Review: Shackled Lily is a beautiful story of redemption. Kaitlyn (Issy) is an out of control young adult who has grown up splitting her time with a m...more Review: Shackled Lily is a beautiful story of redemption. Kaitlyn (Issy) is an out of control young adult who has grown up splitting her time with a mother haunted by heartache and depression, and a controlling father, his new wife and their son. The other family that she loaths and resents. Issy is on a true road of self destruction filling her life up with alcohol, dancing and guys. She's a master of manipulation, and wearing masks so well that hardly anyone knows who is really underneath.
This is the first book that I've read by T. L. Grey, although not the first book in The Winsor Series. I admire T. L.'s boldness and finess in writing a book that so obviously fulfills the recently developed "New Adult" genre, a genre that I find a bit risky to begin with, but to tackle it and throw in God's principles of love and forgiveness; such a tall order, and so well done! She has written realistic characters (although a bit more extreme than anyone I've ever crossed) and real life issues; partying, alcoholism, and even some drug abuse, and makes the love of Christ available even to these who some would look down upon, what could be more real than that?
The book itself was captivating. At first, I thought Issy was going to turn out to be more devastated by her mother's attempted suicide, and was a broken, selfish rich kid learning to trust and love those around her. I was pretty wrong. It took a while to get past her drinking and partying to see that she truly was trying to numb and fight against the ruling hand of her father. The matters of her heart, and her inability to love stemming from her inability to trust or believe that people weren't there just to use her. A fact that she proved with every conquest, and in her own using of people anyway. Her story was a very rocky road, and she went down it kicking and screaming the entire way.
What I Loved: The redemption of Issy's life, as well as Grant's unwaivering love. He stood by her and was a rock that she could stand on (or run away from) until she found her way. When they were able to come together and love each other freely - it was that satisfying "ah" moment at the end of a good novel. I also loved that in this book - even those who knew Christ made mistakes. It was a great picture of God's grace, and how we are always a work in progress.
Not So Much: Everybody was in love with this girl, and quite honestly - outside of being extremely charasmatic and intelligent; she herself was a bit "trashy" (to use her own words). She was obvious at throwing herself at guys, and pretty honest and up front about using them. Regardless, everytime she turned around it seemed like one of them was in love with her. (less)
Roomies was a very fun, quick read about two girls who are anticipating starting college at Berkley. Each girl receives a letter informing them about...moreRoomies was a very fun, quick read about two girls who are anticipating starting college at Berkley. Each girl receives a letter informing them about their roommate assignment, as well as the contact information for the other person. While Elizabeth (EB) is excited about the whole college experience, getting to know new people and make new friends; Laurne was hopeful for some quiet time alone, and a single room assignment. Lauren has a big family, and currently shares a bedroom with sisters who are quite a bit younger than she is.
I loved the dynamic of this book, each girl experiencing similar issues; what is going to happen with their current best friends, dealing with a summer love, and just getting ready for college in general. However, both girls are unique, and are dealing with their situations differently. Lauren, while she seems to be ready for some time alone, she is afraid of loosing her spot in the family, and she really does love hanging out and helping out around the house. Elizabeth's home life is a bit more dramatic in nature.
At first I was a little concerned that having a book written by two completely authors with alternating chapters might seem a bit disconjointed, however I think the entire project worked out very well. I felt bad for Elizebeth, however. I kind of felt like, while Lauren was having some dramas of her own throughout the book, her load seemed pretty light compared to some of the things Elizabeth was getting handed. Not only that, if my friends said some of the things that Elizabeth's friends said to her, they really would not be my friends anymore. Anyhow, in the end, I think what Lauren's father told her is a very good summerization of the point of this book:
"Live in the present, take care of the relationships in front of you now. Most friendships have a natural life, and when you've lived that out, you'll know."
This book is very age appropriate for young adults (High School age), while the topic of sex is dealt with, it is not a graphic scene, and all mentions of the subject seem to point to the choices that need to be made in life rather than glamorizing it in a way that is too mature for the age group. (less)
Review: I have read a few books that take place mostly from within the walls of a psyche-ward, or a home for troubled teens, etc. I usually like these...moreReview: I have read a few books that take place mostly from within the walls of a psyche-ward, or a home for troubled teens, etc. I usually like these books because there are time in which you feel like you get inside the head of someone who is a little off, or has trouble coping, or is just depressed to a very strong degree. I like to see character growth and recovery, which is why I pick these type of books up. It is almost guaranteed that you will “loose” a character in these novels, as the author seeks a realistic scenerio and also to display the gravity of the situation. Going in with this mindset usually causes me to be on my guard from growing to attached to characters, especially supporting characters.
So here we have A Million Little Snowflakes, which I have already indicated is not a “new” concept at all. One of the things that drove me toward requesting this book on NetGalleys was that it was narrated from the male perspective, and given the types of books I enjoy, this doesn’t happen very often. Plus, that cover is very pretty and a bit heartwarming. I wish that the story were the same. Honestly, while the concept was there, this book lacked in so many areas. I cannot complain about not liking how the story turned out – it’s not my story to tell – although I didn’t. I can, however, complain about the lack of depth. Oliver, instead of coming off as depressed, comes off as a typical teenager with a very extreme family. Honestly, had he just reached out to his father (instead of his mother) the entire hospital trip would have been avoided, and probably a million other things as well.
Reading this book was like reading a long narration of day-to-day events, but the descriptions and interactions lacked, big time! While yes, there was character interactions, it felt choppy and lackluster, at best. While each of the characters were described, I didn't feel like I got to "know" any of them really well. The “treatment” portion of the book seemed unrealistic. I mean, this guy walks into an office, has a three minute evaluation and is diagnosed with depression and is Bi-Polar? Based on what, one off-the-wall statement made at a dinner table and the narrators own confession of depression? If it really works this way, I want NOTHING to do with this kind of treatment. The very few therepy-type sessions we are included in as readers show no growth, no improvement. It’s just a basic, “how are you?” “I’m fine,” type deal, with a few additional details here and there, and Oliver coming unhinged at random intervals. The thing is, outside of making a stand for "his women," this doesn't happen any other time. Once again, I feel like we are looking in on a life of a normal, every day teenager. The biggest bulk of the book is dediated to Oliver's feelings toward Lacey, and descriptions on what is going on with her (most of which internal debate). One minute he can’t figure this girl out, the next minute he’s all but confessing love. The “romance” is so skewed, with no real dept, there really just isn’t anything to latch on to or enjoy.
I feel like I'm being mean, and I actually feel bad that I'm going to post this review. I typically will avoid reviewing a book I didn't care for out of respect for the author, but I was asked to post an honest review and that is what I'm attempting to do. I cannot know what it takes to try and put an entire book down on paper. I know for sure that it's a whole lot harder than it is for me to sit and read, and make judgements based on my own thoughts and opinons. I want to honor and respect anyone who can and is willing to sit and write books, since most of my "entertainment" hours are spend reading said books. It is also my hope that authors take what they can of bad reviews and use whatever good feedback they can and throw out everything that is completely useless, without a second thought.(less)
I'm a sucker for Jane Austin re-makes. EspeciallyPride and Prejudice. It's my favorite Austin novel, as well as my favorite movie of all times! So it...moreI'm a sucker for Jane Austin re-makes. Especially Pride and Prejudice. It's my favorite Austin novel, as well as my favorite movie of all times! So it is always hard to pass up a modernized version. I recently found a mime on Pinterest that said "All women want a Mr. Darcy. Unfortunately all men have no idea who that is." My guess is that this is about 99% truth. (I tested it, asked my husband, "Do you know who Mr. Darcy is?" The answer was no. Which is surprising, since I watch the movie at least once a quarter. Or at least every time I pick up a P&P remake. It took everything in me not to put down this book and put in the movie this time around.
And there you have my review. Sort of. The modernization was good enough. It centered around the dog show arena and of course the rich and...not-so-rich. The book included plenty of Darcy, and Elizabeth moments, many of which avid fans will recoginize either from the book or by the movie. In fact, many of the key phrases from the book were utilized here. Elizabeth, true to the original, was a master of misunderstanding Darcy, but in this version it was almost to a fault. In fact, I think that both the pride and the prejudice fell to Elizabeth most strongly in this rendition. Mr. Darcy was constantly putting his foot in his mouth, and more than once I felt that Elizabeth's responses and disdain were uncalled for. I got a bit frusterated with her refusal to hear Donovan Darcy out, and if I were him, I most certainly would have given up on trying after so long. Mr. Darcy was charming and compassionate and understanding. He was apparently quite handsome, although for some reason I had a hard time picturing this particular Darcy in my head.
The dog shows, while the common ground between Elizabeth and Darcy in this book, were really a rather small part of this novel. I did enjoy the the bits that were there, but I think when I requested the book part of me had actually hoped on a few funny scenes and dog antics, but other than a scene of a dog peeing on beautiful carpet there really wasn't any thing like that. I guess they were show dogs, and were trained to absolute perfection.
While I guess I didn't LOVE, love this book, I still always enjoy an Elizabeth and Darcy rendition, in its (at this point) many varieties. I love the different interpretations of the brooding, overly-handsome Darcy, and Elizabeth's fumbling of the relationship. If you're an Austin fan, and enjoy modernizations, I see now reason why you wouldn't enjoy this novel.(less)
I was destine to enjoy Defy for many reasons. I have this crazy attractions to books that are seemingly historical, whether they are or not. Actually,...moreI was destine to enjoy Defy for many reasons. I have this crazy attractions to books that are seemingly historical, whether they are or not. Actually, I think what draws me to them is not that they are historical, but that they lack much of modern technology (although, I’ve been known to enjoy a steampunk book now and again, which sort of throws this theory out a different window). The characters do not have the ease of jumping in a car or a plane and heading off to their destination. They either travel via foot or horse or whatever animal happens to be available. There are usually little to no guns, much less machine or automated guns; instead they have bow and arrows, swords, etc. I also love the fantasy aspects, magic and evil of a very dark nature. Some of the books that come to mind that fall somewhat into these categories include:Throne of Glass, Pillars of the Earth, Robin Hood, Scarlet, and Graceling, to name a few. So seeing Defy on NetGalley, and so recently after having read Throne of Glass, I knew it was for me.
At first I was afraid that Defy was going to be a bit too much like Throne of Glass and I wasn’t going to enjoy it, but as the story line moved from the initial “I’m extraordinarily good at what I do,” phase and into the real meat of the book, it took on a life of its own. Alex(ia) shapes out to be such a three dimensional character; a girl disguised as a boy to protect herself from the terrifying breeding house. She and her brother join the army, then are able to join the guard to the spoiled crown prince, Damian. She lives in a kingdom run by a tyrant king who makes it his goal to banish all forms of magic everywhere, under the guise of revenge over his murdered wife and queen.
The story-line really was the best part about Defy. I really enjoy watching it play out; Alexia determining who to trust and how far to get involved. Then as her back story starts to come out, and peoples true characters are revealed. All things that sucked me in and had me reading this book in less than two days. I also enjoy strong female characters (although unbeatable female characters, while fun, are getting to be a bit over-done). The climax/conclusion of Defy was the best! The story had its fair share of victories and heart break – and that’s not referencing the love triangle.
Ah, the dreaded love triangle, we all know how I feel about love triangles. I would have to say this was a bit of a lopsided triangle, since Alexia had a few moments of vacillating before choosing her guy. HOWEVER, the ending of this book leaves me to believe book two might have more vacillating involved. I really, really hope not. I hate that. I hate books being over-run with this “I want both of them” crap. Another thing I would have to point out is that Defy was a bit heavy on the visual drooling on Alexia’s side. Rarely in a YA novel do I notice so many references to the body (chest, arms, shoulders) of the male. Yes, they usually are described (muscles, or skinny and lean or whatever) enough to give you a mental picture, then the author may go back to one defining feature (great hair, eyes, whatever) however Defy did seem to linger a bit long. As a twist to their story, I was expecting Prince Damian to hold off a bit longer and play with Alexia a bit before revealing that he knew she was a girl. It was obvious from nearly the onset that he knew, and for a while it seemed like he was going to slip up and do something awkward. I guess pushing Alexia up against a wall for a kiss while she thought he thought she was a boy might have been a bit traumatic to Alexia.
If I had to stick my finger on one part of the book that made me squirm and in a way want to throw up – it would be the breeding house. It was uncomfortable to read, to say the least. I understand it’s purpose, and how we were suppose to hate the king , etc. I can’t even say that the book would be better or worse without this aspect. It was just hard to read, and almost throws this book out of YA and into the New Adult category for me.(less)
I have found that I like Lauren Morrill’s writing style quite a bit, as I read Meant to Be earlier this year, and was granted access to read an ARC ve...moreI have found that I like Lauren Morrill’s writing style quite a bit, as I read Meant to Be earlier this year, and was granted access to read an ARC version of Being Sloane Jacobs from Netgalley. Her story telling is very simple and sweet, creating likable characters and stories that touch your heart without squeezing it to little bits before attempting to put it back together again.
Being Sloane Jacobs was a quick fun read. It is the whole “parent swap” concept meets the ice! The characters, (both Sloane Jacobs), have a lot of depth and they were teachable, which I enjoy. I hate characters are written so stubborn or set in their ways that they are unable, or unwilling to change at all, and then at the end of the book it's like (BLING) a light goes on, and all is well in the world with everything resolved. I loved how Lauren Morrill painted parallels between the characters; each version of Sloane has their own demons and reasons for making the swap, but they each learn life lessons, deal with bullies, make new friends and, in the end, find themselves. Like I said, it was a fun, sweet, simple book.
While the plot line may not be overly original, and the ins and outs of the book were easy to predict, I enjoy quick reads that make you love the characters and makes your heart happy. There are plenty of books out there with all the suspense any one person can handle, now and then we just need to sit back, relax, and make new friends. I would recommend this book to those who love to read books by Sarah Dessen, and completely recommend it for teenagers of all ages.(less)
Easy was easily not what I was expecting, yet satisfying in so many ways. The number one reason I love this book; it addresses rape, and the different...moreEasy was easily not what I was expecting, yet satisfying in so many ways. The number one reason I love this book; it addresses rape, and the different levels of it – and clearly defines what rape is without it being a text book. My hope is that anyone who reads this book and…may have found themselves in this situation, will feel empowered by the book and not discouraged. The consequences of being embarrassed and confused and letting anyone get away with something as ugly as rape is unnecessary, although it might be hard to stand up and fight against. I think Easy addressed it so very well.
Outside of that, I loved this book for Jacquline and Luke’s story. It was a typical love story between good girl and apparently bad boy. A love of wonderful kissing scenes and so much respect and love shared. Their story felt real and wonderful and hard at the same time. There was no really one of those huge dramatic partings in the middle of this book where boy sits in one corner and sulks and pouts, and girl sits in the other corner and sulks and pouts until the two decide that their differences are stupid and they come back together. Thank you for that!
This book is most certainly, without a doubt, a part of the new adult category – despite it’s placement on my libraries website. There is language, sexual content, and of course rape (none of the above is graphic baring the language of course). There are many adult situations. I do not recommend this book for teenagers.(less)
I'm still truly trying to process how I feel about this book overall. It was good enough to keep me reading until the end. The writing was actually pr...moreI'm still truly trying to process how I feel about this book overall. It was good enough to keep me reading until the end. The writing was actually pretty great. It's the story I'm not sure if I like. (less)
I can’t even remember how I came across this book, honestly. It seems like I was poking around on Goodreads, and noticed on something – but then again...moreI can’t even remember how I came across this book, honestly. It seems like I was poking around on Goodreads, and noticed on something – but then again, it seems like it was on Amazon.com first, because I remember their descriptions/synopsis sucked, so I went to Goodreads to see if I could get something better – which of course I did. Goodreads almost always has a good description of the book. Plus, if you read reviews, they are mostly reliable.
So Throne of Glass; first of all, the first thing I think of is “Game of Thrones,” which I think is natural given the popularity of the show and books, so I had to do a double take to realize that this book had nothing to do with the other. Reading the synopsis, I knew immediately this was a book that I would be interested in, and hoped that the reviews were trustworthy. THANK YOU follow bloggers/Goodreads reviewers, you did not steer me wrong in this one. I absolutely loved this book.
Describing Throne of Glass to my husband was interesting to say the least. I don’t usually talk about books with him, just because the majority of the books I read he wouldn’t be interested in, but I knew that this one was just interesting enough that he’d probably be okay discussing it with me. However, I used a myriad of similes while describing this book to try to give him an idea of what we were dealing with. The first is an obvious, Celaena is a lot like Katniss of the Hunger Games, however minus any self doubt, in that she is just simply awesome. Celaena was trained from the age of 8 to be an assassin, and she is quite simply the best. She knows it, and anyone who has ever heard her name knows it. The next comparison I made was between Celaena and Sherlock Holmes (hear me out here)! We are not talking about the books – which is what confused my husband – but the most recent movies with Robert Downey Jr. The scenes where he sees what’s coming and he mentally goes through all the moves as to how he’s going to get out of the situations. Celaena does this as well, as an assassin, she is trained to know the easiest and most effective way to get out of situations, so from the beginning she is constantly mentally going through scenarios as to how she can disarm, escape, kill, etc. However, she is smart enough to watch all the cards on the table and see what hand she is being dealt. This constant awareness, though, starts to happen less frequently as Celaena gets more comfortable with her surroundings and the people around her. As she becomes less of a being looking to defend and look out for herself, and more of a girl with emotions and a great personality. And finally, as a description of the kingdom that we are looking at, I briefly used the BC show’s Merlin, a kingdom where magic exists, but it is illegal/banned/will get you killed in a heartbeat.
So here we are, combining many of my favorite book attributes into one beautiful novel. Er, well series actually. Of course. Unfortunately, the storyline of the love triangle is not lost on this book either. I mean, everything else was included too, right? (I HATE LOVE TRIANGLES!) I will say, that within this novel, the romance is a byproduct of the book. It was perfectly played out. Celaena was a little oblivious, or maybe not oblivious, but being obtuse when it came to the men in her life, but still yet, it wasn’t horrible. What IS horrible is the fact that both Prince Dorian and Captain Westfall are equally as appealing. It makes it very difficult to come to grips with the love triangle when there isn’t a clear cut “I like this guy” in the scenario. So outside of that, I loved this story – Celaena is fighting for her freedom, which comes with a cost of it’s own, but at least she has a definite goal and end in sight, and she’s no longer a slave in a salt prison, right? I’m sure that this all plays out interestingly in future books. But then throw in the elements of magic, and it’s not overwhelming within the book – just enough to keep you interested and curious. It makes you want to know who Celaena really is, and how this is going to end. This, in my eyes, makes Sarah J. Mass a great story teller. She’s got foreshadowing down to an art, however did not leave the book in some scream-worthy cliff hanger…just enough to make you want more. NEED more!
Fantasy/romance/strong-female character/evil kingdoms/injustice/rebellion – all the wonderful beautiful elements in creating a story…a fairytale if you will, that you will not want to miss! (less)