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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
HOLY WHAT. That was kind of my reaction the ENTIRE time I was reading Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris. There are so many freaking twists throughout Unraveling and I was SO TENSE the entire time I was reading it, and I literally could not put it down.
First off – I love Elizabeth Norris and the way she created Janelle. Because Janelle is a snarky badass. She’s not just snarky when she talks to people, everything about her is snark and hilarious, and yet she still has this soft, caring, passionate side and I just LOVED her. What a brilliant and memorable protagonist.
AND BEN. OH BEN.
THE STORY. Unraveling’s story was wacky and insane and intense but oh so freaking good. Because you’re reading Unraveling and you’re like la la la this is great and engaging, and then all of the sudden you’re like HOLY WHAT JUST HAPPENED WHAT IS THIS BOOK. In a really good way, obviously.
I will admit I had a little trouble suspending my disbelief at first because it was SUCH A HUGE CURVEBALL that I’ve never seen before, but once I took a moment to adjust, I was set.
And there were a few scenes where I BAWLED LIKE A BABY.
Guys, if you’re looking for a freaking fantastic debut, look no further – be sure to check out Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris. Unraveling is a very well-written, suspenseful debut that is sure to leave you on your toes. Be sure to grab the tissues and the stress balls, though! And something to bang your hand against when you’re going “WHAT WHAT WHAT JUST HAPPENED!”(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)
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)
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth is one of those books that had such an intense and crazy storyline that I was left dumbstruck (see what I did there?) after the finish of Struck.
I mean, Struck had everything. It had apocalypses and crazies and cults and cute boys and people getting struck by lightning and it was just seriously such a wild ride of a book.
I loved the protagonist, Mia Price. She is such a badass. I loved her loyalty and determination to keep her family safe, no matter what the cost, even if it did leave her in some pretty terrible and dangerous situations. And the other characters – there was a whole host of them and there were CULTS and craziness.
Struck told the story of the apocalypse as it was happening, which is oh so rare these days. Most books I’ve read are stories that take place in the time after, so reading Struck was definitely a refreshing change of pace.
And there was this moment, this one point in Struck where I literally was like WHAT WAIT WHAT and had to put the book down because I couldn’t believe what just happened. Because AHH what a twist I was so not expecting.
Overally, definitely pick up Struck by Jennifer Bosworth if you’re looking for some apocalypse cult-like action with a side of cute boy and total craziness. I had a lot of fun reading Struck and even though the whole story was totally crazy, I could totally feel myself living it while I was reading it.(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)
My feelings on Black City by Elizabeth Richards are a little hard to explain. Black City is an interesting dystopian kind of book, but with a vampire population (although they’re called darklings rather than vampires).
And I loved the first hundred pages or so of Black City. There was political scandal, romance, intrigue, and I loved learning about the world Elizabeth Richards built. New worlds are some of my favourite things and there’s so many rules and customs in Black City – and I loved learning them.
But then some of the characters in Black City really started to annoy me a bit. I couldn’t understand why people kept fighting with each other for no reason and there was this weird, obnoxious love triangle and some stuff dealing with soul mates (blood mates) and it really took me out of the awesome world Elizabeth Richards built.
But then the ending of Black City got crazy again, which I liked.
Despite my mixed feelings on Black City, I feel like it’s one of those books that I need to reread. Now that I know that the romance/love triangle plays a huge role in the middle of Black City, I have to wonder if I’ll enjoy it more – rather than just being thrown by it like I was the first time.
Basically – Black City wasn’t the book for me. But if you like vampires with an interesting backstory, and some crazy dystopian world building, I do recommend giving Black City a shot. Elizabeth Richards definitely knows how to bring you into a new place with her words.(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)
Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson is an awesome debut full of awesome Norse mythology, kickass females, and swoon-worthy guys.
While a few parts of Valkyrie Rising did seem to drag a bit, for the most part I read Valkyrie Rising in one sitting. It was action-packed and I was sucked in to the story. The stakes just kept getting higher and higher in Valkyrie Rising and I was definitely rooting for Ellie to kick everyone's ass.
I know next to nothing about Norse mythology and I loved what information Ingrid Paulson gave us in Valkyrie Rising. She worked a lot of the mythology into the story without it seeing like sort of an info dump and more just a natural part of Ellie's tale. Even though I'd never heard of Valkyries, I was still able to follow everything.
And, okay, I am SUCH a sucker for the brother's best friend romance. It makes me giddy and I absolutely loved the way it was done in Valkyrie Rising. There was quite a bit of swooning.
There were several twists throughout Valkyrie Rising - some I expected and some I definitely didn't.
Basically, if you're looking for an action-packed book featuring a kickass protagonist, a swoony romance, and mythology you probably don't know too much about, check out Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson for sure!(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)
I connected with Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham on a scary level. Well, not all that scary, but basically me and my friends were obsessed with a boy band when we were younger (Dream Street, and I won’t say I’m not still obsessed) and I never got to see them perform – which is a whole other story in itself.
Anyway, so I loved the whole concept of Reunited and I was able to connect with all of the characters off the bat because our mutual boy band love.
And some crazy, hilarious, disastery stuff happens in Reunited. I was cringing and laughing and totally feeling for all of the characters.
Oh, and the characters in Reunited. I loved Alice – she was definitely my favourite – and Summer was pretty cool too. I have to say, Tiernan definitely got on my nerves, but she was probably supposed to, huh? But they all grew leaps and bounds throughout the course of Reunited, which I was really glad for.
If you’re a fan of contemps and road trips and laughing, definitely don’t miss out on Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham. You may cringe once or twice or fifteen times, but Reunited is definitely a lot of fun and worth the trip!(less)
I really enjoyed Kiss the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole. I’ve read a bit of Kerouac, and while I certainly won’t be running off to emulate his adventures, I do love books featuring road trips and oodles of self discovery, which basically describes Kiss the Morning Star to a T.
I loved learning about Anna and Kat as they learned about themselves and each other. The issues of sexuality and friendship and death and grief and religion are explored in Kiss the Morning Star, and each issue has a very meaningful part of the Anna and Kat’s lives. Elissa Janine Hoole doesn’t back down.
While there are a few slow moments in Kiss the Morning Star, overall I thought it was fairly fast paced and easy to get engrossed in Anna’s adventure. It’s so easy to relate to her and Kat – feeling lost and unsure, especially in that point between high school and the rest of your life.
Kiss the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole is a moving adventure filled with self-discovery and issues many teens grapple with on a daily basis. If you like road trips, contemps, and moving stories, definitely check out this wonderful debut.(less)
Storm by Brigid Kemmerer is one of those books that I thought looked interesting, that I thought I would like, but totally took me by surprise not only in story but also without how much I genuinely loved it.
Storm starts off with a bang. There’s enough so I can get a sense of Becca and what her character is like, but then there’s action almost immediately and I was immediately sucked into the story because I had to know what was going on in Storm.
I was initially concerned by the fact that there might be some sort of love square or love pentagon or something, because all of the brothers in Storm are smoking. I would have been happy to see Becca with any of them. Luckily, I guess, that of course was just my imagination and it sorted itself out. But man, these brothers. Love them all.
And the story that goes down in Storm? Loved it. Storm is the only real elemental focused book that I can think of off the top of my head, so it was all original and interesting to me. I loved the lore Brigid Kemmerer built up around the brothers – the backstory and lore was definitely well crafted.
I loved the way certain bits of information were revealed. There’s some pretty important pieces to the whole Storm puzzle that are only revealed a little at a time and I loved it. Sure, I was a little confused in certain parts, but I loved the guessing and I was shocked when I finally figured it all out.
Storm by Brigid Kemmerer hooked me, you guys. I picked it up yesterday and read half and literally could not stop thinking about it until I was able to pick it up again and finish. The story is exciting, the characters are smoking, and I cannot wait for the second book, Spark! Definitely do not miss Storm – it’s an absolutely amazing debut!(less)
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)
I am a sucker for any book that contains international travel. I studied abroad in London for the first half of 2011 and ever since then, I am full of wanderlust and I gobble up movies and books about going abroad. The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams was right up my alley.
I loved reading about Piper, Cassidy, and Mei’s time abroad in their various places, and even Izzy, being stuck in Texas, was adorable. Mei’s story particularly was probably the most interesting to me – I really admired her for taking the risk of going to China to learn more about her birth parents and her own culture.
And Cassidy’s story in Australia – I felt like she really grew a lot from the experience, perhaps the most of any of the girls.
I loved reading about Piper in Paris – the descriptions of Paris really made me nostalgic and I just wanted to jump into the page. Unfortunately I couldn’t stand Piper or the guy she meets. I felt sorry for in the beginning, but once we got to know her, I just…blah. But the other characters – Cassidy, Mei, and Izzy – were much more relatable and likable.
Overall, I thought The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams was cute and a fun adventure. I recommend it to anyone as obsessed with international travel as I am, and fans of contemporaries.(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)
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)
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)
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)
Glitch by Heather Anastasiu was a book I had very mixed feelings about. I did like the sci-fi/dystopian aspects of it, but the characters and romance, and the dialogue, were very lackluster for me.
The set of characters in Glitch all seemed to annoy the hell out of me. The protagonist, Zoe, was definitely on the mopey side and it bugged me how easily manipulated she was. Max was a raging jerkface and I wanted Zoe to stand up for herself and slap him, dump him, yell at him, SOMETHING every time he was on the page. And Adrien. Okay, he bothered me the least – I was actually interested in his backstory (but we weren’t really given it and so he kind of fell flat), but his dialogue – with all the crackings and the shunts – kind of drove me crazy.
But the romance. If you’re not a fan of instant love, Glitch is probably not the book for you because Glitch had it in spades. And also a creepy side-romance, if you will. I mean super creepy. Like “Can I look at your genitalia?” creepy. I was rooting for Zoe and Adrien, but I almost felt like I didn’t need to because there weren’t any real challenges posed against them.
Like I said, I did like the sci-fi/dystopian aspects of Glitch, but I also felt like the world was very under developed. We weren’t given a lot of information in the beginning and it was hard for me to follow along with why all this craziness was happening. And the reason for their powers wasn’t given until much later on in the book (and I’m not sure I really accept the reasoning we were given). But I did get invested in the story – I’m a sucker for dystopian – which definitely made me feel like I had to finish Glitch. Although I’m not sure I’ll be reading the sequel.
Basically, Glitch by Heather Anastasiu was not a book for me. I had no interest in the characters and while I’m a sucker for dystopian books, Glitch didn’t really stand out to me against all the other awesome dystopian books I’ve read. (less)
My brain is still processing all the crazyness that occurred in The Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen.
Where do I even begin? When the Sea is Rising Red is like a crazy combination of fantasy and paranormal. There are VAMPIRES but they’re totally different than the Twilight kind of vampire because these vampires are looked down on as basically social climbing scum. Which was kind of awesome. We weren’t supposed to like them, which is kind of rare in YA these days.
And the magic! I loved what Cat Hellisen did with magic, with different classes of power and what each class needs to perform their magic.
The writing I thought was pretty brilliant. Very, very descriptive and flow-y.
I think my favourite part was all the different legends and rumors and tales passed down among the lower classes. Each one had a different story and explanation for why things happened and it was humorous but also totally real because it was like a game of telephone but played over hundreds of years.
The love triangle was weird. I actually don’t even know what to say about the characters. Felicita was brave and determined, and I really admired that. Especially towards the end. Dash? Jannik? I just. I can’t. Those of you who’ve read it need to tell me how you feel because none of them ended up where I thought they would, hah!
The story itself in When the Sea is Rising Red hurt my brain. I mean, I was flipping the page and going what what what they did what he did what HE SAID WHAT and WAIT WHO DIED?
Is my review of When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen coherent at all? I didn’t think so. Let me try to sum it up – When the Sea is Rising Red is crazy. The magic elements were awesome, although I’m still unsure where I land on some of the characters, namely the males. But I enjoyed it for the most part and managed to read it in one day. If you’re up for a paranormal/fantasy roller coaster, do check out When the Sea is Rising Red. And let me know what you think!(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)
If you’re a love of legit fantasy, go pick up Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff. Stormdancer starts off with not one, but TWO maps, and oh yeah, it has a glossary. Some people might be overwhelmed with a book that merits its own glossary, but this just got me really excited for Stormdancer.
And Stormdancer totally lived up to my expectations! I was a little confused for a bit of the beginning because Jay Kristoff doesn’t really baby the reader into anything. The story begins and you’ve got characters left and right with similar names and all kinds of crazy customs, and this is where the glossary really came in handy for me at the beginning. So yes, Stormdancer was a bit overwhelming for me at first and it took me a bit of time to get through the beginning of Stormdancer, but I was hooked anyway.
I loved Yukiko. She is exactly the kind of protagonist a legit fantasy like Stormdancer needs. She’s strong and even though she’s set in feudal Japan, I could easily find myself relating to her.
I freaking loved the storyline of Stormdancer. It was action-y and adventure-y and totally kept me on my toes. The world Jay Kristoff builds up in Stormdancer is astounding. There’s so much culture and customs and all these details and while it takes a bit of time to get used to it, it doesn’t bog down the story at all. Yukiko leads us through an exciting world that I can’t wait to revisit.
Stormdancer is the kind of book I can’t wait to reread to find all the bits I missed the first time around.
Basically, if you are a die-hard fantasy fan, Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff is a book you cannot miss. Absolutely do not miss it. And if you haven’t read much fantasy before, I still recommend trying Stormdancer, and pushing through any issues you might have at the beginning, because Stormdancer will seriously wow you.(less)
Wow, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi was totally not what I thought it would be. I mean, I had heard good things. But it was so much more than what I expected.
Under the Never Sky is awesome and filled with people living in pods with alternate reality vision and people outside living in tribes and all kinds of craziness.
And I was totally confused at first. I will admit that. There was lingo and situations and characters and I was a little overwhelmed. But after a while I picked up context clues and it all came together and I was just absolutely awed by the world building that Veronica Rossi accomplished. The world she built up in Under the Never Sky is seriously intense and awesome.
I mean, the characters, first of all. Aria and Perry were from two totally different sides of the pod (you know, one inside and one outside) and yet they grew up so vastly different and ugh I just loved them. It’s hard to build up secondary characters and have them seem dimensional but I can imagine it’s even harder to have two fully developed protagonists and Veronica Rossi kicked ass at that. They were amazing.
And the storyline was intense and action packed and there were some down moments but they were filled with character development so it was all good. ANDDDDD THE ENDING. Honestly, the ending Under the Never Sky was perfect. It was wrapped enough so I wasn’t going NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO but open ended enough so I can’t wait for the next book!
If you’re looking for a fabulous dystopian, I definitely recommened Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. It is truly an engaging story with wonderfully written characters and a world I could visualize so perfectly. (less)