I haven’t read much about the USA during this time period, so this was a really interesting and different read for me. It felt like reading one of those timeless classics, such as the Little House books, especially the descriptions of helping out at home and on the farm. I really liked how the author really explored roles and professions at the time, as well as the general public’s view and relations with the Native Americans. While the book was slightly slow paced, it was a unique concept and was a well-thought out story.
I really enjoyed Violet’s character, although some of her decisions I didn’t really know what to make of. I guess being in such situations might make me react differently but she acted quite childishly at some parts, which put me a little bit off. I really enjoyed Miss Nadia’s character though– one really sensible adult compared to the hysterical aunt and Mrs. Dell. Mrs. Agosa I felt kind of so-so about Mercy’s character, but she was an enjoyable edition overall.
I found it interesting how the different story lines were weaved with another. How Violet’s mother went away, how she works with Mrs. Nadia and her photography, the Native American stories and myths– all come together with the copper hand that Violet finds. While the book most of the time stays to a realistic plot, there are times when fantasy and magic come alive and create an spellbinding premise.
Copper Magic was an easy read, one that was intriguing and enchanting. Aimed for middle grade readers, Gibson’s novel will enthral children and adults alike from start to finish. Loved it and can’t wait for more!(less)
I was a little worried about getting into Wicked Games because so many people didn’t enjoy it. I don’t know whether it’s my love for all things dramatic and thrilling, or the fact that a lot worse happens in Pretty Little Liars (this was blurbed really well), but I actually found myself flipping pages, anxious to know what happens. I honestly think this would actually make a really good TV series with all the crazy shit that happens throughout the novel, and that along with sex, betrayal and a psycho on the loose, it’s all the makings of an addictive series.
Okay, I’ll at least admit this – I’m not a big fan of the characters. Lilah is completely INSANE. Like, I wouldn’t go near her with a 1000-meter pole. That’s how bad she is. Sure, she’s got some actual problems, such as depression and self-harm, but does that mean that she has to go completely crazy? Her parents are probably the worst because no, they don’t try to make her better, they just kind of avoid the whole problem all together. And Carter! While I definitely liked Carter’s character much better than Lilah’s, he’s no better. He knows she has a problem, and instead of actually helping her, he avoids breaking off their relationship to protect her feelings. GAH. Frustration to the max people. Jules was okay. I mean, compared to the other two, she certainly has more redeeming qualities. However, that totally does not justify going for another girl’s boyfriend. Obviously, she can like him, but actually act on that? Yeesh. Morals have no place in this novel for sure. So therefore, in the end, my favourite character is Jeff, Carter’s best friend, who basically has the tiniest role in this novel.
Speaking of the end, totally did not see that coming. And I’m not just talking about the epilogue either. All the action that happens totally reminds me of something that happens on the TV show Revenge (which is why this book would be a good TV show...) and it’s seriously thrilling. And the epilogue! Holy crap the author knows how to set up what’s hopefully in the next book. I mean, the last few lines sent a figurative chill down my spine and it’s really haunting. I love books that leave you with a shocking and suspenseful end, don’t you?
While I didn’t like the characters, Wicked Games still had an engaging plot that comes to a horrifying end. Jaws will drop, eyes will pop, hearts will thud. There are no happy endings in Sean Olin’s latest novel, and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the next book in this series.(less)
Before starting this one, I’d heard so much about The Pull of Gravity, Gae Polisner’s first book. Wayyyyy back in 2011, I had the chance to interview Polisner for the blog. It still astonishes me that I still haven’t gotten the chance to read her debut, but when I got the chance to review her sophomore novel, I jumped at the chance. I loved The Summer of Letting Go! It was so beautiful. It could have gotten stuck with so many clichés but luckily, this escaped and truly stands out from several other YA contemporary novels that revolve around the same subject. The writing is absolutely gorgeous as well, I mean take a look at the first line:
❝It’s not even noon in not even July, yet already the sun bakes down hot and steady, making the air waffle like an oily mirage.❞ –p. 3 (eGalley*) *text is subject to change in the final version
The language she uses is amazing and I’m so glad the rest of the book only got better from there.
I really loved Frankie's (aka Beans) character. The Summer of Letting Go is truly a story about growing up and coming to terms with the past, as well as to let go of the ghosts that are holding you back. Exploring this topic through her eyes made things a lot easier to empathise with, and the emotions came through very clearly, not just from Frankie but from the people around her as well. Frankie Sky was adorable. I fell in love with this small child who has so much character, and I loved how Polisner was able to capture his speech in the book– it really made it much more clearer with imagining his character.
A lot, and I mean A LOT, happens throughout this book. Glad that there was something from the past, something hidden, something revealed, something unresolved that is later resolved and something to look forward to come! I liked how it wasn’t a whole load that the author dumps onto the reader but it’s a slow spindling of a web that connects intricately as the story goes on. Speaking of the past, so much of mine came back to me when I was reading this book. For some reason, “My Sharona” by The Knack was stuck in my head the entire time because it was mentioned once during the book. Even the Frog and Toad books brought back so many childhood memories. I enjoyed having such a connection with the book, because now I’m starting to feel slightly nostalgic...
The Summer of Letting Go was a stunning novel that perfectly captures the pain and heartache of loss and the joy of letting in someone new into one’s life. Wonderfully written by the very talented Gae Polisner, I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more books from her!(less)
**WARNING: Do NOT read this if you haven’t read The Selection or The Elite. Some spoilers (and fangirling) ahead.**
Guys– I think my heart just broke in to a million pieces. What? The series ended horribly, you ask? Nope. It was perfect.
My heart has just broken into a million pieces because one of my series has come to a close.
I’ve been wanting to read The One for a very, VERY long time now. Roughly a year-long wait, which I know is not that long compared to some other people, but it’s killed me since I started The Selection, because the suspense could not be held out fore me any longer. The day my exams ended, I headed to the bookstore and bought this book. Initially they were out of stock, but then, this amazing girl who works there found a copy and handed me this book, this absolutely heartbreaking book, to me. I got home and immediately dove into it, no hesitations, only some awe-struck ogling at the gorgeous cover. And I didn’t stop until I’d read the last page.
After that I got up, walked around in a daze, fingers shaking because I had just finished this amazing series, and I knew they would not stop until I’d written this review.
So. Here we go.
I don’t think I’ve ever internally bawled at something so hard and so much. This was like The-Fault-in-Our-FREAKING-Stars-worthy bawling. I tend not to cry for books so yeah, it’s pretty major when I say that I freaking died when I read this book. A perfect end to a perfect series.
I love how the stakes are so much higher in this book, and because of this, everything is so much more intense. America's conflict with herself, with her feelings for the two boys she loves, with the King, and with the system: Kiera Cass is truly a master story-teller because the way in which she crafts words really conveys the raw emotions of characters as well as the fantastic plot that has gone on for three books. I also liked that the world building developed much more with this book, and that the story of the rebellion comes to light and we see more of this side, compared to just the competition as it’s been with the previous two books – well, more The Selection than The Elite. Getting to know more about the Northerners, bringing along some surprising twists as well, just made this story a lot more richer.
America Singer, my favourite literary red-head. Her character is definitely more challenged in this book, as we find in the previous book that King Clarkson isn’t all that he seems to be. I love her determination and fierce confidence that she approaches everything with. I think we all yell out a little cheer whenever she defies Illéa’s caste system and rules! If you’ve read my previous reviews about the series, then you’ll know who I’m rooting for. Maxon and Aspen are both amazing guys, but ultimately it’s time for America to choose her one. I don’t want to give too much away, but the ending works out well for (almost) everyone, so there’s really a definite outcome. I’m sad to see it end though– this is one of the best written love triangles I have ever seen in YA. It’s made it a challenge to pick one side in all of this, but of course, everything must come to an end.
I have a major hangover from this book, because now, just after I’ve finished the series, I wish that I could pick up The Selection and start all over again. The One is the crème de la crème, an absolutely flawless finale to the series that will bring tears, smiles and many, MANY swoons. While it’s painful to say goodbye to characters I’ve come to love and a world I’ve envisioned and brought to life in my mind, this bittersweet ending is everything I could have hoped for and more. Kiera Cass’ books are truly glittering gems worthy of any crown...or tiara!(less)
Being a huge fan of Sarah Strohmeyer’s Smart Girls Get What They Want, I wanted, no, I NEEDED The Secrets of Lily Graves. I probably did the largest internal squeal possible when this popped up Edelweiss, and so my life was made having the chance to read this early. It sounded interesting, really mysterious and thrilling, nothing like her cutesy YA debut... but then again I found out that she’s written quite a few award-winning mystery novels so I knew this was going to be good.
I LOVED Lily. This author has yet once again made me fall in love with the main character. A strange feat since lately I’ve been finding myself on the fence about the protagonist or just flat-out hating him or her. Thank goodness for breaking the trend! I would have honestly done what her character does in the book – go to the police and come clean about herself. For reasons I cannot understand, most YA heroines or heroes tend to keep the important details to themselves and that ends up going VERY well *note the sarcastic tone. MATT IS THE LOVE OF MY LIFE AT THE MOMENT. After a dry spell of book boys who are simply meh or not-too-bad (but not-too-great either), in comes this hunk of pure swoony-ness. I love that we see the stupid bone-head side of him as well as the version of him that hangs out with Lily, because clearly there’s so much more to his character. There were so many cute scenes between the two of them. I mean, the driving lesson? *fans self and swoons to the point of fainting*
I loved the concept. Yes, there are probably a bajillion YA murder mysteries, but books about morticians? Nope. Nothing comes close! And you can really tell, Strohmeyer has clearly done her research. I actually learned a lot from reading this, particularly on how to prep a dead body. Does this mean I’m qualified? Only time will tell... (A joke. Clearly, even though I watch some of the goriest shows out there, I will FREAK if I’m presented with a dead body.) There’s a huge twist that I did not see coming. It was the absolute last person I would suspect, literally the furthest person away from who I thought did it. At first I was so confused and a little befuddled by the revelation, and then it all pieced together and made total sense. Really a thrilling ending, one that made me catch my breath and hold it all the way till the end.
I am so excited about Sarah Strohmeyer because I’m clearly loving everything she writes. The Secrets of Lily Graves was a spine-crawling mystery with a romance (and swoon-worthy boy) to top it off. Chilling and beguiling, I would recommend that you immediately stop what you’re doing and run to your closest bookstore, because you need this book – trust me, you do. Loved it!(less)
When I first came across this book, I’ll admit: I had high expectations. The boarding-school-mystery has happened time and time again. Sadly, Liv, Forever fell flat for me. There were definitely parts of the book where it got really interesting, but otherwise, I didn’t feel that click or that spark that made this a special read. I really hate not-liking a book. I generally have a really high tolerance for books, but this one pushed me over it. It was the fact that I NEEDED to find out what happens at the end that pushed me through.
I feel like I’m about to go on a horrible rant, so I’ll *try* hard not to.
Liv was an infuriating character. I got really frustrated with her from a couple pages into the book. Not a good sign is it? It’s just that she’s really self-centered. Like, really self-centered. The whole book is about her (no duh) but on top of that, every thought either has to be about herself or Malcolm. Ah, the relationship between these two begin, what? 10-15 pages into the novel? I am not a fan of insta-love, and unfortunately, the romance in this one sped up so quickly. I mean, on the second date they were pretty much already saying “I love you” to each other. Oh wait. That actually happened. I could tolerate Malcolm’s character a teeny bit more than Liv’s, but holy moly, who the hell is that perfect, poised and polished? He seemed two-dimensional and I felt like clawing my eyes out when he started reciting poetry perfectly word-for-word. *barf*
The book actually took an exciting turn when Liv died, the book actually started moving forward. And while it was kind of easy to guess who was behind the murder, actually learning more about the other girls who were killed was interesting and really brought the story to life. That’s at least what I thought was the highlight of the book. I’m not sure how I feel about the amount of art and artists mentioned in this book. On one hand, it was really exciting to picture what Talkington was trying to describe with the emotions evoked by certain works of art, as well as what they represented. On the other hand, it felt like we, as readers, were being choked with the amount of name-dropping and supposed art-knowledge that Liv has. I mean, yeah, we get it, YOU LOVE ART. But do you always have to see the world through an artistic lens? Do you? Do you really? Comparing everything that you see and feel to a piece of art isn’t necessary, and can get a little annoying.
Overall, while this might not have been the book for me, it has received several 5-star reviews, so I’m sure that several of you will find this an enticing read. Liv, Forever, while it has an intriguing plot and unique concept, fell short on narrative voice and various other elements of the story. I’ll be sure to look out for more of Amy Talkington’s books in the future, with hope that they’ll get better.(less)
There are thousands – and I mean thousands – of young adult contemporaries out there. Many possess unique qualities, some are clichéd, but every once in a while there comes along a book that just makes you go wow. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell was so raw and beautiful. I devoured every word, I poured over the pages and held onto this book, clinging on to it's riveting story. I'd of course heard of this novel before deciding to finally sit down and read it. I've seen fan art of Eleanor and Park on Tumblr, I've heard people raving about it endlessly. My sister borrowed the book from the library and refused to let me read it, so then, and only then, did I finally go and check out a copy to read... a decision which I'm glad I made.
Regarding Eleanor's character, while I couldn't exactly relate to her fashion sense, I could relate to her through her physical appearance, with her issues with her body. There are times in the book when Eleanor feels like she needs to hide her body from Park, because she's too "big". I really felt a connection with this because I sometimes feel like that too, standing out sometimes because of body shape. It's awful and I could absolutely empathize with her character. I also found her views and opinions very interesting, particularly her thoughts on the X-Men female characters. I enjoyed reading her narrative and think she's a really strong character. Park was really sweet. I loved him and his narration so much. It was an interesting, diverse choice with his character as he's half-Korean. I liked that I was able to visualize what he would look like. Rowell's writing is amazing that way and her descriptions really make it easy to picture the characters, events and setting in the book. Of course you've got to read the book to know why, but I loved the supporting characters, especially Park's family and more or less (because they didn't too much of an appearance) Eleanor's siblings. I just wish there had been more development of Cal, DeNice and Beebi's characters. As friends to main characters, they took the back seat completely. Even the mean girl, Tina and her boyfriend Steve weren't mentioned that much. I felt that at times the book completely isolated Eleanor and Park, and we didn't get the chance to discover some of the great secondary characters in this novel.
It was an intriguing time period choice. It's not too far back, but in YA we tend to not find that many books set so "far" back in the past. However, with the music references, I didn't know a lot of them. I'd heard of the bands and singers, but no idea about the songs that Eleanor and Park discuss. I got the comic book references – I've seen the X-Men movies, but haven't read any comics other than that. It was weird because sometimes, I would have to catch myself because I would automatically assume that it was set in the present and then get thrown-off when something from the 80's is present, and there wasn't a trace of the technology from this century. I liked the switch in perspectives. The third person narrative was an interesting touch, but of course with the focalization of Eleanor and Park, we got to learn more about them, despite being told in this particular POV. This I feel was what made it easier to connect with their characters because the perspectives were depicted in a continuous flow of events and showed both sides of the story.
Eleanor & Park was sweet– a gorgeous coming of age story about understanding oneself and discovering love. Rainbow Rowell is a new favorite of mine, and I can't wait to dive into another one of her masterpieces.(less)
I don't usually review picture books, but I'm definitely willing to make an exception for Lemony Snicket's. I'm a huge fan of A Series of Unfortunate Events and have yet to start All the Wrong Questions. When I received The Dark for my 18th birthday (a gift to remember childhood, as my friend put it), I got down to reading it as soon as possible. My sister and I, sat there, side by side, and read the book in five minutes. Both of us being fans of Lemony Snicket, we loved that he had the same, interesting tone when he approached this book for younger children. My sister noted that he placed all the voice of Laszlo and the dark in the light and dark respectively. It's a really cute story about a boy overcoming his fear of the dark. It reminds me so much of the hundreds of picture books I'd consumed growing up, but the illustrations in this one are absolutely gorgeous. It felt amazing to pick up a picture book once again and actually get down to reading it.
Accompanied by adorable and beautiful illustrations, The Dark is one picture book that I feel anyone, young or old, can pick up and love. Lemony Snicket has returned with a lovely book aimed at younger readers, and I'm looking forward to reading more.(less)
When I heard that Michaela MacColl was going to write a novel featuring the Brontë sisters, I was overjoyed. I loved her last novel, Nobody’s Secret, and while I haven’t read Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is one of the best classics I’ve ever read– the recent movie adaption was amazing too! So you can imagine my utter glee upon finding out about the premise and getting the chance to review this book. Trust me, it did not disappoint.
What I enjoy the most about Michaela MacColl’s books is how she manages to weave fact and fiction seamlessly to write her novels. I always love reading the end note from the author after finishing the book because she always explains which parts of the book were real and which were reimagined from fact or created from her own imagination. I also really love seeing how bits and pieces of the plot can be found in Jane Eyre and (from what I’ve heard) Wuthering Heights. It really creates a more believable story and even though Always Emily is fiction, it’s much “closer” to the truth.
While I did like both characters, to me, while I would definitely align more with Charlotte, I found myself liking Emily’s story more. It might be because Emily does take on more of an active role during the action in the story, but also the romance does tend to revolve around her, which is something I usually look forward to in a story. I liked how the perspectives alternated as it built up more suspense and really created the thrilling narrative that can be similarly found in the Brontë sisters’ books. I like the other characters’ involvement, as some of them are real and some not so real, but they all helped to detail a richer story.
MacColl has done her research very well and it all pays off with this fantastic novel about the lives of two women who’ve written stories more than a hundred years ago that remain popular today. Always Emily was a fast-paced contemporary-classic that I’m sure fans of gothic literature and YA alike will love.(less)
Having read Paige Harbison's other book, New Girl, I knew I had to get my hands on Anything to Have You. So, I jumped at the opportunity to be on the blog tour and have the chance to finally read it. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this one, because there are so many negative reviews. I actually found myself really engaged by the story – even though I thought it was a bit too long – but I really thought that while this had the same bones of many contemporaries in YA, Harbison's latest novel had a spark. There was something different and something unique about this story... it's clearly not a fluffy read, but has some darker elements to it. It reminded me of Elizabeth Scott's The Unwritten Rule, but had a different twist of events at the end.
A lot of the negative reviews had problems with the characters, and I could kinda see why. I liked Natalie because I could relate to her. I would honestly rather stay home and watch movies than go out. Sometimes I wish that she had more of a spine, but otherwise, I did love her character because I could see where she's coming from and it was easier to empathize with her in contrast to Brooke. Brooke just straight out annoyed me. Throughout Natalie's narrative she annoyed me, but it was only when the perspective shifted I could kinda see why she acts the way she does. Nonetheless, I still disliked her immensely until the end of the book. Aiden was probably the only character I whole-heartedly LOVED. His character is an absolute sweetheart, all around good guy and wants to do the right thing. I wasn't expecting a switch in perspectives because I thought the story would be completely from Natalie's side, but I liked how we got to see both sides of the story, and it really gave more depth to the story. While I did like how the perspectives go over the same events giving us the story from both sides, at times I felt that Brooke's side was more of a recaps, because it rushed through the parts that Natalie's story already covered, and I feel that this is what contributed to my lack of empathy for her character.
There's a big twist at the end that I definitely did not see coming. It isn't what you'd expect actually– from the blurb, it's pretty obvious that one thing is going to happen, but there's another HUGE something that happens. It was quite a jolt, a punch to the stomach that had me going, "WHAT?", but I feel that's what made the story a lot more interesting. The end was great, but what I really loved (surprisingly), was the end of Brooke's story. Something from the beginning comes back at the end and had me smiling with realization. Completely cliché, but in the best way!
Paige Harbison's take on contemporaries is unique in style and captivating in narrative. Anything to Have You was engaging, capturing the ups and downs of friendship and love in a voice that teens will find riveting and one that they can relate to. Paige Harbison's third novel has me excited for what will hopefully be many more to come.(less)
I agree with Giselle's (Xpresso Reads) advice in her review of Torn Away: I STRONGLY recommend not reading the blurb. It actually gives a lot of the story away! But even so, I really enjoyed this book. I’ve never been in a twister or tornado before. The only natural disaster I’ve been in would have to be a typhoon back when I was living in the Philippines. I constantly hear about these happening in the south of the US and the pictures really show how destructive these can be. It was really moving – and scary quite frankly – to read about Jersey’s experience in Torn Away dealing with and the after-effects of this natural disaster.
This was a really short read, and for that reason I felt that it might have packed a LOT in too few pages. I honestly thought it should have been slightly longer, because I mean, it barely scraped the bucket of emotions I was looking forward to reading about, especially character development. This was the only thing I would have really improved, but oh well, there’s still a lot to take in with this novel! Jersey was a great character, but she didn’t come without her flaws. I understand that she’s completely lost everything, but does she need to be so bugging and relentless all the time? It was near the end where I started to hate her (you’ll see why). Obviously at the end, I came to finally like her, but otherwise she can be a little bit too mean. There are several other characters in the book that you come across, some of them great, some of them awful, so there’s a whole palette of emotions and reactions to go around.
What I did love was the scene of the tornado. It was, as I’d mentioned before, very vivid and detailed, and you could really feel Jersey’s fear coming off the pages. It was one of best written scenes of the book and I could imagine myself in that situation because of the wonderful and horrifying descriptions Jennifer Brown has incorporated.
A story that comes from the heart, Torn Away will blow readers away. Raw and powerful, do NOT hesitate to pick this one up because it will hold you tightly in it’s grasp long after you’ve finished reading. This was my first Jennifer Brown novel, and it definitely won’t be my last.(less)
After reading the blurb I decided to give Royally Lost a go because it reminded me so much of Roman Holiday, a movie I ADORE. I’m also a sucker for fluffy contemporaries, and since I haven’t read one in ages I decided this would be healthy for me... you know, to have a good ol’ dose of romance and swoonosity. Traveling through Europe is also something I hope to do with my friends one day. We’ve made numerous plans to go sometime next year, because a couple of them are going to study in the UK, and so this made me all the more excited. When it came to reading Stanton’s book however, there were parts that were absolutely great– and then there were parts that flopped.
What I really enjoyed about this one was it looked like the author really did her research. I learned so much about the historical landmarks, and since this was a part of Europe that I haven’t been to (yet) I was really interested in learning more about it. The author really lay down some amazing descriptions and facts about the places that the characters visit, and this added a cultural richness that I’ve seen absent in several YA books about Europe. Nikolai is from a country called Mondovia, and even though it’s a made-up one, I’m glad it didn’t bother me. Because, I mean, hello? GENOVIA, anyone? Anyway, I think it could be based off of Moldova, or somewhere else in Europe, because there’s quite a few places with similar names! What I also liked about this novel was that there was definitely enough plot to keep me interested. I wasn’t thrown into the romance completely, and glad to see that there were complications involved... not like a sugary-sweet fairy tale that only has good things going for it’s principal characters.
However, what I didn’t particularly like about the book had more to do with it’s main character, Becca. Her constant whining near drove me up a wall, it was too much at times. I mean, you’re in EUROPE. While people from Europe could possibly claim that it can be boring, not too many people get the chance to travel to the historically-rich country. I’m extremely lucky that my family and I get the chance to travel around a lot, and even I don’t complain that much about being dragged from landmark to landmark, given that I love to laze around at home doing nothing. Nikolai wasn’t perfect either, but I still think he was a much better character than she was. Another thing that set me on edge was the insta-love. OH YES. It was only after reading the book when I realised that I’d previously DNF-ed another one of the author’s books – Rock and a Hard Place – 20-25 pages in because I couldn’t STAND the insta-love. I powered through the romance in this one. Getting together is one thing, but saying “I love you” to each other a couple days after you’ve met? CHEE-SY.
Going into this one, I knew I’d be faced with a lot of cliché’s from the contemporary genre. I mean: the cover, the blurb, and the frickin' title scream “clichéd cuteness headed your way”. How fate plays into how they constantly meet and bump into each other in Europe, which I’m sure should have a lot more people to prevent this, and how they simply can’t live without each other, how Becca immediately stands out from the group of American tourists (seriously, what does he even see in her?!) and of course, the royal-born wanting more from life than being photographed and pushed around by his parents, who desperately longs for a life of normalcy. I mean, I’m pretty good at handling clichés but when there’s just a bit too much, it makes me a little bit squeamish with the predictability of the story.
Yeah, the advice I would give when it comes to reading Royally Lost is this: definitely read this book if you’re a fan of CUTE... and I mean a heavy dollop of CUTE with every serving. If the main character’s personality doesn’t bother you, even if she is the most annoying person ever, I would say go ahead and read this for the amazing setting. I fell in love reading this book, and it wasn’t for the romance. The amazing landmarks, the gorgeous setting– heck, if Angie Stanton wrote a whole book about Europe without the irritatingly-quick love blooming and the clichés destroyed, it would be possibly one of the best-written books I’ve ever read. Okay, slight exaggeration, but you get my point. READ IT FOR THE SETTING!(less)
With the slightly eerie cover and the intriguing title, there was no doubt that I had to get my hands on this book. The Half Life of Molly Pierce was extraordinary. I was immediately captivated from the start, with the promise of a unique premise and unraveling the past, which sounded too good to pass up. It was a short read, and not much happened during the present action of the story, but the depth and style was incredible.
We don’t really learn too much about Molly’s character. I liked the distance between character and reader in this book because for once, due to the subject matter, it actually worked as a reflection of the events that occur during the book. I also enjoyed the narrative structure of the book– the literal sentence length was chopped and that also really made it seemed like a way to create an isolated atmosphere as well as a sharp tone to the novel. Character-wise there is a really big twist that comes along which I didn’t suspect at first, but then everything pieces together as past and present come to a close, and while Molly doesn’t really do much throughout the book except piece together what exactly has happened in the past year, it was a profound exploration into the subject matter (which I won’t mention because it’ll give the whole story away!).
The only problem I would have with this book would be that when the story did come to a close, everything seemed a little too convenient to be true. I don’t know whether or not it was just me and my lack of sleep trying to finish this book, because, trust me, it is very suspenseful, but things wrapped up pretty darn quickly. The book also deals with a lot of other issues other than the main subject matter, which again, I won’t mention due to the spoilery-ness of it all. Suicide, namely, as well as the classic bildungsroman novel-style of accepting oneself and coming to terms with who one really is.
The Half Life of Molly Pierce was remarkable, slowly leading to a shocking twist and terrifying realisation. A shining debut, Leno’s one-of-a-kind novel will be sure to enthral readers from the first word to the last.(less)
It was only when I’d finished reading this book and started writing this review that I found out that Alex Mallory is Saundra Mitchell. I really loved The Vespertine! It was one of the first books that I’d reviewed on the blog, but I unfortunately didn’t manage to continue with the series. I’m glad to say though that Wild was an amazing book. I’ve never heard of a Tarzan retelling in YA, and despite the lack of excellent musical numbers, this one was stellar. I haven’t actually read the original Tarzan of the Apes, so I only have the Disney version of the movie to base the story on. I was thrilled that I got an advanced copy to read, and was even more so when I got the chance to be a part of the blog tour.
I really loved both characters. While the book was presented in third person, it alternated between Cade’s and Dara’s perspectives. I enjoyed the parallel to Tarzan and Jane respectively, and especially liked the interaction between the both of them. Several other characters, such as Sofia and Josh, also have a large role in the book and I liked their characters’ contributions to the plot. The unraveling of the mystery as the characters explore further into Cade’s past was very intriguing and was well-written in terms of incorporating character development into the plot’s progression.
I loved the setting for this – the forest was beautifully described both through Cade and Dara’s eyes, but also the time period was fitting for the retelling. While I’m sure it wouldn’t have been set during the time that Tarzan was, it was cool to see how someone who hasn’t really interacted with today’s world see the world and it’s development with new eyes. I also felt that Mallory (Mitchell) managed to capture the portrayal of media. Especially since Wild depicted how pushy the media can be and the boundaries it’s willing to break, no matter the consequences. It’s a horrifying picture that the author paints, but it’s definitely a realistic one. The ending was great: I felt that it gave the book closure without making everything conveniently fall into place. While it would have been cool to see this book work as a series, I was glad that it was a standalone so that there was no need to drag it out. It concluded well, leaving room for imagination but still leaving things in place.
While the 440 pages would have first put me off, Wild was a marvelous read, one I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) put down. Mallory’s spellbinding retelling is a powerful story of love, destruction and what makes us human.(less)
From the get-go, I knew this one would be different. I mean the title – Life by Committee. Peaks your interest, doesn’t it? A secret “society” with assignments for a secret is definitely not the typical contemporary. Personally, I would not see the appeal of trading secrets for dares aka tasks related to the secret, but this definitely sounded pretty cool and I was intrigued to see where this would lead. The cover made sense later on in the book. I was really confused about it before reading the book, because it didn’t seem to relate to the book at all. At first I was like, “Ooo cute shoes... but wait, what does that even have to do with the story...” but it turns out that they do play quite a part in the novel.
Tab – short for Tabitha – was someone I could relate to and empathise with. She had perfectly normal reactions as a teenager, besides the LBC thing of course, and I could see why her character didn’t want to give into her former friends. I love her fascination with marginal comments in books, and I too LOVE The Secret Garden (but have yet to read A Little Princess – I really liked the movie though!). She’s into romance movies as well (so am I!), and so it’s clear to see, other than the whole risk-taking thing, I enjoyed being able relate so closely with the character. Ugh Joe. I didn’t like him right from the start. I mean, if a guy constantly keeps focusing on the fact that you’re hot, and doesn’t talk about the other amazing qualities a person might have, a little bit weird and suspicious right? But then again, I could see how she could be completely blind to this in the “relationship” they have. I mean, if a hot guy said he wants to be with you, I get that she would be swept away in the idea of a fairy-tale romance. But nope! No go, Joe. No go.
On a side note, the story reminded me a lot of the TV show Awkward. A girl in a secret relationship with a popular boy (who is a jock no less), young parents who had her when they were teenagers, changes that lead to complications with friends– there are quite a few similarities! I only saw it after though, which was good, otherwise I would have pictured the actors with the characters, and thus gotten confused with the story, mixing it up with the television plot line. There’s (of course) a twist at the end of all of this. Something to do with the last person I would have ever expected things to happen with, and it really does come together and make sense. The ending was kind of like a cliché high school movie from the 90’s (think She’s All That), but it was sweet and I liked it.
Life by Committee was riveting and remarkable, and Corey Ann Haydu’s gorgeous novel kept my eyes glued to the pages. I haven’t read OCD Love Story yet, but it sounds original, just like this one, as I’m sure will her other books to come. Looking forward to more from this fantastic author!(less)
Wow. I was completely BLOWN AWAY by Prisoner of Night and Fog. Seriously, it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. I tend to love reading about historical fiction, particularly surrounding large events in history, such as wars, regimes and such, and this was such an amazing read. Anne Blankman has the ability to transport the reader to one of the deadliest and most devastating times in history, and make one feel as though they are apart of the action. The amount of time she must have spent researching the topic... oh boy. It was so well-detailed and I feel that her facts checked out for the part of the book that revolved around non-fiction. What first caught me was the cover. I saw this while browsing on Edelweiss, and I knew that I HAD to download it immediately. It was only after when I found out that it was about Hitler. There are a ton of books out there that focus on World War II and the awful things that Hitler did, but I’ve never ever come across a book (in YA at least) that includes him as a character– and a major one at that! It was really strange, to be honest, to have him apart of the action and interacting with the characters in this book, knowing that he’s one of the worst people in history. But there are quite a lot of interesting facts about him that I had no idea about that pop up in the book, and it really allows you to see how he becomes his monstrous figure in our world’s history.
I’ve been kind of in a slump lately, because so many YA heroines set my teeth on edge. It was so refreshing to finally find one that I actually LIKE. Gretchen was a great character– really strong and determined. It’s illuminating to see the transition of a character throughout a book, and her character certainly does have one. It’s interesting to see her involvement in the plot, as well as several other characters, as they’re fictional, and how they interact with characters based on real people and are apart of events that really did happen is just a testament to how well the author blends fact and fiction in Prisoner of Night and Fog. Daniel! *swoon* Of course, love love LOVED him. The romance really reminded me of Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye, where the protagonist and her love interest are from two sides that are in conflict with one another. Let’s just say that I’m SUPER excited to see what happens in the next book in terms of the romance, because while there is some in this book, I’m sure there’s going to be a lot more development further on in this series.
There’s a lot of shocking revelations and twists and turns. I would just advise you as a reader, no matter how tempted you are, to NOT look up any of the characters, particularly Hitler’s. It gives away some of the smaller reveals later on in the book, so DON’T. I’m glad though that a lot was fiction, or was based on the facts and melded into the story to fit another purpose, because this really kept up the surprises that come along in the book. The author even has a really great afterword about the characters and events, and what’s real in the book and what isn’t.
Prisoner of Night and Fog is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Anne Blankman masterfully navigates the history, particularly the beginnings, of WWII, bringing to life the people and characters involved. Beautiful and heart-pounding, this debut will have readers spellbound from start to finish. Can’t wait for the sequel!(less)
I’ve always wanted to read one of Sarah Ockler’s books– all of them sound so enticing! Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah... and then came this amazing opportunity to be a part of the #scandal blog tour, and so of course, I was signing up faster then you could say “hashtag”. You guys... this book was amazing. I fell in love with the writing style, the characters, the storyline, EVERYTHING. I didn’t care that it was 400+ pages long. If it was any other book, I might have balked at the idea of reading such a long contemporary, but nu-uh, I enjoyed every single part of the plot because nothing was filler. If it wasn’t adding to the plot, it was developing the characters or background story. It was so rich in detail and that’s mainly the reason why I adored this book.
I loved the characters. Lucy’s character was so great, I could really relate to her, and I like that she broke the mould. At the start, she seems set up to be this generic character, the somewhat anti-social chick who enjoys online gaming, the younger and much ignored sister of someone famous. However, I like that she didn’t have a tough exterior all the time, and that she did enjoy being “girly” and doing things that many characters fit into the stereotype wouldn’t even DREAM of doing. Cole was super cute, but I feel we didn’t see him for a lot of the novel. Which I mean was pretty great, since there were some fabulous other characters, such as Franklin and Asher, which leads to a more developed plot. I also really enjoyed Jayla’s role in the story. She definitely added a lot of the hilarious moments in the book as the plot to uncover who posted the photos gets deeper and deeper.
Speaking of, holy moly, I totally did not see several things coming. I love how the book had a Gossip Girl-vibe to it and that there wasn’t just one big twist, but several things were revealed along the way. The conspiracy group (e)VIL (who are not really, well, evil) was such a fabulous addition as well because everything adds up in the end, and it’s a well-constructed storyline that everyone has a role in. Ockler’s novel really explores the many problems we have with social media today. Privacy, cyberbullying, and the misinterpretation of events. This happens all the time, and during high school, it can be hurtful and could end up ruining many people’s lives. Thankfully, I’ve had no such experience in the past four years of high school, but it’s definitely happened to people that I know and I could only imagine the repercussions of the damage done.
#scandal was everything you could possibly want in a contemporary novel. Filled with humor, drama, and an adorable romance, Sarah Ockler’s latest had my jaw dropping several times, and sent my into multiple fits of giggles. This was a fantastic portrayal of the digital age we live in, and truly captures the ups and downs of being a teenager. Do not pass this one up!(less)
I may have had some problems (tiny ones) with the first book, Chantress, but holy moly, Chantress Alchemy was AH-MAY-ZING. So much happened and I’m still reeling it all in! It definitely keeps you on your toes with a classic who-dun-it with larger consequences. When I heard that alchemy was going to be apart of the book (duh, the title should have been a big giveaway for me...), I got super excited! Nope, I’m not smart enough to actually know really anything about the subject. Heck, I don’t even take a proper science subject! But I do love the topic of Nicholas Flamel (the subject and main character of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel and mention in the first book of Harry Potter) and so to integrate that into this story created a much richer backdrop, as well as built up the time period and context.
Speaking of– my main problems with the first book were to do with the fact that there was no character development and world-building. THIS BOOK HAS ANSWERED MY PRAYERS! I fell in love with the characters and was able to imagine the setting so clearly. I love how much history has been put into this book, and it just gives it so much more depth that (aside from the magic and paranormal) it breathes a century's worth of famous figures and stories. Character-wise, I think that Lucy has had a huge improvement. I got kind of annoyed with her in the first book because she was so rash and thought about herself a lot, and made a lot of stupid decisions while she was at it. True, at the start, she is like Chantress-Lucy again. But there was so much character development! I feel so much more comfortable with Lucy as a protagonist now, because I’ve been able to see her mature in this instalment, and I can’t wait to see what she’ll do next in the final book of the trilogy.
I read in an interview that Greenfield liked this book a lot because of the developing romance between Lucy and Nat. That was something that I was absolutely looking forward to this book, and I was not disappointed. It seemed kind of stale and very G-rated in the last book, and there really was no connection between the two of them. I like how it progresses and continues to grow (leaving you with a somewhat heart-pounding ending), and again, I’m excited to see where their relationship will end up.
Holy hells, there’s only one thing I can say about the twist in this book:
I. DID. NOT. SEE. THAT. COMING.
Chantress Alchemy was, well, an enCHANTing read. Exquisite details, vivid emotions, and characters so real you can feel them breathe out of the pages. Greenfield’s follow-up is brilliant, spellbinding and flawless, and her words leave you hanging and hungry for more. It will be sad to see the trilogy end, but I’m eagerly waiting to devour more.(less)