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)
he List by Siobhan Vivian is one of those books that made me so freaking angry while I was reading it, and yet I couldn’t make myself put it down.
I hated 90% of the characters in The List. They were all so messed up and obnoxious and self-centered and bratty and downright cruel – and yet, unfortunately realistic. So I guess it’s good that I couldn’t stand them. Although I think someone should push Andrew off of a cliff.
The List took place during Homecoming week in high school, told from the perspective of eight different girls. Surprisingly this didn’t confuse me. I thought the point of view change flowed nicely and allowed the reader to get the perspective from each girl and their various lives. And every girl in The List all did have surprisingly complicated lives. I thought maybe one or two of the girls would fall flat but Siobhan Vivian managed to give them all a life of their own.
I still hate them though.
The List by Siobhan Vivian is one of those books that’s hard to take. The fact that teenagers can be so cruel to each other and to themselves is a bitter pill to swallow, but Siobhan Vivian doesn’t shy away from it.
Some of the girls in The List, however, didn’t really get a wrapped-up ending. Sure, I know everything doesn’t end with a pretty bow – especially not in a brutally honest book like The List, but I kind of felt like some of the girl’s stories were unfinished.
In the end, The List by Siobhan Vivian is a contemporary worth your time. It’s painful to get through, and I can guarantee you’ll want to throw something at each and every character at some point, but The List bitterly realistic and honest about what it means to be a high school girl.(less)
How do I even start reviewing The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin? Actually, let me start off by saying if you haven’t read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, you shouldn’t read this review. I won’t intentionally spoil book one, but just in case.
The Evolution of Mara Dyer is freaking nuts. I was up super late last night and I legitimately had to turn the lights on in the other room because I was so freaking creeped out. And I had to leave them on ALL NIGHT. The Evolution of Mara Dyer is literally some of the scariest shit I’ve read. Like mysterious dolls, stalkers, sleep walking, knives, you name it.
The Evolution of Mara Dyer has it all.
But we get some much needed answers in The Evolution of Mara Dyer…which of course leaves us with a billion and twelve more questions. Not to mention DYING for the third book because holy what the what the what.
And the SWOON. I wasn’t super impressed with Noah in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, although granted I just got back from living in London for six months and all British guys had momentarily lost any swoon from me. But MY GOD Noah is just jfe[aijfoeafaei in The Evolution of Mara Dyer. IOJFEAJFIEIAOI to the max. For two people who barely kiss, there is a lot of OIFEJAFEA;OIFEA in this one. I mean, wow. And normally I would probably be like really they love each other already whatevvvvss, but it totally works in this book and I didn’t even care because it’s freaking Mara and Noah and they’re meant to be, obviously.
Did I mention the major creep factor? And the AWESOME storyline? I really enjoyed The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, but I think this one was way more up my alley. I loved the intense psychological thriller aspect because we’re still in the midst of figuring out if Mara is just a legit psycho or if this shit is real and man, I love wondering that kind of stuff while reading a book. I love unreliable narrators and Mara Dyer is the freaking queen.
Gah, that brings me to the characters. I JUST CAN’T. I love Mara Dyer’s family to bits. Her parents, who love her so much even though she’s cray, and her brothers and how well they all fit together even though their personalities are all over the place but they still remain fairly stable despite, as I mentioned, the fact that Mara is cray. And Mara, of course, is AWESOME. She’s headstrong and stubborn and so complicated. She is the very definition of a beautifully complex character. I don’t think, even after finishing this series, I will ever know everything about Mara because there are so many aspects of her. She’s such an evolving character but she still has so much personality. Mara Dyer is definitely a protagonist that will stick with me for a very long time.
So yeah. Basically I loved The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. She really kicked it up a notch with this book, I thought. The Evolution of Mara Dyer was such a page-turner, even at over 500 pages or something ridiculous, but I had to force myself to stop reading and go to work. I could not wait to get back to it. And even now, after finishing it nearly twenty-four hours ago, I can’t stop thinking about The Evolution of Mara Dyer. I might even reread it because I kind of just want to live her world for a little bit longer.(less)
I’m not entirely sure I’ll ever get over dystopian books. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. And I loved how Erasing Time was a dystopian but with TIME TRAVEL and all sorts of sci-fi like elements.
Erasing Time was a surprisingly quick read. It’s by no means a short book, but I flew through Erasing Time. I don’t want to say it was an easy book, but it just really sucked me in and kept my attention, which I loved.
I liked how different Sheridan and Taylor were. Despite being twins, they differed so greatly in personality, and I loved seeing their differences. I kind of want them to be my best friends, honestly.
Okay, and so there’s this TWIST in Erasing Time that I just loved and was totally thrown by. I mean, I expect I should have seen it coming (did anyone else?) but I totally didn’t and I loved that.
Basically, Erasing Time by C.J. Hill was an engaging dystopian with heavy sci-fi bits, like TIME TRAVEL. The characters were awesome, and I loved the TWIST. Be sure to check out Erasing Time if you’re up for a quick, engaging and action-packed dystopian.(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.
Wow. I did not expect to love Rival as much as I did. I was pretty hesitant about starting it because it sounded like there was going to be very little romance and kissing, and mainly just about the history between the two girls.
Which is mostly true. I mean, that is the point of the book, I think. That there’s more to being a teenage girl than boys. There’s pressure and stress and even friendships are hard to maintain. I thought Rival did an excellent job of showing this other perspective and it really meant a lot to me. Don’t get me wrong – there’s definitely cute boys and boy drama, but it all ends back at up at Katherine and Brooke.
I loved both of the protagonists – Brooke and Katherine. There was no way for me to choose which one I wanted to root for, which one I identified with the most because there were elements of both girls that really stood out to me and I could easily relate to. Really, though, they were both realistic characters and although there were elements of their lifestyles that I couldn’t identify with/don’t know anyone who can (Brooke, for the most part), they really felt like teenage girls to me. Their mood swings, jealousy, peer pressure, pressure in general – it reminded me a lot of my own high school experiences.
Maybe it doesn’t have to be music, or money from scholarships, but there’s always something in high school that manages to put that load of pressure on you, and that’s what I liked about this book. Even though this book was specifically about the music competition and the pressure, there was a lot more to it.
I loved the ending and the progression of the storyline. I’m usually worried about flashbacks – sometimes they interrupt the flow of the story, but it really worked in Rival.
I would absolutely recommend Rival. Seriously. It’s a fantastic debut and very original for a contemporary young adult book. I can’t wait to see more from Sara Bennett Wealer!(less)
This review might be kind of spoilish if you haven’t read Jane Eyre or don’t know the general gist.
This review was hard for me to write because I hate...moreThis review might be kind of spoilish if you haven’t read Jane Eyre or don’t know the general gist.
This review was hard for me to write because I hate it when I don’t like a book. I really, truly wanted to enjoy this book. I loved Jane Eyre when I read it when I was younger and I love modern retellings of older books and fairytales. So, naturally, I thought this book would be great. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
There’s nothing wrong with the writing – April Lindner is clearly a talented author and her descriptions are well-done. I appreciate her work, but I just didn’t enjoy the story.
The characters, however, irritated me to no end. I understand it’s a retelling of Jane Eyre, so the personalities of the main characters were already there, but they were all so flat and stereotypical. It’s something that worked well in the 1800s, but didn’t translate very well today. Take Jane, for example. She’s supposed to be a shy, quiet nanny, which is what she was, but everything about her was so blah. Her parents didn’t love her as much as her older sister, she was poor, shy, couldn’t stand up for herself, never had a boyfriend – her personality just seemed so overdone to the point that it was pathetic. Half the time she was described as hiding in the shadows while everyone else around her had a conversation. Nico Rathburn is the same older, arrogant guy as Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre, except this time he’s playing the role of the typical burnt-out rockstar trying to make a comeback who’s not a very good father and seduces the much younger nanny.
The storyline was a decent adaptation from Jane Eyre. It’s hard to make everything connect from Jane Eyre because it’s such an old, out-of-date story, but I thought April Lindner did a decent job of taking the important plot points in Jane Eyre and merging them into a logical plot point of a modern day story. It can’t have been easy to explain the crazy woman living in the attack or the various fires. My favourite parts of the story, however, happened to be whenever Jane was away from Nico – when she was in New York, and when she was living in New Haven.
And that’s what really, really bugged me – the romantic relationship between Nico and Jane. It just made me feel like I was reading a fan fiction. The shy, college-aged girl falls in love with the middle-aged rockstar (who, of course, she claims she doesn’t recognize when she sees him on the street). There was really no chemistry in between them, and I feel like I must have missed the part where they fell in love – Jane went from being slightly frightened/appalled by him to lusting after him with a turn of the page.
Maybe I just wasn’t feeling particularly sappy when reading Jane, because a lot of other people have seemed to enjoy it, but it just didn’t sit well with me. I’m glad I read it – I really do like modern day retellings, but I wouldn’t read it again.
Mostly I wish the characters had been better developed. If Jane had come off as a character who had real problems in her life, but was still a normal teenage girl, I think the character and the story would have been more easily identified with.(less)
Anna and the French Kiss has been hyped beyond belief in the book blogging community. Sometimes hype turns out to be really right, and sometimes it en...moreAnna and the French Kiss has been hyped beyond belief in the book blogging community. Sometimes hype turns out to be really right, and sometimes it ends up letting me down. Either way, I knew I had to buy this book the day it came out. There was no way I could not.
And luckily – Anna and the French Kiss more than impressed me. In fact, I would go so far as to say it was my favourite book of 2010. Really. I really, truly mean that. There was such an awesome combination of various elements in Anna and the French Kiss that really worked and made it what it was. Separately, I don’t know that I would have liked it as much, but the way everything in the story came together rocked.
I am a sucker for boarding schools. And books that take place in foreign countries. And books that deal with issues other than just getting the guy. This book had several other issues – friend problems, parent problems, etc. I’m also a fan of sexy guys. And you know what? Not only was the love interest in this book totally sexy, he was British. Do you guys see how all these elements are starting to add up?
And Anna? I loved her. And I love Stephanie Perkins. I AM SUCH A FILM GEEK. So add into the melting pot of awesome elements Anna’s film geekiness that rivaled my own. Seriously. I want her to be my best friend. Anna is my version of Anna Reads and Makeshift Bookmark's Jessica Darling.
Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. Etienne St. Clair. I have no other words. Isn’t his name enough?
What really, really gets me about Anna and the French Kiss, though, is that Stephanie Perkins is a debut author. And she is phenomenal. Her characters, her story – her writing. She is phenomenal. Here, see for yourself -
"If this were vacation, I’m sure I’d be charmed. I’d buy an Eiffel Tower key chain, take pictures of the cobblestones, and order a platter of escargot. But I’m not on vacation. I am here to live, and I feel small." – Anna and the French Kiss, page 19
I just don’t know what else to say about this book. It is SO FREAKING GOOD. Stephanie Perkins has another book coming out , Lola and the Boy Next Door (2011), and recently announced the sale of her third book, Isla and the Happily Ever After (2012). Both are companion novels to Anna and I am so freaking ecstatic. Stephanie Perkins has wormed her way up my “will read anything by” list and I am so pleased she did!(less)
Oh my gosh. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin is absolutely soul-sucking. What do I mean by that? I don’t know. I can’t explain it it! This book stole my soul! I started reading and couldn’t stop. Every free second I had, I would pick it up and read – even if I only had time to read a sentence.
And yeah, okay, there are flaws. There are cliches, and some of it is a bit WTF-erish, but so what? While I was reading The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, I wasn’t thinking “that is so cliche” – I was thinking “OHMYGOD what happens next”. It wasn’t until after I finished and read other reviews that I recognized cliches. SO the moral is – enjoy The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer for what it is. Don’t analyze! Let it steal your soul. Hell, even sell your soul. It’s worth it.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer starts out with a note. And guys, it’s not an ordinary note. The note sets the tone for how awesome the whole book is going to be. In fact, it’s a soulsucking note. (I really do wish I could think of some other way to describe this book.) But seriously, every page made me want to read the next and the next and the next.
As for the characters – love Mara. I love her psychotic episodes and her reactions. I love her brothers very much. Daniel was very supportive and Joseph was hilarious. Spin-off series? And Noah Shaw? Don’t hate me, but I didn’t love him. He was cute, fun, intriguing, but I will not spend the rest of the week wishing I had a Noah Shaw of my very own.
The writing in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was absolutely phenomenal. Michelle Hodkin did a great job with POV and setting and descriptions and I just…I felt like I was Mara. I felt like I was going psycho and hallucinating (although it turns out that I really did see a roach and am in fact not psycho – just have great peripheral vision).
Let me just say it one more time – I sold my soul to Mara Dyer and Michelle Hodkin. Her writing was brilliant, her characters kicked ass, and there was so much going on throughout the entire book. And that ENDING. Mind blown. Do not fear the hype, embrace the hype, experience the hype. Check out The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer ASAP.(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)
Live Through This by Mindi Scott is an unbelievably stunning, heartbreaking story. I am amazed by Mindi Scott’s storytelling capabilities – I can’t even imagine writing a story like this and still being able to include the beautiful, fun, light moments in such a perfect way.
Because Live Through This is an important and upsetting book. Sexual abuse is something that happens entirely too often, and the way Mindi Scott tells Coley’s story is just…perfect. We have moments where we’re giddy with Coley over the dorky and cute Reese, or we’re laughing with Coley and her best friend Noah (who I love to death, FYI), but there’s also this heavy feeling while reading Live Through This that we realize Coley must feel all the time because of what’s happening to her.
I was so tense while reading Live Through This – I loved the way Mindi Scott kept the identity of Coley’s abuser under wraps for a bit. I was tense and nervous and accusatory and my heart just broke when everything was revealed.
It’s really hard for me to write a full review of Live Through This. Mindi Scott delivers a heart wrenching book that made me laugh and cry and want to curl up under the bed and hide from everyone. Live Through This is a beautiful contemporary that portrays an issue that ought to be brought to light more often.(less)
I cannot tell you guys how awesome Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans is – I mean, awesome to the point that I’m practically giddy just thinking about it.
And, okay, I’ll admit my bias straight-up – I’ve met Lenore a few times and she’s super sweet and nice. But that’s not it, I swear. Level 2 is a creative, mind-blowing story – one that I would have loved either way.
For one thing, the concept. There are some books that I just can’t even grasp and it blows my mind thinking about someone coming up with and Level 2 is definitely on that list. But in a seriously awesome way, you know? Because I love books that totally blow my mind.
The world building in Level 2 is intense. Lenore Appelhans definitely knows how to create a visual and intriguing world. I loved the idea of the Hive – er, not that I would ever want to be in it. But just in general.
And I loved Felicia. She’s not just a cookie-cutter, badass protagonist. I mean, she’s totally badass and super snarky, but she has issues like every protagonist should. She was really relatable, despite her unique situation. And Julian. I like boys like Julian (at least in books). The ones with the hint of mystery and badboyness. I’m still not sure how I feel about Neil.
If you’re looking for an intriguing, unique, and awesome story about what could happen after death and all the craziness that comes along with it, definitely check out Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans. Level 2 is a debut that is certain to blow your mind with its phenomenal world-building and compelling concept.(less)
GUYS. Partials by Dan Wells is a seriously intense ride. I read mixed reviews of Partials before I started reading it, but luckily I ended up really, really enjoying Partials.
I mean, it’s sort of hard to be really original with dystopians and post-apocalyptic stories these days. But I thought Dan Wells really kicked it up a knock with Partials. The whole biological robots aspect (aka the partials) was really interesting to me and I loved experiencing and learning about the partials.
The world building in Partials was excellent, I thought. There always has to be secrets in conspiracies in a dystopian society, and I really enjoyed learning all the secrets along with Kira. There were a lot of things I totally didn’t see coming and I really, really liked the twists.
It didn’t hurt that I loved Kira. A protagonist with medical aspirations – someone who wants to save lives with medicine and science and research! It was a very refreshing change and I loved her dedication and intelligence.
And as intense as Partials was, I will say that at some points I thought there was too much action – I was ready to find out more, to get to the conclusion, but stuff kept happening to slow things down.
Partials by Dan Wells was a very long book, but well worth the ride. It was exciting and intense, and a very interesting twist on the typical dystopians out there. The characters were admirable and brave, yet messed up and confused in a very relatable way. If you’re looking for a dystopian/post-apocalyptic type book that feels new, definitely check out Partials.(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)
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)
**spoiler alert** I’ve been looking forward to read Halo for a while now, and I’m so glad I finally got the chance. The cover is phenomenal and even i...more**spoiler alert** I’ve been looking forward to read Halo for a while now, and I’m so glad I finally got the chance. The cover is phenomenal and even if I hadn’t read such great reviews of it before I was able to pick it up from the store, I would have definitely bought it anyway without even reading the description.
When I first started reading it, I had NO idea Alexandra Adornetto is so young! She’s only a year younger than me, but most authors I read got their books published when they were mid-twenties and older, so I was super surprised when I found out. It also caused me to have a, “what have I been doing with my life?” angsty moment which is both good and bad because it made me want to write write write, but also caused me to glare at her twitter with envy.
The descriptions in this book are amazing. They’re detailed and perfect and create serious imagery, which as I learned in every English class ever, is the sign of really great writing. Which Halo has – lots and lots of really great writing. Sometimes when I’m reading a book, I’ll skim rather boring descriptions, but Halo had my complete attention.
I was a little iffy when I heard it was about angels. I don’t think I’ve ever read any books about angels before, actually. I won’t get into my own personal religious beliefs, but Halo, despite being about angels sent to earth to do God’s will, is not preachy at all. There’s a lot about doing good deeds and community service and all that, which I think is really important whether you’re religious or not, but Halo didn’t try to shove religion and belief systems at the reader, so that pleasantly surprised me. I would have been very upset if I picked up a book with beautiful writing and characters only to have them try to shove their beliefs down my throat, whether or not I’m religious. The plot itself was really interesting when it started to delve into the deeper issues of why the angels were sent to earth.
The book is long for a young adult novel – a solid 480 pages, give or take, so it probably comes as no surprise that some of it drags on a bit. Now let me just say this – I am not a sappy person. So to me, the parts that seemed way too long were the the parts with Xavier and Bethany being mushy. I really do like romance, but I like the dark and dangerous guys, not the doting, good, protective guys. Which is Xavier in a nutshell. I liked him as a character, I just wasn’t captivated by their relationship. So the first half of the book was a little slow for me, but definitely still good. And of course, I got really into it when Jake Thorn was introduced. He’s BRITISH, dangerous, good-looking, etc. Thank you, Alexandra!
I really, really liked that Gabriel was in this book. His name is one of the few angel names that someone will mention and I’ll go, “Oh, I know who you’re talking about!” so I really liked that he was included as an important character. I’m not sure if Ivy is a figure in religious history or not, but I really liked her character a lot as well.
Bethany is a great protagonist. I was worried I wouldn’t relate to her because she’s an angel and that just implies she’s super pious, but she really wasn’t at all. She was experiencing many of the same things that most teenage girls go through, and her being an angel made the experiences all the more interesting because of her internal struggle.
I love it when endings to the first book in a series is resolved enough so that you don’t want to cry in frustration when you finish, but cliff-hangy enough so that you’re excited for the next book. Halo is the perfect example of this. I’m not sure when Book II comes out, but I’m excited for it
Definitely pick up a copy of this book, even if you just want to see some examples of beautifully written descriptions. That was probably my favourite part – I loved reading all the details of Venus Cove and the world Bethany lived in.(less)
Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti was an unbelievably heartbreaking and moving book. I was not bullied back in high school, and I didn't really know anyone who was, so Keep Holding On was also definitely an eye opener for me.
Through out the entirety of Keep Holding On, I just could not believe what was happening. People are truly this terrible to other people in high school? It was shocking and upsetting. Keep Holding On is definitely a book that needs to be out there in the world to give students hope.
As for the characters, I loved Noelle. She has a hard life and she's not sure what she's doing, but she's still so inspiring and brave for all the things she does. Even if sometimes they were too late. She was definitely the most genuine character I've read in a while. And I loved the natural build of the romance between Noelle and Julian.
Like I said, the story completely broke my heart. I ached for Noelle. I wanted to fix all her problems and yell at all the terrible people in her life. Through out Keep Holding On we really got to watch her grow and become a stronger person, and I loved that.
Overall, you should buy Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti and give a copy to everyone you know. It's eye opening, moving, and inspiring. A wonderful contemporary.(less)
All of my blogger friends have been buzzing about Easy by Tammara Webber for some time – literally straight up raving about it. It took me a while to be up to reading Easy because I am a little wary about books with the relationship as the main plot.
But Easy seriously surprised and impressed me. For one thing, the sexytimes are abundant and they are definitely sexy.
Also, there is rape. Attempted rape and rape and it is such an important topic and I loved the manner in which Tammara Webber handled it in Easy. I want to hand Easy to every one I know and just be like “educate yourself but also enjoy this awesome book.”
I loved Jacqueline and Lucas. I totally saw that one twist coming, but I think it was supposed to be more of a twist for Jacqueline and boy, was it ever. But Jacqueline was an amazing protagonist and so relatable to college girls everywhere. She grows so much throughout the course of Easy and she learns about herself and what she wants from life and how to get what she wants. She’s admirable and gutsy and real.
And Lucas. THE SWOON, Y’ALL, THE SWOON. He is an AMAZING love interest and he has definitely made his way up into my top ten list (although I have not yet decided who he knocked off). He had character and baggage and brains and goals and I just love him.
The moral of the story is – if you were like me and you put off reading Easy by Tammara Webber, please make your way to the store (or e-store of your choosing or library or whatever) and get a copy. I absolutely loved reading Easy by Tammara Webber and I could not put it down. The characters are tangible, the sexytimes are so well done, the story is engaging and entertaining, and the subject matter is unbelievably important.(less)
Review to be posted on my blog closer to publication date.
I don’t even know where to begin talking about The Archived by Victoria Schwab. I am head ov...moreReview to be posted on my blog closer to publication date.
I don’t even know where to begin talking about The Archived by Victoria Schwab. I am head over heels for The Archived. If you thought The Near Witch was amazing, you are just going to be blown away by The Archived.
I mean, for one thing – the story. I loved the world Victoria Schwab created in The Archived. There are so many elements to the world of The Archived, like the Narrows and the Histories and the Librarians and the Outer and the Archives and I just can’t with how beautiful it all was. I want to eat whatever Victoria Schwab is eating for breakfast because she’s got some legit creativity.
I loved Mac without a doubt. She’s ballsy and real and more than a little bit heartbroken and I felt all the things for her. I have a feeling she’s going to be a protagonist that sticks with me for a very long time.
And, of course, there’s unexpected bonus swoon. I don’t know why, but from reading the summary I just didn’t really expect there to be a romantic subplot in The Archived but there was totally was and I am totally a fan.
There’s a lot of flashbacks between Mac and her Da and they really helped to build the story up, I think. It was a great way to learn more about the world of The Archived without having information jammed down our throat.
Basically, get to a bookstore and preorder a copy of The Archived by Victoria Schwab. Because The Archived is a truly amazing story. Victoria Schwab’s second book is just amazing (and even more so, I think) than her first, and you don’t want to be the lame-o who misses out!(less)
I enjoyed Vampire Academy a lot. As the first book in the series, I thought it was excellent. So imagine my surprise/glee when I started Frostbite and...moreI enjoyed Vampire Academy a lot. As the first book in the series, I thought it was excellent. So imagine my surprise/glee when I started Frostbite and I realized that they really do just keep on getting better.
Frostbite really gripped me from the first few pages. I loved the new characters that were introduced in this book, like Aiden and Christian’s aunt, and I loved getting more of Mason and Christian. There’s so many characters in this series and I can totally understand why it’d be difficult to make them all seem real, but Richelle Mead didn’t let it stop her. She clearly didn’t want any of her characters to be flat.
I also enjoyed reading the characters outside of St. Vladimir’s. As much as I love boarding schools, I really liked being able to see even more of the awesome world Richelle Mead built. Even if it was just a ski lodge and a town a little outside of it, it was still cool to see how the moroi/strigoi/dhampirs functioned outside of St. Vladimir’s.
And jeez, the main storyline was totally epic. The climax blew me away and I definitely cried. A lot. I won’t get into any spoilers, but I just felt so bad for Rose and all she’s been through, and she’s just so brave and strong and awesome. Seriously – Rose is an amazing protagonist. She definitely has her flaws, but that’s what makes her so real.
The further delving into the bond between Rose and Lissa, as well more explanation to why it existed was really neat. Richelle Mead really thought about what she wanted the bond to achieve and why it existed, and that was evident.
I also loved getting more of a backstory on Rose herself. Her mother played a role in this book and it was interesting to actually read her first hand, rather than reading Rose’s vague reminiscences of what childhood she had.
And, ooh, Dimitri! I mean, I don’t really have anything else to say about that, but I love all the bickering between him and Rose. It was cute. It was also very natural feeling. While I liked Aiden in this book (sort of), I wasn’t really all that into him. He’s way too cocky, but I’d have to see how he is in future books to really make up my mind.
Overall, Frostbite was fantastic. It exceeded the first in awesomeness. When I finished it, I knew I had to run out to the store and buy Shadow Kiss right away.(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)
Alright, I really, really liked Reboot by Amy Tintera. I thought the concept was super awesome and Amy's storytelling skills are superb. I was just totally sucked in. I am a slow reader lately (sigh), but Reboot was one that I just had to finish the same day I picked it up.
I enjoyed both the story and the characters in Reboot. I thought Wren was a badass and I really enjoyed her character progression in Reboot. I loved seeing the process of her slowly starting to gain humanity and seeing the way it screwed with her head at first. It's amazing that we have a character like Wren who is so strong and cold and brutal, but then also we can also really relate to her because who doesn't remember their first awkward and strange crush?
I also really liked Callum and Wren's best friend. They were great characters and I thought Amy did a great job creating their characters and making their personalities pop. Callum didn't quite make my favourite love interests of all time list, but I have a feeling with the second or third book, it may be possible. He is kind of adorable.
And the storyline in Reboot - loved it. I loved reading about the future in Reboot and all the gruesome things people are going through. I'm a sucker for rebellion stories, and Reboot is no exception.
I thought the ending was pretty much perfect - just enough to leave me feeling content, but still dying for the next book.
You guys, I definitely recommend Reboot by Amy Tintera. It's a solid and enjoyable story - definitely a bit of fresh air to the dystopian/sci-fi genre. The story will suck you in and the characters will keep you there. Amy Tintera presents a fantastic debut with Reboot and I absolutely can't wait to get my hands on the second book in this series! (less)
Okay. So after I finished Matched and was telling my boyfriend all about how awesome it is, I made the comment, “I normally don’t like dystopian/post-...moreOkay. So after I finished Matched and was telling my boyfriend all about how awesome it is, I made the comment, “I normally don’t like dystopian/post-apocolyptic themes…” and then of course, he was like, “Uh, yes you do. Some of your favourite books are dystopian! The Giver, The Uglies series, that one zombie book (he meant The Forest of Hands and Teeth), and now you’re going crazy over this book.”
And you know what? He’s totally right. I love dystopians. They freak me out, but I love them. And Matched is absolutely no exception. I was giddy from the very beginning (although to be fair, my giddiness might have been a result of my natural craziness). I absolutely loved Cassia and her family and Xander and Ky. Cassia’s narration provided great history and insight into her world, without sounding like the author was reciting background details at us. She really felt like a typical teenage girl (although she was missing basic hormones), but in an entirely different world than we’re used to.
I can’t tell you if I liked Xander or Ky better. I mean, really. I think I like Ky more, but Xander was so nice and it’s just so hard to choose for me. Anyway! When you guys read the book, please let me know!
Story-wise, I mean, it’s been done before. It felt like I was reading a mash-up of The Giver and the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield. But I didn’t think that was a bad thing! I love those books and while this definitely had a lot of the same elements, it felt like a new take on it. The ending wasn’t unpredictable or anything, but it definitely left a good set up for the next book.
So yes! I think you should read Matched, if you haven’t already. I really enjoyed it, and I can’t wait for the next one which come out sometime in 2011.(less)
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield was a beautifully written debut and haunting in its subject matter.
I’m such a huge fan of murder mysteries and beautifully written prose, so I was kind of a sucker for Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone from the get-go. I just fell in love with Kat Rosenfield’s storytelling – the way the past (usually involving the history of the town or Becca and James’ relationship) was mixed in with the future to help connect certain events.
And the ending and the killer and how the mystery was solved and the lives ruined. I don’t know, it was just so…much. I had my suspicions about little parts of the whole thing, but the way Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone came together – I never saw it all coming.
I loved the alternating points of view – Becca’s and Amelia’s. They were both connected through their immense desire for things they weren’t given. They both had dreams, like Becca and her dream of going far away and Amelia’s acting career. I just thought it really helped connect the two in a way that made sense, even though they never knew each other.
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield is a book I had to read in small doses. The writing is beautiful and overwhelming at points. If you’re looking for a haunting contemporary with beautiful writing, be sure not to miss Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone.(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)
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)
“Oh my jeebus.” This was essentially the phrase that echoed throughout my head while reading Delirium. I am SUCH a huge fan of dystopians and with so many coming out lately, there are lots and lots for me to read. But Delirium? Was good on epic levels. Seriously.
I looveeeeed Delirium. I loved Lena and Alex and Hana. Seriously, almost all of the characters in Delirium probably made it to my top favourite literary characters ever. They all had such varying personalities and they all progressed and grew up throughout the course of just ONE of the books in this trilogy, which is what characters should do, and I just fell in love with them.
Lena, especially. I love how she was raised so strictly to believe that love was a disease, and she even had past events to back up her beliefs, rather than just being told. She’s seen the harm love can cause people. But she grows and she learns and she experiences and it’s just…great.
And – hello! What a genius idea for a book, by the way. Love being a disease? Being treated for it at the age of 18, thereby rendering it harmless? It’s like every other dystopian book in that, at a certain age, everyone conforms to the same idea, same system, etc, except in Delirium, Lauren Oliver used love as the central focus point. Freaking brilliant.
The writing in Delirium is just…I don’t have any words for how well Lauren Oliver was able to describe each character, each thought, each conversation, the beach, the evaluation room…I just thought the writing was absolutely phenomenal.
Seriously, pick up Delirium. It’s an absolutely fantastic dystopian by an absolutely fantastic writer. The storyline, the characters, the writing – it all just combines into one awesome book that sucks you in and you won’t want to put it down. I’m so glad it’s a trilogy, because I am really, really looking forward to reading more by Lauren Oliver.(less)