Review will be posted on my blog closer to release date.
Altered is a wonderfully fun and unique adventure that barely slows down from start to finish....moreReview will be posted on my blog closer to release date.
Altered is a wonderfully fun and unique adventure that barely slows down from start to finish. It took a little while for me to really get into it, partly because it is so different, but once things got going I couldn’t help but get invested in Anna and her relationship with the four boys. It was a really fun dynamic to have one girl with four guys, and I really loved that Anna could hold her own with them. No damsels in distress to be found here!
There were several things that I predicted right from the beginning, which caused a lot of frustrated yelling at the characters for not realizing things sooner, but I actually enjoy getting that emotional about a book. And there were a few twists that I absolutely didn’t see coming, which was fantastic.
Altered doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but things are left open enough for the possibility of a sequel, and I would love to find out more about the Branch and their experiments. If you’re looking for a fresh sci-fi story that will pull you, and especially if you’re a fan of the TV show Nikita, I would definitely recommend Altered. (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)
Review will be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
SPOILER FREE REVIEW!
I loved Marie Lu’s debut novel Legend, so I was thrilled to...more4.5/5 Stars
Review will be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
SPOILER FREE REVIEW!
I loved Marie Lu’s debut novel Legend, so I was thrilled to get the chance to read the sequel. I’ll admit that I didn’t remember everything from the first book (it’s been a while since I’ve read it!), but Prodigy picks up pretty much right where Legend ended and it wasn’t hard at all to get absorbed into the story again. There’s something about this world that just completely sucks you in.
Prodigy continues the dual narration, which I really love. It’s so interesting to get to see both June and Day’s perspectives, especially considering what different backgrounds they come from. We also get to see a lot more of the society that Marie Lu has created, which was something I was definitely hoping for from Prodigy after finishing Legend. I feel like I have a much better sense of how the society came to be and what’s really going on, rather than just the vague feeling we got from the first book.
We also see a lot of familiar faces in Prodigy, as well as several new characters, who I can’t wait to get to know more in the third book. And Metias! God, I don’t know what it is about Metias, considering how early he dies in Legend (not a spoiler!), but I’ve always felt such a connection to him and I mourned for him SO HARD, which just continues with Prodigy. I don’t know how Marie Lu has made me care about him so much, but I love it. There were tears, I’ll tell you now.
Prodigy is such a fantastic second novel. It’s packed with action and surprises and teasers of things to come. And oh my goodness, that ending! Ack, my heart. It’s both heartbreaking but also oh so perfect and I am SO excited for the next book. I cannot wait to see how this story ends!(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)
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 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)
I'm not ashamed to admit it, I only read this because rumor is that Chris Colfer has adapted it and sold it as a pilot to Disney Channel, and I will w...moreI'm not ashamed to admit it, I only read this because rumor is that Chris Colfer has adapted it and sold it as a pilot to Disney Channel, and I will watch/read/listen to ANYTHING that boy does. I mainly just wanted to be familiar with the source material because I'm very curious to see how a children's book becomes a Disney series. Who knows whether or not it will ever actually air, but this book takes like, 30 minutes to read, and it's cute and fun and I probably would have loved it as a kid, so no problem either way.
No star rating since I'm clearly not the target audience. :)(less)
Oh my goodness, I have SO MANY FEELINGS for this book. Reading it was such a whirlwind of emotion; these cha...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
Oh my goodness, I have SO MANY FEELINGS for this book. Reading it was such a whirlwind of emotion; these characters just completely caught me up in their lives. Colby especially. It is really really rare that I connect so much with a male narrator, but oh man, I fell for Colby. I just love him. I want to squeeze him. I think I’m going to name my car after him.
And Bev. I’m not exactly sure how I feel about Bev. I spent a lot of the book kind of hating her, because she totally betrayed Colby and she’s really withdrawn throughout most of the book. She did grow on me enough by the end so that I didn’t want to chuck the book at the wall every time she appeared on the page, but MAN, she frustrated me. I don’t think that she herself is a bitch, she just did a very bitchy thing that I honestly still don’t really understand and I’m definitely not ready to forgive her for. BUT, even though I am still outraged on Colby’s behalf, I do completely understand his feelings and reactions to her.
This was a rare kind of book where I wasn’t necessarily rooting for the romance (although heck yes I wanted them to work things out!), but I was totally rooting for Colby. And if you know me then you know that I am ALL about the romance. So this is amazing. Nina LaCour is amazing. The fact that she’s made me love and understand this boy so much? I’m in awe.
There’s so much more I could say about the amazing music, the road trip, the people that they meet along the way, Colby’s art and Bev’s sculptures… but I’ll let you discover all of that for yourself. Hopefully all my Colby-gushing is enough to intrigue you. :)
This book is painful and beautiful and raw and I LOVED it. It made my chest tighten and my heart hurt, it made me laugh and get teary-eyed and grin uncontrollably. Books like this are why I love contemporary. <3(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)
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 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)
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)
There are so many faerie stories out there, it’s impossible not to compare them to each other. And in compar...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
There are so many faerie stories out there, it’s impossible not to compare them to each other. And in comparison with some of my favorite fae worlds (Holly Black’s Tithe and Marissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely, to name a couple), Stolen Away was lacking just a little of the magic for me. But it is still a fun and enchanting story, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Stolen Away is told through two different points of view, Eloise (the “main” character), and her best friend Jo, and it was really fun to get both of their experiences. I haven’t read many dual narrative books that focus on two best friends rather than two sides of a love story, and I thought it was such an interesting change. And one of my favorite things? No love triangle! Both girls do have romances, but they’re completely separate and there’s no jealousy or rivalry between them.
The story is fast-paced and entertaining, and there are lots of humorous moments. Jo especially made me laugh several times. She’s such a sweetheart. The fae world itself is pretty easy to understand, no complicated politics or anything. I do wish it had been explored a little more, I feel like it was never as fully developed as it could have been.
All in all, Stolen Away didn’t exactly blow me away, but it was an enjoyable read. If you like fun, lighter books about the fae, I’d recommend picking up Stolen Away and relaxing for the afternoon. (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)
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)
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 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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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 absolutely loved this short little story! I adored Fracture, and I especially adored the friendship betwee...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
I absolutely loved this short little story! I adored Fracture, and I especially adored the friendship between Delaney and Decker, so getting to read about her accident from his point of view was wonderful.
I thought the way this story was written was phenomenal, and the reader was really able to get inside Decker’s head and feel everything he was feeling. He’s experiencing a lot of pain and guilt and anguish, and the format of the story portrayed that SO well. I thought I loved Decker after finishing Fracture, but Eleven Minutes made me love him so much more.
It’s not absolutely necessary to read Fracture before reading Eleven Minutes, but I’d definitely recommend it. I think it means a lot more in the context of the whole story. Plus, Fracture is amazing all by itself. :)(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)
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)