Okay, here’s where I feel like an idiot, because even though I’d seen everyone raving about this book, I hadOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
Okay, here’s where I feel like an idiot, because even though I’d seen everyone raving about this book, I had Wanderlove in my possession for SIX MONTHS before I read it. Six. Months. And now that I’ve read it, I can see that this is totally unforgiveable, because you guys, this book is AMAZING. Amaaaaaaaazing.
Wanderlove is escapist fiction in the absolute best sense of the word. Kirsten Hubbard transports the reader so completely into backpacker Central America, it’s incredible. I’ve been lucky enough to both live and travel in the Caribbean and Central America at various times in my life, and everything is portrayed perfectly. The mentality and atmosphere of the Caribbean, the heat and discomfort of traveling by bus, the children playing soccer, the food, the gorgeous beaches, the little critters in the hostel, the cold outdoor showers… I got so nostalgic while reading, I looked up plane tickets almost immediately after I finished (once I was done grinning like a fool, that is). Kirsten Hubbard is an avid backpacker herself, and it definitely comes across in her realistic and affectionate portrayal of Guatemala and Belize.
Bria is such a unique and fun character in the world of YA contemps and I absolutely loved her voice. Wanderlove is both a physical journey through Central America as well as an emotional one, and I love how Bria developed as a character throughout the story. Both she and Rowan have a lot they need to work through, and watching them do this as they traverse mountains and beaches and villages is a special joy.
And speaking of Rowan, I want to apologize in advance for this next paragraph, but I just need to take a minute to be a total girl. Holy. Crap. This boy is so damn attractive. Quickened pulse? Check. I don’t know what it is exactly, but something about him just works for me. He has that dangerous edge to him because of his shady past, but he’s working hard to move past that which is so endearing to me. He’s also incredibly smart and well-traveled, reads all the time, and he’s a dive instructor. This is like my perfect guy, people. I’m still fanning myself. Kirsten, if you come across a boy like Rowan in your future travels, feel free to send him my way. ;)
And the romance! This is slow burn romance at its best. Totally swoonworthy. This is the kind of love story where you can feel their connection from the start, and even though you’re kind of dying for them to just make out already, you don’t actually want it to happen because you know that the slow-building tension and the little moments along the way (late night conversations while sharing a hammock are my favorite) are just going to make it so much better when it finally does happen. And hoo boy, Kirsten makes it happen. I’m still swooning.
If you can’t tell already, I am freaking IN LOVE with this book. I decided to start reading it around 1 am one night before I went to sleep (yeah, I’m a night owl), and I seriously didn’t sleep all night because I just couldn’t put it down. Eight in the morning rolled around and I could be found lying there clutching the book to my chest and grinning and sighing with happiness. I was pretty nonfunctional the next day, I can tell you that. But it was so worth it.
Whether or not you’re interested in traveling yourself, I guarantee you will enjoy Bria’s journey, bugs and all. And Wanderlove has gorgeous illustrations that are not only completely relevant to the story, but are drawn by the author herself! So. Cool. This book has a permanent place on my favorites shelf and I seriously can’t recommend it enough. Thank you so much, Kirsten Hubbard, for such a fantastic and heartwarming story!
And just as a final comment (I’m stopping soon, I promise! :P), <>Wanderlove happens to come out on my birthday, and I am so happy to be sharing March 13th with this beautiful beautiful book. And in the tradition of hobbits (because hobbits are awesome!), I want to give YOU a gift on my birthday! Well, one of you. I’d love to actually buy everyone a copy, but alas, my pockets are not that deep.
Oh my goodness, I looooooooooved this book. It is an absolutely amazing debut and definitely stands out amonOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
Oh my goodness, I looooooooooved this book. It is an absolutely amazing debut and definitely stands out among YA contemporaries. To be honest, I was expecting a pretty standard story, but Huntley Fitzpatrick blew me away and I got so much more than that. I read it as part of an ARC tour and almost didn't sign up for it, but I'm soooooo glad I did. I barely put the book down once I started, and after I finished I kept wishing that I was still reading it.
The Garretts are, hands-down, my favorite part of the story. They are such a wonderful family and I fell completely in love with them almost instantly. (Especially the darling four-year-old George. Can I please please have a George in my life??). I adore stories about big, loving families (the Weasleys, anyone?), and this is no exception. From the minute Sam entered their world I was grinning like a fool pretty much the whole time. I want to have a large family myself (although I think I’m planning to stop at six kids, haha), and this book totally reaffirmed that desire. The craziness and love is just portrayed so perfectly. I also really love the contrast with Sam’s own family; how she escapes into the world of the Garretts and finds a whole new life for herself. I loved watching her grow as a result of her interactions with a family so different than her own.
And the romance! Oh my. The romance in this story is so achingly sweet. Sam and Jase are ADORABLE. I felt like they had such a mature relationship, which was a really refreshing change from the silly drama that seems to be present in so many other high school romance stories. I was pleasantly surprised by how they handled certain situations, and many times I could be found clutching the book to my chest in happiness. And although the focus of the book is on Jase and Sam, I would be remiss not to also mention Nan, Sam’s best friend, and her brother Tim, both of whom I loved – the story would not be complete without them.
I knew from the blurb that there was going to be some kind of Bad Event, and once I got a little more than halfway through the book I started anxiously anticipating. I had several predictions about what might happen (and was very nervous for the safety and happiness of all my beloved characters), but I absolutely didn’t see it coming. It’s a shocking and heart wrenching twist, and it makes the story that much more compelling. My heart ached for Sam, but at the same time it allowed for some really wonderful moments between her and various other characters, as well as for her own personal development. There were just a couple of things that I wish had been resolved a little more before the book ended, but they were fairly minor.
My Life Next Door is a beautifully written story that captures a summer romance perfectly. Your emotions will be all over the place and you will love it. This is one of my new favorite contemporaries and I am so so excited to read more from Huntley Fitzpatrick. If you’re a fan of authors like Sarah Dessen, Elizabeth Scott, or Sarah Ockler, you WILL NOT want to miss this book.
And just as a final note, I read this in February, but it happened to be a rare 80 degree day and I just went outside and sat in the grass and ate a popsicle and enjoyed the sun and read nonstop and it was SO PERFECT. I’m so glad this is coming out in June, because it is JUST the thing for an amazing summer read. You can feel the heat coming off the pages. Take it poolside with you, you won’t be sorry....more
Morgan has always lived in the shadow of her best friend, the gorgeous and popular Bree. When Cal, a handsome and chariReviewed for Flamingnet Reviews
Morgan has always lived in the shadow of her best friend, the gorgeous and popular Bree. When Cal, a handsome and charismatic senior, transfers to their school, he immediately catches Morgan's eye. But when Bree announces her intention to go after him, Morgan feels that she has no chance and resigns herself to watching from the shadows as usual. But Cal is not your average guy. He practices Wicca, and wastes no time in inviting a group of students to join him in a Wiccan celebration. Morgan is strangely affected by these circles, and Cal starts showing a particular interest in her. Could it be that she is a "blood witch," descended from one of the seven great witch clans?
BOOK OF SHADOWS is a great beginning to the Sweep series. I'm not a Wiccan, but it was still really interesting to read about their different practices and beliefs. Morgan is a likeable character and is sure to gain readers' sympathies. It should be kept in mind however, that this is part of series, doesn't have a definitive ending, and will no doubt leave more than one reader planning a trip to the bookstore to get the next book.
This book deals with a lot of Wiccan celebrations and beliefs, although it is not immediately clear whether the author is in support of it or not....more
First of all, I just want to say that this is the second book in the series, picking up right where the first one left off, sReviewed for TeensReadToo
First of all, I just want to say that this is the second book in the series, picking up right where the first one left off, so it is highly suggested that this be read after VAMPIRE KISSES. Consider that your warning. Now that that's out of the way, on to the book!
Goth-girl Raven has just discovered that her boyfriend Alexander Sterling, new to the town of "Dullsville," is an actual vampire. Unfortunately, the morning after this startling discovery, he disappears. Raven is devastated, but doesn't dare ask anyone for help for fear they will discover his secret.
She decides to take it into her own hands and sets off to look for clues to his whereabouts, determined to find him and convince him that she is perfectly fine with the fact that he is one of the undead. Her search leads her to the Mansion, where she finds a mysterious note in Alexander's bedroom that only says, "Alexander, HE IS ON HIS WAY!" She then takes a trip to nearby "Hipsterville," home of hippies, Goths, starving artists, her aunt Libby, and hopefully Alexander.
Following a trail of clues, she visits the Coffin Club (a popular hangout for Goths), the Hipsterville Historical Society (who knew THAT would be helpful?), and a deserted mansion on the outskirts of town (that's hopefully not really deserted at all).
She also meets the mysterious and slightly creepy Jagger, who offers to help her with her search. But is he just a goth-obsessed teen like Raven, or is he the real thing? And why does he seem so interested in Alexander?
KISSING COFFINS is a fun, quick read for those looking for a vampire story without the blood and gore. However, the writing is often quite shallow, and the relationship between Raven and Alexander is never really fully developed enough for my taste. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy the book, and I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of the series, but if you're looking for a really great vampire story, I'd recommend checking out Vivian Vande Velde's COMPANIONS OF THE NIGHT....more
Cassandra Grace and her best friends, twins Donna and Derek Policastro, have lived in Lake Logan, a tiny town in upstate NewReviewed for TeensReadToo
Cassandra Grace and her best friends, twins Donna and Derek Policastro, have lived in Lake Logan, a tiny town in upstate New York, for their whole lives, and they're looking forward to spending their last summer before college together -- swimming at the lake, riding horses, and hanging out the Regency Theater, the old, run-down theater Donna and Derek's parents own. Cassie is also going to be busy working, giving horseback riding lessons at her parents' farm to the kids of the rich vacationers who spend the summers at Lake Logan, commonly known by the year-round locals as invaders. Cassie needs to make enough money for the entry fee of the jumper competition she plans to win with her horse, Lola, and she's determined that nothing is going to stop her from making that money and winning the competition.
Then Jared Kent shows up, son of the most infamous invader family (this is their first time back at Lake Logan in twenty years), and suddenly Cassie finds herself very distracted. She's skipping work and hang-out sessions with her friends in order to spend time with Jared, and she's definitely not making the money she needs. On top of that, Jared's father has made a proposition to the Lake Logan locals, one that has the whole town in an uproar and Cassie wondering whether she's making the right choice by being with Jared.
A story of first love, life changes, and just plain fitting in, TOURIST TRAP is a fun, light read, and teenagers, especially those getting ready to go off to college, will definitely be able to relate....more
VAMPIREVILLE follows right on the heels of its predecessors, and it is strongly recommended that the previous books in the seReviewed for TeensReadToo
VAMPIREVILLE follows right on the heels of its predecessors, and it is strongly recommended that the previous books in the series, VAMPIRE KISSES and KISSING COFFINS, be read first, otherwise things will not make sense and you're sure to be confused and not fully enjoy the story.
Alexander Sterling is back in "Dullsville," and Raven couldn't be happier about that. However, Jagger and his twin sister, Luna, are also hanging around, which is the reason why Raven has started carrying garlic in her purse with her. To make matters worse, now that Luna has been turned into a vampire, she's on the search for her true love, and she's convinced she's found him in Trevor.
Trevor may have been Raven's arch nemesis since kindergarten, but that doesn't mean that she wants him to fall victim to Luna's charms. Not to mention her fangs. So Raven takes it upon herself to protect Trevor – after all, the last thing Dullsville needs is a vampire-Trevor!
Raven is also trying to deal with having a nocturnal boyfriend. She mourns the loss of Alexander's company during the day, just as she despises the school that prevents her from being able to keep the same hours as he does. The time they do have together they spend searching cemeteries and other spooky deserted areas for Jagger and Luna's hideout, determined to drive them away before they turn "Dullsville" into someplace infinitely less dull – "Vampireville."
VAMPIREVILLE is a fun continuation of the VAMPIRE KISSES series, and will definitely leave readers eagerly awaiting the fourth book, DANCE WITH A VAMPIRE. The writing and storyline still doesn't quite live up to some of the other young adult books in this genre, but it is nevertheless an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon....more
Frost is one scary book. It’s the kind of scary that takes you back to younger days when you were surRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z.
Frost is one scary book. It’s the kind of scary that takes you back to younger days when you were sure there were monsters in your closet and under your bed, when every gust of wind and creak in your house was some nefarious being out to get you. When half the fear came from actual nervousness and the other half came from you psyching yourself out so much that you just sat in bed, terrified to move, with your back against the wall and the covers up to your chin.
That kind of fear is the beauty of Frost. Everything begins normally enough, with seemingly logical explanations for the little things that seem strange and out of place, and it feels like there’s no reason to think any differently. As the story progresses, however, it becomes clear that things aren’t necessarily what they seem, and that characters we thought we understood may or may not be completely reliable. The depth and characterization of these people, and of Frost House itself, is fantastic, with some of them walking the line between sane and possibly mentally unstable, between haunted and not haunted. Trying to figure out which is which and what is actually going on will leave you completely clueless and constantly second-guessing yourself.
Marianna Baer does an incredible job of setting the tone for Frost and making it so deliciously dark and creepy. I had to sleep with the light on because I was so freaked out. Dark hallways suddenly took on a whole new menace. Baer’s plot progression and storytelling is great, and everything felt very believable. The weirdness factor just unfolded so naturally; it was extremely unsettling.
Frost is an excellent Halloween-time read, and definitely one to add to the list of exceptionally well-done, crap-your-pants ghost stories. Highly recommended if you’re in the mood for chills up your spine.
*Thanks so much to Cindy from Around the World ARC Tours for letting me be a part of this tour. :)...more
I was so wonderfully surprised by One Night That Changes Everything, having gone into it with the expectation that it would just be another average contemporary young adult novel. I should have known better, because for one thing, it’s Lauren Barnholdt (I’m totally trusting her from now on), and for another, this is one of those awesome books that takes place all in one night (think Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist), so how can you go wrong, really?
The writing is so breezy and easy to get into, and it’s often unexpectedly clever and funny. I read the majority of One Night late at night while the rest of my household was asleep (I’m resisting the urge to make a bad “one night” joke), and I was constantly having to stifle my giggles, because this novel just makes you feel good. You can’t help but chuckle sometimes.
Eliza’s voice is so realistic and so fun to read, and she does this thing where she’ll think something during her inner monologue and then immediately say the exact same thing to the people she’s with, which had me laughing out loud several times. At certain points I was frustrated that she wasn’t trying to stand up the 318’s and was just doing whatever they told her to, but I could mostly understand her thought processes and it ended up working with the flow of the plot and her own personal growth. Her friends Marissa and Clarice are also hilarious, and they added so much to the night’s adventures.
And of course I have to mention the boy. Duh. :P Cooper manages to be the perfect combination of jerk and awkwardly adorable dork, and I thoroughly enjoyed his interactions with Eliza. He’s the bad boy we love to hate but secretly really love, and right from the beginning somehow you’re rooting for him and hoping that he’s not actually as awful as he seems.
With genuine, quirky characters and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, One Night That Changes Everything is a fun, heartwarming read that I can’t recommend enough. Lauren Barnholdt has definitely secured her place on my list of authors to keep an eye on....more
This was getting ready to be on my favorites shelf with 5 stars up until the last 100 pages or so, which just felt really abrupt and unsatisfying. StiThis was getting ready to be on my favorites shelf with 5 stars up until the last 100 pages or so, which just felt really abrupt and unsatisfying. Still, I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to the next book.
WOW. This book is one craaaaaazy ride and I loved every second of it. The characters are wonderfully relatablOriginally posted on my blog From A to Z.
WOW. This book is one craaaaaazy ride and I loved every second of it. The characters are wonderfully relatable, the story is unique and edge-of-your-seat thrilling, and it all leads up to a shocking conclusion that will leave you reeling.
Janelle is a fantastic protagonist. She’s smart and brave, and she’s so determined to investigate everything that’s going on, which is great fun. I especially loved her interactions with pretty much everyone in her life. She’s close with her father and protective of her little brother, she has an AMAZING best friend, Alex (I’m such a sucker for best friend stories), and I really enjoyed watching her relationship with Ben develop. The characters are all so real, and I really came to identify with them and care for them. I’m not ashamed to say that I might have cried a couple of times because of certain events in this book. The wounds are actually still a little tender. Yeesh.
The story is wonderfully addictive; I tore through it all in one night. I love that Unraveling is such an atypical paranormal story. I won’t give anything away, but I absolutely did NOT see anything coming, which was kind of awesome. There were so many “Woah!” moments and I was never ever bored.
I don’t know whether or not Elizabeth Norris is planning a sequel, but I would LOVE to read one. And even without one, Unraveling is one hell of a ride. Occasionally heartbreaking and completely gripping, with fantastic characters and a unique paranormal twist, this book is not to be missed....more
I’ll just say it straight up, I ADORE Greek mythology and retellings. Ever since sixth grade when we had our mythology unit and I made ambrosia and dressed up as Artemis and learned how to sing the Greek alphabet, something just clicked. So I was incredibly excited when I heard about Destined, and I’m thrilled to be able to report that it is an AWESOME retelling of the Pysche and Cupid myth.
That said, it is absolutely not necessary to be familiar with the Psyche and Cupid myth or even the Greek gods in general for you to understand and love this story. Jessie does a great job of making it enjoyable for those who know the myth as well as those who are stepping into the world for the first time.
And what a world it is! Jessie’s descriptions are beautiful, and she’s fantastic at creating the setting and making the reader feel like they are there. I could picture mortals wandering through olive trees with the hot Greek sun beating down on them just as easily as I saw gods just lounging around drinking ambrosia. (And then I started looking up plane tickets to Greece. :P)
While the setting is undeniably ancient Greece, there is also a modern slant to the story that I loved. It was so fun to have some of my favorite Greek gods speaking in modern phrases. Hearing Hermes say, “I’m just giving you a reality check, man.” made me laugh out loud.
Jessie has a very engaging writing style and I found myself speeding through the novel, hopeful and eager for Pysche to get her happy ending. She and Eros definitely have several obstacles to overcome, but isn’t that the way all the best love stories happen? And Pysche is a great character to root for. She’s caring, stubborn, and strong, and she’s just trying to deal with what has been destined for her. Oh, and Eros isn’t bad either. :) (Can I have a hot Greek god, Jessie? Kay, thanks.)
Destined is a fun and entertaining adventure through mythical Greece and I loved every minute of it. It will definitely indulge your inner Greek goddess (or god!). :P ...more
I’m not really sure exactly how to review this one. I actually went back and forth about whether I should evOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
I’m not really sure exactly how to review this one. I actually went back and forth about whether I should even write a review or not, but I decided to at least put some thoughts down.
It’s not that this was a bad book, by any means. It’s just that it wasn’t really for me, mainly because the story has much more of a Christian slant than I had realized. There were hints in the title and the blurb, but since I hadn’t seen it marketed as Christian fiction anywhere I just didn’t realize how large a role it would play. I generally tend to stay away from faith-based books, simply because they're not really my thing.
However, now that that’s said, the story itself is well-written and I did enjoy reading it. I love road trip books, and it was fun watching them explore Route 66, especially with Matt’s unexpected detours. The locations are wonderfully described and it definitely intensified my ever-present wanderlust. I felt like the growth of the characters throughout the novel was also done really well. Thou Shalt Not Road Trip has a very unique and colorful cast, and I was intrigued by their personal journeys even if I didn’t really personally identify with any of them.
If you enjoy books that have more of a religious slant to them, I’d definitely recommend Thou Shalt Not Road Trip. Overall it was just an okay read for me, but I don’t think I’m necessarily the intended audience for this kind of story to begin with....more
Unraveling Isobel is such a fun paranormal story, despite the potentially heavy material. It reminds me a bit of Frost by Marianna Baer, with seemingly supernatural occurrences that may or may not be supernatural after all, but it takes a much more lighthearted approach.
The ghost story side of Unraveling Isobel was done really well, and I was right there with Isobel as she began to dig deeper into the history of her new home, wondering what in the world is going on. The story isn’t so creepy that you won’t be able to sleep, but it’s just enough to maybe give you the shivers if you’re reading at night.
The writing is clever and engaging, and Isobel is a great narrator with a wonderful sense of humor. She's snarky and funny, and entirely relatable. She could be naïve at times, which was a little frustrating, but she grew a lot throughout the novel. The book is hard to put down, with new twists and discoveries at every turn. I finished it in just a few hours and had absolutely no desire to stop reading.
I do wish there had been a little more build up to the romance. When you have a love story between step-siblings there’s SO much potential for angst and confusion and I feel like a lot more could have been done with that. Once Isobel and Nate got together they were both just like “Well, whatever, we’re not actually related,” and I just wanted to see more hesitation and uncertainty. I really enjoyed Nate as a character though. He starts off as a bit of a jerk, but as he warms up to Isobel and they start spending more time together you can’t help but grow to love him. The friendship between the two of them is fantastic.
The parents in this book also have some serious issues. There are times when I just want to be able to crawl inside certain novels and smack a few characters around, and this was definitely one of them. Although it would have been nice if we could have gotten to know Isobel’s dad better; there’s definitely the potential for a great relationship there.
With clever writing and a totally engrossing storyline, Unraveling Isobel is an awesome modern day ghost story. Though not a mind-blowing novel, it’s a fun, light read and I’d definitely recommend it....more
Review will be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
This is such a fun, cute story. The writing is clever and engaging, and I pretty much readReview will be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
This is such a fun, cute story. The writing is clever and engaging, and I pretty much read the entire book in one sitting. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The blurb mentions that the boys are in a band, but it’s actually a much bigger part of the story than I realized, and I LOVED that. I’m a huge live music fan, so it was really fun to see the inner workings of a band trying to write songs and figure out harmonies and get everything sounding just right. You definitely don’t need to be a music lover to enjoy it though; there are no technical terms or anything confusing to the music aspect of the novel. The story is very much focused on Char and her growth, and the band is a conduit for showing that.
And oh, Char. She gets tangled up with so many boys, I honestly don’t know how she handled it. Sometimes you just need a female friend, you know?
Although I did love this book, one of the small issues I had with it is that the romance actually seemed to take a backseat to the rest of the story, and it wasn’t as prominent as I expected (maybe I should have known better, given that the book is called Being FRIENDS with Boys). And the title is actually hugely appropriate. Char is dealing with friendships with several different guys, and a few of them have the possibility of turning into something more, but it feels like the book is mostly about Char dealing with a lot of drama rather than slowly falling in love.
The love story didn’t actually happen until the end of the book, and I really would have liked more development throughout the novel and a slightly less sudden ending. That said, I did have a huge smile on my face when I finished the book, so it’s not like I wasn’t happy or anything. I just would have liked more. (Put simply, basically what all this means is that I wanted more kissing! Haha.)
And apart from the lack of romance, I really did enjoy Char’s interactions with all the boys in her life. She has a unique and complicated relationship with each one, and it was so fun watching her navigate the waters of male-female friendships. I love stories that focus on those kinds of relationships, and though at times certain characters were incredibly frustrating and almost made me want to throw the book across the room, I found myself both groaning and laughing out loud as Char went through everything. There’s a lot of high school frustration and drama and angst, but once Char gets through all of that there’s a very sweet, smile-inducing ending.
If you’re looking for a fun contemporary story about a rocker girl and her many complications with the boys in her life, I’d definitely recommend checking out Being Friends with Boys....more
Ahhhhh I knew I loved this book but I'd forgotten just how much. Next I'm rereading Fire and then finally reading Bitterblue for the first time! But hAhhhhh I knew I loved this book but I'd forgotten just how much. Next I'm rereading Fire and then finally reading Bitterblue for the first time! But honestly I just want more Katsa and Po. I always wish this book would just go on forever....more
I was surprised how much I didn't remember about this book but also pleased because it was almost like I was reading it for the first time all over agI was surprised how much I didn't remember about this book but also pleased because it was almost like I was reading it for the first time all over again. I love this world so much. And now with anticipation and dread I start Bitterblue, for the actual first time. I'm definitely not ready to leave these characters, but maybe I'll forget enough that I'll be able to reread them again in another six years or so?...more
Wow. So this book was a lot darker and more intense than I was expecting. It is not your normal fluffy YA noOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
Wow. So this book was a lot darker and more intense than I was expecting. It is not your normal fluffy YA novel, but a tense action thriller with high stakes and real consequences.
The action and thriller side of the novel is done really well. The mystery of Wally’s mother’s identity, the clues we’re slowly given, how everything falls into place… it all kept me reading late into the night. And the climax is full of nonstop action and unexpected twists that had me both cringing in horror and laughing in delight.
This is the second book I’ve read recently by a screenwriter (Jennifer Bosworth’s Struck was the other one), and oh man, do they know how to bring the excitement! The writing is engaging and each scene feels like it could come straight off the pages and right onto a movie screen.
The one thing I had an issue with in terms of the plot of the novel was how easily Wally discovers everything. She makes connections and draws conclusions based on very little evidence and she’s never wrong. She guesses things and figures things out that even trained detectives would have trouble with, much less one sixteen-year-old with very few resources. I don’t think there were any setbacks in her investigation at all. Every single lead she followed turned into a wealth of information, her timing was always perfect, and the whole thing felt unrealistic. I just wish it was done in a way that was more believable.
Other than this, I did enjoy Dark Eyes as an action novel. It’s the emotional side of the novel that I felt was lacking a bit. I never really understood Wally’s motivation for running away from home, since she obviously cares for her adoptive mother, Claire, and feels guilty about leaving her. She has led a privileged and pampered life, and comes across as rather selfish. Wally is also just a very hardened character and keeps everyone at arm’s length, which makes it hard to really connect with her. She talks about her friends as her family and the people she truly belongs with (the whole reason she ended up leaving home), but I would have liked more development of her relationship with them. I personally never really saw the connection they all had, so while I became intrigued by Wally and her quest to find her mother, I couldn’t really bring myself to care that much about the crew.
Despite my issues with the book, I enjoyed Dark Eyes. I especially loved the Russian aspect to the novel, since I lived in Russia when I was a kid. It made me feel a little nostalgic. :) Overall, Dark Eyes is a dark, gritty story that will keep you turning the pages until the thrilling conclusion....more
I know, it's a lame description, right? But that’s really exactly what this story is. We get to read aRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z
I know, it's a lame description, right? But that’s really exactly what this story is. We get to read about what happened from the moment Eliza and Cooper started talking at the paintball arcade where Eliza works, right up until she goes through his stuff and finds the incriminating list from the 318’s, thus ending their relationship and kicking off the events of One Night That Changes Everything.
Before That Night is a wonderful, fun revisit to the characters and story from One Night. It’s super-short (it feels super-short, at least), clocking in at only 42 pages, and I actually would have liked to see a little more of the evolution of Eliza and Cooper’s relationship. We get to see some of it, sure, but it would have been nice to have more moments of just the two of them getting to know each other and building the romance (and some more steamy scenes would have been okay too :D).
Clarice and Marissa make appearances as their usual hilarious selves, and Cooper gets to be sweet and lovely, as opposed to the slightly more villainous role he’s given in One Night. Eliza continues to be a fantastic narrator and I was glad for this prequel even just to get to hear her thoughts some more.
I would highly recommend reading Before That Night after One Night That Changes Everything, because it will take away some of the intrigue if you read them the other way around. But if you enjoyed One Night, I would definitely recommend reading this prequel.
The lovely Lauren is making this novella available for free on her website (although you can also buy it from Amazon if you so desire), and it can be found here....more
This book was so much more real than I was expecting. For some reason when I first heard about it I gRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z.
This book was so much more real than I was expecting. For some reason when I first heard about it I got the impression that it had almost a psychological thriller feel to it and that the reader was going to be unsure about which was reality - Sabina’s dreams or the facility where she lives. This is NOT the plot, clearly I am just an idiot (in my defense I think I first read a different synopsis than the one above), and what happens is actually a very beautiful story about Sabrina’s struggle with schizophrenia.
Life Is But a Dream portrays Sabrina’s condition incredibly well and it is so easy to sympathize with her. Brian James really manages to get inside her head, allowing the reader to see the world the way Sabrina does and understand why she gets worried about losing herself to the medication. Some of the things she sees sound so beautiful, and it doesn’t always feel like she’s crazy. She’s just afraid of her life changing and she doesn’t want to become a mindless robot like the rest of the world. You can’t help but get caught up in her story.
Alec as a love interest was very interesting. He and Sabrina fall in love very quickly, which isn’t my favorite thing, but is understandable under the circumstances. They have both been locked away from the world, told that they’re crazy, and they find comfort and understanding in each other. I totally get it, and it was wonderful to watch their connection develop and see someone understand Sabrina in a way that she hasn’t experienced for her entire life. What made it interesting to me was that at certain times I thought that Alec almost felt like the villain. As a reader I became so invested in wanting Sabrina to get better and conquer her disorder that it was really hard to read when Alec tried to convince her that the doctors were the crazy ones and didn’t have her best interests at heart. I went back and forth between not wanting Sabrina to lose her world and wishing that she would just trust her doctor.
Overall I really enjoyed Life Is But a Dream. The writing is beautiful and it is a fascinating look at the world through the eyes of someone who has schizophrenia. I’ll definitely be watching for more from Brian James....more