my thoughts in a few sentences: From the moment Lauren (365 Days of Reading) read the prologueRating: Special Shelf Source: ARC via Simon & Scuster
my thoughts in a few sentences: From the moment Lauren (365 Days of Reading) read the prologue of this book, then following the excellent “Juliet Can Suck It” review written by Posh (Forever Young Adult), I KNEW When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle would a) be unlike EVERY SINGLE Romeo and Juliet retelling out there and b) it would touch me to MY VERY SOUL. Serle captured heartbreak and all its devastation, sadness, and confusion, breaking up friendships, annihilating What Could Have Been, strengthening other bonds, and whipping up a romance with the kind of guy that demands and refuses to settle for less, is dead set against waiting and waiting, letting his heart be tromped all over. He understands and infuriates, the patient love interest who won’t stand aside and proves to Rosaline what beauty and love is, helping her heal what there is of her heart.
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 peopleMr. 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)...more
I'd been telling myself forever that I was going to read this book. Of course I really liked Echols' Boys Next Door and The Ex-Games novels, and so, aI'd been telling myself forever that I was going to read this book. Of course I really liked Echols' Boys Next Door and The Ex-Games novels, and so, after hearing talk of the swoonalicious sexy John After, I couldn't resist FINALLY reading Going Too Far for very much longer once it was actually in my possession. Because that would be stupid, right? And I learned something valuable once I was done with that final, breathtaking page. Bad girls can be more like crack than the bad boys. Slow and searing is the romance. Heart-pounding and emotional is the plot. And the characters stick close to the heart even after the book is closed because the story is never really over there and continues on. But, Meg, our oh-so-lovable wild child protag beckoned me aboard first and really quickly.
Ever watch those cruise commercials on TV and imagine yourself there, vividly, and when the narrator tries to sell you on how wonderful the place is, you wonder why he's even bothering because there are no words needed! Of course, you want to go there! Endorsement isn't required by this point. You would go so far as to kick baby kitties in their jaws if it got you anywhere near a ticket. Everyone wants to go there! Meg is Going Too Far's main attraction, and there is no need for further convincing once she enters the scene. Bad girl to the bone, a little bitter, about 50% obnoxious, Meg leads a very crazy lifestyle, her cavalier attitude toward sex and her constant search for thrills showing just how jaded she is when we first 'meet' her. Her life seems to be bumping along just fine, until Officer John After arrests her for underage drinking while doing some serious trespassing. Like strolling along train tracks and tiptoeing death serious. And when, consequently, Meg is forced to play tagalong with the same stupid, annoying cop responsible for her arrest throughout the duration of what should've been an amazing spring break, she's none to pleased with this young, confusing, MEGA HOT guy weirdly chained to her ridiculously unimpressive hometown. Her endless resentment of John's desire to show her the error in her ways only fuels the animosity between them... and the sexual tension.
BUT NO. They do not go on to have hot jungle sex like crazed monkeys. There's this Opposites Attract slow burn, a peeling back of layers to reach the soft, vulnerable centers of who they are. They discover each other, misunderstand one another, and make mistakes. They unravel secrets and talk pasts and old wounds, overstep and soothe, gradually exploring, constantly testing and toying and teasing. Circling each other. Delicious intensity, Sexy Times, and gooey sweet moments, the story is wonderfully wrapped up in the romance, but it doesn't overrun the crux of it. Mostly, it's about change and healing, of letting go and beginning anew, and how loving someone and having them love us back can be perfectly unplanned and exactly right. Can make us better. And both aspects--the romance and the message--stuck with me tighter than the effects of crazyglue. I'm cuckoo in love with this book.
Going Too Far may just be the best Jennifer Echols will ever have to offer. My heart broke a little when that last sentence led to nothing more.
This book is a jewel I gently cradle in the cups of my hands. It is so beautiful, precious, and mesmerizing to behold, I know it will shiSpecial Shelf
This book is a jewel I gently cradle in the cups of my hands. It is so beautiful, precious, and mesmerizing to behold, I know it will shine and glitter when you turn to it. Don't let Echo slip from your grasp. Just don't.
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 tReview: 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.
It's been a long time since I've been affected in such a way by a book. Pushed to tears, a severe blow to the heart that threw me into a daze... I'veIt's been a long time since I've been affected in such a way by a book. Pushed to tears, a severe blow to the heart that threw me into a daze... I've always been one to feel deeply, no matter the medium. And in this case, I was completely stunned. By the time I was done reading IF I STAY, I felt like my heart went a few rounds with the champ and lost, utterly emotionally drained. I don't know how the heart withstands what's been lost the way Mia has lost... It's like, if I applied that life-altering moment to my life, I don't think I would've chosen to stay. I don't. I'm weak when it comes to pain pressure.
I'm kind of painfully, beautifully mesmerized by the novel... With Mia relaying the events of her life, helping me get to know the most important people in her life, making me feel agonized right along with her... The characters were just amazing people. Mia had the best parents a girl could ever ask for. They were painstakingly real, people you wish you knew. Her brother was like this giant energy ball, always saying the funniest things as a result of wobbly seven-year-old thoughts. Her grandparents, so old fashioned and sweet. Then there's le boyfriend and best friend, Adam and Kim. Adam, a climbing rock star, has an underlying sweetness and passion for music, this incredible love for the shy, quiet girl that Mia is. And Kim, with her brutal honesty and short-temper, all the while somehow maintaining this goody two shoes image. I cracked up a lot because of her! And thank goodness I did, otherwise I would've found myself drowning in this bittersweet and emotional story...
The story itself is told in first person POV, through Mia's eyes in the present and in flashes of the past. The events that occur... How does one heal after the crippling of the soul? A single blinding moment which takes away everything you've known, and all that you loved? How do you get passed that? I honestly wouldn't know how to deal. I think that's why I had to cry those six or seven times that I did. (I was reading this in school, so people were staring at me funny when they saw I was crying. People just don't seem to get how emotionally invested a person can become while reading a book.) My heart felt like it had been squeezed and pulled, my emotions wrung out and twisted. At one point, I thought about putting the book down and just not reading it, because I didn't think, as sensitive as I am, that I could take much more. The whole thing just felt so real to me, as if I was right there with Mia as everything unfolded.
You might have noticed that I have no smileys posted for this one. That's because I more than love this book, yet at the same time I don't know what I feel. So, I left it without smileys. IF I STAY is an exceptionally written, wrenching story of a shattering moment, a single accident, in a heartbroken Mia's life... I'm definitely going to seek out the sequel/companion to this, and hope that everything turns out alright with the heart-achingly beautiful turn of events by the end of this book.
"When Teddy slid out... He didn't come out squalling like you see on TV. He was just quiet. His eyes were open, staring straight at me. He held my gaze as the midwife suctioned out his nose" (132 | 234).
"Mom always said that it was because Teddy saw me first, and because I cut his cord, that somewhere deep down he thought I was his mother... She exaggerated. Teddy didn't really think I was his mother, but there were certain things that only I could do for him...And when he'd skin a knee or bump his head, if I was around he would not stop crying until I bestowed a magic kiss on the injury, after which he'd miraculously recover... I would do anything to have been able to give him one" (133 | 234).
"'Jesus, Mia your hands are freezing.' He squats down, takes my right hand into his...draws his mouth to them, blowing warm air into the shelter he's created. 'You and your crazy hands.' Adam is always amazed at how even in middle of summer, even after the sweatiest of encounters, my hands stay cold...He says I have bionic hands, that this is why I'm such a good cello player. I watch him warm my hands as he has done a thousand times before. I think of the first time he did it, at school, sitting on the lawn, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. I also remember the first time he did it in front of my parents... I was freezing outside. Adam grabbed my hands and blew on them. Teddy giggled. Mom and Dad didn't say anything, just a exchanged a quick look, something private that passed between them and the Mom smiled ruefully at us" (165 | 234).
UPDATE: After re-reading this book TWICE now, I've decided this baby should be at five stars. So it is.
Edging toward 4.25 stars...
From the outside thUPDATE: After re-reading this book TWICE now, I've decided this baby should be at five stars. So it is.
Edging toward 4.25 stars...
From the outside this appears to be a beauty and the beast retelling. And it could have been exactly that and I would've been fine. But, oh, it is so much more than that. It's about two cast-offs who find value in each other, seeing humor and charm and wit and bravery where no one else has. Ildiko and Brishen are simply magic together. I haven't been so utterly swept away in a couple and their coupleness in so long. At it's core, Radiance is a love story, but told in the most tender of ways, with so much attention to the elements that create a bond, one so strong I felt it, the trueness and the loveliness of it, even after I turned the last page.
The humor in this book was one of my favorite parts:
"You find me ugly, don't you?" "Hideous," he said. "A hag of a woman."
"Well?" "Had you crawled out from under my bed when I was a child, I would have bludgeoned you to death with my father's mace."
And they mean every word of that. What's fabulous is, they are so charmed by each other they take no offense, just appreciate the other's humor and honesty. This is how one fashions humor in a high fantasy novel.
Brishen rocked back on the bench and howled. When he finished and wiped the tears from his eyes, the woman was staring at him with her horse-toothed smile in place. "I don't know whether that's a testament to my looks or to your penchant for violence."
Gosh, I quite simply adored them. They won me over in so little time that I was highlighting at least four to five sections in a single chapter at a time. These are characters you don't want to miss out on meeting, and that includes the people who rally to their aid, the people who love them.
What I've done to earn such luck, I couldn't tell you, but this is going to be ANOTHER addition in these five weeks into the new year to my list of favorites for this year.
"When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect.
Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.
In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart." (Goodreads)
Plot & Ending: I'm happy to report that Perfect Chemistry was another nearly perfect read. Geez, where to start on this one...
I know! Brittany Ellis and Alejandro Fuentes are far from perfect, far from being opposites though it would seem like they would be looking at the surface. Brittany comes from the Northern side of Fairfield, where the rich and upper-class society members reside. Alejandro comes from the opposite...Not to mention that he's in a gang, the Latino Bloods.
You'd think two people from two totally different worlds would never work out as far as a relationship, even as far as a friendship, goes. But, these two soon come to find that there's a lot they're unaware of beneath the surface, that rumors and labels and racial differences and upbringing don't always factor in when it comes to identity. Each are good at putting up a facade, perhaps that's why they're perfect for each other...
Watching these two grow and face their problems with society and school and their parents and so on, really spoke to me. I was amazed by the two of them, overcoming these obstacles and hurdles for the sake of each other and to reclaim their identities. Learning about their friends, their everyday lives made me rethink some of the stereotypes I carried around inside of my head. When I thought rich girl, I thought excessive shopping for the hell of it and worrying over chipping a nail. With gang boy, I thought drugs and alcohol and jail time. I realized how very wrong I was to think that. It was an experience, learning a lesson, developing with the characters.
Emotions slammed into me from unexpected places in this novel. Two parents' neglect of both their daughters, the state of the second daughter, the home life of a bad boy involved in unforgivable, unrelenting circumstances, the death of a best friend. I was taken on an emotional roller-coaster on full speed without a seat belt.
I was all smiles by the end. The closing of the last chapter and the epilogue pushed tears into my eyes, bright smiling, and giggles. I loved it. I loved this book. Check it out; it's called Perfect Chemistry for a reason.
Characters: Both Alejandro's and Brittany's characters have deep longings and deep-seated, pent up anger, resentment, bitterness, coldness, fear. All emotions that make them into unforgettable, real characters. Beneath the illusion, the facade each hold in place, they are remarkable people. One is soft, loving, attentive, and the other passionate, charming, and caring. I was moved by their characters, their relationship, their love. I appreciated the friends from both sides, also. Sierra, Doug, Isa, and Paco go out of their way for the couple, especially Paco, who tries his hardest to watch out, to take care of his best friend. How much Alejandro means to him is touching. I'd call all of these guys 3-D characters, ones I enjoyed learning about.
Cover: I adore the simplicity of this cover. The all black background, the bold whiteness of the title, and then the two lovebirds intent on each other, oblivious of the rest of the world's presence. You can easily see how vast the gap is between the two and imagine how hard each push to close it. As it turns out, it doesn't take much, at least for themselves, but when it comes to everyone else like parents, friends, neighbors, whatever, that's where it gets difficult.
Again, I'm ticked off that I don't own this one, that I borrowed this from the library. But, sadly, funds are incredibly low right now so there's nothing I can do about that. Ah, well, I'm thankful I got to read Perfect Chemistry. Now, I'm encouraging you to go out and do the same: read it! ...more
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 sinIt'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....more
my thoughts in a few sentences: I've found myself with another spectacular read, you guys. In the same week! AnRating: Special Shelf Source: NetGalley
my thoughts in a few sentences: I've found myself with another spectacular read, you guys. In the same week! An engrossing, fascinating tale that is as imaginative and reminiscent of Hayao Miyazaki's beautiful stories, including Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle, The Star Shard is a wondrous fantasy read that reminded me why I adore the genre so much and granted me characters I was surprised, but thrilled, to love.
So, of course, once I was done with 7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker, I jumped on A Match Made in High School, which I wouldn’t have found untSo, of course, once I was done with 7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker, I jumped on A Match Made in High School, which I wouldn’t have found until much later if it hadn’t been for the awesome James from Book Chic. I think what I’m most happy about is that the two stories are completely different. Whenever I read standalone books from the same author, I almost always develop this fear of reading the same novel twice. No matter how great the first, I don’t want to buy two very similar stories. I want something different, fresh, and just as addictive and exciting. And, say what you will about Fiona, that’s EXACTLY what I got.
I couldn’t quite tell you what I love most about this book. And if you ask me which of the two my favorite is, I will politely tell you to shut up. A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker takes on the stereotypical high schoolers you see in all the major books and movies, and puts a spin on ‘em. Nothing is as simple as it seems. For instance, the dick jock who plays stinging pranks on everyone might actually be smart, a fabulous friend, and just generally not an azzhole—but you have to get his humor. Your best friend might actually have a secret or two of her own to share. The Queen Bee of the school may not actually be as terrible as you think. Kristin packs into these characters what makes us human—our diversities and complexities. Humans are just not that simple. And, with this book, Kristin says, that’s awesome! In fact, let’s all be friends. Okay, not everyone gets to be friends here, but I loved that no one is exactly as you’d expect and so many new friendships are formed once the layers are peeled back.
And it’s realistic in that way that means it makes sense instead of dampening the fun of reading something fictional. Your arch-nemesis isn’t going to turn into your bff overnight, but that doesn’t mean a truce can’t be formed. Speaking of enemies, can I just say how much I fraking loved the Todd-Fiona banter? Their battle of wits will remain undefeated for a long time. And somebody PLEASE tell me where to get my very own Johnny Mercer?
One of things Walker does really well is character growth, the kind in which the main character does some self-reflection, but not in a way that is preachy or feels like a scolding for being naughty. Most notably, it’s not about changing who Fiona is—because, frankly, she’s always going to be sarcastic, a bit insensitive—it’s about opening up, losing prejudices and judgment. Oh, Walker, you sneaky genius. Don’t think I didn’t catch that.
Overall, I’m in love with this book. I’ve jumped the Kristin Walker bandwagon, and, heck, I might shove my way through to lead the damn thing. If you haven’t read her books, try them, and report back here with the deets, because I’m so positive that you’re going to love them too. ...more
Okay, while I love me some Ash-action, I'm simultaneously a drop-dead Puck fan. Who can resist that gorgeous red-headed man of tricks and pranks, withOkay, while I love me some Ash-action, I'm simultaneously a drop-dead Puck fan. Who can resist that gorgeous red-headed man of tricks and pranks, with inherent wit and years of experience and a well-rounded reputation, I ask you!? Certainly not Asher Knight, I'll tell you that much. He's like every fan girl and book lover's dream come to life! That being said, it should come as no surprise that I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this new Iron Fey novella. I've been DYING for the chance to see inside Puck's head and heart, and Kagawa did not disappoint. (As I knew she wouldn't. I trust Julie like that.)
A side-benefit to his... charming character is his relationship with Ash. They are one of the best pair of frenemies I've ever had the untold pleasure of reading about. I have no shame in admitting that they are more than likely my favorite pair. And I gathered enormous delight from watching them start this, no doubt epic, journey together. (SPOILER ALERT) I WAS a little disappointed that they didn't go straight to trying to find Grimalkin, as I miss that rotten cat (END OF SPOILER). But this little side venture served as wonderful entertainment. Reading as these two engaged in their familiar banter just wiped out any prior disappointment. It just felt good reading about my guys again. Especially since we Iron Fey fans have quite a wait to endure before any of us can get our hands on the fourth - and I'm assuming final - installment to this AMAZING series.
If their time together in Summer's Crossing is any indication as to what The Iron Knight is going to be like, you can guarantee that I'll be getting my hands on the finale by whatever means necessary - murder being one of the options, if necessary - as soon as humanly - or inhumanly - possible. Especially considering that I need, NEED to know how, or if, this dazzling fey couple - Meghan and Ash - are going to be reunited after that forced, horrible - and inexcusable, Ms. Kagawa - separation. These two better get their happy ending... or else. AND, I have to know how things will turn out for my favorite trickster. It became only more evident that Puck still carries feelings for Meghan. Will they die out? And what about his and Ash's promise to kill each other? What's in store for my Puck? Kagawa can't just leave me - or Puck - hanging... right?
"Well, that was... interesting," I ventured, deliberately ignoring Ash's glare. His sleeve was tattered, and blood smeared his forearm up to his elbow. "I don't remember hedge wolves ever doing that before." "If I didn't need you..." "Oh, but you do," I reminded him, grinning. "Let's not forget that, huh, ice-boy?" His expression darkened even more, but he turned away. "Come on," Ash said, his voice even colder than normal. "We don't have time for your idiocy now." "That's what I like about you Winter fey... you're all such scintillating wits, such clever purveyors of words, such wise and frollicsome--" I ducked as a pinecone zipped by my head with enough force to have done more than muss my hair. A chuckle escaped me. "Always good to know you care, ice-boy."...more
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 whileI 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.
Touch of Power was my first taste of Snyder's work and it was a rich and delightful one. Avry's tug-of-war between the need to help and the knowing thTouch of Power was my first taste of Snyder's work and it was a rich and delightful one. Avry's tug-of-war between the need to help and the knowing that if she does, she'll be executed for doing so, instantly pulls us in and leaps onto us, one part of us begging her to save the little girl screaming for relief warring with the part that urges her to stay hidden for fear of the horrors that are sure to follow. An overcast of the dark and the bleak blankets the opening chapter, giving us the keen sense that Avry's world isn't a joyful one. Avry's kind, the healer kind, are proclaimed war criminals, treated like abominations to be killed or handed over for money for reasons fortified by indistinct proof, in a world ravaged by disease and plagued by war and dreadful politics. It's deeply evident that Avry is tired of running, so when the inevitable happens, along with the fear moves a swift feeling of relief at no longer having to hide in abiding anxiety.
Rapidly and suddenly Avry finds herself in the company of five men eager for her to heal their close friend, a prince of a relatively distant land who has caught the horrible plague that has swept all the Fifteen Realms. He is meant for great things and only Avry can save him, but at a price so final Avry must decide what and who is worth actually saving. And the five men who desire her help are five characters that stole into my heart and warmed it, melted it, and, at points, cut scars into it, who not only move Avry into admirable action but moved me in ways I always hope for when I pick up the next novel. I found Avry and Belen's deep and swift friendship a sweet reprieve from their rough travels, her attachment to the other men in the group warming me while reading as events unfolded in the cold of their world. And her syrupy slow romance with a certain resistant, stone-faced character ignited feelings that overlapped from wishful to happiness that could barely be contained!
A few people have asked me how closely Touch of Power resembles Maria's Poison Study series, if at all, and whether or not it's better or worse. Keep in mind that I read Touch of Power first, but I instantly went in search of this highly acclaimed series and fell just as deeply in love. The two stories are matching in similar threads found in the plot, the characters, and even the romance, yet Touch of Power is completely, freshly it's own. I think fans of Poison Study will be pleased with the tenacious, lovable heroine, charmed by the amazing brood of men who traverse with Avry, defending her to the best of their abilities, persevering alongside her, and the enthralling, magical fantasy that paints the book's pages. Touch of Power is presented with a vividness that can't be ignored, a story that has thoroughly earned a place on my hard-to-reach Special Shelf.