How shall I explain the utter heartbreaking depth of this book? How can I make you understand the remarkable writing? How can I make you see the aweso...moreHow shall I explain the utter heartbreaking depth of this book? How can I make you understand the remarkable writing? How can I make you see the awesomeness of The Sea of Tranquility? I’m not sure how, but I’m going to try.
The Sea of Tranquility is the story of two broken people and second chances. Josh and Nastya are both broken in different ways. Josh by the unexplainable death of his family and Nastya by a tragic and traumatic event. They both need mending, they need to make difficult changes, they need help, and in a way, acceptance.
Nastya has been irrevocably changed by an undeserved attack. In the aftermath, she doesn’t know how to heal, how to deal with what happens, she loses her identify and goals for the future, so she decides to stop talking. It is a conscious and difficult to maintain decision that huts a lot of people, principally her family. Nastya’s sense of self-worth is very low and she dresses up very sexy in order to alienate any possible friends. Thankfully, a few people are able to see past her façade and become close (or as close as she allows them to be) to her. Although, she hints a lot about what happened, she doesn’t really talks about it or wants to put words to her feelings. She does everything possible to sabotage any happiness that might come her way. One thing did appreciate about Nastya is that she was a baker, like I am ;)
Josh is lost. He has suffered through many deaths in his short life and because of it and because of the angry way he behaved when the first ones happen, everyone leaves him alone. Even though he thinks he likes to be left alone, he is so very lonely. Just a handful of people care about him and he likes it that way. Josh is an artisan that creates beautiful things with wood; that’s his outlet and his passion. That is, until Nastya becomes his friend, and later so much more.
Josh, I’m so glad that you were able to see past Nastya’s lies and her ‘costume’, past her silence and hear her scream for help. I’m glad you were able to see the Sunshine behind the clouds and let it warm you in the process.
The characterization is miraculous. I found myself invested in these characters. Not only on Nastya and Josh, but also in the loyal and misguided Drew. In Drew’s family, and Nastya’s own.
The writing is some of the best I’ve ever seen. So good, fluid, illustrative, full of feelings, hurt, anger, self-loathing, and so much more. It’s an absolute priceless gem. It is part mystery, as we get small snippets of information at a time. Please read the quotes below and then form your own opinion. The story is told from Josh and Nastya’s point to views, which I loved. The characters have so much depth that I adored being in their heads. The plot is simple and masterfully crafted. It is done in a way that the reader knows much more than the rest of the characters, but still hearing the whole tale is heart wrenching. I’m pleased that we had a resolution, not a pink with ribbons ending, but a resolution nonetheless. Please don’t be upset if you cry (I do it all the time!)
A note about the narrators of the audio book: It was awesome. Since the story is told by Josh and Nastya’s point of view and there are two narrators, the book made more sense. The acting was really good, I almost wish that I could see them while they were reading to witness the anguish that I’m sure I would have seen.
As you can tell form my glowing review and from the reviews that you are sure to find, The Sea of Tranquility is one of the best books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. The combination of the amazing writing and style, awesome characterization, and the plot, makes this a must read.
A few quotes for you:
“It’s about the dream of second chances,” he says finally. He hasn’t raised his eyes from the paper on his desk and I feel him looking at me without looking when he uses his grandfather’s words. “The narrator doesn’t respect the beauty of life and the world around her, so it crushes her into the ground and once she’s dead, she realizes everything she took for granted and didn’t see right in front of her while she was alive. She’s begging for another chance to live again so she can appreciate it this time.” “And does she get that chance?” she asks Josh while I desperately focus on the poster of literary terms on the wall and wait for absolution. When it comes, I barely hear it. “She does.”
“There's a reverence in the way he kisses me that frightens me, because it's the most wonderful thing I've ever felt.”
“I'm not sure how long we sit in Josh's truck, holding hands, surrounded by darkness and unspoken regrets. But it's long enough to know that there are no stories or secrets in the world worth holding onto more than his hand.”
“I wished that my hand would work again," I tell him when he climbs in after me. it was my first wish and the only one that mattered. "I wished my mother was here tonight, which is stupid, because it's an impossible wish." He shrugs and turns to me, drowning the smile that cracks me every time. "It's not stupid to want to see her again." "It wasn't so much that I wanted to see her again,” he says, looking at me with the depth of more than seventeen years in his eyes. "I wanted her to see you.”
"He hasn't given me a place to sit. He's given me a place to belong."
About the cover: The cover is pretty good, it has the silhouette of a couple looking at each other and in between there is spilled cup with melting ice cream. I’m sure there is some symbolism to it, I just can’t see it. (less)
“It’s a small story really, about, among other things:
* A girl * Some words * An accordionist * Some fanatical German...moreTo start with a quote, this book is:
“It’s a small story really, about, among other things:
* A girl * Some words * An accordionist * Some fanatical Germans * A Jewish fist fighter * And quite a lot of thievery”
I typically avoid historical fiction when it’s based on real wars. Why? I’m not sure myself, but it’s probably because of the toll of death and suffering that I’m sure to find. I finally picked up The Book Thief, after seeing both the previous for the movie and also after seeing so many recommendations around the book blogs and Goodreads.
I wish, not for the first time, and I’m sure it will not be the last, that I was a gifted writer. I wish that I was someone that could put into words the magic that sits between the pages of The Book Thief. Alas, since I cannot, you are stuck with this review instead. The Book Thief is, without any doubt, one of the best books I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
What made this book perfection for me is Zusak’s unusual writing. Words have a meaning beyond words and feelings, they convey colors, visions, smells, pain, touch; words become concrete, tangible and above all, powerful. The narrator of Liesel’s story is Death itself. It’s not a scary book at all, it is filled with many emotions, but horror is not one of them.
Liesel has seen a lot of heartache in her short life. She is taken to a small town near Munich to foster parents just before WWII starts. Here Liesel finds a family, a best friend and words. I think words, and therefore, books, have such a big meaning for Liesel because she was deprived of both in her earlier years. She forms bonds forged in fear, love, hate,
The characterization is incredibly amazing. Rudy, Papa, Mama, Max, friends and enemies alike become alive. They are all distinct individuals with their own lives, fears and stories. I wish I could tell you more about these characters, but I don’t want to ruin the story for you. Just know that regardless of what happened, I was glad I got to meet all of you.
The Book Thief is not about the allies or the Germans or about right and wrong; it’s about how the decisions of others changed the life of many in an irreversible way. It’s about feeling and showing hate because it’s safer to do so, and the courage to do otherwise. It’s about doing the right thing when the right thing is viewed as betrayal. It’s about the power of words to change the life one girl, her adopted parents, her friends, and one Jew.
I cannot find fault with this book and I will not try to find any. As I mentioned above, the writing is sublime. The format of the book is different, as it’s divided in parts, each with a set of subtitles that might constitute chapters. Death, our narrator gives us advanced glimpses as what is to come, but I still felt the ending hit me like a punch on the face. As I listen to the final chapters of the book (and I was driving, mind you!), I cried like a baby.
I consider it my duty to tell you that if you decide to read The Book Thief, and I hope you do, please have tissues handy because there’s not getting away from crying. Even now as I think back to the story or as I selected a few quotes to include in this review, my eyes water and I have to hold back tears. That, my dear readers, is powerful. Perfection.
Some quotes for you:
“People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it's quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations with each passing moment. A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors. Waxy yellows, cloud-spot blues. Murky darkness. In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them."
“A small but noteworthy note. I've seen so many young men over the years who think they're running at other young men. They are not. They are running at me.”
“She said it out loud, the words distributed into a room that was full of cold air and books. Books everywhere! Each wall was armed with overcrowded yet immaculate shelving. It was barely possible to see paintwork. There were all different styles and sizes of lettering on the spines of the black, the red, the gray, the every-colored books. It was one of the most beautiful things Liesel Meminger had ever seen. With wonder, she smiled. That such a room existed!”
“I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race - that rarely do I even simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant...I AM HAUNTED BY HUMANS.”
About the Cover: This is probably the only bad thing about the book. It’s uninspiring and not relevant. (less)
A few weeks ago the topic for Top Ten Tuesday was about authors that deserve more recognition and I stumbled upon a list with Rosemary Clement-Moore’s...moreA few weeks ago the topic for Top Ten Tuesday was about authors that deserve more recognition and I stumbled upon a list with Rosemary Clement-Moore’s name in it. I promptly went to my local library and checked out Texas Gothic and managed to fall in love with the Goodnights.
I love the writing from the beginning. I mean, take for example the first line of the book:
“The goat was in the tree again.”
Isn’t this hilarious? I found it hard to stop reading right after that opening line. The writing is a gem, it’s straightforward, easy to read and quirky. The plot is a typical mystery, it actually reminded me to the Deadly Cool series, you know what I mean, right? The heroine is investigating a mystery that gets her in trouble multiple times and at towards the end there’s a big dangerous scene and all is well at the ending. However, the story behind Texas Gothic is different because it also involves the paranormal world of the Goodnights.
The Goodnight family is awesome! Among them they have different kinds of paranormal abilities. There are psychics (taking / seeing ghosts) and witches. I found it hilarious that they had the ability to tell when something was wrong with another member of the family, they call it the heebie-jeebies and it’s like their own 911 call and homing device rolled into one. In this installment our main character is Amy (short for Amaryllis).
Amy is ranch-sitting for her aunt Hyacinth with the help of her sister Phin. Here she is ‘contacted’ by a ghost that wants something from her and what follows is a series of both mysterious and extremely funny events on the hunt of answers. Amy is loyal, strong, and tries to keep her family out of trouble by being the voice of reason. I loved her voice so much; she is quirky, funny, ironic, self assured (you have to be to chase a cow in your undies, right?)
Phin is very scientific and less intuitive. She reminded me to Temperance Brenan from the series Bones :) I truly enjoyed reading about her and her relationship with Amy, they are so different and yet so close and they watch out for each other, as sisters should. We are also introduced to Daisy, their cousin, who talks to dead people. I’m not kidding; she actually does and she works for the police and the FBI helping them with murder cases.
Ben is a gorgeous and scowling cowboy from the neighboring ranch that, to boot (pun intended), does not believe in the paranormal. I found Ben to be so sweet at the end, even if he was quite exasperating at the beginning. Amy and Ben’s relationship is really new and I hope I get to see a bit of them in the next book.
As you can see the characterization is really good. In summary, Texas Gothic is a mystery- paranormal-engaging-fun read and I cannot wait to read Daisy’s story on Spirit and Dust next!
Here are some quotes for your reading enjoyment:
“I was generally pro-bat, except when I was trekking through the dark trying not to think about the dire fate of every horror movie character stupid enough to go into the dark with a flashlight and check the fuses.”
“Emery cut in impatiantly, "For crying out loud. Who do you think you are, Nancy Drew?" Hey," I snapped, because no one sniped at my sister but me, and Mark echoed with a stern "Chill, dude." Phin was unperturbed. "Those books were highly unrealistic. Do you have any idea how much brain damage a person would have if she were hit on the head and drugged with chloroform that often?”
“You have a funny way of showing how much you don't like me." "I don't like gophers, either, but I wouldn't leave one to suffer. I'd shoot it to put it out of its misery.”
About the cover: I really love this cover! The colors work well with each other, the font plays on the ‘gothic’ title. It is mysterious and beautiful at the same time. (less)
WOW! In a sea of new adult novels that are sprouting everywhere, Wait for You is like a breath of fresh air. I just loved this one so very much!
My onl...moreWOW! In a sea of new adult novels that are sprouting everywhere, Wait for You is like a breath of fresh air. I just loved this one so very much!
My only experience with Jennifer Armentrout’s writing is Obsidian, which I adored as well. It seems to me that she is one of the best authors at creating characters that come alive within the story.
Avery is a very complicated character. There is a traumatic and painful event in her life that changed, not only the way she felt about herself, but her relationship with her parents and with her peers. Avery is afraid of letting everyone in, afraid of pain and rejection, so much fear. She needed help that was denied to her and I’m glad that she was able to rise above it all.
I love Cameron with a passion! He is one of the best male characters EVER. He is so sweet, considerate, romantic, gorgeous, not to mention that he has the patience of a saint. Even though he got into some trouble, he tried really hard to overcome all obstacles and I think that scare put things into perspective for him.
At the end, Cam was Avery’s salvation, the lifeline she needed to get her head above water and be willing to fight for something (or someone in this case). I can really appreciate that there was no instant love between them, but rather a friendship that evolved into something ‘more’.
Let me stop here and rant for a little bit. What the *#%& (insert your favorite curse word here) was wrong with Avery’s parents? I wish (not for the first time) that I can slap a fictional character silly! For crying out loud, they should be flogged and then thrown into the sea (it seems that I have a big imagination for torture). I am a mother and if someone were to even attempt something like that with one of my kids, I can assure you that all hell would break loose! **breathing hard** Glad I got that off my chest!
Cam’s family is what families should be like, with ups and downs, but sticking out for each other and accepting everything; the good and the bad. I was glad that Avery had a chance to meet them and realize that her parents are plain crazy.
The writing is awesome. Even if the plot is pretty simple, I can appreciate the details and the angst because it had a reason. I guess you can tell that I really liked Wait for You, I’m a declared Armentrout / Lynn fan for life!
About the cover: Pretty typical for new adult, I do like the black and white picture and the contrast of the red font. (less)
What a different take on dystopia! I’m always amazed by the vision, imagination and invention of authors everywhere, that’s why you are so awesome! Sk...moreWhat a different take on dystopia! I’m always amazed by the vision, imagination and invention of authors everywhere, that’s why you are so awesome! Skylark is a testament to that :)
There are books that, for whatever reason, stay with you and Skylar is one of those. To me, the best components of the story are the story building, the setting and the writing. The story is very slow to build and I have to confess of losing interest at the beginning, I’m glad I persevered though! The world created by Spooner is nothing short of magical. It has been ravaged by wars 100 years ago and the survivors have either mutated to almost monsters, or banded themselves in walled cities that are powered by the ‘resource’, what we know of as magic. I think one of the biggest lessons that Lark learned is that evil could be found inside and outside the walls equally and that she had to be very careful to survive. The setting comes alive by the description of Lark experiences. The writing is poetic and lyrical, rich in metaphors and simile; truly exquisite. I wish I could include some quotes here, but alas, this is harder to do when listening to an audio book.
Now that you read the paragraph above, you might be wondering why I haven’t mentioned that characters yet. I’m getting to that part now. It’s not to say that the characterization was poor, but to me, it takes second place to the story itself. Lark is strong, loyal, but misguided and very incapable, at least at the beginning. Since the story is told from her POV, we get to experiences all her ‘first’. The first time she sees the outside world as she leaves her domed city is traumatic. She’s starving, tired, and scared. She makes many mistakes and is saved a few times by Oren. I loved that Lark is aware of her shortcomings and wants to earn some independence and sense of belonging.
Oren is, as Lark initially called him, a wild boy. However, he is taken with her and helps her many times, showing her how to survive in the ‘real’ world. Oren is mysterious, stoic, strong and closed off, but I liked him immediately. I have faith in you! Nix is a pixie (a machine created by the institute to track magic), that is Lark’s other companion on her travels, I loved her evasiveness and her loyalty. I don’t know why, but I just didn’t like Kris from the beginning. The other characters, such as Dorian, the renewable leader, and others are not memorable.
The plot is different and so full of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and left my head spinning. I hope that Lark learns to take care of herself and finds her missing brother Basil. I can’t wait to read Shadow Lark, the next book in the series that will be released in October of this year.
About the cover: The cover is pretty, but doesn’t give a lot away. I guess the woods are prominent and that the swirls gives it a sense of whimsy. (less)
Amazing? Wonderful? Marvelous? I wish I could find the right words to describe, not only how good this book is, but how good the series is. Into the S...moreAmazing? Wonderful? Marvelous? I wish I could find the right words to describe, not only how good this book is, but how good the series is. Into the Still Blue is the perfect ending for what has been a worthy addition to the YA dystopian genre.
Into the Still Blue starts right were Through the Ever Night ended and finds Perry planning a rescue mission for Cinder. The Dwellers and the Outsiders are having a really difficult time getting along and getting past their views and prejudices about each other. An unlikely group is pulled together and off they go. Everything that could go wrong probably does, and the Tides and the Outsiders that escape band together in an attempt to survive the worsening ether storms.
Aria and Perry are a perfect example of a couple that not only complements each other, but they make each other better. There is no love triangle, there’s no unreasonable jealously; just love, understanding and absolute trust in each other. I can really appreciate this. They keep growing as individual and leaders as well and don’t strangle each other.
The road to the Still Blue doesn’t come without sacrifices and many give their lives (some unwillingly and some not) for the good of the tribe. What happens next is a combination of war, scare tactics, strategy and stealth. Sable is one of the best villains that I ever encountered in literature. Like a typical dictator, he forces his will unto others, all the while pretending that it’s for their own good.
Roar remains one of my favorite characters; he still mourning, but by the end I saw a semblance of his old self and I’m happy for it. Brooke, Cinder, Hess, Sorren, characters old and new join our beloved couple. I have to say that the characterization is phenomenal. I felt so close to these characters. Aria and Sorren go through one of the best character growth that I’ve read about lately.
The plot can make you dizzy because it’s so full of twist and turns! Really, the unexpected seemed to always be happening and I just enjoyed the ride and went with the flow. The writing is fluid, easy to read and understand, even if we are reading about a dystopian world.
Veronica Rossi has become one of the best author in my list and I will read anything she writes for sure! Into the Still Blue is the perfect end to one of my favorite series. I hope you give it a try.
About the cover: Perfect. Just like everything else about this book :)(less)
Oh wow! I felt that when I opened this book I was given a rare jewel (pardon the corniness). Friends &...moreFind my original review here: Reading with ABC
Oh wow! I felt that when I opened this book I was given a rare jewel (pardon the corniness). Friends & Foes is, without a doubt, one of my favorite romances of all time.
What makes this book so good? The marvelous characters! They are flawed yet wonderful at the same time. Phillip (I have really good luck with characters with this name!), is an English spy and pretend dandy that cares deeply for his family. He is not fooling everyone with the charade, least of all Sorrel. Phillip is loyal, caring, and good natured. I love Phillip’s war tactics and rules!
Sorrel has a difficult life. Her childhood was not all that happy and her parents leave a lot to wish for. Nonetheless, Sorrel grew up to be fiercely loyal and caring, but forced herself to put on a tough façade to protect her heart. What I liked more about Sorel was that she refused to be a damsel in distress, she is a strong character and she can curse like a sailor to prove it! The banter between Philip and Sorrel is priceless! It is, in fact, a war of words that I enjoyed immensely.
All the characters are so well developed and unique. I love Crispin and Catherine (I have to read their story soon!), and Sorel’s siblings, Fennel and Marjie.
The plot is, all in all, good, but predictable. The writing, however, is an absolute gem. Everything, from the descriptions and especially, the dialogue are so good. The characterization, as you can probably tell from my inarticulate gushing above, is amazing. Ms. Eden managed to create a host of characters that will leave in my memory for a long while. My only objection for Friends & Foes is that I wished for an epilogue or something more at the ending, but maybe we will get to visit with Sorrel and Phillip in the next books of the series.
As you can imagine, I purchased another one of Ms. Eden’s books right away, Seeking Persephone, and I already read it (review coming soon :) If you enjoy historical romance, I highly recommend Friends & Foes.
I can’t wait to read more about the Jonquil brothers and thankfully there are seven of them :)
A quote for you:
“Let me see if I can guess your brother’s name” Phillip assumed a very speculative look. “I’ve got it! Horseradish.” “Horseradish.” “Knotweed, perhaps.” “Really, my lord.” Nutmet? Peppermint? Poppy? “Why on earth would my brother me named Poppy?”
About the cover: I have to confess that this is what made me buy this book. The cover is so pretty and delicate, don’t you think? (less)
The Parasol Protectorate is quite possible the best adult series that I follow. It falls in a ca...moreYou can find my original review here: Reading with ABC
The Parasol Protectorate is quite possible the best adult series that I follow. It falls in a category on its own, being a combination of steampunk-paranormal-mystery-romance.
I read Soulless, book one of the series a while ago; I’m not sure why it took me so long to keep reading, but I intend to rectify my mistake and get caught up. Wow! How I missed Alexia’s world! It is absolutely amazing. It takes place in Victorian London where supernatural beings, such as werewolves, vampires and ghosts, are accepted into society. In addition to that, it’s a world of scientific progress and advancement, while maintaining some of the strict views of the society of that time (namely attire and class).
Besides the wonderful characters (I’ll get to that in a second), and setting, there are two other outstanding aspects of this book (and the series): the plot and the writing. The plot of Changeless is surprising, ingenious and altogether amazing. It’s full of twists and turns, of flying machines, armed parasols, poison, and even mummies! I wish I could find the right words to describe it all. The book is called Changeless, because there is something preventing the werewolves from ‘changing’ and turning them human.
The writing is another wonder. Honestly, I don’t know how Ms. Carriger is able to create such an amazing world, characters, plot and do it all with such a quirky sense of irony and practicality. It’s pure awesomeness. At this point you might be asking why isn’t my review an A+; well because the ending had me gasping out loud in my car (remember I was listening to the book). I was so mad I wanted to do something on behalf of Alexia :(
Note about the audio book: One of the best ones ever!!! The voices, the inflection, oh my! I can hear them in my head now when I read the books. Yep, is that good :)
Lastly, I come to the characters. By now you know what I’m going to say, right? They were awesome! Besides some of the characters from Soulless, we are introduced to a few new ones, such as Madam LeFoux and her family, and Lord Maccon’s old pack in Scotland. We also get to see more of the characters introduced in Soulless, like Ivy Hisselpenny, and Felicity (Alexia’s sister), Lord Akeldama, Professor Lyal and Biffy. Alexia is such a jewel; her preternatural state, her marriage to Lord Maccon and her appointment as Muhjah, turns to be the perfect recipe for disaster. She is one of my favorite characters, and she can probably share that honor with a lot of other characters from this series!
Some quotes for you:
“Ah, Lady Maccon, how lovely. I did wonder when you would track us down.” “I was unavoidably delayed by husbands and Ivys,” explained Alexia. “These things, regrettably, are bound to occur when one is married and befriended.”
“She reached inside the wide ruffle and pulled out a little vial. “Poison?” asked Lady Maccon, tilting her head to one side. “Certainly not. Something far more important: perfume. We cannot very well have you fighting crime unscented, now, can we?” “Oh.” Alexia nodded gravely. After all, Madame Lefoux was French. “Certainly not.”
“Ivy waved her wet handkerchief, as much as to say 'words cannot possibly articulate my profound distress'. Then, because Ivy never settled for meaningful gestures when verbal embellishments could compound the effect, she said, "Words cannot possibly articulate my profound distress.”
About the cover: This is the picture of Steampunk awesomeness! This is Alexia with her unique way of dressing and a dirigible in the background. Stunning. (less)
Lately I’d been starting books to only get disinterested by them after a few pages. When I saw Hannah’s review of this book, I knew I had to try it (*...moreLately I’d been starting books to only get disinterested by them after a few pages. When I saw Hannah’s review of this book, I knew I had to try it (*waves at Hannah*). I love The Distance Between Us! Such an easy book to read, I devoured it in no time; it was just what the doctor ordered :)
The plot of The Distance Between Us is simple for a contemporary romance, although there is a twist at the end as I suspected. Now thinking back on the reason that I loved it so, I guess it has to do with a combination of amazing characters, and splendid writing. I like that there was no instant romance nor was there a marked love triangle. As I said, the writing is superb, as is the characterization.
Caymen is a big believer in irony. Her thoughts and comments are so snarky, testy and critical of everything and everyone, at least at first impression. She is prejudiced against the ‘rich’ because she has been raised that way by her mom (I knew there had to be more to that story). Caymen is pretty, smart, responsible, loyal, and outwardly perfect. However, she’s missing the experiences of having an active social life, and doing things that she love instead of feeling pressure to do the things her mother wants. Deep down it seems that she has a pessimistic (or realistic?) personality and is always expecting the worst from everyone.
Xander is mostly awesome. I am a firm believer that there is someone for everyone, in The Distance Between Us, Xander is Caymen’s someone. Even though Xander is rich, by not fault of his own, mind you; he is down to earth and was able to see under Caymen’s façade and get under her skin. He seems to have everything, money, looks, and the best of everything; but he’s reveling against a future that seems to be planned for him. I think that the ‘game’ he designed to keep seeing Caymen was a stroke of genius.
I felt bad for Caymen’s mom because she left an experience from her past taint her views of people. I think she grew to be very distrustful, strict, and unbending and tried to infuse these views and feelings to her daughter. This woman can sure hold a grudge!
This is one of the books that I wish had a sequel or at least a companion book. Why? Because I felt that there were a lot unanswered questions here. I would love to see what happens next. How does Caymen’s relationship with her grandparents develops? What happens next with Xander and Caymen? Do they get to go to college? How about the doll store and Caymen’s mom? See… I need more! I think Kasie West will quickly become one of my favorite new authors.
About the cover: I love this cover, the colors, the play of dark and light the couple standing there; holding hands and the font (see how D.I.S.T.A.N.C.E is spelled out to create, well, more distance between the letters). (less)
Well, color me surprised! I didn’t think that I would love a book in this series as well as I did Pushing the Limits, but McGarry has proven me wrong....moreWell, color me surprised! I didn’t think that I would love a book in this series as well as I did Pushing the Limits, but McGarry has proven me wrong. Crash Into You was absolutely incredible!
I think what I liked most about Crash Into You was the characters. To be honest, I was ready to dislike Isaiah, but I really fell in love with him. He is overprotective to be sure, but he’s also honest, loving, loyal, and strong. I really liked being in his head. He is a foster child and has suffered a lot in his life, but he has always strive to do what he thinks is best and to improve himself. His love and knowledge of cars is his ticket out of system.
Rachel, is a gorgeous, rich girl. She is also a lot more than that. She feels like she has to lie and pretend to fit in her family and understandably so. I felt so bad for her and so mad at her parents and even her brothers for putting so much pressure on her. Even though she thinks of herself as weak, she is not. She cannot see herself clearly, because of the way her family treats her. Her panic attacks were so painful to read, and what sucks is that she felt she couldn’t cry out and get help.
In this installment, we get to see more of Noah, Beth, Echo, Ryan and specially Logan. Rachel’s family is introduced too, which includes four gorgeous brothers. Ethan and West being my favorite. Avery is an unexpected and welcomed addition to the group and she becomes fast friends with Rachel, which she needed a lot.
The writing is, as always, so very good. I particularly love Rachel and Isaiah’s dialogue and how McGarry portrait family and friend dynamics. The story is simple and yet I found myself surprised by some of the unexpected turns. I will most definitely anxiously wait for Take Me On, the next installment in the series and West’s story.
About the cover: This is my favorite of all. It shows Isaiah and Rachel lovingly embracing each other on the back of a car.(less)
Wow! I love The Girl of Fire and Thorns, and as soon as I finished it, I had to purchase The Crown of Embers and I have to say that it was even better...moreWow! I love The Girl of Fire and Thorns, and as soon as I finished it, I had to purchase The Crown of Embers and I have to say that it was even better, which I would think it was almost impossible.
The book starts about five months after the end of Girl of Fire, on Elisa’s birthday (as did the first book). She has now the heavy weight of huge kingdom to reign over and is being sabotaged. Elisa still doubts her ability as a queen and as a woman, she is trying to find a balance between what is right and wrong, and figure out who she can trust to help her rebuilt. I am so glad that she found her inner strength and found her power and sense of self-worth from within, without the crutch that the zafira.
Elisa comes to rely in her nurse/guardian Ximena, her lady-in-waiting Mara and in her Captain of the Guard Hector. Hector is amazing. He believes in Elisa as few do, is full of good advice for her and loves her so much, that it hurts to see. I’m still upset about the ending and I hope all ends well (*pretty please*)
The character development is astounding. These characters are so special, and fully fleshed out. We see some old friend from the previous books and it seems like the next one will bring even more. There are also a few new characters; more notable are Tristán and Storm (which despite all I still liked). I don’t want to give anything away, but well done Elisa! It was time to take her rightful place and be the queen she was groomed to be!
The plot is excellent, it’s full of twists and turns and action packed. The setting is so vivid and well crafted. The idea of the Godstone is so original and although the story is full of religious references, it is not preachy at all. The writing is nothing short of amazing. You can tell by my raving on and on that I simply adore this series. I cannot wait for the sequel, The Bitter Kingdom, to be published in September.
Here are some quotes:
“For love is more beautiful than rubies, sweeter than honey, finer than the king’s wine. And not one has greater love than he who gives his own life for a friend. My love is like perfume poured out…” – Elisa’s prayer
“If you were like this, with this kind of confidence, this clarity of thought, no one would dare challenge your rule” – Hector to Elisa
“His eyes are steady and frank when he says, “I don’t regret telling you what I did” “That’s good, because you did say it, and I can’t unknown it” “And I can’t unfeel it, he says” - Hector to Elisa
“But I’m not powerless” I continue. “ I've always had my Godstone and its minor magic… And I have me. I will be enough” – Elisa
About the cover: The only thing I don’t like is the cover, it just doesn't do anything for me.(less)
I’ve always loved historical romances, in fact, I read it for years before discovering YA. It was with g...moreFind the original review here:Reading with ABC
I’ve always loved historical romances, in fact, I read it for years before discovering YA. It was with great pleasure that I read Grave Mercy, book one of the series, which I loved. Dark Triumph was, as the title alludes, darker still, but even better than the first one.
Dark Triumph starts about a few weeks before the ending of Grave Mercy and finds poor Sybella in the D’Albret’s household. We don’t know much about Sybella from the previous book, only that when she arrived to the convent, she was kind of crazy and tried to kill herself, and that she excelled at her classes and was a close friend to Ismae and Anith. That’s all we knew. A lot is explained in this book, but most of it is disturbingly heartbreaking and so sad. Sybella is a mess. She’s had a really hard and horrific life and somehow came out of it with her sanity (almost) in place. I can honestly say that I’m not sure I could have done the same. She so scared, but at the same time, she is so brave; she is fiercely loyal to those she cares about, she’s smart, and an expert assassin. She tries to do the best for her god, the convent, her friends, and those she loves, but it’s really hard to do.
What can I say about Beast? As you can imagine by the name, the man not only is of gigantic proportions, but he’s as stubborn as a mule and quite ugly. In fact, Sybella takes every opportunity to tell us just how ugly he is. But she also realizes that he is good to the core. Beast has a protective instinct that is a mile long and he cannot avoid wanting to help those weaker than him. Beast also had a painful past and understands Sybella better because of it. I am extremely happy that they found each other, that they managed to find a ray of light in all the darkness.
We get to see some of the characters we came to love in the first book. Ismae and Duval are still with the Duchess and trying very hard to hold on to the kingdom. The Abbess is also in this book and I have to say that I don’t like the lady one bit (and no one else seems to like her either). D’Albret is a devil; he is one of the worst ‘bad guys’ ever! Seriously, he is so nasty and scary!
The plot is a little less political, but more dangerous and deadly. The facts in which the story is based on are true, but some things are altered to accommodate the story line. The religious undertones are also a crucial part of the story and Saint Mortain is never too far, but unlike Ismae, Sybella takes more liberty with her victims and more pleasure in the act of killing. Darkest Triumph is fast paced, full of intrigue, twists and turns; it’s a thrill to read and it kept me on the edge of my seat. The writing is flawless, deeply descriptive, and at times lyrical. The characterization is outstanding, LaFevers manages to create a host of flawed, imperfect characters that are in different end of the scales, either so endearing to the reader that he or she overlooks everything else; or so evil that they are very easy to dislike.
Even if you are not a fan of historical fiction, I urge you to give this series a chance. It is so incredibly good, that you will not regret it! I cannot wait for Mortal Heart, book three of the series, due to be published next year.
Some quotes for you:
“Hate cannot be fought with hate. Evil cannot be conquered by darkness. Only love has the power to conquer them both.” “And just as love has two sides, so too does Death. While Ismae will serve as His mercy, I will not, for that is not how He fashioned me. Every death I have witnessed, every horror I have endured, has forged me to be who I am -- Death's justice.”
“In the distance a wolf howls. Let it come, I think. Beast will most likely simply howl back, and the creature will either turn tail and run or fall into line behind him, like the rest of us have.”
“For all that I have kissed before, I have never felt anything like this. It is as if I have swallowed a tiny piece of the sun, its warmth and light reaching into every corner of my soul and chasing away the shadows. I surrender to that kiss - surrender to the strength and the courage and the sheer goodness of the man.”
About the cover: I liked the cover of Grave Mercy a lot more, but I understand why this cover is so much darker and mysterious; it matches Sybella and the story better. (less)
I first read Leviathan in 2009 and although I had Behemoth, just like other unread (but not unloved) bo...moreFind the original review here: Reading with ABC
I first read Leviathan in 2009 and although I had Behemoth, just like other unread (but not unloved) books in my shelves, I hadn’t had the chance to read it before now. When I saw the audio book at my local library, I quickly decided to pick it up. Barking spiders! It was an extraordinary adventure!
In the audio book, actor Alan Cumming does a wonderful job. I really enjoyed the different accents (German, British, Scottish, Middle East) and different voices, it was a true masterpiece. However, I usually listen to audio books in the car and it was taking too long to finish the book that way AND I also missed the beautiful (and helpful) drawings; therefore I finished the book by actually reading my copy.
If you haven’t read Leviathan, let me give you a very brief summary. This is Steampunk at its best! It is a re-telling of some of the events of WWI (early 1900s) in which the world is divided between Darwinists (who create creatures or ‘beasties’) and Clanckers (who create amazing machines) and they are at war.
It was so good to visit again with these beloved characters. Deryn is so funny, loyal, extremely intelligent, and resourceful. She makes an extraordinary soldier, even if she has to hide in breaches to become one. Alek is so focused on making a difference that sometimes his judgment gets him in trouble. It’s a good thing that he has Deryn to look after him! He still blames himself for the start of the war.
The characterization for these series is really good; it makes the reader invested in the story and in what the characters are going through. I enjoyed all the characters, Lilit, Dr. Barlow, Count Volger, and specially Bovril. Deryn, I love you and I hope that Alek does too!
I really enjoy all the drawings, as I said before, they are beautiful AND very helpful since they portray amazing creatures and machines that help the reader visualize the huge imagination that Mr. Westerfeld has. The plot is truly a stroke of genius! It is complicated, unexpected, full of twists and turns and amazing besties and machines. I really love this series and I already order Goliath, the last book in the series.
Wow! Throne of Glass is one of the best books I read last year, and Celaena is one of the best and more complex characters that I have read about in a...moreWow! Throne of Glass is one of the best books I read last year, and Celaena is one of the best and more complex characters that I have read about in a while. If you want a test of this amazing series, you can start with the novellas and you can determine if fantasy is your thing or not. It is definitely mine!
The book starts a few months after the ending of Throne of Glass, and finds Celaena working as the Royal Assassin. So much goes on during Crown of Midnight that I don’t even know where to start! I really don’t know how she can break and knit herself together over and over again. It seems like her life alternates between happiness and deep sorrow and hurt. Celeana is really an amazing character, she is loyal to those she loves, and she is ruthless to those who threaten her or her loved ones. She is light and dark, and she provokes others to strong emotions.
Chaol and Dorian are the love interest, but this is not a love triangle because, from the beginning (and if you paid attention during the first book), you know there is a clear favorite. I’m so happy for Celaena and I hope that everything works out at the end (*pretty please*). Dorian did a lot of growing up and also went through many changes that I hope help everyone at the end.
Some things happen in this book that made me, well, cry. I will not spoil it for you, but this book is so intense, so unbelievably good, that it’s even better than the first book. I wish it were possible for me to describe the magic of the series, of Celeana’s world, these characters and the writing that makes it all come alive. The story is told in the third person, from multiple points of view, but mostly from Celeana, Dorian and Chaol’s.
What a plot! I started reading the Crown of Midnight as soon as I got to the hotel from BEA and I couldn’t put it down. The story is SO incredibly good! I was practically at the edge of my seat and I was sad, happy, mad, scared. I love this world, even though we don’t see quite as much of it in this installment. Many truths were revealed in this book (I suspected some of them ;) and I’m sure many more will be uncovered.
The ending was kind of a slight cliffhanger and I cannot wait for the next installment of this amazing series, it doesn’t matter how many books it ends up being.
Some quotes for you: (please be aware that these come from the ARC and might be different in the final book)
“… I’m bored to tears and nearly dead with cold”, she said, dropping her cloak. He remained atop the stairs, just watching her. “And it’s your fault,” she went on, stuffing her hands into her pockets. “You made me come out here, and someone left the balcony door open, so I could hear all that lovely music.”… “So you should really reconsider who’s to blame. It was like putting a starving man in from of a feast and telling him not to eat…” - Celeana to Chaol
“…Is that …chocolate cake?” “I thought you might need some.” “Need, not want?” A ghost of a smile was on her lips, and he almost sagged in relief as he said: “For you, I’d say chocolate cake is most definitely a need.” – Celeana and Chaol
There is so much more I would like to tell you, but I’m trying my best to not include spoilers!
About the cover: I like the cover, it keeps with the theme of the assassin, and Celeana looks so bad ass, right?(less)
Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! I’ll try to get over my incoherent b...moreSee my original review here: Reading with ABC
Can I choose 6 stars?
Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! I’ll try to get over my incoherent babble and get on with the review, but seriously, Sweet Peril is incredibly good!
Last year, I was lucky enough to win an ARC of Sweet Evil from Goodreads and I devoured it in no time, thus I have been impatiently waiting for book two, and boy was it worth it! I don’t know about you, but I sometimes get an unfounded fear of sequels when I love a book to much; I’m afraid that the next book won’t live up to my expectations and let me down. I should have known better and never doubted you Ms. Higgins :)
Sweet Peril starts a couple of months after the end of book one and finds Anna starting her senior year of high school. She is missing Kaidan (who wouldn’t!), and pretending to work on her dad’s trade as a result of increased surveillance by the whisperers; she has gained a rep as a party girl. Due to an unexpected and old prophesy, Anna and her dad start looking for other Neph that will be willing to ally with them in a fight to banish the demons from Earth. So our story stars with a quest to find others; Anna and Kopano travel to different places to talk to these Neph. We get to meet new characters, like Zania and Flynn and visit with old ones like Ginger, Marna and Drake. I also enjoy to read about Anna’s relationship with Patti (her adoptive mother), and her dad.
I love Anna’s character! Even though she is a sweet southern girl, she is smart, loyal and has a big helping of common sense. She knows to look at the final goal and how important that is even if they have to break a few eggs to get there. Since I was listening to the audio book I can’t tell you for sure, but it seemed to me that Kai is not in the first third of the book. This is a true testament to Ms. Higgins writing: first, I didn’t get bored because all the information was relevant and interesting and, second, Kai was present all the time in Anna’s thoughts and conversations with the other Neph.
Kaidan is, as I stated in my review of Sweet Evil, one of my favorite characters ever! I can’t get enough of him, and of course neither can’t Anna. Kai tries to be so tough and do the “right” thing, but it is so plain to see that he is crazy about Anna. The scenes between Kai and Anna are extremely HOT; like in ‘handle with care’ hot. That’s all I’m saying about that!
As you can tell, the characterization on this book is amazing. I adore these characters and even the Dukes are so bad, but distinct from one another. The plot is so good, it varies from slow and steady, to hot, to action. The writing is outstanding, Ms. Higgins as an incredible talent. Ms. Mallon did a terrific job with the narration and with the English accents!
Overall, Sweet Peril was a worthy sequel to one of my favorite reads from last year. I cannot wait for Sweet Reckoning due to be published in May of next year (...and the wait starts NOW).
Some quotes for you:
“I was more myself with you during those three days than I’ve ever been with anyone in my life. It’d be easier if I could be fake with you, but you bring out everything in me, little Ann. All of it.” – Kaidan
“God, you smell nice," he whispered. "I've missed that smell. I've missed everything about you, little Ann.” - Kaidan
“We had a secret knowledge that demons couldn't fathom. They saw love as a weakness, but they were wrong. Love would keep us going, love was our strength.” - Anne
About the cover: A beautiful and fit companion for the cover of Sweet Evil! I love the contrast in colors and how both Anna and Kai are dressed in black now. (less)
Oh my! What an awesome book (*you can’t see me, but I’m doing a happy dance right now*)! I purchased a copy of Easy after seeing in many blogs and I c...moreOh my! What an awesome book (*you can’t see me, but I’m doing a happy dance right now*)! I purchased a copy of Easy after seeing in many blogs and I cannot tell you how good this book is. A gentle warning applies here: This book is for mature young adults as it contains language and has sexual scenes.
Jacqueline was a great character. She is obviously heartbroken and at a loss when her boyfriend of three years dumps her, but she quickly recovers from the shock and tries to go on with her life. She goes through a very traumatic event as well and tries to do the right thing about it. Jacqueline is smart, loyal, understanding and, at the end, brave and compassionate.
Lucas is probably one of my favorite male characters ever. Only a strong human being can overcome so much and come out shining on the other side. He is so considerate, tender, loving, talented, and so on and so forth (really, I can write a page about Lucas alone!). Amazing.
Other characters are well crafted and contribute significantly to the story. Erin, Kennedy, Dr. Heller, even Buck have their own, well defined personality. Overall, very good characterization throughout the story.
The plot was simple and surprising at the same time. It is easy to guess what is going on at the beginning, but then we are confronted with an even bigger twist later. Ms. Webber is an amazing writer. Take for instance this quote:
“Love is not the absence of logic but logic examined and recalculated heated and curved to fit inside the contours of the heart”
I also give Ms. Webber credit for touching on many difficult topics, especially when it comes to rape. This was done in a highly effective and tasteful manner. Good job!
Easy is a book that will stay with me for a long time, and one that I will probably re-read many times. PLEASE try this amazing story, you will not regret it. For my part I plan to read Ms. Webber’s books forevermore :)
About the cover: Very appropriate cover, with both Lucas and Jacqueline in such a tender moment. Beautiful! (less)
This will be a short review, appropriate for a short novella. I see Iron’s Prophesy as an introduction t...moreFind my original review here: Reading with ABC
This will be a short review, appropriate for a short novella. I see Iron’s Prophesy as an introduction to Ms. Kagawa’s new series, Call of the Forgotten, Ethan’s Chase story. As with all the books of the Iron Fey series, I really enjoyed this installment.
What can I say? If you’ve read my blog before you know that I adore Ash. He is one of the most romantic and awesome characters that I’ve ever read about and I could never get enough of him, ever. But moving on, I really enjoyed this short adventuret. It had all the required elements: fey, monsters, an impossible quest, a big party, a loving couple, a prophesy, and so much more. Most importantly, it has my favorite characters: Ash, Meghan, Grimalkin and Puck. Yes! Puck’s back and better than ever! Although I LOVE Ash, I really missed Puck too :)
The Oracle shows Meghan a future that is full of tragedy and involves an event between Ethan and her unborn child, which triggers the end of the Nevernever. Talking about heavy! Of course, Meghan and Ash know that the future is not written in stone and decide to have their child anyway (of course they did!)
I know that with this short novella, Ash and Meghan’s story is now over, but I do hope we get to see a bit of them in the new series. (*pretty please*) Here are some of fun quotes:
“No, I’m not homesick. I might miss my kin, but my home is Mag Tuiredh, or wherever you wish to rule from…My home…is with you” – Ash
“Uh, guys? Puck glanced over his shoulder at us. Not to be rude and all, but this thing is starting to eye me like I’m a big tasty mouse. I hope you two are planning to join the party soon” – Puck
Oh, how I love this book! Don’t get fooled by the B+ grade, it is an awesome read. I just had a minor is...moreSee the original review here: Reading with ABC
Oh, how I love this book! Don’t get fooled by the B+ grade, it is an awesome read. I just had a minor issue with the ending.
This story starts by Lyla and Tripp sharing the same high school music room, but on different days. As a way to communicate with each other they start leaving notes in the guitar case. What starts as harmless and fun banter turns into a true meeting of the minds and a beautiful friendship.
Lyla seems perfect to others, but she is far from it. Yes, she is pretty, smart, very talented, but she has allowed her dad and her best friend to push her into a life she really doesn’t want for herself. Ironically, she sort of pushes Tripp into things that are out of he’s comfort zone; however, in Tripp’s case that it’s a good thing. Tripp is so funny! He is (as he is fond and proud to say) odd. Tripp loves music to the point that it’s the only thing that holds an interest to him. I loved Tripp’s relationship with his mom and how he took revenge on her for everything she did to him (hilarious!)
Tripp’s mom cares deeply for him and it’s trying to get him to be more social, the only way she knows how. Anna, Lyla’s best and only friend, is no friend at all. She is always jealous of her, full of envy, and pushes (aka bullies) Lyla to do things she has no desire of doing and prevents her from doing what she loves. I don’t understand why Lyla allowed this to go on for so long. Lyla’s dad is extremely protective (with good reason) and also expects too much from her.
The plot is well thought out and the reading is quick since the book is a combination of notes, texts, emails, and conversations. I really enjoyed the writing style and the story, but I have a minor issue with the end. First, I know that what Tripp and Lyla have is really special, they have a connection of minds and they understand each other in a way few people can. I was a little disappointed that their relationship didn’t develop into something more (and really, this is my problem I guess). Second, the ending was quite abrupt. I mean, everything was going fine and then, BAM! Something really horrible (and cliché) happens, and it seems like the story ends so fast.
Here are some great quotes from the book:
“The Termite storms out. He sticks out his tongue at the door as it slams. Is he immature? Yes. If maturity means you can grow up and take away the one and only thing that gives meaning to your son’s life, then why would anyone strive for maturity?” - Tripp
“She sings, ‘I like the sound of your name in my ear’. She stops and blushes. ‘I didn’t mean you you. I mean it doesn’t have to be based on anything true, right?” – Lyla
“’Here’s my Thrum Theory. I think every soul vibrates at a certain frequency’, he explains. ‘It’s sort of like each soul has a sound that is its signature – and your soul just wants to feel the vibrations of this sound. I think the vibrations of my soul and the vibrations of the guitar match each other, which is why it feels so right for me to play it’.” - Tripp
One of the things that I find the most amazing is that Ms. Amato and her writing partner Bill Williams wrote and recorded all the songs (they can be found here) that Tripp and Lyla wrote together.
About the cover: I find the cover very appropriate and really pretty.(less)
Oh. My. Gosh! Yep, it’s that good. The Revenants series is another one that I’m very sad to see come to...moreFind my original review here: Reading with ABC
Oh. My. Gosh! Yep, it’s that good. The Revenants series is another one that I’m very sad to see come to an end. Before I forget, let me get this out of my chest: I knew it!!! Well, now that that’s over, on with the review.
If I Should Die was so darn good that I stayed up until one in the morning to be able to finish it (a fact that I paid for dearly the next day!). I couldn’t put it down, it was SO good, with more action that its predecessors. The book starts right where Until I Die ended, which was a cruel cliffhanger. I really don’t want to spoil the book for you, but let’s just say that my worst fears came to fruition. But to our heroine Kate this just poses a challenge, a question that needs an answer and she is more than willing to find it in order to be with Vincent again.
Kate becomes even more amazing in this book, more mature, resourceful and more of a leader. It’s a good think that she found the guérisseurs in the previous book because Bran has a bigger and more important role here. Vincent is (eventually), the same as always and I adore his complete surrender and love for Kate; it’s the stuff of dreams *sigh* Theirs is one of the most heartfelt and real romances, I love them as a couple!
Oh Jules, I feel for you and I wish things were different. I missed you! We meet a few new characters in this book and get to visit with old ones as well. I enjoyed reading about Charlotte, Ambrose, Arthur, and most of all Georgia, she is a riot! As you can guess, Plum’s characterization is outstanding.
There is a ‘war’ in this book and as such there are losses for both, the good and the bad guys. It seems like there is so much that we (the reader) don’t know about the Revenants and even things that they don’t know because they were lost over the centuries.
The plot is awesome! It might be a little too convenient, but it works for me. The writing is beautiful, flawless, and well-paced. I’m a fan of Amy Plum for life; since I turned the first page of Die for Me!
I am very happy with If I Should Die, BUT think there is a lot of room for more books or maybe a companion series from Vincent’s point of view, just so we know what happens next with the Paris Revenants and with Georgia. A lot of questions were answered, however, a lot more were raised and it is the beginning of Kate’s new life, I wish to know MORE.
Some quotes for you: (please note that these are from the ARC and might change)
“And who do you think you are? Wonder Woman?” “I would say Kate’s more Catwoman,” Georgia commented. Much cooler. Less derivative.” – Ambrose and Georgia
“You are my life, Kate. I have been fighting my destiny to be with you, and after all that struggle I find myself powerless… Something inside me that had been still and silent since my first death all of a sudden sparked and began to live again… - Vincent
About the cover: These covers are all beautiful. I like the view of Kate on the bridge, looking at the water and we can see a shadow reflected on the wall (presumably Vincent). I also like the colors and the swirls(less)
I wish there were words to express how outstandingly-awesome this book is. I know that the year has barely started and it might be premature to say th...moreI wish there were words to express how outstandingly-awesome this book is. I know that the year has barely started and it might be premature to say that this is the best book of 2013, but I can safely say that it is one of the best books that I’ve ever read and that it will remain a favorite for years to come. You might think that I’m exaggerating, but I truly fell in love with the story and the characters, I hope you do too.
I put Just One Day on hold at my local library at the beginning of the year and was pleasantly surprised when I was notified that it was waiting for me. I proceeded to devour the book as fast as I could. What an amazing journey it has been! Just One Day is many things rolled into one; it is a romance, a tale of self-discovery and a journal of an incredible ‘road trip’. Allyson is infuriating at times because she is full of doubts and insecurities, but this is due to her upbringing (more about that later). In trying to please her mother and be the best daughter she could be, she forgot who she was and how to be happy. Her encounter, her time with Willem was brief but it had a profound effect on her life. At first I was really upset that she seemed to listen to everyone else’s advice and opinions instead of following her heart and forming her own opinions. As I said, all the angst and even the depression that she went through were necessary for her to really see what her life had become and how to fix it. I was immensely happy that Allyson grows so much in the span of a year. At the end she became “Lulu”, a more confident and carefree person. I think I see a little bit of my 18-year-old myself in Allyson.
Willem deserves his own paragraph. Although Just One Day is Allyson’s story, we get the gift of knowing Willem for one day, which of course is not enough (don’t worry, we get a whole book from Willem’s POV soon!). Willem’s philosophy about life and accidents resonates with me and with Allyson; the biggest problem is that he was so carefree that it made it nearly impossible for them to find each other after their one day together. Even though all the evidence pointed to a deceitful young man, I just couldn’t reconcile Willem with that image and was quite upset that Allyson believed the worst so easily. Oh, and we share a mutual love for Nutella!
On to Allyson’s parents and more specifically her overbearing mother. Now, I’m a mother of three and my aspiration in that difficult role is to raise my boys to be independent, self-sufficient, honest, happy, and ambitious individuals. The goal is to prepare them to choose their own path equipped with the best tools I can provide for them. However, this is not the case with Allyson’s mom. She leaves no room for guessing, for exploration, for individualism at all, therefore, poor Allyson doesn’t know how to do anything for herself. That, people is a tragedy!
I adore Dee, the first friend that Allyson ever made on her own because he is not afraid to be who he is and he opened his heart to Allyson. I didn’t care much for Melanie, I think she encouraged Allyson to be stagnant on her growth, when she spend a lot of time finding herself. We meet many memorable characters through Allyson’s journey that are good, bad, gentle, wise, and more.
From having read If I Stay (although Where She Went is still waiting on my shelved to be picked up), I knew that any book from Gayle Forman was destined to be amazing and I was not disappointed, if anything she surpassed my expectations. The story is simple, a couple meets and travels to Paris for just one day, they separate after an unexpected event (not yet totally explained) and the girl spends a year dealing with the consequences of the encounter, and later trying to find said boy. Oh, but the story is so much more. The writing is exquisite, lyrical and picturesque. The settings go from Pennsylvania, to New York, Boston, Paris, Amsterdam, and England and each place was amazing, especially Paris.
Overall, Just One Day is an outstanding story, I hope you love it as I did and accompany me in the wait for Just One Year, Willem’s story due out in October of this year.
Here are some quotes: (they might be a bit spilery, so read at your own risk)
“It’s something that never comes off, no matter how much you might want to” [Willem describing what love is]
“When he finally kisses my mouth, everything goes oddly quiet, like the moment of silence between lighting and thunder. One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four Mississippi. Five Mississippi. Bang.” – Allyson
“… that whole day, being with William, being Lulu, it made me realize that all my life I’ve been living in a small, square room, with no windows and no doors. Then someone came along and showed me there was a door in the room. One that I’d never even seen before. Then he open it more me. ..” – Allyson
“No it doesn’t. You’re just trying on different identities, like everyone in those Shakespeare plays. And the people we pretend at, they’re already in us. That’s why we pretend them in the first place” – Dee talking to Allyson
About the cover: The cover is gorgeous! The back cover has a sidewalk with little tables and chairs, charming. (less)
Dante stole my heart from the very first page! The Collector is an amazing debut...moreFind my original review and more about the book here: Reading with ABC
Dante stole my heart from the very first page! The Collector is an amazing debut by author Victoria Scott.
For reasons that are too spoilery (yes, I know it's not a word!), Dante lands downstairs when he dies, and in order to be able to walk on Earth, he chooses to become a Collector. There are some intricacies and politics tied to exactly how it works, but it works fine for Dante. I mean, he is handsome, confident, and loves the perks that come with the job. The problem is that he is sent to collect a special soul, namely Charlie.
At the beginning of the story Dante is all those things I said above, plus selfish, angry and cocky. You might think that these adjectives are negative, but somehow Ms. Scott created a character that is full of depth and is so ‘bad’ that it becomes endearing. In contrast, Charlie is Dante’s complete opposite. She is not outwardly beautiful, but her soul is pure and bright and so is her personality. Dante feels an inexplicable pull and attraction towards her, but he has a work to do and he is use to look out for himself. The transformation and the conflict that overtakes Dante is as fun to read as the rest of this story, and it’s gradual as well.
Other characters in the book are well fleshed out and add to the story. Annabelle and Blue are Charlie’s best friends and they form a tight circle of support and protection around her. Max is Dante’s best friend and also a fellow collector, he is also cocky and self-assured, but a loyal friend. Valery (Red) is a bit confusing to me, but can’t add anything else, least I spoil the book for you ;)
The plot is well thought out and it has a few twists and turns. Not everything is explained in this installment and, to be honest, there are a lot of unanswered question at the conclusion of the book. The writing is a gem. The story is told in first person, from Dante’s point of view and his thoughts are a thing of beauty. I also appreciate that, although the story lasted about two weeks, the romance piece didn’t feel like insta-love.
If you like ‘bad boys’, paranormal stories, demons and angels and a great romance, The Collector is the book for you.(less)
Pushing the Limits is an astounding debut for author Katie McGarry. I have to warn you though, that this book is indented for older teens as there is...morePushing the Limits is an astounding debut for author Katie McGarry. I have to warn you though, that this book is indented for older teens as there is some strong language and sexual and drug references.
Echo and Noah are one- of- a- kind characters. They have gone through so much; people that were supposed to take care of them betrayed them, and left them damaged. Each one of them devised their own coping mechanisms, even if it was the wrong approach. Echo and Noah were, in essence, two parts of a whole.
Echo is a brilliant student and artist, that tries to seek acceptance by never saying ‘no’. She tries to be the best daughter, the best student, the best friend, but in turn forgets what makes her really happy. Noah is lost, and has technically given up on the world and his only goal is to get his family back together. This unlikely pair meets and almost instantly connects with each other. What ensues is one of the most beautiful and real love stories I’ve had the privilege of reading.
What makes this story amazing are the characters. Besides Echo and Noah, we meet Isaiah, Noah’s friend and foster brother. Beth is not a likable character, but we have to admire her spunk and most of all her loyalty to her friends. Lila is a really loyal friend, Grace is not. Luke is a creep. I adored Ms. Collins; it was about time that someone was really willing to help Noah and Echo. The selfishness of Echo’s mom, the impotence and dejection of her dad; it all makes an amazing story.
The story line reminded me of Perfect Chemistry, down to the alternating point of views, and also the fact that there is a ‘bad boy’ and ‘good girl’ falling for each other. However, the story is unique in its own way, and as I mentioned before, the characterization is incredible. The writing is amazing. Ms. McGarry has the gift of now not creating amazing characters, but infusing them with reality. In her words, we can feel the pain, the angst, the hope, and most of all, the love. I cannot not say enough good things about Pushing the Limits, but I encourage you to read it as soon as it comes out (I’m serious, pre-order it right now!).
Ms. McGarry’s next book, Dare You To, is Beth’s story and it will be published next year. I’m not too crazy about Beth, but I will give it a chance for two reasons: one – I will read anything Ms. McGarry writes, and second – I hope that Noah and Echo make an appearance in Beth’s story.
About the cover: This is very appropriate cover. We see Echo (red curly hair) and Noah (talk, dark and handsome), almost kissing. We can see the setting is a school hallway and I love the shadows and that the light seems to only illuminate Echo. The title is actually silver and shiny.(less)