I loved this book. What Happens Next and I had an intense relationship for two days in which I couldn't stop reading it and when I was forced to put iI loved this book. What Happens Next and I had an intense relationship for two days in which I couldn't stop reading it and when I was forced to put it down I would go about my day, think about the amazing characters and find myself with rogue tears falling from my eyes. Collen Clayton has weaved a story that is full of heart and unflinching in its brutal, uncomfortable honesty. I think it's safe to say that these characters are ones that I will be thinking about for a long time to come, and I wish I had some of them in my life.
I connected with Cassidy (Sid) in a way that I don't think I have ever connected with a fictional character before. I was that girl, I was 5'10" in junior high and filled out really early, I was always getting looked at, and approached by guys who were much older than I. Now this wouldn't have been an issue that I would have even thought about, except there was also the fact that guys my age never gave me a second look. I was the Green Giant. I never got danced with in junior high, I sat on the benches and watched everyone else dancing. So needless to say, I understood our main character on a very personal level and I think that helped me to understand her motivations perfectly. I was so heartbroken for her, she didn't have a bad life by any means but she got herself into trouble and the downward spiral just kept going and going and before she knew it things were out of control and she was at a point of no return. Sure, I wanted to shake her throughout and scream "Tell somebody!" but it was made perfectly clear why she didn't.
The people in Sid's life are all some of the best developed secondary characters I've had the pleasure of reading as well. Corey Livingston was just amazing. He was kind, caring and yet when he needed to he had just the right amount of pressure to get his point across and open Sid up. I loved him, I really did. Sid's friends made me angry but once again, I didn't necessarily agree with them shutting Sid out like they did, but I understood why they did it, so I could go along with it and it felt natural. A real standout for me was Sid's mom. She was a parent and she was 100% present, she was there when her daughter needed to talk and she was very lighthearted and that was definitely endearing for me.
What Happens Next deals with self-image, rape, eating disorders and just the trials and tribulations of being a teenager so well. Every thread of this story came together perfectly in the end and every aspect was handled so well. I appreciated how brutally honest it was and was so happy that it was written in the first person because I really felt as if I was Sid. This is an amazing debut novel and I will definitely be looking out for whatever Colleen Clayton puts out in the future.
The timing for me to read this book really was not optimal at all. I was trying to sneak in some ME books in between the review books and ended up getThe timing for me to read this book really was not optimal at all. I was trying to sneak in some ME books in between the review books and ended up getting myself a little behind in my schedule. I was so scared that feeling a bit rushed would affect my take on Ashen Winter, it being almost 600 pages and all. But I needn’t worry, that was the breeziest 570 pages I have ever read. Now people, I have the attention span of a fruit fly, I get bored of really long stories and tend to zone out over excessive details. That was never the case with this story. Mike Mullin sucked me into Alex and Darla’s journey once again and I was along for the rollercoaster of a ride every single, grueling, freezing step of the way.
What really gets me in this series is that it is all just so plausible. Mike Mullin said in the author’s note that there is a lot of speculation as to “the severity of the winter that would follow a supervolcano eruption” and that “as a novelist (he’s), chosen to depict the most severe- and dramatic- possibility.” Every single aspect of this journey makes you feel as if you are there trudging through the snow and volcanic ash that is coating the state. Everything, down to the smallest detail just feels REAL. The food these people are forced to eat, the solutions that they concoct to get themselves out of jams is all perfectly believable. Even the action sequences (which have definitely stepped up a notch in this one) are written with such suspense that I found myself holding my breath every time Alex found himself in a new trying situation.
But what really keeps me in the end is the characters. I can now say that this series has one of my most favorite female kick-ass characters ever. Darla is my hero. I love her snarkiness and her resourcefulness, her and Alex have developed this awesome healthy relationship despite everything working against them and it has totally got me rooting for them. There was a few funny instances in this one where they talk about how they are shocked that the other hadn’t watched certain stuff on TV before the eruption. While Alex is shocked Darla hadn’t watched Woody Woodpecker, Darla is dumbfounded that Alex hadn’t watched any snow mobile races. Little instances like that are perfectly placed in the novel and create some of the most wonderful characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
Of course, this story is not just about Alex and Darla, there is a whole host of side characters that come and go throughout the novel that I am coming to love too. Rita Mae, the librarian in Worthington, is someone I am always excited to encounter. Also Alex’s uncle and sister and of course Dr. McCarthy in Warren. I don’t even know how to express how much I love this series. You get lost in every single page and come to love the characters dearly. Mike Mullin has solidified himself as an author that I will constantly be on the lookout for because his writing is perfectly entrancing.
An Advanced Reader's Copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This is my first time reading Kody Keplinger's work and I can safely say that it will not be the lastYou can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.
This is my first time reading Kody Keplinger's work and I can safely say that it will not be the last. A Midsummer's Nightmare is a perfect summer read that I devoured in one day. The pacing is great and the characters are very well developed. Whitley Johnson has slowly been on a downward spiral, she drinks way too much and likes to escape into the party scene where she often makes some less than stellar decisions. She looks forward to her summer's when she gets to spend time at her father's condo, rather than at home with her downer mother. But once her father picks her up she is thrown a curve ball, her father is now engaged and she has soon to be step siblings. This is the story of Whitley acting out and learning to deal with the change.
I really enjoyed Whitley, she was a funny, sassy character. Even though she definitely had her issues and I didn't agree with some of the choices she made, I could always see where she was coming from. Yeah, her actions were pretty selfish but that's what made the novel so good, we get to watch her change. It is safe to say that Whitley Johnson starts out as one person and ends the novel having done a complete 180. Her father's "new" family consists of his fiancee Sylvia and her two kids Bailey and Nathan. Sylvia's character was given a lot of depth and I really felt for her as she tried to bring Whitley into her life despite Whitley's behaviour. Bailey was also a great addition to the story as she was a big part of Whitley growing up and realising that she needed to be more of a role model to her future step sister. A stark contrast to the loving, supportive Caulfields is Whitley's father and mother. They are pretty selfish and don't always put their children first. I was so angry at both of her parents for putting her in the position that she was in and just overall not caring about her.
The romance in this one is swoon worthy for sure. I can honestly say that I read the last 50 pages of this novel with a stupid grin plastered across my face. While the romance does start off with a bang (pun intended) it does have a nice progression that really makes you connect with it and long for more. Every time there was a scene with Nathan and Whit I got so excited! At this point it takes a lot for me to actually swoon over the romance, and it seems as though a lot of authors have a completely different idea about what makes a hot romance than I do. Nathan is so sweet and he wants nothing more than for Whitley to find herself and be happy with herself. He doesn't take advantage and he doesn't push her. I also respected his brutal honesty towards her and thought he handled everything so well.
Kody Keplinger has put together a sweet romance that also deals with some heavy teenage issues. It's all handled in a very real way and I can't even tell you how much I loved this story. The characters are great, the plot is fun and there is the perfect amount of romance. This one should definitely be on your summer reading list!...more
Just One Day was easily one of my most anticipated titles of 2013. I have become an admirer of GayleYou can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.
Just One Day was easily one of my most anticipated titles of 2013. I have become an admirer of Gayle Forman and her writing has never failed to make me have all the feels. In this latest novel she has once again amazed me with her beautiful and completely honest way of writing. Here we get the story of Allyson who has just graduated high school and received a trip to Europe (with her best friend) from her parents as a graduation present. She is less than amazed with her travels until the tail end of her trip when she meets a tall, handsome stranger who is a street performer of Shakespeare. As luck would have it they find themselves on the same train to London and strike up a conversation. As Alysson expresses her unhappiness about having not been able to see Paris her handsome stranger, Willem, prompts her to seize the moment and head there with him for just one day.
The beginning of this novel felt magical to me. Being Alysson as she explores unknown territory and really lets herself go was beautiful. I loved how she threw caution to the wind and did something so out of her comfort zone. While it was definitely a reckless decision and one I would probably never make, it made for a very good story. There is a sudden shift in the tone of this novel when Alysson wakes up after their day in Paris to find Willem has vanished without so little as a goodbye. What follows is a year in her life as she starts college and deals with the heartbreak of her tryst with Willem. This section of the novel has a much darker tone, Alysson is depressed and reclusive in her sorrow. I think throughout the story we watch her grow so much that she really became a person to me. I felt her heartbreak and her frustration at not knowing what happened to Willem that morning. The questions that come along with a situation like that would tear anyone apart and I was so happy when she started to come back to life and search for answers.
While this is definitely a tale of romance at its heart, it always has a strong sense of friendship and family. Alysson’s relationship with Melanie is that of life long best friends. They know each other through and through and support each other. As they started to drift apart I felt just as much sadness as I had for Alysson and Willem. I mean that happens, friends grow up and go their separate ways, but you always hope to remain best friends. But rest assured that Alysson finds new friendships as she progresses in the novel and when she meets Dee I immediately loved him. He was so funny and sassy and just everything one could want in a best friend. The sense of family here is a strong one. Alysson’s mother is so involved in her life and shows so much interest in it. While she is definitely overbearing it was wonderful to see such an involved parent in a YA novel.
Just one day is a beautiful story that takes the reader on a wild rollercoaster of emotions. You will feel love and you will feel heartbreak, but above all you will feel hope. It has a good message about being happy in your own skin, with who you are and doing what you need to do to make yourself happy in the face of how it may make others feel. It’s full of fantastic characters and amazing writing. This is one I recommend for absolutely everybody. ...more
I don't have any idea how to start this review. Upon finishing Crewel I put my Kindle down and thoughYou can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.
I don't have any idea how to start this review. Upon finishing Crewel I put my Kindle down and thought to myself "I have to write a review of THAT?" It was engrossing, it was beautiful, and it was easily the most original story I have read in a long while. Starting with the very first paragraph Gennifer Albin sucks us in and begins building an intense level of suspense. She feeds us her tale in small servings and as the world becomes clearer and clearer the readers mind is simply blown. That's a crap way to describe how I felt, I know this, but that's all I've got.
In Crewel we meet Adelice, who is just coming of age in the world of Arras and she is being tested to see if she has what it takes to join the Spinsters. She has shown exceptional talent in this field from the time she was 8 years old, but from that time she was intensely trained by her mother and father to hide her gift so as to fail her test. When she slips up in her exam, she knows that her talent was found and that the retrieval squad will be knocking at her door any minute to take her off for her new assignment. In this opening chapter there was this perfect level of tension that was achieved through the writing and as Adelice sat at the table with her parents and sister I was so nervous for her. I didn't know the full extent of why she was encouraged to fail and repress her gift but I knew there had to be a solid reason for it.
So I guess this is a good place to talk about the characters in the world of Arras. I was a big fan of Adelice, she was feisty and smart. She knew that she had a very special gift, it would have been easy for her to get lost in the Coventry and shoot right to the top. A lot of the girls around her would have done just that, they come off as girls who want nothing more than to get to the top and be lavished with gifts. But not Adelice, it was all hers for the taking, and yet she was constantly questioning everyone around her and kept her wits about her through this trying change. She went through so much on the night of her retrieval and yet she remained strong and persistent through the whole ordeal. The people that she meets at the Coventry definitely didn't warrant much liking from me. We had Maela who was an evil witch from the moment we met her and Pryana (who was someone that I thought I would like) quickly went down the witch road as well. But the most detestable character, whom I disliked immensely had to be Cormac Patton, he was such a skeezeball but he was the perfect villain and his twisted ways kept throwing me for a loop.
I feel like here I should talk about the amazing world building, about how I was completely engrossed in the world of Arras and how Albin took a completely unique setting, ran with it, and made it feel so real. But if I go in too deeply to this aspect I think I could ruin the experience for you, so just know that you are going into a fresh, unique world that is so unlike anything ever! Moving on from that to the twists of the novel. I will say that one I had figured out within the first quarter of the novel but that was overshadowed by the ultimate plot turn in the end and I was left in awe and needing to find out where Albin is taking the series in the sequel. Seriously the ending was not anything I could have ever expected and the next installment is going to be a painful wait!
Full of fantastic world building and top notch character development, Crewel is a story that you will have to read to believe. It's unlike anything I have ever read and it leaves off with so many possibilities that you will be pining to find out where this Crewel world will go next....more
Ashfall is yet another title that came to me highly recommended by my fellow bloggers. I'll admit, thYou can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.
Ashfall is yet another title that came to me highly recommended by my fellow bloggers. I'll admit, that did make me very wary going into it, I thought for sure this would be another that would leave me thinking "everybody else loved it, WHAT DIDN'T I?" But those worries were completely unfounded, Ashfall is an amazing novel that is so well written you're left feeling like you have ash crammed in crevices where ash should never be. It is chalk full of impeccable world building and you truly care for the characters as if they were your own children.
So what's so chilling about Ashfall? Well how about the fact that this can, and most likely, will happen sometime in the future. I'm not a scientist and I haven't done a lot of research into this matter but I have looked into it enough to know that it can happen. I'm not sure as to what length the devastation would go to, if it would be this extreme but it is still damn scary. Mike Mullin describes the devastation through Alex's eyes in such a real way, I felt like I was skiing on the ash and felt the onset of frostbite on my own fingers.
The characters in Ashfall are the real gem. Alex is a character who grows a lot throughout the novel and I felt that his progression was spot on. He starts out as an innocent World of Warcraft playing child and ends a man who has survived insurmountable feats. He falls for Darla, a country girl who is very intelligent, mechanically inclined and perfectly witty. I read that Mike Mullin likes to reverse gender roles and I loved that in this novel. Darla was much more handy when it came to survival instinct and making contraptions, I found that I really liked her and respected her. There are many secondary characters that Darla and Alex meet on their trek across Iowa and they all serve to achieve a different layer in our protagonist. Target (the escaped convict) progresses Alex's strength and Katie's mother shows his compassion, everything is twined together so well.
There are a lot of heavy, chilling scenes in this novel and it was, at times, hard to read. I was sickened by Target & his friend and I could probably now skin & gut a rabbit all on my own (would I? NO! but still..) This is a very well crafted post apocalyptic novel that conveys desperation extremely well. I will be anxiously awaiting Ashen Winter to see where Alex and Darla go from here!...more
A big thank you to Penguin/Putnam Juvenile for providing me an ARC for review.
The Right & The Real is too right and way too real. Joëlle Anthony has weaved a story that feels as if it was ripped from the headlines. It's a story of fanaticism and how it affects your life. It's a scary thing, and I too have been outcasted from the life of a person who was very important to me for not succumbing to their beliefs. It's a harsh reality that someone can be introduced to a belief or a way of life that consumes them in such a way that if has grave effects on their relationships with the people around them.
Jamie was a very lovable character with whom I empathised with immensely. She was facing some very heavy stuff for a 17 year old, yet she handled it the best she possibly could. I believed this character, I felt her emotions and I understood her reactions. The story of her father, Richard, was a difficult one. He was a weak man with an addictive personality and although I hated the choices he made in this book, I felt bad for him. It is way too easy for an organisation or a belief to get their claws into the people who are missing something from their lives and alter them in an immeasurable way. Richard was quite clearly an unhappy man who was looking for anything to cling to that could in some way bring him resolve and happiness. I appreciated the dynamic of the three best friends in this book. They all stood out in their own way, yet their love of theatre gave them an impenetrable bond. I liked that they weren't carbon copies of each other.
The relationship between Jamie and Josh was so frustrating to me. She put up with so much from Josh, and never got to experience what a real relationship is. Trent was a breath of fresh air, the scenes with him made me happy and every time I realised I had a silly grin on my face. At time's I found myself frustrated with Jamie because she wouldn't take the plunge, but that's what young love does, makes you do stupid things! Another relationship in this that was great was between Jamie and LaVon. He stepped in as a sort of skewed father figure for Jamie and it felt so natural.
The Church of The Right & The Real was haunting. A Teacher who projected that he was the second coming of Christ, and a whole congregation of people who believed it, who would give up their life, and everyone in to to serve in any way they can. Haven't we all heard about this before? This story is all too real and so well written that it reaches down and pulls emotions out of you that you didn't even know were there. I will most definitely be recommending The Right & The Real to anyone looking for an Alluring Read. ...more
Pandemonium does not suffer from the dreaded second book lag that is evident in many series. This bookYou can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads
Pandemonium does not suffer from the dreaded second book lag that is evident in many series. This book is a worthy follow-up to its awesome predecessor Delirium. Pandemonium takes place in the 'then' and 'now', the 'then' is immediately following Delirium chronicling Lena's life in the Wilds and her adjustment to the new life. The 'now' is about a year later and explores her involvement in the resistance in New York. The world has changed since Delirium, radical acts carried out by the Invalids had made it impossible for the government to deny their existence any longer and the DFA (Deleria Free America) is determined that the cure needs to be administered earlier (but is that safe?)
Pandemonium is much more action packed than Delirium, I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book. Lena starts off in a foreign life stuck in a depression, a haze of her former self and we get to watch her slowly come back to life, be reborn a brand new Lena. The characters that she meets are great full characters that I sympathised with. I loved seeing the other side in this one, learning about the Invalids way of life, how they survive, their motives and just how far they will go to achieve their goals.
It also explores more heavily the sense of detachment that people are plagued with following the cure. Julian Fineman's memories broke my heart, and made me feel as if I needed to revolt against the DFA and the government. Once again we are left with a gut wrenching cliff hanger that is going to make the wait for Requiem almost unbearable! Lauren Oliver has once again wowed me with her way with words and her mastery of a great story. I will be recommending this series to anyone looking for an Alluring Read. ...more
I am officially a huge fan of Lauren Oliver. This is the second novel of hers that I have read in theYou can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads
I am officially a huge fan of Lauren Oliver. This is the second novel of hers that I have read in the last week and I am once again blown away! Her way with words is absolutely stunning. The world she built in Delirium is so rich that I could feel the smoldering heat and smell the ash coming in with the wind. This is definitely what some would consider 'slow' but it is so rich in detail that I lapped up every word and didn't feel once like I was waiting for something to happen. Delirium takes place in a secluded United States of America where they have found a cure for 'amor deliria nervosa' or love. Love is seen as a disease that wraps its tentacles around your throat, makes you crazy and eventually leads you to death. Love is terminal.
Our main character Lena has a history that's not exactly great. She's raised to follow the rules and get in line. She can't wait to reach 18 so she can be 'cured' of the disease. As her world changes we see Lena grow, we see her eyes open as she pulls away at the smoke and mirrors she has been surrounded with for so long. I really liked Lena, she was a smart character who had her head on her shoulders. I actually liked all the characters in this book. The great thing about it is every character has such a different dynamic, they don't blend together at all, they stand out on their own and I love that. Alot of times I find in books that the characters tend to act the same and I have a hard time believing it, but not in Lauren Olivers books.
The love story in this book is fantastic, it's illegal and forbidden, yet it feels so right, I loved every second of it. But this isn't only a love story, it's about friendship, family and passion. Imagine if once you turned 18 everything you cared about was forgotten as if your whole life never happened. I will definitely be recommending Delirium to anyone looking for an Alluring Read. ...more
"You know how most rumours start? Because someone feels like it."
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver is offYou can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads
"You know how most rumours start? Because someone feels like it."
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver is officially #1 on my favourite book list (ya I said it). It is the most relevant book I have ever read, reading it brought me back to the time in my life that I hated the most, high school. That little blip in your life that, at the time, feels like the final stage of your life. That's it, your an adult, who you are is who you are going to be for the rest of your life, who your with is who you will marry and who your friends are will be your friends till the end. But in the end, that's all it is, a little blip in your life that in the expanse of things doesn't mean much. I hated high school with a passion, and it was all because of girls like Samantha Kingston and Lindsay Edgecomb.
The characters in this book are masterfully crafted. I absolutely loathed the girls in the beginning of the book, they made me so mad that I actually felt angry. But as Before I Fall goes on, the layers of them become exposed through memories Sam has of the past. The transformation our MC goes through is beautiful. We watch her come out of her little bubble and have some shocking realisations about her life and how her actions affect the people around her. My feelings for Lindsay also changed throughout the book, at first I hated her guts, but by the end I just felt bad for her.
The issues presented are faced with an unflinching realism that brings you back to that place and makes you feel exactly how you did at that time in your life. Everything from body image, to bullying and teen suicide is handled so well that I am in awe of Lauren Oliver. This is a beautifully written book that every high school girl should be required to read just for the faint hope that something sticks. I highly recommend Before I Fall to anyone looking for an Alluring Read....more
A copy was provided by Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.
This book blew me away. I haYou can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.
A copy was provided by Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.
This book blew me away. I have had zero luck with the zombie genre which has been a huge let down for my because I love zombies in my movies and on my TV. This Is Not a Test completely broke through my zombie rut and gave me hope for other books in it's genre. What I think I loved the most about it, was that it was really about the characters, and how they grow and change throughout. Yes there is a fair amount of biting off faces and crowbars through faces, but it's more a character study and an exploration into how people deal with dire situations.
Our MC Sloane Price completely tore my heart out throughout. I can't even count the number of times I found tears streaming down my face as her thoughts about her past and her future sunk in. She was so empty, her life was so depressing and she had completely let go. It was hard to read at times, I will admit, but I love brutal honestly in my books. The pain that Sloane felt because of her sister abandoning her and being the sole victim of her father's evil tirades was so real. I can't even tell you how well the melancholy setting of this novel was conveyed, you have to read it, you really do.
The 5 others that Sloane takes cover with within the walls of Cortege High School are all 3 dimensional characters that I found myself totally invested in. Trace & Grace are twins and their bond is something that I would long for in a situation such as this. Trace was a very hard character to like, and I really didn't like him, but the protectiveness he showed for his sister and the love he showed for his parents made me at least connect with him. Harrison, though frustrating, was a perfect contrast to the strengths of those around him. I wanted to reach into the book, shake him, and tell him to grow a pair, but he really does evolve as the story goes on. And Rhys and Cary were the kind of jilted leaders that are necessary to have around.
There is a touch of romance within these pages, as much as there can be during a zombocalypse, but it did not overshadow the desperate emotion of the story and played a small part. The ending is quite abrupt and it did not go the way I was expecting but that served to make me love this novel even more. This is definitely a must read this year, but be prepared that you are in for some emotionally charged reading. I absolutely loved everything about this book and can't wait to read more from Courtney Summers....more
I have been waiting for Hemlock for a very long time. I remember starting my blog it was one of my veYou can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.
I have been waiting for Hemlock for a very long time. I remember starting my blog it was one of my very first WoW's, so going into reading this it had a lot to live up to in my mind. It did, it lived up to all of my expectations and surpassed them. I would even say that this is the best book that I have read in the past 2 to 3 years. I loved everything about it, the pacing had me turning the pages and the suspense had my stomach twisted into knots. Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger of it's own and you just Can't. Stop. Reading.
Mac was an awesome MC, she was witty, realistic and she could hold her own. I loved being inside her head and reading her inner dialogue. She was level-headed and had an astounding amount of empathy and compassion for those around her. Mackenzie had a very rough upbringing and when she was abandoned in Hemlock with her cousin Tess she finally found a group that she belonged in. The characters are so well written within the group that I didn't find myself groaning at the love triangle. I really enjoyed Kyle and Jason! Sure Jason had his flaws, but there was always a level of humility in him when it came to Mac. And Kyle was such a sweetheart. The glimpses of Amy through Mac's dreams provide a very dark, ominous feel and every time she popped up I cringed, expecting the worst.
Kathleen Peacock has taken very familiar elements and constructed a very unique story. People in Hemlock know that werewolves exist and there is even a team of Trackers whose sole mission is to take them down. This really made for a refreshing read in a genre that I have read a lot of. There is no shortage of twists that keep you sucked into the story to a point that you almost feel as if you can't breathe!
At this point, all I have to say to you, reader of my review, is "What are you doing reading my review?! Go read Hemlock! NOW!"...more
For me, this book was un-put-down-able! I read it over the coarse of a day and cursed distractions each and everySee my full review at Alluring Reads
For me, this book was un-put-down-able! I read it over the coarse of a day and cursed distractions each and every time I had to put it down. The book starts off fast and the pace never slows. It's not overwhelming at all, and the tortured romance is a perfect background to the action of the story line. I admit a few times Embers self blaming did get on my nerves, but she is a pretty kick ass chick! And Chase, where do I even begin! His love for Ember and the lengths to which he would go to to protect her leaves a warm feeling in your heart. This is definitely a book I would highly recommend. ...more