I picked up Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas and literally could not stop reading it all day unless I absolutely had to go do something else. Throne of Glass is an amazing, engrossing fantasy that captured me from the early pages.
I’m a huge fantasy fan. I admitted a few days ago that I liked Tamora Pierce’s books more than the Harry Potter books. So Throne of Glass was right up my alley. There’s swordfighting, knives, assassins, princes, soldiers, magic, castles, foreign lands, and more! Everything about the world Sarah J Maas created appealed to me and she built it splendidly. I’ve never seen a castle made out of glass, but it was so easy for me to picture in my mind because she’s definitely a fantastic world builder.
Celaena was ballsy and brave with a biting wit, but she also had a soft, girly side that wanted to look pretty and I can see her appealing to many readers because of how complex of a character she is. I really admired her and a lot of decisions she made throughout Throne of Glass – which is kind of rare cause usually I’m reading a book and shaking it like I can actually shake the protagonist.
Throne of Glass does have a love triangle, but it wasn’t annoying to me. We got bits and pieces of information from the point of view of Dorian and Chaol that kind of showed us how each of the guys felt about Celaena and allowed us to see their developing feelings and that was an added bonus. But the relationship with Dorian just didn’t really work for me – and I was definitely rooting for Chaol from the beginning – so I’m interested to see where the romance subplot goes in the next book.
The story in Throne of Glass was typical enough to remind me of all my favourite fantasy books, but at the same time was an original and engaging – and complex, with all its subplots – story that essentially kept me trapped until I finished the story. I loved the idea of all these assassins competing for the title and a lot of things were hinted at that I think will become very interesting in the next book.
I can definitely see Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas being a series that I reread time and time again, just like I’ve done with all of Tamora Pierce’s books. If you’re looking for a fantasy with a complex characters, not to mention a complex story – and fantastic world-building – do not miss Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas.(less)
I bawled in some parts of Something Like Normal by Trish Doller. I mean, Something Like Normal is heartbreaking and inspiring and hopeful but heartbreaking and I just have trouble putting into words all the emotions I felt while reading it.
Because on one hand, I was like YAY TRAVIS AND HARPER and then on the other hand I was like, wow Travis really has some issues he really needs to focus on himself, and I was also like GO TRAVIS STAND UP TO YO DADDY and just so many different things. That’s how awesome Something Like Normal was – I felt EVERYTHING.
And how refreshing is it to have a male protagonist and also a romance that’s heavily featured? I thought Trish Doller’s male protagonist storytelling abilities were very realistic, at least as far as I can tell.
Ugh, and the ending of Something Like Normal was just PERFECT. What a brilliant, moving, emotional contemp. Something Like Normal by Trish Doller is relevant and beautiful and you just need to pick it up. Like now.(less)
Excuse me while I fangirl over how freaking awesome Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock is! I mean, Hemlock is LEGIT. I thought I was kind of over werewolves and what not, but Kathleen Peacock sucked me right back in with Hemlock!
I mean, okay, first of all – the plot in Hemlock is EPIC. It’s werewolves, but it’s not your typical always hiding from people werewolves. Because everyone knows the werewolves are there and there’s organizations to get rid of them and organizations that support werewolf rights and basically Kathleen Peacock creates a world and storyline of epic in Hemlock.
OH AND OKAY, I’m jumping ahead here, but THE ENDING. I didn’t see the end of Hemlock coming at all. I legit had NO IDEA that’s who the killer would be and I was so happy with it.
Loved the characters. Cue lots of swooning over Kyle. I do mean a lot. And I thought Mac was such a teenager, and I loved it. Her best friend died and she blamed herself and she felt guilty and sad and I LOVED it. Because it felt so real, even though she’s surrounded by werewolves. She was also determined and loyal and normal. I mean, she got scared when she had a huge werewolf coming after her. She didn’t try to pet it or anything, she was terrified. NORMAL. LOVE IT.
To sum it all up – Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock is not to be ignored. Hemlock is an epic debut with awesome characters and a unique plot that is sure to suck you in. Even if you’re not into werewolves – even if you’re totally over werewolves, check Hemlock out.(less)
Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini blew my freaking mind. Touching the Surface is one of those books where I was going “what the effffff” all the way through and still found myself sobbing at the end.
I’m at a loss to describe my feelings for Touching the Surface. It was just unbelievably beautiful and freaking confusing and just one of those books that is going to stick with me.
I loved that Touching the Surface was a book involving the afterlife, but wasn’t pushing any beliefs down my throat. Kimberly Sabatini creates an amazing world out of the afterlife and what a concept it is. I loved all the different aspects, like delving into memories of their past life. And being able to alter their afterlife with just a thought, whether it’s adding in a lake or just simply changing a phrase on a t-shirt.
Touching the Surface has a lot of heart. The characters all felt so real and their issues were just heartbreaking. Because even though it was such a strange and unfamiliar setting, the issues were so real – loss, fighting with family, with best friends, heartbreak, etc. It was a really relatable story, even though the setting was just so mind-blowingly weird/awesome.
My review of Touching the Surface is a bit strange, but Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini is a strange book – but in amazing way. The writing is beautiful, the story is heartbreaking, and despite my feelings of what in the world, I was just sobbing at the end of it all. It was hard for me to let go of the characters in Touching the Surface. Definitely be sure to pick it up!(less)
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons kind of snuck up on me with how freaking good it is. I wasn’t sure I was going to get around to Article 5 for a while, but then I offered to trade it to someone, so I kind of had to pick it up.
And oh my god I am SO GLAD that I did. I originally picked Article 5 up planning to read 10 pages or so before getting started on my homework…and I literally ended up reading 200 pages before I had to pick someone up, and then I immediately picked Article 5 back up again and finished it.
Yeah, talk about an engrossing story. I mean, Article 5 is INTENSE. It’s way more violent than I expected it to be and I was so nervous for the characters half the time – I felt like I was watching an action movie!
Okay, and the characters! Ember! I loved her. She is LOYAL. She loves her mother. She wants to save her mother. I admire her dedication and her strength and even though she does some dumb things, she pushes onwards. And Chase. I have such a thing for the name Chase and I had such a thing for this Chase because even though he was self-sacrificing to the point it made me want to shove him out of a car, I still wanted him to protect me (or Ember, whatever) from all the bad guys in the world.
Okay, back to the story – the moral statues were SO MESSED UP. I can’t even begin to imagine living in the world Ember and Chase lived in, and after reading Article 5, I don’t even want to try!
There are a lot of really excellent dystopian novels with literary goodness and emotional what not. But I thought Article 5 was original in its badass-ness. The characters were real, they were loyal and interesting, the story was engrossing and intense and if I had been watching Article 5 as a movie, I would have had to cover my eyes a few times. It doesn’t have the overly descriptive writing of some dystopians, but the writing inspires imagery just as well.
Seriously, if you guys like awesome protagonists and stories that suck you in (and don’t mind a couple of gun fights), you really ought to go pick up Article 5 by Kristen Simmons. It’s a fabulous debut and I can’t wait for the next book.(less)
I have been waiting and waiting for Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood for what feels like AGES now. If you know me, you know I love all things witches, so I went into Born Wicked expecting pure awesome.
And I was totally not let down. Isn’t that such a relief? I freaking loved Born Wicked and I just want to read it over and over again. First off, because the writing was gorgeous and so talented, and I love reading a debut author and thinking – I want to read everything this author ever writes.
Also? The characters. I loved the three sisters – Cate and Tessa and Maura – and how varied their personalities were and their individual story lines were all so different, yet they all worked well with each other, to balance each other out. But at the same time, Cate was clearly my favourite – I was rooting for her all along. And Finn. While Born Wicked initially presented itself as having a love triangle, it quickly became clear to me – there’s no contest there. And the kissing scenes. You know.
OKAY AND THE STORY. I don’t usually capslock over the entire story of a book, but I swear, I want to capslock all over Born Wicked. Because the storyline is so engaging and upsetting at points and even if you know and you say “yeah, that’s going to happen later on” – it goes way beyond the expected.
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood is, legit, one of my favourite books of 2012 so far. I love witches, I love historicalish books, I love swoonworthy boys and family drama. Born Wicked had it all and did it badass-ly. Check it out.(less)
Guys, Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen is SO FREAKING GOOD. I’m on a book high right now, I swear. I can’t stop smiling!
Scarlet has it all, seriously. It’s a story about Robin Hood & his bandits (clearly), it has slow burn romance, it’s got kings and sheriffs and taverns, it has some serious action scenes and majorly high stakes, and the protagonist, Scarlet, is such a freaking badass. Oh, and Robin.
Seriously. Robin is kind of the most amazing guy I’ve read in book in a while. And yeah, okay, he’s Robin Hood, but we’ve always sort of seen Robin Hood from Robin Hood’s eyes, right? But from Scarlet’s eyes? He’s like doubly and triply amazing.
And the slow burn romance (I have no idea who I stole that term from, sorry!). Sure, Scarlet thinks Robin is attractive from the beginning, but there is so much slow burn in this book it’s almost torturous. But so amazing.
A.C. Gaughen’s writing in general throughout Scarlet was basically amazing. She sure knows how to tell a story. I mean, writing action scenes with all the chaos and confusion and swords and daggers can’t be an easy task. But she did it and she did it well in Scarlet.
There have been a lot of series in the past few years. And sometimes it’s tiresome. But Scarlet is one of those books where I am seriously hoping so hard that it’s a series because I need to read more about Scarlet and Rob and their story. Or just more books from A.C. Gaughen in general.
Basically – go read Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen. It’s fabulously written with developed and awesome and brave and interesting characters, and has a story that’s familiar, but also very engrossing and action-packed and just all around awesome. Scarlet is one of those books that grips onto you and won’t let you go until you’ve finished – and then it leaves you wanting more.(less)
Gilt by Katherine Longshore completely and utterly overwhelmed me. In a great way, but a heavy way. If you know the history of Henry VIII, Catherine Howard, and his many other wives, you can probably guess that Gilt is anything but a light book.
But my goodness, Gilt is a beautiful book. Katherine Longshore’s writing style is perfect for historical fiction. Even though Gilt is set in the 1800s, Katherine Longshore’s writing didn’t feel stilted at all. I thought it all flowed very beautifully, and I can easily see people who typically don’t read historical fiction enjoying Gilt.
Kitty made my heart hurt. I was so worried through her all throughout Gilt. I mean, I know what happens to Catherine Howard – it obviously does not end well for Henry VIII’s fifth queen. And every little bump in the road was so nerve-wracking because I loved Kitty and admired her fierce loyalty – despite the dangerous road it led her down – and William! Guys, I was rooting for them all the way, even though he had his moments of not-so-goodness.
Thankfully, Gilt is a series. I’m not sure what I would have done if it wasn’t. Gilt is just so heavy and downright depressing at some points and I just wanted to cry – I was so overwhelmed by it all. I wanted a happy ending for everyone! But I’m very, very curious to see where Kitty’s story takes her in the future.
Basically – Gilt by Katherine Longshore rocked. It was heavy and depressing, but beautifully written with an intense story. Gilt is definitely for fans of historical fiction, but I also recommend giving it a try even if it’s not your usual read. Gilt is captivating in its courtly glory, but full of dangers and secrets around every corner.(less)
If I Lie by Corrine Jackson is a brilliant and stunning debut. I love those contemps that really bring out the emotion and the tears and If I Lie definitely accomplished that.
There was a lot of depth to If I Lie, a lot of complex, real, and relevant issues facing us today. The bullying in If I Lie was absolutely shocking and heartbreaking and really made me think about the issues at hand.
And man, the mean girls are MEAN in If I Lie.
I loved Quinn, the protagonist of If I Lie. I loved the way she stuck to her decisions no matter what. Quinn was ballsy and brave and she got dealt a shitty card, but she didn’t back down. And all the family drama on top of all the stuff Quinn was dealing with – I loved it! There is nothing I love more than reading about screwed up families and If I Lie was another brilliant, screwed up family to add to my favourites list.
The twist, so to speak, in If I Lie was fairly predictable, but at the same time, I didn’t even think the twist was the focus of If I Lie. I loved reading about how Quinn handled her bullying and how she dealt with her feelings and all the things going on with her family.
Basically, you need to pick up If I Lie by Corrine Jackson. If I Lie is a fantastic debut that highlights very relevant issues today. The characters are all very well done – even the antagonists felt very dimensional to me, no oen fell flat. If you’re looking for a great contemp, I definitely recommend If I Lie by Corrine Jackson.(less)
OH BOY. I mean, really. You know those books that have you talking out loud to it, going “OH MY GOD” and “HOLYYYYY EFF” and “WHYYY WOULD YOU DO THAT?” Yeah? Well Cinder by Marissa Meyer is one of those books. And to clear up any possible misreadings of this paragraph, THAT’S A GOOD THING. Because Cinder is AMAZING.
I was literally freaking out throughout at least half of Cinder because it is seriously such a roller coaster of action and plot-ness and monarchies and sci-fi and romance and murder and plague and the future and seriously, not a single down second. Once I started reading Cinder, I did not want to put it down.
And yet? I never wanted it to end! I wanted to savour Cinder slowly, reading as little as possible so I would always have more. Clearly, I was conflicted about how to read Cinder.
But the characters – the futurisitic retelling of Cinderella and making it even more badass – it was all just so well done. And even though Cinder is a book with cyborgs and and androids lunar people and crazy mind control, it’s so visual and I could really immerse myself in the world.
And, yes, I’ll be honest, there was one major plot thing I saw coming a mile away (or from the start of the book) – but that’s okay! I don’t care – I WANTED it to happen.
I’m basically just fangirling like crazy at this point, but seriously, if you were thinking about skipping Cinder by Marissa Meyer, don’t. I can’t even recommend it to someone who just likes one genre – if you like books at all, you will love Cinder. (less)
It’s no secret how much I’ve been looking forward to reading Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn – and once I got it, I admit, I held off reading Tokyo Heist for a bit because what if it didn’t hold up to my expectations? I would be devastated! (Please tell me I’m not the only one who does crazy things like this.)
Thankfully, Tokyo Heist totally lived up to my expectations. I was immediately sucked in by Violet and her love of manga and art and the cute boy and the MYSTERY. I was a little worried for about 20 pages because I was like DO THEY EVEN GO TO TOKYO I NEED TO KNOW but duh, they do. Silly impatient me.
Okay, let’s start with Violet. I know absolutely nothing about Manga, and my knowledge of Japanese culture extends to reading the blog of a girl I know who studied abroad in Japan for a year. So I don’t know a lot, basically. But Violet is so into manga and Japanese culture and I kind of loved living vicariously through her as she explored Japan for the first time.
Also, I absolutely loved the way Violet incorporated her real life mystery into the manga she was actually creating as the story went on – Kimono Girl sounds kind of awesome and I would definitely read the manga if it were a real thing!
And, Violet is ballsy. As much as I love to read about mystery, I don’t know that I would have the guts to snoop around Seattle and Tokyo when Japanese gangsters are involved, you know?
Another thing I loved about Tokyo Heist is that it wasn’t entirely focused on romance. Oh, there’s romance alright – and it’s MY FAVOURITE KIND – but Violet is way more focused, for the most part, on who stole the bajillion dollar Van Gogh painting and what not, which kind of rocked. It bugs me when books are focused solely on romance, and Tokyo Heist definitely balanced everything very well. Plus, Reika, Violet’s friend, played a huge role in the story and I am all about the friendship.
THE CULTURE. I loved the way Diana Renn integrated various Japanese words into Violet’s vocabulary how, as Violet was introduced to important customs in Japan so were we – but not in an overly “I’m teaching you this is how it’s done” kind of way, you know?
Plus, the setting was AWESOME. I loved how Diana Renn beautifully described all these different areas of Japan and now I’m officially traveling there. Basically.
And I loved how the art thievery/mystery was set up. All sorts of important details are included throughout Tokyo Heist, and I was able to put them together myself, which I loved – it makes me feel SMART.
Okay, I have fangirl-ed like crazy over Tokyo Heist and over Diana Renn, and in case you couldn’t catch my drift – you should go pick Tokyo Heist when it comes out. Tokyo Heist is a fun and thrilling book featuring art thievery, cute boys, foreign settings, and mystery galore.(less)
Storybound by Marissa Burt is the perfect book for lovers of middle grade fantasy and adventure. From the first few chapters, the reader will be sucked into the land of Story, just as Una Fairchild is.
Marissa Burt did a great job building the characters in Storybound. There were a lot of characters, but none of them ended up falling flat – each had their own story to add. Una Fairchild, the confused protagonist lost in a strange world and there’s Peter who desperately trying to live up to his family name and be a hero. And of course his family with their secrets, and Sam the sarcastic cat. It’s even hard not to love Snow, the mean girl from a broken home.
Despite the various point of view changes throughout Storybound – often without warning – it’s easy enough to follow along. In fact, the changes in point of view actually make sense and make up a necessary element of Storybound.
The worldbuilding and storytelling in Storybound was done wonderfully. There’s so many fantastical elements that make up the land of Story and all the rules that go along with it. Muses, tale keepers, villains, heroes, ladies, etc – each had an important role to play but Marissa Burt was able to build it all up without overwhelming the reader.
Any lover of fairy tales is bound to enjoy Storybound by Marissa Burt. Storybound is engaging and full of mysteries and adventure, as well as beautiful world building and characters that you can’t help but love.(less)
I have no idea why I put off reading The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellisen for so long. Because once I started it, I thought The Butterfly Clues was truly and wonderfully beautiful.
It’s so rare to find a protagonist who isn’t just weird-yet-still-endearing, but actually, truly, probably..I don’t want to say crazy, but maybe just that their world doesn’t make sense to us. We rarely read a book from the point of view of someone who thinks so differently. And The Butterfly Clues was just that – I couldn’t necessarily understand Lo’s sense of purpose in the collection of objects, but I was able to emphasize with her overall.
And the loss of her brother and her family’s way of dealing with the grief – it broke me. Lo’s treatment of her brother’s room and her dad’s reactions…I just thought The Butterfly Clues was such an interesting look at the grieving process and so heartbreaking.
Other than Lo, one of the main reasons The Butterfly Clues appealed to me is because I am such a huge fan of the mystery-solving-sleuthing teens. I love a good teen mystery – I must have read a billion and twelve Nancy Drew as a teenager book. And The Butterfly Clues? Has a damn good mystery, if I do say so myself. I did not solve it AT ALL (except for one teeny tiny thing I guessed at) and rather than feeling stupid, I was sucked in – I had to know who killed Sapphire, I had to know how Lo figured it out, etc.
The writing, also, was beautiful. Kate Ellisen’s writing really allowed us to get inside Lo’s head and even though I don’t have the same urges as her, the way she was written made her so real.
Overall, I loved The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellisen. I thought it was a beautifully written story with an intriguing mystery and I loved trying to solve it with Lo.(less)
I cannot talk enough about how much I loved Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill (and I don’t think I have stopped talking about it since I first read it)! Seriously, this book is me…but in book form. Very rarely have I ever felt like an author sat down and was like, “Hmm, let me think of the perfect book to write for Tara.” But I totally felt that way with Meant to Be.
First of all, the setting. I lived in London for half a year last spring and there was so much of Meant to Be that was so familiar to me. Some of Julia’s experiences in London were exactly like my first experiences – I went to the same places and ate at many of the same restaurants and it was like I was reliving my time abroad all over again.
And Julia, the protagonist, is totally a straight-laced, uptight, always on time and always following the rules kind of girl. In many ways I found myself relating to her totally (but in other ways I just wanted to shake her and tell her to go have fun). I think she’s going to be one of those characters that people either really like or really dislike, and I definitely feel the former.
And the swoon! The swoon! I loved Jason, even though he was a total butthead at the beginning of Meant to Be. He kind of ended up as a total butthead in an adorable kind of way.
Yes, there was plot too, besides the traveling abroad and romance thing. Which I found to be super entertaining, even though there were a lot of bits I predicted, I still enjoyed the ride. Oh, and there were some bits I totally didn’t predict and it made me MAD for Julia even though Julia didn’t really react the way I would have. But in any case. The plot of Meant to Be is a lot of fun.
Basically – go pick Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill. It’s hilarious with a side of deep and emotional, not to mention the swoony romance and the awesome experience of traveling abroad for the first time. Lauren Morrill’s writing style is one that I loved and she’s definitely already landed herself on my auto-buy list.
I can't wait to get my finished copy of Meant to Be in my hands and reread it all over again.
I’ll admit - I was totally not expecting to love The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams as much as I did. I’m not usually a fan of reincarnation stories - it usually involves soul mates and blahness that I’m just not a fan of BUT. BUT. The Alchemy of Forever is totally different.
The beginning of the story was very set-up ish, but I’m glad for it. Otherwise we would have been dropped into the story with no real explanation. Which would have been really confusing. So YAY for the set-up. Also, it was pretty interesting, too!
But the actual story - I really liked Seraphina as a character. Her guilt over her past and her struggle against Cyrus and then the struggle with the fact that she’s enjoying being a normal teenage girl and all of that really kind of made her dimensional to me.
And the romantic interest - I loved him. And I felt SO BAD FOR HIM.
Okay and the ending. I was really, really not expecting that and I literally went “WTF!” on the last page and reread it like three times. I even had to explain the whole story to my boyfriend because I needed someone to WTF with me (he was not as helpful as I hoped).
Basically, The Alchemy of Forever is an awesome book, much more awesomer than I originally gave it credit for. If you’re a fan of immortal body swapping and cute romance and WTF endings, definitely check it out!(less)
Child of the Mountains by Marilyn Sue Shank is a beautifully honest and heartbreaking coming-of-age historical fiction.
From the very first page of Child of the Mountains, I was immediately there with the main character, Lydia. She’s from the mountains and her dialect and English isn’t very good, but I was sucked into her story. I was rooting for her from the first page because she’s so heartbroken and honest and good, I guess, is the word I’m looking for. And my feelings from the first page were just solidified throughout the rest of the book.
And there’s so much sadness and confusion and yet throughout Child of the Mountains, I was so hopeful because I just knew that everything had to turn out alright for Lydia, because she deserved better.
I loved the secondary teachers in Child of the Mountains, especially Lydia’s teacher and her brother BJ. They all had a crucial role to play in Lydia’s coming-of-age, but they still felt just as real as she did.
The present day and backstory in Child of the Mountains was beautifully blended into one flowing story. I loved the way Marilyn Sue Shank dropped hints throughout Child of the Mountains so that we were able to mostly figure out on her own what happened to put her mother and jail, and yet there was still a twist at the end that I never expected.
There were parts of Child of the Mountains that literally felt like it came out of a young girl’s diaries. The stories that were shared about Christmas and various road trips and childhood pranks really resonated with me.
If you’re a fan of historical fiction with a side of heartbreak and hope, and beautiful coming-of-age stories, definitely pick up this fabulous debut by Marilyn Sue Shank. Child of the Mountains is not a book you want to miss.(less)
I want to marry My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. It was one of those books where I wanted to raise it above my head and shout “Hey, this is me! In book form!”
Because My Life Next Door totally is. I mean, I don’t mean that the story necessarily relates to me if you gave it to me in outline form, but the overall feel and writing style and setting and characters and lots of family dynamics and all the little things adding up – my perfect kind of book.
IN ANY CASE. The writing style of My Life Next Door was beautiful and lyrical – I wanted to read it slowly, so I could really, really read it.
And the BUILD UP. There was so much build up in My Life Next Door. Just from reading the summary, you KNOW something happens. But the romance and the family is so beautiful and you’re just reading this perfect summer love but at the same time you’re like OH MY GOD WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN AND WHEN. I was so tense throughout most of My Life Next Door.
The characters in My Life Next Door were so well done. I loved Samantha, and even her mom, and all of the Garretts of course, because they were all REAL. They all had personality and a story.
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick is not a debut you want to miss. It truly has it all – the perfect combination of summer, love, family, and the tragedy that’s always lurking right around the corner.(less)
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley was one of those books where I was just being plain stupid before reading it. Because SO many people were reading it and loving it and I had a moment of rebellion and decided not to read Graffiti Moon.
Boy, was I an idiot. I am so sorry that I put off reading Graffiti Moon because I was just in shock at how much I loved it. And I’m such a contemp fan. Someone, please make me feel better and tell me you’ve felt rebellious too!
Anyway, The writing in Graffiti Moon was phenomenal. I really liked switching between Lucy and Ed’s point of view and how it overlapped with one another, rather than just giving one side to the story. I thought the poetry in Poet’s chapters was very well written, but didn’t interest me as much as Lucy and Ed’s stories.
And guys – the way Ed and Lucy interact, and their history, is hysterical and so freaking real. Cath Crowley got it. I loved the building romance in Graffiti Moon. It’s not a Bam! They meet and they’re into each other kind of book. It’s gradual – well, as gradual as over the course of one night can be, but I swear it feels much longer than that.
The descriptions of all the art in Graffiti Moon made me want to go find all my stuff from high school and start drawing and painting again. Also Lucy does GLASSBLOWING guys if I ever took up an artistic profession, it would be glassblowing because it is so so so amazing and if I had known she did it, I would have read Graffiti Moon immediately.
I’m not sure how well written this review really is, but it doesn’t matter, because Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley does all the explaining itself. Just pick it up. You’ll see.(less)
Reading The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna was like going away on a vacation and not wanting to go home, ever. I loved every second of The Lost Girl and I never wanted to put it down.
The characters – Amarra, Ray, Mina Mia, Ophelia, Neil, Alisha and basically every other character in The Lost Girl – were wonderfully done. Even the side characters were developed, they had lives and personalities and they weren’t just there to add plot. The side characters were a part of The Lost Girl.
But Eva and Sean…I just loved this so much. Eva was stubborn, she was human, she wanted to live her own life and not Amarra’s life and I love a protagonist with spunk, with the balls to stand up for herself. And Sean! Talk about a swoon worthy love interest. His depth of affection for Eva was so evident and his determination to keep her alive… I just loved them together and I have a feeling that they’re definitely on my top couples of 2012 list.
And the STORY. Usually I am a very character driven girl –if I don’t like the characters, I don’t like the book. But even if the characters in The Lost Girl had sucked (which they didn’t), I would have been so captured by the story. There were so many elements of The Lost Girl that worked for me.
The Lost Girl was a very sci-fi ish book – I mean, echoes created of people and the possibility that when the person dies, their soul is transferred to the echo – not really realistic, right? But The Lost Girl was so modern and that made the whole thing realistic for me. I mean, Eva still used a cellphone – there were no wacky technologies of the future, just a modern teenage girl.
And the range of emotion that I felt while I was reading The Lost Girl…I felt the hope of Mina Mia, the grief of Alisha, the anger of Ray….not to mention the helplessness Eva felt to the strong determination she felt. And I sobbed. There were several moments while reading The Lost Girl that I choked up and had to take a deep breath because I couldn’t continue, but I had to continue.
The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna is a beautifully written book with a story and characters that are guaranteed to break your heart and fill you with hope at the same time.
The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna is easily one of my favourite books of 2012. At the top of the list, even. I highly recommend Sangu Mandanna to anyone – if you love dystopian, if you’re burned out on dystopian, if you love romance and swoon, if you’re a fan of kickass protagonists or a fan of sci-fi – it doesn’t matter. The Lost Girl is the book for you.(less)
Let me start off this review by talking about how hilarious Claire Legrand is. I know that’s an unconventional way to start off a review, but she is totally HILARIOUS. I don’t know if you followed along with her blog tour (this post in particular being my favourite), but after stalking her around the internet, I was super excited to read The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls.
And Claire Legrand’s personality totally comes off in The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. It’s a legit middle-grade with a freaking phenomenal dark and spooky atmosphere (not to mention story line) and I could just not get enough of her writing.
I mean, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is CREEPY. And messed up. And disturbing. But something about The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls hooked me and I could not stop reading, no matter how many times Claire Legrand mentioned bugs and things that otherwise give me the goosebumps.
If you’re a middle grade fanatic, or a horror enthusiast, or just a lover of a good book, please check out The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand. Her debut is full of originality, amazing characters, an atmosphere that will have you turning on the lights, and a story that will leave you half laughing and half gasping at the sheer what the whatness of it all.(less)
Well, I typed up this very long review of 34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues and then I closed Microsoft Word, whoops. Devastated and what not. Which is kind of how I felt while reading 34 Pieces of You, ironically.
Because 34 Pieces of You is a brilliantly done book. The story is heartbreaking and touching in every possible way and the writing style itself is freaking beautiful and the way Carmen Rodrigues organized it is so creative and purposeful. Everything about 34 Pieces of You spoke to me.
There’s so many issues in 34 Pieces of You. Carmen Rodrigues touches on drugs, alcohol, sex, overdoses, suicide, self-mutilation, sexuality, rape – a lot of real life issues that affect teens in a direct way. But she doesn’t smash these issues in the face and tell you to look at them. The issues, rather than the focus of 34 Pieces of You, are just another part of the story that’s being told.
I loved the way Carmen Rodrigues told 34 Pieces of You from three different perspectives with huge time jumps all over the place as well as the notes Ellie left behind. You would think that would get confusing, but I had absolutely no problem following along with 34 Pieces of You and each POV change and time jump made the story even more beautiful.
34 Pieces of You had me in legit sobs. For the last quarter of the book I had to keep taking breaks because I couldn’t see the words through my tears. When I closed 34 Pieces of You, I immediately ran through the house crying to get on Goodreads and Twitter to tell everyone how beautiful and heartbreaking and sob-worthy 34 Pieces of You truly is.
And, for those of you who like kissing, there is a bit of a romance thing going on in 34 Pieces of You. And it was an awesome romance because it was so organic and slow-building and wasn’t super rushed. I thought Carmen Rodrigues did a fantastic job with that.
34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues is dark, but beautiful story. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to read a book that will make them feel. 34 Pieces of You is a brilliantly written book with such depth and importance and I can’t wait to read more from Carmen Rodrigues.(less)
May B. by Caroline Starr Rose is going to be one of those books that stays with me for a very long time. It was my first experience reading a verse novel all the way through, so that’ll definitely add to the memorableness, but even still.
May B. is a very moving and emotionally draining book, and incredibly beautiful. I loved Caroline Starr Rose’s writing – it was beautiful and lyrical and it was just an amazing experience for my first verse book.
I went into May B. thinking it would be sort of like Little House on the Prairie meets poetry, or something. I was right, to an extent. Because May B. tells its own heartfelt story of a girl living alone, living inside her head, abandoned. It’s just absolutely heartbreaking at times and I found myself crying several times.
And she is strong. She is so, so strong. There are parts where she’s utterly broken and yet still so determined to live, to get home and I just absolutely loved this protagonist. And the memories she shared with us, of her family and of that terrible teacher…so much love.
If you love verse novels – or find yourself wanting to try one, I absolutely recommend May B. by Caroline Starr Rose. Also for fans of historical fiction, particularly of the log cabin/mud hut type a la Laura Ingalls Wilder. Because May B. was utterly stunning.(less)
Review will be published on my blog closer to release date.
Everneath is kind of…wow. I mean, it’s hard for me to form words to describe what reading E...moreReview will be published on my blog closer to release date.
Everneath is kind of…wow. I mean, it’s hard for me to form words to describe what reading Everneath was like. It was mythology and paranormal and romance and all sorts of different stuff combined into one book. SUCH an original story. The entire time I was reading it I was just like, “Oh my god, how does someone come up with this?”
Okay, and the characters. I LOVED Jack. He was amazing and interesting and seriously an awesome love interest. Of course I basically hated the evil guy, but I think I was supposed to, so that worked out well. Although I will admit he intrigued me just the tiniest bit...will be interested to see where book two takes him.
And let's not forget the protagonist, Nikki. Still not sure how I feel about her. She was strong willed at some points and weak willed at others. I understood her and I felt for her, which was good, but she did annoy me at several points. I loved the romance between Nikki and Jack, as delicate as it was. I thought Brodi Ashton created some lovely tension and "what if" moments and really made us feel how badly Nikki regretted the past.
But for real. Although it had flaws (but very few books don’t), Everneath is an awesome debut and a seriously interesting start to a new series. After that ending, I will seriously be reading book two when it comes out.(less)
I loved The Cabinet of Earths by for SO MANY REASONS. It’s a beautifully written, gripping and enchanting tale in a beautiful setting.
Cause, come on, Paris. I LOVE Paris and I thought Paris as the background added so much to the story – it was almost like another character, which I absolutely loved. I loved seeing Paris through Maya and James’ new and innocent eyes – reading about cafes and new schools and the moment they saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time.
I loved Maya. She’s probably one of my favourite protagonists I’ve read in a middle grade so far. Given her family’s situation, especially with her mother’s illness, I thought she was a wonderfully brave protagonist and a realistic one at that. She had this sense of responsibility to take care of her family even when it wasn’t necessarily her job, and I thought that was very realistic given the situation. I loved her little brother James and the rest of the characters – especially her cousin Louise and Valko.
The storyline was so fantastical – I loved the concept of The Cabinet of Earths. The idea of jars holding sands from people and anbar and just, gah! There were so many intricate details that went into the story that I really loved. I thought The Cabinet of Earths was paced excellently and rife with exciting twists.
The Cabinet of Earths is enchanting and exciting and so original. Anne Nesbet’s writing style is sure to appeal to middle grade and older readers alike. Trust me, if you’re a fan of fantasy, be sure to check out The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet.(less)
Guys, I have been dying for Katana by Cole Gibsen ever since I read the “Buffy meets Kill Bill” comparison. And while I have never seen Kill Bill (*ducks and runs*), Katana was all kinds of awesome. It did take me a little while to get into, but once I was hooked, I was hooked!
For one thing, something crazy is happening to the main character, Rileigh, and she doesn’t just lay down and accept it when the mysterious boy tells her what’s up. THAT IS SO RARE. She fights what he’s telling her and tries to prove him wrong and goes through all sorts of denial before finally admitting he might be right. If a guy told me I was a samurai reincarnated, I’d laugh, and all kinds of props go to Cole Gibsen for making Rileigh realistic like that.
But also, the story of Katana was awesome. There was so much going on – you’re literally dropped right into the action, no drawn-out back story necessary because you learn it as you go along, and yet it all flows very nicely. And the twists! There were a couple of twists that I was kind of mind-blown by and I was like what, did that just happen?!
And, you know, Rileigh and her new samurai pals are kind of bad ass. I’m not usually a big reincarnation fan, but I thought the whole idea why they were reincarnated, and the way Cole Gibsen explained their reincarnation, was really interesting and worked well for Katana.
And this one kissing scene that was awesome. I spent the first 250 pages thinking “Just make out already!” and then I was happy, haha.
Overall, Katana by Cole Gibsen was an exciting book with Samurais and cute Japanese boys and reincarnation and I had a lot of fun reading it. I was swept away by the action. Definitely check it out if you think you might be interested!(less)
I am only slightly ashamed to admit that I watch reality TV show competitions, like Big Brother, Project Runway, and basically all the cooking reality TV shows. So The Selection by Kiera Cass immediately sounded appealing to me just based on the summary.
Initially, I was a little put off by the writing in The Selection. There were a couple of instances where I thought there was more telling that showing and I wanted the showing.
But honestly? At some point, fairly quickly into The Selection, the writing didn’t even matter to me. I loved the story in The Selection so much. It was just a ton of fun – and dystopians aren’t usually fun, per say. I liked idea of the caste system a lot and the idea of competing for the Prince’s attention. It was a combination of The Bachelor and Cinderella. And bonus heaviness with the war going on and what not.
As for the characters in The Selection – I’m usually team original boy, but I honestly really only liked Aspen in the beginning. When Prince Maxon entered the picture, I was like Aspen who? As for America herself, I was rooting for her the whole time and I liked her, but she wasn’t the most memorable protagonist. I liked her independence and determination, and I think she’ll become more memorable with the second book.
And the ending is just kind of wait, what, there needs to be more! Because it wasn’t necessarily a GASP DID THAT JUST HAPPEN cliff-hanger, but it was definitely not an end point in the story and I wanted to know what happened next.
If you like your dystopians a little bit lighter (you know, minus all the sobs and heartbreak and with bonus giggles) and a good dose of reality competitions, definitely check out The Selection by Kiera Cass.(less)
Through to You by Emily Hainsworth is one of those books that you just know is super creepy and wrong, but at the same time you can’t stop reading. I was fascinated and sickened by Through to You. It was beautiful and haunting and just…wrong.
I loved Cam and I felt for him in Through to You. His pain over the loss of Viv broke my heart and gah, I just loved Emily Hainsworth’s portrayal of Cam. I thought his heartache and confusion as to whether or not he was going crazy was done so well.
And the storyline. Through to You is legit. Because even though I think it’s super creepy and alternate universe Viv weirded me out, I was so happy to see Cam happy and then I realized I kind of liked Nina better and it’s just kind of a mess. Because Viv is DEAD, you know? And I just wanted Cam to move on and be happy and not stuck in the past.
AND THEN THERE’S THIS TWIST. Which I can’t go into but HOLY SHIT basically sums it up.
I loved the ending of Through to You. After reading all that craziness, I think it was exactly how I wanted it to end.
So, basically, if you’re looking for a crazy, messed up yet enthralling contemporary that’s not really a contemporary, definitely pick up Through to You by Emily Hainsworth. I was sucked in from the moment I started reading Through to You and closed the book with a feeling of satisfaction. (less)
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone is such an awesome debut. I was led through all sorts of emotions while reading Time Between Us down and I set it down feeling very satisfied.
I’m not usually a time travel person. It confuses me a little and there’s usually a very sci-fi side to it all and it’s just hard for me to grasp. I like my protagonist and love interest in the same decade. But Time Between Us was a beautiful combination of contemporary romance with a side of time travel and yet still got pretty intense with the time travel stuff towards the end.
And oh boy, I cried while reading Time Between Us. Something about protagonists feeling empty just gets me every time.
I really enjoyed the relationship aspect of Time Between Us. I’m also not usually a romance person – I like my romance on the side of plot, but I thought Time Between Us focused on the romance but had plenty of plot elements to keep me from going ick at the mushy. Not to mention, it was really easy to root for Anna and Bennett. They’re like ultimate star-struck couple torn apart by circumstances beyond their control.
I loved the voice in Time Between Us. I thought Tamara Ireland Stone really nailed the teenage girl and she was sulky at the right moments and loyal and angry and sad and everything just really worked for me. I felt the range of emotions that Anna felt while reading it – Anna could have easily been the girl sitting next to me in English class.
Also, bonus, I love a protagonist with a large dose of wanderlust. I really identified with Anna’s lack of travel and her immense desire to see everything. I even had the same kind of map with pins when I was younger, but I was too depressed by the lack of pins so I just took it down.
Basically, Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone rocks. It’s the perfect combination of romance, mystery, time travel, angst and it has such a great ending. Even if you lean solidy towards contemporary only, or even paranormal only, Time Between Us falls in the middle and I can easily see it appealing to readers of both sides.(less)