It’s no secret that I ADORE Jennifer Echols. And whenever I’m asked which book is my favorite, I say The Boys Next Door pretty much automatically, because it is. But overall, between her romantic comedies and her romantic dramas, my heart melts a little more for her dramas. SO. What does this have to do with Such a Rush, you wonder?
To me, Such a Rush felt like the perfect combination of The Boys Next Door and her romantic dramas. Some of my favorite elements of The Boys Next Door are there: a girl getting caught up in the drama between two brothers, fake relationships, real fights, and more secrets than anyone knows what to do with… But it has that mature, intense feel of her dramas, both in terms of actual content (we all know Jennifer can write a steamy love scene like nobody’s business), and in terms of motivations and consequences. This isn’t just fun, high school fluff, this is real life, and the tension (sexual and otherwise :P) that Jennifer builds is fantastic.
And through it all is that signature style of sass and humor that she does so well and that I am so in love with. One of my favorite lines, and I’m not even sure why it stuck with me so much, is after a helicopter unexpectedly lands at the airport and a group gets out and heads toward Leah and the other people working at the airport:
“The lieutenant leading the group was a tall blond. I couldn’t tell for sure since he was wearing mirrored shades, but I thought he was boyishly handsome, like Alec. He came straight for me because, dressed in a bikini top, I was obviously in charge of this airport.”
HA! The whole book is full of that snarky kind of humor. I love it.
And if you’ve ever harbored any kind of secret desire to become a pilot, Such a Rush will completely hit the spot and make you look up the nearest flight school. Both the emotional and the practical details of flying a plane were incredible; I felt like I was right there with Leah every step of the way. Oh, and going to prom in a limo? Officially not cool enough. (No offense to any limo-goers out there.)
I absolutely LOVE Such a Rush. Jennifer Echols has totally outdone herself and this is possibly my new favorite from her. I’m so excited for her next book (as always) but at the same time I just want to bask in the awesomeness of this one. Such a Rush has characters that will wrap you around their little fingers and make you care SO MUCH about them, drama that will make you laugh, cheer, and growl in frustration, sexy times that will make you sigh and swoon, and a last line that will put a smile on your face and (if you’re as emotional as I am) a tear in your eye.
You MUST read this book. This is contemporary at its finest, folks, right here. <3(less)
If you’ve read my review of Delirium, you know that I went into it with incredibly high expectations...moreRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z.
If you’ve read my review of Delirium, you know that I went into it with incredibly high expectations and was left feeling slightly disappointed. And while I still have a lot of the same problems that I had with Delirium, I’m happy to say that I liked Pandemonium a lot more. This may be partly because I had more of an idea of what to expect, or maybe I was just too harsh with Delirium, I don’t know. But Pandemonium has made me want to go back and reread Delirium, and I feel a new affection for it that I didn’t feel before.
The story is told in two parts, with chapters alternating between Lena’s life when she first arrived in the Wilds (picking up right where Delirum left off) and her life as a member of the resistance about six months later. I loved this format, because of course we all want to know how she immediately adjusted to life in the Wilds but it’s fantastic to see where she ends up and how she changes. A lot of the situations in the alternating chapters parallel each other, which was also really fun.
There is a brand new cast of characters in Pandemonium, and it was great getting to know the inhabitants of the Wild and see how they live. They take Lena in and she quickly becomes one of them, doing what she needs to do to survive without Alex. Alex’s absence is felt very strongly and Lena frequently thinks about him, using his memory as a source of strength. I absolutely LOVE the new, stronger Lena, she feels so kickass.
I’m still not totally feeling the romance in this series, but that’s okay. I have hopes that it might finally win me over in the third book. Another thing I had an issue with is that the Invalids still refer to love as a disease and talk about getting “infected.” I thought the whole point is that they want to rid the world of the idea that love is a disease, not just convince everyone that it’s okay to be infected. Ah well.
The last 50 pages are tense and race along at breakneck speed, and I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what was going to happen. And at the end of it all, once again, Lauren Oliver leaves us with a heart-clenching cliffhanger. I can’t say whether I was surprised by the ending or not (because certain people know my theories and I don’t want to spoil it :P), but I will say that whether or not I was expecting it, the last page is an awesome, heart thudding moment that will leave you wailing for the next book.
I never even really felt that desperate for Pandemonium after finishing Delirium, but I NEED the third book now. I’m so excited with the possibilities and I really hope that Lauren Oliver delivers. Pandemonium is an excellent follow-up to Delirium and fans of the first book definitely won’t be disappointed.(less)
I’m having very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I love the idea of being able to sli...moreRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z.
I’m having very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I love the idea of being able to slide into other people’s bodies – I think it’s a really fresh idea for a paranormal novel and I was immediately intrigued. A lot of things about the novel were done really well and overall it was definitely an enjoyable read. At the same time, I had a few issues with it and I feel like it didn’t fully live up to its potential.
Vee is a likeable and realistic character, and I really enjoyed her interactions with the various other characters in the novel. Jill Hathaway portrays the interpersonal relationships in Slide incredibly well, that was probably my favorite thing about the story. The way the characters deal with things like grief and forgiveness is particularly delicate and touching. And although there are a lot of heavy themes touched on in Slide, the novel never felt overly dark.
As I already mentioned, Vee’s ability to slide into other people’s bodies adds a really fun and interesting paranormal aspect to the story, although I would have loved more exploration into where the ability comes from, especially whether there’s any connection to her mother. There are hints that it is hereditary but it’s never really mentioned further than that. I like that the sliding is the only paranormal element of Slide and doesn’t take over; it’s still a largely realistic story.
I think my main disappointment with Slide lies in the murder mystery. Vee is a pretty crappy detective, to be honest, which at times was very frustrating as a reader. There were many things I figured out long before she did, and she had a tendency to jump to the obvious conclusions very quickly, so by the time she got to her big revelations there wasn’t as much of an impact for me. However, I wouldn’t say that the murder mystery is completely predictable, and there are many twists and turns along the way. But the story behind the murder felt very far-fetched to me. The culprit’s motive wasn’t entirely convincing and it didn’t have the satisfying “Oooohh!” that I like to experience at the end of a murder mystery.
All that said, Slide is still a quick, engrossing read that manages to entertain despite the flaws. I thoroughly enjoyed the concept and had fun reading it.(less)
Glimmer is such an interesting story. There’s a lot going on… magic and ghosts and heat naps and old legends and amnesia and a seemingly idyllic but confusing town… but somehow it all manages to work together and form this absolutely crazy and fun ride.
It’s really interesting when the main characters of a story have absolutely no memories, even of themselves. As a reader, it’s hard to get a sense of who they are when they don’t even recognize their own names or faces. In some ways this is a cool way to go through a story, because you’re really discovering everything along with the characters, but there were times when it was frustrating for me. Elyse in particular could be annoying, because she’s clearly an attractive girl, which apparently pisses her off as soon as she looks in a mirror and realizes. She kept making comments about her “stupid pouty lips and huge green eyes” (That’s not an exact quote, by the way, but pretty close. At one point I believe she even says she looks like a Disney princess.) and how she didn’t feel like she should have been born into this curvy body, and why are all her clothes so short and tight? Girl, you’re pretty, just get over it. I never really understood her resentment towards herself.
But for the most part it was great fun going along on the journey with Marshall and Elyse. After waking up naked together, they set off immediately in search of answers, with the reader egging them on every step of the way. With each new revelation they learn a little bit more about Summer Falls, but for the majority of the time everyone is left wondering WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?! I really loved the sense of mystery throughout the whole novel, it was an exciting change to the majority of YA novels I read. And everything is so unpredictable that you’ll have a hard time getting bored or even guessing what’s going on.
Phoebe Kitanidis has created the little town of Summer Falls really well; it’s so full of character. I visited Colorado last summer and as I was reading I could totally picture Summer Falls just nestled in the mountains there. The whole town has this awesome mysterious atmosphere to it.
Glimmer is a fun, fast-paced read, partly because you won’t want to put it down until you’ve figured everything out and know what’s happening. It’s mystifying and thrilling and just a little bit creepy. I definitely enjoyed this wild adventure.(less)
I really enjoy this series because of the fantastic fey world that Julie Kagawa has created, but Meghan is just so annoying and unlikable t...more3.5/5 stars
I really enjoy this series because of the fantastic fey world that Julie Kagawa has created, but Meghan is just so annoying and unlikable to me. I'm definitely going to finish the series (I already have them all lined up and ready to go), but I really hope that I start to like Meghan more.(less)
Time travel stories are always a little iffy for me. Sometimes they work incredibly well (like The Time Traveler’s Wi...moreOriginally posted at From A to Z.
Time travel stories are always a little iffy for me. Sometimes they work incredibly well (like The Time Traveler’s Wife), and sometimes they’re just too confusing and give me a headache (can’t think of an example right now but you know what I mean! :P). Tempest falls somewhere in-between for me, but overall I did enjoyed the story.
We learn about the rules of Jackson’s ability to time travel right at the beginning, which sets up the story nicely. But as things progress Jackson slowly begins to realize that he doesn’t even begin to understand everything that’s going on and things are way bigger than he ever imagined.
This is kind of where things got out of hand for me. I felt like the plot just had too many different elements and everything was unnecessarily complicated and a little bit unbelievable (yes, even for a science fiction story). I didn’t fully buy into the CIA/Enemies of Time subplot, and I wish that there had been a bigger focus on the simpler aspects of the story instead of trying to introduce so many things at once. The time travel aspect itself can be confusing if you start to think about it too much, but as long as you just go with it then it’s easy enough to understand.
I did really love Jackson’s visits with his sister, they were some of my favorite scenes in the novel, and I would have liked to see more of that developed. It was also really fun watching Jackson interact with the past versions of his friends, especially Adam (yay for science geeks!). Having a male protagonist is always a refreshing change in YA and I enjoyed seeing things through his point of view. And THANK YOU Jackson, for refusing to go back to high school! I’ve always thought it was so ridiculous that so many supernatural immortal characters would actually spend their time in high school (Really?? Really?), and I might have cheered a little bit when college-age Jackson put his foot down (although I don’t understand why his dad was so accommodating; MY parents definitely wouldn’t have been). All that said, I never really connected with Jackson very well, and I also didn’t feel much for Holly. I think this may be because she is shot so quickly at the beginning of the novel that I didn’t really have a chance to get to know her, so I just didn’t care that much.
The climax of the novel is action-packed and high-stakes, and leaves the reader with a slightly bittersweet feeling and a desire for more. Holly’s writing is incredibly visual and cinematic, and the whole thing kind of feels like a action movie, which made the book fun to read even with my lack of connection to the characters. I also definitely still have some questions about the logistics of the time traveling, but I’m hoping the second book might answer them.
Overall, although it didn't wow me, Tempest is an engrossing and entertaining story, and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next.(less)
There are absolutely no words for how much I LOVE this book. This is probably going to be less of a review a...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
There are absolutely no words for how much I LOVE this book. This is probably going to be less of a review and more of just a gushing love letter to Graffiti Moon and Cath Crowley. I fell in love when I first read it back in August last year and then I fell in love all over again when I reread it just a few weeks ago. Everyone needs to go preorder it RIGHT NOW, because this book is amaaaaaazing.
Graffiti Moon is one of those rare books where every element seems to come together and blend pretty much perfectly. The plot, the execution, the dialogue, the characters, the writing…they’re all flawless and create this perfect little package, this wonderful gem of a book.
I knew I wanted to read Graffiti Moon the moment I read the synopsis. A group of teenagers, giddy and celebrating the end of high school, going on an all-night adventure to search for a mysterious graffiti artist? And then add in the fact that the two main characters have an awkward past together? Oh yes please, sign me up. And what a group of friends! These kids are AWESOME, you guys. Funny and clever and witty and they have the BEST conversations. There are some truly hilarious moments where I couldn't help but laugh out loud. Seriously, I wish I had conversations like this with my friends. The dialogue and banter between Ed and Lucy in particular is enough to make me grin, but all the other side characters are just as awesome. Even Lucy’s parents are fantastic. This book just crackles with chemistry and the magic of this kind of night when anything can happen.
And the writing. Oh my goodness, the writing. I could go on and on about how beautifully this book is written. It took me longer than usual to read Graffiti Moon because I kept stopping and reading certain segments over and over again. My second time reading it I decided to highlight all my favorite passages, and then I stopped because I realized I was highlighting almost the entire book. The writing is just gorgeous and flowing and perfect. Cath Crowley paints beautiful pictures with her words and the entire night comes alive for the reader. This is particularly magical because of all the art happening in this book – Shadow’s painting and Lucy’s glassblowing and Poet’s words. She makes me want to put on a smock and create something.
The story is told through alternating points of view, going back and forth between Lucy and Ed, with occasional short chapters of Poet’s poems. I loved this format, and I think it worked really well for the book. It was so fun being able to get inside both Ed’s and Lucy’s heads. At times the chapters would overlap a little, and even though this sometimes felt unnecessarily repetitive, at other times it was really interesting to see the same scene from both sides. Both characters are so incredibly real – they make mistakes and say stupid things and life isn’t a fairy tale, and that’s part of why this book is so delightful.
Graffiti Moon is a stunning novel, one that I will be rereading over and over and over again. With fabulously clever dialogue, gorgeous descriptive writing, and an all-night adventure you won’t ever want to leave, this is officially one of my favorite books of all time.
Some favorite quotes: (I don’t usually do this for books but I just couldn’t help it. Also this is not NEARLY all of them. I had a hard enough time limiting myself to these.)
‘The night didn't go so well because I broke his nose, which was an accident that happened when I hit him in the face because he touched my arse.’ ~~~~~
‘“I know about graffiti,” I say, and the words come out as if I’m an old lady saying she likes the hip-hop.’ ~~~~~
‘Mum says when wanting collides with getting, that’s the moment of truth. I want to collide. I want to run right into Shadow and let the force spill our thoughts so we can pick each other up and pass each other back like piles of shiny stones.’ ~~~~~
‘He was leaning back in his chair and staring at me. And every time he stared I felt like I’d touched my tongue to the tip of a battery. I was nothing but tingle. After a while the tingle turned to electricity, and when he asked me out my whole body amped to a level where technically I should have been dead. I was pretty sure we had nothing in common, but a girl doesn’t think straight when she’s that close to electrocution.’ ~~~~~
‘I liked that he had hair that was growing without a plan.’ ~~~~~
‘For that week after Ed asked me out and before we went on the date, I felt like the world was heated glass and I was glad to be trapped.’ ~~~~~
‘“I know that” I say, trying to act like I’m not embarrassed for thinking love and sex are the same thing. I know they’re not, but I want them to be close enough to at least brush each other as they pass. ~~~~~(less)
Initial reaction: Excellent and frustrating and utterly addictive.
Rating is probably more like 4.5/5 stars. Review originally posted on my blog, From A...moreInitial reaction: Excellent and frustrating and utterly addictive.
Rating is probably more like 4.5/5 stars. Review originally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
Fracture took me completely by surprise and I ended up loving it way more than I thought I would. At times it was almost physically painful to read and I actually had to put it down so that I could yell at fictional characters and wouldn’t throw the book across the room (and since I was reading on St Clair (my ereader) that would have been very bad). This reaction is a tribute to the fact that a) I clearly get too invested in fiction and need to get a life, and b) the storytelling was absolutely incredible.
Megan Miranda has this amazing ability to pull you completely into the story and make you feel everything the characters are feeling. Even though the majority of readers will not have experienced anything like what Delaney goes through, you can’t help but relate to her and understand her actions and motivations. She is an incredibly likeable and sympathetic character, and my heart ached for her throughout the story.
Delaney’s accident and miraculous recovery have very serious repercussions, both for her and for the people around her. Although Delaney survived her accident in the most basic sense of the word, things can’t just go back to normal, and the cracks that develop in her relationships with her family and friends (particularly her best friend, Decker) feel both heartbreaking and incredibly realistic. Even leaving aside the supernatural aspect of Delaney being able to sense death (which is a very cool and subtle addition), the exploration of the real-life consequences of what happened is the main strength of the story for me, and I thought it was handled just beautifully.
Fracture is an intense and stunning read, and I absolutely loved it. It stayed with me long after I finished reading and I’m eagerly looking forward to more from Megan Miranda. Don’t miss this one!(less)
Wow. What an incredibly awesome debut novel! I went into this book not expecting it to be A) high fantasy, or B) just quite as amazing as it was. I LOVE high fantasy and don’t read nearly enough of it for some reason, so this was such a fun surprise for me.
We are thrust immediately into the world of Pelimburg – and what a world it is! An oppressive caste system, tightly controlled magic, selkies and sea-witches and unicorns… it’s dark and dangerous and oh so magical. Cat Hellisen has created a wonderfully imaginative and complex fantasy world that feels just like you’re stepping straight into the novel. You can feel the mist coming off the water and the magic sparking off your skin; it’s fantastic. It takes a while to get accustomed to the world and some of the terminology can be a little confusing at first, but if you pay attention you’ll be fine.
Though it has familiar themes, this is not your average fluffy YA novel; there’s so much more going on here. It is an incredibly unique and well-written story, with very relatable and real characters. Felicita is an immediately likeable and wonderful heroine – smart and brave and strong – and I really enjoyed exploring the underbelly of Pelimberg with her. The group that she takes refuge with is made up of a fascinating group of street kids, both friendly and not so much, and Felicita and the reader both get swept up in their lives without really knowing whether or not they can be trusted. Things going on in Pelimburg are much bigger than Felicita realizes at first, and by the time she understands what is happening she has ended up right in the middle of it.
The two other main characters, Dash and Jannik, are each incredibly different and charming in their own ways, and I loved Felicita’s relationship with both of them. The romance in the story isn’t necessarily the typical kind of love triangle or the kind of happily-ever-after romance that you find in most YA novels, but I thought it was absolutely perfect and realistic and fitting for the story. It’s a little darker, a little grittier, and a little more bittersweet at the end, but it works very well for the characters and their situations.
When the Sea is Rising Red is one of those books that is nearly impossible to put down. I kept telling myself I would only read one more chapter before I went to sleep and before I knew it it was three in the morning. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If you like fantasy, if you like your stories dark and intense and magical, if you’re looking for something a little different in your YA, you don’t want to miss When the Sea is Rising Red. It is a beautiful and haunting story that will stay with you for a long time.(less)
I enjoyed this book well enough, but not nearly as much as the first one in the series. I still adore the Kowalski family themselves, which is probabl...moreI enjoyed this book well enough, but not nearly as much as the first one in the series. I still adore the Kowalski family themselves, which is probably what saved it for me, but Beth was ridiculously annoying and whiny and frustrating and she absolutely drove me crazy. I don't know how or even why Kevin put up with her. The entire book just felt like they were going around and around in circles, and no progress was made until the very very end. Ugh. I did really like Paulie's story though. Too bad she wasn't a Kowalski, then the book could have focused on her instead. :P(less)
Okay, here’s where I feel like an idiot, because even though I’d seen everyone raving about this book, I had...moreOriginally 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 amon...moreOriginally 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.(less)
WOW. This book is one craaaaaazy ride and I loved every second of it. The characters are wonderfully relatabl...moreOriginally 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.(less)
I’m not really sure exactly how to review this one. I actually went back and forth about whether I should ev...moreOriginally 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.(less)
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 read...moreReview 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.(less)
Wow. So this book was a lot darker and more intense than I was expecting. It is not your normal fluffy YA no...moreOriginally 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.(less)
Okay, so this book almost makes me want to go stand in a storm and try to get struck by lightning. An...moreRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z.
Okay, so this book almost makes me want to go stand in a storm and try to get struck by lightning. And if a book makes me want to do something that’s potentially fatal, well… the book has to be pretty awesome, right? Right. (Please note the use of almost.)
Struck is such a unique story. From the view of what might happen to Los Angeles after a horrible earthquake to the idea of a girl who is addicted to getting struck by lightning, the fascinating premise will draw you right in, and the remarkable world-building will keep you there.
Jennifer Bosworth is a screenwriter, and it’s completely evident as you read Struck. The devastated city of LA is brought to life through her wonderful descriptions and everything jumps right off the page. I almost felt like I was watching a movie in my head, and I would love to see Struck on the big screen. The story moves along rapidly, with the book broken up into the three days before the storm hits, and you can feel the tension as it gets closer and closer. Everything leads up to the explosive ending, with twists and turns all along the way, including something that I totally did not see coming (and I’m usually pretty good at guessing things so it’s awesome when an author can surprise me).
I really liked Mia from the start. She’s not one of those annoyingly naive heroines who can’t ever tell what’s going on. She has her moments, of course, but for the most part she’s incredibly smart and intuitive, and I absolutely loved reading from her perspective. The rest of the characters are also great; everyone from Mia’s family to her love interest to the members of the two cults are interesting and fun to read about. Although I will say that I wish there had been a bit more development to the romance; it was just a bit too fast-moving and instalove for me to really get invested in it.
And one note about the cults, while there are pretty heavy religious themes to the novel, it’s not done in a preachy or overbearing way at all. Jennifer handles the cult aspect very well, and I would recommend not letting that prevent you from reading Struck.
One of the things I love about this novel is that while there is definitely the possibility for future books, Struck itself is a complete and engaging story with a satisfying ending. There’s no awful cliffhanger, no frustrating loose ends. Not that I don’t enjoy the occasional tantalizing cliffhanger, but it’s a refreshing change to finish a book and actually have it end.
With an awesome heroine and a unique premise, Struck is an addictive, fast-paced novel that you won’t want to put down. I can’t wait for more from Jennifer Bosworth!(less)
I’d like to offer my apologies in advance for the excessive use of capslock in this review. My enthusiasm ju...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
I’d like to offer my apologies in advance for the excessive use of capslock in this review. My enthusiasm just COULD NOT be contained.
Okay, Hannah Harrington, WHERE have you been all my life? I am STUNNED that Saving June isn’t waaayyyyy more talked about. I am officially recommending it to every single person I know and insisting that they read it.
Saving June is so beautiful and heartfelt and raw and honest and I am just so so in love with it. Even though it’s a book about grief, it’s not as depressing or heavy as I was expecting. Harper has such a fresh, lively voice, and going through the grieving process with her feels so realistic and natural. I completely ADORED her. And her best friend Laney is such a hoot! As far as road trip companions go, these three are fantastic.
Okay, and the romance?? YES PLEASE. Talk about slow burn! Swooooon, my heart. This is my FAVORITE kind of romance, you guys. MY FAVORITE. It has everything I could ever possibly want. Snarky arguments and playful banter and the love-hate push-pull relationship that is just soooooo DELICIOUS to read about. Plus that oh-so-slow-building sexual tension that just builds and builds and builds until it EXPLODES on the page. Oh my god, it was so good.
And it’s all accompanied by the MOST AWESOME SOUNDTRACK EVER. (Yes, even the sexytimes. I have maybe been listening to ‘Touch Me’ by The Doors on repeat ever since I finished the book. MAYBE.) Music is such a huge part of my life and I absolutely LOVED how integrated it was into Saving June. As I started to get near the end of the book I began to regret not writing down every single song that had been mentioned, so imagine my utter delight when at the back of the book the lovely Hannah Harrington has provided us with the three main mixes mentioned in the story! THANK YOU, Hannah. Now all I need is to find a recording of ‘Saving June’ and I’ll be all set. :D
Saving June is sweet and sexy and funny and so lovely. YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS BOOK IF: you like contemporary novels, you like books that deal with grief in a non-overwhelmingly depressing way, you like road trip stories, you like books that have a strong focus on music. But seriously, I recommend this to EVERYONE. I can’t believe I didn’t read it earlier. Hannah Harrington, I’ve got my eye on you. <3(less)
Masque of the Red Death is a hard book for me to review. Maybe I was expecting too much, but overall it wasn’t as amazing as I was hoping it would be. There were definitely things I liked though, and I enjoyed it enough that I’m planning to read the sequel (and there IS going to be one, guys, this is the beginning of a trilogy).
Bethany Griffin’s world building is pretty fantastic. The whole novel has a very dark, kind of sexy, gothic feel to it, which I really liked. She did a great job in setting a tone that is very fitting for a retelling of Edgar Allen Poe. I do feel like The Debauchery Club itself could have been more intense (especially given its name), but the world outside the club was fabulously described. Corpses in the streets, body collectors rattling along with their carts, the terror of being caught outside without a mask, airborne contagion, a city in ruins… I could see and feel it all. And the masks. I LOVE the idea of the masks. Who doesn’t love a masquerade? Now just imagine a masquerade ball, but it happens every time you go outside. (And, you know, without all the dancing and frivolity.)
I have to admit, I haven’t actually read Poe’s Masque of the Red Death (and I love Poe, so I don’t know what’s wrong with me), so I don’t know how many of the plot elements came from Poe and how many were original ideas, but as someone going into this book as a blank slate, I thought there was a great blend of elements of young adult fiction along with a Poe-esque setting and atmosphere to the story.
The thing was, I had a lot of trouble connecting with any of the characters, which is the main reason that I didn’t fall in love with this book the way I had hoped I would. I didn’t understand the motivation behind a lot of their decisions, and there also wasn’t a lot of consistent character development throughout the novel. This unfortunately affected my investment in the various relationships, so I was pretty ambivalent toward almost everybody (I did really enjoy Will, although some of his actions still confused me). I would have loved more fleshed-out characters, and I’m hoping to see more of that in the next books.
Overall, Masque of the Red Death has a fantastically creepy gothic setting, with an enjoyable storyline despite a disconnect with most of the characters. The last few chapters in particular race along and the end of the book will surely leave you eager to read more.(less)