accident six years ago that killed her father and left her dead for several minutes, seventeen-year-old Kara Martinez has been able to see visions. These visions appear on people and are usually hints into impending danger. It's something she's not able to ignore. She must sort out the puzzle of clues her gift gives her before she can figure out what exactly the danger is, and she has to do it all on her own. She doesn't even trust her own her family with her secret because she fears being sent back to the psychiatric hospital, which was where she was sent the first time she tried to tell her mother about her visions years ago. The recent vision she sees is on a fellow classmate, who is somehow connected to a guy from the other side of town she recently met: Anthony Garcia. Keeping her gift a secret, figuring out the newest clues, and behaving like the daughter her mother wants to be becomes even harder when she starts to fall for Anthony.
I thought Kelly Parra did such a wonderful job with this story. Although Invisible Touch is a quick read (it's a small book in size that comes in at about 280 pages) and takes place over the course of about three weeks, I felt it was paced really well. Things were revealed at just the right time. Some moments were pretty shocking and took me by surprise. I never knew what to expect next, and I couldn't put the book down! It's the type of book that makes me wish there was a sequel because I didn't want to let the characters go. I wanted to know what happens next with everyone: Kara, Anthony, Kara's family (her mother and her brother Jason) and her friend Danielle. But it's also the type of book that's perfect as a stand-alone. All questions were answered, and it didn't have a cheesy ending. It was enough to keep me satisfied and yet leave me wanting more.
Another thing I liked was the blog entries scattered throughout the book. Kara's only outlet to share her gift and her feelings about it is the anonymous blog she created called Secret Fates. It was like reading a diary, just in modern form, and it was another way for us readers to know more about Kara. She never reveals too much about herself, but her blog still adds to the mystery of the book once an anonymous reader claims to know her true identity. Maybe it's because I have a blog and am always checking other blogs, but I felt her blog entries were a nice addition to the book.
Before I end this review, I need to mention the romance. Kara and Anthony had a forbidden romance going on what with Kara having a strict and overprotective mother and Anthony coming from the wrong side of town. They did become a couple quickly, but I found it believable. It was natural, and it just felt right for them to be together. They had some steamy moments, but they weren't desperately trying to get to the next level. I thought they were pretty mature about it, and I think that reflects the type of characters they are. Mature and levelheaded. Definitely likable characters. And I could really relate to Kara on a personal level. I'm not 100% Mexican either, and I can't speak Spanish even though I wish I could. She is someone I could see myself being friends with. As for Anthony, well, I thought he was the perfect guy for Kara. (It doesn't hurt that he's also a hot guy! heh) He's a bit mysterious and seems like he would be a bad-boy, but he actually prefers to stay out of trouble. He's caring and trustworthy, and I loved his relationship with Kara.
Invisible Touch was everything I was looking for and more. It's my first and hopefully not my last paranormal book that has a main female character with Latin American roots. I honestly don't get why this book hardly got any attention, and sadly it's going out-of-print soon. I talked to the author though, and she's plans on reissuing it once it's out-of-print. That makes me feel a whole lot better, and hopefully more people will read it! I think it will appeal to fans of Wake by Lisa McMann and Simone Elkeles's Perfect Chemistry trilogy. So give it a chance if you like those books too!
I am forever grateful to Janina for giving away her copy and giving me the opportunity to read it! :D Thank you!! *hugs*(less)
This is mostly what I kept thinking while reading the book: 'Hmm...'Which equaled othe...more My review can also be found on my blog Collections.
3 - 3.5 stars
This is mostly what I kept thinking while reading the book: 'Hmm...' Which equaled other sentences like 'When am I going to get hooked to this story?' and 'I'm not feeling it.' Basically this book didn't quite do it for me. I really wanted to like it. In fact, I was hoping to LOVE it. But it didn't happen. I didn't hate it though. I thought it was just okay.
The Probability of Miracles reminded me in a way of an Australian young-adult title I read last month: Girl Saves Boy by Steph Bowe. Both are quirky, both have main characters who've had cancer since childhood and have a dead parent, and both even have a "Let's save a lobster!" scene (which was totally weird because what are the odds of that happening in both books?). But I liked Girl Saves Boy a bit better, although there wasn't enough closure in that one. Unlike that book, I couldn't connect with the characters or the story in The Probability of Miracles.
For the past several years of her life, sixteen-year-old Campbell (or Cam) Cooper has been fighting a battle with cancer, and after a recent visit to her doctor, it's not looking good. With the little time she has left, Cam decides she wants to do some of the things on her Flamingo List, a list she created a year earlier of all the rebellious things she wanted to do. Cam manages to complete some before her mother takes her and her younger sister on a road trip to Promise, Maine in search of a miracle. It is there in the mysterious and almost magical town of Promise that Cam meets and falls for a guy named Asher, completes her Flamingo List and creates a new one, and finds her miracle.
As I mentioned, I didn't have a connection with the characters. Cam was dry and sarcastic, and while I usually like that in a character, I never REALLY warmed up to her. And I felt like I never really knew the other characters. This was a problem because it resulted in me not being able to become emotionally invested in the story. The story was about cancer and death and miracles, and I needed that emotional connection in order to feel for the characters and understand their actions. But sadly, I couldn't get myself to become invested in that way.
I thought some things were rushed. The romance between Cam and Asher wasn't developed enough. Or maybe I didn't feel anything for it. Or maybe it was both. Either way I felt like it happened, like most of the things in this book, just so that Cam could experience what she hasn't yet been able to and probably won't be able to. I also thought some of the events that occurred were weird and random. I think the story was suppose to be bizarre (what with the town of Promise being sort of "magical" with the purple dandelions, flamingos in Maine, Killer Whales in the bay, etc.), but it was almost too bizarre. I honestly started to think that Cam was actually in a hospital bed dying and having an extravagant hallucination or dream.
So, it was a bit strange. I may not have felt much for the story or the characters, but here's what I really liked about The Probability of Miracles:
- The cover! The font is cool, the girl is beautiful, and the pink is HOT. It fit the story.
- Cam is half Samoan and half Italian. She gets her looks from the Samoan side of her family, and her Polynesian heritage was integrated into the story.
- There was a road trip. From Orlando, Florida to Promise, Maine. They stopped in South Carolina, North Carolina, and New Jersey.
- A whole chapter dedicated to a tourist trap Cam and her family stopped at in South Carolina called South of the Border! Have you guys ever been there? I have. A couple of times. It's not that I enjoy going there (it's gross and offensive and probably the CREEPIEST place I've ever been to), but it's something I'm a bit familiar with. And I thought it was hilarious that it was in this book. Here are some pictures of that place: Notice the flamingo in the night shot on the left? ;) The bottom picture is one of the MANY billboards found along the interstate. (Note: I did not take these pictures. Found them online.)
- Writing in the ARC. It was fun. You should try it, especially if others are willing to read and write in your ARC. It made me want to finish reading it, and I was able to enjoy the story more. The picture below is what I wrote on the first page of chapter 12. (click to full view)
- The last couple of paragraphs, especially the last few lines, in the book. Those finale words... I thought it was beautiful. And heartbreaking. I wish the entire book had been written like that because it got a reaction out of me. It really made me feel for Cam and all the people who love her.
Overall, I didn't love or hate The Probability of Miracles. It was an okay read. Even though it wasn't what I was hoping it would be, I'm sure other readers will like it. I've already seen some who've read it and really liked it, and I think those who are still curious should give this book a read and make up their own mind about it. It's something you have to experience yourself.(less)