I was really looking forward to this read. A boy coming between two friends is quite com...moreYou can find more of my reviews at Forever 17 Books.
I was really looking forward to this read. A boy coming between two friends is quite common in the teen years, at least as far as I remember and from my personal experience. In fact, I’m surprised it doesn’t come up in YA books more often, to be honest. Needless to say, I was looking forward to seeing how these characters handled the delicate situation in Anything to Have You. The result in 2 words? HOT MESS.
I literally have a whole page of notes on issues I had with this book and I apologize now that this review might be a tad spoiler-y to get my thoughts across. The overall plot, like I mentioned above, was good. A girl goes to a party with her best friend and fears she might have made a mistake and slept with that BFF’s boyfriend. And honestly, I was enjoying the read for the most part for quite awhile. It was around the 40% mark, right when things were getting interesting, that the book took a terrible, HORRIBLE turn.
The book starts out from the POV of Natalie. Natalie is a quiet girl who prefers to stay in and watch movies with her dad than go out and party like her best friend, Brooke. I HATED Brooke from page one. Seriously. Brooke is selfish. She wants everyone’s attention to always be on her. Even though she has a long-term boyfriend, Aiden, she wants to be wanted by every boy in her vicinity. She is constantly contemplating cheating on him and doesn’t seem to care for him at all, only staying with him as someone to fall back on who she knows will pay her the attention she craves. She was so superficial. She had an obsession with partying and drinking and was bound and determined to get her best friend out to ‘enjoy’ the rest of their senior year of high school. This is all stuff you learn very early in the book about Brooke. I’m all for characters having issues and being unlikable just to watch them grow and mature but I could not for the life of me stand this girl.
I didn’t mind Natalie’s character. I mean, she was a bit naive and a pushover but I was determined to see potential in her character development. We are unsure what *exactly* transpired the drunken night of the party, though it’s obvious to us readers. I don’t condone cheating whatsoever, but somehow I found myself rooting for Natalie and Aiden, despite his attachment. There was some unresolved sexual tension floating between them and you could see how much they clicked together. I had my fingers crossed Aiden would wise up and end what needed to end and move on. But just when I felt things were getting good for these two, the POV suddenly switched to Brooke’s at 40%. WHAT?! NO.
And this is where the book failed. Brooke’s POV. At this point we are invested in Natalie so the switch so late in the game did not fit. Brooke’s POV went back in time a year and highlighted specific events leading up to the present. And basically it only succeeded in showcasing even more of how horrible a person and friend she was. So the next 15% of the book was a recap of sorts of previous events from her perspective. I do not like this style at all. We see her purposely go after Aiden when it was Natalie who was interested first. And we find out that the amount of drinking and partying she does is 10 times worse. Hey, I fully admit that I may have partook in quite a bit of partying at that age myself, but this girl was taking it to a whole new level. She’d drink during the school week, carry a flask around, etc. And of course, flirt with everyone and anyone in the process. Let’s not forget her jealousy when Natalie, the best friend she pushed to get out there and meet boys, gets a kiss from a boy (not Aiden). Instead of being happy for her she gets upset because she feels irrelevant and no one is actively in her face lusting after her. Are you kidding me with all this?
Moving on, we eventually get back to Natalie and I’m happier, finding myself starting to enjoy the story again. Things were getting good and falling into place with even a twist added in. And just when I felt like we were getting what I’d been waiting for, I’m sure you can guess what happened. We switched back to Brooke. Once again we go backwards a bit to check out what we missed on her end in the last couple chapters and then spend almost the entire rest of the book watching her downward spiral. And you know what? We never got to see her change and mature. We never got to see her character development. There’s no redemption. Again, I don’t condone cheating, but she did horrible things to both Natalie and Aiden as well. She was no victim. She played the part though, all the way until the end. There was even an implication that everything she was doing to herself was because of the cheating and I did not like that whatsoever. She was responsible for her actions and honestly, she was heading in that direction way before the scandal. The only touch of a change of character for Brooke came in the epilogue. What a huge letdown to go through all of that with her just to be told about it, not given a chance to be shown.
I can see why the author chose to make this a novel with a dual POV, but if it had to be done, it could have been handled in another way than this. If we got the switches done consistently from the beginning, perhaps? If we had gotten more of a payoff with Natalie’s POV at the end? If Brooke hadn’t been so despicable until the last page? I’m not sure but I feel like I might have enjoyed the novel more in those cases.
Weirdly, I didn’t hate this book completely when it all comes down to it. I do love when a read brings out emotions in me, even hate of a character. It was like a train wreck I just couldn’t help but watch. I just kept reading and reading. And I really did start to like Natalie and Aiden. I’m just so disappointed we missed out on every payoff we built up to in Natalie’s POV’s, when the story suddenly became more about Brooke and less about Natalie. So while I had so many issues, I can’t say this book lacked drama and entertainment.(less)
I admit I have not read too many fairy tale retellings and those I have read have not be...moreYou can find more of my reviews at Forever 17 Books.
I admit I have not read too many fairy tale retellings and those I have read have not been quite what I was expecting. It’s turned me off to them a bit, unfortunately. But Cruel Beauty enticed me with it’s retelling of Beauty and the Beast with a wonderful fantastical and mythological edge.
Due to a deal gone wrong cast by her father, our main character Nyx must marry the prince of demons. Obviously jaded with the lack of love and regret from her father and with a twin sister who was spared at her expense, Nyx struggles with what her fate might be. Her father has trained her with the hopes she can defeat this evil lord and save their kingdom, but it seems like a long shot to all. How exactly the evil prince of demons came to be and what terrible fate the kingdom has suffered on his behalf all has to deal with a lot of mythology. I admit this often went way above my head. I had a hard time piecing little bits together but for the most part I got the gist of it. It was pretty fascinating how it was all told and even beautiful despite the complexity.
Given a key to unlock certain doors in the castle she was permitted to enter, Nyx goes on an adventure of sorts to discover the hidden rooms that can help her defeat her husband. A lot of my favorite moments of the book dealt with what Nyx would find behind these doors. A beautiful lake, a mysterious mirror and all sorts of interesting places were revealed and the author had such a way of describing them that I had such a vivid picture in my mind. In fact a lot of the story read very much like a movie I could see unfolding in my head. It was quite amazing.
As far as the characters go, Nyx was interesting in a way where she was strong and determined but also capable of regret and indecision. But she was so good at putting up that confident front and not letting her fear show. I admired that about her. The prince of demons, whom she was to call Ignifex, was evil but mildly so once I was able to humanize him. It was obvious he had a softer side for Nyx, despite her relentless pursuit to destroy him. I really loved the scenes they shared and their banter. It was obvious their hatred was transforming to lust and love and I enjoyed watching that progress.
Some of the storyline was a bit predictable but that part didn’t bother me in the slightest. Really my only issue was how hard it was to keep up with the mythology and a few explanations at the end that left me scratching my head a bit. My simple mind was working overtime and couldn’t quite keep up. But on a whole I found the story extremely interesting. The Beauty and the Beast touches were less than I originally expected but really just right in the end. I even felt a bit of Rumplestiltskin thrown in? Which was entertaining and amusing to me since the beast and Rumplestiltskin are the same person on the tv show Once Upon a Time that I like to watch. I’d absolutely recommend this to fans of fantasy novels and anyone looking for a unique spin on a fairy tale.(less)
I see what grief does, how it strips you bare, shows you all the things you don't want to know. That loss doesn't end, that there isn't a moment where you are done, when you can neatly put it away and move on. It never leaves you.
What an emotional, touching story I found in Heartbeat, which explores grief and love in such an honest and serious way.
Our main character, Emma, is struggling with the aftermath of losing her mother. But, she hasn't fully lost her mother just yet, as she is kept alive to give the baby she is carrying time to grow and develop so he can survive birth, and Emma adamantly disagrees with this decision. This is the focus of the story and what an emotional ride it was. Being a teenager is hard enough as it is. Add in a situation like this and I cannot even imagine the difficulties of keeping your emotions in check. Poor Emma was angry, so very angry she didn't know how to not be anymore. And she's hurt and lonely too. Because even though her mom is technically gone, and she knows it and has come to terms with it, she is still present in her life as she lays in the hospital bed day after day. The lack of closure is sending Emma into a downward spiral she doesn't know how to get out of. Every hospital visit caused my heart to break for her as I tried to come to terms with how I would feel if put in the same situation at that age. The author captured it perfectly.
I am angry. I am so angry I feel like it's all I am.
Sometimes angry main characters can feel overwhelming, but I never felt that here. Her feelings were justified, from her point of view. Emma's step-father has chosen to keep her mom alive for the baby, but Emma disagrees that it is something her mom would choose. At first I couldn't understand why she would feel so negatively about waiting for the baby to be healthy enough to survive. Emma saw this pregnancy as something her mom feared after years of trying and having so many risks. But is Emma interpreting her mother's words and actions the right way? Well that's something she has to work through with herself and her step-father.
As for Caleb, and the romance department, it is there but felt so much more like two people coming together to support and understand each other as they work through the tragedies of their lives. Caleb's story is another filled with sadness, guilt and above all, loneliness. I just wanted to hug these two and tell them everything would be okay. The romance wasn't overdone, but added just a nice little touch to the right degree.
He looks at me like I am beautiful, and when he does, I am.
If you are looking for a touching story of overcoming grief and anger with well done characters and writing, this is one I would absolutely recommend.(less)
The Everneath series stands out to me for a couple reasons. Of course the most obvious i...moreYou can find more of my reviews at Forever 17 Books.
The Everneath series stands out to me for a couple reasons. Of course the most obvious is how gorgeous the covers are! I mean seriously, beautiful! But most importantly it is a series where I wasn’t overly invested with the first book but absolutely fell in love with the sequel. Sophomore slump? The exact opposite! How cool is that? I could not wait to see how it ended in this final installment and I think readers will be pleased overall.
Part of what I loved about this series was how perfect each book ending was. The author sure knows how to pack a punch in the final pages and leave you salivating for more, and of course setting the next book up wonderfully. The ending of Everbound gave us a surprise and a twist, leaving me unsure how this tale could end. To keep Nikki from changing into an everliving, she works with Jack to uncover the Everneath secrets and to find something Cole has stolen. Without revealing too much, we once again take an action packed journey to the Everneath and unravel all kinds of mythology excitement and answers. I did enjoy the plot on a whole but for some reason it wasn’t quite as entertaining and exciting as the previous installment for me. Some parts were slow to get through. My investment dwindled as I read, that is until the end where the author worked her magic and packed that punch I was waiting for. A perfect conclusion that I found beautiful and heartbreaking. It made it all worth it.
The love triangle is quite important in this series. I’ve always been Team Jack with a side of Cole because honestly, Cole is one awesome bad boy you can’t help but to love. Without giving too much away, through a lot of this book I didn’t really care for either guy. *gasp* I know, how dare I say that! Don’t get me wrong, there are some really great moments with each boy. In fact I bookmarked a couple quotes I love so much, though they are extremely spoilery (see bottom of the review – don’t worry, they are concealed). But Jack became this like cartoon-ish type character this time, with super strength and anger. I kept waiting for him to say, “Don’t make me angry” and turn into a giant green Hulk. And Cole was completely different too for awhile. It’s part of the storyline for both to be that way but it just made me miss the characters I fell in love with in the first two books.
But overall, I think fans of this series will enjoy this final journey for the characters. I certainly did. And even though it wasn’t quite as exciting as I hoped for, the ending was just perfection for me.
“But even then I knew. Deep down I knew you would be my beginning and my end. My moral consciousness began taking shape the moment I met you. In that way, my own soul began. And then when I fell in love with you, my own heart began.”
I can still remember how this series first entered my life… one day back in the fall of 2011 (whoa...moreYou can find more of my reviews at Forever 17 Books.
I can still remember how this series first entered my life… one day back in the fall of 2011 (whoa!) I was on twitter when I noticed a giveaway tweeted into my timeline from HarperTeen for an ARC of Under the Never Sky. I had never heard of it before but I looked it up on Goodreads and the cover was super gorgeous! So I entered and somehow won! I am forever grateful I spotted that giveaway because this series has been one of my favorites ever since. It’s hard to believe it has come time to say goodbye to these characters but I can honestly say the journey was amazing from start to finish!
I really don’t like to say too much on a series finale before it has been released because I know how much I hate spoilers and I wouldn’t want to do that to anyone. But what I can tell you is that if you have been a fan of the previous books, you will not be disappointed! Both Aria and Perry continue to shine and show their amazing selves to us. Their love for each other is so sweet. There are all these beautiful moments between the two sprinkled into the action and suspense, like putting a hand to their heart as they leave each other… I swooned every time! This series had the perfect blend of romance into the storytelling and not many books can pull it off as seamlessly as Veronica Rossi has with these two.
He leaned down, bracing his arms on either side of her, his lips soft as they kissed a trail from her mouth to her ear. “What I was trying to say,” he whispered, “is that I see you in everything. There isn’t a word for you that means enough, because you’re everything to me.”
All our favorite secondary characters shined as well – Roar and Cinder being among my favorites once again. And boy did they both break my heart at times. The Perry and Roar dynamic takes an interesting turn after the events that occurred in Through the Ever Night. They obviously have many things to work through. And of course the wonderful friendship Aria shared with Roar remains strong and beautiful as well. It can be rare to find a boy/girl platonic friendship as strong as theirs in a YA novel and I appreciate how well it was written. We also got a lot more of Soren, who was quite the surprise for me. He added a bit of humor and really fit into the main storyline flawlessly.
The plot sucked me in right away and did not let go until the very last word. Loose ends were tied up and the book ended just the way it was meant to. I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time crying during finale books and Into the Still Blue was no different. But I think the tears were primarily the happy and bittersweet kind. If you have yet to start this series, I highly recommend you give it a chance!(less)