Absolutely loved it! I normally hate audiobooks but Chris did a brilliant job. Listening to this made hours of weighing out samples of red panda poop...moreAbsolutely loved it! I normally hate audiobooks but Chris did a brilliant job. Listening to this made hours of weighing out samples of red panda poop infinitely more bearable. :P
Full review for both the print and audio versions coming soon.(less)
I was immediately interested in reading The Boy Recession when I heard about it, mainly because my college h...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
I was immediately interested in reading The Boy Recession when I heard about it, mainly because my college had a similar male-female ratio (Okay, maybe not quite the same, but it sure felt like it sometimes!), and it sounded like a fun story that I could totally relate to. Having read it, I can say that I wasn’t really blown away, but it was sweet, cute story that I enjoyed reading.
My favorite thing about it was definitely the humor; there were several moments that had me smiling and giggling out loud. I loved the chapter headings in particular, taken from the school’s online newspaper. Some of my favorites:
“Popularity of Plaid Shorts Plummets as Preppies Flee Julius” “Senior Girls Lobby to Take Over, Convert to Lounge Boys’ Bathroom in South Hallway” “Cougars Among Us: Julius Juniors and Their Freshman Boy Toys”
The characters felt like SUCH typical teenagers: the boys weren’t drop-dead gorgeous and mysterious, they were juvenile and dumb and often pretty gross. Which isn’t what you always want to read about, of course, but it totally fit with this story. The stakes weren’t end-of-the-world high, everything was pretty chill, and everyone was just generally concerned with normal high school stuff, mainly whatever gossip was new in the dating scene. And there is a sweet, heartwarming happy ending that will for sure put a smile on your face.
A whole year passes in the book, and we generally just get flashes of scenes and hear about other things that happened in between chapters. This was a little jarring at first, but once I got used to it I enjoyed it. It made the book feel like a lot like a year of high school – when you look back you don’t remember every single day, but you remember the year in terms of the important events, those bigger moments when things changed – and I feel like that was really captured well with The Boy Recession.
This isn’t necessarily the kind of book that you can’t put down, that you’re dying to read every chance you get, but it’s a nice, easy read, and I’d recommend it for anyone looking to just chill out and head back to high school for a couple of hours.(less)
Dead Reckoning is everything I would hope for from a steampunk zombie western: it’s fun, action-packed, and...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
Dead Reckoning is everything I would hope for from a steampunk zombie western: it’s fun, action-packed, and best of all, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you’re looking for a zombie novel that won’t keep you up late at night, then look no further!
The highlight of the novel for me was definitely the three protagonists. Jett, who disguises herself as a tough male gunslinger; Honoria, who isn’t afraid to travel the Wild West as a solo female; and White Fox, an Army scout who was raised by Indians. They are all wonderfully charismatic and fleshed-out characters and watching their interactions was truly hilarious and enjoyable. Honoria and Jett were particularly entertaining together.
Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill have created a wonderful world for this adventure: part Wild Wild West, part steampunk, and part zombie. It’s such a fun and unique combination, and you’re sure to enjoy the ride. Dead Reckoning seems to leave the door open for future escapades, and I, for one, can’t wait to hop on board again! Recommended for anyone in the mood for an engaging, zombie-lite novel, Dead Reckoning is not to be missed!(less)
I absolutely adored Hannah Harrington’s debut novel, Saving June, and I was so excited to read Speechless. A...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
I absolutely adored Hannah Harrington’s debut novel, Saving June, and I was so excited to read Speechless. And while I don’t think that Speechless had quite as much magic for me as Saving June did, I still loved it and can highly recommend it.
At times, Speechless was incredibly difficult for me to read. The incident at the beginning that sets everything in motion was real and painful and I actually had to put the book down for a while and walk away. Which, even though it made me vaguely nauseous, is a great thing, because I love it when a book can affect me on that level.
On a related note, I really disliked Chelsea at the beginning and honestly doubted whether or not I would ever be able connect with her and root for her. This is usually a deal-breaker for me, because if I can’t connect to the main character it’s not likely that I’ll be able to enjoy their story. But Chelsea’s development throughout the novel was really well done, and Hannah Harrington did a great job at making it feel gradual and realistic. The Chelsea at the end of the book is still recognizable as the girl from the start; she still has flaws and issues to work out, but she does a lot of growing in between. I do have to admit though, overall I definitely liked her better when she wasn’t speaking.
However, I did love all the supporting characters in a way that I never really loved Chelsea, and they really made the novel for me. They’re all incredibly well-developed, and they managed to worm their way into my heart even with the minimal amount of page time they got.
Overall, Speechless is an engrossing and wonderfully written novel about one girl’s path to realizing what is really important in life. It will make you cringe, it will make you laugh, and it will make you think. I devoured it all in one sitting and I can’t wait for Hannah Harrington’s next book!(less)
Short and sweet, it doesn't add much to the series itself in terms of plot but it's a nice little filler leading up to the release of Pandemonium. And...moreShort and sweet, it doesn't add much to the series itself in terms of plot but it's a nice little filler leading up to the release of Pandemonium. And it's beautifully written, of course, because it's Lauren Oliver.(less)
I love tearjerkers, and I wanted to love this book, but for some reason I just wasn't connecting. We're thrown so quick...morePosted on my blog, From A to Z.
I love tearjerkers, and I wanted to love this book, but for some reason I just wasn't connecting. We're thrown so quickly into Austin's quest to make everyone else's life better, and I felt like I didn't really get to know him at all. Everything just felt very rushed, and I wasn't invested enough to actually be upset when the story reached the inevitable conclusion. I cry at everything (seriously, everything), but I didn’t feel the urge even once.
In addition, every single situation he was trying to "fix" was completely clichéd. The gay friend, the rape victim, the mom who stopped living after her son’s death, the friend in an abusive relationship, the estranged mother and daughter… I know listing them out like this makes it feel very dry, but that’s pretty much how it felt in the story to me. Don’t get me wrong, I think these are all extremely serious and important issues to deal with and address, I just didn’t feel like Never Eighteen really addressed them effectively. It was trying to do much. And it seemed presumptuous for Austin to even be interfering in these people's lives in the first place.
I also had trouble understanding why he and Kaylee supposedly loved each other. I saw no evidence (other than the fact that she was willing to drive him around for two whole days while he made her wait in the car and gave her no explanation as to what he was doing). And then when they finally do admit their feelings to each other (view spoiler)[they're laying on a football field and end up having sex right then and there. Dude, I get that you're dying and time's limited, but a football field? Really? You couldn't even wait to get inside somewhere? It felt so rushed. (hide spoiler)]
I really do hate writing such a negative review, but this book just completely missed the mark for me. I know a lot of people who loved it, but I wouldn’t personally recommend it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This book is so HUGELY entertaining and I absolutely loved it! Despite the potentially heavy subject matter...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
This book is so HUGELY entertaining and I absolutely loved it! Despite the potentially heavy subject matter of needing to undergo a fake kidnapping in order for the FBI to protect you from dangerous terrorists, it’s a really light, fun read, and I had a huge smile on my face the entire time.
Digit is absolutely adorable and so hilarious, both in her inner monologues and her interactions (particularly with John, the hot FBI agent assigned to protect her) and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud so many times. From her obsession with bumper stickers to her shyness about her crazy math skills, she is such an enjoyable character. And she and John have fantastic chemistry together. I loved watching the development of their relationship and it was so sweet when they eventually got together.
I also really loved Digit’s evolution throughout the book and her gradual acceptance of “Digit” as an important part of herself. Watching her grow in confidence (and particularly John’s role in that growth) was incredibly satisfying and added a subtle layer to what would otherwise be a fairly fluffy contemporary novel.
My one complaint is that this book is so short! I wanted to spend so much more time with Digit. Although I’ve seen rumours that a sequel is in the works, which makes me very happy. :) Be sure to check out A Girl Named Digit when it releases in June; it is pure fun and entertainment and you definitely don’t want to miss it.(less)
As a former dancer I knew I was going to enjoy Waltz This Way, but you don’t need to appreciate ballr...moreRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z.
As a former dancer I knew I was going to enjoy Waltz This Way, but you don’t need to appreciate ballroom dance or reality TV shows in order to love this story. It’s full of relatable characters, snappy dialogue, and sexy moments, and it’s such a fun ride every step of the way.
I loved loved LOVED the interactions between Drew and Mel. I like my romances hot and snarky, and these two have chemistry in spades. They’re hilarious and clever and absolutely wonderful together. Mel is just a fantastic character all on her own; I love her relationships with everybody. Her scenes with the boy geniuses in dance class were especially fun.
The supporting characters were actually one of my favorite parts of Waltz This Way. From Drew’s eccentric family (particularly his son, Nate), to Mel’s best friends from LA, the different personalities definitely made the story what it was.
And although this is technically the third book in the Ex Trophy Wives series, it stands well on its own and it isn’t at all necessary to have read the previous books in order to enjoy it. I was really intrigued by the glimpses we got of the previous ex trophy wives, and I’m definitely looking forward to going back and reading the first two books in the series, particularly to learn more about Jasmine’s story.
I will say that I thought everything was wrapped up just a little too neatly and maybe slightly unrealistically, but it was a nonetheless satisfying ending. When I decide to read a contemporary romance I’m usually expecting a happy ending, so I’m not really complaining. :)
Overall, Waltz This Way is a fun, sexy story with sweet moments, fabulously clever dialogue, and a great cast of characters. If you’re a fan of contemporary romance you won’t want to miss this one!(less)
On a purely surface level, Grave Mercy hits sooooo many of my buttons (my good buttons, not my bad buttons. And not in a dirty way. Oh, you know what I mean.). Let’s review, shall we?
THINGS I LOVE: A map at the beginning of the book. Traveling primarily on horseback, with stops at inns and taverns along the way (serving wenches!). A convent of assassin nuns. Swords. Poison. Bows and arrows. Castles. Secret tunnels in the walls of castles. Battles on horseback. Horns as communication in battle (I had SUCH a Lord of the Rings moment at one point *swoon*). ASSASSIN NUNS. Going undercover as a mistress. Court intrigue. Bracelet weapons. Poisoned pearls as decoration in hair. Chess. Did I mention the assassin nuns?
Are you swooning yet?
Happily, all of these superficially awesome things combine to make a deeply awesome story. In case you can’t tell (haha, yeah right), I loooooove historical fantasy, and it’s been a long while since I’ve read one that I enjoyed as much as Grave Mercy. The overall feel of it reminded me a bit of Graceling, which was so wonderful.
One of the things I love about historical fantasy is its ability to completely take a reader back in time and suck them into the world, and Robin LaFevers has done this flawlessly. I felt like I was there with Ismae, and definitely wished I could be there in real life. I swear, I was born in the wrong century.
And Ismae herself is BRILLIANT. She went through a lot (understatement!) before ending up at the convent, but she grows into this sassy, resourceful, funny, smart, totally KICKASS creature who can kill a man about a million different ways. Navigating the murky waters of the court of Brittany with her – never sure who should be trusted and who should be of victim of her poisoned hairdo – is SUCH fun. I loved every second of it.
My one teensy weensy thing (I don’t even want to call it a problem) was the romance. And don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike the romance. It was very sweet and lovely and I definitely enjoyed it, it just seemed a little tame and predictable. For a book about assassin nuns, with two characters as fantastic as Ismae and Duval, I just wanted a little more spice! More suspense, more potential heartbreak, more sex, more intensity, more whatever. But you know, that’s okay. The book was so awesome otherwise, I can pretty much overlook this.
I really can’t recommend Grave Mercy highly enough. If you like historical fantasy, if you like adventure, if you like court intrigue, if you like action of the archery and swords variety, if you like the idea of a convent of female assassins, if you like getting completely sucked into a world... READ THIS BOOK. Or even if you don’t like any of those things, you should still read it. Because it is awesome. I’m SO excited for the rest of this series.
*On a random note, I’ve seen some speculations about how old Duval is (most people seem to think he’s around 30?), but even though it never specifically says, based on my calculations from information we’re given in the book, I think he’s about 24. And Ismae is 17. So there’s not that big of a gap between them. That is all. :)(less)
I have been anticipating this book ever since I first heard about it ages ago, and I was so eager to get my hands on...moreOriginally posted at From A to Z.
I have been anticipating this book ever since I first heard about it ages ago, and I was so eager to get my hands on a copy. Stories about childhood friends or sweethearts that are separated and then reunited years later (or ‘reunion romance’ as my tag on Goodreads calls them) are my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. I cannot even tell you. So I was thrilled when For Darkness Shows the Stars totally delivered and I LOVED it.
The world that Diana Peterfreund has created is so interesting and different. I would have loved to have more background information about how the Reduction came about and how everything happened, but the story didn’t feel like it was lacking at all without that extra information. It also didn’t feel like she was trying too hard to create this incredibly unique post-apocalyptic world, if that makes any sense. These days I feel like so many dystopian-type stories are trying so hard to be the next big “thing” and I didn’t get that feeling from For Darkness Shows the Stars, which I definitely appreciated. It just felt very naturally original and appealing.
Elliott and Kai are both absolutely brilliant and incredibly frustrating at the same time. I loved each of their journeys as individual characters, and I definitely loved them together. This is my favorite kind of love story, you guys. The tension between them is palpable; you feel everything they’re going through so much. They’ve had a difficult history together, and Kai is just harsh enough with Elliott for it to be perfect. I will say that the romantic in me wanted a little more of the lovey-dovey stuff (yeah, I’m a sap), but honestly it didn’t even matter, I still loved it. And the whole story is peppered with letters that Kai and Elliott wrote to each other as they were growing up, which was a wonderfully sweet window into their back story and really allowed the reader to see their growth and maturation.
I haven’t read Persuasion, so I can’t really comment on its relationship with For Darkness Shows the Stars, but I can say that I will most definitely be reading it after this. I love the idea of a futuristic take on an originally historical setting, and I can’t wait to read the story that inspired Diana to write this amazing book! Whether or not you’re a fan of Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a unique and emotional read, and I highly recommend it.(less)
The Hunt was so different than I was expecting. For some reason I thought that the story would mainly be about the Hunt itself, but instead there’s a strong focus on the time leading up to the Hunt and Gene’s struggle to blend in and not expose himself as a heper. Which is crazy scary and intense.
I really appreciate how original and unique Andrew Fukuda has been in creating this world. In a market saturated with paranormal stories, it was awesome to read something that was so incredibly different. These creatures are barely recognizable as anything we’ve seen before (I’d probably call them an advanced breed of vampires, except instead of just blood they enjoy all parts of the human body. Ick.), and they are terrifying. Some of their habits are actually so weird that I felt like it worked against them just a bit, because I had no connection or familiarity with them and it was just like “What??” In particular, their version of making out was one of those things. But in general I liked the weirdness.
Oh, and what happens to them when they’re exposed to the sun is horrifically disturbing. There is no Buffy-style “dusting” of these vamps, nuh-uh. I’m pretty sure anyone who happened to see my face as I was reading would wonder what could possibly be so gross. But just wait. Unless your stomach is way stronger than mine, you’ll be cringing as you read too, I guarantee it.
I had some trouble connecting with Gene, and I think a lot of that was because he’s so conflicted about who he is himself. He wants to be one of them; he hates thinking of himself as “human” and is ashamed of his human behavior and needs. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how he develops in future books. There were also a few plot twists that I definitely saw coming, but I was pretty okay with this.
Overall, The Hunt is bizarre, disgusting, disturbing, addictive, and SO intense. The last fifty pages or so made my heart pound, and there’s a crazy cliffhanger that definitely makes me want to pick up the next book. If you’re tired of the same-old same-old vampire stories and are looking for a truly unique and creepy read, you should definitely check out The Hunt.(less)
I was immediately intrigued when I first heard about The Selection, both because of the interesting premise...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
I was immediately intrigued when I first heard about The Selection, both because of the interesting premise and the gorgeous cover. I’m left with mixed feelings after reading it, but overall it was a fun and entertaining read.
The Selection has been pitched as “The Bachelor” meets The Hunger Games, and I can definitely understand the comparisons to both. I’ve never actually seen “The Bachelor,” but the competition that the girls go through in The Selection seems pretty similar to me. I really enjoyed the girls’ interactions as they realized that they were becoming friends (some of them, at least!) despite the fact that they were all competing to win the heart of Prince Maxon. And Maxon himself is such a sweetheart! I do wish that his friendship with America had happened a little slower, but their interactions were a lot of fun.
America herself is a likeable heroine, though at times she came across as a little too perfect and admired. Her interactions with Aspen and her family were some of my favorite moments, especially her little sister, May. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her. (And more of Aspen!). This is one of those love triangle books where I don’t feel very strongly toward either boy, YET. I like them both, so we’ll just have to see what happens. :)
The comparison to The Hunger Games is also understandable to me, although I think they are alike less because they’re both dystopians and more because of other very similar plot elements (which I’m not going to go into, but you’ll probably notice as you read the book).
To be honest, in comparison to a lot of dystopians, The Selection hardly even feels like a dystopian novel. People are divided into numbered caste systems (with Ones being the highest and Eights the lowest), and there are occasional rebel attacks, but the overall tone of the novel is much more relaxed and the story focuses mostly on the Selection itself. Which in some ways is a refreshing change from the heavier novels out there, although I am hoping that in future novels we’ll get more information about the rebels and everything that's going on.
If you like your dystopians a little on the fluffier side, and if you enjoy reality competitions like “The Bachelor,” I’d recommend reading The Selection. For me, it wasn’t am-AH-zing, but it is definitely a light, entertaining story that I enjoyed reading, and I am planning to check out the next book in the series.(less)
Review to be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
I went into Time Between Us expecting something like a young adult Time Traveler’...more3.5/5 Stars
Review to be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
I went into Time Between Us expecting something like a young adult Time Traveler’s Wife, and while there are definitely similar elements, this is a much different story. In Time Between Us the time travel aspect felt like it came second to the love story, which still makes for a sweet book but left me wanting a little more in terms of complications and obstacles due to the time travel. And I couldn’t help but question the logic of some of Bennett’s actions and decisions.
This is not to say that there aren’t any time travel shenanigans, because there definitely are and I truly enjoyed some of them. I especially loved some of Anna and Bennett’s first interactions. There is also an emphasis on the consequences and responsibilities of time travel, which I thought added a great layer. Is it okay to go back in time and change things? How much is too much? Although I will say that it bugged me a little that Bennett was willing to bend his rules for Anna even though she clearly had less experience with it than he did. Man, that boy was whipped. Haha.
If you’re a fan of time travel romance but the complexities of time travel tend to give you a headache, Time Between Us is the perfect book for you. The time travel is fun and easy to understand and you won’t be able to help getting swept up in the whirlwind romance of Anna and Bennett’s story. Curl up with a mug of hot chocolate and let yourself get lost for the afternoon.(less)
The International Kissing Club is a lot like what it sounds: light, frothy fun. Four girls make a pact to ea...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
The International Kissing Club is a lot like what it sounds: light, frothy fun. Four girls make a pact to each try to kiss as many boys as they can during their study abroad semesters… and what do you expect? The result is a lot of kissing, a little heartbreak, and some good old-fashioned high school drama and angst. All in all, a pretty enjoyable read, though I would have appreciated a little more substance.
The chapters alternate point-of-view between Piper, Cassidy, Izzy, and Mei, which is a little confusing to follow at first, while they’re all four still in Texas. I kept getting their stories mixed up (which was the one with the single mom? Whose dad is the football coach?), but once they split up and each started their adventure it became a lot easier to keep track of things.
I really enjoyed each girl’s unique story and the personal growth and realizations they went through because of it, but I wish a little more time could have been spent with each one. There are four different stories to tell in this one novel, which is a LOT, and even at 400 pages, I felt like a lot of story progression and development was left out. We would meet up with a character only to find that a month had passed since we last spoke with her (for lack of better phrasing), and there was a lot of telling instead of showing. I also found it hard to believe that none of the girls made friends with anyone other than their respective guys. I’ve studied abroad, and it’s pretty difficult to not meet ANYBODY.
Partly because of this, I felt like all the relationships moved very fast. I kept thinking “Stop kissing so quickly! You just met!” And while many times this was because the characters had, in fact, just met (or practically just met), it was also because we had often missed a whole chunk of their relationship, which would have been the chunk with all those little moments leading up to the kissing. For this reason, Izzy’s was my favorite storyline, by far. Even though she was the one stuck in Texas I was always excited when we got another ‘Izzy’ chapter, and her romance was the one I could most relate to: slow-building, sweet, and unexpected (to her, at least).
Ivy Adams is actually the pseudonym for a trio of writers, and I have to give them credit for making the story flow as well as it did. It could have easily felt disjointed, given the three authors and the four different narrators, but I didn’t even know Ivy Adams wasn’t one person until I read it at the back of the book when I was finished.
Though at times it can be a bit cheesy and juvenile (but you already knew that from the title, right? :P), The International Kissing Club was nevertheless a cute, fun read. It wouldn’t be my go-to book for an in-depth love story, but if you adore stories about international adventures and you’re in the mood for a light contemporary, this might be just the book for you.(less)