Initial thoughts: I'm having a lot of trouble being coherent right now and not just a giggling, grinning, squeeing mess. <3
Full review (can also beInitial thoughts: I'm having a lot of trouble being coherent right now and not just a giggling, grinning, squeeing mess. <3
Full review (can also be found on my blog From A to Z):
This has been by far one of my most highly anticipated novels for the last several months. Ever since finishing Anna and the French Kiss I was ready to jump right back into another Stephanie Perkins masterpiece, and I’m so happy to say that Lola and the Boy Next Door does not disappoint. At all. I LOVE THIS BOOK.
Everything about it is wonderful: the fun and quirky cast of characters (including the reappearance of two of our favorites from Anna and the French Kiss *happy squeal*), the setting of San Francisco (which I was lucky enough to visit for the first time earlier this summer), and a heartwrenching and smile-inducing story of old misunderstandings, teenage longing, and childhood friends finally falling in love (which caused a lot of excited squeaking and happy sighing on my part).
Just like in Anna, the supporting characters are all fantastic and made me wish the book was ten times longer so we could get to know each of them better. Lola’s two dads are such wonderful fictional parents; supportive and loving, yet firm and protective too. Even Calliope, though pretty unlikeable at first, ended up being quite an intriguing character, and I’m really looking forward to the possibility of seeing her (and others!) in the next book, Isla and the Happily Ever After.
Lola herself is fantastic, of course, and her fashion sense is SO FUN. She’s like a young, slightly toned-down Lady Gaga. And even though I could never BE her (the time and effort it must take her to get dressed every day! I’m exhausted already!), I absolutely loved reading about it. We could totally be friends.
Although if we WERE friends, we would definitely get in a fight over Cricket, that’s for sure. Oh my gosh, you guys, THIS BOY. Cricket is quirky and sweet and geeky and awkward and adorable and I JUST LOVE HIM SO MUCH. Watching him long for Lola made my heart hurt (Psst, take me instead, Cricket!). One of the things I loved about Anna was how REAL it was, how realistically Etienne acted and how beautifully their friendship unfolded. Somehow, Stephanie has managed to kick it up a notch in the “real” department with Lola. Cricket is so real. And kind of perfect. He’s the kind of guy I would love to date. He’s the kind of guy I would love my daughter to date (I don’t have a daughter yet, FYI). Plus, he’s TALL. Like, really tall. (Sorry Etienne.)
It’s not that I don’t love my paranormals, but sometimes you just want to read a story that could actually HAPPEN. A story where you can shamelessly insert yourself into Cricket’s arms and know that it could be real life. Something sweet, painful, romantic, awkward, heartbreaking, and totally swoonworthy. The joy in reading this book isn’t in the mysterious love interest, the main character discovering she is a (insert supernatural creature here), or the shocking twist at the end, it’s in the sweet little moments that make you smile and sigh with happiness. It’s in bridges built between windows and conversations with the moon. And it has completely stolen my heart.
Reading Lola and the Boy Next Door was seriously the most fun I’ve had in ages. I literally had to put it down several times while reading so I could get up and do a crazy dance around the room because I was so giddy. I’m pretty sure there were happy squeaking noises coming from my room the whole time.
In addition to the adorableness of Cricket, a considerable amount of these fangirl reactions was thanks to Anna and St. Clair, who are in the book as actual characters, not just cameo appearances (yay!). There were several tiny little references to things from Anna and the French Kiss, which made me sooooo happy, and after casting several adoring glances at my copy of Anna on the shelf, it eventually just moved to the bed with me. Let me tell you, Lola, Anna and I had an AWESOME party.
I absolutely cannot wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After, although having to leave all these fantastic characters for the final time is going to be heartbreaking. If I could live in a fictional series it would totally be this one (except that all the awesome guys are already taken! :P Stephanie, write my life, please? Kay, thanks.).
Oh, and the best thing about Lola and the Boy Next Door? *points upwards* Check out that release date! IT’S OUT TODAY, PEOPLE! What are you waiting for? You don’t want another minute to go by without reading this book....more
For the past few months I’d been seeing reviews of Anna and the French Kiss everywhere I looked, and eRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z
For the past few months I’d been seeing reviews of Anna and the French Kiss everywhere I looked, and everyone was absolutely raving about it. Maybe I’m just cynical, but I kept thinking ‘There’s no way it can be THAT good, come on, it’s just another YA contemporary chick lit.’ BUT HOO BABY I WAS SO SO WRONG.
This book is SO GOOD. I am absolutely officially on the Anna and the French Kiss bandwagon, waving my hat and hollering at the top of my lungs. Everyone needs to go out and read this NOW.
On the surface (as evidenced by my earlier cynicism), there’s nothing particularly original or special about the storyline. But the thing is, it doesn’t even matter, because Stephanie Perkins pulls it off SO well that it doesn’t feel like anything you’ve read before.
It’s funny, sweet, romantic, and heartbreaking, and the characters are all incredibly wonderful and fleshed out and you just want to be best friends with all of them. Anna’s voice is so realistic and fun to read, and Étienne St. Clair is pretty much the perfect real boy, with perfect real boy flaws. He isn’t one of those brooding and mysterious types, he’s REAL. And lovely. So so lovely.
My absolute favorite thing about Anna and the French Kiss is the evolution of Anna and Étienne’s relationship. Although Anna immediately has a crush on him, they end up becoming friends first, and not just friends, but best friends. And that trumps everything, even her interest in being with him romantically. I LOVE that. It’s such a refreshing change from so many novels where the love interests experience “love at first sight” and everything is so intense and all-consuming right from the beginning. This is slow and gradual and their friendship is so beautiful that the fact that they do eventually get together is just the cherry on top. (Although I will admit, heads would have been rolling if they HADN’T ended up together. Haha.)
This book is like the perfect YA contemporary romance. I was giddy and grinning the entire time I was reading it, and then when I finished I just lay there for a while clutching the book to my chest and sighing in happiness. And then I proceeded to go back and reread all my favorite parts. It is just SO WONDERFUL.
I realize that this review is only somewhat coherent, but when you read the book you will understand. Trust me. Go read it. Now. It’s one of my favorite books of all time and I will be rereading it forever....more
This book sucked me in right away. Ezra is a great narrator, with a very enjoyable and readable voice, which I'm always pleased to find in3.5/5 stars
This book sucked me in right away. Ezra is a great narrator, with a very enjoyable and readable voice, which I'm always pleased to find in male narrators, since they're so much rarer than females. And I loved his story. I had so much trouble putting this book down.
Ezra's new groups of friends was a fun mix of people, but at times their quirkiness felt a bit forced, like it was almost too much. Not super over the top, but just enough that I could feel it. And I liked Cassidy, but in general she's a bit too manic pixie dream girl for my taste. That's a trope I'm generally not too fond of though, it's nothing against her specifically.
Overall I did really enjoy this, I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for future novels by Robin Schneider....more
2.5 stars? Maybe? (I really hate rating books numerically)
I'm so torn about this book. I really love the premise of it, but it just took so darn long2.5 stars? Maybe? (I really hate rating books numerically)
I'm so torn about this book. I really love the premise of it, but it just took so darn long to get into it! It isn't until over halfway through that they actually start on their road trip to return the items, and up until that point I was pretty bored, to be honest. Around 100 pages in I considered giving up, but since it came highly recommended by another contemporary author I love (Huntley Fitzpatrick) I decided to keep going.
And for the most part I was glad I did, because I definitely enjoyed the second half. I just wish the bulk of the novel had been about the road trip. (This may be partly because I am a sucker for road trip stories and could easily read several hundred pages just of people traveling.)
The other thing I wasn't crazy about was all the negativity about men and love. Which probably I should have been more prepared for when I started it, given the blurb, but going in I was in a very romance-y mood and I wasn't quite feeling some of the diary-style sections from all the wronged women. Not that they weren't legitimate and accurate, I just wasn't in the right place to be reading it.
All that said, I really liked Deb Caletti's writing style. This is the first book of hers I've read but I want to look into more of them. And I loved the development of the sisters' relationship throughout the book, I'd like to read a sequel just to revisit them again. And Jake, of course. :)
So I'm definitely glad I finished it, and I'm looking forward to reading more from Deb. I think timing-wise things just weren't right for me to fully appreciate this one right now. I wanted road trips and romance, and although this book does have both, they're not really the focus....more
3.5/5 stars (why does Goodreads not allow half stars yet??)
So delightful and fun, I just finished it all in one sitting on a plane. Jennifer Echols a3.5/5 stars (why does Goodreads not allow half stars yet??)
So delightful and fun, I just finished it all in one sitting on a plane. Jennifer Echols always writes these wonderful confident, sassy, funny heroines and I just love it. I wish I was one of her characters.
She is also so great at the friends-to-lovers storyline, which is one of my all time favorite romance tropes, and Biggest Flirts has so many of the elements that I want in one: initial attraction, denial of a relationship for whatever reason, tension and flirting (obviously flirting!), jealousy, there's even a bit of a pretend (ha!) relationship thrown in there. (This book doesn't strictly fit my friends-to-lovers designation but it still works, and if you like that trope as much as I do, you should definitely check out Echols' The Boys Next Door, which is my FAVE for ever and ever and ever.)
This plane trip is the start of my beach vacation and to set the mood I was very specific in the books I've picked for the next ten days. Biggest Flirts was definitely the perfect way to kick it off. Then again, I knew I couldn't go wrong with Jennifer Echols....more
I love these audiobooks, and that's saying something because I dislike most audiobooks and barely ever listen to them. I much prefer reading somethingI love these audiobooks, and that's saying something because I dislike most audiobooks and barely ever listen to them. I much prefer reading something myself. (I even gave this 5 stars while I gave the print version 4 stars! Shocking, I don't even recognize myself.)
Chris Colfer (the author) reads the books himself, which makes such a huge difference (and the fact that he's an actor definitely doesn't hurt), and his voices for all the different characters are just delightful. I look like a fool grinning by myself when I'm driving alone listening to this. (Especially when he sings the songs for the harp, oh my lord.)
I feel like I need to put a disclaimer here and admit that I am pretty much in love with Chris, so there may be some bias in anything of his that I review. However, I don't think that his books are THE MOST AMAZING BOOKS OF ALL TIME and I definitely see a lot of flaws with them. I'll address those if I get around to reviewing the print edition. My glasses aren't completely rosy.
But if I'm talking purely about the audiobook, it's just so hugely entertaining and the way he reads it makes it completely worth spending the 10 hours or so it takes to listen to it. Even if you've already read the book. (I just made that number up, I don't actually know how long it is.)...more
THIS WAS SO PERFECT I AM CRYING. I just feel so happy and satisfied and I am sighing so giddily right now.
This was EXACTLY the closure that these bookTHIS WAS SO PERFECT I AM CRYING. I just feel so happy and satisfied and I am sighing so giddily right now.
This was EXACTLY the closure that these books needed, oh my goodness. I loved both Just One Day and Just One Year so so much, and I understand 100% that those books were more about the individual journeys of the characters during their time apart, but I'm not gonna lie, I was so bummed with where they both ended. The romantic in me wanted the REUNION! I wanted them to find out just how close they'd gotten during that year and how hard both of them had looked for each other.
AND THIS WAS EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED. It's short and sweet, and at first I thought it felt a little rushed, but it ended up being the perfect length. And we got little snippets from everyone's points of view, which was so fun.
Just One Night is like the bow that ties the present together, the sprinkles on the cupcake, the perfect little conclusion to Allyson and Willem's story.
Do you NEED to read it to complete the story? No. BUT YOU WANT TO....more
I thought Destroy Me was a great bridge between the first and second books, but this one felt rather pointless. Adam seemed way out of character and rI thought Destroy Me was a great bridge between the first and second books, but this one felt rather pointless. Adam seemed way out of character and really the only thing reading this has accomplished is that I'm pretty pissed off at him and think that he deserves everything he's feeling by the end of it. I'm not sure what Tahereh Mafi was hoping to accomplish with this. Destroy Me was obviously supposed to humanize Warner, and it definitely succeeded, so I can't imagine that she doesn't know the reaction this one will cause. Makes me a little nervous for Ignite Me....more
Excellent follow-up to Shatter Me, I don't know why I waited so long to read this. Although now I don't have to wait for the conclusion, which is greaExcellent follow-up to Shatter Me, I don't know why I waited so long to read this. Although now I don't have to wait for the conclusion, which is great.
The thing about these books is that even though there are things I don't like, things that annoy me, things that make me roll my eyes, things that I figure out wayyyy before the characters, etc etc, they are crazy crazy addictive and I can't help but get way overly emotionally invested in the characters. This is evidenced by the fact that I practically inhaled the entire thing in one sitting, and this is not a short book. I'm actually on track to read the entire series in about 2 days at this rate. Who needs a productive weekend anyway? Or sleep?
I read Shatter Me as an ARC way back when and one of the things I loved about it was the unique and lyrical prose, but upon my reread the other day I discovered that this was actually something that became a bit tiresome. I was glad to see that there is WAY less of it in Unravel Me, which works well for the development of Juliette's character and her gradual adjustment into society.
I'd definitely recommend reading Destroy Me, book 1.5 in the series, before this one, because it gives great insight into Warner's character and you understand his actions so much more. And sighhhhh, love triangle, of COURSE. Can't say I'm surprised, and I stand by my usual solution: threesome and done. I also got pretty tired of hearing how beautiful and stunning and lovely Juliette is. Ok, we get it.
Imagine never being able to touch anyone. Never being able to hug, or hold hands, or even casually brRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z.
Imagine never being able to touch anyone. Never being able to hug, or hold hands, or even casually brush against someone. That basic need of human contact completely and constantly denied. Then imagine being locked up in total isolation for over eight months because of it. This is when we meet Juliette. Poor, broken Juliette, who has suffered so much in life and yet still manages to cling to a thread of hope, manages to retain her sanity. And then Adam steps into her cell and her entire life changes.
Tahereh Mafi’s writing is stunning: lyrical and flowing and just so incredibly gorgeous. It reminded me a bit of Cath Crowley’s writing – it has that same beautiful poetic quality to it that makes me want to tattoo the words all over my body. (Seriously though, I might do it.) She manages to convey Juliette’s thought process and mental state SO WELL, it’s amazing. You really feel like you’re inside her head, with all of her confusion and desperation and the thoughts she doesn’t even allow herself to think. And it is a thing of beauty to watch the writing subtly change as Juliette grows throughout the novel and gains more confidence. I could happily curl up inside this book and live there for ages.
And the boy! Oh, the boy. Adam and Juliette absolutely burn up the pages together. The tension between them throughout the whole novel is amaaaaazing, leaving the reader holding their breath in anticipation. You may wonder how a romance is supposed to work when Juliette can’t touch anybody, but it does, don't you worry about that. There are several moments (one steamy shower scene in particular) that will make you fall over from swooning so hard and leave you fanning yourself on the floor. I CANNOT wait to see more of these two in the next book. Bring it on, Tahereh, I’ve got my squirt bottle ready to cool myself off when necessary. :P
And while Adam is hot as hell, he’s also sweet and loving and has a huge heart. He is kind of perfect, and I kind of love him for it. Between my compassion for Juliette, my love for Adam, my adoration of a couple of secondary characters whose names I won’t mention, my repulsed fascination with Warner (so evil and yet so intriguing!), and my awestruck worship of Tahereh’s writing, Shatter Me has basically left me a swoony, grinning, gushy mess.
This is the kind of book that I stay up until 4 in the morning to finish; the kind of book that I can’t stop thinking about every second that I’m not reading it; the kind of book that I wish I could read for the first time over and over again. It is a mind blowing debut novel, and definitely one of my favorite books of 2011. You need to RUN, don’t walk, and go preorder this book RIGHT NOW. And then feel free to join me in pining away like mad for the sequel....more
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.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. 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. ...more
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’3.5/5 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....more
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 to4.5/5 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!...more
I absolutely adored Hannah Harrington’s debut novel, Saving June, and I was so excited to read Speechless. AOriginally 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!...more
Dead Reckoning is everything I would hope for from a steampunk zombie western: it’s fun, action-packed, andOriginally 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!...more
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 wI'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. :)...more
I have been anticipating this book ever since I first heard about it ages ago, and I was so eager to get my hands onOriginally 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....more
Oh my goodness, I have SO MANY FEELINGS for this book. Reading it was such a whirlwind of emotion; these chaOriginally 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...more
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 probablI 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...more
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....more
I was immediately interested in reading The Boy Recession when I heard about it, mainly because my college hOriginally 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....more
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...more
There are so many faerie stories out there, it’s impossible not to compare them to each other. And in comparOriginally 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. ...more
I’d like to offer my apologies in advance for the excessive use of capslock in this review. My enthusiasm juOriginally 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...more
The International Kissing Club is a lot like what it sounds: light, frothy fun. Four girls make a pact to eaOriginally 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....more
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. :)...more
I love tearjerkers, and I wanted to love this book, but for some reason I just wasn't connecting. We're thrown so quickPosted 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"]>...more
Oh my goodness, I looooooooooved this book. It is an absolutely amazing debut and definitely stands out amonOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
Oh my goodness, I looooooooooved this book. It is an absolutely amazing debut and definitely stands out among YA contemporaries. To be honest, I was expecting a pretty standard story, but Huntley Fitzpatrick blew me away and I got so much more than that. I read it as part of an ARC tour and almost didn't sign up for it, but I'm soooooo glad I did. I barely put the book down once I started, and after I finished I kept wishing that I was still reading it.
The Garretts are, hands-down, my favorite part of the story. They are such a wonderful family and I fell completely in love with them almost instantly. (Especially the darling four-year-old George. Can I please please have a George in my life??). I adore stories about big, loving families (the Weasleys, anyone?), and this is no exception. From the minute Sam entered their world I was grinning like a fool pretty much the whole time. I want to have a large family myself (although I think I’m planning to stop at six kids, haha), and this book totally reaffirmed that desire. The craziness and love is just portrayed so perfectly. I also really love the contrast with Sam’s own family; how she escapes into the world of the Garretts and finds a whole new life for herself. I loved watching her grow as a result of her interactions with a family so different than her own.
And the romance! Oh my. The romance in this story is so achingly sweet. Sam and Jase are ADORABLE. I felt like they had such a mature relationship, which was a really refreshing change from the silly drama that seems to be present in so many other high school romance stories. I was pleasantly surprised by how they handled certain situations, and many times I could be found clutching the book to my chest in happiness. And although the focus of the book is on Jase and Sam, I would be remiss not to also mention Nan, Sam’s best friend, and her brother Tim, both of whom I loved – the story would not be complete without them.
I knew from the blurb that there was going to be some kind of Bad Event, and once I got a little more than halfway through the book I started anxiously anticipating. I had several predictions about what might happen (and was very nervous for the safety and happiness of all my beloved characters), but I absolutely didn’t see it coming. It’s a shocking and heart wrenching twist, and it makes the story that much more compelling. My heart ached for Sam, but at the same time it allowed for some really wonderful moments between her and various other characters, as well as for her own personal development. There were just a couple of things that I wish had been resolved a little more before the book ended, but they were fairly minor.
My Life Next Door is a beautifully written story that captures a summer romance perfectly. Your emotions will be all over the place and you will love it. This is one of my new favorite contemporaries and I am so so excited to read more from Huntley Fitzpatrick. If you’re a fan of authors like Sarah Dessen, Elizabeth Scott, or Sarah Ockler, you WILL NOT want to miss this book.
And just as a final note, I read this in February, but it happened to be a rare 80 degree day and I just went outside and sat in the grass and ate a popsicle and enjoyed the sun and read nonstop and it was SO PERFECT. I’m so glad this is coming out in June, because it is JUST the thing for an amazing summer read. You can feel the heat coming off the pages. Take it poolside with you, you won’t be sorry....more