This is a great book for both the parent and the child!
While a child will say, "I do that!" the parent will begin reminiscing about how s/he was with...moreThis is a great book for both the parent and the child!
While a child will say, "I do that!" the parent will begin reminiscing about how s/he was with his/her crayons. I've recommended this to various customers and have had all of them giggle while reading the letters that the crayons write.
If you want a good laugh, and a book that your child will appreciate in the future, then this is the book for you!
This was a fantastic read that immediately pulled me in! I've been thinking about reading this one for a long time now and I'm glad I finally sat down...moreThis was a fantastic read that immediately pulled me in! I've been thinking about reading this one for a long time now and I'm glad I finally sat down to read it. Needless to say, I read straight through the night because I couldn't put this one down!
The characters are memorable and the romance is beautifully created. The author captured the horrors of the island, the isolation, and the reality of being away from everything and everyone we know. I liked that there wasn't too much focus on the mundane, but on the things that mattered and established an exciting tale.
The underlying theme of age differences and what we want in life is explored seamlessly, while the decisions made by the characters are realistic and not dramatic like so many fictional romances out there right now.
A great read that I recommend to anyone who enjoys romance in general fiction, and for anyone who wants a story that explores not only the survival of oneself, but the survival and growth of one's heart.
I received a copy via Oops! I Read A Book Again Blog Tours
American Girl on Saturn by Nikki Godwin is a young adult contemporary romance that takes the teenage fantasy of being (literally) locked up with a few of the world’s most famous boys. This novel is so much fun and full of so much cuteness, that it was hard for me to put it down. Quickly paced, addicting, and romantic, American Girl on Saturn was a fantastic surprise.
Chloe, the protagonist, lives a very interesting life. Right from the beginning we can see that her family isn’t exactly normal. The first clue is probably the fact that a crisis can be labelled under one of two different ice cream flavors, and the second clue is that her father works for the secret service. Immediately, the reader is pulled into this bizarre world where certain code names can mean the difference between large disasters and minor disasters.
But despite the fact that Chloe very obviously lives a privileged life, she is still a teenager that can’t escape her past decisions. Despite her age, Chloe’s story is romantic without being overtly sexy—which was a surprise. It was kind of nice reading a romantic contemporary young adult story that didn’t veer too far into the nitty gritty of sex. The storyline was intriguing and addicting enough without having to add in any unnecessary erotica.
What makes American Girl on Saturn so entertaining was how realistic and imperfect the boyband is. Each boy has his own quirk, like any normal teenager, and comedic situations arise once Chloe’s family begins to adapt to the boys’ presence. Milo, Chloe’s love interest, is serious to a fault, while Noah, the strawberry milk addict, shows his loneliness by stating that he’s always “out of the loop”.
And that’s just two of the boys.
American Girl on Saturn was easily one of the cutest books I’ve read all year. The dialogue makes for a witty read, while Chloe’s sisters add spice and mischief to the storyline. Romance is brewing in Chloe’s house and I like that the issues faced are larger ones, rather than simple, easily solved issues.
Watching the characters grow from their experiences during their summer lock down made this novel more believable, and Chloe’s at times fangirl behavior made the novel both more realistic and funny. I loved the allusions to present day pop culture—especially when Godwin goes as far as mocking some of the popular outlets for pop culture and the idea of how addicted our society is to said outlets.
Godwin’s novel is a great read for anyone looking for a cute contemporary romance that features dreamy boys and a hint of celebrity.
If you like romance, funny and cute situations, fast-paced stories, and novels that focus on the fun of the situation, rather than what could go wrong—i.e. strict parents interrupting the fun, or unnecessary moaning about not being good enough for a guy—then you just might love this one!(less)
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
I’m not a big fan of novels that have side novels beyond the storyline (check out novels with additional points in their series numbers—1.5, 1.6, 1.whatever), but I am a person who does have a weakness for a good romance story… and not just that, but a romantic story that is retold from a completely new and enticing perspective. Trust in Me by J. Lynn does just that by pulling us back into her fictional world through the eyes of her sexy male protagonist, Cameron.
I’ve seen other readers complain about the similarities to Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire and I get it, trust me, I do. But here’s the difference between these two new adult novels: Travis is no Cameron—which is made all that more obvious by showing us Cameron’s perspective. While reading Beautiful Disaster, I tended to shy away from the uncomfortable moments where Travis lost his cool and became a bit abusive and controlling. I never felt this anxiety while reading Cameron’s story. I get the whole “she’s mine” mentality, because a lot of guys will feel slightly possessive of the girl they love, but when it becomes a constant theme and an actual way of controlling the girl, then it’s too much. Cameron is a more realistic male character because he’s not perfect and because he has his fair share of insecurities, too.
Trust in Me is a great addition to the series because it not only offers us more romance, but a deeper understanding of Cameron’s character and just how perfect he is for Avery. Lynn’s writing is just as addicting and engaging as it is in Wait for You, and the pacing is just as great. I read this one in just a couple of sittings (and just because I had to sleep!)
If you’re a fan of this series, then make sure to check out this installment because it is absolutely delicious. Plus, if you aren’t ready to leave Avery and Cameron’s romantic world just yet, then this is the perfect remedy for your addiction to this ridiculously cute couple! (less)
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
This book contains sexual situations and isn't for younger readers
Faking It is Cora Carmack's second addition to her Losing It series, a collection of New Adult contemporary romance novels.
While I didn't read Losing It, I was quite surprised with Carmack's latest. Sometimes I just want to read a romantic novel that actually has character growth, characters that may appear perfect but are in fact flawed, and a storyline that seems somewhat plausible. Faking It, though the latter point is stretched a bit, fits all of the points I've mentioned. It is deliciously addicting, and incredibly sexy.
The novel is told from two perspectives--Max and Cade (which, by the way, is an amazing name)--and continues the storyline from Losing It. One of the great things about this novel is that though it touches on what happened in the previous story, it isn't exactly necessary to read its predecessor. Faking It is nearly capable of being a stand-alone novel because it contains its own storyline and issues that the protagonists need to face.
I'm a sucker for romance with a punch, and Cade and Maxs' story offers just that. Quickly paced, addicting, and beautifully written, we find that the gorgeous Cade is pretty broken up over the final events in Losing It, and that bad girl musician Max isn't nearly as fearless as she appears to be. Both of these characters share the theme of hiding beneath masks that obscure their true selves and emotions.
The character growth comes in the form of dual understanding and the fact that there's more to a relationship, or possible love, than the initial attraction. People are more than the spark of chemistry that their bonds create, instead they are complex puzzles that are meant to be continuously solved as they learn to navigate life together.
There is a sense of insta-love between the characters, and though I usually shy away from this theme, I actually enjoyed seeing the immediate chemistry between the two protagonists, even if it took them a while to act on anything. Their relationship (or fake relationship) builds up as the story progresses, effectively causing the same sense of anticipation in the reader that the two characters must undoubtedly feel.
What I also loved about Faking It is that though there are the obvious moments of insecurity between Max and Cade, the story focuses more on how these characters can grow, learn, and heal each other, rather than on petty jealousy and annoying side-plots that could potentially derail the storyline.
Basically, you are told what is going to happen in the synopsis, Carmack produces the gorgeous story for you, and delivers a sexy romp of a good time--all without the unnecessary addition of drama that has become a bit cliche in the genre, and love triangles (okay, there may be one, but it is very minimal and unimportant).
So, I'm pretty sure it's quite obvious how much I liked this book. I'm still fairly new to the whole New Adult age group in literature, but I know that Faking It is a perfect addition. Carmack's storytelling is solid and promising, making you want more.
If you love romance, sexy situations (not for younger readers), and characters that are more than just pretty faces, then give Faking It a try--you might be pleasantly surprised.(less)
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
I blame J. Lynn's new adult novel, Wait for You, for my sudden addiction to the new adult age group. Lynn's latest novel is full of sexiness, bad boys, a powerful, yet at times fragile, protagonist, and secrets that threaten to crash down on both the main characters. Written in gripping prose, Lynn's novel is a romantic masterpiece that will be devoured by any fan of the romantic genre--regardless of age.
Avery is your typical college student--or is she? Right from the get-go, we notice that something isn't quite right about her. Immediately, our intrigue is piqued just by watching her navigate her first day of college. And when she meets the campus hottie, she reacts in a not so expected way.
The problems Avery and Cam, the guy in question, are entertaining to a point. We watch him go from intrigued friend, to a guy who is slowly falling for this quirky, awkward girl. The reader can feel the frustration between the characters as they get to know each other. Secrets are kept and of course, as is expected, they come back to haunt those in Lynn's world.
The pacing is quick, making this novel a very speedy read--especially if you're addicted to it. The world created is realistic, as it follows the lives of young college students. Each situation that Avery is put in allows us to slowly put together the events that changed her life so many years before. Like Cam, we are also slow to learn why Avery is the jumpy character that she is.
What I liked is that Avery wasn't the only one with a secret. Cam isn't as perfect as he seems, and this makes him more approachable and a more believable character. I also approve of how he treats Avery. While he may appear cocky at the beginning, he slowly becomes a guy that she can feel comfortable with. He isn't pushy or rude, like other male characters in the age group and genre, but instead respects Avery. He doesn't consider her "his" and treats her like his object, rather than a girl. And he gets pissed off when it is appropriate. Avery doesn't make stuff easy for him, and he doesn't make it easy for her--which is the difficult aspect of relationships that I find entertaining. It creates drama, but feels more realistic than a couple who just gets everything right without a struggle.
I love the dialogue because of how easily the banter flows, and how well the character voices reflect who they are. The conversations between Avery and Cam definitely made for an interesting and fun read.
I would recommend this one to readers who love the new adult age group. Lynn deals with darker situations, which she accurately portrays in her protagonist, and touches on the cruelty found behind expectations set by strict parents. If you love romance that is messy and in no way easy, then check this one out. Lynn's latest will make you giggle with anticipation, and sigh at the thought of finding someone as special as Cam.(less)
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
I absolutely adored Sarah Strohmeyer's How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True. Strohmeyer's new young adult contemporary novel is funny, touching, romantic, and as whimsical as the Fairyland Kingdom theme park the novel is set in.
Zoe, the protagonist, is a teenaged girl who has a very close relationship with her happy go-lucky cousin, Jess. Her growth as a character isn't made obvious, but is instead hinted at by her choices and actions. She is a selfless character who never truly considers doing anything that is only beneficial for herself. This aspect of Zoe makes me love her because I can feel the love she has for her cousin, without having her explain how much she cares
Strohmeyer's novel is about more than a summer full of cute boys and the cutthroat competition. It is about overcoming grief, remembering the important things in life, not focusing on outward appearances, to have hope, and to work for what you want. These themes make the novel less frivolous and simple, adding weight to what Zoe thought was going to be a fun summer.
There's also a mystery that takes over the storyline. Strohmeyer is a talented red-herring weaver. She throws you a bone and though you're certain of what is coming next, you can't help but nibble at the proffered clues. She's also great at foreshadowing. The reader needs to pay attention to what is being said and hinted at, or else what is being said will go unnoticed. In all, Strohmeyer takes the predictable and makes it unpredictable.
The romance found in the novel grows as the summer passes and lessons are learned. This summer is about Zoe and Jess, but the romantic situations the cousins get into are in themselves learning experiences. The romantic moments featured are memorable and simply perfect.
I will admit that I may have giggled like a little girl when the romantic bits took place.
The pacing is great and I honestly devoured Strohmeyer's novel. I couldn't put it down, since I needed to know what Zoe was going to do next.
Other notable aspects of How Zoe... are the dialogue (which was FANTASTIC!), how relatable the characters are, the unexpected twist at the conclusion, and the promise of a life beyond the world of the novel.
I recommend How Zoe... to readers who enjoy a sweet romance and adventure-filled summer in a Fairytale theme park. If you like young adult contemporary fiction, then pick this one up--you won't be disappointed. The dialogue is hilarious and realistic, while the characters will make you want to join them in their hectic summer away from home. (less)
I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
Tellulah Darling is back with another awesome installment in her young adult series, The Blooming Goddess Trilogy. In My Date from Hell, the sequel to My Ex From Hell, Sophie, the protagonist, is back for more butt kicking adventures full of quirky characters, witty and quick dialogue, and of course, the inevitable romance that we have been anticipating since the first book made its debut. With great pacing and unforgettable characters, Darling’s sequel continues to be an original take on a classic tale.
One of the things I greatly appreciate in certain novels is the quality of the dialogue. Beautiful prose is a wonderful attribute, of course, but there’s nothing like reading a novel that has dialogue that just…clicks. Darling’s writing has yet to let me down regarding dialogue. Sophie’s banter with her love interest and friends makes this a comical read, and also allows us to connect with her. A lot of the time, friends are less formal with each other and share inside jokes and whatnot, and it is this aspect of friendship that Darling adopts in her writing that makes her novels more enjoyable and memorable.
Okay, I’m going on and on about dialogue, but I personally believe that aside from impeccable prose, it takes a great dialogue writer to make a book truly something special. That’s why, if I ever recommend a book, I always mention the dialogue first.
Another reason why I bring up the dialogue is because Darling’s dialogue allows us to give the characters a personality. None of her characters are flat, because they ALL have a unique voice, making this a unique story, not just in how it adapts the original tale of Persephone, but in how much care is taken into making sure that each character is someone special. We, as readers, invest our emotions in these characters because we actually get to see what they’re like, and that’s just brilliant.
Darling’s latest is quickly paced and can be easily read in just a few sittings, especially if you’re reading the first book right before this one. The need to know what happens next is nearly overwhelming as the story progresses, and the originality used to introduce other gods and mythological tales makes us wonder what else Darling has up her sleeve.
I love that the two main characters, despite any preplanned destinies, still fight to attain their own lives. Even under any influences they encounter, there is an underlying sense of independence. True to each characters’ experiences, Darling makes it difficult for either character to trust—because really, it would be just too convenient for two characters to suddenly work well together. Darling makes these characters’ struggles appear realistic because they aren’t instantly fixed, but instead fight to overcome their insecurities.
The conclusion killed me. I mean, I HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE THIRD BOOK!!!!! The cliffhanger definitely makes for a fantastic conclusion—I’m already craving my next Sophie Bloom hit! The awesome thing about this conclusion is that the twists and turns that Darling suddenly throws at the reader are completely unexpected. That’s skill…especially since I usually see twists coming from a mile away.
I recommend this young adult series to anyone who enjoys quirky adaptations of mythology stories. Sophie is a powerful female protagonist who has her faults and a shaky past, but she truly has a hero’s heart. Her love interest is sigh worthy, and the adventures are exciting! Her friends makes this doubly enjoyable and the villains will make you cheer for Sophie’s future success. (less)
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Terra by Gretchen Powell was a fantastic blend of what is popular in today’s Young Adult dystopian genre, but Powell makes it her own by effectively introducing her own twists and originality—not to mention a heck of a conclusion.
As we meet Terra, the protagonist, we are immediately taken into her world where the elite live in domed cities above and the people left on Earth are left to scavenge as a means of survival.
Terra is full of spunk and life and though she’s had to prematurely grow up in order to raise her younger brother, she still has various qualities found in a teenager.
What I like about Terra is that she behaves how I would expect a young adult to behave in a similar situation: she is over-protective, brave, and slightly stubborn—all characteristics that are relatable.
The pacing of the novel is great and the storyline is easy to follow and enjoy. The reader gets seduced by the description and fluid prose. The world Powell has created is original and the reader can never truly be sure of what will happen next.
One of the best aspects of Powell’s writing is that she has a talent for creating unexpected twists and turns.
The character growth was interesting because Terra grows through the many questions she asks and the decisions she makes. Rather than being put into a new world and being challenged by what is unfamiliar to her, Terra is forced to view the world she lives in through new eyes. I loved this concept because Terra challenges the wrong I noted in her world, rather than staying mute.
The romance was nicely built and was a cute side-story in the novel. While the reader is intrigued by the unique storyline, s/he is also rooting for Terra and her love interest—which, by the way, is not the most obvious character, another aspect of Powell’s novel I loved.
I recommend Terra to fans of the dystopian genre and original story-lines that have fun and unexpected conclusions.
Powell is an author to watch and her upcoming sequel offers more than just answers to the questions left in her cliffhanger conclusion, but a chance to see more wonderful work from this fantastic author. (less)
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga is an extremely morbid young adult novel that is reminiscent of a young...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga is an extremely morbid young adult novel that is reminiscent of a young Dexter, and one of various murderers from The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting.
If you've heard of neither of those, Dexter is a male adult serial killer whose thoughts act as our narrator throughout the show (and books, I suppose, though I have yet to read them), and Derting's work gives murderers their own chapters to up the creep-factor of the novels. Imagine then that Lyga's work is the perfect brain child of these two murder-influenced works of art.
Jasper, the protagonist, is extremely emotionally detached from all his surroundings thanks to his dad's training. It's interesting watching him grow, as a character, to understand that though there are expectations set for us by parents and others around us, ultimately, we have the last say in what we can become. He's a twisted guy, but he is also someone caught in an unusual crossroad.
The intriguing thing about I Hunt Killers is how, in its attempt to showcase Jasper as inhumane and different, it shows us just how human he actually is. When someone is raised the way he's raised, it's understandable that he's going to be a little different, but Jasper shows us that anyone can overcome the expectations placed upon him or her.
The prose is creepy--especially the serial killer chapters--and the disconnect from emotions that we get from Jasper adds to the creepy writing. We crave to know who the killer is and when it seems quite obvious who the culprit is, Lyga completely destroys it by offering the least expected person.
I liked I Hunt Killers because it was different and not about people falling in love and living happily ever after. There's a sequel, which makes Lyga's work almost perfect because it shows that life doesn't magically get better when one crime is solved.
I recommend I Hunt Killers to readers who enjoy the morbid side of young adult literature. If you like male protagonists who grow throughout a story and have surprisingly witty internal dialogue and observations, then check this one out.(less)
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
My Ex From Hell by Tellulah Darling is the first in a very promising series, The Blooming Goddess trilogy. This is one of those young adult novels that takes you by surprise the instant you start reading, and holds your interest until the very end.
Full of modernized mythological adaptations (it was cool recognizing mythological figures along the way!), fantastically relatable characters (give or take the magic), and dialogue so witty that you have to pause your reading, Darling's novel is a must read young adult novel.
I've read a few other adaptations of the Persephone myth, so I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. Darling surprises me, however, with her completely original take on this particular myth. Sophie, the protagonist, is what I now picture Persephone to be: quirky, smart--but still unaware of her surroundings--, powerful, beautiful, and snarky.
The pacing of the novel is fantastic as we are instantly faced with two of the main issue in the novel: the mysterious life Sophie lived before her human one, and how her romance with a devilish boy changes her life forever. From that instant, the novel builds up until a very surprising and satisfying conclusion.
One of the unique and best features of Darling's writing is how Sophie makes the story her own. Sure, a protagonist usually narrates the story to us, but rather than give us a play-by-play, Sophie lets us view her world through her personality. Rather than describe something simply, she makes it come to life with nicknames and her snarky voice.
I absolutely LOVED how Sophie's relationship with Kai is unconventional. For once, a heroine does more than fall at the feet of the sexy and rude male character, Kai. Of course, she has moments where she agrees that he is perhaps the sexiest thing ever, but she doesn't let him control her, and she definitely does not let his asshole-ness slide.
Sophie is awesome because she goes against the currently popular idea of weakened female protagonists. She also knows how to backtalk. Especially to the douchey Kai.
I would recommend My Ex From Hell to anyone who enjoys mythology, paranormal fiction, powerful female protagonists, funny dialogue, and a strong plot line.
My Ex From Hell was a deliciously dark surprise and I look forward to the sequel!(less)
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Spirit is the third book in Brigid Kemmerer's young adult urban fantasy Elemental series.
Okay, let me start by saying that this might be an awkward review for anyone who hasn't read this series (um, why haven't you?), especially since I'm a huge fan of Kemmerer's work--oh, and the fact that this is a sequel.
What you should note, however, is that while Kemmerer's books do make references to past events in the two other novels in the series, each book is like a story of its own as we, the readers, get to learn more about specific characters and their stories of character growth and romance. Because really, if there is something Kemmerer does well, it's romance.
Spirit follows Hunter, the protagonist, and a new girl in towns' perspective (the narratives intertwine within the chapters). Hunter isn't like the Merrick brothers, who have always been a slightly dysfunctional team. He's the jaded and literal fifth wheel as he navigates his increasingly cold and lonely world.
Spirit has all of the delicious aspects of the Elemental series: drama, romance, the supernatural, suspense, mystery, and intrigue. The prose is witty and quickly paced, pulling in the reader with every flirtation and provocative text between the two narrators.
Hunter isn't one of my favourite characters in the Elemental series, simply because he is slightly untrustworthy, and because he has so many dramatic issues. Spirit starts with a bang as we're immediately introduced into the main issue of the novel, but of course, Hunter avoids all the easy ways to avoid his future problems. Thanks to his "woe is me," stubborn attitude, he makes more problems for himself--though I guess this adds to the whole dramatic aspect of the novel.
While I was completely hooked, I was still frustrated to see such ignorance from the protagonist. And okay, he's a teenager who's been betrayed by the people that should love him, but perhaps if he stopped to look around for a bit, he might realize that people actually care.
One of my favourite aspects of Kemmerer's writing is how her characters, after facing crap storm after crap storm, somehow save themselves. Though they may have physical assistance around them near the end, it is the mental growth the characters experience that makes me love them. They learn from their mistakes and childish actions, making them stronger and more intriguing as the story progresses.
Kemmerer, seriously? Of all the characters... I fear continuing on this train of thought, since I don't want to ruin this for you guys, but holy crap, that conclusion.
Good luck putting yourself together again after that. Seriously, I wish you all the best.
If you are a fan of urban fantasy, low-key paranormal, drama, romance, and very, very sexy boys (yes, I'm aware of my age, but just go with it), then you might like the Elemental series. The novellas are short, sweet, and tempt you with upcoming stories, while the full-length novels are a delicious ride of dramatic high school fun--with a nature-influenced paranormal take, of course. (less)
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Dear Life, You Suck by Scott Blagden is not your conventional coming-of-age story. This contemporary novel is an exploration of a depressed teenaged mind that is brilliant, self-destructive, creative, and lost. Written in unflinchingly honest prose, and with a powerful narrator, Blagden's debut is sure to create waves in the young adult pond.
Cricket, the protagonist, is a teenaged boy with a tragic past who has no idea where life is going to take him. Some may not categorize Blagden's prose as stream of consciousness, but still it reads almost like a diary of uncensored ramblings. Though still young, Cricket's analysis of his life and what is around him is nearly existential as he questions spirituality, love, family, and friendship.
I love Cricket and how different he is as a protagonist. Even from the first sentence of the novel, I could tell that Dear Life, You Suck was going to be a different book from others I've read in the same genre. The writing is so quirky that it takes some accustoming, but the reader is quickly sucked into Cricket's world. The manufactured words that Cricket offers his readers perfectly describe Cricket's unconventional character. What makes Cricket intriguing is that he may appear to be a bad boy, but there is a lot more to this creative character. Blagden avoids the cliche of bad boy turns good by not completely redeeming Cricket, but instead letting him grow up and learn from his mistakes.
The prose is lyrical, which oddly enough works well with the hectic life experiences that Cricket faces. The lyrical aspect of the novel comes from Blagden's fantastic understand of alliteration. I found myself hooked and wanting to see what else Blagden would write to create the smoothness in his prose. What is even better is how consistent the tone is. Even as Cricket changes and grows as a character, his personalities does not abruptly change. He doesn't suddenly become a well-spoken and soft character, but rather, he adapts to a world he was previously blind to: one of possibilities.
Perhaps what took me most by surprise was the conclusion. Of all things, I did not expect what Blagden gives us. It took me a while to process what had just happened. Hell, I even went back to re-read the conclusion. Then it hit me: what I read was Cricket's life and I saw what he wanted me to see. Whatever happens after the novel ends is up to him. Since he is so unsure of his future, why should he leave us with the satisfaction of knowing what he has yet to learn?
I recommend Dear Life, You Suck to fans of contemporary Young Adult fiction that has a male protagonist with a traumatic past, a messy present, and an uncertain future. Also, if you enjoy romance, great character growth, and unique prose, then I definitely recommend Blagden's novel for you.
Beware, however, if you have a dislike for cuss words.(less)
Exposure by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes is the second installment in the Twisted Lit series. It is also an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Macbeth. The prologue offers a unique introduction into the story, while the protagonist is a smart twist to Shakespeare’s most tragic play. Set in Alaska, Askew and Helmes pull the reader into a world as new and unique as their story line.
Skye Kingston, the protagonist, is a wallflower. She would rather take pictures than participate with her classmates. But as the school year progresses, Skye encounters situations that influence her growth as a character. What makes this adaptation so refreshing is that Skye is given a greater role in the novel than Shakespeare’s protagonists.
Skye is also a very special character because she gives the reader a voice in Macbeth. She witnesses the change the characters representing Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, Craig and Beth, go through. Skye is aware of their slow descent into madness, and as a result, she becomes the character that has the power to say something. The reader soon realizes that she is the hero that Macbeth never met.
The romantic side of Exposure is very interesting. The reader witnesses the poisonous relationship between Craig and Beth, but Askew and Helmes juxtapose this with a promising connection between Craig and Skye. This new perspective is intriguing because it hints that Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a limited story.
Askew and Helmes captivate their modern readers by offering more depth to the story of Macbeth. Only these co-authors can take a morbid and seemingly hopeless play, and make it into a story full of moral lessons about growing up and accepting consequences.
Exposure’s plot also raises questions about its origins, such as: what was Macbeth like before meeting his wife? What was his life like beyond his relationship with his wife? Was there ever an opportunity for Macbeth to redeem himself?
Askew and Helmes' adaptation adds a certain zest to the original play. Through well-paced writing, complicated romance, and a relatable protagonist, the reader has the ability to view a literary classic in a new and enjoyable way.
I would recommend Exposure to readers that are interested in modern adaptations of Shakespearean plays in the young adult age group.
The title Exposure hints at the dangers within the novel, and Skye’s love of photography. Most importantly, however, it represents the act of exposing oneself when s/he appears lost, or hidden.(less)
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review
Davonna Juroe’s Scarlette is a young adult gothic romance novel that follows a naive protagonist in a dark and distressing world. Through a strikingly described setting, an eerie plot, and characters befitting the novel’s genre, Juroe creates a nail-biting adaptation of Charles Perrault's Little Red Riding Hood.
Scarlette, the protagonist, suffers at the hands of her abusive mother, yet she is still a character who does not shy away from the idea of love. She is immature at times, but gothic romance fiction features naive girls ready to faint at the sight of spooky shadows and mysterious noises.
There are various male characters vying for Scarlette's attention, which plays well with the double meaning of her name. Scarlette suggests fiery passion, lust, and power. Scarlette embodies all of these associations with her name by striving to find the truth, following her flawed heart, and disregarding her effect on others around her.
Scarlette is set apart from other werewolf novels, mainly thanks to the historical facts that Juroe includes in her novel. What makes Scarlette even more fascinating is that it is set in an era when witchcraft is abhorred, and the supernatural is thought to be more than just a myth.
The writing is beautiful. Description splashes the pages with color, and the slow budding romance between different characters adds a sigh-worthy zest to the story.
Scarlette's pace does slow down at times, but Juroe manages to capture her reader’s fading interest with the sublime. The paranoia of small villages, the grandeur of balls and ball gowns, and the dangers of love, all inhabit Juroe’s novel.
Juroe’s skill is evident in her writing, since the reader may often feel like s/he is reading a classic gothic romance novel, rather than something created for the modern teenaged audience.
Scarlette is a dark novel and is recommended for historical romance lovers, as well as readers interested in stories about werewolves. Also, fans of gothic romance fiction will most likely devour Juroe’s novel.
Scarlette will infect the reader with its dark plot and deadly mystery, making him/her eager and ready to follow Scarlette on her quest to discover the truth.(less)
Ryan Hunter's inDIVISIBLE is a very impressive young adult dystopian no...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy for review.
Ryan Hunter's inDIVISIBLE is a very impressive young adult dystopian novel. The story is fast-paced, brimming with potential, and hosts a collection of mysterious and well-rounded characters. Hunter's novel is a wonderful start to a very promising series.
I knew from the moment I met Brynn, the protagonist, that she would be a difficult character. Only a few pages in and she was already someone questioning her world and what her government told her. Brynn is a great character because rather than make the reader feel unattached, she manages to get a reaction out of the reader with her actions and words.
Something that did irk me about Brynn's character was her naive attitude towards her love interest, "T". I've never been fond of characters that question the obvious because it feels redundant. Though watching their relationship flourish, despite their situation, was sweet, I was not impressed with Brynn's comments. Of course, I understand it is normal for a girl to question the actions of the opposite sex, (Brynn is a teenaged girl who's world has fallen apart, after all), but I found everything so obvious when it came to the two of them that I found myself getting a little frustrated.
I found it interesting that Hunter approaches the topic of God a little later into the story, but applaud her for how she introduces the topic to the characters. Brynn and T treat the topic of religion as a curious thing; as something once frowned upon by the society they fear. They use God as a source of strength, but not the main source. Brynn's character grows as she begins to accept the norms outside of her close-minded society, such as the idea of God, and I found this a powerful technique.
Hunter does a masterful job, however, of bringing the reader right into the action. She does not waste words on unnecessary descriptive chapters before the catalyst for the plot occurs. Instead, she opts for showing the reader Brynn's world as Brynn herself rediscovers it. Not only does this make the story a refreshing read, but the reader has the opportunity to figure things out for him/herself.
The attention-grabbing action is nonstop. From the first page until the conclusion, the reader is held captive in a world full of dangers and mysteries.
I would recommend inDIVISIBLE to fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, and other similar dystopian series. The world created by Hunter is as addicting and heartbreaking as the series mentioned, and Brynn is reminiscent of all the strong female protagonists.
I loved every moment of this novel. The story gripped my heart, carried it through the wide expanse of dangerous woods that the characters fought through, and then it shattered along with the characters once the conclusion approached.(less)
Laurie Plissner’s Louder Than Words is a fantastic debut for the older young adult audience. Plissner’s writing style is witty, modern, and touching. With the barest hint of the paranormal, Plissner manages to engage her reader with a smart and grieving protagonist, and a climax that will take the reader’s breath away.
Plissner’s characters are well-rounded and realistic. Sasha, the protagonist, deals with the loss of her family through an extreme form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder called selective mutism. Though her body chooses a rare form of PTSD, her grieving process appears natural for someone who has lost her entire immediate family. Plissner’s words, as she leads the reader through Sasha's troubled thoughts, are powerful and raw.
The paranormal aspect of the novel is understated. Ben, Sasha’s romantic interest, is a mind reader with an antiquated morality code, while his mother is more aware of the world around her than most.
But Plissner does not bog down her story with winded explanations of why her characters are so supernaturally inclined. By omitting the usual lengthy description of why a character can do something unusual, Plissner is trusting her readers to just accept her story and enjoy the ride.
Louder Than Words has a touch of sensuality that makes it more appropriate for an older young adult audience. The chemistry that Sasha and Ben have is evident in their frisky actions, but it is slightly dramatic and unrealistic. But then again, Ben is a boy who can read minds, and Sasha is a depressed teenager. They're not exactly a conventional pair.
Perhaps the most addicting part of Plissner’s debut is the mystery surrounding Sasha. The reader can’t help but dissect everyone Sasha encounters, and everything she learns once she decides to pursue the truth behind her family’s death. All of her sleuthing and attempts at regaining some semblance of a normal life lead to a surprising conclusion.
Plissner’s success in creating a powerful ending comes from the fact that she slowly builds up to it, throwing the reader a proverbial bone with every chapter, either leading him/her astray, or hinting at the obvious truth that sits in plain sight.
With an outspoken protagonist, and a quickly paced romantic relationship, Plissner’s novel touches on more than just the mystery of the novel. Sasha's world explores the troubles teenagers face growing up, the dangers of the naive world they tend to inhabit, and the complexities surrounding hormones. All of these aspects make Louder Than Words more of a contemporary read, rather than a supernatural romance novel.
Older teens who like reading books about teenagers who overcome seemingly impossible odds, pretentious boys who steal girl’s hearts, or just a hint of the supernatural in fiction, will most likely enjoy Louder Than Words.
Witty and unapologetic, Plissner’s novel is a realistic representation of the teenage world: imperfect and complicated.(less)
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Katie McGarry's Dare You To follows Elizabeth Risk, or "Beth" as she prefers to be called, and her constantly changing world. She was the dark and snarky girl in McGarry's Pushing the Limits, but her character is offered redemption, love, and what she's always craved--trust.
What makes McGarry's novel even more heartfelt is the fact that, unlike many people in Beth's life, McGarry gives her a new beginning. Rather than push her aside as a secondary character, McGarry offers the reader a reason to trust Beth and for Beth to tell her story.
Beth is a lot more than the dark clothing she wears. She is more than her curse words and her inability to accept love that is given to her. She is a girl with a troubled past that shows the reader that anyone can change.
McGarry maneuvers the difficult task of creating a second chance for such a troubled character beautifully--as if her words were bandages for the cuts Beth's received over the years of her short life.
Beth's growth is slow, but understandably so. A character with a lot to fix can't go from troubled one chapter, to perfectly fine the next. Life does not work like that.
Though the world is tough for Beth, the reader needs to ask: Are the negatives we see from those around her how they truly are, or are her experiences laced with the negativity of what she's experienced? If McGarry didn't offer both sides of the story (Beth's and Ryan's), would we see an objective view of Beth's world, or would everything be dark and sinister until her ability to trust returned?
Ryan, the sexy and charming jock, experiences great character growth as well. Him and Beth are as dark as their hair color--he is the light to her dark. I liked Ryan the moment I met him, even if it all starts with a dare. He is a guy, after all. And though his home life is not perfect, he learns to be himself and accept the difficulties in his life. One of the greatest aspects of Ryan is that yes, he is intrigued by Beth, but that he forges his own path in a novel that could have easily just followed his and Beth's romantic destiny.
I'm a huge fan of books that offer both sides of the story and have both characters grow in their private lives.
The pacing in Dare You To is comfortable, since it assures the reader that there will be enough time to resolve the issues brought forth at the beginning of the story. McGarry offers questions to be answered and waits a good amount of time before answering. She creates suspense and an urgency to know the answers, but she does not bore her readers.
The romance made me crave a Ryan of my own. I won't give any spoilers, but I'm sure many of McGarry's fans will fall in love with Ryan, especially if they loved Noah.
Addicting, delicious, and heartfelt, Dare You To is another powerful installment in what is going to be a very promising series.
I recommend Dare You To to fans of contemporary literature for young adult readers. If you're searching for a change up and want a bad girl/good guy novel, you should check this one out. Also, if you're into novels that make you "aww" and want nothing but a good romance to keep you up at night, then McGarry is the author for you. (less)
Jennifer L. Armentrout's Obsidian is a sexy, unique, and surprising piece of work. Honestly, this bo...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Jennifer L. Armentrout's Obsidian is a sexy, unique, and surprising piece of work. Honestly, this book is so hyped up that I thought it would be a let-down--but holy crap, no. NO. Obsidian has a strong female protagonist, an unusual storyline, and well, erm, very sexy descriptions.
Katy, the protagonist, doesn't have the easiest challenge on her hands. Her mom has uprooted their small family and moved to a middle-of-butt-crack nowhere town. There she meets extremely sexy Daemon and his very friendly sister, Dee. What ensues is a hilarious battle of flirting wits and a surprising protagonist that goes beyond expectation.
Though the novel mainly focuses on Katy and Daemon's turbulent relationship (as friends--sort of), there are instances of action and suspense that leave the reader feeling antsy. The heated moments of danger surrounding the characters roused fear from me and I felt connected to the characters, since their emotions were raw and not dramatized.
Armentrout's writing is fast-paced and entertaining. The descriptions that Katy offered of Daemon alone were enough to have me laughing out loud, or blushing. The chemistry between the characters is undeniable, yet Armentrout doesn't make Katy into the stereotypical female protagonist. I will admit, there were instances where Katy did let me down, but hey, the story does need to keep the reader focused, right?
I can't even begin to describe how I felt about Daemon, but I know I have to.
Daemon was an ass and I'm torn between saying that he is perhaps the sexiest male character I've ever encountered, or that he is too big a jerk to even examine. I've never really liked it when a male character is a total jackass towards the protagonist, but I think I'm so giddy from the novel's effect that I can sort of understand where Daemon's rudeness comes from. He is the sole protector of his little family and he does what he thinks is right.
But, of course, Katy isn't the type of girl to sit back and take his attitude: she dishes it right back. Let me just say: Awesome, Armentrout!
It was great seeing a female character not giving into (at least not in the first few chapters) the jerk of a male character. The conclusion promises a very heated series and I honestly can't wait to read the rest of the books.
Obsidian is the type of book that will leave you begging for more. I think I hugged my copy when I finished, it was that good.
If you want an original (of the supernatural variety) young adult novel with a surprisingly powerful protagonist, and a wicked little sexual tension, then you might want to check out Obsidian.
Alert, however, that this novel is for readers that are 14+.(less)
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Pivot Point by Kasie West is a hell of a ride. Addie's world includes not one, but TWO different stories that merge into one unexpected conclusion. West's writing voice is memorable, supernaturally poignant, and surprisingly addicting. West's novel draws the reader in slowly, promising an exciting ride, and it does not disappoint.
Addie is a very special girl. Not only does she live in a secluded world, but she also possesses a very rare ability. But when one of the worst possible decisions falls in her hands, she is unprepared. What she chooses, however, will prove to be the difference between life and death.
Pivot Point is the type of paranormal young adult novel that readers have been craving: a deliciously original take on the "superhuman" genre. The reader has the opportunity to view two stories as Addie explores her choices, and for any enthusiast of the "what if's" faced at the end of a novel, this is a fantastic new approach to fiction writing.
The different characters that Addie meets and connects with add life to the novel with quirky dialogue and realistic qualities--save for the special abilities, of course. It is impressive to encounter one character split into two different story lines, and see two adjacent examples of character growth within the same character. The idea is complex and hints at just how intricate West's world is.
The surprising turns are emotionally stimulating and the reader can't help but connect with Addie when she faces true emotion. The story line is easy to follow, despite its unfamiliar construction, but the outline of the novel makes it intriguing and unputdownable. The prose and the dialogue is colloquial, but in a relatable way--making Pivot Point an approachable book for any reader.
I recommend this novel to any lover of young adult literature. Pivot Point offers a fast paced mystery that is sprinkled with romance, the supernatural, and deadly secrets. Addie is a protagonist that experiences two kinds of character growth--positive and negative growth. Despite her supernatural tendencies, Addie is a relatable teenage girl that is just trying to figure out the best route for her life.(less)
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
I don't even know where to start with Shawn Goodman's young adult contemporary novel Kindness for Weakness. This novel is so good, that I devoured it in one sitting.
I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.
Funny how I was wary of it at first--a teenager sent to prison because of his relentless need for approval from a less than stellar big brother? I honestly didn't know how this was going to go. But I was extremely surprised and so honoured that I was given the chance to read this. Everyone should read this.
Goodman's writing is brilliant. He manages to draw you into a story that would otherwise make you cringe. It is so unflinchingly honest that for a while after reading the heartbreaking conclusion, you won't know what to do with yourself. You'll ask questions, you'll want more, but the truth is, Goodman's story isn't something that can be simply filed away as fiction--if you want more than what the story has to offer, you will probably get it by scanning the news about boys and girls in situations disturbingly similar to Goodman's protagonist.
James, the protagonist, is someone that immediately sticks out. A loner whose outward appearance mimics his own internal struggle, boy caught between boyhood and manhood, James doesn't have the easiest life. While we may argue his innocence while he is arrested for his brother's crimes, we also have to note that this is a huge step towards James understanding not just who his brother is, but who he is.
The prose is gorgeous. Goodman seamlessly maneuvers the thoughts of a teenaged boy on the edge of becoming what society constitutes as a "man". The pacing, though the book goes by quickly, is actually pretty strong. There is never a dull moment and I honestly learned a lot about the Juvie system.
Perhaps some of my favourite traits that James has are the little quirks presented in the novel. Much like the cliched ideals in past novels that a protagonist somehow "finds" him/herself after reading a book, James, with the help of his brilliant English teacher, openly sets out to understand the message within his current read. I also like the hope he gains as the story progresses, and how he comes into what he defines as a man, as opposed to what society would want him to be, or expect him to become.
James's best friend in jail, a gay black teenager, is the victim of both physical and verbal abuse from not just the inmates, but from the people in charge. He inadvertently helps James become a stronger character because by befriending the one person everyone warns him against, he is already showing signs of being a powerful character by making his own choices.
Some may argue that this is a novel written solely for male readers, but saying that is like saying that J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye is written only from younger readers. Any one can not only read Kindness for Weakness, but they can walk away with a better understanding of life and how our choices can help us grow--whether we believe it or not.
So, yes, I recommend this to everyone. Kindness for Weakness is as beautiful as it is saddening. It is a great portrayal of character growth in a difficult setting. The conclusion will have the reader contemplating his/her own life, and it will leave you breathless, and wondering why life sometimes throws us a curveball.
Goodman's novel showcases maliciousness alongside beauty and hope. It shows that humans are flawed, but at the end of the day, we choose who we want to become. (less)
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry is reminiscent of Simone Elkeles's Perfect Chemistry series, whi...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry is reminiscent of Simone Elkeles's Perfect Chemistry series, which I find interesting since it is the quote from her review that is printed on the front of McGarry's novel. Elkeles captured my attention, my heart, and my admiration with her daring storyline in a world of cliches.
And guess what? McGarry has just joined her ranks in my books.
Pushing the Limits is brilliantly written, heartbreakingly honest, and touches the realities of trauma. McGarry tells it like it is and though this made her novel a nervy read, it was exhilarating at the same time.
Echo Emerson is tortured by her forgotten past and has fallen into a dark pit of depression, while Noah Hutchins deals with his own grief by veering as far as he can from his old life. But, and this is one of those things I enjoy about books like this one, they are both so much more than the angst-ridden teenagers we first meet. McGarry does not bore the reader with "woe is me" plights, but she instead slowly develops the story so that the reader too can understand and sympathize with the characters.
For me, some authors often forget that readers need to connect with their characters, especially the ones scarred physically and emotionally. We, as readers, need to understand why these characters are hurting. We need to know and the author needs to show us why we should care. McGarry does this and so much more.
Okay, so I will admit, I am a fan of the hot male protagonist being all sweet, charming, and changing his bad-boy ways for the girl he likes (no such spoiler here, come on, check the synopsis!). This may impede on my judgement, but I liked that McGarry took it past the physical (for example, sex) and focused more on the romance, the characters' pasts, and how they could possibly overcome their obstacles.
That's what I liked the most: Pushing the Limits has depth.
As the novel progressed, I grew to love the characters. There were moments where I dreaded reading certain sections, because like naive creatures, they committed errors and made stupid mistakes. For the most part, however, I couldn't wait to read more about their lives and how they would grow as characters.
I would recommend Pushing the Limits to anyone who loves romance in the face of adversity. If you love bad boys, then you might like this one too. Be warned though, the guy actually treats the girl like a person in this book and when he even says something to challenge that, the female protagonist calls him out on it. If you're a fan of Simone Elkeles, then this is a must read. It is a quick read, with admittedly heavy topics, like death, depression, abuse, and neglect, but it is worth the read.
If you're against bad language, then steer clear. Echo and Noah's story is an uncensored view into the troubled teenage mind. (less)
Jake Vander Ark's latest novel in his Blank Canvas Series, The Brandywin...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy for review
Jake Vander Ark's latest novel in his Blank Canvas Series, The Brandywine Prophet, is the first adult novel I've read by him. Eye-opening, occasionally unnerving, and with a disturbingly intriguing protagonist, Vander Ark's latest is an exploration of the dangers of creativity and the human existence. Written in a near-omniscient style, yet maintaining William, the protagonist, as the main focus of the novel, The Brandywine Prophet is an interesting little book.
The novel is laced with the occasional red herring. Whereas other novels may adopt the use of red herrings, they are very rarely as effective as Vander Ark's false leads and spoilers. The reader will think that s/he knows everything there is to know about the story. Heck, s/he might even think that the story is predictable.
The beauty of red herrings is that they are rarely used, which I find tends to lull the reader into a false sense of security. I love that Vander Ark uses the possibility of having a slightly predictable novel and turns it into something completely unpredictable.
This unpredictability helps the characters grow or wither (depending on their situations) effectively. The reader often learns truths and falses as the characters do. Most importantly though, the reader sees how characters bond, or fall apart thanks to Vander Ark's somewhat sadistic twists and turns. And I mean that as a compliment, since he obviously has a great grasp of what makes his characters tick.
The two negatives that I could not ignore in The Brandywine Prophet, however, was the occasional lack of editing, and the sometimes slow pace of the story. Though definitely a book to read if you've read Vander Ark's previous works in this series, I found the editing to be weaker than in his other novels and the story was a bit harder to get into.
But keep in mind: once the story picks up, it doesn't relent--in fact, the slow pacing mostly occurs in the first half of the novel. If you stick with the story until the pivotal point where William's world begins to fall apart, you will be pleasantly surprised.
As always, Vander Ark's prose is beautiful. His descriptions, metaphors, dialogue, and poignant observation of a disturbed and artistic mind is what the reader should keep an eye on.
The story itself, though very complicated at times, tells the reader that not everything is as it seems. Religion is shown as a savior for some, but as the destruction of others. The topic of God is introduced, it is pursued, questioned, abandoned--but it is never forced.
Vander Ark's latest is as much a contemporary fiction piece as it is an existential examination--if we put aside the obvious dark themes of the novel. If you've enjoyed The Accidental Siren and Lighthouse Nights, then you should consider giving The Brandywine Prophet a shot. (less)
Dark and seductive, Lighthouse Nights by Jake Vander Ark is a gripping story of two teenagers who cross paths under one of the worst possible circumstances. Vander Ark displays his gift for the written word yet again, if not more precisely, in this novel about suicide, love, and the decisions we make.
What caught my eye right away was the writing style. Vander Ark disregards capitalization, save for moments where a character is emphasizing something being said, and manages to add even more darkness to his story. The lack of capitalization wreaks havoc on the most organized mind, causing momentary confusion and effectively draws the reader into the mindset of the characters. By not having the story written in the exact format that we, as readers, are accustomed to, Ark is challenging us to think beyond what we know and explore the troubles that teens facing depression may experience--all of this by simply alienating us from are previous conceptions of literature.
Of course, the characters, Jules, Trevor, and Gabriel, to name the important few, are all evidence of the darkness within these pages. Lighthouse Nights is a beautiful portrayal of how life can go very wrong and how decisions can affect us long after it is too late.
The format of the novel makes it a quick read--it is only 171 pages! And the style that Vander Ark portrays the different characters' narrative is fluid and easy to follow. Despite the dark concept, there are moments where the reader feels connected to the characters, even when they are angry, sad, or happy. That's the beauty of Vander Ark's writing: he has a wonderful way of making you a part of the story, despite the tone and context. Also, Vander Ark's poetic prose is hard to resist, making him a must-read.
Since this story is on the dark side, I would recommend it to those with a stronger stomach, simply because of how blatant it is about suicide. On the other hand, this novel, though knee-deep in gloominess, is a message of hope: you are not alone, there is someone waiting for you--you just have to search: sometimes s/he is right in front of you.
Read Lighthouse Nights and feel your heart swell and slowly break with the unexpected twist when the conclusion falls upon you.(less)
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Meg Cabot is back with the final novel in the Heather Wells mystery series, The Bride Wore Size 12. For a while I was giving up on Cabot since her latest work has been letting me down (don’t even get me started on her latest young adult series, grr!), but then she published the last two installments in the Heather Wells mystery series, and yes, I have come back to the Meg Cabot adult fiction club.
Written in the similar witty style of all her other books in the series, Cabot finally concludes Heather’s story—but not before throwing in one more fun murder mystery and a heaping dose of romance. I loved reading about a female character who isn’t perfect (physically) getting the guy, and I also loved the fact that he was perfect in her eyes, but wasn’t this sex god in everyone else’s eyes. I can’t give much away, because this is obviously the last book in the series, but let’s just say that Heather finally gets her happy ending.
The mystery isn’t the toughest to figure out, but it is fun to watch Heather’s strong will to survive and protect the kids living in her building. I loved that Cabot kind of tied up the loose ends, unlike other authors who tend to forget to solve any discrepancies mentioned earlier in a series.
Cabot delivers her fun writing style in this light concluding novel that will have the reader eager to solve the mystery plaguing Heather’s world. The pacing is quick and the dialogue adds fantastic humor to the novel. I must say that though this wasn’t her best work, it proves to me that somewhere underneath the poor novels written in the past few years, the old Cabot still lingers. I love that she stays true to her adult series—it gives me a strange sort of hope.
If you like Cabot’s work circa Queen of Babble and The Boy Next Door, then I definitely recommend this series for you. It’s light, it’s funny, and it has some pretty sweet romance. Heather is a character that’s tough and unique, and from the very beginning of the series, it’ll be difficult for the reader not to fall in love with her. (less)
Meg Cabot, for me, was leaving a lot to be desired with her most recent releases in the young adult...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Meg Cabot, for me, was leaving a lot to be desired with her most recent releases in the young adult age group, and even her vampire series, which she released a couple of years ago as an adult fiction series, was a disaster.
Thankfully, she came back with a vengeance by writing another installment in her Heather Wells Mysteries series. After having read this one, my faith in Cabot is slowly returning. Save for the aforementioned books, I have always been a fan of her adult fiction.
Size 12 and Ready to Rock is a fun, romantic, and exciting addition to the series. We see Cooper’s sexiness and Heather’s determination to do the right thing—and solve a murder! I was hooked from the first page, until the last. The pacing is quick, the mystery is intriguing, and the romance is delicious.
With the final installment in the series set to release in just a few short days, I’m extremely excited to see just what Cabot will write next!
If you haven’t read this series, or any of Cabot’s adult fiction…what are you waiting for? (less)
Kendra C. Highley's Matt Archer: Monster Hunter is a young adult novel t...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy for review
Kendra C. Highley's Matt Archer: Monster Hunter is a young adult novel that follows fourteen, soon-to-be fifteen, year-old Matt as he navigates a supernatural world full of monsters and a mysterious life-altering prophecy. With a hint of teenaged angst towards young love, and spine-tingling descriptions, Highley's novel is a book that will make the reader both giggle with anticipation, and squirm with what Matt encounters.
I loved the characters of Will, Matt's best friend, and Matt because they help each other navigate the difficulties of growing up. Will's wit matches well with Matt's increasing strength as the protagonist. Will is the sidekick to the still growing and learning hero, and he fits the description of best friend, confidante, and unrelenting support throughout the whole novel.
When I first started reading Highley's novel, I wrongly assumed that since Matt was only fourteen at the start this would be a naive and slightly adorable story. Let me warn you, however, if you have a weak stomach, perhaps you should steer clear of this one. The story gets increasingly harder to stomach as Matt progresses deeper into his monster hunt, but it is well worth it. Highley doesn't save us from any of the disturbing descriptions and I applaud her for that. Her novel has a certain originality thanks to her fearless attempt at creating a successful horror story for the young adult audience.
Highley also has a great sense of pacing in her novel. Very rarely is there a lull in the story. The only instance where the reader might pause is during the explanation of why the monsters exist and the part Matt plays in the hunt for evil. The rush of information is a bit overwhelming, but is useful for later on in the story. Highley weaves a story that is easy to follow and is hard to put down.
If you're looking for an exciting book with tons of action and a slightly original monster story, then you might like this one. Highley offers the reader an insight into an imperfect protagonist that is growing as the story progresses, metaphorically and physically. He is also someone who isn't emotionally impervious to his surroundings, which makes him very relatable and realistic, despite the fictional situation.(less)
Reading Stephanie Perkins’s novel, Anna and the French Kiss, is like taking that European backpackin...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Reading Stephanie Perkins’s novel, Anna and the French Kiss, is like taking that European backpacking trip you’ve always wanted to take, yet haven’t taken. You go in expecting what everyone else describes—the scenery, the experiences, the wonders of a new world— and, much like with life, your experience can always go either way. In my case, I received all that was promised tenfold. Perkins’s novel showed me the beauties of Paris through the eyes of Anna, the protagonist, who is blind to the obvious, yet manages to show us her gorgeous surroundings.
Full of romance and moments that will grasp at your heart, Anna and the French Kiss is a must read for teenage girls. Anna is an extremely relatable character who grows throughout her experience. Though slightly predictable, this novel will still clutch you in its grips and won’t let you go until the heartwarming conclusion.
Whereas other novels would suffer from so much drama and predictability, Perkins manages to blend the two cliches beautifully together to create something new.
Anna and the French Kiss is an experience that needs to be savored, as well as devoured. Perkins’s writing is nearly flawless as she takes the reader on a tumultuous ride of romance, growing up, the hardships of imperfect parents, and friendship.(less)
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Amy Spalding's debut, The Reece Malcolm List, is an interesting young adult novel that dissects the sometimes difficult relationship between parents and their children. Despite the dark underlying themes of abandonment, trust issues, and less-than-stellar home lives, Spalding's novel manages to capture the essence of teenagehood in this fantastic debut.
Devan is a sixteen year-old teenager whose life changes drastically after her father dies. Not only does she have to mourn a difficult relationship with her father, but she has to maneuver her new life with her previously absent mother.
I love Spalding's writing style. Quirky, sarcastic, and unforgiving, Spalding shows us how difficult this new life is--not only for Devan, but also her mother. The dialogue is sharp, thanks to the many diverse characters, and the story is well-paced and inviting.
The idea of writing a new entry every chapter regarding the little things Devan knows about her mother is brilliant because it is both original and heartfelt. Devan is unfamiliar with familial love, so it is sweet to see how her small list progresses throughout the novel.
One of the coolest aspects of Spalding's novel, however, is the subject of musicals. What I admire Spalding for is how rather than challenging Devan's love of music and theatre, she gives Devan an opportunity to better herself through her one true passion.
Devan is an intriguing character. She shows pride and confidence--so much so that it flirts with cockiness--when it comes to her musical talents, yet she has a difficult time facing others and speaking up. Her inability to be more active vocally most likely stems from her lack of a caring home, and it is as months pass with her mother that Devan begins to grow as a character. It is always interesting/fantastic when a character's persona is affected and changed (positively) because of the world around her.
The romance in the novel is extremely relatable. Unlike other novels that feature straight to the point romance, Devan is a true teenager figuring out love through trial and error. Nothing comes easy for Devan, as it usually does not for real life teenagers, and I think this will make her even more relatable with young adult readers.
I recommend The Reece Malcolm List to fans of contemporary literature for young adults, teens who are searching for an understanding between obvious love and difficult love when it comes to parents, and readers who simply want a powerful story that is occasionally freckled with teenaged moments of growth. (less)
I received a free copy for review from the publisher.
Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Fanny Merkin (A.K.A. Andrew Shaffer) is a parody of E.L. James’s series, Fifty Shades of Grey. The debut encompasses various other aspects of pop culture, offering witty commentary from both the protagonist, Anna Steal, and her romantic interest, Earl Grey.
Shaffer is aware that Anna is not the most reliable character in his book and he plays with this revelation. Anna acts as his example when he criticizes the weak female protagonists literature has adopted, the narcissistic male billionaire characters, and the farfetched plot twists employed in recent novels.
Shaffer persuades his readers to notice the flaws in our current society. He challenges us to question who we are idolizing and what the effects of such adoration could be. He also comments on the state of the modern novel. A terrifying prediction that rings true if we continue to entertain weak protagonists and the relationships they have with other characters. Whereas humorous for the most part, this novel is a serious examination of the ludicrous fads overwhelming society.
Shaffer’s writing is fast-paced, fresh, and entertaining. This book does require some knowledge of Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight, since the underlying dark humor isn’t always blatantly clear. A person not privy to the general plots of either books may not understand the meaning behind Shaffer’s satirical novel.
The reader must observe Shaffer’s ability to comment on the cliches of erotic and romantic literature without seeming pretentious. This can be seen when he creates a hysterical mood that shatters the illusion of romance by overusing cliched words. The word "Gaze" appears to be one of his favourites.
There are moments where the humor tends to feel a bit forced, the jokes slipping right past me. But for the greater part, I could not stop laughing. Shaffer is able to draw out humor from content that is disturbing in nature.
Andrew Shaffer’s book is a mean feat, considering he wrote it in 10 days. A satirical look at pop culture and our society, Fifty Shames of Earl Grey is a comical debut that will have you giggling until the conclusion.(less)