New adult books have felt a little hit or miss for me. I've had both good and bad experiences with them thus far, and nothing has quite proven the via...moreNew adult books have felt a little hit or miss for me. I've had both good and bad experiences with them thus far, and nothing has quite proven the viability of the genre to me... BUT Everything Between Us might make me reconsider that decision. I signed up for the blog tour because I like the way it sounded and I loved the cover (and I still LOVE the cover, especially after reading the book! I just love when a cover really, really fits--and this one definitely does), and I figured it'd be a nice, semi-light read. Hahahahahaha. Funny. Yes, Everything Between Us has a lovely and very satisfying romance, but the romance is really tangential to (and a catalyst for) a story that embraces the power of making your life what you want it to be, of facing your fears no matter how largely they loom.
I see so much potential in the idea behind new adult that I want it to work so badly. I so want to read about college-age protagonists who deal with real things. A person's reaction to events in their life can change drastically from high school to college and from college to adulthood, so seeing that stage of life is interesting--especially as I'm living it. My frustration with new adult comes when the books fail to deliver any kind of situation aside from romance. Here, both Stella and Daniel are dealing with some of the hardest moments in a person's life. Both are crippled by insecurities and by their fears, but it's not just their love interest that propels them out of this. Sure it spurs them on, but it's their strength of will, their desire to live full lives, that make it happen--regardless of that other person. No one can make those changes for you, and it's a hard road, but with the help of the other, they make it happen--though even that doesn't promise perfection. It's a great progression to see play out, and really worth the read just for that. :) Like I said, this is a book that makes me believe in new adult.
I know sometimes that dual narrators turn me off. Do they do that to y'all? It's just one of those things that gets to me if you can tell an author doesn't have a real reason for giving us the POVs, but they thought it sounded like a good idea. Not the case here. While the story would have been put across just fine without both Daniel and Stella narrating, it would have lacked quite a lot of dimension. We are able to experience Stella's panic, knowing just how she feels as her body wheels out of her control. We hear Daniel's thoughts as to why and how he shuts down his emotions, just so he can't be hurt. We see both of their frustration with the situation they're in, even as we hope that it'll get better.
Normally I end reviews a little more formally (with something like, "Everything Between Us is a heartfelt, emotional, and well-written novel that has made me believe in new adult again, and hopefully it'll do the same for you"), but I'd just like to leave you with this, because I like it and it is, honestly, more eloquent that I could possibly be. :)
"How am I supposed to know when I've found the right woman?"... "She'll be able to see right through you, Daniel Alexander Van Vliet."... "Why would I ever want that?" I tease. "Because she'll like what she sees."
You can find this review and many more fun things on my blog: Paper Cuts. (less)
What an interesting book! When my beloved Robin McKinley's book Beauty was mentioned in reference to Roses, I knew I had to read it--and I had a certa...moreWhat an interesting book! When my beloved Robin McKinley's book Beauty was mentioned in reference to Roses, I knew I had to read it--and I had a certain kind of expectation for it. Roses definitely lived up to that expectation, and while it may not be on par with Robin McKinley (that woman is a god to me, so it'd be quite the feat to be anywhere close to her in my mind!), it was a lushly imagined and magically retold version of Beauty and the Beast.
The approach in making "Beauty" someone who is not traditionally beautiful, as in Roses, is an interesting one. Though some characters are able to see her beauty, especially as she gets older, it is a very different experience to see Beauty develop as someone who is alienated from others because of her appearance. She grows up curiously, a quiet girl who only connects with horses and her foster father who takes care of them. You see her strength in her resistance to those who would pull her down for being different and her ability to thrive where she is desperately unwanted. Even so, Beauty is a rather distant heroine who I never felt very connected to.
Roses' world is a world filled with problems. There are those who are born ordinary, those born with magical abilities, Magic Bloods, and those who are Magic Beings. Those with and without magic are constantly at odds, and when the novel starts, Pevorocco is at a tentative peace, though citizens of The Neighbor are fighting--and that war threatens to spill into Pevorocco. The world is unveiled very slowly, almost too slowly, and it's hard to get a completely solid grip on what's going on, even as the novel is ending. Even so, it's a world I'd like to know better. The scenes directly at the beginning of each part were easily the most revelatory of the whole book, and those are very well placed for effectiveness. They worked really well to unveil the mysteries of the story slowly, allowing you to put each puzzle piece in place one at a time.
And in general, the writing was excellent. Mannering's prose fits the book perfectly, with a kind of distance that feels very intentional and keeps the reader right where they should be. It felt very much like a fairy tale. I did find, though, a few glaring mistakes that I am really unsure how they could have gotten by someone editing, the biggest being the use of "accept" instead of "except" at one point and shining being spelled as "shinning" (unless that's something people do?) multiple times. Little, but bothersome to me.
What's interesting about Roses, though, is that it doesn't incorporate most of the Beauty and the Beast story into the narration until more than halfway through. At first I thought it was kind of odd, but I actually liked that the focus was on how Beauty was raised, and how that affected the kind of person she becomes. I mean, if someone hadn't loved her despite her odd appearance, would she have been able to love the Beast in spite of his? It makes her past more important and makes you wonder how the story could have differed.
And oh, the design of the book is GORGEOUS. There are roses all over the place and the fonts are just beautiful. It's a lovely book in person.
I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a series, but Roses is definitely a book I'd like to see a sequel to. If not, it's still an utterly lovely and poetic retelling of Beauty and the Beast that takes a thought-provoking and imaginative look at the classic tale.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
You can find this review and many more fun things on my blog: Paper Cuts..(less)
I loved For Darkness Shows the Stars, so when I learned there would be a sequel I was terribly excited. Likewise, I'd enjoyed the first novella Diana...moreI loved For Darkness Shows the Stars, so when I learned there would be a sequel I was terribly excited. Likewise, I'd enjoyed the first novella Diana Peterfreund had written in this series and might have flipped out a bit when I learned there was a new one. This time I read the prequel novella before the book and it's just made me that much more excited to read Across a Star-Swept Sea!
This novella is absolutely perfect to get you back into the swing of the world Peterfreund created in FDStS or to introduce it to you! Not only do you get a bit of background on the world itself, you also learn a lot about Persis, her friends, beliefs, and lifestyle. I can already tell she's a girl I'm going to like. We also get to see her first actions as the Wild Poppy!
Whether you read this before or after the book, I definitely recommend it! It's a very short read (30 minutes, maybe?) and will immerse you in the world THAT quickly. Now I'm about to combust with my need for Across a Star-Swept Sea!
Before this I'd only read Colleen Hoover's Slammed, but I might officially be obsessed with her after reading Finding Cinderella. I went in expecting...moreBefore this I'd only read Colleen Hoover's Slammed, but I might officially be obsessed with her after reading Finding Cinderella. I went in expecting something short and cute, but, while it was definitely packed with cute moments, this novella manages to also be deeply emotional and just good.
I honestly only downloaded this because it was free and I thought I might pick it up on a rainy, but then I kept seeing great reviews so I decided I'd give it a try--without a lot of expectation. It's a free novella, you know? But that just doesn't matter. I found myself smiling from ear to ear, laughing out loud, and tearing up a various parts and just enjoyed the heck out of reading it.
No worries if you haven't read the Hopeless series; I haven't either and it didn't decrease my enjoyment. :)
You can find this review and many more fun things on my blog: Paper Cuts. (less)
Some books take very little to sell me on them. Another Little Piece of My Heart was definitely one of those. For anyone who loves music and/or Jane A...moreSome books take very little to sell me on them. Another Little Piece of My Heart was definitely one of those. For anyone who loves music and/or Jane Austen, how could you resist? There is, of course, a lot of fear that the book wouldn't maximize on that potential, but that is most definitely not the case here! Another Little Piece of My Heart is a fun and utterly engaging musical tale of a second chance in love and in family.
First and foremost, I wanted to read this book because it is a retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion, which I adore. That also means I have high standards for adaptations. Another Little Piece of My Heart does a really good job of adapting the general plot of Persuasion without getting absorbed in following the original to a T. I could see where many of the scenes fit, but they were never trying too hard to be Jane Austen set in New Hampshire with music. It still felt very organic, and someone who doesn't know Austen's story wouldn't be bothered in the least.
What I loved about this book, though, is that even as the story is of Claire and Jared's second chance together, there's just so much more going on. Claire has to deal with her fears of what the future might hold, since she no longer has the money to attend college. She comes to realize, in true teenager fashion, that not everything wrong with her relationships is someone else's fault, that she is to blame for shutting people out. She learns to have confidence not only in herself but in her talents. Even in her relationship with Jared, she has to learn forgiveness and how to see his side of the story. The development of Claire's character is really well done; she goes through a very real and natural progression in the summer following her high school graduation--which is a scary time for anyone, especially someone who can't go to college with her friends the next fall.
Needless to say, I really enjoyed reading Another Little Piece of My Heart. Though I didn't really touch on it, the music is present and vibrant, an all-surrounding melody that only adds to the story. (I especially can't fault anyone for that great playlist in the back! Anyone who includes Mumford & Sons is cool in my book.) It is a quick, fun, and summery read that will warm your heart in this cold weather.