Twelve Years Earlier... Mommy forgot to warn the new babysitter about the basement...
None of the hype wrapped snugly around the Darkest Powers series...moreTwelve Years Earlier... Mommy forgot to warn the new babysitter about the basement...
None of the hype wrapped snugly around the Darkest Powers series could've prepared me for the darkly edged mystery, the quick-paced plot, and the band of teen characters passed off as mere crazies that no paranormal fiction reader should do without! From the appetizer of the story, in which a teeny-tiny Chloe is lured into the basement of her house by something sinister, to the action-rampant, sinfully addictive full course, Armstrong tossed me into a supernatural world that held me as much captive as the characters turn out to be by the work of the operators of Lyle House. The entire series itself is so powerfully hooking that there is absolutely no way to avoid extending out a hand with an expectant, More, please, which comes out sounding less like a tentative question and more like a resounding demand.
Normally, Chloe Saunders would be the last fictional girl in the world I would choose as the lead to an explosive paranormal series such as this. But, as I progressed through the story, I realized that there would've been no one more perfect. Chloe goes through a stage of genuine denial about the ghosts she's seeing - it doesn't help that the "experts" at Lyle House are persuading her to believe that there is something psychologically unbalanced at the root of her behavior, her "hallucinations." However, as the pieces begin to fit, Chloe begins to believe in what she's been otherwise enforced to dismiss. I like a girl who can keep her wits about her in a brutal situation, who can formulate her own opinion, make up her own mind based on the evidence given. She's not stupid in the least. At first glance Chloe is a self-proclaimed Plain Jane with a yearning to be something more exciting (a relatable wish), but she's smart and, over the course of the book, she develops some spine.
Unraveling the deeply disturbing mystery of Lyle House and the kids' connection to their ominous captors while simultaneously being introduced to the other characters is as entertaining and riveting as a soap opera, as dangerous and creepy as a murder mystery novel/movie, with minor (perfect) touches of teen drama you can only find in your average American television drama series. A jealous girl quick to exact predictable revenge in surprising ways, eerie adults waiting and watching every move being made, and unknown consequences for misbehavior that give off waves of untold horrors make for an irresistible plot line and an unbidden desire for answers that compels you to move through the book swiftly!
There is no immediate romance, and I don't mean instalove. There are romantic interests of a kind, but no romance is introduced in this book. Still, the name Derek being passed around in squees and shouts between bloggers around the blogosphere was enough to coax me to read these books. And because I obtained some pre-knowledge on this area of the novels, boundless excitement for the romance to play out hummed throughout my time reading the book and it's sequels.
The Summoning is a flawless kick-off to the electrifying Darkest Powers series, and in my eagerness to read more, I forgot to note favorite parts in the book before returning this book to my library. This book is so amazing, though, that I'm almost certain I would've wanted to copy and paste the whole book! This is a series that, if you haven't by now (a minor setback, really), must be taken up and read immediately!
I don't know why it's taken me so long to finish this series--Oh, wait, I do. It was because of my opinion of Spirit Bound, or book five, that I was v...more I don't know why it's taken me so long to finish this series--Oh, wait, I do. It was because of my opinion of Spirit Bound, or book five, that I was very reluctant to engage in the series once again. But, let me tell you, I'm so happy that I let go of that foolishness and finished it because Last Sacrifice is probably THE best installment in the series. Everything I've ever wanted in books--fighting, explosions, extraordinary and memorable characters--and everything I'd hoped would come true once the series was over erupted in this entrancing, action-packed, thrilling finale of one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE series!
Bear in mind that I'm going to, for once, try to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible considering that not everyone can read spoiler-ish reviews and the fact that I want other fans to be excited for this book. It's hard to have such a long-stretching series pan out successfully, and I've had my ups and downs as far as each book, but truthfully overall the series hasn't let me down. It's been one amazing thing after another (except book five) and such an EMOTIONAL ride. Last Sacrifice opens up the way I've come to expect from all books of the series--directly after the last and right in the thick of things. I was easily brought back up to speed and effortlessly thrust right into the story. It hadn't felt like I'd been away long from this series. And Rose, while she lost a few points with me in book five, swiftly resumed her post at the top of my Favorite MCs Ever.
Rose makes such a great heroine not necessarily because she's so tough and kick-ass, but because she's insightful and wise. I'd be drawn to those qualities in anyone, fictional or not. Last Sacrifice really exhibits Rose's development and incredible growth, more so than any ones that followed the first. And throughout the book, with her being so conflicted over so many things, pushed into situations that require her to make controversial choices, her struggle with what was right and wrong added a depth to this latest book that was a glimmer in the previous ones in comparison. And Dimitri! Oh, Dimitri, how I've missed him. If Rose is one of my FMCs, then Dimitri is on my Top Ten Amazing Men list. As a love interest and as an individual, Dimitri has blown me away. His romance with Rose--one of the most perfect I've read in the YA genre. In reading Last Sacrifice I fell so much more in love with his character.
Even though Rose, and Dimitri, has always been my main focus in all the books, I still appreciate the Lissa and Christian moments. Lissa's character growth soared to tremendous heights in this last book, to the point that I got to be a little teary-eyed, openly proud of her and how far she's come. Christian has always been a fun and lovable side character, his sarcasm and snark making him both funny and endearing. Seeing more of him, seeing his strength in spite of all the bad that takes place, especially and predominantly focused in the end, I grew to respect and love him way more than I had before. Adrian now has room to grow and I anticipate that he will be as amazing as Rose thinks he will be once he gets the chance. And Sydney! I can't believe how much I came to like her, which is wonderful for me considering I'm reading the spin-off series that stars her.
I know I said in my review for Spirit Bound that I didn't like the plot wrench in the story that Mead threw in there, but after reading book six I take it back. Majorly. I realized it wasn't a plot device placed in the books to drag the story on, but was instead a well-thought out, planned one that drove the story to new and intriguing heights! That twist on the end, wow! I didn't see that one coming! At. All. The direction Last Sacrifice went in was both unexpected and perfect. The ending even more so. This last installment concluded one of the most impeccable YA VAMPIRE series in existence! And I can only hope that you'll take my advice and finish the series. Non-fans, it is my duty to tell you to READ THIS SERIES ASAP!
"That's only true if you let them make it true," I said desperately, still feeling the press of time. "Find one thing. One thing that's beautiful. Anything. Anything that shows you're not one of them." His eyes were back on me, studying my face silently. Panic raced through me. It wasn't working. I couldn't do this... I didn't want him to leave in despair. I wanted him to leave here one step closer to being that man I knew he could be. I wanted him to have one less nightmare. It was beyond my abilities, though. I was no therapist. I was about to tell him we had to get out there , about to make his soldier reflexes kick in, when he suddenly spoke. His voice was barely a whisper. "You're hair." "What?" For a second, I wondered if it was on fire or something. I touched a stray lock. No, nothing wrong except it was a mess... "You're hair," repeated Dimitri. His eyes were wide, almost awestruck. "Your hair is beautiful." (255)
"What?" I asked uneasily. "Why are you looking at me like that?" He shook his head, the smile rueful now. "Because sometimes, a person can get so caught up in the details that they miss the whole. It's not just the dress or the hair. It's you. You're beautiful. So beautiful, it hurts me." (404)
my thoughts in a few sentences: You may have already noticed, but it bears repeating: I couldn't rate this boo...moreRating: Unrateable Source: Ebook Purchase
my thoughts in a few sentences: You may have already noticed, but it bears repeating: I couldn't rate this book. I tried, in vain, to think of which one suited best, but they all seemed inadequate. God, how do I even... I'm still IN SHOCK, so consuming and crushing that I don't know what to do with myself. I'd heard countless times that this book is so different from where Oliver first hooked us in Delirium, but I didn't believe the impact would be so astounding. New Lena, tears, death, life, joy, Julian, Alex, and A CLIFFHANGER ENDING THAT IS UNFATHOMABLE. I feel like a sob is going to break out of me at any moment. Requiem, the third book, is like a distant dream, one where my hope is—perhaps foolishly—staked.
Carlos: I want to live life on my own terms. But I’m Mexican, so mi familia is always there to guide me in everything I do, whether I want them to or...moreCarlos: I want to live life on my own terms. But I’m Mexican, so mi familia is always there to guide me in everything I do, whether I want them to or not...
I would love to say something clever to open this review, but all I can manage is, I am cuckoo for the Fuentes brothers. When I first wanted to pick up Rules of Attraction, I kept getting a lot of feedback saying that it's basically just Perfect Chemistry retold. The same story with different characters, and the third book followed the same formula. I have to disagree. While yes, the same themes are being executed, the same TYPE of story - you know, Mexican bad boy meets White good girl - the story in Rules of Attraction still somehow manages to be fresh and unique to the characters.
Carlos reminded me of Alex, sure, but he is still his own person, with his own aspirations, quirks, and resentments. Honestly, I'd be a little mad if the two weren't similar, being that they are brothers. I like seeing familiar personality traits being passed down into the family. It isn't like Anna and the French Kiss vs. Lola and the Boy Next Door, because those feature two unrelated people, who were brought up differently in different environments. Whereas Alex and Carlos are products of their shared pasts. And while Carlos has the whole bad boy thing down-pat, he does it with his own flair. He has this certain arrogance that's different and more acute than Alex's. Did I like him more than Alex? That's a toughie. I'd say they're pretty much tied in my book.
Being that this story is told between two POVs, Kiara is the other first person narrative to be enjoyed. And I did. I actually love Kiara more than Brittany. Kiara is that girl who wears clothes two sizes too big, who fixes cars for fun, currently in the process of revamping the craptastic one she's in possession of, who isn't afraid to say what she means, and she stutters. I admired her while simultaneously adoring her for being so cute. Plus I loved that she has a gay guy for a best friend, especially this particular one (Tuck), because he is the source of so many great LOL-moments. And like Brittany, besides valuing family a great deal, she has that specific ability of challenging their chosen Fuentes guys, infuriating them and invoking overpowering love in them.
I liked how the plot in this book ties in the first one as well, as the Fuentes brothers are revisited by some unwelcome disturbing members of their past. Set-ups, betrayals, and old gang ties crop up and nearly ruin both Fuentes brothers' chances at happiness with the girls they love. I don't remember how huge the tension level was in Perfect Chemistry, but in Rules of Attraction I was gripping the pages hard and sporting white knuckles. And whenever I'm in that situation I tend to skim until I find out what happens, so there's a whole chunk toward the end that's kind of a blur because I got so worried and curious. And it leads up to a superb ending, which induced many awwwws from me.
I'm so happy that I didn't let other people's judgements pry me away from this series! It was worth the time it took to read Rules of Attraction, and Carlos and Kiara's love story makes my list of best romances.
I'm in love with this book, like I haven't fallen in love with a book in a long time. The last time I can honestly say that I enjoyed a book THIS much...moreI'm in love with this book, like I haven't fallen in love with a book in a long time. The last time I can honestly say that I enjoyed a book THIS much was with Jandy Nelson's The Sky is Everywhere, aka my all time favorite young adult novel ever. And that's saying something. I've been kicking myself in the ass ever since I finished it for a) holding off on reading this one due to skepticism which was derived from reading mixed reviews and for b) holding off on reading it!
Gosh, it has everything! Intense romance...hilarious bits...awesome, comical characters... and it's in FREAKIN' PARIS for crying out loud! Paris! As in the French city, or the famous city in France. However you slice it, this novel is - again, I say this - in PARIS, FRANCE! I've always wanted to travel the world, but reading a novel like ANNA makes me want to sell my soul for airplane tickets (and other necessary accommodations, of course! Can't come back from Paris without some Mousse au chocolat. <-- indeed a necessity.) I can't tell you how bad I want to see all the huge and historically significant monuments (their beauty doesn't hurt either)... and I've seriously been craving croissants since I put this book down! It's not fair to tease a girl like that!
But, enough about the setting and food. Or the deliciousness of the French language. Or how the French get to drink wine and beer before eighteen (did you know that?). Or how it's like the movie capital of the world. Okay, seriously enough about how great France is, I mean it... There's the wonderful characters. I couldn't be angry that I didn't feel like I got to know all of Anna's new friends as thoroughly as I'd've liked, simply because they made up for all of that with good humor and being great people just in general. Anna herself was a hilarious, authentic, incredible heroine - a compliment I do not give to often to the heroines I read about. I felt so blissfully connected to her. Even when she was being bitchy or immature, or angry and upset, the bad facets of her personality, I didn't mind. I felt like she became my best friend by the time I was through reading about her. I even felt a little envious toward her. I mean how many girls can say that they've gotten to live in France, make awesome friends, and kiss the most gorgeous American French Englishman in fictional existence? (Can you? Didn't think so.)
Riding out the plot wasn't tedious at all, which I had expected it to be. I guess you could call ANNA a character-driven story, and I typically enjoy epic novels with a substantial, action-y plot. But, being alongside Anna day in and day out, watching as new friendships are forged, as she slowly realizes she's in love with Ètienne St. Clair, I fell in love with the story in its entirety.
And one of the things that makes this an all time favorite of mine is definitely the breathtaking love and romance in this novel! It's beautiful. The whole experience. And genuine and real. First thing, St. Clair is imperfectly perfect. He's a gorgeous guy with a spine-tingling British accent, but he's short. He's totally chill in personality, but he likes to bite his fingernails out of nervousness or excitement. I bet you you can't say Aww! as loud as and enthusiastically as me... Him being so perfectly flawed, gives me hope. I feel like my guy, whoever he is out there, will be just right for me. He won't be too perfect, just plain brilliant. I only have to look at St. Clair as evidence... I don't know how many times I sighed or stared in awe at this pair. And what Anna and St. Clair have is downright awe-inspiring! They just fit so well!
The ending blew me away the most. It requires a reread and OFTEN. Very rarely am I entirely satisfied with the way a book closes, but all the angst and drama and implications were all worth it by the end. I was so scared I was going to be disappointed. It was going so well that I was almost sure I was going to be let down. But, thankfully, that wasn't the case at all! It was a hell of a ride and at the end of it I came out with the widest beatific smile that could ever be mustered by a mere human being on this beautiful earth! It was that good for me. ANNA definitely constitutes much revisiting.
And beyond even that, I'm absolutely nuts about the author - Stephanie Perkins. Read this and tell me this isn't beautiful:
"Finally, thank you to Jarrod Perkins. Who will always be my first reader. Who pulls me out of bed, pours coffee and tea down my throat, and pushes me into my office. Who cooks dinner, carries it to my desk, and carts away the dirty dishes. Who never doubted I would succeed. Who wipes away my tears, laughs at the funny bits, and seriously considers my most frequently asked question: 'Is the boy hot enough?' I am deeply in love with you. Thank you for being you, because you are my favorite."
You can really see a lot into a person by their acknowledgment page is all I can muster after that beautiful paragraph. Which is totally true. And if you haven't visited her website yet, I would if I were you.
I've come out of this whole reading experience with two realizations: 1) I am officially a Stephanie Perkins fan and will be buying all of her ensuing novels, which brings me to 2) I am so very desirous of the next two companion novels, LOLA and ISLA! As I would say, if I were French, about ANNA, C'est magnifique!
"St. Clair looks nervous. 'It's been a good day. This was the first good day I've had in ages.' He walks slowly toward me. 'I don't want it to end. I don't want to be alone right now.' 'Uh.' I can't breathe. He stops before me, scanning my face. 'Would it be okay if I stayed with you? ...'" (176/372)
"I snag his passport. 'NO!' I open it up, and it's... baby St. Clair. 'Dude. How old is this picture?' He slings my passport at me and snatches his back. 'I was in middle school' (208-209/372)
Last one, I swear...
"He is no longer St. Clair, everyone's pal, everyone's friend. He is Ètienne. Ètienne, like the night we met. He is Ètienne; he is my friend. He is so much more. Ètienne. My feet trip in three syllables. È-ti-enne, È-ti-enne, È-ti-enne. His name coats my tongue like melting chocolate. He is so beautiful, so perfect. My heart catches as he opens his arms and wraps me in a hug. My heart pounds furiously, and I'm embarassed, because I know he feels it. We break apart, and I stagger backward..." (255/372)
Trust me, I wanted to put up more. But, I don't want to give away the entire book. Best book I've read so far this year!
It's been a very long time since a book has pulled an extremely emotional reaction from me, the kind where a crying jag is in order. There isn't a sin...moreIt's been a very long time since a book has pulled an extremely emotional reaction from me, the kind where a crying jag is in order. There isn't a single reader that this book can't touch - at least I think so. TWENTY BOY SUMMER is beautiful; it's a heartwrenching, bittersweet, and deeply profound story that still brings tears to my eyes even though I've already put it down.
What got me the most was the tragedy that surrounded the entirety of the tale. And the thing is, I can't express the way I feel about it all without first divulging some very necessary info. The run-down of it goes something like this: Fifteen-year-old Anna finally gets kissed by her best friend, Matt, whom she's been in love with since she was ten, followed by a heartwarming, intense whirlwind secret romance. Shortly after, the guy she's loved all of her life is the only one who doesn't survive the car accident that Anna and her other best friend, Frankie, did. Frankie, also Matt's younger sister, Anna, and Matt have been an inseparable threesome since near infancy, so Anna doesn't know how tell Frankie about her and Matt's secret relationship - a relationship, incidentally, that was supposed to be revealed after Matt got the chance to sit down with Frankie and ensure her acceptance of it. Nearly a year after the tragic loss of her surrogate brother, best friend, and boyfriend, Matt, Anna is invited to tag along with Frankie and her broken family to California - the annual trip that couldn't happened the year before, the event in which Matt was going to confess to Frankie the nature of his feelings for Anna before he lost his chance.
Now, a year after Matt's death, Anna has a much more reserved personality, privately grieving for a relationship that never got the opportunity to flourish. And that's what struck me most about this story, that feeling that Anna will never know what would have been. I think that's what tears at Anna, as well. Throughout the book, it became evident that Anna and I shared an emotional connection. I felt her sorrow, her pain, and understood, if nothing else, her unwillingness to move on from Matt, to care for someone else that could be taken away, and her simultaneous desperation to let go and feel again. The memory flashes of she and Matt together, ones that illuminated Matt's character, nearly made this read unbearable for me. I remember just stopping so that my truckload of tears wouldn't stain the pages.There was potential for so much more between them, that perfect love that everyone seeks, and to see it be snatched away so painfully--there was nothing I could do other than cry.
Anna's effort to preserve her bestfriendship with Frankie also endeared her to me. Frankie, after her brother's death, takes a shocking turn in personality, attitude, and outward appearance. Her concerns no longer lie with school, with her family, but with how to make herself look prettier, smoking, and boys. No matter how much Frankie irritated me, I couldn't fault her. How would I feel if one of my sisters died? How much would I change? I kept thinking to myself. And that alone led me to an understanding of Frankie. I couldn't restrain any sympathy, any compassion even if I wanted to. The same with her parents.
What's more, the story is wonderfully written. It's a first person narrative that kept me glued to the book's pages, that had me unquestionably addicted. Ockler's magnificent storytelling yanked me into this world of pain and love, of loss and acceptance and has not relinquished its hold on me. And when I finally came up for air, after inhaling nearly three hundred pages nonstop without pause for breath, my face was sopping with identical rivers of tears. My mom nearly had a heartattack when she saw me--though, she knows me well enough to know how emotionally invested I can get with a book.
All I can say now is that I'm really looking forward to picking up FIXING DELILAH. If it's anything like TWENTY BOY SUMMER, prepare for another sentimental review soon. P.S. Mom, if you're reading this, I know it's Mothers' Day and all - and of course, Happy Mothers Day! - but I need you to put in another book order - TWENTY BOY SUMMER is a new favorite.
"I asked [Matt] what was so funny. He jumped a little, not knowing I'd been watching him smile there like a goofy little kid. he said it was nothing - just that he had fun at the party. And I believed him, all the way up until the day I read your journal. That's when it all made sense. All the times he'd ask me about who you liked at school, or who wanted to take you to whatever dance." (285)
View the original post here, on my blog Paranormal Indulgence.(less)
It starts with a crack, a sputter, and a spark. The match hisses to life...
This book made me feel small and innocent again, like before the illusion o...moreIt starts with a crack, a sputter, and a spark. The match hisses to life...
This book made me feel small and innocent again, like before the illusion of Santa was shattered, like Lexi's younger sister Wren, tiny and gullible. Because before school and homework and college applications, and all that other real world crap, this took me back to that time when my mom and dad would sit with me at night and read to me the requisite bedtime story. The writing, gosh, how can I explain it? It's poetic and dreamy and fairy tale-like. It flows beautifully and feels almost as if you're floating in a dream. The way the setting is depicted is just like that - surreal and immersive. The descriptions are lush with fantastical imagery, so that you're sitting there completely in awe of Schwab's writing ability.
The Near Witch truly didn't disappoint me in any way. Not in the heroine, Lexi, another Serious Supergirl with an HoG and such wisdom and open-mindedness. Her courage, her sense of duty, and loyalty and love for her family is just remarkable really. The fact that her well-loved father is dead, her mother's a ghost of a person, and her uncle doesn't believe in her, wishes to hold her back and do the protecting, does not deter her from learning about the enigmatic stranger that suddenly pops up in the town, or from searching for the vanishing children. Despite the consequences, she befriends and allows this stranger to help her hunt for the answers. Her unflinching trust in him - Cole - endeared her to me.
The mystery of the disappearing children, I thought, was NOT going to hold the book throughout. But I was wrong. The plot is eerie and intense, and it keeps you suspended in suspense. As you read on, you grow as hungry for the truths of the town's history and the secrets kept by the town witches as Lexi. It becomes imperative, because Schwab masterfully wraps Lexi's feelings in beautiful packaging so that you get to know everyone in the town, and feel sorry for the children's parents. I felt the sudden loss of the children strongly because of this, because of Lexi's firm connection to everyone there. And it made me worry all the more for Lexi's younger sister, because she could be kidnapped next at any moment. Lexi's love for Wren is palpable, and you don't want anything to happen to her.
I got so FREAKING ANGRY at the townspeople for their unwillingness to believe in and listen to Lexi, for their close-mindedness toward Cole and the Thorne sisters, and for the lies and premature blame placed on innocent people. How and why their children begin disappearing from their beds in the night is connected to this quick-to-blame attitude within the town. And that's another reason why I found this story to be so, well, beautiful. Because, like with all children's fairy tales, there's a lesson to be gleaned from this book. The Near Witch isn't just another book; it has strong themes of acceptance and delivers that age-old, sometimes trite saying, "don't judge a book by it's cover," in a non-preachy and breath-stealing manner. It's timeless, this story.
And the romance is like the cherry on top of a perfect sundae of epic and magical proportions. Cole is sad and in pain and basically introverted. He's not an Agressive Alpha in the least, but he falls under the Sentimental Sweetheart category, which I love nearly as much. And, to me, he fits in perfectly with this mystifying tale. The attraction that sparks between he and Lexi is undeniable and evident, but sweetness can be found in Lexi's prying for details of his life. They swap anecdotes about their lives - well, Lexi does more of the talking - and exchange personal, heartwrenching memories. I wanted to physically reach into this book and give them bone-crushing hugs. They brought each other out of their darkest periods and believed in each other, working together seamlessly to save the children of Near. There's nothing more heartwarming than that, watching them press forward in spite of the towering obstacles.
The Near Witch is like an old bedtime story to be passed down - both original and familiar - or a cherished fairy tale to bring you out of the gloom and believe in happy endings, no matter how bad things get. I want to clutch this story to my chest and hug it, reread it, and then share the magic of it with everyone around me. The Near Witch is memorable and will stay with me for, I imagine, a very long time.
It seems it's just one amazing vampire novel after another after another! Drink, Slay, Love is like every other vampire book out there, but retains so...moreIt seems it's just one amazing vampire novel after another after another! Drink, Slay, Love is like every other vampire book out there, but retains some elements that sets it totally apart, makes it absolutely unique! It's drenched in the paranormal, full of angst, but what makes me like it so much is the fact that it contains so much humor and NEGATIVE instaluv. It's entertaining, the MC is just... awesome and great to read about, and the issue logical and nerve-wracking. I couldn't have asked for better with this book!
Pearl has got to be one of my favorite FMCs (Female Main Characters), as she's bold, daring, with a confidence that shoots through the roof. She's arrogant, and rightly so, considering that she is an evil, bloodsucking fiend with no conscience. In other words, she thinks she's the sh** and it makes sense. Something I noticed other vampire books fail to do is give bad vampires more depth and explain their profound arrogance. I mean, if you knew you could snap a human's neck like a twig and take on just about any vampire in one-to-one combat, what's there for you to be afraid of? Very, very little, as Pearl clearly demonstrates. That's why the book gets to be so funny--when Pearl goes to human school for the first time, they're all beneath her, she knows she's superior, and it makes her look like such a bad-ass. She's the embodiment of what I wish I had the courage to be sometimes. Her attitude and wit make for a super entertaining telling and I could not stop turning the *digital* pages. There's no whining on her part, no Too Stupid to Live moments, because Pearl is upfront, blunt, and, eventually, good-hearted. She's what I expect heroines from paranormal books to be like.
But Pearl isn't the only character that manages to steal the show, at least for me. Her romantic interest, Evan, is dangerously close to making his way onto my Top Ten Amazing Men list! Another wonderful thing about Drink, Slay, Love is that Durst says ixnay to love triangles. YES, finally! Even though Pearl has a boyfriend, Jadrien, who I did find to be hilariously cocky, she's in no way in love with him. Mostly because he's also a bloodsucking fiend with no heartbeat and no soul. But, Evan comes along, with his heroic complex, which he entirely admits to harboring, and easy-going demeanor and Pearl DOES NOT FALL AT HIS FEET. It was incredible, watching their tentative friendship grow and grow and grow with a promise for more. I also loved Bethany, Pearl's newfound bff--nerdy, cute, and endearing, Bethany makes for a fantastic friend and a fun side-character to read about. Better, there's a wide-ranging cast of awesomeness that extends beyond just Pearl, Bethany, and Evan, to my utter delight.
Now, any vampire book would NOT be complete without a dangerous plot, and Pearl's Family and the vampire King of New England instill just the right amount of fear and anxiety to edge the book with an addictiveness that fueled my incessant and hasty reading of it. Because Pearl's Family are all bad vampires, they don't care for each other the way a typical, functional family would. There's no love, and they would turn on Pearl in a heartbeat. It was scary and I found myself perilously close to biting my nails when Pearl started to near discovery. The anxiety thickened as the book progressed and, with Evan and Pearl falling for each other, I began rooting for the vampires' defeat more and more. Trust me when I say, you won't be bored. And the unicorn twist! Oh, wow!
And what a perfect, magnificent ending that I hope will lead to future books! I actually want this to become a series (so long as Evan and Pearl do not split up). I want the protags to accomplish their overall goal for the existence of vampires, I want to see Evan and Pearl really admit their feelings to one another, and bond some more with the other characters. And, I want to see Pearl start whooping some more ass. Did I forget to mention that there's a decent dosage of action-y fight scenes?
Drink, Slay, Love knocked my socks off and makes me want to put on another pair so that it can do it again. It's fun, unique, and incorporates everything a PR book should have. I hope Durst has plans to dish out more of Pearl's story, and soon!
------------------------------------------------------------ "...We aren't the sorts to normally kidnap innocent girls." "Just tell the police not to tell my dad, okay?" Chubby said. "'Kidnap' is a harsh word," Tall said. "I prefer 'protective custody.' Really, when you think about it, we were protecting you. Or protecting someone from you, which is almost the same. Except for how it's totally not." "He's had a rough time at work," Chubby said. Bracing himself, he dragged the cage door open. It shrieked and whined. "Recession. He can't take this right now. Last Tuesday he flipped about late garbage pickup. Tears, screaming, snot flying out of his nose all over the wall until it looked like a Jackson Pollock painting. Not a pretty sight." Pearl felt the sun on her face. It felt like a warm breath.
"Finally, an insight. Welcome to my class, Ms. Sange. I pray that you leave here smarter than you enter and that your classmates do not leach intelligence out of you by their proximity." She glanced around the class. That was a distinct worry. Still... "They'd be smarter if you hadn't terrified them into silence." She couldn't comprehend how he had done it. His flabby arms couldn't throw a punch. She could evade him with her eyes squeezed shut and one leg tied back so she had to hop like a flamenco, which she had tried once in training. Results had not been pretty. He arched his bushy eyebrows. "Here for less than a class, and you have analyzed the full dynamics already." "Pretty much." "Yet you don't seem to be terrified into silence." Pearl shrugged. "That's because I know I'm superior to you."
"Little brother said you were pretty. You'd better not mess with his head. He's too nice for his own good." Pearl picked her words carefully. "I'm not planning to hurt him." It was disturbing how true that was. She didn't want to pierce that lovely skin or see the light fade from his luminous eyes. "Good," Lizzie said. "Don't. He always looks for the good in everyone. It's a strength and a weakness. If I hear you're taking advantage of him..." Bethany yelped. "Lizzie! She just left home. She needs our help, not threats." Lizzie snorted again. "So... he thinks I'm pretty," Pearl said. "Beautiful, actually." That cheered her up a little. "Good to know he has taste."
I have three simple wishes. They're really not too much to ask...
Besides waiting until I could collect my thoughts and put them down into coherent, re...moreI have three simple wishes. They're really not too much to ask...
Besides waiting until I could collect my thoughts and put them down into coherent, readable sentences, I used this month as a sort of test. As much as I love Stephanie Perkins, I had to wonder about what made her books so special? While I waited in this month to write this review, and pushed all the squealing back in, I thought about this. And you want to know what I came up with? I. Don't. Know.
And when you fall in love, sometimes it's just better to be surprised and not understand, because otherwise it gets hard to feel THE MAGIC of it. I can't deny that Perkins's books are magic, of the purest, truest, most addictive form, which can't be conjured or crafted in any spell, but one that springs solely from the heart.
I give you, 6.5 reasons why I heart Lola and the Boy Next Door:
1) The Side Characters
One thing you have to remember when picking up a Stephanie Perkins novel: every single character counts. No one ever falls into the backdrop. Even Lola's best friend's father, while not a major character at all, produced a smile from me upon our first meeting. And I don't even know the guy.
Perkins has a way of writing characters that are living proof of the Onion Effect. You peel back one layer and you find so much more than what you see on the surface. Whether that surface is pristine or tattered is entirely irrelevant. It's guaranteed that you'll find depth in these characters AND LIKE THEM FOR IT, even when you should hate them.
This is something I can count on every time I encounter a new character. And I loved this about Lola, and even Anna! And how Lola interacts with these characters of many shapes and sizes seizes your affection for this book and Co. From her quiet, investigative-by-nature best friend, Lindsey, to her lovable pair of dads, Lola's friends and family take the cake as far as best characterizations. You WILL be envious of the people she is fortunate enough to have in her life.
1.5) Surprise Guest Stars
Or should I say not so surprising? There's been huge talk about Anna and Etienne's planned appearance in Lola. And while I was excited for that, I didn't expect to see SO MUCH of them! And I'm so happy that Perkins was intuitive to know that fans would so appreciate their huge roles in Lola and Cricket's love story.
And somehow, it was better to read them under these circumstances, through another set of eyes. They seem THAT much cooler. And the romance that sparked the love for Perkins to begin with, IS STILL very much there only threefold. I gushed with pleasure every time I got a glimpse of their superspecialawwww moments!
Honestly, I didn't know what to expect from Lola the character. It was easy to develop a sketch of her in my imagination, and her kind of character already seemed likeable. But, I didn't expect her to be so... so... realistic in spite of her eccentricites. For a girl who's out-there, she's very real; a girl who makes silly decisions, has insecurities (the read-between-the-lines kind), and quirky aspirations.
And the best part? She IS NOTHING LIKE ANNA. So many authors who write companion novel series fall into that trap of telling the same story with different characters and vice versa. I wanted Perkins to break that mold, and she delivered. Lola is original, her own person, and while compatible with Anna, she retains this awesomeness that's completely unique to her character.
Cricket Bell is no St. Clair, and I applaud Perkins for her ability to create TWO such heart-melting, swoon-worthy guys. Two boys who make you sigh wistfully for two totally differently reasons.
St. Clair is the Superfly Artsy European Mutt dude who makes every passerby fawn over him with his heartstopping good looks. Cricket would make me stop in my tracks and stare for a completely different reason: he's odd in his own right. He has crazy inventor hair, habitually wears rubber bands on his wrists and pinstripe pants, and is charming and sweet. The fact that I still REMEMBER all of that a month after reading this book speaks volumes.
4) Family Matters
The family dynamic is obviously different from the typical mom-dad scenario, being that Lola has two fathers, but toss out any misconceptions you may have had about being raised by gay parents. Because Nathan and Andy prove THAT YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. :P
If there was an award for favorite fictional parents, Nathan and Andy would get top scores. They'd beat out everyone (except maybe Mia's parents from If I Stay).
5) *sings* I love the way you love...
The last thing I want to do is give anything away about the romance (especially). It's so important that you read it and feel the SLOW BURN that is part of Perkins's style thus far. It's agonizing, full of hard choices, but ultimately it left me in a WOWed state, in which I took the time to bow down to the amazingness that is Stephanie Perkins. I promise, you will not be disappointed Anna fans!
6) What I've come to call the Stephanie Perkins Flair
The pacing, the writing, Stephanie Perkins knows how to weave a tale. Her writing is friendly and fun and inviting. Insightful. And at times poetic-like. There's a warmth and allure to her books that can easily be described as incomparable in the face of so many YA books out right now. If you've been skeptical up until now, don't be! You will not regret reading this series!
A misconception that could perhaps cost you a limb...
This a companion novel, friends. You do not need to read Anna (although I advise that you do, so that you can appreciate Anna and St. Clair's presence more) in order to read and love Lola. So, if in fact you encounter this book in your travels before Anna, do not hesitate to read it. It's a win either way, whichever way you do it.
My small Southern hometown is beautiful in the haunting way an aging debutante is beautiful. The bones are exquisite, but the skin could use a lift......moreMy small Southern hometown is beautiful in the haunting way an aging debutante is beautiful. The bones are exquisite, but the skin could use a lift...
I'm so glad that I followed my gut on this one and grabbed it from the library shelves, because if I hadn't I would've missed out on an impossibly fantastic debut! It was two steps away from making Special Shelf, that's how excellent it is. Superb narration, snarky heroine, riveting story line, and fabulous characters. Hourglass contains all of that AND a phenomenal twist on a paranormal element that hasn't been exhibited nearly enough in YA fiction. A wonderfully well-told story, Hourglass ranks top ten on my favorites list for this year!
Emerson, Emerson, Emerson, can't get enough Emerson. It has always been easier for me to connect and fall for The Guys of the books, but never have me and The Chick connected so seamlessly. What started out as just another book to read, Emerson is like the frosting on an already sumptuous cake with Michael Weaver and Kaleb Ballard playing the cherries that go on top. Michael, Kaleb, Michael, Kaleb. McEntire masterfully weaves a love triangle that makes your head spin, leaves you breathless, and, for once, deliciously (agonizingly) conflicted. No half-assed love triangles designed as a plot device to steer the novel in a different direction or lengthen the story. McEntire delivers something infinitely more powerful and downright swoon-worthy.
Full of action-packed, danger-ridden events and a smart twist on the paranormal, Hourglass will tantalize you with answers to questions that keep cropping up. A villain that terrifies, characters that enchant (finally, parental figures with some sense and control!), and dialogue that engages and humors, this book surprised me in the best ways and kept me engrossed to the very end. It reminded me vaguely of X-Men, adding to my already lengthy list of reasons as to why I love this book.
If you want something special, something that will keep you on your toes, then Hourglass is what you've been waiting for. It was exactly the thing to break me of my reading funk and get me back on track, giving me hope that I'll come across more reads as amazing as this one! I'm left with one burning thought, What awaits Emerson Cole after that explosive ending?
For those of you who'd like a teaser, click here. (It's a recycled scene in the book, but it's a BIT SPOILERY.)
In the most totally inappropriate way you can imagine, Perfect Bed Partner books are the books you want to do, they're so bloody brilliant... (My Rating System In-Depth)
...I HADN'T BEEN OUT LONG. I STRETCHED AND OPENED MY EYES TO MICHAEL, WHO APPEARED TO BE IN PAIN. HIS BROWS PULLED TOGETHER OVER HIS DARK EYES, AND THERE WAS A HARD SET TO HIS MOUTH. I FROZE MIDSTRETCH. "WHAT'S WRONG?" "NOTHING," HE SAID, HIS VOICE ROUGH. I DIDN'T THINK I HAD CROSSED ANY BOUNDARIES SINCE I TOUCHED HIM BEFORE I GOT IN THE CAR, AND NONE OF MY ROOMMATES AT SCHOOL EVER CLAIMED I TALKED IN MY SLEEP. "I'M SORRY ABOUT BEFORE, ON THE STREET--" HE SHOOK HIS HEAD. "IT WASN'T THAT." "THEN WHAT DID I DO?" "BESIDES FALL ASLEEP?" "I'M SORRY. IT'S NOT THE COMPANY, BUT WE WERE UP SO LATE, AND THE SUN FELT SO GOOD." I STOPPED. WHY WAS I DEFENDING MYSELF? MICHAEL WASN'T TOO BIG ON EXPLANATIONS, SO I HAD NO IDEA WHY I WAS TRYING TO CLARIFY ANYTHING TO HIM. HE LOOKED AWAY FROM ME TO FOCUS ON THE SIDE OF THE BUILDING. "YOU SEEM SO VULNERABLE WHEN YOU SLEEP. I DON'T GET THAT FROM YOU A LOT." I SHIFTED UNCOMFORTABLY IN MY SEAT. "I ALMOST CRIED AT DINNER THE OTHER NIGHT. WAS THAT NOT VULNERABLE ENOUGH FOR YOU?" "THERE'S A DIFFERENCE. AT DINNER YOU WERE SAD; TODAY YOU'RE... SOFT." (121).
my thoughts in a few sentences: Remember when I said I was going to explore more middle grade wo...moreRating: Special Shelf Source: Publicist from Scholastic
my thoughts in a few sentences: Remember when I said I was going to explore more middle grade work? Well, I’m delighted to say that another favorite book of the year has turned out to be middle grade lit, and it’s stunningly poignant, wonderfully emotional, and entirely memorable. Maintaining any kind of objectivity is an impossible goal when you’re reading about a girl torn down by cruelty, beaten by loss, and was raised to care by a beautiful man who always saw the beauty in her—beauty that will be nothing less than a hardship for her to see over the course of her journey beyond the memory of Plain Kate and to a confident, stronger self. You will recognize her from the wrenching beginnings of some fairy tales, only you will leave her not to a conventional happily ever after, but to an ending far more true to that self she’s bound to discover.
my thoughts in a few sentences: Oh, gosh. *tries to breathe* Jess Rothenberg reins nothing in, leaving emotion st...moreRating: Special Shelf Source: Borrowed
my thoughts in a few sentences: Oh, gosh. *tries to breathe* Jess Rothenberg reins nothing in, leaving emotion strewn about in just about every place we stumble across through Brie's wrenching journey to peace and acceptance. Right within the first couple of chapters, my face was openly drenched for all to witness my sorrow and grief, mourning the loss of a young character's life—a character, incidentally, who I barely knew at the start yet I wept for this world Rothenberg exposes to us since it was now bereft of such a bright, happy girl with a deeply loving family, which includes a little brother who will be deprived of his older sister's presence in the years of his life to come. Literal heartbreak as a story concept isn't as corny as it initially sounds; a dagger breaks into our hearts every time Rothenberg pumps anguish into her words and into the discoveries she unveils.
I didn't grow up with Robin Hood. I'd heard of him, sure, but the only interpretation I could recall was the pompous ass they made out of the legendar...moreI didn't grow up with Robin Hood. I'd heard of him, sure, but the only interpretation I could recall was the pompous ass they made out of the legendary character in Shrek. I roughly knew the story, the basic details of the legend, but I didn't know much about it in-depth. I'm ecstatic that this Rob is the very first one I encountered, because every one of the past—had I read earlier versions—would've been nothing more than a pale comparison. Where do I even begin? I'm almost scared to attempt to describe Scarlet's absolute and unquantifiable exquisiteness.
How long has it been since a rag-tag group of phenomenal characters came to your attention? Well, meet Scarlet. And Rob, John, and Much. If you're not familiar with the general tale of Robin Hood, the whole concept behind the legend is a mysterious man, who is worshiped by the people, steals from the rich to give to the poor. But, I'd find that an unbelievably difficult, near-impossible task for one man alone. And so we have Rob and his band of thieves. Scarlet is the latest addition to the team, coming to them an impeccable thief able to teach the perfect maneuvers and to pick out the best targets. She has a rough commoner accent that leaks into her narrative—which is a bit jarring initially but grows on you, another detail to a fabulous heroine—and is wicked with knives. A girl packed with so much emotion and secrets, one who carries a deeply scored heart but has so much compassion and bravery that she never ceases to amaze us with her unyielding generosity. Better yet, she has excellent taste in men—oh, ROB—but is endearingly naive to the workings of the male mind, which tends to be the cause of delicious frustration. She knows her own mind, is completely headstrong, and she serves as a wonderful heroine to look up to, especially when we consider the time period. This heroine is far from overshadowed by her leading man, no matter how INSANELY fascinating, gorgeous, and lovable he is.
The emotion laced into the pages is so powerful, brimming over in scenes which we choke back horror and exude sympathy for starving people, broken families, and piercing sacrifices that make us hurt all the more. And each turn of the pages leads to a new striking plot development that breaks our tremulous control on our own emotions, as they overwhelm their drawers and leak into reality (igniting the stares of our fellow classmates and that cute guy friend who decides to ask us what we're reading), causing us to grip our e-readers with white knuckles. Yet there is that brilliant spark of hope as well. The battling—as in knife throwing, flying arrows, severe punches, and hacking swords—is equally darkly thrilling and tension-inducing, as we care to a ridiculous degree for these characters, and we gather a fierce urge to break out our GO TEAM! sweatshirts.
But the slippery, syrupy romance takes the cake. Weirdly enough we DON'T whip out the rifles when an inkling of a love triangle catches our notice, because, deep down, we know who Scarlet really belongs with, a conclusion that strikes her down in the most brutally stunning and exciting way, as we've been waiting for her to make that realization FOREVER. It isn't even worthy of spoilers; it has to be experienced.
I have no idea if Scarlet will develop into a series—goodreads and the author's website are being annoyingly close-mouthed about it—but I fervently hope so, because I don't know how much longer I can last without this gang and their ballsy plots to end wrongs and manipulate situations so that the right win out. I'm totally book bullying you people: buy it. NOW!!
EDIT: After discussing it with my mom, who IS familiar with Robin Hood, much more than I, if you're a fan, you will definitely pick up on the references and delight in the twists the author has created. It made the book that much cooler for me when I learned more about him.
my thoughts in a few sentences: What to say about The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa, that hasn’t been said a...moreRating: Perfect Bed Partner Source: Gifted
my thoughts in a few sentences: What to say about The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa, that hasn’t been said already... First and foremost: don’t go looking for the Iron Fey series in Kagawa’s own vampire addition. I don’t mean expecting Puck or Ash to round the corner, but don’t anticipate the light, dreamy writing and lack of true harshness in her storytelling that is familiar to us, because The Immortal Rules is a sharp turn in the opposite direction.
Review: Do you like deserts? I don’t—they’re everything hot, dry, and stickily wrong with the world. And they breed little nasties like scorpions (a t...moreReview: Do you like deserts? I don’t—they’re everything hot, dry, and stickily wrong with the world. And they breed little nasties like scorpions (a total ewww factor!). Yet, Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorn books make the desert strangely and fascinatingly appealing. THE MIND BOGGLES. This series of books incorporates evocative fantasy, compelling intrigue, and character growth that is wholly phenomenal in portraying common internal struggles with identity and self-confidence. The Fire and Thorn books demonstrate the power of faith in a wholly non-preachy, non-zealously religious manner and the good ol’ fashion theme of what it means and takes to become a hero. Elisa may just be my personal hero for all time.
Prophecy is a tricky thing, I have learned, full of edges and secret meanings and mischief. Prophecy can feel like the betrayal of a dear friend, the disappointment of a lifetime, the hope of a nation. (198)
Last year, war brewed and overflowed, drenching all the land with death, violence, and despair, and was ended at the hands of a once lost, hopeless girl whom the desert brutally fashioned into a proud, confident, shrewd warrior queen. But, the effects of war haven’t diminished, and Elisa must suffer the games played by the plotting noblemen at court while surviving the decisions she makes to reinforce her power. In Girl of Fire and Thorns, her transformation from shy, malleable, studious princess into a woman slowly realizing her own strength is one of the most fist-pump-worthy moments I’ve read. Carson takes it a step further in Crown of Embers by Rae Carson—Elisa has grown even more, though she is split between that of a clever woman and a timid ruler, fiercely trying to rectify the latter in order to ultimately be recognized as an improvement from the ruler before her. Being surrounded by the palace and overruled by the generals and counts with favor in her meetings, her confidence is shaken. She doesn’t slip into the role of an obedient, submissive queen—she has been reformed with steel, pride, and dignity, but she no longer believes her own power to be enough, a lacking in herself she believes can only be fixed by some outside force to back her. Crown of Embers by Rae Carson is, essentially, her discovery of the confidence to be a true queen and shouldering all that the effort entails.
“This could be it, Elisa,” Ximena says, and her black eyes spark with something fierce. “What you need to rule. To finally grasp the destiny I know God has prepared for you.” (198)
That is the thread woven beneath it all, but as she quests to realize this—literally and metaphorically—there’s so much else happening. Traitors are forged into newly forgiven allies, old withstanding, comforting presences are removed for proper growth, and love is realized anew in a friend, confidant, and loyal guardian who is every bit what I hoped he would be for Elisa. And evil dark-magic-bearing sorcerers plus cunning ploys for revenge spin together to tie in the rest of the plot, filtering a sense of urgency that surpasses the dire circumstances of the previous book.
While Elisa’s growth never fails to stun me blind and conjure admiration in my heart, I’m trembling with unhindered excitement for the rematch sure to go down between the two enemy nations whose feud runs too deep to be permanently squashed because of the events of the first book. I’ll be thrilled to witness Elisa’s next move, for the character left on the final page is no longer just a girl struggling to balance the crown teetering on her head but a woman ready and willing to wage destruction on her oppositions with ferocity and aggressive determination all wrapped underneath an outwardly formidable construction. Elisa won’t be messing around in the next book, and the next steps she takes are sure to be friggin' glorious.
Most Likely to Be Enjoyed By: As a huge fan of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I can safely write to fans of this series that it is absolutely impossible to be disappointed in Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. If you fell in love with Elisa’s profound character growth, the vividly presented fantasy world, and Carson’s amazing plot structuring abilities, then you will love Crown of Embers by Rae Carson with an intensity that provokes an anticipation for the third book that completely exceeds what you felt in wait for this second book. Lovers of traditional high fantasy, which is essentially a story of epic scope riddled with your age-old themes of self-growth and good vs. evil as well as some fantastical elements, you will revel in Carson’s innovative world, manipulation of themes that give a layered texture to a well-structured plot, and Elisa’s becoming of a hero.
Content Warning: There is some detailed violence, in which the main character witnesses several vicious variations of death that can be explored thoroughly enough to warn away a middle grade audience. Implications of having and preludes to sex are included, however they are written with weight and romance rather than handled tastelessly and/or superficially.
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people...moreMr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious...
I can never fully express to you how deeply I regret not embarking on this series sooner. I'm so late! Now the movies are over and its less likely I can parade my enthusiasm and the sheer joy I got from reading this. From the first chapter alone, it became increasingly obvious as to how J.K. Rowling ended up a millionaire (or is bigillionaire...?). I'd always been a BIG fan of the movies, but I didn't read the books based on my pre-Reading Obsession years when I didn't very much enjoy them. I realized, though, that at the time, I didn't have it in me to appreciate this series. Now, I do. Boy, do I! This book incites the fan girl (or boy) in you!
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is full of magic and adventure, sparkling story-telling, and is the embodiment of nearly every child's dream to run off to some foreign, magical place where excitement and danger is around every corner to chase off the boredom. What is so purely great about this first book (and I'm sure the others as well) is the effortless world-building that mirrors our own world in past and present spaces in our history. Nothing is over-done and it's plain how deep Rowling's knowledge of the world runs. From wands and cauldrons to magical beasts to wizarding sports, The Sorcerer's Stone will fascinate you at every plot turn and through every character. It ensnares your attention and leaves you craving the next book!
I loved Harry. His book portrayal made me much more sensitive to his circumstances and feelings. Gosh, I can't tell you how many times this boy succeeded in making me cry! The cruelty of his care-givers had me fuming and crying all at the same time. And the feeling of loss for his parents strikes you throughout the course of the movie series, but it hits much harder after reading the books. Growing up with the movies, the movie adapted characters stuck with me while I was reading. I saw Emma Watson when I read Hermione, and Radcliffe and Grint and so on. It honestly made me love the book that much more!
I appreciated the Big Mystery, and it was nice to go through the motions of unraveling it, because I had forgotten almost everything from the first movie. It was like starting fresh, and as I read the book I slowly began to recall what was going to happen. Strangely, that made it all the more exciting.
Perhaps it is because Harry Potter has been dear to my heart all this time, being apart of the Harry Potter generation, that the entire book captivated me from start to finish, but I can truly say, without bias, that The Sorcerer's Stone is an enthralling, unique, and astoundingly overwhelming read! I can promise that I was as bewitched as Harry when, together, we stumbled upon the wizarding world, and absolutely guarantee that my friends will be finding the Harry Potter books in my bag until I'm done with the series!
Thought up by the lovely Small Review, Special Shelf books are unforgettable books that hold beautiful stories inside and characters you will forever be in love with... (My Rating System In-Depth)
"FRED, YOU NEXT," THE PLUMP WOMAN SAID. "I'M NOT FRED, I'M GEORGE," SAID THE BY. "HONESTLY, WOMAN, YOU CALL YOURSELF OUR MOTHER? CAN'T YOU TELL I'M GEORGE?" "SORRY, GEORGE, DEAR." "ONLY JOKING, I AM FRED," SAID THE BOY. (92)
"HAS ANYONE SEEN A TOAD? NEVILLE'S LOST ONE," SHE SAID. SHE HAD A BOSSY SORT OF VOICE, LOTS OF BUSHY BROWN HAIR, AND RATHER LARGE FRONT TEETH... "OH, ARE YOU DOING MAGIC? LET'S SEE IT, THEN." SHE SAT DOWN. RON LOOKED TAKEN ABACK... "SUNSHINE, DAISIES, BUTTER MELLOW, TURN THIS STUPID, FAT RAT YELLOW." HE WAVED HIS WAND, BUT NOTHING HAPPENED. SCABBERS STAYED GRAY AND FAST ASLEEP. "ARE YOU SURE THAT'S A REAL SPELL?" SAID THE GIRL. "WELL, IT'S NOT VERY GOOD, IS IT?" (105)
HARRY GRIPPED THE EDGES OF THE STOOL AND THOUGHT, NOT SLYTHERIN, NOT SLYTHERIN. "NOT SLYTHERIN, EH?" SAID THE SMALL VOICE. "ARE YOU SURE? YOU COULD BE GREAT, YOU KNOW, IT'S ALL HERE IN YOUR HEAD, AND SLYTHERIN WILL HELP YOU ON THE WAY TO GREATNESS, NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT--NO? WELL, IF YOU'RE SURE--BETTER BE GRYFFINDOR!" HARRY HEARD THE HAT SHOUT THE LAST WORD TO THE WHOLE HALL. HE TOOK OFF THE HAT AND WALKED SHAKILY TOWARD THE GRYFFINDOR TABLE. HE WAS SO RELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AND NOT PUT IN SLYTHERIN, HE HARDLY NOTICED THAT HE WAS GEETTING THE LOUDEST CHEER YET. PERCY THE PREFECT GOT UP AND SHOOK HIS HAND VIGOROUSLY, WHILE THE WEASLEY TWINS YELLED, "WE GOT POTTER! WE GOT POTTER!" (121-122)(less)
I adore contemporary romance novels almost as much as I love paranormal ones, so I've been tingling with anticipation for this novel for quite a while...moreI adore contemporary romance novels almost as much as I love paranormal ones, so I've been tingling with anticipation for this novel for quite a while! Hadley Sullivan is dreading her upcoming flight to England, where she'll be forced to watch her father get remarried to the woman who caused her father to leave his family behind, a woman, incidentally, she's never even met. Although ready to brave jet lag and sitting with strangers (never mind that she's claustrophobic), Hadley misses her flight entirely by a miniscule four minutes. Simultaneously tormented and soothed, she rearranges her flight and braces for the worst forty-eight hours of her life to begin. But those mere four minutes are responsible for so much more than a missed flight and will impact Hadley's life in ways she could never have predicted.
Hadley, hurt and bitter and resentful, is a pretty, pleasantly ordinary girl riddled with turmoil, yet she throws her chin up and takes the mature route, avoiding hysterics and annoying outbursts. Her pain is tangible, her distress and suffering becomes ours as we retrieve glimpses of her sweet, shattering past with a father who left her behind to be with another woman in, not a town or state away, an entirely separate continent. It's simple to hate him and blame him for the damage done to his and Hadley's relationship. But what I loved about this book is that it proves our feelings, which propel our actions, are so very complex, and while what her father did may not have been right, his situation spawns sympathy, and, eventually, forgiveness.
Oliver, a gorgeous, charming British boy with his own secret past, is not just that helpful stranger from the waiting area - turns out assistance is vital when trying to deflect the terrible disapproval of nosy old ladies - but also Hadley's flight companion for the next several hours. The flowering romance - which is not just limited to Hadley and Oliver necessarily, mind you - in this book conjures the warm and fuzzies and makes you want to curl up in bed, hugging this book and your pillow, fantasizing about meeting your true love in the seat next to you on your long, airborne journey to anywhere. I basked in their witty, insightful conversations, a trembling sigh escaped when a puzzled, intense look was shared, as if to say, I've found something amazing here, haven't I? Healing words of kindness and understanding, melting embraces, and the helping hand of fate combine to stitch a lasting bond between two characters, who, over the course of a single flight, in a matter of hours, not only fall in love with each other but make you fall in love with them too.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is so much more than what it claims to be. It's not a story that focuses solely on romantic love, love at first sight, but one that realistically and genuinely illustrates the means of forgiveness, family issues, and the abiding love between family members. This book resonated with me especially because Hadley and I share similar pasts and old wounds, and our feelings blended together until I couldn't separate which were hers and which were mine, causing me to leak an ocean of tears, particularly toward the end.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight caters to the belief that the magic of true love/instantaneous love may not be confined to only the storybooks, that some things, like family bonds, can weather anything. A novel with the potential to soften even the biggest cynic's guarded, resistant heart, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is a wise, wonderful, heart-stopping debut that decisively places Jennifer squarely as an auto-buy author.
According to the puppy-of-the-month calendar hanging next to the phone in the kitchen, my sister June died on a Thursday, exactly nine days before her...moreAccording to the puppy-of-the-month calendar hanging next to the phone in the kitchen, my sister June died on a Thursday, exactly nine days before her high school graduation...
I've never been into the Angry At the World attitude, like Harper (although, later, it becomes evident that this girl IS WAY MORE COMPLICATED then she thinks/lets on). That's just not me, I don't flow that way (did I just say that?). I've never been a hardcore music fan. And no matter how ripped or sexy, I've never before been able to get into the rocker look for dudes. Again, not my style. My sisters and I have a tremulous (yet somehow steady) relationship, but I could never picture either of them poised for suicide. Gives me chills to think of it. So in going into this book, I was bombarded with all of these... foreign concepts, aspects I wouldn't normally go for. And for my efforts, Harrington WOWed me with her intricate characters, deeply emotional plot, and a resolution I could accept and be satisfied with.
From the opening page, Harrington fed me line after line of elegant prose and amazing metaphors and a wonderful narrative. I only mention writing styles when they're WORTH mentioning, and Harrington will grip you with her unique telling of a contemporary theme we've all encountered in our reading travels. A bowl of onions is hiding behind Saving June's cover, and as much as I love a good crying jag-inducing story, I accepted early on that this would be another of those tales where the teens have left the couch warm at their last therapy session and someone had died and the journey onward (via roadtripping, of course, because what else?) would be full of love and forgiveness and acceptance. I wasn't too far off, I will admit. But Harrington spilled the beans after having cooked them with sofrito thrown in as opposed to just the tomato sauce. This book shares common ground with my contemporary romance favorites and yet it screams different in the most beautiful way.
And while I wouldn't name my first-born after the MC or suddenly throw myself onto the mercy of the Bible, reading frantically for the answers to all of life's conundrums, Saving June, and its characters, became my teachers.The religious aspects weren't uncomfortable. There was no full-scale preaching; instead, Saving June expresses the importance of faith in something. Or someone, some higher power, because we all need something to believe that the world isn't all bad and we're being looked after... I'm gonna cut myself off before I go all Samwise Gamgee on you. The point being is faith and confusion as to God's existence is touched on more so than any specific religious practice. And Harrington exquisitely ties this to loss and overcoming grief, making the story THAT much more appealing.
Harper, Laney, and Jake are a trifecta of flawed perfection in fiction, three people who connect in ways I can only dream of experiencing one day. Harper and Laney have been best friends since forever (isn't that always the way?), but unlike the unlovable duo of yesterday's review for After Obsession, their friendship has its treasured memories, ups and downs, and a clear understanding of one another. They love each other for who they are, tolerate the bad stuff, and just accepte each other. That kind of friendship can only be stumbled upon a few times in a lifespan, I'm thinking. Harper and Laney's relationship is a rare find, one that any reader enjoying this book will lap up as the story progresses. And JAKE. Remember when I said I had an aversion to the punk/rocker look? BOY DID I NEED A (fictional) REALITY CHECK. Because Jake Tolan is a sexy mothertrucker, you guys. Jerky, arrogant, and an eternal music junkie with an attitude problem. But underneath is a heart of gold. Though he makes some crappy decisions and messes up a few times, he doesn't do anything that could potentially invoke Harper's (or my) abiding hatred. One of the most delectable romances I've read in some time has been written in Saving June's pages. I assure you, much will be missed if this book isn't picked up.
But the necessity of this book reaching your hands goes beyond JUST the romance, but also includes the themes (acceptance at the head of the list), the heartwrenching journey itself, and the characters. I've never met characters so utterly real in their heartbreak and being lost. Or as strong, because they somehow manage to reach for the crazy glue and stick the pieces back together. My single piece of advice: break out the Kleenex, but you'll need it when you least expect it. I knew there was a reason why this book called out to me, and I'm patting tummy (because that's where your intuition is, right? O_O) and thanking Intuition for refraining from leading me astray.(less)
my thoughts in a few sentences: War has come, on a dark wave of thick sludge that can't be clogged. Th...moreRating: Perfect Bed Partner Source: E-ARC Request
my thoughts in a few sentences: War has come, on a dark wave of thick sludge that can't be clogged. The fight has come, down to every last man, woman, and child, and no one is safe. The Avalon we know and the faeries we love are on a deathly brink of hopeless extinction, and everyone is needed, everyone's strength, will, and courage is tested. Survival is a dim wish escaping with the breeze, falling with the sun. And Death waits for all and pardons few. Tears, anguish, hope, they all collide in our chests and set a foreign rhythm to a once calm, warm place. Destined is the captivating peak in a series that rips us up and reattaches us in a way in which we are never the same, the final story we've been waiting for.
Alona Dare: It was easy enough to sneak out of school. I knew that from previous experience.
I love short books! Seriously, I appreciate a book that's...moreAlona Dare: It was easy enough to sneak out of school. I knew that from previous experience.
I love short books! Seriously, I appreciate a book that's under three hundred pages and still manages to hook me. The Ghost and the Goth - told in dual perspectives - takes the cliche - The Queen Bitch, with depth beneath the surface, befriending the loser, who's actually very cute and not a psychopath at all, at school - and revitalizes it, giving each MC a very distinct, likeable voice. And the characters aren't the only surprise! The book itself, while character-driven, delves into issues existing outside of the supernatural problem the two characters have on their hands. There are some heavy issues explored, though with an overarching light tone that manipulates the atmosphere of the book to stay anything but somber or severe. It feels as though it's been a long time since I've had this much FUN reading a book!
As much as I claim to be a nice person, I can't help but snicker at Alona's type. Then the weirdest thing happened - I sympathized with her character! But the most refreshing thing about that is Alona is an unapologetic character who doesn't ask for nor want sympathy or pity, something that gets across loud and clear almost as soon as you spend a few pages with her. Which is why I couldn't help but agree with Will in that he admires her almost as much as he gets irritated with her. Despite her pitiful home life, Alona doesn't sit back and play the victim card, whine, pretend no one else in the world exists to live in isolation. Oh, no, instead she climbs the top of the social ladder at school, snags the boy everyone is pining for, and is ruthlessly blunt to anyone who doesn't try as hard as she does at life. Alona is a mean girl, no doubt, but her outlook goes something like everyone has control over their own lives, so those girls and guys at school who no one accepts and likes aren't trying nearly as hard as they're capable. To her, excuses don't exist. And you have to admire someone who isn't afraid to take what she wants without checking for vulnerable shoes susceptible to being stepped on.
I didn't like Will nearly as much as Alona, I will confess, mostly because he just doesn't have Alona's drive or her brand of meanness. (I find mean girls terribly appealing, if you haven't already figured out.) But what makes Will attractive - despite the fact that he's really cute! - is his unshakeable loyalty and protectiveness of those he loves. And even though he has family issues and a heartbreaking past roughing up his home life and zero tolerance or sympathy from his school principal making his schooltime horrible, he stands on his own two feet and remains self-reliant. He may not be as goal-oriented as Alona Dare but he's no wimp either! And best of all, he doesn't become compliant under Alona's tactics to boss him around or her demands.
Now what do you do when you have two headstrong characters meant to fall in love? You grab a bag of popcorn, some soda, and pick a better seat! The romance here progresses gradually but does NOT border on nonexistent or subtle. The chemistry and tension is there, a reluctant sparking that crackles into oh-so-delicious moments. And as the two learn more about each other, seeing all facets of the other's personality, those feelings escalate into something you know is going to be explored thoroughly in later books.
While the paranormal element is more of a sub-plot, I didn't mind. I enjoyed that touch of the supernatural even as I dived deeper into the characters. The paranormal aspects only made the book more intriguing, without overshadowing the characters, and drove the book forward at a pretty steady rate. The mystery and conclusion wasn't top-marks perfect but it did its job and served as a great incentive (besides the romance!) to continuing reading the series. Because by the time you're done you have just as many questions as the characters do! Queen of the Dead, here I come!
my thoughts in a few sentences: I’ve got a thing for zombies and the Victorian era. Put th...moreRating: Perfect Bed Partner Source: Harper Teen via Edelweiss
my thoughts in a few sentences: I’ve got a thing for zombies and the Victorian era. Put the two together and I possess the inexplicable urge to magically produce rainbows or Lucky Charms. Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel was my last indulgence in this area, and though it was satisfying in many areas it missed that crucial opening hook and didn’t suck me in until a hundred pages or so. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard is almost a hundred pages shorter and it managed to do what DD could not: hook me INSTANTLY. By the first line alone, I was sitting back with a happy grin on my face, eager for the next thing lying in wait. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard, thankfully, has a gorgeous cover to match the story it wraps.
my thoughts in a few sentences:Shadow and Bone is the book I couldn’t get out of my head...moreRating: Special Shelf Source: NetGalley/Requested Physical ARC
my thoughts in a few sentences:Shadow and Bone is the book I couldn’t get out of my head once it arrived on my doorstep, the one I badly wanted to read, and all others I had tried to start suffered because of this hunger for a story that was not them. Finally, I gave up reluctance and waiting and picked it up on a late evening, and my eyes were dry, sore, and brutally red, but firmly aware, by the time I looked up from the final page only to note that dawn was coming. My internal clock didn’t feel the blows until long after because the story, even after the pages relented and Bardugo’s own siren song buried in her beautiful story, which had called me back, faded, my mind was still trapped in the memory of absorbing the events on each page. I haven’t been so thoroughly captured in a long time.
my thoughts in a few sentences:A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger is, uh, very stimulating, kindling heat with the fiery attraction between Whitley and Nathan and igniting our sympathies for the main character due to her sad home life. I loved uncovering more about Whitley, learning that there’s a lot more to her than meets the eyes, and I basked in Nathan’s unerring faith in her. The rest of the characters are hilarious and real, and each of them work to intervene in Whitley’s self-damaging choices and treat her better than she’s known. Great for summer, certainly, but also a worthy and sexy addition to Keplinger’s stellar writing career!
IN LESS WORDS: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas will not be a book for everyone to enjoy, though it has been devoured by the masses it seems. Not ever...moreIN LESS WORDS: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas will not be a book for everyone to enjoy, though it has been devoured by the masses it seems. Not everyone will understand and/or appreciate Celaena Sardothien’s characterization, fall in love with the wonderfully written love triangle, or feel invigorated while reading such an engrossing plot. Some will scorn this high fantasy world. However, if you’re anything like me, you will love this book for it’s slow burn, murder mystery plot, characters with sore hearts, as well as magic, unearthing old secrets, and a competition among the dirtiest, most formidable criminals out there in the land. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas is a favorite debut of the year, packed with weapon-wielding action at the hands of a hot-headed, arrogant teenage assassin, both steamy and subtle romance with two love interests (Team Chaol!), and mysterious magical interference. If you’re a lover of fantasy, I suggest you give this a whirl.
Full Review: Prisoners at Endovier, mines that are a high-security hellhole of a death camp, don’t last a handful of weeks—Celaena Sardothien lasted an entire year, and she’s still capable of laughter. Celaena is well-aware that, even as Adarlan’s most notorious assassin, malnutrition and severe punishment by the corrupt hands of the overseers—whose whips and salt-pouring over fresh wounds have left horrifying scars down her back and in more vulnerable places—would have been the death of her very soon, and this is what leads her to consider, and ultimately agree, to Prince Dorian Havillard’s bargain: should she win a cutthroat competition against the lowest of criminals to be the King’s personal champion, to do with what he wishes, she will serve him for a few years before earning her freedom. As grubby, undernourished, and wounded as she is, she has no trouble crooning her own praises, unwittingly reassuring the Prince and Rifthold’s Captain of the Royal Guard, Chaol Westfall, that she’s neither insane nor is she the most infamous of criminals for nothing.
The moans of agony amongst the clank of chains made a chorus as familiar as the dreary work songs they sang all day. The occasional solo of the whip added to the symphony of brutality Adalarn had created for its greatest criminals, poorest citizens, and latest conquests.
You’ve undoubedtly heard by now that the majority of readers of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas are of two minds—they either enjoy Celaena’s characterization or they dislike it immensely. I’ve read it all—that she’s vain, spoiled, inconsistent, etc. For me, Celaena’s worst qualities are what make her one of the best of female main characters. She is a very complex and layered character; she’s loyal even while being concerned with self-preservation, arrogant on the surface, enjoys and utilizes her beauty, and is truly one of the loneliest and saddest characters I’ve encountered in a novel. Her family is lost to her, and all the time following their deaths, she trained as an elite assassin, made friends, trusted the wrong people, and eventually got caught in the middle of her illustrious career. She lost a precious friend along the way. And, her cruel sentencing aside, she has absolutely no love for the evil king she’s bound to serve. All for a ticket to anonymity in the countryside, a place in the world belonging to her and the sky and the treasures they hold above her. She’s unabashedly bold, mocking, tough as steel nails, and anything but humble, and, as Small Review made me realize early on*, she is like every arrogant, masked, scarred male character I’ve read—apart from her girly appreciation of glittery, silky dresses, beautiful hair, and flawless makeup—and loved. And although I don’t think they’d get along very well, she reminds me of Scarlet in A. C. Gaughen’s debut this year—another favorite, and a terribly awesome sign.
“After a year, you seem to be more or less alive. I wonder how that’s possible when the average life expectancy in these mines is a month.” “Quite a mystery, I’m sure.” She batted her eyelashes and readjusted her shackles as if they were lace gloves.
I simply adore the way Celaena goads the new men in her life—the captain and the prince. She shows them many sides, she teases and mocks them, and she falls a little bit in love with both, one more than the other, I’m desperately willing to believe. The love triangle is unlike those we loathe. You know the ones that are written for some ulterior motive or for the sake of writing one and creating angsty, predictable struggles throughout. The one in which Celaena is taken in by the dashing good looks and kindness of the Prince and unknowingly goes down the hate-to-love road with the stoic, honorable Captain happens naturally—at no point does it feel forced or contrived, and is just one aspect of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas as it’s one aspect of Celaena’s complicated life. They neither define her nor do they consume her focus. And, as most seem to be saying, I fell unreservedly, unquestionably in love with Chaol as Celaena’s ultimate love interest. As much as I’d love him for myself, and though she has great banter and friendship with both young men, they complement each other so well. It’s like Hector vs. Paris in Troy the film—Hector has a deep sense of honor, courage, wisdom, and a kind of selflessness that Paris doesn’t, and that’s how I perceive Chaol vs. Dorian. That aside, Dorian is too young in his thinking, pampered, and knows nothing about the sort of scars both Celaena and Chaol share and understand. Chaol sees the heart of her and accepts it without needing to know all of her ghosts and torments, including what she will always be unwilling to speak of, while I find that Dorian is softened by what he’s seen and knows and is intrigued by not only her uniqueness but the shadows that weigh on her soul. As he grows, Dorian may become a more attractive love interest, but not a compatible one, not so that he’ll ever match Celaena the way I see Chaol does.
“You marry the person you love—and none other,” he said, and she laughed. “You’re mocking me! You’re laughing in my face!” “You deserve to be laughed at for such foolish thoughts! I spoke from my soul, you speak only from selfishness.”
Immersive love triangle aside, the story line is immensely well-written and hard enough to maneuver for those who quickly solve mysteries, with enough red herrings to make it fun, and not so difficult for those who might find it a bit more challenging to follow. I’ve seen this book pitched as a teen version of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice, aka Game of Thrones, series, and while I haven’t read those books yet, I have heard that the plot is incredibly intricate. I wouldn’t say, from what I’ve heard from friends and other recommenders, that it’s as crazy layered and overlapping as the plot in that series, but it’s brimming with a bunch of different fascinating problems woven together. It’s a paranormal murder mystery set in a high fantasy world, filled with talk of faeries and their descendants, evil beyond what lies in humanity, ghosts, castles made of glass, ancient, magical forests, and more that’s entirely riveting! And yet they’re all somehow linked. The plot itself ties in very nicely with what is gleaned from the small glimpses into Celaena’s past—both of the time during her assassin career and the time before that at the age of eight and younger. You have that high-stakes competition, the murder of some of the contestants, and the suspicious motives in politics for involving Celaena’s newfound friend who is a princess of neighboring country—a blunt and kick-ass secondary character. As Small perfectly describes this element of the story, “…she sleuths, and I love her for it. She utilizes both the library AND secret passageways, two things that are near and dear to my heart. And, in this case, both lead her to buried secrets from the past, which pretty much makes the whole scenario explode with win.”* Although Small and I both agree the final reveal of the villain is a bit “deflating,” I found reading it to be as much fun as she.
He nodded. “And how old are you?” “Eighteen.” But he said nothing. “I know,” she continued. “It is impressive that I accomplished so much at such an early age.”
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas is a fulfilling novel for someone who enjoys what Maas has to write about, her particular brand of storytelling, and characters that reeled me in with their woes and wounds, kindness and witty banter, and the interconnecting relationships. Maas’s characters are not necessarily ones you would relate to—except Celaena’s delirium over pretty anything, if you’re into that kind of thing like I am—and not ones you sympathize with, as they don’t ask for any sympathy or pity. More, you love them for who they are, all their highs and lows, despite all they had to endure and overcome to survive and still maintain some semblance of the person they are. Again, I’m referencing Small here*, but Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas is by no means a flawlessly written or perfect read, but, for those anything like me, it’ll be an unerringly wonderful match.
* - To read Small Review's review of Throne of Glass, click here.
Recommendations for this book had been finding me everywhere, and, since I'm a huge fantasy buff, I thought I'd take a crack at it. It quickly became...moreRecommendations for this book had been finding me everywhere, and, since I'm a huge fantasy buff, I thought I'd take a crack at it. It quickly became abundantly clear why Brightly Woven is so well-loved. I haven't been overly impressed by the fantasy books I've recently stumbled across, but Bracken spins a gorgeous tale that is magical, intense, and gripping, saturated with wizarding duels and epic rivalries, a terrorizing war, and an endearing love/hate romance that swallowed my attention from the beginning. An irresistible read, Bracken delicately, elegantly delivered me a priceless story of forgiveness, acceptance, and the importance of standing up for the right when things are disturbingly wrong, as well as wove characters that were swiftly imprinted into my heart.
A fascinating young woman, Sydelle Mirabil makes a squealing fangirl out of us by simply being herself. She is unlike what we expect--a fierce, solemn girl who loves her family deeply and will do what's necessary to protect those who matter. Her spirit and courage separates her from the flock of weak-willed/TStL leading ladies inserted in some of the more disappointing novels we've read lately and are mere shadows in comparison. And when Wayland North crops up in her small desert town under suspicious circumstances, Sydelle isn't blinded by him and willing to fall at his feet. After all, he does yank her away from her home to embark on a mysterious journey and is much too secretive for her liking. While unexplained and brand new feelings for North begin to surface, STILL she is cautious and unwilling to crumble under his demands. As for trust, that's far from an option, at least until North is inclined to be more forthcoming. Their developing relationship, strengthened by care and subtle romance, has us wanting to clear up any misunderstandings, then roll up our sleeves and knock the two together until they see what we do. Yet, the pacing of their evolving relationship is beautifully written. And their blazing sweet and hot interactions toward the final chapters are well worth the wait.
The enthralling fantasy element combined with awesome side characters (OWAIN!) added to the already swoonworthy main characters/couple snowballs Brightly Woven into something smashing and devastating and FUN. Traversing through neighboring cities, described vividly by this talented author, and experiencing the unrelenting 'race against time' feel of the plot makes us simultaneously tense and excited, with little to no time left to wonder what thrilling thing Bracken will toss in next.
I'm ecstatic to have found such a brilliant fantasy tale written by a very gifted author and will be reading whatever Alexandra Bracken decides to put together in the (hopefully near) future.
my thoughts in a few sentences: With all the expected trappings of a zombie survi...moreRating: Perfect Bed Partner Source: St. Martin's Griffin via NetGalley
my thoughts in a few sentences: With all the expected trappings of a zombie survival novel, Courtney Summers manages to take a concept so familiar to us and twist it so that it’s not the zombies we’re most fearful of but of fellow human beings capable of so much more atrociousness, viciousness than the walking undead who constantly fascinate us. This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers is more focused on the emotional upheaval caused by and before the zombie epidemic, and the extremes that come with all that packed-in turmoil. Summers invades the mind with horrific scenes and disturbing imagery, all the while maintaining this dark, eerie beauty in the words that make This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers a story to be experienced and absorbed rather than to be merely read and witnessed.
my thoughts in a few sentences: With all of our favorite elements from the first three books, Bourne...moreRating: Perfect Bed Partner Source: Lisa T. Bergren
my thoughts in a few sentences: With all of our favorite elements from the first three books, Bourne is a well-welcomed addition to a series I am deeply in love with, so deeply in fact that the fall never ends. Reading about Lia, Luca, Marcello, Gabi, and crew again brought the warmest, widest smile I could physically muster on my face. While Torrent ends beautifully, it was brutally clear that not everything was resolved, and while I loved that Lisa refrained from tying everything up in a neat and pretty bow, in Bourne we witness the aftermath of that last battle and I was ridiculously pleased. It would seem peace will never settle over our favorite band of Italian knights and She-Wolves, for trouble and danger find them always, and I relish every sticky situation that catches up to them. Plus, the romance we fans have all been waiting for erupts in perfect sweetness and incites dreamy sighs of happiness.
Rating: Sud-Kissed Source: Requested from Publicist
my thoughts in a few sentences: Although I wasn't reduced to fangirl gushiness over Switched, Torn r...moreRating: Sud-Kissed Source: Requested from Publicist
my thoughts in a few sentences: Although I wasn't reduced to fangirl gushiness over Switched, Torn rapidly makes up for any lack I felt from its predecessor. The stakes are cranked up to a nearly unbearable volume, all but suffocating our relatable, mistake-making heroine who is doing her best to learn on her feet, hoping to pick up all the right cues and etiquette, not to mention the unyielding mentality of a princess while trying to balance her innate compassion into the equation. Wendy has the power to change things, to make a difference in this world she's only just been introduced to yet has quickly fallen for. It's her world now, and she has people to fight for. Fans of The Princess Diaries and The Iron Fey series combined will enjoy Wendy's tremulous journey into a character and ruler we can all adore.
my thoughts in a few sentences:Torn may have been a lovely improvement in the series, but...moreRating: Perfect Bed Partner Source: Requested from Publicist
my thoughts in a few sentences:Torn may have been a lovely improvement in the series, but it's got nothing on Ascend. With this final installment came the realization that I was in love with this series and all it has to offer, from characters who range from cocky and vulnerable, sweet and insolent, and have grown so much, to a fascinatingly thought-out world to intense plot ties that span the entire series and hardly cease to entertain and excite. However, Ascend's biggest appeal is the all-sweetness-and-heat romance with a blinding flash of the forbidden intensifying the blushing hues of true love. Ascend is definitely my favorite in the series, an unforgettable finale—the brilliant story I was waiting for Hocking to deliver me.