Katie McGarry wowed me with her debut, Pushing the Limits, last year. I was a little bit hesitant to start Dare You To because it was Beth's story and...moreKatie McGarry wowed me with her debut, Pushing the Limits, last year. I was a little bit hesitant to start Dare You To because it was Beth's story and I never really liked her character in the book. Plus, she wasn't going to be with Isaiah, who clearly really loved her. But then, the cover came out! And well, you probably just guessed what happened!
Like I mentioned above, Beth was never really a character that I enjoyed. When I started Dare You To, I decided to temporarily forget my feelings for her. However, that didn't really help me. My annoyance with her character amplified by ten-fold. She was a really frustrating character. I guess I should have expected it, but her constant bitchy attitude nearly ruined this book for me. She was angry and rude all the time, making it very hard to grow fond of her. I thought I should give it some time, to let her grow, but her growth took forever. Now, she had a lot going on in her life and I understood her circumstances, but did she really have to spew venom at every person who tried to help her out? Beth's life was anything but easy. She lived with her drug addict mother who had a violent and abusive boyfriend. Beth's mother was a sorry excuse for a mother. It was horrible that Beth was the one who had to look after her when it should have been the other way round. It was painful to watch Beth try to do everything she could to help her mother out when all her mother did was continue to justify the abusive bastard who hit her daughter. I must say that although I thought it was outrageous that Beth continued to help her mom out, at the same time, I appreciated her bravery and devotion to her. With everything that had occurred in her life, Beth was bitter towards everyone and had huge trust issues, so she failed to see the love that her uncle Scott has for her when he adopts her. Towards the end of the book though, she managed to grow a little, appreciating the fact that she had people who loved and supported her and learning to do the right thing. Still, it was very hard for me to connect with her character.
Ryan, the other main character, seemed to be the jock with the perfect life from the exterior, but that was just the exterior. His home life was really messed up with his parents bossing him around and manipulating his every action. Plus, his brother who had come out had left because his parents wouldn't accept the fact that he was gay. So, Ryan felt abandoned by the person that he loved the most. Initially, Beth was only a dare to Ryan. But over the course of the book, he gets really know her and slowly starts to fall for her. Their relationship was full of ups and downs, downs especially because Beth was reluctant to let anyone get close to her. Fortunately, Ryan wasn't one to give up so easily and continues to push Beth into places she was scared to go to. His adamant nature went well with Beth's fiery one. I thought they complemented each other very well. Initially, when the two of them were together in a scene, all I could see was hostility, but this hostility evolved into sparks slowly. Although both of them were physically attracted to each other from the very beginning, it did take some time for their relationship to grow and I really appreciated the slowness of the romance. Like Pushing the Limits, this book was told in dual POVs and I thought Katie McGarry handled it splendidly once again. She's very good at writing multiple POVs and I hope she continues to do so in her subsequent books. McGarry is also very good at writing realistic books with so many serious and intense themes. I have to admit though that I'm slightly disappointed with her for not having more of Isaiah in this book, but I'm going to forgive her for that because the next book is going to be all about him! My heart broke into pieces for him in this book, so I can't wait to see him find his HEA.
Fans of Pushing the Limits will definitely appreciate Dare You To because it was as good as the former. although it might take some time to get accustomed to Beth's voice. Once again, Katie McGarry has nailed it with her intense contemporary novel and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from this talented woman.
I decided to give this book a try because so many reviewers on here have given it 5 stars. Boy, was I disap...moreRead more of my reviews at Nick's Book Blog
I decided to give this book a try because so many reviewers on here have given it 5 stars. Boy, was I disappointed ! I really didn't like this book. The characters really got on my nerves to the point that I wanted get into the book and just slap the hell out of them. Travis was awful ! I really couldn't understand how the hell Abby could stand him. He was seriously creepy, violent, a jealous freak, possessive and was a stalker. :O He was pretty much obsessed with Abby and if I were her I would have been scared. Their love story was not romantic. It was downright disturbing. Abby ,too, according to me, was foolish. If I were her I probably wouldn't have wanted to be in such a relationship. Some of the things she did were hard to understand like for instance when she dates Parker but still sleeps on the same bed as Travis (What on earth? - even if they weren't really sleeping together) I didn't even like any of the friends.
Basically, this book was an utter disappointment and waste of time for me. (less)
I don't curse much in reviews, but seriously, WTF was this? This was not the Adam I came to love in the first 2 books. I don't understand what the auth...moreI don't curse much in reviews, but seriously, WTF was this? This was not the Adam I came to love in the first 2 books. I don't understand what the author is trying to get at. I was supposed to get to know Adam better in this one, but Mafi managed to make me dislike him a little and that is upsetting. I've lost any hope I have for the 3rd book. This was a waste of my time and money. Adam fans, just don't bother reading this.(less)
Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt promises a road trip in its blurb. What it fails to mention, however, is that the characters in this book are childis...more Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt promises a road trip in its blurb. What it fails to mention, however, is that the characters in this book are childish, spoiled and act like that the small issues they suffer from will lead to the end of the world. To say that the main characters, Peyton and Jace are unlikeable would be an understatement. YA contemporary is a genre that rarely fails me. Unfortunately, Lauren Barnholdt's Right of Way happened to fall in the category of YA contemporaries that failed me. Now, don't get me wrong. This book did have tons of potential, but the characters ruin the entire essence of this potential. Jace and Peyton met a few years ago at a party in Florida while Peyton is off visiting her family and they hit it off. When Peyton returns to her hometown, they continue their relationship via phone calls and texting. But when all of a sudden Jace stops calling Peyton, she is heart broken. When I found out about why the two of them broke up, I literally could not stop laughing because it was that stupid. Plus, it was something that could have been cleared up had Jace had the balls to actually ask Peyton. I thought it was entirely too over-dramatic and definitely not a reason they should have stopped talking to each other. Peyton was the kind of girl who basically complained every little issue she faces in life. Plus, she had this annoying ability to run away from her problems instead of confronting them and trying to solve them. By the end of the book, she had not changed one bit and she was still running away from her issues. Another complaint I had with this book was that throughout the entire book, nothing big happened. It got to a point where it was just so boring and I skipped to see why the two of them had broken up. As far as the road trip aspect goes, it wasn't what I was expecting. The road trip only lasted like a day or so. Needless to say, this was disappointing. Characters that showed no growth whatsoever throughout the book, a sorry excuse of a road trip and a bland romance were what I got out of Right of Way. If you're looking for a good road trip book, then I recommend Saving June by Hannah Harrington and Golden by Jessi Kirby.(less)
Last year, I absolutely loved The Madman's Daughter. It was dark, atmospheric and suspenseful. It also ended in a brutal cliffhanger that had me ragin...more Last year, I absolutely loved The Madman's Daughter. It was dark, atmospheric and suspenseful. It also ended in a brutal cliffhanger that had me raging and at the same time dying to read this second book. I had high hopes going into Her Dark Curiosity, but it ended up being so disappointing and I felt like it suffered from second book syndrome.
Juliet was someone I admired in the first book, but in Her Dark Curiosity she plain out annoyed me with her poor decision making skills. It was frustrating seeing her fluctuate between Edward and Montgomery. To be honest, it's not her fault. It's entirely the fault of the stupid love triangle. Juliet did things in this book that had me raging. At one point, despite being completely unsure of herself, she gives up her virginity to Edward right after he kills someone and is still drenched in blood. When she wakes up, she pushes him away and acts like a heartless bitch and tells him, she regrets everything and that she still has feelings for Montgomery. The next night, she meets Montgomery and begins making out with him and realizes that she still has feelings for him. Soon after, Montgomery proposes to her and he misunderstands her answer for a yes and doesn't bother correcting him. Her actions made me furious and I wished she wouldn't keep thinking about the two love interests so often.
Juliet's character left a bad taste in my mouth, which made it hard to enjoy the book in it's entirety. In the beginning, it felt like the romance and the love triangle suffocated the story line, but things did start to get better towards the end. Because this one had a different setting than in the first book, I also felt like the world-building wasn't as fascinating as it was the first time. Her Dark Curiosity lacked that intense and atmospheric nature that The Madman's Daughter. I was also quite disappointed with one of the twists being entirely too predictable. Regardless of all the issues that I've mentioned, I'm convinced that Megan Shepherd is a talented author because I did enjoy parts of the book. My only wish was that she didn't focus so much attention on typical YA tropes. She has the possibility of being one amazing author.
For the reasons mentioned above, I felt like Her Dark Curiosity paled in comparison to The Madman's Daughter. I'm still going to read the final installment because this did end on a fairly positive note.(less)
**spoiler alert** What a disappointment! The love triangle was a mess and I honestly didn't think Albin would go that way. I never felt that Adelice ha...more**spoiler alert** What a disappointment! The love triangle was a mess and I honestly didn't think Albin would go that way. I never felt that Adelice had much feelings for Erik in the first book and then all of a sudden they are declaring their love for each other in this one? And Adelice didn't even wait for a few hours after breaking up with Jost to jump into Erik's arms. I liked her in the first book, but I ended up hating her in this one. Also, I didn't feel like much really happened in the book. There was some world-building but the plot was at a stand-still. I'm not even sure I want to read the last book anymore. HUGE disappointment!
I adored Crewel by Gennifer Albin for it's unique dystopian society and wonderful characters, which explains why I was beyond thrilled to start Altered. Unfortunately, my expectations for this book were way too high and while I thought Crewel was brilliant, Altered was a complete mess according to me.
The characters in Altered drove me mad, to the point where I hated them. These were the same characters that I grew to cherish in the first book, but their frustrating decision-making skills and other elements made me really dislike them in this installment. Adelice, the main character, was a strong, brave and pretty great character in the first book, but in this one, she was a completely different person. She would make illogical decisions that constantly put herself in the face of danger and that's not a characteristic I appreciate in a character. You can be a risk-taker, but think before you're making any kind of decision. In addition, her fluctuating feelings between Jost and Erick also bothered me, but I'll get more to that later. Erick was another character I grew to dislike in this book. No matter what, going after your brother's girlfriend is seriously low. Jost was probably the only one I enjoyed in this novel because he remained true to himself. I liked that despite not being at the Guild that he still deeply cares for his daughter. In addition, Altered introduced us to some new secondary characters none of whom I found to be particularly interesting except maybe for Dante, who had interesting shades to him.
Now onto what went completely wrong for me: the bloody love triangle. See, nothing in the first book led me to believe that Adelice actually had any feelings for Erick. I knew Erick had feelings for her, but Adelice? I should have known that this would turn into a dreaded love triangle when I read the first book. My biggest problem with it was how quickly Adelice turned her affection from Jost to Erick. It was unbelievable and made me want to call Adelice a few choice words. Plus, they admitted to loving each other rather quickly. I hate when authors do this. They make you fall for this love interest in the first book and just when you're comfortable with the first love interest, the main character turns to the other guy. It makes me lose respect for the characters. I disliked how Adelice didn't even give a thought to Jost and just ran into Erick's arms (and bed) after an argument she had with Jost, which by the way, could have been solved with communication. So, the romance ended up completely ruining my experience of the book.
Besides the disastrous love triangle, I also had trouble adjusting to the new world. The world-building in the first book was stunning, unique and all sorts of creative, but in this one because they are no longer at the Guild, the author had to refresh the world-building and this time, it didn't impress me as much as I wanted it to. Plus, some of the twists and revelations about the characters and the world-building didn't work for me and they came across as too ambitious to me. I also did not feel like much happened in the book and there were moments when my attention started to stray away from the book.
In the end I thought Altered suffered from middle-book syndrome and I honestly don't know if I have any interest reading the final installment of the trilogy when it comes out next year. I don't know if I can recommend this one to anyone because I personally disliked it very much. Definitely check out other reviews before deciding.
There has been a lot of buzz about The Collector. In addition to the premise sounding highly entertaining, I wanted to read the book because the autho...moreThere has been a lot of buzz about The Collector. In addition to the premise sounding highly entertaining, I wanted to read the book because the author is one of the sweetest authors out there with a lot of respect for bloggers. Just judging from her personality, I knew that The Collector would be an interesting and funny read. Turns out, I was right.
Dante Walker was one cocky guy. He was so full of himself and had a giant ego. I usually hate characters who are so arrogant, but not Dante. There was something very charming about him that made him entirely too lovable. Because behind all that ego and cockiness, there was a sweet caring guy who was dealing with a couple of issues from his past. His wittiness and his one-liners were definitely a favorite of mine, but I do admit that some of his comments made me a little uncomfortable. Being inside Dante's head was fascinating. His inner dialogue was brash, honest and at times very mean, but all that made his personality believable. I'm not really a huge fan of the male POV, especially when written by a female author, because there are always elements that make their tone seem somewhat girly. However, I thought Victoria Scott did a fabulous job at crafting Dante in such a way that he seemed boyish and realistic. Throughout the book, he grew tremendously as a character and that was made him such a complex and intriguing character that I couldn't help but love despite his arrogant nature. Charlie, the love interest, was one of those girls you can't help but like, because she was such a nice and caring girl. She oozed loved and I adored her generous, down-to-earth nature. In addition, she wasn't the super gorgeous girl who every guy falls for. In fact, even Dante didn't find her to be attractive, a first in YA! People constantly teased her about her looks, and Charlie would get upset, like everyone else in her place would, but she never allowed it to ruin her life. I loved that she tried to be happy all the time. The secondary characters were also masterfully written. They all played an important role in the book and none of them were left in the sidelines, underdeveloped.
As for the plot, I thought it was interesting. I don't think I've read any books about Collectors, so I thought it was unique and refreshing. However, the world building itself wasn't up to par. I felt like there was still more room to develop it further. The plot unfolded at a nice pace and I was pretty excited to find out what was going on although it did slow down around the second half of the book. To sum up, I thought the plot line was entertaining more than anything. My favorite aspect of The Collector was the character dynamics. The characters had such different personalities and I loved seeing their interactions. Although the romance in the book developed in the sidelines, without overwhelming the plot, I did have a slight problem with it : I thought Dante and Charlie confessed their love to each other too soon and I didn't really find it to be very realistic because of that. Victoria Scott's writing was simple, but highly addictive. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from her.
Victoria Scott has managed to weave a story that is magnetic, entertaining and will have you reading The Collector in one sitting! I'm convinced that this is going to be a hit among YA readers. (less)
Although Kiersten White's previous novel, Mind Games, did not work for me at all, I still decided to give...more Read more of my reviews at Nick's Book Blog.
Although Kiersten White's previous novel, Mind Games, did not work for me at all, I still decided to give The Chaos of Stars a try because it has a stunning title, a gorgeous cover and a background brimming with potential. While the book started off with a lot of promise, it failed to live up to the maximum potential because of flaws in the characterization and the world-building.
The Chaos of Stars' main character, Isadora was not my favorite main character. Her personality was unlikable and her bitter attitude towards everything in life made it difficult to identify with her. Isadora is the human daughter of two immortal Egypt Gods. Because her parents refuse to make her immortal, she believes that they do not love her. Throughout the entire book, this was the main theme. Isadora whined and whined and whined about how her parents didn't love her and how she was forgettable. It got to the point where I seriously wanted to slap the girl a few times. It was clear that her parents were actually supportive of her and her mother constantly made sure that she was safe and sound, but because Isadora refused to get see beyond her judgmental and selfish views, she never saw the love that her parents cherished her with. What's worse was her perspective of love. Just because she refused to believe in love, she immediately made her opinions on those who actually believed in it. For instance, when she met her brother Sirius in San Diego after 15 or so years later and found out that he was married and his wife was expecting, she was literally disgusted. There were multiple instances like that where I just wanted her to shut up. In addition, she was so rude to Ry, the love interest and quite possibly one of the sweetest guy ever. She acted like a bitch with him because the guy was romantically interested in her. Only some of the secondary characters were fleshed out while the rest were uninteresting, bland and one-dimensional. However, I enjoyed the characters of Ry, Tyler and Scott. They were certainly the highlight of The Chaos of Stars.
The plot was non-existent. The major aspect of it only developed in the last 20 pages of the book and quite honestly, I thought it was a joke because of how silly the whole thing was. When you read a book based on Egyptian mythology, you expect some form of world-building. But not in The Chaos of Stars. Kiersten White failed to establish a rich and complex world. What we get as world-building is tons and tons of info-dump, which to me does not constitute of world-building. There were also multiple unanswered questions, some which I thought were critical to the story-line. I also had a gripe when it came to some of the humor used in the book. I thought that it was juvenile, insensitive and at times ridiculous. At one point in the book, Isadora compared love to cancer. That, in my opinion, was cold-hearted, callous and unnecessary. There was also some other story about her dad's penis, which I honestly don't have the energy to go and look up, because just mentioning it makes me cringe. I'll admit that the writing in The Chaos of Stars was thousand times better than the writing in Mind Games, but it still wasn't that enjoyable. It's a shame because I actually thought I was going to enjoy the book because it started off well. Despite my grievances with The Chaos of Stars, I did think there were some enjoyable elements to the book, namely the friendship between Ry, Tyler, Scott and Isadora. Unfortunately, even the sweet and fun moments between these friends weren't enough to compensate for its other faults. I think this is where my relationship with Kiersten White's books ends. Her books always are full of original ideas, but she fails to execute them to my liking.
From my review it might seem like The Chaos of Stars was an utter disaster, but it actually was not. It did have some entertaining scenes, but it could have been such an epic book had the issues I mentioned above not been present. While this might not have been my kind of book, do check out other reviews before deciding if you want to try it out or not.(less)
Throne of Glass was one of my most anticipated reads of August 2012. I've been pining to read this book eve...more Read more of my reviews at Nick's Book Blog
Throne of Glass was one of my most anticipated reads of August 2012. I've been pining to read this book ever since two of my favorite bloggers, Sam and Jasprit, highly praised the book. While I was a little hesitant to go into Throne of Glass, I'm happy to say that the book lived up to my expectations.
Celaena, a renowned assassin, feared throughout Endovier, is enslaved and has to work in the salt mines for all the crimes she has committed. One year later, she is brought before the Crown Prince, Dorian, who proposes a deal : If she wins a competition to become the King's assassin, she's guaranteed her freedom. She starts training with captain of the guard, Chaol. Soon after, the other contestants start dying rapidly one after the other and it's upto to Celaena to find out who's behind these crimes.
Celaena was a spunky character that I found truly refreshing. She has two very different sides to her and it was easy to just love the girl. First and foremost, she was an assassin. Secondly, she was just a girl who liked what other girls liked. I loved that about her. I was glad that she wasn't just a ruthless killer, but that she also had a fun side to her. Celaena was snarky, sarcastic and a tease. Honestly, I really adored her. I truly wished Sarah J Mass would have written the book in the first person in her point of view. It would have been an even better experience for me. I will admit though that not everyone is going to enjoy her character. She had a huge ego. She knew that she was the best assassin, and she constantly boasted about it, but I, personally, didn't mind. I just found her more realistic because I know people like her. The secondary characters were also really well-crafted. Dorian and Chaol, two potential love interests, were absolutely fascinating. Dorian was a huge player who never missed the opportunity to flirt or tease Celaena, making him utterly charming in my eyes. Chaol, on the other hand, was a lot more quiet, but he possessed a silent strength to him. Both boys could be protective and very caring. I think most of you know that I despise love triangles. In this book, I was confused about which guy I preferred because they both had redeeming qualities. I must say though, I have a slight thing for Chaol because he reminded me a lot of Dimitri from Vampire Academy and I adore Dimitri!
Plot-wise, the book was fantastic. I loved the idea of the competition and it's what really kept the book kicking. The element of mystery was an ongoing element throughout the book that made Throne of Glass even more exciting. There's nothing more I love than a good mystery and Throne of Glass provided that. My only complaint with the book is that the assassin aspect wasn't really explored until the very end. I actually wanted to see Celeana in her assassin role from the beginning, so I was a little disappointed with that. The final battle was enthralling and just epic. If you, like me, don't enjoy reading books with love triangles, then rest assured that in the romance in this book never overshadowed the plot line. Sarah J Mass knew how to keep the focus on the plot line and keep the romance blooming on the sidelines. There were a few elements in the book that I really didn't foresee, making my reading experience even more entertaining. The world building was riveting with the amazing fantasy setting. I couldn't help but be immersed in in Celeana's world. Sarah J Mass' story-telling skills just reeled me in from the very first page and didn't let me swim away until the very last page. I honestly can't wait to read more from this author.
Throne of Glass is a imaginative addition to the ever growing YA fantasy genre. The book had everything I could possibly ask for in fantasy novel ; a kick-ass heroine, a heart-racing romance and a intense plot line! For me, Throne of Glass was a definite winner.(less)
It's not a secret that I'm not the biggest fan of fairy tale retellings for the simple reason that I haven...moreRead more of my reviews at Nick's Book Blog.
It's not a secret that I'm not the biggest fan of fairy tale retellings for the simple reason that I haven't come across one that has been well-written enough for my tastes. When the reviews for Of Beast and Beauty started to pour in, I knew that I had to cast aside my fear for fairy tale retellings and give this book a try. I'm so glad I did because Of Beast and Beauty was a stunning book that deserves all the hype.
The beauty in Of Beast and Beauty lies in the gorgeous characters that I grew fond of throughout the book. Isra, the protagonist in the book, was blind, a first in YA fantasy as far as I know. This made her an intriguing character. Stacey Jay employed the first person POV in Of Beast and Beauty, as a result of which the reader becomes acquainted with every thought and emotion of Isra. Isra was a strong protagonist who grew even stronger throughout the book. She was one of those main characters who was so unselfish and benevolent that made her endearing. It was in her nature to want to help everyone she could. Unfortunately, not everyone viewed her giving nature as a positive trait, which leads to her being in the face of danger for most of the book. Despite everything, Isra wasn't a perfect character and I loved that about her. It not only made her seem genuine, but it also made her relatable to me. Her flaws mainly came through her insecurities and her refusal to see how beautiful she was, both on the exterior and the interior. Isra was a delightfully complex character and I loved being in her head.
The other main character who the reader has the opportunity to meet in Of Beast and Beauty was Gem. Gem was the epitome of what I look for in a YA love interest : mysterious, tough on the outside, but with a soft heart that made you want to fall for him from the first instance the reader meets him. Gem's most appealing trait was his caring and loving nature. The love that he had for the others in his tribe came across as very strongly throughout the book and I loved how he was willing to do anything to protect them. We also get an additional POV from Bo, the son of the King's chief advisor, and the boy who was eventually betrothed to Isra. He wasn't the most likeable character because I never fully grasped whether he was a good character or not until the very end. Isra's maid, a mute girl, was a great secondary character who definitely had the spotlight on her on several instances. All in all, I thought the characters were perfectly well-molded and will remain with me for a long time.
The world building in Of Beast and Beauty was stunning. Not only do we get a solid understanding of the past, but we also get to see a vivid portrayal of this world that Stacey Jay has crafted. I loved the idea of the Smooth Skins and the Monstrous. It wasn't unique, but the author added a twist to it to make it her own. Because Isra was blind, her other senses were amplified, so through her, we get to experience this world through the smells and feels, especially the feels, of everything she encountered. It was stimulating and made the book all the more alluring. The plot too moved at a nice, slow pace, allowing the reader to easily follow what was going on. Stacey Jay's writing was engaging. This is my first book of hers, but she's gained a fan in me for her attention to detail and her ability to create realistic characters.
Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale because of the message it sends out. Stacey Jay attempted to spread the same lesson with Of Beast and Beauty as well and she did it masterfully. Discrimination was a pivotal theme in this book and I loved how it was sensibly tackled. The romance in Of Beast and Beauty was perfect. It had that air of slow-burn romance to it because Gem and Isra started out as enemies who gradually became friends who cared for each other. Those two were absolutely perfect for each other and I loved how their relationship developed. In addition, the forbidden romance aspect added to the allure of their relationship.
If it hadn't been for the positive reviews, I would have given this book a miss, so thank you to all the lovely people who raved about this book. Of Beast and Beauty was a wonderful book that had be completely captivated in its beautiful writing. YA Fantasy fans, you don't want to miss out on this gem of a book!(less)
Beautiful, raw and honest, Jamie Blair's Leap of Faith was a stunning debut that had...more Read more of my reviews at Nick's Book Blog.
Actual Rating : 3.5/5
Beautiful, raw and honest, Jamie Blair's Leap of Faith was a stunning debut that had me latched onto its pages wanting for the main character to have the happily ever after she deserved. If only the reader had some kind of closure at the end of the book, this would have been a solid 5 stars read for me.
Faith's mother was a drug addict who cared about nothing and no one except for her drugs. She was such a piece of work and my dislike for her only grew by folds as the book progressed. Because she was short on money, she decided to get pregnant and sell the baby to another drug addict couple. When Faith realizes that her baby sister would probably have to grow up in the same circumstances that she did, she kidnaps her from the hospital. Faith was a beautifully fleshed out characters. She was both likeable and unlikeable, which made her a complex and intriguing character. Despite the fact that kidnapping is wrong, I admired Faith's willingness to put herself in the face of danger for the sake of her baby sister who she named, Addy. I did have some issues with Faith from time to time, mostly the fact that she lied a lot to the people she met when she ran away, but I understood her circumstances and got where she was coming from.
The secondary characters in this book were also fabulous. Chris, the boy Faith meets and slowly grew a relationship with, was possibly my favorite. I loved how willing he was to take care of Faith and Addy. He was the good guy who made my heart swell with love for him. Chris' grandmother was another delightful addition to Leap of Faith. She was such a sweetheart and the complete opposite of Faith's drug addict mother. The way she cared for Addy and Faith and the way she showered love on them was a highlight for me in this book.
Now, I've never had a baby before or had to look after one all by myself, but I thought Jaime Blair painted a realistic picture of what taking care of a newborn is like. It was not easy and the toughness and obstacles that a young mother faced were written in an authentic manner, in my opinion. The getting up at random hours, the frequent need to feed and the constant baby poop that has to be cleaned were all shown. In no way did Jamie Blair make the reader feel that having a baby was all fun and rosy. There were definitely some sweet moments such as Addy's first roll and her first laugh that made Faith and the reader feel like all those obstacles that Faith overcame were worth it. The different relationships that Faith developed with the people she met and Addy were also written in such a way that they touched my heart. Faith's growing love for Addy was a highlight for me. I loved watching her interact with the baby and I loved how she was willing to do anything for her sister.
The romance that developed between Faith and Chris was also another favorite of mine. From the beginning, the reader was aware that their relationship wouldn't be an easy one because Faith was pretending to be Leah, a teenage mom running away from an abusive guy, but there was something endearing about it. I was frustrated with Faith for the secrets that she kept from him, but considering her situation and her past, it was realistic. My only problem with Leap of Faith was the open ending. I dislike open ending with a passion. I need closure when it came to books and Leap of Faith ended rather abruptly and I kept turning the pages to see if something was up with my reader and it was blocking. This is actually one case where I would love to see a sequel being written.
Leap of Faith was an outstanding debut and Jaime Blair seems like she's a promising author. This book was emotional and beautifully written. It's a must-read for fans of gritty YA contemporary books.(less)
Miranda Kenneally has fast become one of my favorite YA contemporary authors and with Racing Savannah she proved once again what a talented author she...more Miranda Kenneally has fast become one of my favorite YA contemporary authors and with Racing Savannah she proved once again what a talented author she is.
The characters in Racing Savannah were so different from those from her other books and it put me off a bit, but over time they began to grow on me. Savannah was a likeable character and I especially loved how hard she was willing to work in order to make a life for herself. She also had such a giving personality and I loved how kind-hearted she was, especially when it came to her pregnant step-mother. Savannah would actually take the work shift of her step-mother when the latter had difficulties and that is something I really admired in her. Savannah's love for horse-racing and her willingness to show others that as a woman she could do anything that men did as well were also endearing qualities. When it came to horse racing, Savannah did not always succeed, but she didn't also give up easily. Overall, she was simply a fantastic character. The character that I had the hardest time with was Jack. I was never sure of his intentions and in all honesty, some of the things he did were questionable and I certainly did not approve of them. Over the course of the book, we do watch him grow into a much more mature person, but I still don't think I loved him as much as I loved the other Kenneally boys.
The romance in Racing Savannah wasn't perfect and for almost half of the book, I wasn't convinced with it. I attribute that to my dislike for Jack's character for most of the book. It did have its sweet and swoon-worthy moments, but I can't say it made me want to be in Savannah's place. What I did love in Racing Savannah was the friendship. Miranda Kenneally is wonderful when it comes to depicting growing friendships and in this book, she did not disappoint at all. I especially had a soft spot for Rory. His relationship with Savannah made me smile so many times during the book. What I love the most about Miranda's books is that there are always messages about growing up and learning from your mistakes. Her books aren't just about the romance, but there's a strong moral that the reader can take after closing the book.
While Racing Savannah wasn't my favorite Miranda Kenneally book, it was still highly entertaining and a book that is worth the read. I don't hesitate recommending this author when it comes to YA contemporaries at all.(less)
Crown of Midnight, the sequel to Throne of Glass, is quite possibly one of the best books I've read this y...more Read more of my reviews at Nick's Book Blog.
Crown of Midnight, the sequel to Throne of Glass, is quite possibly one of the best books I've read this year. I did not think that Sarah J Mass could make this sequel even better than the first installment, which completely blew me away by the way, but obviously she proved me wrong by crafting this intense, action-packed book that I refused to put down.
Crown of Midnight starts off where Throne of Glass ended, with Celaena Sardothien now the King's Champion. Celaena is one of my favorite YA characters, because she's different from other YA heroines. She was quite the enigma. On one side she was this fierce, ruthless and headstrong assassin and on the other side she was this beautiful young woman with a love for fashion and literature. Those two different sides of her was what made her a complex character that possessed depth. However, I do think that some readers might not appreciate her because she comes across as arrogant and over-confident at times. I personally loved that about her because it made her seem like she wasn't a perfect character and that she did have her own set of blemishes, making her genuine. Celaena went through some tough obstacles in this book and by the end of the book she was stronger than ever, the events of Crown of Midnight roughening her up and helping her grow. This book might be written in the third person, but Celaena's range of feelings and emotions throughout the book were not only conspicuous but also palpable. Everything that Celaena felt, I felt. The secondary characters were also brilliantly well-developed. Chaol and Dorian, the two guys vying for Celaena's heart, were just perfect characters with flaws that made them realistic. Chaol has always been my favorite out of the two, but that doesn't imply that I disliked Dorian. In fact, I'd say that I grew to love him even more in this book. There were some major revelations with regards to his character and I have to say, I'm quite excited to find out more about him! As for Chaol, I don't even know what to say about him except that I fell even harder for this big-hearted guy. Celaena, Chaol and Dorian were characters that completely stole my hearts. It was difficult not to be emotionally involved with them because they were so beautifully written. And of course, every time Sarah J Mass would make them suffer, my heart would be weeping.
The plot in Crown of Midnight took a different turn from Throne of Glass, and I personally thought it was a whole lot better. Sarah J Mass is an extraordinary story-teller and this book, right here, is proof to that. This book left me breathless. My fingers refused to stop turning the pages of my e-reader because I was so invested in the plot line. From the very start, Crown of Midnight was engaging and as the plot progressed, it only got more thrilling. There was never one dull moment in this book because the author creates all these twists and turns that I never saw coming and had me gasping. Will you guys believe me if I told you that she had some kind of plot twist in every single chapter of the book? Yes, she did! You can clearly see why this book was so entertaining for me and why I loved it so much! The romance too was perfect. Book one had the prospect of a love triangle and for those of you who were displeased with it, you'll be happy to know that it all gets resolved in this book with Celaena making her decision early on. The romantic relationship was another highlight of the book and I loved how it strengthened the involved characters. I was worried that when Celaena made her choice, she would disregard the other guy, but she grew a touching friendship with him, which might as well have been even better than the romance. The world-building was also polished in this installment of the series and the politics and the workings of it became a lot clear. Sarah J Mass's writing was as stunning as in book one. If you know me, then you know how I'm not the biggest fan of 3rd person writing, but this author was so good at her prose that I didn't even realize the book was written in 3rd person until I was half-way through. She's definitely one author whose works I'll be purchasing without even reading the blurb.
Non-stop action, beautifully fleshed out characters, intense plot-line and heart-warming relationships all made Crown of Midnight 2013's best sequel for me. The ending, while not a cliffhanger, will have you itching for more. Fans of the first book or YA fantasy, this is not a book to miss out! (less)
This book wasn't really on my radar since I thought it would be some kind of fluffy romance, but when Cait...more Read more of my reviews at Nick's Book Blog
This book wasn't really on my radar since I thought it would be some kind of fluffy romance, but when Cait from Basia's Bookshelf highly praised it, I knew this would be my kind of book. Something Like Normal isn't your typical YA contemporary book. Behind the "more of a love story" cover, lies a beautiful and poignant tale of a young man learning to deal with reality and learning to get over a painful experience.
Travis Stephenson comes back home for a month holiday after enlisting to the Marine in Afghanistan 7 months ago. He returns a completely different man and realizes that life back in the US is in shambles. His parents' relationship is rocky, his brother is dating his ex-girlfriend and his dead best friend keeps popping up everywhere. It's like everything has changed. The only thing in his life that has remained unaltered is Harper, a girl he hasn't gotten along with in a long time. Soon, he and Harper start spending time together, and he starts to come to terms with his reality.
Travis was a character who was so easy to fall for because of his heart-warming personality. He didn't have a normal childhood since his domineering and callous father kept pressuring him to do things he didn't want to and insulted him whenever Travis refused to heed him. In fact, the main reason he joined the Marine was to escape his egotistic father. I thought it was incredibly courageous of him to indulge in such a risky job. Before he left, Travis was pretty much a typical guy. He participated in sports, drank, partied and slept with girls. His experience in Afghanistan was a reality check for him and it brought him back to his senses. He underwent an extreme emotional maturity. At the same time, his time in Afghanistan also tormented him. When he returned, he was plagued by nightmares and visions of his dead best friend because he felt guilty and was also suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Travis might have been strong but he also had an air of vulnerability to him that made him all the more likable. Also, he wasn't always flawless and he made mistakes like a normal human being. Trish Doller did a fabulous job at encompassing Travis' range of emotions and she did it in a way that touches your heart and makes you want to cry. Harper, his love interest, was another favorite of mine. I loved how nonjudgmental and big-hearted she was. I'll be the first to admit that what Travis did to her was selfish and really mean, but the fact that Harper forgave him and provided him with a chance highlights her kindness. Basically, Harper acted as an anchor to Travis. This figurative quote from the book perfectly describes her role : " She stands there and keeps me from drowning ". I liked that she was there for him no matter what. She stood by his side and most of all I liked that she didn't pity him, but instead provided a shoulder for him to cry wordlessly. Both Travis and Harper ended up topping my list of favorite characters because they were portrayed in a realistic manner.
As I mentioned above, the book wasn't exactly a romance book. It had a lot of elements in it. It was a story about healing, making amends and learning to live life all over again. I'll be honest, I had no idea that soldiers went through such a tough and miserable time, so in a way, this book was very knowledgeable to me because it gave me so much insight on the lives of soldiers in war zones. I loved the secondary characters in this book. The book makes you wonder what it would have been like if you were in Travis' place. The secondary characters were also absolutely fantastic and weren't left in the side lines. Wonderfully fleshed-out, they made reading their interactions with the main characters delightful. Travis' mom ,especially, stood out throughout the story because she too grew. Her devotion to her son was really sweet. The romance in the book wasn't overly sappy and it didn't take over the plot. It was subtle ,but satisfying. I thought Harper and Travis had a strong and healthy relationship that eventually grew to become one based on trust and support. Concerning the writing style, few authors can perfect the male POV and in my opinion, Trish Doller nailed it. Her writing was simple, yet beautiful. I liked how she gave her readers glimpses of what it was like on the war zone with several flashback scenes strewn across the story. These scenes helped me understand in depth the mindset of Travis. Something Like Normal is a book that will suck you in, will have you reading non-stop and will leave you in an emotional mess.
Trish Doller wrote a simple, but meaningful and deep story that will strike you with an intense rush of feelings. It's a book that's really worth reading because it's got brilliant characters, a beautiful plot, a spine-tingling romance and important values to be learned. For me, Something Like Normal was a winner!(less)
My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century was quite possibly one of my favorite reads last year. With the way the b...more Read more of my reviews at Nick's Book Blog.
My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century was quite possibly one of my favorite reads last year. With the way the book ended, I was dying to get back with the adorable characters from the first book. Whenever I step into a sequel, there's always that nagging question somewhere in my mind as to whether the sequel would live up to the brilliance of the previous installment. With this book it seems, I might have been delusional to even have such doubts because Rachel Harris rocked it with A Tale of Two Centuries.
While My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century was Cat's story, A Tale of Two Centuries tells Alessandra's, her dear cousin from Renaissance Italy, story. Less was such a nice and naive girl in the previous book and it was a delight to watch her grow in this one. Behind all that prim and proper exterior lay a girl who craved a wild adventure. Luckily for our dear Less, she meets Reyna, the mysterious gypsy who has the ability to help people magically time travel. Less was such an endearing character. She had this sweetness to her that made her completely loveable. I found myself rooting for the girl from start to finish because she was just too adorable. When she first stepped into the 21st Century, she took some time to adjust to the new culture, technology and lingo. Her trying to learn modern English lingo brought about some hilarious moments in the book. A Tale of Two Centuries was the story of Less growing up. Like I said above, she was shy and naive at the beginning of the novel and Less wanted to mature. Gradually, the reader witnesses her blossoming into a young woman who wasn't afraid to stand up for herself, follow her dreams and voice out her feelings.
Of course, Less didn't grow up all by herself. She had the support of Cat and Austin! Ah Cat! It was so good to be back with this girl. No matter what the situation was, she supported Less and was always there by her side. Their friendship was one of the highlights of the book for me. Plus, we also got to see some revelations concerning Cat in this book which will undoubtedly be developed in the next installment. Austin, the love interest, was such a charming and devilish hero. He sure made me swoon. At one point, I wanted Less to go back to 16th Century Florence, just so I could have him for myself, but then it dawned on me that I wasn't a fictional character and you can imagine my disappointment. Seriously though, the romance between Less and Austin was laden with chemistry and pretty much gave me butterflies in the stomach (Go read that first kiss! I might have combusted because of the swoon-factor!). But sweet kisses and swoon-worthy dialogues weren't the only aspect of their relationship. I loved how the two of them helped each other recognize the people they were hiding behind their surfaces. Austin helped to materialize the passion in Less while Less helped him realize that his life wasn't as bad as he thought it was. So yeah, in a nutshell, I thought their romance was all sorts of adorable and managed to draw a huge grin on my face.
I've mentioned this is my review of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, but I'll mention it again in this review as well because it's worth talking about. Rachel Harris has a beautiful writing style. She has the talent to describe scenes in such a way that it's easy to visualize it and feel like you yourself are in that scene. That strength of hers was very much prevalent in A Tale of Two Centuries. Her description of Less' first experiences on the jet-ski, on the roller-coaster and on the theater stage were so vivid that I felt like they were my own experiences. Plus, her writing was fluid, flowed beautifully and held my attention throughout the whole book. There was never a boring moment in this book and it was all very exciting and entertaining. In addition, the book had a lot of humor in the form of Less adjusting to the modern world and Cat's sarcasm. Everything about this book just screamed fun and trust me when I say that you're going to love reading this book. I'm more than excited for the next installment in the series. It's bound to be yet another thrilling read.
Characters that are beautifully crafted, a romance that will have you swooning, a picturesque writing style and a plot that is entertaining from start to finish, A Tale of Two Centuries has it all! If you're glum and having a bad day, read this book and it will immediately cheer you up!(less)
MY FEELS!! They were all over the place after I finished reading Better Off Friends. This is the kind of book that made me want to go onto my rooftop...more MY FEELS!! They were all over the place after I finished reading Better Off Friends. This is the kind of book that made me want to go onto my rooftop and scream out my love for it at the top of my lungs. I haven't felt this happy after reading book ever since Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Beware, this review will not be very eloquent. Expect tons of gushing!
I've always loved books with best-friends romances and Better Off Friends was so perfect in that department. In fact, it might actually be my all-time favorite book with a best-friends romance in it. We are introduced to Macallan and Levi when they first meet in 7th grade. They instantly click together and what follows is a beautiful friendship between a boy and a girl. The book is told in both Macallan and Levi's POVs, so you are privy to both their thoughts. It was such a wonderful experience being inside their heads and these two were so genuine, so likeable. What I truly loved about them was how realistic they were with all their flaws and their strengths. Elizabeth Eulberg developed them intensely, making Macallan and Levi seem like real teenagers instead of fictional characters. I also liked how distinguishable their voices were. They might have had similar personalities, but Elizabeth Eulberg developed them in such a way that they stood as individuals. Another thing I adored about the characters in Better Off Friends was the involvement of the family. Levi's mom and Macallan's father and her sweet uncle Adam who had speech difficulty formed a huge part of Better Off Friends. I think by now everyone knows how much I love it when books have such positive themes in books, so I was beyond pleased that these teenagers shared a deep bond with their families.
The best part about the romance in Better Off Friends is its slow development. Because Macallan and Levi start off as friends, we get to watch their friendship blossom and eventually bloom into this wonderful romance that made me feel like I was on clouds, as cliched as that might sound. The build-up of their romance was what made this book such a great experience. You watch Macallan and Levi overcome obstacles in their relationships and their friendships, you watch them grow into more mature individuals and you watch them realize that they are in love with each other. This was all so adorable. I honestly don't have the words to express my love for these two characters and their story. Macallan and Levi's relationship was in no way perfect. There were plenty of hurdles and difficulties that they faced, but at the end of the day, these two would support each other no matter what the situation was. Their friendship was just so damn beautiful. It made me wish I had something so deep when I was growing up. By the end of the book, I was not ready to say goodbye to these characters. I've already decided to buy a copy of the book when it releases so it can grace my favorites shelf.
Touching, beautiful and heart-warming, Better Off Friends is a book that everyone who loves a good friends to more relationship should read. This is one of those books that people are going to want to read over and over again just so it can bring a smile on their faces. I know I will be, because Better Off Friends is going to make my top reads of 2014. (less)
Finding new and unique YA paranormal books can be really hard these days since most books seem to have the...more Read more of my reviews at Nick's Book Blog
Finding new and unique YA paranormal books can be really hard these days since most books seem to have the same elements in them. When I read the summary of Crux, I thought it sounded quite original and I was pretty excited to dip into its awesomeness. While the book had the possibility to be something exceptional, I felt a little let down by it.
Crux tells the story of a homeless girl, Rebecca, who calls herself Birdie. When a mystery man begins to throw heaps of money, she, along with other homeless people, doesn’t even hesitate to grab the maximum they can. What Birdie doesn’t expect is a group of thugs following her around. While trying to hide from these very thugs, she meets Grey Mathews. Soon after, she realizes that she’s not ordinary girl at all and along with Grey she will have to fight for good.
I think my biggest problem with Crux was the poor characterization. Sure, the main character, Birdie (By the way, that name really annoyed me. I kept picturing a bird over and over again.), was depicted as someone strong, courageous and kick-ass. At times, she could even be quite fun to read about with her sarcasm and humor. However, I never formed any sort of emotional connection with her. To me, she was only a name on paper. For me to really enjoy a book, I need to feel alongside the characters. Birdie’s emotions were never so palpable that they touched me. I had pretty much the same feelings for her love interest, Grey. Unlike Birdie, I didn’t think he was hot or swoon-worthy. In fact, I thought he was quite monotonous. To be honest, all the characters had a similar effect on me. They lacked substance and depth to make them very interesting.
I thought the plot had the potential to be very entertaining. However, Crux failed to impress me and make me fall in love with its storyline. The book started splendidly with an explosive scene that immediately grabbed my attention and pulled me in. That beginning scene was the only one scene where I can say I loved where the story was headed. After that, it went pretty much down-hill. I felt that some of the scenes were completely unnecessary and a waste of space. Moreover, the plot just stood at a standstill and not much happened throughout the book. I expected tons of action judging from the cover, but I wasn’t satisfied at all. Even the background story surrounding Birdie’s lineage wasn’t well crafted, according to me. Also, the romance didn’t appeal to me because of I didn’t feel much chemistry between the two characters.
As you can tell, I wasn’t very invested in this book. Most of the time I was bored, but I continued reading it because this was the second book Barbara and I chose that we didn’t love for our new feature. We couldn’t switch books over and over again, so we decided to keep reading it. I’ve seen a lot of positive reviews for this book and the GR rating is quite high (above 4.0), so maybe, you readers might actually enjoy it although I didn’t. Crux was probably not a book written for me.(less)
I had a few issues with this book that prevented me from enjoying this book as much as I expected to.
1. Telling instead of showing I wasn't a fan of th...more I had a few issues with this book that prevented me from enjoying this book as much as I expected to.
1. Telling instead of showing I wasn't a fan of the writing style. There was just so much telling instead of showing. It was like listening to someone talk about this experience they had, without me really experiencing what the characters were experiencing. (Does that make sense?) Because of that, I never fully connected with the story or the characters.
2. The annoying "my girl" and "my boy" Bleh! I'm OK with a little possessiveness when it comes to couples, but in this book I found it annoying. Chase and Kay would address each other as "my girl" and "my boy" on every damn page and it got so frustrating. It was all "My girl did this" and "My boy did that" in nearly every page and seriously, I couldn't stand it. At one point I kept picturing those pelicans in Finding Nemo :
3. Frustrating pet names Now, I admit this is more of a personal preference, but overusing terms of endearments frustrate me. Chase was constantly calling Kay as "my baby girl" or "my sweet girl" and it just didn't click with me because I wouldn't expect someone who has just spent 4 years in prison to be so cheesy.
4. The dual POV I personally adore dual POV when it comes to NA books, but I must be able to differentiate between the two voices. There were times when I couldn't figure out if I was reading Chase's POV or Kay's POV because of how similar they both sounded.
There were some positive points to this book such as the friendship that budded between Chase and Kay, but in the end, this wasn't an exceptional read nor did it offer anything new and refreshing in the NA genre. I'm getting tired of the overused plot-lines of the two characters with troubled pasts falling in love and think it's high time we get something new in the genre!
In the end, this was a sorely disappointing read.(less)
Jennifer Echols is like the Queen Of YA contemporary romances because she is that awesome. If you have neve...more Read more of my reviews at Nick's Book Blog
Jennifer Echols is like the Queen Of YA contemporary romances because she is that awesome. If you have never read anything by this brilliant author then I suggest you stop reading this and go fix that ... Lately though, I haven't been satisfied with her works. Love Story was a huge disaster for me, so when I went into Such A Rush with much trepidation. After reading it ,however, I can confidently say out loud : Jennifer Echols is back !
Such A Rush introduces us to Leah, an 18 year old aspiring pilot. She has always lived in trailer parks near airports all throughout her life. When Mr Hall, a flight instructor, hires are, she is beyond thrilled. Soon, she even starts receiving flight courses free of charge from him. But when Mr Hall, suddenly dies, Leah is convinced that her dreams have all gone down the drain. What Leah doesn't expect is Grayson, her long-time crush and Mr Hall's son, asking her to work for him. But working for him comes with a price : Leah must seduce Grayson's twin, Alec, or he will ruin her future plans.
Leah was a typical Jennifer Echols main character, tough, but somewhat broken on the inside. She had had a pretty rough childhood what with her irresponsible mother neglecting her and depending on her daughter to pay the rent. People at school don't really like her and consider her to be "thrash". So, all in all, life wasn't about smooth-sailing for her. It was really easy to connect with Leah because she was likable and genuine. There was nothing fake about her and it made her character seem appealing. I, personally, thought she was a vibrant and colorful character who shielded herself behind a reserved cloak. The few occasions that her colors would burst out was when she was flying. Passionate about flying, Leah came to life whenever she was on a plane. Those were my favorite moments with her. She was such a realistic character that her emotions became mine. Throughout the story, she gradually began to unwind the shield she had tightly coiled around herself. She learned to stand up for herself and to show her true feelings to the people around her. Overall, I thought Leah was a beautifully crafted character who was easy to identify with. Now, Grayson wasn't as easy to like as Leah. He was a complex character and unveiling him was quite a chore. Since childhood, he had always been somewhat reckless. Much like a dare devil, Grayson craved for adrenaline-rushing experiences. Upon his father's death, he acted in a very frustrating manner. He was downright rude, bossy and manipulative with Leah, constantly blackmailing her without even considering what she might be undergoing. My opinion of him didn't really change until he surprised me by showing peeks of himself being sweet and caring. Around then, he started to grow on me. The reasons behind his manipulative behavior shed light to the emotional battle that he was suffering from inside. I started to really feel bad for him, but that didn't mean I approved of his behavior towards Leah because he basically used her. Alec and Molly were the only characters I'm afraid I didn't really enjoy, not because they weren't well-fleshed out, but because their entire demeanor from start to finish bothered me. Jennifer Echols truly knows how to give life to her characters.
I was a little worried that the love triangle in the book would inhibit my enjoyment of the story, but once again, Jennifer Echols proved me wrong. The romance in the book was perfectly executed. It was at the same time sweet and sexy. There was no instant-love, but the characters get to know each other via long conversations dealing with delicate topics about each others lives. It was raw and simply beautiful. One other relationship that I really enjoyed was that of Mr Hall and Leah. Mr Hall was a father figure in Leah's life and I adored how she opened up to him and let him see the real her. That she really loved him as a real father was very much translucent to the reader. Although Mr Hall died early on in the story, his presence lingered throughout the book. He ,indirectly, helped the characters to grow as the story unfolded. The highlight of the book, for me, was most definitely the flying aspects. I simply loved learning to know so much more about planes and the author really did a good job at explaining the different aspects of flying without overwhelming me with too much information. Jennifer Echol's writing flows smoothly and keeps you glued to the pages like always. She is a real talent in the YA genre.
Such A Rush was a thrilling read with it's gorgeous cover, raw and stunning characters, emotional tornado of a plot and the sizzling romance. Fans of YA contemporary books will devour Such A Rush ! (less)
Tackling a subject such as bullying is like walking on hot coal. Such books need to be able to evoke strong...more Read more of my reviews at Nick's Book Blog
Tackling a subject such as bullying is like walking on hot coal. Such books need to be able to evoke strong emotions in the reader and at the same time spread an important message. I finished reading this book yesterday and my feelings for this book are still very conflicted.
Noelle is a poor girl going to a school with rich kids. She is bullied on a daily basis by students at school and no one really knows the extent to which the bullying goes to. Things are not much better at home,as well. Her single mom cares about nothing but herself and as a result, there's basically never anything to eat. Soon a dramatic event at school forces Noelle to gain confidence and stand up for herself.
Noelle was one of the most confusing main characters I've ever come across. Part of me felt total sympathy for her, while the other part wanted to admonish her on several occasions. Although she was a smart and independent girl, she often baffled me with a couple of her poor decisions. She complained about how she had no food at home endlessly. However, at school she qualified for free lunch, but she refused to subject herself to such an "embarrassing" scenario. Honestly, I didn't see the logic behind that train of thought of hers. Would you rather eat or starve ? If I were in her situation, then I would have chosen the former. People who are starving don't care about humiliation. They care only about filling their stomachs. One other thing that struck me with her was the fact that she used $15 to buy a top instead of using that very money to purchase something to feed herself. She could also be very shallow at times, especially when it came to Ali, a fellow bully-victim. The girl was friendless and once attempted to talk to Noelle, but Noelle, knowing that Ali was yearning for friendship, dismissed her. In a way, that was hypocritical on her part. Despite all of the above, part of me also felt pity for her. She wasn't in a very pretty situation and some of the things that the bullies did to her was downright cold and heartless. Her voice was definitely raw and poignant. Her doubts, insecurities and pain were crystal clear and left my gut wrenching. I liked the fact that she shed her lack of self-esteem and gained some self-confidence, although it did take something major for that to happen, towards the end of the book. One character that truly won over me was Sherae. She was a fabulous and very devoted friend. Always there for Noelle, Sherae was the kind of person who was present to take Noelle in her arms whenever she would crumble down no matter what she was dealing with herself. Unlike the other kids at school, she didn't make assumptions about her friend and simply supported her by trying to make her happy.
What I loved most about Keep Holding On was the potent message it sent out. It's something important and I think that bully-victims can benefit from. In my opinion, it could maybe help them gain courage. Personally, I thought the bullying itself was well-illustrated with Noelle's feelings being intense and honest. The driving force that led to Noelle standing up for herself was heartbreaking, but the aftermath felt too rushed and seemed unreal. Part of me felt like all of Noelle's problems resolved way too fast while what I really wanted was for her to undergo a slow healing process with the aid of the people who loved her. Susane Colasanti manages to summon all sorts of emotions ranging from sorrow to blood-boiling anger in a way that makes the reader appreciate the book even with its flaws.
Keep Holding On might not be a perfect book, but it does deserve to be hyped because of the valuable lesson it spreads to teenagers and parents alike. I definitely think that it's a book that's truly worth reading.
I'm shelving this as DNF despite not having read the book. After finding out how the book ends, I have no interest in reading this finale. I'm disappo...more I'm shelving this as DNF despite not having read the book. After finding out how the book ends, I have no interest in reading this finale. I'm disappointed about it and I don't care how realistic it might be but (view spoiler)[ killing off a main character is not how I want a series to end. (hide spoiler)]. I don't invest my time, money, devotion and love into a series only to have the author disappoint me. I'm pretty sure Roth was trying to be unconventional and appear "risky" with her ending, but to me she ruined an entire series. I probably will never read anything by Roth in the future in fear that she (view spoiler)[kills off someone I grew to love. (hide spoiler)]
You know that one book that everyone, but you, seems to love? Well, that book for me is Daughter Of Smoke and Bone. I went into this book with a lot of excitement. I kept hearing so many good things about it that I couldn’t help but be excited. However, I wasn’t exactly completely satisfied.
The book tells the story of Karou, a teenager living two lives: one of a normal art student, the other of an errand girl for mysterious creatures who have raised her since childhood. Karou knows nothing about her past and she doesn’t try to find out either. When she meets Akiva, her life completely changes. All she wants know is to find her who she really is.
I think the lowest points in the book for me were the two main characters. Karou was actually a character that I really enjoyed at first. She was smart, unique and very brave. I liked that she was someone independent and knew how to stand up for herself. Yet, for some reason, I never connected with her as much as I hoped I would. Akiva had the same effect on me. I never was totally enthralled by his character. Sure, I did enjoy the element of mystery he had wrapped around him. I also thought, although he was supposed to be a bad guy, he actually had an innocence to him that made him quite appealing. The author tried to make him appear as this dangerous guy, but I never felt much of that danger when reading through his POV. Also, he lacked the depth to make him really special. I will say though that I really loved Zuzana. She was a really fun character. I loved how much she valued her friendship with Karou. Even when she learned that Karou had been keeping secrets, she didn’t throw a tantrum, but instead understood her friend’s situation and became a pillar to her.
What really ruined Daughter Of Smoke and Bone was the instant-love. Instant-romance is not something that I enjoy easily. I felt like Karou and Akiva fell for each other a little too fast for my liking. As much as I wanted to ignore it, I just couldn’t. I like when the characters in a book get to really know each other, but this wasn’t the case with Karou and Akiva. The writing, however, was simply splendid. Laini Taylor has a brilliant and absolutely hypnotizing writing style. From the very first page, her beautiful prose pulled me in and I just couldn’t stop reading. Her world building was strong and compelling. The setting, the creatures, the history were all new to me and I loved the uniqueness and originality. Each scene was like a breath taking and beautiful painting, imaginative, vivid and absolutely creative. Laini Taylor took me into a world that I believe was unexplored in the YA world. She is, without any doubt, an extremely talented author. The plot too was, according to me, very engaging. The gripping plotline reeled me in and didn’t let me swim away even though the characters were just weren’t for me. I think what really kept me reading was the perpetual presence of the element of mystery throughout the book. I couldn’t wait to find out more about Karou and Akiva’s pasts. Overall, I can definitely say that the writing style and the plot line were the shining stars of this book.
Even though the characters were not exactly to my liking, I’m glad I picked up this book, because I did have a great time reading it. Plus, I’m pretty sure I’ll be picking up the next book because that ending killed me !(less)
When I went into No Reverse, it was because I wanted an emotional story, but not so emotional that it woul...more Read more of my reviews at Nick's Book Blog.
When I went into No Reverse, it was because I wanted an emotional story, but not so emotional that it would suffocate me and make me want to cry. The premise of No Reverse was one that hasn't been attempted before in the New Adult genre, so that was the main reason I wanted to read the book. I didn't imagine that I would love the book, but I truly did. No Reverse was one of those silently beautiful books that packed a ton of emotions.
Cassie had had to go through a lot in her life. From being abandoned by her parents to getting pregnant. But, she was also the sort of protagonist, who went through life with her head held up high despite all the obstacles that she has had to face. There was something about Cassie that I can't really pinpoint that made her endearing. As the book progressed, I began to feel an emotional connection to her because I got to know her better on a personal level. I really liked how Cassie was a gutsy girl, undeterred by all the pain and sorrow she had had to endure. It was clear to me, when reading her POV, that having to lose her baby was painful for her, but she did it so that her boyfriend, Josh could have the future he deserved. It might not have been the most sensible decision, but I admired her for sacrificing her own happiness for Josh's. Josh was also an interesting character. It was fascinating seeing the two different sides that he possessed, the old playful Josh and the new, more mature Josh. I really appreciated how Josh shouldered his responsibility and decided to care for Cassie and her baby when he found out about her pregnancy. The fact that he didn't flee his duties and role made him an instant favorite of mine. What Cassie did to him had ripped him apart and he was completely devastated. Although I didn't approve of him getting engaged to another girl in the UK while still being married to Cassie, I understood his reaction. There was also a great set of secondary characters in No Reverse. I thought I would dislike Eleanor, but I really enjoyed her and couldn't help but feel bad for her either. All the characters were well-crafted and the author gave them depth and personality.
The plot in No Reverse developed at a slow and steady pace, letting the reader fell the full impact of the emotions of the characters. While I wanted nothing more for Cassie and Josh to have their HEA, there were times when I was uncertain on the outcome of the book. Just when I thought that they would finally get together, the author would shove a twist in my face that would throw me off balance and make me fear the ending. Even though the plot in No Reverse was predictable, it didn't fail to make me want to cry my eyes out when the secret behind why Cassie went in search of Josh was revealed. No Reverse was a short read, but it was an emotional read. You know those books that make you get this lump in your throat throughout the book, that was what reading Josh and Cassie's story for me. I also loved the writing style. The reader is treated to dual POVs, that was utilized a little differently than usual. Josh's POV told their story before and during the pregnancy and then later on , while Cassie's POV depicted their story when she reaches the UK. I thought it worked really well and the voices of Josh and Cassie came out strongly. Marion Croslydon also really knew how to make the emotions and feelings of the characters come across as genuine and palpable. The romance too was beautifully portrayed. From the beginning, the reader is aware that Cassie's and Josh's relationship is not going to be rosy all the time, but some of the sweet moments they shared really had me smiling. I did think the book ended a little too fast and I wanted to know more about how they would continue their relationship, but I was happy to find out that there would be a sequel.
No Reverse is one of my favorite New Adult reads this year. I loved its subtle beauty, its wonderfully crafted characters and the painful and at the same time sweet romance. I'm looking forward to reading more from Marion Croslydon.(less)
Typical Jennifer Armentrout book : Spunky girl with a douche-bag/jerk love interest. It was nice seeing the Arum side of things although the plot took...moreTypical Jennifer Armentrout book : Spunky girl with a douche-bag/jerk love interest. It was nice seeing the Arum side of things although the plot took too long to develop.
I didn't like either of the characters in all honesty. I don't know if Hunter was supposed to be sexy or something, but he just came across as a bossy jerk who couldn't take no for an answer. Serena was also quite bland and boring.
Also, when Hunter realizes he has feelings, he calls himself a vagina. Like having a vagina is bad? O_O As a female, I find that offensive, because it's clearly offensive to him. What a douche!
Serena gets over the death of her so-called best friend really fast. What a friend! I don't even think she grieves for her for more than 5 minutes.
As shallow as this may seem, I only wanted to read this book because of the cover. Yeah, I'm a cover whore. Shoot me! Even then, I went into this book...more As shallow as this may seem, I only wanted to read this book because of the cover. Yeah, I'm a cover whore. Shoot me! Even then, I went into this book with much trepidation because too often I've been betrayed by pretty covers. Fortunately for me, Altered was not that kind of book.
Anna's father works for the very secretive organization, the Branch. As part his project, he has four genetically engineered boys in his basement. Anna works with her dad in his lab, helping him out. Over the years, Anna has grown close to the boys, especially to Sam, with whom she seems to have a deep emotional connection. When Sam makes an attempt to escape the Branch, Anna is also forced to run with the boys. While on the run, she comes to realize that her past is shrouded with secrets.
I enjoyed the characters in Altered very much. Well fleshed-out and distinct, they were an interesting blend of personalities. Watching them interact was a fascinating experience for me. Jennifer Rush has done a fabulous job at giving each of the boys a different personality, making it easier to distinguish between them. There was a total of 4 boys ; Trevor, the bookish and quiet one, Cas, the clown of the group, Nick, the angry and broody one and Sam, the quiet but strong one. Now, you would think that with such a vast range in personalities, the characters wouldn't work well together, but they did. I ,personally, thought that they meshed really well and I enjoyed reading about each boy. As far as the main character, Anna, goes, she was a little hard for me to figure out at first. She was really sweet and it was clear that she had strong bonds with each of the boys. She tried her best to make things comfortable for them by bringing them goods they might like and constantly interacted with them, making them feel at home. I really liked the fact that she didn't treat the boys as experiments, but instead considered them to be her friends. Over the course of the book, Anna grew from an almost naive young girl to a headstrong girl who knew when to make the right decision. You also see her become braver than she was when she comes to realize that her past wasn't what she thought it was. All in all, the characters in Altered were an interesting and very enjoyable cast.
Altered was action-packed from start to finish. You would expect that from a book that deals with 5 people on the run. Rush did a fantastic job at making the book incredibly thrilling. Altered was the kind of book that gave me an adrenaline-rush while reading. It was also the kind of book that made me want to finish the book in one sitting or else I would be very frustrated. She managed to weave science-fiction and action in such a way that made the book engaging. Reading this book felt almost like watching an action movie. The chase was definitely not without obstacles. These 5 characters encountered danger after danger and watching them try to get out of these situations kept me on the edge. What made this one epic book was the twists, turns and revelations that I did not see coming! Jennifer Rush had the ability to shock me endlessly with her surprises from start to finish. Honestly, there were so many revelations that I never could have predicted, my jaw was constantly dropping to floor. There was also a slight romance in the book. From the beginning, it was clear that Anna had a bit of an obsession with Sam. It annoyed me a little, but after a while I let it go because the author made sure that the plot was the focus of the book. The romance between Sam and Anna was tension-filled, but very satisfying. In the end, I thought Altered was a great debut novel from Jennifer Rush and I'm excited to read more in this series.
A cast of characters that will have you rooting for them, a nail-biting plot and a tender, but deep romance are what you can expect out of this new series. Rush will engross you in her story line and make sure that you never stop reading the book until you reach the end!(less)
When it came to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, there were people who loved it and there were those who didn't...moreRead more of my reviews at Nick's Book Blog
When it came to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, there were people who loved it and there were those who didn't like it at all. Unfortunately, I figured in the latter.
The story is about Mara Dyer, who wakes up in hospital with no memory of the accident that killed her 3 friends and left her in a coma for 2-3 days. After that, weird things start to happen to Mara. Her parents decide to move to Florida and there, Mara meets Noah Shaw, her love interest. This is where the whole story ends up being ruined.
Mara is the kind of character I found difficult to take a liking to for some reason. I get that she was going through a lot, but there was something with her voice that frustrated me. To be honest, she starts out as being an okay character, but when she meets Noah, she becomes another version of "Bella Swan" ; pathetic and love-sick.
Noah was hard to like too. He seemed too perfect and I hate perfect characters. He's the bad-boy who's a huge player, but when Mara comes, he's infatuated with her. Definitely no the kind of male character I like.
The story starts out as being really interesting, but the romance ruins everything. I personally think that this book would have been better off without the romance. I didn't feel anything between the two main characters and so I felt that their relationship was pretty lame.
To be honest, I didn't have the courage to finish the book. It was getting so boring since the plot stayed in place and didn't move forward. It bothered me that too much attention was given to the romance instead of the actual story line.
Overall, I didn't like this book at all. I found it disappointing and a complete waste of time. All I can say is, don't judge the book by its cover! (less)
I was ready to hate No One Else Can Have You because of so many reviews on GR with 1 stars. I have to admit, I was scared to start it and at one point...more I was ready to hate No One Else Can Have You because of so many reviews on GR with 1 stars. I have to admit, I was scared to start it and at one point I even debated not reading it, but I eventually gave in and thank goodness I did! Having read the book now, I can definitely say that it was a great decision on my part.
No One Else Can Have You is definitely one of those books that people will either absolutely hate or absolutely love. Fortunately for me, I fall in the latter category. The main character in the book, Kippy, was hilarious. I loved that girl so much. She was so random and said the most awkward things ever. I don't think I've ever read a character who made me laugh as much as Kippy did. She was just so wonderful. She also just spits out everything that comes into her head without ever thinking, which made for some funny scenes. I think her naivety when it came to certain aspects and her quirkiness were what made her such an entertaining character for me. To be honest, all the characters in the book were funny. They were so wacky and bizzare, but entirely loveable. Dom, her dad, was especially one character I loved. His relationship with Kippy was definitely one of the highlights of the book for me. Kippy's growing relationship with Ruth's brother, Davey, was another highlight of the story. I loved that their relationship wasn't perfect and could have some seriously awkward moments, but that's what made it so realistic.
The murder mystery was also extremely well-written, especially considering it's a YA mystery novel, which have failed to impress me. The book kept me guessing until the very end as to who the murderer was and I was definitely taken aback once the culprit was revealed. I loved loved loved that Kathleen Hale managed to take me by surprise with her final twist which isn't something that happens to me often when I'm reading YA books. The writing in No One Else Can Have You is not going to be for everyone, mostly because it's a book that knows its being inappropriate. Jenni from Xpresso Reads mentioned in her review that this was a parody and if not viewed as one, it could offend people. I have to say, I agree wholeheartedly with her. I viewed more like a parody myself which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. Kathleen Hale's writing is peppered with humor and I always appreciate an author who can make me laugh out loud while I'm reading. Another thing that I enjoyed in No One Else Can Have You was the small-town setting. It paints such a clear picture of how life in such small towns can be. The lack of privacy, the speed at which gossip spreads and the inner workings of these small-towns were brilliantly well-portrayed.
I don't really have much else to say except if you haven't read this book yet, don't let the negative reviews scare you off. Do give this one a shot because there's a chance you might enjoy it. If you go into it expecting a funny, inappropriate YA murder mystery, you're going to end up loving it probably as much as I did! (less)
After Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker, Miranda Kenneally is on my auto-buy list. When the opportunity to review her latest title, Things I Can't F...more After Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker, Miranda Kenneally is on my auto-buy list. When the opportunity to review her latest title, Things I Can't Forget, came up, I jumped right into it. Although I loved Kenneally's first two novels, I have to say that Things I Can't Forget is my favorite, which is very surprising since I'm not into too much religion in my books.
Kate was a surprisingly intense character that I really enjoyed reading about. I had no idea that I would end up loving her so much because I didn't really connect with her on first instant. Miranda Kenneally did a fabulous job at portraying the inner tumult that Kate went through. Kate has always abidden by the rules of a good Christian, so when she helps her best friend get an abortion, she became plagued by the guilt that she sinned. She didn't let anyone know about what she was going through and slowly let the sin eat her away on the inside. She also failed to understand non-Christians and had a tendency to unknowingly hurt them. I'm not going to lie, she really judged people, but not in the mean girl way. Although that characteristic trait should have really bothered me, it didn't. I felt like Kate's devotion to Christianity made her a very realistic character. Over the course of the book, she meets people are believers, but do not necessarily practice everything that the church asks them. They have their own faith about their religion. Kate began to realize, albeit at a snail pace, that just because somebody doesn't practice the same lifestyle and doesn't have the same mindset as you do it doesn't mean that they are horrible people. I loved watching Kate's growth in Things I Can't Forget because it felt very palpable to me. Her interactions with the secondary characters was also really well done. I loved how each person she met at camp helped her to blossom into this beautiful character, in the process shedding her narrow-mindedness and learning to become a better person according to her own definition and not the Church's.
Miranda Kenneally has this uncanny ability to write fictional love interests that make you swoon over them. If you thought Sam and Will were perfect, wait until you meet Matt. Gorgeous, sweet, charming and very respectful. I loved the guy. He might be one of my favorite book crushes right next to Etienne St Clair, from Anna and the French Kiss, and Lucas from Easy. Matt and Kate's relationship wasn't so easy because of Kate's hesitation to get physically close to him, but it was the kind that gave me butterflies in the stomach. Matt was such a lovable guy. I really liked the fact that he respected Kate's decisions no matter what. He never pushed her to do things she wasn't ready to do. I loved him for that. Their relationship wasn't just about the physical aspects, but it was so much more. It had so much depth and I found myself enjoying them so much together that I was craving for Matt&Kate scenes. And, the most important part, the make-out scenes! *Faints* They had a lot more swoon-factor than Kenneally's previous books and I loved them! Things I Can't Forget was very heavy on the religion, but not in a choking way. I thought Kenneally handled it perfectly. Also, one of my favorite parts of this book were the growing friendships between Kate and the secondary characters. Parker played a very important role in Kate's growth and I was really happy to see her back! This book had a lot going on : religion, friendship, family, first love, first experience with sex and I thought Miranda Kenneally dealt with all of these themes tactfully. Her writing was as elegant as ever and she's extremely skilled at writing dialogues. Honestly, I can't wait to read her next book, Racing Savannah, already!
All in all, although Things I Can't Forget has heavy religious undertones, watching Kate grow as a character and coming to terms with her guilt was worth my time. Miranda Kenneally took me on an emotional adventure along with Kate and the rest of the cast. A wonderfully well-written book with delightful characters and an adorable, but steamy romance, Things I Can't Forget was a brilliant book that deserves a lot more than 5 stars from me.(less)